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How Does One Repent?

How Does One Repent?

As already stated, true repentance is initiated by the recognition of the grace and mercy of God and isn’t only turning away from sin but turning to Jesus. But the question remains, how does one repent? Paul in Ephesians 4:22-24 explains what repentance is, and how we go about doing it. It is enacted by the decision to repent, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and made possible by Jesus.

Paul said they must first, “in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit.” (Ephesians 4:22). Once they have been convicted of their sin and they recognize the grace of God, they lay aside the former manner of life. Why do they lay aside this former manner of life? Because, they have discovered that it is useless and of no value. Too many people are holding onto their lives because they think it has value. What they don’t understand is that their life has been totally corrupted by sin, even a little sin, and is now of no value; it is worthless. Jesus said in Luke 9:24, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” In order to truly save our lives we must lay them aside.

At the moment the sinner has made the choice to lay down his old life and turn to Jesus God gives to him the gift of the Holy Spirit. Making us holy is one of the primary purposes of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:23 says that after one lays aside the old manner of life, the old self, “that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” After one lays down his old life the Holy Spirit immediately begins the transformational process of renewing their minds.

Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The word conformed literally means to be pressed into a mold. Through pressure, intimidation, and lies the world tries to press you into its mold. The word here for transformed is the same word we get metamorphosis from. It would be an accurate description of a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. This is the very word God chose to use for the one who was once a sinner but has been transformed into a saint. The things that the sinner once thought was right he now realizes is wrong. The things the sinner once wanted to do, he no longer wants’ to do because he has been transformed from a sinful mindset to a mind set on righteousness through the power of the Holy Spirit. One cannot will themselves into righteous thinking, work themselves up, or hope hard enough. Nor, will hanging out with other righteous people rub off on them. It is only the transformative power of the Holy Spirit that makes this possible; thus the necessity to lay down ones old life and pick up the new one.

Paul then goes on to tell us in the next verse, “and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” What do we put on? We put on Jesus. Romans 13:14 says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” The literal meaning of this is to cloth yourself in Christ. We do this by faith.

So then, how does one repent? One repents by laying aside the old life and picking up Christ; literally clothing oneself in Him. The sinner does this once for salvation. However, the Christian should do this daily. They are not being resaved daily, they are simply making the choice to continue walking in the new life that has been made accessible through the blood of Jesus and daily empowered by the work of the Holy Spirit.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Set Your Mind on Jesus

Set Your Mind on Jesus

In Romans 8:1-4 Paul shares the glory of the gospel by explaining that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. The reason there is no condemnation is because Jesus became flesh for the purpose of being the sin offering for all of mankind. All of mankind broke the law of God but Jesus paid the penalty, which is death, and took upon Himself its condemnation. We all deserve the condemnation but those who have set their minds on Jesus have turned away from the condemnations sentence of death and have set their minds on life; they have set their minds on Jesus.

Paul then goes on to explain in Romans 8:9-11 that if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you, you will have your mind set on Christ, which He talks about in Romans 8:5-9, the Spirit of God will dwell in you, and the Spirit will give you life. This happens the moment you are saved. In fact, the very first act of the Holy Spirit in a believers life is the giving of life; eternal life. Romans 8:11 says, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” The very reason we have life is because we have repented of our worldly mindset and have set our mind on Jesus who paid the price for our redemption.

Romans 8:7-8 says of the non believer, “The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” The non believer’s mindset that is on the flesh is hostile toward God and cannot please God. His mind is not only not set on Jesus, Paul tells us here that He is not even able to do so. Why can’t he set His mind on Jesus which is setting His mind on life? Because He doesn’t have the Spirit of God. The man void of the Spirit of God cannot focus on Jesus, and the man not focused on Jesus does not have the Spirit of God. If you have the Spirit you have the Son, but if you do not have the Spirit, you do not have the Son. How do you receive the Spirit? By receiving the Son. How do you receive the Son? By faith; faith in the works of Christ on the cross. (Ephesians 2:8-9).

If one is a believer he is commanded here to take his mind off of the world and set it on Jesus. An important principle here is that wherever your mind is, there your heart will be also. Take for instance the one who is walking in the sin of bitterness. The more they focus on how the person wronged them the more bitter they will become. Even a Christian can be guilty of this sin. But, only the Spirit of God can refocus the wrong that the person did to them and set their mind on Christ thus giving them the grace to forgive the individual who wronged them setting them free from the sin of bitterness. The non believer is incapable of this act because the Spirit of God is not in Him. The more the believer sets his mind on Jesus, the more in love with Him and the more dedicated to Him he will become.

Once a non believer is convicted of his sin and they recognize that they ways of the world are wrong they repent and turn to Jesus in recognition that His ways are right. This initial act of repentance results into salvation. At this point the non believer is converted and receives the Spirit of God that gives Him life. Then, the Holy Spirit helps the believer keep his mind set on Jesus. If the believer loses focus it doesn’t mean that he loses his eternal life. Rather, the Spirit of God who is now in him will continue to convict him until he regains his focus.

Romans 8:5-6 says, “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” Therefore, repent of the mind set on the flesh and set your minds on Jesus and live according to the Spirit so you can have life and peace.

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Futility of Mind

Futility of Mind

Ephesians 4:17 says, “So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind.” Normally when the bible references Gentiles it speaks of those who are not Jews. Since the Church of Ephesus was a mostly Gentile church and not an exclusively Jewish church this is obviously not the case. Here, Paul is giving instructions not to walk as a Gentile indicating that their walk is one like a non believer. In this text Paul is giving a clear distinction between the believers walk and the non believers walk.

In this verse Paul says that the Gentiles walk in the futility of their mind. The word futile literally means pointless. The wording here, futility of mind, is the best translation but I do love how the New Living Translation states it as it says, “For they are hopelessly confused.” Since the futility is of their mind their thoughts are therefore pointless and have no purpose or value. They are abandoned to a pointless word and humanistic view.

The next verse tells us why their mind is futile as it states, “being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart.” (Ephesians 4:18). This verse literally states that in their mind the lights are off. Now we need to remember, this is speaking of the spiritual mind. There are obviously many extraordinarily intelligent people who are not believers in Jesus Christ. However, all non believer are spiritually in the dark; spiritually, they are dim-witted. Why? Because they are “excluded from the life of God.” They are not excluded from the life of God because God doesn’t want them. God wanted them enough to send His Son to the cross to die for them. They are excluded because of the “hardness of their heart.” The hardness of their heart causes them to remain in ignorance to God and His kingdom; therefore, they are excluded; excluded by their own choice.

Because of this ignorance, darkness, and futility of mind due to their exclusion from God verse 19 says, “and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.” They have become callous, or hardened so they have no shame, lost all sense of shame, cast off all feeling, or given themselves over as other translations state it. What have they become hardened to or given themselves over to? Sin. They stand in direct contrast to God, and they could care less. They are perfectly happy in their sin. Why? Because their heart is hardened towards God and they are ignorant of Him and His ways because they have no part in Him; they are excluded.

To put it simply, Paul is saying, don’t be like that. Again, we see the call to repent. We once were all like that, but if you know Him, God called you out of the futility of mind and included you in Him. Paul then writes in verses 20-21, “But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him.” We didn’t learn Christ in this way, in other words, come to Him or come to know Him. When we discovered His grace we repented from the darkness and turned to the light.

Paul also said that they have not been “taught in Him in this way.” As a non believer we are taught the gospel and we choose to believe it or reject it. As a believer we are still taught. Now, we are taught how to walk in God. However, we can’t walk in God if we are excluded from Him. We must first turn to Him. Then, and only then, are we teachable. Then, and only then, are we able to walk in Him. As believers, we are taught by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are taught by studying the Word of God on our own and by allowing others who are called by God to teach us the Word of God.

Paul continued the theme of repentance in verses 22-24 as he stated, “in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Again, true biblical repentance isn’t just stopping the sin in your life. Apart from Jesus you can’t. True biblical repentance is turning away from sin and turning to Jesus. Anything else is futility of mind-pointless.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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There is a Way that Seems Right, But You are Wrong!

There is a Way that Seems Right, But You are Wrong!

Some say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. However, I think it’s much more difficult to teach a stubborn man new thoughts. The mind of man is stubborn indeed. If a man, or woman for that matter, thinks they are right about any given subject you cannot reason with them. With the stubbornness of man you can clearly show them which way the water is flowing in the stream, but, they will argue with you the opposite. You can even give evidence by throwing a twig into the stream and telling them to watch which way it flows, but, they are still unconvinced. The stubbornness of man is indeed great. The more educated with the ways of the world a man is the more difficult it is to convince them of the ways of God. Their mind is made up and they simply will not be confused with facts. This is why praying for the lost is so important.

I am also thoroughly convinced that the stubbornness of man is the most destructive force on earth. We often try to blame the devil for our wows but the truth is, most of our wows are on account of our own stubbornness. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened to God as he refused to submit to the authority and power of God by not releasing the Hebrews. This stubbornness led to his own demise. It is truly mind boggling to think of how many individuals, families, churches, communities, cultures, and countries have suffered from the same form of stubbornness?

Proverbs 14:12 tells us, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” The way of man might seem right, reasonable, and rational but it will ultimately ruin them. For this reason, Romans 12:2 tells us to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The ways of the world, the thought of man, will destroy us, but, the ways of God will always bless us. Proverbs 3:5 tells us to, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”

This is the very reason that God tells us to repent. He doesn’t tell us to repent because He doesn’t want us to have fun or is trying to hold out on us. He tells us to repent because He loves us and He knows what is best for us. Just as the fire may look beautiful and intriguing to the child, the loving parent tells the child not to play by the fire because they know the fire will burn them and potentially kill them. For this reason we should always turn to and trust in God’s ways while turning away from our own. Our own ways have been tainted by worldly philosophy that is deadly and destructive.

Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.” Therefore, let us not be fools and let us repent of our own ways. Let’s be wise and seek God’s.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Have you Believed?

Have you Believed?

The most important question is, “Have you believed on Jesus?” John’s conclusion as to whether or not one has eternal life was based on whether or not one has believed on Jesus Christ. He wrote in I John 5:10, “The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.” The bible is abundantly clear that we are saved by placing our faith in the person and works of Jesus Christ. I have already covered this topic so I will not further elaborate. However, I must make this point clear, simple repentance of sin will not save you; only faith in Christ will save you.
If we have set in our heart to deny ourselves and follow Jesus as Lord of our lives, trusting in His work on the cross as being sufficient for the atonement of our sins and His person being sufficient to lead us as an example, we will receive eternal life. John wrote in the next two verses, “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”
However, the one who is saved will naturally and willingly keep His commands and turn from his sin. John writes in I John 2:3-6, “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” The one who has faith in Jesus will keep His commandments. He will have died to self and allow Jesus to be Lord of his life.
The lordship of Jesus is the biggest test to the doubter. I never ask anyone if they are a Christian. The term Christian has become a cheap and meaningless word in our society. Not that the word is cheap; it is precious and valuable, yet, people have abused and defaced it with their cheep view of Christianity. I simply ask, “Is Jesus the Lord of your life?” I also never ask what someone did years ago or what type of religious experiences they have had. Too many people are depending on a religious experience they had once in their past to save them. That isn’t the biblical picture of Christianity. Jesus told us to follow Him. This is a daily commitment, not a onetime act that we do and then forget about the Lord until we get to heaven. Again, I simply ask, “Is Jesus the Lord of your life?” We are saved once, but by faith we daily pick up our cross and follow Him.
Jesus asked in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” If Jesus is truly the Lord of one’s life he will keep Jesus commandments. Will he do this perfectly? No. He will however, do this consistently. Again, he is not keeping the commandments of Christ to earn salvation since his faith in Jesus gives him salvation. He is keeping the commandments of Christ because of his salvation, because of his faith in Jesus. It is the fruit, the evidence, the result of salvation. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
The word keep is an interesting word. It was a word that was widely used by ancient seamen. While out in the open waters they would “keep” the stars. The sailors navigated their ships by the stars. If they weren’t skilled in “keeping” the stares they would be forever lost at sea. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.” Jesus is our navigator to the Father. (John 14:6). When we focus on and follow Jesus we lay aside our sin and keep His commandments. When we do not focus on Him we wander aimlessly lost. He is the one on whom we focus for He is the one in whom we have faith. When we focus on Him through faith, He perfects our faith and gives to us the ability to keep His commandments. True repentance is turning from sin and turning to Jesus by faith who will keep us from sin.

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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Is Turn or Burn Biblical?

Is Turn or Burn Biblical?

When we hear the term turn or burn it often rises negative emotions in the Christian and non Christian alike. I could never imagine Jesus standing across the street from a sin filled event with a picket sign shouting “turn or burn” or “sanctify or french-fry.” Rather, I see Him in the midst of the sinners showing them who He is along with the grace and love He has to offer just as He did with Matthew. (Matthew 9:9). The call to repentance was still there since we see that Matthew still had to make the choice to get up out of that tax collectors booth and follow Jesus.
Just after the call of Matthew we see Jesus reclining at the table with “many sinners.” After the Pharisees protested Jesus said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. “But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:12-13). Jesus wasn’t acceptant of their sinfulness, just as a physician isn’t acceptant of sickness. Jesus knew that their sin was deadly and if they weren’t told about the cure they would die, just as a physician tells the sick about the cure so they will be made well. The choice is still up to the sinner and the sick as to whether or not they choose to accept the cure or continue on in their sickness that will ultimately kill them; and for the sinner, kill them for eternity.
That being said, though the term turn or burn isn’t found in the bible, it is biblical. Jesus Himself said, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Biblically speaking, to perish isn’t just dying physically and having your body placed into a tomb. Biblically speaking, to perish is to be cast into the lake of fire, Hell, for all eternity. And, remember, biblical repentance isn’t just turning away from sin, but also turning to Jesus. Therefore, those who make the personal choice not to turn from their sins and turn to Jesus will perish and spend eternity in the fiery pits of Hell.
So yes, the term turn or burn is very biblical. Though it may sound harsh, we must always think of it in light of the grace and love Jesus has to offer. If you ever see a preacher preaching on Hell with a smile on his face don’t walk to the exit, run. Though the lack of repentance will bring God’s wrath and judgment on an individual we must remember that it was their personal choice and not God’s. II Peter 3:9 shows us God’s heart stating, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” And, when the sinner does repent his sins are wiped away and times of refreshing from the Lord come. Acts 3:19 says, “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”
Now, though I don’t think it’s the best term to use, when we hear the term turn or burn we should understand that it isn’t negative at all. This term in its proper understanding is in fact very positive. It is positive because God has given to us a means to escape the burn. It is positive because God has made us aware of the need to turn, and, has made us aware of both the blessing of repentance, and the curse of remaining unrepentant. It absolute baffles me as to why anyone would choose to stay unrepentant and not turn to Jesus.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Repentance Requires Action

Repentance Requires Action

As previously stated, true biblical repentance is more than just action, it is a reaction to the grace of God. That being said, true biblical repentance requires action. Paul tells us in Romans 5:17 that God’s grace is in abundance. Truly, God has more grace than we have sin. That being said, the abundance of God’s grace doesn’t give us a right to continue sinning. In fact, a true understanding of the grace of God should motivate us to repent from our sin. For this reason, Paul asks in Romans 6:1, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” He then answers this rhetorical question by stating with great boldness, “May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”
One who understands the grace of God understands that it was sin that Jesus died for. Jesus died for sin so we could die to sin. Continuing in sin so that grace may increase is utter foolishness. In fact, continuing in sin is trampling over the grace that God has freely offered to the whosoever will. We don’t continue in sin, we consider ourselves dead to sin and accept the death to sin by placing our faith in Christ.
Once we consider ourselves dead to sin we consider ourselves alive to Jesus. Jesus died for our sins to make it possible for us to live for Him. Romans 6:3-7 says, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.”
Romans 6 explains that through Christ we have died to sin but come alive to God. The full circle of repentance isn’t just turning away from the bad stuff but is turning to Jesus. Only through Jesus can we truly repent. Only through Jesus do we have the freedom from sin. Therefore, when we repent of our sin we turn from our sin while turning to Jesus trusting that He will keep us from sin.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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What is Biblical Repentance?

What is Biblical Repentance?

Some think that repentance is getting their act together or straightening their life out. They think that they need to get their lives right prior to turning to God. The fact is, we cannot straighten our lives out on our own. Only God can do that. For this reason Christ died for us while we were still sinners. We can’t simply change our sinful nature. Trying to do that on our own is a works based salvation, which isn’t a salvation at all, that will only lead one into legalism, or drive one away from the true gospel of grace altogether.
True biblical repentance will result in a change of action and a change in our life style but it must first take place in the heart of man. Biblical repentance doesn’t start with action, it starts with reaction. It starts with a reaction to grace. In the fifth chapter of Romans Paul explains how a just God justifies unjust sinners. The fact is, we cannot comprehend this truth. We can comprehend being saved by faith through the works of Christ on the cross but can never comprehend how or why He who knew no sin became sin for you and I and how or why a God who is just in every way can justify a sinner like you and I.
We can comprehend the means by which we are justified, the blood of Jesus, and why God chose to justify us, to save us from His wrath. Romans 5:9 tells us, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” We can also comprehend how we receive this justification since Romans 5:1 tells us that we are justified by faith. However, Romans 5:10 tells us, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” We can never comprehend why God would choose to save us through the death of His own Son Jesus even though we have set ourselves up as His enemy by sinning against Him. This fact of the gospel is simply incomprehensible.
Though we cannot fully comprehend this truth we recognize it as God mercy and grace. What is mercy? Mercy is God withholding from us what we deserve; we deserve His wrath. What is grace? Grace is God giving to us what we do not deserve. We do not deserve salvation through the shed blood and through the death of His Son Jesus. Though we don’t deserve it, God chose to offer it to us anyway. Again, incomprehensible.
For this reason, true biblical repentance isn’t action alone; it is reaction that results into action. Biblical repentance is a reaction to the recognition of the grace of God. A reaction to the abundance of grace Paul mentions in Romans 8:17. True biblical repentance starts with a change of though. It starts with considering yourself dead to sin and alive to God. It starts with keeping your eyes focused on the things above rather than the things below. It starts with the comprehension that every sin, and everything on this earth, pales in comparison to the wonderful abundant grace God freely offers to those who will receive. The unrepentant stay unrepentant because they don’t understand God’s grace. The repentant love God because God first loved them. (I John 4:19). The repentant love Jesus and will therefore obey Him. (John 14:15). The truly repentant person will willing forsake sin and live for Jesus as a direct reaction to the grace they have freely been offered.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Follow Me

Follow Me

Repentance means to turn away from something. It is making a u-turn, going the opposite direction from where you were going. Repenting from sin is turning away from the sin. Biblical repentance not only requires us to turn from sin, it calls us to turn to Jesus. Repeatedly throughout the gospels Jesus says, “Follow Me.”

Biblical faith in Jesus isn’t just believing facts about Jesus it is also following Him. James 2:19 says, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” Although Satan probably won’t admit it, he believes in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. He was there. He saw it. Too many people today have a Christmas and Easter type of faith. They believe the facts of Christ but have never committed their lives to following Him. I am a huge Mustang fan. For this reason I know all kinds of facts about men who influenced Mustangs like, Lee Iacocca, Carroll Shelby, and Steve Saleen. Yet, I have never met any of them nor have I ever had a personal relationship with them. I do however know Jesus, because I have committed myself to following Him and I therefore have a personal relationship with Him.

Romans 10:9 tells us, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Clearly we need to believe the facts about Jesus. God did raise Him from the dead and that should be our foundation of faith. However, that alone isn’t good enough. Along with our foundation of faith we are to confess Jesus as Lord. This is our statement of faith. If Jesus is Lord over our lives we follow Him every day in every way.

In the tenth chapter of Mark we find one who obviously had great respect for Jesus. He came to Jesus knelt before Him and called Him “good teacher.”  He inquired of Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus told him that he needed to keep the law. The young man quickly responded to Jesus that he has kept the law since his youth. Jesus then told him to go sell everything you own, give it to the poor, and follow me. Jesus was showing him that he hasn’t really kept the law. Although he had respect for Jesus, he was unwilling to obey Jesus and unwilling to follow Him. Many people in our world today have great respect for Jesus, yet they too are unwilling to obey Him and follow Him.

Matthew 16:24 says, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” Notice that He said “you must.” The requirement for following Jesus is denying yourself and taking up your cross. We need to remember that the cross was an instrument of death. It was the form of execution for the day. In other words Jesus is saying if we are going to follow Him we must die to self and follow Him. We need to have more than just respect for Jesus. We must have total surrender; a surrender that leads to denying ourselves and obedient service of Him. Jesus said, “we must.”

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Not Everyone Who Say’s to Me Lord, Lord.

Not Everyone Who Say’s to Me Lord, Lord.

Now that we have a better understanding of the gospel we need to be clear on what true biblical Christianity is. There are two extremes in our world today. We first see the one who believes his good works can get him to heaven and then we find the unrepentant accepting Jesus as a ticket to heaven although they truly don’t love Him nor have any desire to live for Him.

Let’s be clear, not everyone who calls himself a Christian is truly a Christian. One of the most freighting statements that Jesus ever made is found in Matthew 7:21-23 where He said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

First Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord. Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven.” These are people who are calling Jesus Lord. Then Jesus said that they are doing works in His name. Why would these people not be saved? Jesus gave us a better understanding of why these people are not truly disciples of Jesus when He quoted the prophet Isaiah in Matthew 15:8, “THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.”

Much like the Pharisees who honored God with their lips they don’t truly know God or follow Him with their heart. They are too consumed in the accomplishment of self to serve God. They are more interested in the rules and rituals of religion than they are with seeking a relationship with the Lord. They are more concerned with the pat on the back than they are with the praise of the Lord. They are more in love with the idea of heaven than they are with the King of Glory and are more interested in building their kingdom than His. Their actions point to self rather than the Savior therefore, they honor Him with their lips but their hearts are far from Him. Jesus said that they “practice lawlessness.” Where is your heart today?

Jesus said that He will say to these people on the day of judgment, “I never knew you.” Not that He once knew them and they slipped away but, He never knew them, therefore, they never truly knew Him. Since their heart was set on serving self rather than the Savior they never knew Jesus nor served Him. They never had a genuine relationship with Jesus.

Another frightening statement that Jesus made in this scripture was, “many will say to me Lord, Lord,” Many! Just before Jesus made this statement He said, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Mathew 7:13-14.) According to Jesus only a few will be saved while many reject Him and are lost.

It is abundantly clear that the people out in the world who live lives in absolute rebellion against God are not saved. However, Jesus is now telling us that there are many who are serving in ministries that are not saved; teachers, deacons, pastors, and the faithful who sit in the pew week after week; yes, even tithers. They look Christian, they act Christian, they talk Christian, they do Christian acts, but Jesus said their walk is not genuine. There is no doubt that they think their walk is genuine. However, they fall under the category of people who believed in vain. (I Corinthians 15:1.)

Let me give a strong warning here. It is not our job to sit on the judgment seat and try to figure out who these folks are. Remember, they look and act Christian and because they are trying to be saved by their works and religion rather than a genuine relationship with Jesus they may act more Christian than some of the genuine Christians sitting in the pews. If God opened our eyes to the spiritual realm and allowed us to see who was saved and who wasn’t we would more than likely be astounded.

What we need to do is examine our own hearts and ask ourselves, do we genuinely love and live for Jesus or, are we simply in love with the idea of Jesus but truly longing for the benefits we will reap from Him. Friends, Jesus is the Pearl of Great Price, He is our greatest treasure and our greatest reward. If He, and he alone is not who fills your heart you stand in great need of repentance, and stand in grave danger of Jesus rebuke.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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