Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Salvation; who is saved exactly??


Salvation is quite a tricky subject to many, and i hope the following few paragraphs shall shed some light upon it …according to the scripture!

Salvation

Luke 13:23-24 “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”

Jesus said that many will seek to enter salvation and will not be able to. There are many reasons for this, but it is not because God refused salvation to anyone. “The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men . . .” (Ti. 2:11) and God “is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).

There is effort involved in obtaining salvation. The effort is not for the purpose of earning salvation. That is a free gift (Rom. 5:15); but we do have to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12). Faith in Jesus’ goodness is what saves us – not our own goodness – and Satan is constantly trying to destroy our faith. We have to earnestly contend for the faith. True salvation is not just mental assent, but a real heart-felt commitment.

Many people today think that going to church and associating with Christians will provide them with salvation. Some people think that they are Christians because their parents were. But salvation is having a personal relationship with the Lord. You cannot inherit salvation through the natural birth process. “You must be born again.” 

We can rest assured that all those who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled (Mt. 5:6). “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

 

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Leave it to God


I have always believed Vengence is God’s and my pastor confirmed that to me last Sunday.

Luke 17:2 “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”

God takes the persecution of His children personally. In Acts 9:4 when Jesus appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus and spoke to him about his persecution of the saints, Jesus said, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Saul was not directly persecuting Jesus but he was persecuting His saints. Yet Jesus said, “Why are you persecuting me?” Judgment against those who persecute God’s children will not always come in time to prevent their harm but as this warning makes very clear, God will avenge His own (Rom. 12:19).

Letting God be the one who defends us is a matter of faith. If there is no God who will bring men into account for their actions, then turning the other cheek would be the worst thing we could do. But if there is a God who promises that vengeance is His, and He will repay, then taking matters into our own hands shows a lack of faith in God and His integrity.

We are not to take matters into our own hands and defend ourselves.

“Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (from Dt. 32:35-36; Rom. 12:19; Heb. 10:30). Striving to vindicate self actually shows a lack of faith in God keeping this promise. It also indicates spiritual “nearsightedness” which is only looking at the present moment instead of seeing things in view of eternity.

Even as Christ did not come to condemn the world and is not holding men’s sins against them, even so, we have been given the same ministry of reconciliation. For those who do not receive the love we extend to them but rather take advantage of us because of our “turning the other cheek,” God will repay.

Nothing new!!


It’s all in the word…nothing is new!!

Matthew 16:21,

“From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”

 

Despite the abundant and clear prophecies about His death and resurrection, Jesus’ disciples didn’t understand or remember Jesus’ words until after His resurrection (Lk. 24:5-9). Luke records twice that Jesus’ sayings about His resurrection were hidden from the disciples. It is interesting to note, however, that the chief priests and Pharisees remembered Jesus’ prophecies about His resurrection (Mt. 27:63) when His disciples didn’t.

One of the great truths of the Bible is that Jesus died for our sins, not for His own. Jesus was totally sinless. This is one of the major differences between Christianity and the religions of the world. No other religious leader has ever claimed to be sinless, therefore no other religious leader is even in the same class with Jesus. Also, no other religious leader has ever given his life in sacrifice to atone for the sins of others. It wouldn’t have done any good if one had. Since the religious leaders were sinners themselves, their lives weren’t worth any more than any other sinner. But, since Jesus was the sinless Son of God, His life was worth more than all of humanity throughout the ages.

Every detail of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection was already prophesied in scripture before it happened. All the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection had fulfilled scripture. God’s Word is the ultimate authority and only through His Word can we receive faith to be born again. We must preach the Word, not experiences. Experiences are only useful to illustrate that God’s Word is true. Jesus is alive from the dead. His tomb is empty. Jesus provided us with the ultimate verification of His authority. He arose from the dead.

Do Not Be Anxious About Your Life!


Her is a sermon i found that is so encouraging.

Matt 6: 24-34

24“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

25“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? 28And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; 29yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith?31Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.

34“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”

There are some kings who find it very effective to keep their subjects in constant anxiety. If the people are anxious about their life, and worry about where their next meal is coming from, then perhaps they will be more willing to do the king’s bidding in order to get the food they need from the king’s storehouse. Anxiety keeps them in their place. Fear makes the monarchy firm.

God’s Kingship and the Anxiety of His People

 

But one of the greatest things about Jesus is that he does not want his people to be anxious. The main point of today’s text is that God does not secure his kingship by cultivating anxiety. On the contrary, the aim of God’s kingship is to free us from anxiety. God doesn’t need to keep us anxious in order to establish his power and superiority. Instead he exalts his power and superiority by working to take away our anxiety.

If you are born again; if you have turned away from sin and are following Jesus as Lord in the obedience of faith, his will for you this morning is that you not be anxious about anything, but that you enjoy deep serenity and peace and security. Jesus spoke these words in Matthew 6:24–34 precisely for you—to help you overcome whatever is making you anxious this morning.

Each Person’s Struggle

 

I suppose I chose this text today for myself as much as for anybody. I feel anxious every time I come back from vacation. It feels like it used to when I went back to school after a long summer. I wasn’t sure I would still be able to write. Or maybe this new teacher would require a lot of oral book reviews in front of the class.

My Struggle

But my struggle with anxiety is not just at the end of vacations. I wake up anxious virtually every morning. It’s probably some weird quirk in my personality, or maybe some remnant of imbalanced parental upbringing, or more likely because there is sin in my mind and heart every day. Whatever the reason, it is a very real experience that I hate and have to deal with every day. So this sermon is for me. I will probably check this tape out of the library in a few weeks and listen to it early some morning when I am bouncing on my jogger before breakfast.

Young People’s Struggles

But I know it’s not just my problem. I got a letter from a young woman in another state last week, who had just broken off a relationship with a man because he simply did not take any spiritual leadership in their relationship. She closed her letter like this, “I want so to live a life that honors God, and it was easy to go off for awhile in a dream, thinking of being a wife and mother. But without a man who truly relies on God it is nothing, only heartache. Sometimes I lose hope that there are men who really do live like that—but I know there are. So I will continue to trust in God’s best for me.” There are a lot of young people who are anxious about whether they will ever get married.

Missionaries’ Struggles

I got another letter last week from David Jaeger, one of our missionaries who serves in Liberia. David was very honest about some of the struggles of living in the village with the Gola people. He said, “As I look to the future of our work here in Liberia I feel very anxious. I wonder if the Muslims will listen to our explanations with an open heart. Will they believe? I worry about the handful of believers here. Will they change some of their ways and walk in obedience? Language study is a continual source of anxiety, as is preparation for Bible studies and sermons . . . etc.” Missionaries get anxious, young people get anxious, pastors get anxious, everybody gets anxious.

We need a word from the Lord Jesus this morning to remind us that his kingship is not built on the anxiety of his people. He has made himself king over us for the very opposite purpose, namely, to take away our anxiety. In my own life the sheer statement from the Lord that he does not want me to be anxious has a great tendency to give me peace. But when you add to it the reasons he gives why we don’t need to be anxious, his word becomes tremendously powerful. So let’s spend the rest of our time looking at some of these reasons in Matthew 6:24–34.

The Main Point—Negatively and Positively

 

Everybody can see plainly that the main point of this text is that disciples of Jesus should not be anxious. Verse 25: “Do not be anxious about your life.” Verse 31: “Do not be anxious, saying , ‘What shall we eat?'” Verse 34: “Do not be anxious about tomorrow.” So one thing should ring in your ears when you leave this morning, namely, “Jesus does not want me to be anxious.”

But that is just the negative way of stating the main point of this passage. There is a positive way found in verse 33; namely, instead of being anxious, “Seek first God’s kingdom.” In other words when you think about your life or your food or your clothes or your spouse or your job or your mission, don’t fret about them. Instead make God the king in that affair and in that moment, and hand over the situation to his kingly power and do his righteous will with the confidence that he will work for you and meet all your needs. To seek the kingship of God first in every affair and every moment of life is a thrilling way to live. It’s full of freedom and peace and joy and adventure—and hardship; and it’s worth it all. If you believe in the kingship of your heavenly Father, you do not need to be anxious about anything. Let’s look at some of the reasons why.

Eight Reasons Not to Be Anxious

 

I see at least eight reasons Jesus gives why his disciples should not be anxious. Time is short, but I will try to mention them all. Who knows which one might be perfectly crafted to meet your special need?

1. Life Is More Than Food and Clothing

The first is given in verse 25. “Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on.” Why? “Because life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.” What does this mean?

Why do we tend to get anxious about food and clothing? Because there are three things that we would lose if we did not have food and clothing. First, we would lose some pleasures. Food tastes good. It is pleasurable to eat. Second, we would lose some human praise and admiring glances if we didn’t have nice clothes. Third, we would lose long life if we had no food at all or weren’t protected from the cold with warm clothes. So we get anxious about food and clothing because we don’t want to lose physical pleasures or human praise or length of life.

And to this Jesus responds: If you are gripped by anxiety over these things, you have lost sight of the greatness of life. Life was not given primarily for physical pleasures, but for something greater—the enjoyment of God. Life was not given primarily for the approval of man, but for something greater—the approval of God. Life was not even given primarily for extension on this earth, but for something greater—eternity with God in the age to come.

We ought not to be anxious about food and clothing because food and clothing can not provide the great things of life—the enjoyment of God, the pursuit of his gracious favor, the hope of eternity in his presence. We get anxious about food and clothing to the same degree that we lose sight of the great purposes of a God-centered life.

2. The Birds of the Air Work, and Count on God

The second reason Jesus gives for not being anxious is in verse 26: “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” What we see when we look at the birds is not a lesson in laziness. They dig their worms and snatch their bugs and pad their nests with strings and leaves. But Jesus says it is God that feeds them. What we see when we look at the birds is a creature who does not act as though God is only a merciful provider for today but won’t be tomorrow. Birds don’t anxiously horde things for the day of God’s demise. They go about their work as though when the sun comes up tomorrow, God will still be God.

How much more, then, should we reckon with the reality and mercy of God tomorrow, since we are not brute birds, but children of our heavenly Father. The biggest difference between a disciple of Jesus and a bird is that we have the capacity of honoring God by our faith. And God values the exercise of our faith more than he values birds. So we ought not to be anxious, because the birds have taught us that God can be counted on to work for us tomorrow just as much as today.

3. Anxiety Doesn’t Get You Anywhere

The third reason not to be anxious is in verse 27: “And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life?” The argument is very pragmatic: anxiety doesn’t get you anywhere. It doesn’t do you any good. Whatever problem is causing you to feel anxious, you can be sure your anxiety will not lessen the problem. It will only make you miserable while you try to deal with it. So don’t be anxious. It’s useless.

4. God Delights to Adorn Things

The fourth reason Jesus gives for not being anxious is in verses 28-30—this time from the lilies. “And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

When you look at a lily, which has no will of its own to labor and spin, yet adorned with beautiful form and color, if you believe in God, you must draw at least this one conclusion: God delights to adorn things. But if his delight finds expression in adorning grass, that’s here today and gone tomorrow, then surely his delight in adornment will express itself in how he clothes his children!

But someone may protest: God has not adorned me! He has not adorned the poor Christians of our land or overseas. Are you sure? Very few of us are dressed like Solomon. True. But we couldn’t do our work if we were. I would only ask this question: Where have you ever seen a disciple of Jesus who did not have the adornment he needed to do what God had called him to do? Be careful. Do not measure the perfection of God’s provision by some standard below his calling. And do not forget that when we have finished carrying our crosses on torn shoulders in this life like Jesus, there will be kingly robes for us all.

5. Unbelievers Are Anxious About Food and Clothing

The fifth and sixth reasons why a follower of Jesus shouldn’t be anxious are given in verse 32: We shouldn’t be anxious about what we eat or drink or wear because “the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.” Anxiety about the things of this world puts us on the same level with the world of unbelievers. It shows that we are really very much like the world in what makes us happy. And that ought not to be.

6. Your Heavenly Father Knows Your Needs

It also shows that we don’t think our Father in heaven knows our needs. Or perhaps we don’t think he has the heart of a loving Father. Anxiety shows that we are too close to the world and too far from God. So don’t be anxious—the world has nothing eternal to offer, and your loving heavenly Father knows your needs now and forever.

7. God Will Carry Your Burdens If You Seek First His Honor

The seventh reason not to be anxious, in verse 33, is that when you seek the kingdom of God first, he works for you and provides all your needs. The best reason to stop being anxious is that when you do, God starts being anxious for you. It’s such a foolish thing to insist on carrying anxious burdens which God has promised to carry for us when we put his kingly honor first in everything we do.

8. Tomorrow Will Be Anxious for Itself

The last argument in verse 34 says, “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.” In other words, God has appointed to each day its portion of pleasure and trouble. And as your days so shall your strength be. So don’t misappropriate God’s allotted troubles for tomorrow. Don’t bring them forward into today in the form of anxiety. Believe that God will be God tomorrow.

Jesus Does Not Want His Followers to Be Anxious

 

The main point of all this is clear and unmistakable: Jesus does not want his followers to be anxious. He does not secure his kingdom by keeping his subjects in a state of worry. On the contrary, according to verse 33, the more primary, the more central his kingship becomes in our lives, the less anxiety we will have. Jesus came, lived, died, rose from the dead, in order that he might reign as King over an anxiety-free people.

So come to Jesus. Forsake all other allegiances. Take your vow of loyalty to the King of kings. And seek first in all you do to make known his kingship over your life. This and this alone is the way to freedom from anxiety.

FAITH


One of my favourite definitions of Faith is “our response to God’s ability, made complete by our actions”. Simple, clear and precise, nothing more.

I have a very big problem with people who make faith look like it is a future thing, Faith is present and continuous. It is about NOW.

keep-calm-and-ask-believe-and-receive

Let’s examine this instance from Luke.

Luke 8:45,

“And Jesus said, ‘Who touched me?’ When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, ‘Master, the multitude throng thee, and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?'”

The multitudes were thronging Jesus. That is, they were compressing, and crowding in on all sides, so it seems strange that He would ask, “Who touched me?” Many people were physically touching Jesus, but this woman touched His power by faith. Many people in the crowd probably needed healing, but this person is the only one mentioned who received. The difference was the touch of faith. 

If it was simply Jesus’ willingness to heal that determined whether or not the healing took place, then all of the sick in this multitude would have been healed. This instance illustrates that it’s not prayer that saves the sick, but rather the prayer of faith that saves the sick (Jas. 5:15). 

Healing is governed by law and not by a case by case decision from God based on His feelings toward us. This woman received her healing by the law of faith before Jesus knew anything about her. Impassioned pleas to God will not obtain the miracle we seek. Although Jesus is touched by our feelings, it requires faith. It’s not because Jesus doesn’t know our needs or hear our cries that miracles don’t happen, but rather it’s because very few know how the law of faith works. 

One of the main differences between a God-kind of faith and a natural, human faith, which everyone has, is that human faith believes only what it can see, taste, hear, smell, or feel. God’s kind of faith believes in things that cannot be seen. You must believe that you receive your answer “when you pray” – not when you see the thing you’ve desired. Simply put, faith is our response to God’s ability, made complete by our actions. Trust Him completely and, because you believe, your actions will follow.

Are you usable?


“But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all [men].” JOHN 2:18-25..

This was the first time Jesus had ministered in Jerusalem. Multitudes believed on Him when they saw the miracles He performed (v. 23). This looked like a perfect opportunity for Jesus to take these people and use them to spread the news far and wide that He was the Christ. Instead Jesus did just the opposite. He didn’t want people proclaiming His gospel in their own ability.

god-is-ready-to-use-you

This reveals an attitude of Jesus which is lacking among many Christians today. Jesus is more concerned with the quality of ministry than the quantity of ministry. In contrast, today’s Christians often feel that “the end justifies the means.”

We take new converts and place them in leadership–which is directly opposed to the Bible’s instructions (1 Tim. 3:6). Many times movie stars or other famous people who have come to the Lord are made spokesmen for the Christian faith. This works to the harm of these people and the Body of Christ as a whole.

Some of you can’t understand why the Lord hasn’t used you, but rest assured the Lord is using everyone who is usable. Instead of looking at the need and begging God to use you, take a hard look at yourself and ask the Lord to make you usable.

 

YOU HAVE IT ALL–IN THE SPIRIT


Matthew 26:41

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

The Bible presents salvation as a life transforming experience. Change is one of the distinguishing characteristics of a true believer. Yet, failure to understand that this change takes place in the spirit first, and then is reflected in our outward appearance through our thoughts and actions in direct proportion to the way we renew our minds, causes much confusion.

This change has to take place in our born-again spirit first. Why is that? If you were fat before you got saved, you will be fat after you get saved, unless you go on a weight loss program. Your body doesn’t instantly change and neither does your soul or mind.

It is your spirit that is instantly changed at salvation. It is perfect (Heb. 12:23). It cannot sin (1 Jn. 3:9). Everything that is true of Jesus is true of our born-again spirit. Your spiritual salvation is complete. At salvation, you receive the same spirit that you will have throughout all eternity. It will not have to be changed or cleansed again. It is sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13) and therefore, is sanctified and perfected forever (Heb. 10:10, 14; 12:23).

Our spirit is not our problem. The born-again Christian receives a new spirit at conversion, that is just like Jesus’ (1 Jn. 4:17) because it is the Spirit of Jesus. Our born-again spirit is always willing to do God’s will. It’s our flesh that is the problem.

The flesh, as Jesus describes it here, not only includes our physical body but also describes our soul. God has given every believer everything it takes to walk in victory, but “we have this treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Cor. 4:7). That is saying that our spirit, where God has deposited all of His power and glory, is locked inside our flesh.

That does not mean that we cannot tap into this divine source. As much as we will renew our minds and act on the Word of God, we can experience this divine flow through our physical bodies. However, just as we must use our muscles to increase in strength, we must exercise ourselves (soul, mind and body) unto godliness (1 Tim. 4:7-8).

For the remainder of our Christian life, we must not try to obtain faith, joy or love from God, but rather release what we already have in our spirits (Gal. 5:22-23) into our soul and body. Failure to understand this has caused some people to despair when they don’t see sufficient change in their life after coming to the Lord for salvation. It must be understood that the change is internal in our spirit and the outward change will take place as we renew our minds through God’s Word.

Prayer is one important way of exercising ourselves unto godliness, and is why Jesus admonished His disciples to watch and pray with Him.

SATAN’S TACTIC IS BARELY; DECEPTION


Deception can be avoided or else Jesus would not have said in Matthew 24:3-5, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Satan can only deceive those who allow him to do it.

Ephesians 6:11 tells us to “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Putting on the whole armour of God will protect you from the deception of the devil. Just wearing part of God’s armour will not fully protect you. Many Christians have been running around with the helmet of salvation on but nothing else. There is more to overcoming the devil than just being saved. We have to understand our righteous position in the Lord. We also must possess faith, know the Word, and understand the gospel of peace.

The Christian life is a constant struggle against Satan, who is trying to corrupt us. Most Christians are aware of the warfare, but they don’t know where the warfare is occurring. The battle is in our mind. Just as the serpent didn’t come against Eve with brute force, but rather used words to deceive her, likewise Satan tries to corrupt us through thoughts contrary to the gospel. Satan’s original tactic was deception and that is still his method of operation today.

One of the characteristics of children is that they are easily deceived. They are gullible. One of the things that must take place to move from childhood into sonship is spiritual discernment. This comes from being grounded in the Word of God.

The way to recognize deception is not to analyze all the false claims but rather to become so familiar with what is genuine that a counterfeit will be easily recognizable. Anyone who is truly grounded in the Word of God will not be deceived.

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