The Apple Of God's Eye

May 30, 2011

Does God’s Word Wash You?

alleducationisreligious.blogspot.com

God desires that Christians make a real change of character after their calling. During baptism, the removal of sins is accomplished as an event, in a moment in time. But even for Christians, sin is an ongoing process. God’s righteousness never ends.

Do we think once we are baptized that we no longer have to be careful about sinning? Is the law of God then no longer applicable in our life? That’s not how it works. We have to keep putting in a big effort towards growing in grace and knowledge and becoming perfect as our Father is perfect.

God does not want divided loyalty, two faced people who are half-hearted. We know this because Jam. 1:8 says a double minded man is unstable, with a doubtful, skeptical mind.

We all have this state of mind in one way or another.  We have to allow the mind of Christ to be in us. Our human nature desires to be a part of this world and we have to battle this on a day to day basis. Even the great apostle Paul fought his human nature (and sin daily), but knowing that nothing less than the power of God could help him overcome – see Rom. 7.

If we are double minded, we can’t be effective for God. It controls our actions and we have to be sickened by this world and its abominations. We can’t truly fight that which we have come to accept. Satan has brainwashed this world into thinking that good is bad. In other words, he has completely deceived the entire world – (Rev. 12:9).

God wants to cleanse our thinking from unrighteousness.

We have to love the Church, not this world (Eph. 5:25). This world is a sin that easily begets us. We have to replace our thoughts with the thoughts of God, look up the thoughts of God in the Bible. Immerse ourselves in the mind of Christ.

The book of James says we have human nature that gets us to lust, but that lust will destroy us spiritually. These words are not inspired in vain. In order to overcome, we have to take the word of God spiritually, not casually. If we don’t use the power of God, Satan will get to us. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. We have to get serious about repentance.

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April 23, 2011

Catholics Have It Wrong On Jesus’ Time In The Grave

Editors Comment: This is a great article about the fallacy of the Catholic Church’s timing of how long Christ was really in the grave, to suit their doctrinal errors. It is from the Trumpet.com, and written by columnist Stephen Flurry. Check it out .

———————————————————-

newcreationperson.wordpress.com

It is commonly assumed that Jesus was crucified on a Friday afternoon and then rose from the dead a day and a half later around sunrise on Sunday morning. But if Jesus died on Friday and vacated His tomb at dawn on Sunday, how does that amount to three days and three nights, the time frame Christ established as proof of His Messiahship?

That’s the intriguing question posed by USA Today last week. Sadly, the article attempted to explain away the sure prophecy of Christ by holding up weak arguments presented by biblical scholars. One “expert” actually reasoned that Jesus didn’t intend for His words in Matthew 12:40 to be a “precise” measure of time!

Even Pope Benedict xvi, the article informs, wrestles with the three-day time frame in his book about Christ’s last days. According to the pope, “There is no direct scriptural testimony pointing to the ‘third day.’”

No scriptural testimony? When the Pharisees asked Christ for a sign as proof of His Messiahship, being in the grave three full days and three full nights was the one and only sign Jesus gave. He meant what He said. In another passage, He even referred to the daylight portion of a day as including 12 hours (John 11:9).

So when Jesus said three days and three nights, He meant 72 hours—no more, no less. That is the plain testimony of Scripture.

When it comes to the Easter sunrise service, however, there is no scriptural testimony to observe that man-made holiday. The word “Easter” appears once in the Bible—in Acts 12:4—and only in the King James Version. Hastings Bible Dictionary and other translations of the Bible correctly render this word, pascha—as it is translated in every other instance it appears in the Bible—as Passover. The Bible says that Jesus Christ was crucified on Passover (Matthew 26:2). (more…)

April 21, 2011

How Much Do You Hate Sin?

ionpsych.com

Being in the middle of the Days Of Unleavened Bread (2011), I am really impacted this year by how sin impacts my life, others around me and how God views my attitude towards it. Being sinless Himself, I need to realize that God also hates sin.

But what about me? Do I minimize sin? Do I justify the wrong I do by comparing my sins to someone else’s? What attitude should I have toward sin? As the Days of Unleavened Bread unwind, I need to seriously review these questions.

How Does GOD Look at Sin?

It is obvious that certain sins hurt people more than others. Adultery, for example, clearly inflicts greater and more lasting damage to more people than forgetting an appointment.

On the other hand, we must realize the evil of what many people may consider to be “small” sins. After all, sin is sin — wrong is wrong — evil is evil, no matter what the degree. To ask which of two sins is worse is about like asking which was more sinful — Sodom or Gomorrah?

Regardless of how “minor” or “small” men may think some sins are, God says: “For the wages of sin is death …” (Rom. 6:23). That’s death in the lake of fire! No sins, therefore, should be trifled with, tolerated, or secretly harbored. The ultimate penalty for ALL sin — whether large or small — is the same: Eternal Death!

That some sins exact an immediate penalty is clear. But the damage done by some “small” sins over a period of time can also be devastating. To compare one’s own sins with those of other people, to minimize one’s own sins, and in the process to seek justification for them is exceedingly foolish and spiritually dangerous!

The Apostle James warns: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he IS GUILTY OF ALL” (James 2:10). The converted Christian should seek out and eliminate every sin — every wrong thought — every evil way. He should not be hanging on to “small” faults just because they do not seem to be as serious as certain obviously great sins. (more…)

April 3, 2011

Are You Worthy To Take The Passover?

Filed under: God's Holy Days — melchia @ 9:20 pm
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when-is-now.com

In just two weeks (evening of April 17th, 2011) will come the Passover.

What is the real meaning of the Passover? For the true Christian, it is to be taken every year. But if not careful, even we can take it for granted, without thinking of its deep meaning.

1 Corinthians 11:27 says, “wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread,” (at the time of the Passover), “and drink of the cup of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.”

Now unworthily doesn’t mean that you are worthy to take it. It’s referring to the manner in which you do it, and the condition in which you are when you do it, as to whether you do it worthily or not.

Verse 28, “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of this bread and drink of this cup.”

Every one of us have sinned. The trouble is most people don’t stop to really confess and admit that. We seem to take it for granted that we’re just pretty good. We don’t realise how unworthy we really are ourselves.

The blood and the body of Christ

Jesus’ body was broken for us, for our healing. So we read in verses 29 and 30, “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily,” that is the manner in which you do it, “eateth and drinketh damnation to himself not discerning the Lord’s body.” Which was broken for us and for our healing. When we’re physically sick. “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” Many have had some kind of a sickness or disease and have died, and they sleep, which is Bible language for having died. It represents death as being in a type of sleep.

But Jesus’ blood was shed because of our spiritual sins the transgressions of His Spiritual Law. All sickness and disease is the result of sin, and most don’t realise that.

It doesn’t always mean that you have deliberately had a wrong attitude or wrong intention, and have deliberately sinned and caused it by your own wrong thoughts, motivations, and actions. It could be an accident. It could be a germ in some water you drank, or a contagious disease that disrupted the natural rhythm of the laws of your body.

But the thing is that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (more…)

March 21, 2011

If I Were The Devil

Filed under: Satan — melchia @ 7:07 am
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sunnylam.ca

If I were the devil I’d be an expert at overthrowing people. Don’t forget I caused ancient Israel to be overthrown many times. I conquered persons such as Ananias, Sapphira, Alexander the coppersmith, and Hymenaeus — all true Christians once. I got Demas, a minister under the Apostle Paul, to turn away from God — having incited him to love this world.

Look Into History

The Bible is a book of history. It was written for the profit of true Christians upon whom the ends of the world are come (I Cor. 10:11; Romans 15:4). The devil also knows the history contained in God’s Word. He knows the lessons better than all. He was there.

Do you remember how ancient Israel was overthrown time and again during the days of the judges? In Judges 3 God delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of the king of Mesopotamia by the hand of the son of Caleb’s younger brother. Israel was delivered and the land had rest forty years. See Judges 3:8-11.

But what happened during those forty years? Obviously it was a time of peace, of prosperity and rebuilding of Israel. Those were “good” years — like the roaring twenties and soaring sixties!

“And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Eternal: and the Eternal strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Eternal” (verse 12).

So the children of Israel were taken captive — this time under the king of Moab where they served in captivity and slavery for eighteen years. But when they cried to God, He heard them and delivered them.

“So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore [80] years” (verse 30).

Again ancient Israel had peace. This time for eighty years. Again it was a time of peace and prosperity. During this time the children of Israel became a hedonistic and pleasure-loving nation. And they did evil in the sight of the Eternal.

“And the Eternal sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles” (Judges 4:1-2).

With iron chariots and a mighty army the king of Canaan and the captain of his host mightily oppressed the children of Israel for twenty years.

But God loved His nation. And when they cried to Him from pain and suffering, God’s mercy was extended to them again. This time God used Deborah and Barak, the son of Abinoam, to free Israel.

And when He had freed them God’s Word tells us, “And the land had rest forty years” (Judges 5:31). (more…)

March 2, 2011

Your Spiritual Criminal Record

Filed under: Baptism,Repentance — melchia @ 3:07 pm
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criminalrecords.maxupdates.tv

It’s not easy to live with a criminal record. Many a criminal after he has been released from jail has met frustration after frustration as he tries to become accepted again in society. Often the ex-convict is just on the verge of landing a job when his would-be employer comes across his criminal record and then “coincidentally” decides it best not to hire him.

The ex-convict who wants to change is one man who yearns that society would forgive and forget what he has done. Here’s an individual who would do just about anything to have his record cleared.

The ex-convict may have broken some civil law of the land for which he was imprisoned and for which he has been cut off from society, but every human being on this earth has broken another law — and in doing so has cut himself off from his Creator. And if every human being is involved, you must be included!

But what is it you’ve done that God needs to forgive and forget? In what way have you cut yourself off from your God? Can you think of anything? Anything worthy of eternal death?

God dogmatically states in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” And Romans 6:23 just as dogmatically states that “the wages of sin is death.” So God is categorically asserting that everybody is worthy of death. Plain and simple. And everybody includes all of us.

But God does not leave us “hanging.” He has designed a system in which all our sins can be so blotted out that it will be as though they never existed. This is called, in the King James translation, “the remission of sins.” (more…)

Wat Does The Bible Say About Suicide?

pstransitoperators.wordpress.com

The Bible gives no specific command regarding suicide, nor does the word itself appear in the Bible. There are, however, references to seven people who killed themselves: Samson (Judges 16); Abimelech ( Judges 9); Saul (I Samuel 31); Saul’s armorbearer (I Samuel 31); Zimri (I Kings 16:18); Ahithophel (II Samuel 17:23); and Judas (Matthew 27:5). The earlier conduct of all seven was morally corrupt, and except for Samson their suicides were simply attempts to escape their well-deserved fates.

Suicide means self-murder and murder is forbidden by the Sixth Commandment: “Thou shalt do no murder.”

God has not given an individual — even one who could rightly judge himself deserving of the death penalty (as could most of the above) — the right to pass such a sentence. Suicide is not an acceptable way of escaping punishment, dishonor or the like.

In a different case, however, Samson died a hero, because his suicide was in fact a dedication of his life, at long last, wholly to the service of God in the liberation of Israel from the Philistines. His motive was not just to kill himself to escape. Christ Himself similarly gave His life for others.

Since a suicide experiencing quick death or unconsciousness has no opportunity to repent of his murder in this life, some have wondered if suicide is what the Bible terms the unpardonable sin. The answer is no, because the unpardonable sin is only unpardonable because it is something a person refuses to repent of.

God is merciful, not willing that any should perish (II Peter 3:9), but He simply has not called most people to repentance in this life. They will have their chance in a resurrected life after the millennium in the period known as the White Throne Judgment.

Source: The Good News, January 1979

February 7, 2011

The Mark of A Great Mind

The Plain Truth, October 1983

Do you know what the mark of greatness is?

Who hasn’t been insulted at some time? Or threatened or falsely accused?

Perhaps we experience situations where individuals are rude or abusive to us, lacking tact or consideration in what they say or do. Perhaps on crowded roads or highways inconsiderate persons suddenly swerve in front of us.

How do we respond to such irritating situations?

Many respond with an impulsive burst of rage or anger: “He can’t do that to me! I’ll show him … !” Then suddenly, a nasty verbal exchange, or worse, a serious accident or injury is generated.

The news media are filled with accounts of human tragedy caused by lack of emotional control under unpleasant situations. Many family and personal problems, costly work mishaps and even senseless killings result.

Harmful Emotional Habits

All of us from time to time face the need to learn control of our emotions under difficult circumstances. Such control is the mark of a great mind.

The Bible repeatedly admonishes us to be slow to anger. “A man of quick temper acts foolishly, but a man of discretion is patient.” “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” “He who rules his spirit [is better] than he who takes a city” (Prov. 14:17, 29; 16:32, RSV).

Slow to anger? Patient and controlling thoughts and emotions under duress? How do we achieve these qualities of character? What values, understanding and attitudes produce them?

The Bible reveals there is a right time and place for anger (Eph. 4:26). But how do we control our temper when confronted with someone’s insults or rudeness or lack of consideration? How can we control emotions under trying personal difficulties so we don’t descend into the pit of resentment, bitterness or depression’?

What we need is the right spiritual perspective, attitude and power of mind! What we need is a positive and loving perspective about today’s confused world and the people in it. We need a right perspective about personal problems and difficulties that will enable us to cope with them in a beneficial way. (more…)

February 3, 2011

Is Belief The Only Requirement For Salvation?

faithinterface.com.au

The word believe implies faith, conviction, trust, certainty. If we believe on or in Jesus Christ — and, more important, if we believe what He says — we come to know Him. Notice what I John 2:4 says about those who claim to know Jesus Christ: “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ ” — that is, he who believes on Christ — “and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

Anyone who says he believes but refuses to obey is a liar, according to God. He doesn’t really believe what Jesus Christ said. What did Jesus say? What did He command us to believe? “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15, Authorized Version). The Gospel deals with obedience! Notice:

If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17).

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (I John 2:3). This means belief alone is not enough to know Jesus Christ. We actually have to live by the law of God.

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (I John 5:3). Christians always say they have God’s love, but this scripture tells us that it is impossible to have God’s love without keeping His law.

Acts 5:29 says, “We ought to obey God.” And to whom does God give His Spirit? “To those who obey Him” (verse 32). How can anyone say they are a Christian by ignoring this plain teaching?

Faith [belief] without works is dead” (James 2:26). This is the end result of lawlessness – life outside the boundary of God’s law.

Why is obedience so necessary? Because “the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12). The law of God is good for you. Sin is bad for you. That’s why Jesus Christ commands you to obey God’s law — it’s for your own good!

The word of God is plain! Will you believe it?

 

Source: The Good News, April 1985

April 30, 2010

What Is Truth?

netstint.com

Just before Christ was crucified, Pontius Pilate, the Roman ruler over Jerusalem asked a question of Christ that has puzzled mankind for thousands of years. That question was, “What is truth?” It was a good question; a deep question even. But strangely, Christ didn’t answer him. Why not? Did He not have universal truth to give? He sure did, but there was a very specific reason He did not answer.

Many in this world believe the Bible is open to interpretation to anyone professing Christianity. That notion could not be more wrong. Christ did not answer because he had a vile and corrupt ruler in front of Him who hated the law of God. It doesn’t matter if people today say they are Christian; if they do not obey God, they are not Christians – period. We can’t just throw the law of God out the window when the Bible is obviously a book of law from beginning to end. Christ wants us to know that if He’s going to reveal what truth is, that we have to do something. (more…)

April 29, 2010

Aquiring The Ability To Make Satan Flee!

jointventures-empire.com

God only deals with one type of person – he that is humble. That is why the scriptures say God resists the proud (James 4:6). But an often overlooked aspect of this verse is the end part: …”Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

How is this possible? How do we resist Satan? There is only one way to drive this powerful and evil being away. If you submit to God, then Satan will flee from you – because he knows the power of God. Conversely, those that fail to do this will be in bondage to Satan’s desires. God’s will is that we obey Him, in all ways. That includes living by the commandments of God, something to irritates many who profess to walk the Christian life.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded.” (Jam. 4:8) (more…)

March 25, 2010

The True Meaning Of The Passover

The Passover is perhaps the most important occasion of the year for true Christians, and this is why there is a dire need to understand its true meaning. If our observance of that memorial is off, it can affect the entire holy day season and the entire year.

Many assume that this first service of the Holy Day season (one of the most powerfully symbolic ceremonies in all of God’s plan), represents the forgiveness of our sins, washing our slate clean. But is this really what Passover is all about?  Do we go to the Passover to have our sins forgiven? No we don’t, as the Passover is a MEMORIAL of the crucifixion of Christ. All of our attention should be on the Lamb of God who was sacrificed for us and who paid the penalty for our sins (John 1:29). We have to get our minds on our own difficulties, inadequacies, sins and limitations and focus on the price that was paid for those sins. If we do that right, we will realize how vile those sins are, that they costs the life of our Creator.

The symbol of the broken unleavened bread during Passover (I Cor. 11:23-24) reveals that Christ’s  body was broken for us so that we can be healed and raised to eternal life, as well as having our physical bodies healed in this degenerate world. He would take those physical penalties Himself so that we can have life more abundantly. So He gave His body to be broken and smashed. We have to focus on what the Lamb went through, so that we can be healed.

All in this world have earned only the death penalty. As Christians, we cannot bring these sins into the family of God. He cannot have the dross of bad character – self-will, impatience, self-trust – in His family. Christ made it possible to put those evils to death, so that we can live. If we break the law, we can have the opportunity to repent. So Christ died for us. (more…)

March 2, 2010

The Meaning Of God's Tabernacle For Christ's Church Today

possessthevision.wordpress.coThe theme of God's tabernacle runs through the Bible like a continuous stream. The tabernacle, and its expanded form as the Temple, stands in the center of God's plan.

Anciently, God was very detailed in how He should be worshiped by ancient Israel, giving instructions for His tabernacle (Exod. 25-27 and 30). It sat in a courtyard (100 cubits long  x 50 cubits wide) enclosed by curtains (Exod. 27:9), with a gate 20 cubits wide at the front.

The courtyard contained an altar of 5 cubits x 5 cubits (Exod. 27:1-8), a laver (bronze basin where priests washed their hands and feet – Exod. 30:18-19).

It also contained a central tent (30 cubits long), which was divided into two sections by a veil, with the front section being the “holy place”(Exod. 26:33), and the section behind the veil called the most holy place, or the holiest of all (Heb. 9:3).

The most holy place represented God’s throne room in heaven. The ark of the covenant, with the wings of the cherubim spread overhead, was in this section (Exod. 25:10-22, 26:33-34).  Inside the ark were the tables of stone on which God had written the Ten Commandments. The lid of the ark, which was called the mercy seat, was where the Eternal – the One who later became Jesus Christ – manifested Himself.

Around the tabernacle was a section curtained off from the rest of the Israelite camp. No uncircumcised person was allowed to enter. The circumcised Israelites could enter and offer their sacrifices on the altar provided they were not ceremonially or spiritually unclean. (more…)

February 18, 2010

What Is Blasphemy Against The Holy Spirit?

Only three places in the Bible mention “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit”: Matthew 12:22-32, Mark 3:20-30 and Luke 12:10. The Greek word in these verses means “to speak abusively, defame, vilify.” Certain people of Jesus’ day blasphemed the Spirit by attributing the power and works of God to the devil — by saying Jesus cast out demons by an unclean spirit.

Blasphemy against the Spirit of God is not pardonable. The reason is this: We can come to repentance only when the Holy Spirit convicts us that our ways have been wrong and that God’s ways are right. If we reject, by not repenting, the Holy Spirit and the works it does, we are rejecting the only channel through which we could qualify for God’s gift of grace. The unpardonable sin is the one unrepented of.

Falling away after once having the Holy Spirit is also unpardonable (Hebrews 6:4-6). Falling away means turning from God’s way of life after sincerely embracing it, or rejecting Christ’s sacrifice, which makes it possible for humans to receive God’s Spirit after repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38). It is possible, as I Thessalonians 5:19 shows, to quench the Spirit in us.

Many have worried needlessly about this question. No one who has blasphemed the Spirit of God wants to do the works of God. He hates them! But as long as one is truly repentant, wants to live God’s way of life and strives to overcome, he or she has not committed the unpardonable sin.

February 3, 2010

Christians: Get Facts To Avoid Foolish Decisions

God expects Christians do use wisdom and discernment in physical decision making. Spiritually, when we sin, we don’t get do-overs, only repentance. So in both cases, the basic message is, “Look before you leap.”

Not all Christians have inherent wisdom, and God says if we lack it, we are to ask for it:

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him (Jam. 1:5).

Solomon was considered one of the most wise men that ever walked the face of the earth, yet he also was given his wisdom by God. Christians have to allow the living Christ, Head of the Church, to guide them. But even so, if our wisdom (aided by God) needs more input (Prov. 11:14) – seek qualified, wise counsel. Christians  go to God’s  ministry, the helpers of their joy, calling for counsel, advice and all the facts.

Some though do the opposite and go against wise advice, which is foolish indeed. Rehoboam found this out the hard way in I Kings 12.  He did not take the counsel of the elders, but instead listened to the young counselors. The result was that ten tribes of Israel revolted, making  Jeroboam king. This left Rehoboam as king only over the house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin.

Rehoboam’s friends were not tapped into the source (God) and Rehoboam was left with the advice of those who told him only what he wanted to hear. This coloured the truth to Rehoboam’s desires (Prov. 18:17), rather than giving all the facts. Had he made a list of pros and cons, instead of having a conclusion already in mind, he would have looked more objectively at the possible outcome.

So in conclusion practice making wise decision all the time, by plugging into the Holy Spirit:

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (Jam. 3:17)

The wisdom from above helps us to avoid getting caught in disastrous consequences which should easily be avoided.

January 30, 2010

How To Know If You Have God's Truth, When Others Are Wrong!

How can you know that you are any nearer to understanding God’s truth than others? Who is right among the hundreds of squabbling denominations; thousands of confused sects or millions of “loner” Christians. God says we can be absolutely sure to know we are biblically correct in what we practice, by “proving all things.”

  1. The very recognition of that fact is the beginning of right knowledge. That is the first step toward coming out of the fog of error and deception, starting toward truth. It is not a matter of who has the greater intellect. A man may have the highest IQ in the world, and in his intellectual vanity refuse to admit he could be wrong—reject all correction—and thus embrace error and deception.
  1. The second step  is to be willing to admit being deceived, or in error, and to reject it and accept truth—when proved—even though unpopular. Are you willing to act on it— obey the truth—no matter what the cost?”

This is why “all the great theologians—the noted preachers and heads of great religious denominations” are in error. There are few people of great intellect who don’t have the kind of vanity that shrinks from confessing he has been wrong. To find and live the truth of God requires a humbled mind. The greatest, ablest intellect in the world is still human—still fallible—still imperfect. Those who are deceived and steeped in error have simply not stopped to realize their own imperfections—their proneness to error. They assume, in their egotism, that whatever they believe is true. And they are unwilling to humble themselves and confess their wrongs. (more…)

January 11, 2010

Can Christians Be Saved Without Obeying God's Commandments?

The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Many believe this verse says we don’t have to obey God’s commandments, but that we can still be saved just as long as we believe. Is this right? Not if you understand your Bible!

What do you mean by believe? The word believe implies faith, conviction, trust, certainty.

If we believe on or in Jesus Christ — and, more important, if we believe what He says — we come to know Him. Notice what I John 2:4 says about those who claim to know Jesus Christ: “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ ” — that is, he who believes on Christ — “and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

This is about as strong as a verse can get in the Bible. It is also abundantly clear and straightforward. Anyone who says he believes but refuses to obey is a liar, according to God. He doesn’t really believe what Jesus Christ said. What did Jesus say? What did He command us to believe? “Repent ye, and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15, Authorized Version). The Gospel deals with obedience! Notice:

  • “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17).
  • “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (I John 2:3).
  • “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (I John 5:3).
  • Acts 5:29 says, “We ought to obey God.” And to whom does God give His Spirit? “To those who obey Him” (verse 32).
  • “Faith [belief] without works is dead” (James 2:26).

Why is obedience so necessary? Because “the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12). The law of God is good for you. Sin is bad for you. That’s why Jesus Christ commands you to obey God’s law — it’s for your own good! Will you believe Him?

December 2, 2009

What Is Real Godly Repentance?

trevinwax.wordpress.com

What does religion have to do with the way you live? Most people would tell you: “Nothing!” In a period of our history when we are witnessing a great falling away of  the masses from organized religion, what remains  is ineffective and irrelevant. The distance between professed faith and daily performance is astronomical.

The problem lies with the people themselves. Jesus Christ said — in speaking of the religious leaders and people of His day: “… This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:6-7). People attend evangelistic campaigns, talk of all uniting in the brotherhood of Christianity. But no one seems to want to live the way Jesus Christ commanded. The world-wide interest in religion is simply a facade.

The problem is that we haven’t, as nations, and all too frequently even as individual persons, deeply repented. The dictionary definition of repentance is: “To feel self-reproach, compunction, or contrition for past conduct, to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better” (“The American College Dictionary“). That sounds good, but in practice, it seldom produces real change, as it merely is being sorry for an action.

The Bible definition means all of that and much more!

Godly repentance means to stop sinning, to turn and go the other way — to change your way of life! It s not always easy to say, “I’m sorry.” But it s even harder to mean it. Godly repentance has to come from the heart.

Even in Christianity, people all too often make an outward show of returning to God or repenting, but they haven’t done it with their hearts! It is the outward, superficial, worldly repentance with no real sincerity or deep feeling.

Now at this point, many will disagree with me. but let me ask, what is it you repent of or feel sorrow for? To some it is one thing and to others — from another society or religion — it is something altogether different. but what does God say actually constitutes sin? What would God have you repent of? Here’s the Biblical answer:

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law,” (I John 3:4). Notice it is the breaking of the laws of God, not human customs. Any time you break or disobey even one of the holy, righteous commandments of God, you have sinned. You need to repent. No one is excluded.

No man, woman or child has ever lived who hasn’t disobeyed and broken God’s law (Rom. 3:10, 23). Therefore, every one – including myself –  needs to repent deeply and bitterly and turn TO GOD for forgiveness. Everyone needs to keep God’s commandments — all His commandments — with zeal. For “He that saith, I know him {I am a Christian}, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (I John 2:4).

How Repentance Starts

There are definite steps to take if you sincerely desire to repent and serve God. Your Bible names dozens of men who are going to be in the Kingdom of God, such as David, Daniel and other of the prophets of God. They all had one essential thing in common. As soon as they realized God was displeased with them or their nation’s ways, they set out to correct it.

But how can you know when the Father in Heaven is displeased? Often He begins to deal with us and bring us to repentance through chastening. He may allow financial problems, family problems, sickness, or other serious situations to develop in our lives which will force us to realize our need of Him.

These trials are proof of the Father’s love for each one of us. Notice Hebrews 12:6-8. “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?”

Requirements In Seeking God

And so we turn to God with these instructions of II Chronicles 7:12-14:

“And the Eternal appeared to Solomon by night and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall HUMBLE THEMSELVES, and PRAY, and SEEK MY FACE, and TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS; then will I hear from heaven, and will FORGIVE THEIR SIN, and will heal their land.”

The steps are so simple, clear and plain.

What does it mean to humble yourself? How do you go about it? David explains in Psalm 35:13: “But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.” Fasting shows our earnestness and sincerity in seeking God and adds impetus to the prayers we raise to Him.

Turn From Own Ways

People outwardly follow many of these steps and yet fall short in the final, most important steps — turning from their evil ways. That’s why it is so hard to distinguish between the believer and the non-believer. That is why the “distance between our professed faith and our daily performance is astronomical.” So many people of this day and age profess to be repentant — they still live in their sinful ways. So, finally, one of the most important of all the steps in coming to true repentance is to stop sinning! Millions claim membership in a church. They loudly proclaim their belief in Jesus Christ. They testify for Christ, but the fruit is not there.

All too often our repentance is the worldly repentance spoken of in II Corinthians 7:10. What we really need to come to see and understand is the kind of repentance God speaks of. “Therefore also now, saith the Eternal, Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn to the Eternal your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil”. (Joel 2:12-13).

God doesn’t just want your name on the membership rolls of some church. What God wants is to sincere acknowledgement of sins and asking forgiveness. God wants you to quit breaking His laws and then obey them..

November 30, 2009

The Emotional Perfection Of Jesus Christ

mysteryshrink.com

Emotion is sometimes looked upon as being a negative experience, but in reality this is only because some have not grown up emotionally. This is especially so in mainstream religion, which promulgates emotional fervor as the basis of legitimate religious experiences.  In that sense, God becomes a nebulous sentiment and repentance a hazy feeling. Yet neither Jesus Christ nor His disciples ever set such an example.

Jesus Christ was not some overly sentimental preacher, nor was He emotionally detached, in a catatonic state of nirvana like high. If you study your Bible, you will see He was always in complete emotional control, yet he was able to show emotion at the right time and for the right reasons, setting us an appropriate and perfect  display of emotional maturity. He showed that emotion can be a valid part of religion, if expressed properly.

Here are some examples:

  1. He was filled with deep emotion as He looked out over Jerusalem, whose deceived and erring people He loved (Matt. 23:37). He cried out for Jerusalem in an intelligent expression of feeling. In Luke 19, He beheld the city and wept over it (verse 41).
  2. He was also moved with compassion for the multitudes that followed Him in Matt. 9:36. Jesus Christ desired to send the Good News to these spiritually bankrupt people and he lamented the lack of labourers for the plentiful harvest (verse 37). He saw the potential if there were only more labourers.
  3. In Mark 6, when He was about to get away for some much needed rest, the multitudes kept following. Christ reacted emotionally to this, but in an outflowing and serving way.  He was moved a their religious poverty and desired to teach them, as well as feed them because they were hungry (verses 31-34). See also Matt. 15:30-32.
  4. Christ sighed with feeling as He healed a deaf man in Mark 7:31-34. “Sighed”is the same term as used in Rom. 8:23, where God’s people groan within themselves. Seeing someone in need just moved Him too much to stand idly by.
  5. Even when confronted with antagonistic Pharisees, Jesus Christ did not react with anger, but sighed deeply within Himself for their lack of faith in seeking a sign (Mark 8:12). Although He was angry at what the Pharisees were doing to people’s religion, He perfectly controlled and expressed His emotions, using them to serve the work of God.
  6. The image of a soft spoken Christ is also false, as “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried [aloud] saying, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink'” (John 7:37). This shows He was a powerful and dynamic speaker.
  7. When Christ found men selling in the temple and exchanging money, He deliberately made a small scourge and drove them all out of the temple, overthrowing the tables (John 2:13-14). Rather than being a violent tantrum, this was an expression of righteous indignation and zeal (root – boiling over), as expressed in verse 17. The zeal of God’s house and the vision of God’s plan for all mankind was all consuming for Jesus Christ.
  8. When the disciples rebuked those who brought children to Christ in Mark 10, it says He was much displeased. But this wording does not do justice to Christ’s emotions. In the original Greek, it means ” moved with indignation.” He was passionate even about the little children.
  9. Christ groaned in the spirit and was troubled (visibly moved, perhaps in controlled anger) at the lack of faith the Jews expressed after Lazarus died. ” Troubled”  here is the same word as used on the night of His last Passover when He was betrayed and ultimately crucified. Jesus wept (shed tears) over this lack of faith in verse 35.
  10. At Christ’s last Passover, He was also full of emotion and  a desire (craving or longing) to celebrate this Passover with His disciples. Even though He was about to die, He spoke of being joyful (deep godly joy – John 15:11), showing a deep motivation for the work of God behind His feelings.
  11. The final emotional struggle for Christ came when He was near the end of His physical life. He began to react to the gravity of what was about to befall Him, becoming ” very heavy,” (Mark 14:33). Jesus Christ being human, still had to fight His own feelings and was probably terrified. The Greek (Thayers) implies that the phrase “very heavy” is the strongest of three Greek words…in the New Testament for depression.” That is why He was exceedingly sorrowful unto death in verse 34 and ” full of heaviness” (Ps. 69:20). These were not wrong emotions because Christ did not act only on them.  He re-focused on His Father’s will through prayer so fervent, it caused Him to sweat blood (Mark 14:35). He would not allow these emotions to become sinful, which is why Hebrews 12:4 says it was a prayer of ” striving against sin.” He did not allow emotions to control Him.

So we can see that it can be supremely masculine to show proper emotion. He did not allow these emotions because of persecution against Him, or personal suffering, but the anguish of seeing those He loved reject the truth and turn the wrong way. This is at the heart of emotional maturity – the state of development from taking to the state of giving. Christ’s emotions always demonstrated the ” give”  way. This requires control and right direction of feelings, tempers, impulses.

God’s law should always guide us in the right direction because it is the way of love towards Him first, above ourselves, and then to others, equal with love for self.

October 20, 2009

Fruits Of the Spirit Lead To Real Abundant Living

thisfragiletent.wordpress.com

thisfragiletent.wordpress.com

Why do some religious people feel that their religious life must be one of giving up all the fun and enjoyment of living — that in order to please God, they must endure a life of morbid gloom? For that matter why do some nonreligious people feel that to become a Christian would mean a life of living painful penance?

Much of traditional Christianity traditionally has preached the many don’ts — don’t smoke, don’t dance, don’t play cards, don’t go to the theater, don’t drink a drop of wine, don’t do this, don’t do that!  Where do people get all these distorted ideas about the religion of Jesus Christ? Certainly not out of the Bible.

They know nothing of the Jesus of the Bible, who said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Somehow a lot of people have received a lot of weird and false ideas about Jesus Christ — I mean the Jesus of  your Bible. Actually, I think almost no one knows what the Bible says about him.

It seems most people think sin is the thing that is best for us, but which a stern, wrathful God denies us. Why don’t people know that God our Creator has never forbidden us a single thing that is good for us — never said “don’t” about a single thing except that which is going to harm us to our own hurt. What God does command us not to do are the very things that bring on unhappiness, frustration, pain, suffering and a life of morbid gloom.

Let’s get this matter straight. The real Jesus Christ said he came to bring us happiness and joy! Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). And he came that we might enjoy full, abundant life eternally. God Almighty intended the real Christian life to be happy. Jesus said, “My joy I leave with you” (John 15:11).

There is a way of life that causes peace, happiness and joy. God the great Creator set that way as an inexorable law — an invisible spiritual law — to produce peace, happiness, joy, abundance! There is a cause for every effect. In this unhappy confused world we have discontentment, unhappiness, wretchedness, suffering. The world is full of that. It should be full of peace, happiness and joy. There’s a cause. People don’t like God’s law. That law is the cause of peace and everything desirable and good. People want everything that is good and desirable. They just don’t want to obey that which would cause it! They want to be right, but they don’t want to do right.

Christ came to call people to repent. Repent of what? Repent of causing unhappiness, strife war and pain — and then to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And what kind of results will the Spirit of God produce in you?

I’ll tell you first what it won’t produce. It won’t produce the morbid, unhappy, painful, gloomy life that many think is the Christian life. Let the Bible tell you what “fruit” it will produce in you. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal.5:22-23)

Look at that more closely: “the fruit of the Spirit”– this is the Spirit of God. This is the Holy Spirit that God imparts only to those who have repented — that is, turned from that which has caused unhappiness, morbid gloom. discouragement, frustration, emptiness. On the contrary, that fruit of the Spirit is first of all LOVE. And the second fruit is JOY! Joy is happiness, brimful and running over. That doesn’t sound like an unhappy, empty, gloomy life, does it? And God’s Spirit is not static. It flows spontaneously from God into and through His people, and out from them, making others happy and joyful.

The very first result produced in your life by God’s Spirit is love. Love is a righteous love of and for others. It will mean your face is beaming. It’s an outgoing concern for the good and welfare of others. It will mean that you are really giving out — that you are radiant and happy. And love results in joy — that’s the second of these fruits. The third is PEACE. Instead of an attitude of hostility, instead of going around quarreling, being resentful and bitter, angry and arguing, you’ll be in an attitude of peace — peace in your mind and with your neighbor and with your God.

Next comes longsuffering. That means patience. How much has impatience made you unhappy? Probably impatience makes more people unhappy than almost anything else! If you can really come to have patience, you’ll be acquiring one of the things that will allow you to be happy and make life worth living.

Then next is gentleness. That makes others happy and automatically adds to your happiness. And then goodness and faith! Faith is confidence — not self-confidence, but reliance on the supreme power. It means that the supreme power of God is working for you. It means reassurance. It means assured hope instead of doubt, fear, discouragement.

Now this is not to say that there are never troubles in the Christian life. Far from it. There will be persecutions. Jesus Christ was persecuted. He said, “If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you.” That comes from without. But unhappiness is something that springs from within. Happiness is a state of mind; happiness is within. And the person who does have this inward peace — this joy, this patience and love, and absence of resentment and bitterness isn’t going to be anywhere near as disturbed and unhappy as when he didn’t have them. You’ll always face problems — but you’ll have faith and God’s help in solving them. But problems and tests of faith are good for us — the very building blocks of perfect spiritual character.

I know that the Bible says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous,” but the same scripture adds, “but the [Eternal] delivereth him out of them all” (Ps. 34:19).

It’s true Jesus was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” It’s true he suffered — he knew what suffering is. But his suffering and grief were not caused by pain others inflicted on him — not from resentment, or being hurt by others — but by his love for others. He suffered because they were bringing so much suffering on themselves. But he also was a man of boundless joy, and he said, “My joy I leave with you.”

Yes, he said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Source: Plain Truth, 1983

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