RSS

Tag Archives: Salvation

Confirming the Son

Confirming the Son

After Jesus stated in John 16:8 that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, He told us exactly why the Holy Spirit would do so. Jesus began this instruction in the next verse stating, “Concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me.” The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin because they do not believe in Jesus and He will start by confirming to the sinner that Jesus is Lord.

The first act of the Holy Spirits conviction is confirming the fact that Jesus is Lord. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 12:3, “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” Does this mean that a lost person cannot speak the words, “Jesus is Lord?” Of course not. A lost person can certainly speak the words that Jesus is Lord just as a saved person can speak the words Jesus is accursed. However, those words will not represent the true conviction of the individual’s heart, nor will it represent the direction of the individual’s life.

Paul made this a little clearer in Romans 10:9-10 when he wrote starting in verse 9, “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.” Apart from the convicting power of the Holy Spirit confirming to the sinner that Jesus truly is Lord they would never truly confess such a statement, and if they do, it will be a lie. However, once the Holy Spirit has brought about confirmation to the sinner that Jesus is Lord through His convicting power the sinner will then repent and confess Jesus as Lord. Paul then writes in verse 10, “For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” The only reason the sinner has confessed with his mouth that Jesus is Lord is because the Holy Spirit has brought about confirmation of this fact within his heart through His convicting power.

Once Jesus has been confirmed as Lord the sinner will naturally repent from His sins and willingly, and joyfully, submit to Jesus’ lordship. One who has never repented of their sins may have been convicted of the fact that Jesus is Lord, but they chose to reject the conviction and never allowed it to truly bring confirmation within their lives. Since Jesus isn’t confirmed as Lord, they have no heart or desire to repent of their sins and live for Him.

Only after one repents of their sins and turns to Jesus can he come into agreement with Paul when he gave his testimony stating, “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” (II Timothy 1:12). Oh, how sweet to have the confirming conviction that Jesus is Lord and know that you know. Do you know?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Proclaiming the Gospel is an Act of Love

Proclaiming the Gospel is an Act of Love

The ultimate act of love is seen in the act of God so love the world. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God didn’t wait for us to change our wicked ways and then turn to Him. Apart from the power of the blood of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit we can’t turn to God. Apart from the work of God we would never even want too. Philippians 2:13 says, “It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

We did not choose to love God, He chose to love us. I John 4:19 says, “We love, because He first loved us.” He chose to love us despite the fact that we were living in rebellion against Him. He loved us enough to pay the price for our sins on the cross of Calvary, suffering greatly in humiliation and anguish knowing that His sacrifice would purchase redemption of sin and reconcile us into a right relationship with Him. We love the Lord today because He first loved us.

Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus demonstrated His love towards us by laying down His life. As a result of the cross God also requires us to lay down our lives. Not as a dead sacrifice, but as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God. Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Because of the mercies of God, which is the act of Jesus on the cross, we are urged to give our lives as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God.

Jesus told us to preach the gospel to all creation. In order to do this we must sacrifice. We will sacrifice our time, our energy, and sometimes our money. We may think that the world is wicked and cruel and therefore is not worthy of my sacrifice. But, we need to ask ourselves, “Are we worthy of Jesus sacrifice?” Absolutely not! Fortunately for us, God didn’t give us what we deserve; instead, He gave us grace and mercy-because of His love. We to are called to demonstrate grace, mercy, and love to a hostile and often rejecting world. We as Jesus did, are to overlook the hostility and rejection of the world in love, hoping to win a few for the Lord.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). God loves the world and everyone in it. Does He love their ways? Of course not. This is why He sent His Son to die on the cross and save them from their sins empowering them to repent and live for Him. Paul writes in Romans 10:14-15, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?  How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” The feet of those who carry the gospel to the unsaved are beautiful to God. They are carrying the good news of Jesus salvation to the world in which God loves so they can hear, and therefore believe. But how will they hear unless we love them enough to go and tell. By telling we carry on the ultimate act of love-God’s sacrificial love.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 17, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Greater Love

Greater Love

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NASB

The English language is a generic language. For instance, if I say I love my wife and then say I love my car, are the two words for love one in the same? Of course not. However, the Greek language is a very specific language that uses very specific words. The Greek word used for love in John 3:16 is agape. It literally means a sacrificial or giving love. A type of love where you put the needs of the one of whom your love is directed above your own; even if it means you will have to sacrifice or suffer. This is God’s agape love towards us that He gave His only begotten Son.

Although we are greatly undeserving of God’s love He has chosen to give it to us anyway. Why? Because He loves us. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Even while we were living in hostility towards Him in the rebellion of our sin God loved us. How much does He love us? Enough to send His Son, Jesus, to die a cruel torturous death on a cross to pay the price of sin for the whole world, so those who will repent of their sin and believe in Jesus as their Savior shall not perish but have eternal life. God’s heart is to spend eternity with us, because He loves us.

John 15:3 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus laid down His life for His friends, us, because He knew we would be eternally condemned for our sins. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23.) With Jesus sacrifice in mind II Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Whether you have been loved little or loved much within your life you will never find a greater love than the love from which God loves you.  To receive this love you only need to repent from your sins and believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 14, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Greatest of Treasures

The Greatest of Treasures

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves” II Corinthians 4:7 NASB

Every man woman and child stands in need of the grace of God. God has given to us His law as a standard by which we are to live. However, the Word of God clearly teaches that all in one form or another have broken the law. Because we are lawbreakers we await judgment, a judgment that will lead to eternal damnation. However, God is not willing for any to parish but for all to enter into repentance. For this reason God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty on the cross of our judgment. Apart from the grace of God we are utterly hopeless.

Jesus said in Mathew 5:20, “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” The scribes and Pharisees, although lawbreakers themselves, prided themselves in keeping the law through their ritualistic routines within their daily lives. How then is our righteousness going to surpass the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees? It can’t. Thus, we need another means to enter the kingdom of heaven. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

So often we overlook and therefore take for granted how great the gift of grace truly is. The greater we understand grace, the more we will come to realize what a treasure Jesus truly is. The grace we have received is through God giving His Son as a gift. Although we are sinfully blemished and undignified God gave us His Son who is sinlessly perfect, unblemished, excellent, and dignified in every way. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (II Corinthians 5:21). God gave to us, whose righteousness is as filthy rags, His Son, the King of Glory, the Ancient of Day’s, the one in whom the angels in heaven worship, the one in whom all things was created for. God gave to us, mere men, His Son, His only begotten Son, His Son of whom he loves, His Son who is near and dear to His heart.

What a wonderful treasure we have received in these earthen vessels; a treasure that outshines all others; a treasure worthy of giving all to receive, yet a treasure freely given. A treasure we are unworthy of receiving, yet our God, a God of grace, gladly, and lovingly gives. A treasure we should share with those whose treasures have tarnished. Truly Jesus, given by grace and received by faith, is the greatest treasure.

 
Leave a comment

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

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Seeking God Produces Holiness

Seeking God Produces Holiness

In the eyes of the world, the Prophet Isaiah was a holy man. He was a righteous prophet of God who others strived to be like. In the fifth chapter of the book of Isaiah, the prophet pronounced six woes upon the people of the land proclaiming the judgment of God upon them, as well as the punishment that would come as a result of the wickedness of their hearts. Isaiah was correct and justified in every woe he pronounced. However, in the next chapter we find Isaiah in the very presence of God where he then pronounced a woe upon himself as he says in Isaiah 6:5, “Then I said, Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”  

What was the difference between the fifth and sixth chapters? In the sixth chapter Isaiah was standing in the very presence of God. In Isaiah 6:1-4 he describes how he saw “the Lord lofty and exulted sitting upon His throne.” He saw the angels before Him worshiping Him and heard them proclaim, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.” When Isaiah stood in God’s presence and saw Him in all His majesty and glory and when he recognized the absolute Holiness of God, he also recognized that any righteousness he thought he had pales in comparison to God’s.

Upon the recognition of his sinfulness in the presence of God’s holiness, he proclaimed in verse five, “woe is me, for I am ruined.” He knew that sin could not come into the presence of God and would, therefore, be destroyed. He knew in his heart that he would be ruined, undone, destroyed. However, upon his confession of sin, God chose to give him grace and cleanse him from his sin instead of condemn him. When Isaiah recognized the grace that God had given to him, he chose to worship and serve Him all the days of his life.

Many years later Isaiah proclaimed the word of the Lord in Isaiah 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.” We see that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts; and His ways are not our ways, when we are okay with sin. We have no problem with the little white lies or the stirring up of strife so long as we get our way. We have no problems walking in the conformity of the world, although we are ignorantly walking against God rather than with Him. For this reason, we so desperately need to seek God! We need His presence in our lives to show us His ways so we can repent of our own, to know His thoughts so we can rebuke the lies and deception we thought were truth.

When we seek God and find Him as His word promises us we will, we discover how sinful we truly are in light of how holy He truly is. This should then provoke repentance of sin within our lives, drawing us all the more in love and on fire for a holy God. God has promised us in I John 1:9 that, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When He forgives us of our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness, we then can have true fellowship with God.

However, we need to truly seek God in our lives. Apart from Him we have no desire to repent from sins. Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” God gives us the “will” to live “for His good pleasure”. Apart from the presence of God in our lives, we won’t have any will to repent of our sins and serve Him. Jesus also said in John 16:8 that He sends the Helper, which is the Holy Spirit. “When He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” Praise God we do not have to fight the battles of the flesh on our own. He has given to us a Helper.

However we need to submit ourselves to the standards of God and seek the Helper to guide us down that path. A great scripture that I often pray is Psalm 139:23, 24 which says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” I seek God asking Him to search me and try me because I may be unaware of sinful attitudes and actions within my life. Everyone else in my life may know of my sins, but I could be totally in the dark. However, when I seek God and ask Him to search me and try me and to show me everything in my life that does not line up with Him, He will. This then will produce a heart and a mind of repentance to where I will fully know the grace and mercy of God through a life of fellowship with God. He is a holy God that not only requires holiness within my life but will also produce it, if I seek Him and allow Him.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 4, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Our God is a Holy God

Our God is a Holy God

We try so hard to justify our sins. We say things like “A little white lie has never hurt anyone” or “It’s okay if I take a little more than what’s mine; after all I deserve it.” We entertain ourselves with things that curse God’s name and promote the very things that God calls an abomination. We have allowed ourselves to become conformed to the ways of this world yet God’s word says in Romans 12:2, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” We need to understand that God is not okay with sin-any sin-not even a little white lie!

I Peter 1:15, 16 says, “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” God is holy in all His ways, His thoughts, His actions, and His motivation; even in His wrath and anger, He is holy. We so often fail to recognize the holiness of God. We fail to recognize that when we choose to sin (yes, even the small sin) and make excuses for our sin, we are dishonoring the very nature of God and who He has created us to be. He is holy and, therefore, requires His children to be holy. We ask and seek and knock; and when the door does not open, we automatically assume that there is something wrong with God. Rest assured there is nothing wrong with God. The short circuit will always be found on our end.

We need to ask ourselves, “Are we living out the holy lives God has called us to live”, or are we living lives that glory in the flesh and the things of this world? Have we been conformed to this world? Are your daily thoughts of God, or of this world? Do your actions glorify God or point to the world? Is your attitude one of Christ-likeness or of careless desires that lead down the path of least resistance? Is God your constant object of worship or do you marvel at the mortal ways of man?

It isn’t difficult to discover who we are living for if we simply take an honest look at how we are living. I John 1:5, 6 says, “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” Clearly this scripture is teaching us that if we have fellowship with God we will not walk in darkness. Walking in darkness is walking in sin. If we walk in darkness we are walking in sin and, therefore, do not have fellowship with God. God is holy and, therefore, will not fellowship with an unrepentant sinner.

I am not saying that a Christian cannot sin. All Christians are susceptible to slipping into sin. However, this scripture is talking about walking in sin, not slipping in it. If you slip and fall, you get right back up, repent of your actions, and continue walking in the right path. However, if we are walking in darkness it is a demonstration of who we are. It is the consistent pattern of our lives. I Corinthians 6:9, 10 says, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.”

Does this mean that anyone who has ever been drunk or stolen anything or has been guilty of coveting cannot be saved? Of course not! Paul is speaking here of the unrepentant soul whose sin define who they are. They are continually walking in and practicing the very things that God tells them to turn away from. The holy nature of God will not allow Him to fellowship with the unrepentant sinner. The Bible is clear, if we say we have fellowship with God yet we have unrepentant sin in our lives, we are liars. The Bible tells us to repent of our sins. (Acts 2:38). To repent is to turn away sin and turn to Jesus.

As we have already discussed, the church is the representation of the Kingdom of God upon this earth. We are commanded in God’s Word to preach the gospel of repentance to the whole world. The church should with open arms be inviting and welcoming to the sinners just as Jesus did, but expecting repentance and change within their lives. However, to the one who calls himself a Christian yet chooses to live in open and rebellious sin against God,  II Corinthians 5:11, 12 says, “But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.” Although we think little sins like little white lies are acceptable, be reminded that due to a little white lie about an offering God was the first to remove the wicked man from the church. (See Acts 5:1-11). God is holy and is in full expectation of His children and His church to be holy.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 3, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

God’s Heart Yearns That We Know Him

God’s Heart Yearns That We Know Him

A few years ago my wife and I were out shopping at a local Wal-Mart. I had to go pick up a few things from another department while she went and looked at clothes. After getting what I needed, I walked into the ladies department and spotted my wife from behind. I walked up beside her, put my arm around her and asked “Are you ready to go?” However, when she turned her head so I could see her face, I realized I had just made a horrible mistake! This was not my wife. I was horrified; and although she never said a word, the expression on her face told me that she was probably much more horrified than I. I immediately turned to see the face of my wife about fifty feet away laughing at me. My wife and I have been married for over twenty five years, and I know her well. Unfortunately, on this day by not seeing her face, I made an absolute fool of myself.

How many times have we looked at the back of an individual and mistakenly thought it was someone else?  Hopefully, not to my extent of foolishness! How many times have we seen the back of a man and thought it was a woman or the back of a woman and thought it was a man? We can only be certain when we see the face of the individual. Only then we can recognize who they are. Unless someone wanted for a crime has distinguishing marks only the persons face is seen on the wanted poster. If you have seen that person, you know his face. The face of an individual is the most distinct and intimate part of a person that distinguishes them from everyone else.

For this reason God tells in many places throughout scripture to seek His face. To seek His face is to know Him. God’s heart is that we know Him and we seek Him.  Hebrews 11:6 says that “He (God) is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” He rewards us with the power of His presence. There are some things about God that we cannot know today because our finite minds cannot comprehend them. God is an all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present being who is in many ways beyond our comprehension. However, God has not hidden Himself nor made His character a mystery. He has made Himself known. He longs for us to seek Him, for us to find Him, and for us to know Him. Jesus said in John 17:3 as He prayed to the Father, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

From the very first man and woman (Adam and Eve) to this present day, God has desired a relationship. God had a close relationship with Adam and Eve while they were in the Garden of Eden. After they had sinned against Him God then set up a sacrificial system in order to continue the relationship. The Old Testament sacrificial system was an imperfect and temporary system that was set up only until the coming of the Messiah, Jesus. Jesus, the Son of God, God in the flesh, came to this world for one purpose. He stated that purpose in Luke 19:10 when He said, “The Son of Man, (Jesus) has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” John 1:29 records John the Baptist saying of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of this world.” Jesus came to this world for the purpose of being the Lamb of God who would lay down His life in order that whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord would have a relationship with Him.

As we clearly see, God desires for us to seek Him and to know Him. I also believe that the more we seek God and the more we come to know God, the more we are going to want to know God. To know Him is to love Him. Moses is the greatest example of this. Moses had one of the most intimate relationships with God that any man on this earth has ever had. He first met God in the burning bush; then he spent forty days on two occasions with God on Mt. Sinai. After the construction of the Tabernacle, he then went and met with God every day.

Although Moses was grateful for the relationship he had with God and for all the ways God blessed him, Moses still wanted to know more of God. In Exodus 33:12-23 we find the record of Moses asking God to show His glory. God told Moses that no man could see His face and live. However, God showed Moses a passing glimpse of His glory to the extent that it caused Moses’ face to shine. The glory of God transformed Moses, and for the rest of his days he had to wear a veil over his face to cover his glowing face that continued to shine the glory of God all his days.

Today through Christ we are invited into the very presence of God to bask in His glory. Just as the glory of God transformed Moses life, when we seek and find the glory of God, it will forever transform our lives. But unlike Moses, we do not veil our faces. We allow His glory to shine through us for the world to see. II Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

We, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have been invited into the very presence of God. We must understand what a high honor that is! When we enter into His presence we enter into His glory. His glory then begins to transform us from who we are into who He is. The more time we spend in the glorious presence of God, the more we become transformed into His likeness. However, if we do not seek Him, we will not find Him. How then do we seek God out? We seek Him through worship, through prayer, through His Word, and through meditation on His Word. Remember, if we seek Him, we will find Him.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 31, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,