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Our Authority

Our Authority

Paul wrote in I Corinthians 4:6, “Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.” In this verse he is telling the church of Corinth that he and Apollos have made a standard for themselves not to exceed what is written. He is now telling the church of Corinth to follow their example. What was written? The scriptures. Clearly the Word of God is our authority that we are not to exceed or go beyond.

Paul also wrote in II Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” When one looks at this text in its original language they will see that the literal meaning of “inspired by God” means “God breathed.” God used many men to write down His word but all Scripture comes directly from the breath of God. It is God’s word not mans. II Peter 1:20-21 says, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” For anyone to go beyond what is written is arrogant, boastful, and blasphemous. God has given to us His word “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (I Peter 1:19).

Paul said that Scripture is profitable. He then listed several things it was profitable for. Since it is profitable we will gain and increase through the study of the Word of God which is God breathed. The end result we gain from Scripture is “that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” Through God’s word we have everything we will ever need to be thoroughly equipped for service unto Him.

Paul first mentions that Scripture is profitable for teaching. When we are taught, the teaching must be centered in Scripture. When we teach, our teaching must be centered in Scripture. He then says that scripture is profitable for reproof. To reproof someone is to call them out for an error or a wrong. When calling one out for being wrong or for an error in their lives or teaching we must use Scripture. Our opinions are always susceptible to being wrong. However, Scripture is always right. Paul then said Scripture is profitable for correction. Correction is restoration to an upright position. We don’t want to be reproved and not know how to correct the error of our way. Scripture brings us back into the right path, out of the error. It corrects us.

Paul then tells us that Scripture is profitable for training in righteousness. Romans 3:10 tells us that, “there is no one righteous, not even one.” Most everyone will admit that they are a sinner. However, not everyone knows the guilt of their unrighteousness. Scripture makes it clear. Romans 3:22 then tells us that we receive righteousness by placing our faith in Christ and Romans 3:26 tells us that faith in Christ justifies us-makes us righty with God. Yet, how will we or anyone else know these truths apart from the authority of God’s word? We won’t. And, apart from Scripture, how will we grow in righteousness? We won’t.

Whether it is for our personal growth, or teaching others, we trust in the authority of God’s breathed word. Paul said not to go beyond what it written. If we were to go beyond what is written it will profit us nothing and more than likely will cause great harm. However, when we trust in the authority of the written word that was breathed from God with our lives and our ministry we will be adequately equipped for every good work. In other words, we will be lacking in nothing.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Satan is a Liar

Satan is a Liar

As an active witness for the Lord we must remember two great truths, first God’s word is always true, second Satan is always a liar. From the beginning of time Satan the liar has tried to disprove God’s word. God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden giving them the freedom to eat of every tree in the garden with one exception. God said to Adam in Genesis 2:17, “but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Eve knew the command and the warning of God; however, Satan came with his lies to convince her that God was holding out on her. Satan the liar tri

ed to convince Eve that God was the liar. He said to her in Genesis 3:4, “You surly will not die.” He directly contradicted God. We know the rest of the story; therefore, we know who tells the truth and who the liar is. Jesus Himself said of Satan in John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Satan’s tactics have not changed. He will first try to convince people through his lies that God’s word is not true. If he cannot succeed in this tactic he will then try to twist and warp God’s word removing the truths of God with lies that Paul calls, “doctrines of demons.” (I Timothy 4:1). God’s word time and again warns us of those who proclaim these lies of Satan. The bible calls them false prophets.

When dealing with these false prophets we must remember our truths, God’s word is always true and Satan is always a liar. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Satan is the author of the lie; the false prophets are simply believers of and proclaimers of the lie. Does this make them innocent? Of course not. This simply reminds us of the essence of our battle. It is a spiritual battle with spiritual implications rather than a physical battle. Our struggle is against Satan and his demons, not his false prophets. God’s heart is to win over those who have believed the lie. Not to destroy them. If they choose not to repent from the lie, the lie will destroy them.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:15, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” In other words, just because they look and act Christian doesn’t necessarily mean that they are. We need to listen to what they are proclaiming and ask ourselves, “Does it line up with the consistency of scripture?” In John’s warning of false prophets he tells us, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (I John 4:1). How do we try or test these false prophets to see if they are wolves in sheep’s clothing? With the Word of God! Does their message line up with God’s word or does it directly contradict it?

Again, remember our truths, God’s word is always true, and Satan is always a liar. In the fact that God’s word is always true, God’s word never contradicts itself. One extreme of the lies of Satan is that one must do good works and deeds in order to be saved. Satan will lie to them telling them that they have to earn their salvation by the works that they do. This clearly is a contradiction of Satan. Scripture after scripture tells us that we are saved by faith and not of works.(John 3:16, Romans 3:22, 3:24, 3:26, 3:28-30, 4:3, 4:5, 4:11, 4:16, 5:1, 5:9, 9:30, 9:33, 10:4, 10:9-10, 11:6, Galatians 2:16, 2:21, 3:5-6, 3:8, 3:14, 3:22, 3:24, Ephesians 1:13, 2:8, Philippians 3:9, I Timothy 1:16). Titus 3:5 tells us that we are not even saved by acts of righteousness. The clear consistent teaching of God’s word is that we are saved by faith. Faith plus anything equals nothing.

The other extreme in Satan’s deception is that God is okay with sin when the consistency of God’s word says He clearly is not. Satan will lie and tell people that they can live in sin and be in right relationship with God. However, I John 1:6 says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” Satan will even go so far as to try and redefine what sin is and is not. However, God’s word is clear as to what sin is and is not.

Paul said in II Timothy 4:3, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” I have no doubt that this time has come and that this is the day that we are living in. As faithful stewards of God’s word we must stand firm on the truths of God’s word. We are the light bearers of the truth. If we stop bearing that truth and cower down to the masses the world will live hopelessly in the dark. If we have believed something that we find directly contradicts God’s word we must repent and line ourselves up with God’s truths.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Supremely Selfish

Supremely Selfish

Paul said of the unregenerate man in Ephesians 2:3 that they live in the lust of their flesh, indulging in the desires of the flesh and of the mind. In this description we find one who is supremely selfish. They are living a life of self gratification with little or no thought of God’s will for their life. They are only concerned with what pleases and benefits them.

In II Timothy 3:1-4 Paul gives a graphic description of the heart of man in the last days, “For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” He began this description of the heart of man as being lovers of self and ended the description as these men being lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Clearly this is the culture of which we currently live.

We live in a violent culture, a culture of partisanship, a culture of splits, separations, and stalemates, a culture of tolerance so long as you agree with me, and a culture of throwing a fit until I get my way. James 4:1-2 says, “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel.”

This is the heart of the man of flesh; the unregenerate man. Unfortunately, the church so often appeases this fleshly selfishness rather than opposes it and calling it into repentance. They appease it with their seeker sensitive services in hopes that the sinner will never be uncomfortable. Did God Himself not create our bodies to have pain and fever alerting us that something is wrong? Pain and fever isn’t comfortable. That was intentional by God’s design. A sinner should always feel welcome in church but never comfortable.

When one reads the sermon Peter preached to the Jews in Acts 2 one can hardly say his intention was to make them comfortable. His intention was clear. It was to make them aware of their selfish motives that led to their sin resulting in them being in hostility towards their creator. His intention was for their hearts to be pierced with the truth of God’s word leading them to ask, “Brethren, what shall we do?” This question then led to the conclusion, “repent.”

The gospel of the selfish man tells us to come to Jesus to get healthy, wealthy and prosperous. The gospel of Jesus says, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24). Are there benefits in following Jesus? Absolutely! However, we must “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33). If our heart is what we can get out of God rather than God Himself we stand in need of repentance of our selfishness and rebellion towards God.             Jesus said, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” (Matthew 16:4). In Matthew 12:40 Jesus told them what the sign of Jonah was, “For just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” In other words Jesus was telling us that the only sign we need is the gospel which is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Our only need is Jesus; anything else is selfish.

Jesus said repeatedly throughout the gospels to deny ourselves and to put ourselves in last place. Jesus said of John the Baptist, “Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist!” Then He said, “Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:11).

Selfishness is sin. It is a mindset of the fleshly man. It is the sin that divides, splits, stagnates, and segregates communities and churches alike; it is the sin that destroys marriages, the sin that neglects the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of a child, and the sin that causes the world to be at war within itself. It must not be appeased. It must be called into repentance whether in our hearts or the hearts of our hearers.

It is Jesus of whom the bible calls us to have the mind of. It is Jesus who showed the ultimate act of selflessness “by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8). The man of the flesh can never be a man of God until he becomes likeminded with Paul where he said, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” This is the message of which we live. This is the message of which we preach.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Understanding the Lost

Understanding the Lost

Naturally, everyone is an individual, therefore everyone is unique. They have different cultures, religious influences, and social influences. Members of the same family can often be vastly different from the other. However, we must keep in mind that we are not focusing on the flesh. The battle we are waging war against is a spiritual battle. Since this is a spiritual battle we can better understand the one who is not led by the Sprit of God, the lost person, but led by the god of this world who is Satan.

Ephesians 2:1-3 gives us the perfect portrait of the one who does not have a personal relationship with Jesus. “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”

Paul says that they are dead in their trespasses and sins. They are dead because of their sins. They are spiritually dead because their sins spiritually separated them from a holy God. They are walking according to the course of this world rather than by the Spirit of God. They are free moral agents able to willingly choose between right and wrong. God has given to the Jews the law but all men have been given the law of conscious. Romans 2:15 says, “They show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.” Although they have the ability to choose what is right they are by nature children of wrath and will inevitably rebel against God since they do not have the Spirit of God to guide them. They are spiritually dead.

Since they are in rebellion against God they not only walk in accordance to the world but also in accordance to the prince of the power of the air. This prince of the power of the air is none other than Satan himself. Satan cannot force anyone to follow him. However, when one makes the choice to rebel against God he has then made the choice to follow Satan. They may disagree with this truth but the bible is clear, they are now on his side and he is now working in their lives manipulating them for his purposes. Paul said they are “of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.”

To counter act their rebellion we must firmly proclaim God’s righteous standards that stand in direct contradiction to their fleshly ways. All men will admit that they are sinners. However, all men do not understand that they are in rebellion against a holy God and therefore stand guilty and condemned before Him. James 4:4 says, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” As we proclaim the righteous standards of God we must also proclaim the fact that rebellion against God makes one His enemy. There is no neutral ground. You are either for Him or against Him. Those who choose to live for Him will receive His grace while those who choose to rebel against Him will receive His wrath. God’s will is for all to choose His grace. However, He is a just God and must punish unrepentant and un-atoned for sin.

As those who are in Christ we need to stay mindful that Paul said, “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh.” We must remember that we to were once in this unregenerate state of rebellion against God. We need to continually remind ourselves that it is only by the grace of God that we were saved and brought out of death and into life. With this in mind we realize that we are no better than they. We are only better off than them because we have accepted the grace of God. “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). Our boasting should only be found in the grace of God provided through the cross of Christ. As a result we should be busy boasting among those who are perishing so they too will be drawn to the grace of God; drawn out of death and into life.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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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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Repentance Required

Repentance Required

After the resurrection of Jesus He spent forty day’s with His disciples opening their eyes to the scriptures teaching them the reason He came so they could proclaim the gospel to all creation. Jesus told them that one of the requirements of accepting the gospel message was repentance from sin. Jesus said in Luke 24:46-47, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

What did Jesus mean when He said “repentance for forgiveness of sin?” When we believe on Jesus we believe on all of who He is, all of what He has done, and all of what He has taught. Jesus preached repentance of sin and holy living. True faith in Christ requires repentance from sin, for we believe what he taught.

After Peter preached the first gospel message just after he was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit the crowd was pierced to the heart and asked Peter what they should do. They wanted to know how they were to respond to the gospel. Peter said they needed to repent. (Acts 2:38).

Sin hinders our relationship with God. It was our sins that Jesus went to the cross to pay for. When we choose not to repent we are telling God that we are not truly interested in a relationship with Him and that we would rather live our lives our own way through our own strength and wisdom. Make no mistake people who refuse to repent refuse a relationship and fellowship with God. John said in I John 1:6, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” In other words, if we say we are walking with God yet we are living in open rebellious unrepentant sin we are liars. However, I John 1:6 says, “but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” We walk in the light when we have repented of our sin and received the cleansing power of the blood of Christ that paid for our sin.

Paul went so far as to tell us not to associate with any “so-called” believer who is unrepentant and living in sin. He said not to even eat with such a one. (I Corinthians 5:11). Associating with an unrepentant individual only gives them a false since of salvation. If there is no repentance, there is no salvation.

In the next chapter he gives a non-comprehensive list of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God. In I Corinthians 6:9-10 Paul said, “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 will not be saved? Of course not. Paul is declaring their identity. This is who they are and how they live. This is the identifying mark of their lives. They are identified as a drunkard or a thief or whatever the life of sin is that they have not repented of. Paul went on to say in the next verse, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” Such were some of you, but not anymore, for they had repented and were washed with the blood of Christ. The Christians identity is found in Christ-not sin.

Does this mean that those who slip into sin from time to time are not saved? Galatians 2:11 tells us that Paul opposed Peter to his face because he stood condemned. Peter was being a hypocrite acting one way in front of the gentiles and another way in front of the Jews. Was he condemned to hell for his hypocrisy? Of course not. Peter was very much a saved man that loved Jesus with his whole heart. He was eventually martyred for his faith. He however, slipped into sin and needed someone like Paul to help set him straight. Those who are indentified with sin due to their lack of repentance are not saved. Christians can and will slip into sin from time to time. They however, will be convicted of their sin and repent. An unsaved person however, will live in sin with absolutely no conviction or remorse and be perfectly happy in their sin.

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Faith Alone

Faith Alone

The Word of God is extraordinarily clear that we are saved simply by placing our faith in the person and works of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “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.” By faith we believe that the blood Jesus shed cleanses us from all unrighteousness, freeing us from the power of sin and death, and gives us everlasting life. By faith we enter into relationship with God denying ourselves in pursuit of His will and His way as Lord of our lives. We walk by faith and not by site faithfully following Jesus on this earth knowing we are here but a short while awaiting eternal joy and bliss with Him and through Him.

There have been some since the beginning of Christianity that have tried to add works to the grace of God. Paul told both Timothy and Titus to speak out boldly against such false teachers. Paul also told the church of Galatia in Galatians 1:8, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” Anyone who adds anything to grace as a requirement for salvation falls under the category of being accursed. God takes tampering with His gospel very seriously.

Even deeds of righteousness are not sufficient to save us. Titus 3:5 says, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.” If anyone adds any requirement for salvation above and beyond faith in Christ they are a false prophet. Even if it’s righteous deeds such as baptism, using spiritual gifts, church membership, or anything of the like. Yes, these are righteous deeds of God. However, they are intended for those who are saved; not a means to Salvation. “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).

Salvation by faith alone through grace alone is a fundamental truth for biblical salvation. It is what makes Christianity, Christianity. Every other religion in the world is rooted in works where people have to make their own path to God through their good works. However, the bible says that no one is good, not even one. For this reason Jesus came down to this earth to pay the price for us and lead us to the Father. He and He alone is our salvation. He is our way. Only by faith in Him are we saved.

When sharing our faith we need to make this abundantly clear. If we are not carful we can lead people astray into a works based mindset by telling them that they need to go to church, read their bibles, and pray, but never share the fact that they need to believe in Jesus for salvation. Yes, we tell people of the importance of going to church, of reading their bibles, and of praying. We should even encourage it. However, we let them know that this is not a means to salvation and that only faith in Christ saves us.

I have seen and heard many well meaning Christians lead people astray. They come across people who are hurting and searching for a way out of the mess that their lives have become. The Christian will then says something like, “You need to start going to church,” without ever communicating the gospel. Sure, they need to come to church. However, going to church will not save them. Yes, they can get saved at church. They can also sit in church for years without accepting Christ as their Savior thinking their works of church attendance is sufficient. After all, that’s all they were told they needed to do.  I believe this is the very reason many of our churches are full of unsaved people who are committed to church attendance but are not committed to Jesus.

I have also seen and heard well meaning Christians lead people astray that desire to be delivered from sin. The Christian will give the advice to the sinner that they need to read their bible more or pray harder. I have even heard Christians tell sinners that they need to think positive thoughts when they are being tempted. The bible is clear, only the blood of Jesus can deliver us from our sin. One needs to simply believe.

We are saved by faith alone. As Christians we do Christian acts, such as going to church, reading our bibles, and praying. We don’t do those things for salvation, but as a result of our salvation. Anything contrary will lead people into a false doctrine that is dangerous and deadly. We are saved by faith alone, through grace alone, period.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2017 in Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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