Seven Days

Likely you know about the movie where people who saw a video tape died seven days later.  Though I did not see it myself, I am sure it revealed all the horror of their scrambling for salvation such a prospect might generate. Imagining the terror of imminent death is not hard to do.

Yet I want you to imagine a greater concern. Imagine for a moment that the entire world, not just your life, will end within seven days. You are not sure of the exact time, the hour, day or night – you just know that is the span of time in which it will happen. Further, you are absolutely certain of your information. You know for a fact that Jesus Christ is returning in glory and the world will be destroyed by fire. At that time He will deliver His saints from this present evil age, resurrect the dead, transform them and the living into immortal spiritual beings and restore the kingdom to His Father. Everyone who has ever lived will stand before the judgment seat of Christ, to be judged for their life’s actions whether good or evil. The righteous will shine like the firmament of heaven and all others will have their place in the lake of fire along with the devil and his angels for all eternity (Luke 21:25-28; 2 Peter 3:10-13; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Acts 1:9-11; Matthew 3:11-12; John 5:25-29; Daniel 12:1-4; Revelation 19:20; 20:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Romans 14:10-12). You know this will happen within seven days; you are as certain of it as you are your own name.

No doubt most people would try to spend as much time with their loved ones as possible. Some, even many, might do crazy, insane, things to fulfill some repressed desire, not at all concerned about the consequences of their actions. Others might ignore it, and go on their way, convincing themselves that it just won’t happen, being willing to take the risk. But you know they would die just as they are – sinners in need of a Savior.

Behavior could also depend greatly on whether one is already saved or not. A non-Christian might feel compelled to obey Christ and be saved. Their first thought would be to do whatever is necessary to ensure against total ruin, finally realizing that their worldliness has meant nothing in the grand scheme of things. They might scramble to shore up what needs shoring up, spiritually. They would be as the “eleventh hour” laborers, but they would be wise and saved nonetheless (Matthew 20:1-16).

What might Christians do? I think we would likely do what we should be doing now, because a version of this scenario will become reality (please review the scriptures listed above if you doubt it). True, we are not given the precise time of Christ’s return (Mark 13:32) but we should know enough of scripture to believe it will happen one day. We should be warning everyone that this is what is coming. It should make us frantic to get the word out – not merely a message promoting fear-mongering but one to fill in the rest of the story – that it does not have to be this way, that peace with God through the obedience of faith to the gospel of Christ provides absolute protection, full assurance that we will have a place among the redeemed in heaven when this old world is consumed by fire on that Last Day (John 6:39-40, 44; 11:24; 12:48). I believe we would hurry to warn our relatives, friends, neighbors, and even strangers to save themselves from the coming destruction not caring what their attitude might be. Even if they threatened us or hurt us we would speak out, as love for them would forbid silence. Nothing would contain us, hinder us, or keep us quiet. We would tell them to rely solely upon Jesus Christ for salvation, that positing faith, trusting obedience, in Him alone, not in our own good works, is the only way to be saved (John 8:24; John 14:6; Acts 4:12). We would speak out against sin to identify and expose it, proclaiming the need of repentance (renunciation) of it (Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 2:38). We would urge them to confess the Name of Jesus Christ as the Son of God (Matthew 10:32, 33; Acts 8: ; Romans 10:9-10) and to crown it all by being baptized, immersed in water, as directed by Christ and His Apostles so that our sins might be forgiven by His blood-bought sacrifice at Calvary (Matthew 28:18-20; John 15:15-16; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3ff) and to live faithfully in Christ for whatever time is left (Revelation 2:10). We would do this as much as we could, as often as we could, whenever and wherever we could.

Whatever resistance we met would be brushed aside because we know this to be right: that salvation in Christ is based upon His promise to the obedient, not as a prayer to Him as many claim. We would not care who condemned or derided our words for we know in whom and in what we have believed, and there is none other who can save.

Though we do not know when the Lord will return we know that He can at any moment. We have lived many weeks holding onto a very real knowledge and firm belief that He could have returned any day of them. What have we to show for it?  Have we been wasting the time?

Praying is not enough; it will not get the job done. We must get the word out to all people everywhere. We must tell them: “Jesus Christ is coming back! Are you ready for His return in flaming fire? Do you know what to do to be counted among the saved? Would you care to know? Friend, please give me a moment to tell you how. We haven’t much time! For the love of God and Christ, and the destiny of your immortal soul, won’t you listen?”

We may not have seven seconds, much less seven days, until the end of all things. Are we as Christians making a plea to the lost? Are we sounding a warning to them?  Don’t wait on someone else to do this.  If we believe Jesus is coming back, and the world as we know it will end, then for love’s sake, let’s act like it.

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America’s Greatness

‘Early in the nineteenth century, the French statesman, Alexander de Tocqueville, made a study of democracy in our county and wrote as follows:

“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there.

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her fertile fields in her fertile fields and boundless forests, and it was not there.

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there.

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her public school system and her institutions of learning, and it was not there.

I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her democratic congress and her matchless constitution, and it was not there.

Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.  America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”’     – Stories from the Heart.

If Mr. Tocqueville’s test for greatness and genius is correct, and I agree that it is, then our nation is now failing it miserably and he gives the reason why.  For many long years pulpits of churches have jingled with little more than soothing platitudes and comforting cooing that might be whispered from any atheistic psychoanalyst.  Words of ’peace’ ’peace’ when there is no peace routinely fill auditoriums of church houses.  For many preachers, and his (or her) listeners, sin has ceased to be sin or at least nothing worth teaching about much less preaching against.  Decades have passed with seldom a sound of warning against the perils of encroaching sin lying in wait by the door, and the beast has now entered to find the warm welcome of a gracious host.   As Jeremiah, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote of the general mindset of the people of his day, so it is with ours:

“Who can I speak to and give such a warning that they will listen?  Look, their ear is uncircumcised, so they cannot pay attention.  See, the word of the Lord has become contemptible to them—they find no pleasure in it.”  (Jeremiah 6:10 – HCSB).

Whoever you give your attention to on matters of a spiritual, godly, nature, (that is, your favorite preacher or Bible instructor) insist that they return to the “pattern of sound words” (2 Timothy 1:13) that God has always expected of His messengers past, present, and future.  And if they refuse, kindly bid them a sincere farewell and move on; they care more about their job than what their job requires of them.

If America is to be wise and great again, pulpits must resound nationwide with a penitent call to a return of personal holiness and righteousness that can only come when the people of God want and demand it of themselves and their religious leaders.  That is the first step on the road back to greatness.  Will we have the moral courage to take it?

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The Supreme Court

To no one’s surprise who has been keeping up with its progressive agenda, the loftiest court in the land voted that states must legitimize same-sex marriages.  Perhaps ‘Supremacist Court’ would be a better title for it.  It most certainly is not “The” Supreme Court (Heaven’s Tribunal, henceforth so designated in this article).  For decades, the Supremacist Court has taken upon itself to be the ultimate guiding force in legal matters.  By all appearances, it believes its power is ultimate, fully expecting the President, Congress, and the American people to abide by its decisions or face the consequences.  Unless and until we elect a Congress and President who recognize their equal, not subordinate, powers to it, dredge up the intestinal fortitude, and resurrect a virtuous if not entirely God-honoring nature, to rein it in, it will continue to rule the land as if it were Omnipotence Incarnate.

This latest ruling changes some things, but does not change others.  It does change:

  1. How succeeding generations of Americans (and others) will view marriage. While the Supreme Court (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) have expressly stated what marriage is – the heterosexual binding of one man and one woman for life, unless fornication is committed by either party and divorce is sought (Matthew 19:5-12) –  this ruling sends the message that God’s Commandment on it is of no effect and irrelevant.  They have raised a fist in defiance of the Almighty and cast a “stumbling block” in the path of others.  May God have mercy on their souls and all those whom they have misled (Luke 17:1, 2; Revelation 2:14-16).
  2. Whether Christians and Church leaders will conform or not. If not and preachers refuse to perform “gay marriages” it will likely mean loss of money, buildings, property, etc., arising from lawsuits.  Opposition leaders may even face jail time.  On the other hand, those who conform to this ruling will compromise the faith and will be revealed as “men-pleasers” (Ephesians 6:6), too cowardly to stand up for Christ’s words (Mark 8:38).  To the good, this will assist in the separation of the “wheat from the chaff” (Luke 3:15-17).   For many long years the Body of Christ has needed a purging – the final cutting off of dead limbs that no longer are producing the fruit of the Spirit within the Vine (John 15:1-6).  All will see and know.  This works as a litmus test for politicians, too.  We are either in Christ and for Christ or we are against Him; we either gather together with Him or we scatter.  “Fence riders,” cowards, the fearful and turncoats will be exposed for what they are so we all may know wherein their true allegiance lies (Matthew 12:30; 21:25; 1 John 2:18, 19; Revelation 3:15, 16; 21:8).  Even something horribly sinful may have a silver thread running through it, if not a silver lining.

This ruling will not change some things:

  1. God’s definition of marriage has not changed nor will it – ever. The Supreme Court has given its verdict.  What any earthly, humanistic, Supremacist Court has ruled is rendered utterly false and invalid according to Holy Writ.
  2. People will still be judged by The Supreme Court’s ruling. All the joyfulness, dancing, revelry, and sordid exhibitions of sexual freedom that are resulting from this decision will turn into horror, dismay, anguish, and ultimately torment when the Supreme Court is called into session at the Last Day and all of us give account unto God (John 12:48).  Please note that this is something that all those who love the souls of all people should grieve over.  The prospect of our fellow human beings, whom God loves despite their sin, being cast out from His Divine Presence for all eternity is certainly nothing for Christians to be happy about.  Yet it will happen regardless and no power on earth can stop it.
  3. Some of us will not stop preaching the truth. We are to “obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29) when it comes to matters separating truth from fiction, truth from lies, primarily that which will lead the lost further down the road to eternal ruin.  We know we must all stand before the judgment bar of God and Christ to “give account of deeds done in the body whether they be good or evil” (John 5:28, 29; Hebrews 9:27).  Being numbered among those good deeds will be the possession of a godly spirit which will not be threatened, bought, beaten down, humiliated, or silenced into submission by those bent on rejecting God’s will.   Our conviction is firm.  It is unassailable.  Therefore, if we suffer, we suffer; if fined, we pay; if threatened, we bear it patiently; if we die, we die.  Will you and I, O Christian, be of this sort, or will we draw back? (Hebrews 10:38).

This is one more sign that this nation as a whole has rejected God.  We must not take this personally.  As God told Samuel when Israel sought a king – the rejection of the Divine is what is at the heart of all worldly “progressiveness” (1 Samuel 8:7).  God often allows the godless to have their way.  He will, however, in His own time and own way, enforce a reckoning and, in my belief, the process has clearly already begun.

Don’t be overwrought by this decision nor despair.  It is not the Supremacist Court to whom we must ultimately give answer.  Rather, we must be prepared for when The Supreme Court invokes and enforces its ruling once and for all, upon us all.

We may be viewed as “on the wrong side of history” but we are surely on the right side of eternity.  Let us remain so.

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Love Gone Cold

Psycho, a Greek word used once in the King James Bible in Matthew 24:12, translated to “wax cold.”  Strong’s in usage notes states: “to breathe (voluntarily but gently… by implication of reduction of temperature by evaporation) to chill (figurative) :- wax cold.”  Jesus uses this word one time to describe “the love of many” which would grow cold when things got really bad in the world (at a set time but any given time, really).

For years I thought He meant as things grew worse and the world became more deluded, self-seeking, godless and evil, that most people would become heartless, cruel and loveless. I did not give that interpretation a second thought, until not too long ago.  While that is what it may mean, and does often happen, I do not now think that is what Jesus meant it as.

I am convinced He is talking about OUR love growing cold; those of us who profess Christ, Christians.

How so?

First, it would not be something unexpected.  It is quite common for a general populace of any given place and/or time to become self-centered, cruel, ruthless and loveless when evil and immorality abounds (see Romans 1:18ff). Except, apparently, in Japan (research the lack of it when the tidal wave hit there a few years back) what city of any nation does not get looted, burned and generally pillaged during a crisis, natural or social? Such things bring out the worst in most people.  Jesus would not be saying anything new.

Secondly, He is giving this warning to His own disciples in an explanation about evil times yet future.*  In the context of Matthew 24, Jesus is warning about the rise of evil in the form of: 1) false Christs (24:5); 2) general warfare (24:6); 3) nature’s upheavals (24:7); 4) persecution of His disciples (24:9-10); and 5) false prophets (24:11).  His disciples of that time needed the warning, but so do we.

A young man in a store saw a lady he had known for a long time.  They had been friends of his, she and her children, and attended the same church.  Not having seen her in a long time, he approached her extending his arms to give her a friendly embrace. To his horror, she frowned, stepped back and turned away from him, unwilling even to speak, behaving as if he were leprous. He was crushed, naturally.  And she claimed to profess Christ.

She did not turn away because he had children out of wedlock, or because he had been divorced and remarried ‘X’ number of times without Jesus’ approval (i.e., an adulterer), or
because he was co-habiting with a girl or was a notorious slanderer or gossip; he was none of those.  No, she turned away because she knew he was homosexual.

It is remotely possible she shunned him as a fornicator or idolater which Paul commands us to do with erring brothers or sisters in Christ who will not repent (1 Corinthians 5), but I seriously doubt it. Doing that should be difficult and painful when we love someone dearly as family in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:5ff) but the frown revealed the only pain she felt was from disgust at THAT type of sin.  Besides Paul did not forbid communication.  Like some of us, she would have at least been cordial had he been one of the aforementioned sinners. No, her love for him went cold as ice because he was a certain type of sinner.

It is evident that this world is an evil place and getting worse all the time. But when it gets so bad that even saints refuse to love the lost, no matter what sins taint them, the mission of the church of Christ is doomed to fail.  The truth is we will never evangelize the world to Christ hating certain types of people, all of whom Jesus died for to save.

I am not telling anyone how they should feel. One has to change the way they THINK before they can change the way they FEEL. If our thinking remains hostile toward sinners, we will continue to feel hostile toward sinners (never mind that we sin also!) and our love will wax cold just as Jesus has warned. And without love, we are nothing and imperfect before God (1 Corinthians 13; Matthew 5:43-47).

Never mind the lack of love the world has – do not allow pervasive evil to put a chill on yours and mine.  Let die the pharisaical spirit that was none of Christ.

“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” Matthew 11:19 (HCSB)

“While He was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came as guests to eat with Jesus and His disciples.   When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  But when He heard this, He said, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do.  Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Matthew 9:10-13 (HCSB)

 

* Which some interpret as the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of its temple in A. D. 70 under the Roman general Titus and his legions, while others believe it is speaking to some degree also about the end of the world when Jesus returns or both. (I am not writing this to debate or discuss those points of view so please don’t miss the point I am trying to make).

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A Day that Lives in Infamy?

December 7, 2014.  Seventy-three years ago (also Sunday morning) in 1941, aircraft from the Imperial Japanese navy raided Hawaii and its surrounding islands.  They sank or disabled a dozen or more warships of the American navy at Pearl Harbor.  In addition, they destroyed hundreds of aircraft and wreaked havoc on military and civilian facilities, killing thousands of people, members of the armed forces of America and citizens alike.  Following this “dastardly attack” as he framed it, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan which it did.  Because the nature of the attack was so vicious, so damaging, against a nation not at war with them, President Roosevelt declared that December 7th, 1941, would be “a day that will live in infamy.”  To this day, we still have not forgotten what happened on that day because many Americans died so violently, so suddenly, never returning home to their friends and families.

There is another day, however, that seems to get the same reaction from people who should know better.

One Sunday morning, about two thousand years ago, the Risen Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, exited His own tomb as He promised He would through the power of God (John 10:11-18; Romans 1:4).  Through that single act of courageous self-sacrifice, offering His own Son’s blood, God through Jesus has reconciled the world to Himself, providing full pardon for the sins of mankind (2 Corinthians 5:17-19;Romans 3:23-26)   We have but to trust and obey Him to receive it personally (Hebrews 5:9).   In Christ’s act there is no infamy, only that Satan’s dastardly, foolish, attempt to thwart God’s eternal purpose in Christ, and humanity’s willing, as well as unwitting, complicity, was displayed (Colossians 2:13-15).

The only other potential infamy (evil reputation brought about by something grossly criminal, shocking, or brutal—Merriam-Webster) might be how those who should honor it dishonor Sunday morning, the  “Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10).  On on any given Sunday you will find Christians who shockingly, criminally, dishonor the God they claim to love, serve, and obey by willfully and deliberately excusing themselves from the assemblies of the Saints who are gathered to commemorate their erstwhile Lord’s suffering, death, and resurrection.  No, they had rather be at home, sleeping in from a hard Saturday night’s revelries or preparing to watch sports all day or planning and cooking meals, etc., that will keep them away, their minds pre-occupied and their hearts ill-focused.  Is that not infamous?  Is that not shameful?  How is it that we can remember the catastrophe of one Sunday and yet forget or neglect the victory of another—one that has life-altering implications for all of us?

Does Sunday live in infamy within your heart, Christian?

If you and I are willfully and habitually exempting ourselves  from the worship of the church and/or are not living every day of our lives in honor of that greatest of victories achieved centuries ago on another Sunday, maybe it does.

Let us review the record of our attendance and participation in church services, especially Sundays.  Therein lies the true answer to that question.

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They Changed the Formula

 “What if I told you…” began in a line of a movie where people thought they were living in the real world, but in reality were serving as mere batteries for machines which kept them servile.  The few who had been released from that system sought to tell others the lie they were living and it shook them to their core.  What if I told you that they changed the formula on salvation by faith in Jesus Christ?  It has been replaced by what is commonly called The Sinner’s Prayer a man-made invention the “earliest notion of which is less than 500 years old.  It was not formulated as a theology until around the time of Billy Graham.” (Steven Francis Staten).   And the concept of infant baptism is likewise not Biblical.  What the truth is, found only in the New Testament, is far, far different.  I urge you to consider what I am telling you about this.  The destiny of your precious soul depends upon it.

 WHAT UNINSPIRED MEN AND WOMEN HAVE TAUGHT, AND STILL TEACH, ON THE SUBJECT OF SALVATION BY FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST

 A BRIEF HISTORY OF INFANT BAPTISM

 Paul warned that the church would go into apostasy.  While some of that was on its way (2 Thess. 2:7) and he warned of more to come (2 Thess. 2:3-12), it began in earnest in the second and third centuries.  Infant baptism had its beginning in the second and third centuries through the efforts of men such as  Cyprian of Carthage and Origen.  It was part of the great apostasy.  It has NO documented evidence for use in apostolic times nor did Jesus or any Apostle EVER command it.  Men such as Tertullian opposed the idea – “Let them (children) come (to Christ) while they are growing up; let them come while they are learning, while they are being taught to what it is they are coming; let them become Christians when they are susceptible of the knowledge of Christ. What haste to procure the forgiveness of sins for the age of innocence. . . Let them first learn to feel their need of salvation; so it may appear that we have given to those that wanted” – (On Baptism, 18).

 THE ERRORS OF INFANT BAPTISM

 Foremost, it is not Bible baptism at all.  Baptize = BAPTIZO – to immerse or overwhelm. (Strong’s); Sprinkle = RHANTIZO – to asperse, sprinkle. (op cit.); Pour = EKCHEO – to pour forth, spill. (op. cit.).   Second, it does not involve faith on the one being immersed which is necessary – Mark 16:16 – “He that BELIEVES and is BAPTIZED shall be saved.”  Children have absolutely NO understanding of faith in Christ.  Furthermore, children would not need it anyway as they are sinless – Matthew 18:3.

 THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION

 Rejection of infant baptism produced a rejection of baptism itself as a human work of merit detached from belief in “faith alone” as justification for sin.  Baptism became an “outward sign of an inward grace” and relegated to an act that merely provides membership in a denomination after a church-wide vote of confidence is taken.

 FAMOUS PROTESTANT “EVANGELISTS” OF THE PAST INVENTED THE “MOURNER’S SEAT”

 1730-1740 – Eleazer Wheelock – ‘“As far as one can tell, he would target sinners by having them sit in the  front bench (pew). During the course of his sermon “salvation was looming over their heads.” Afterwards, the sinners were typically quite open to counsel and exhortation. In fact, as it turns out they were susceptible to whatever prescription the preaching doctor gave to them.  According to eyewitnesses, false conversions were multiplied. Charles Wesley had some experience with this practice, but it took nearly a hundred years for this tactic to take hold.” (S. F. Staten – The Sinner’s Prayer).  Men like Charles Finney, Dwight Moody and R. A. Torrence all added something to the mix which later became what is now the Sinner’s Prayer.

 FAMOUS MODERN PROTESTANT “EVANGELISTS” – The Three “Bills”

 Billy Sunday, Billy Graham, and Bill Bright all used the same basic methods for their “evangelistic” efforts leading to the finalized version of the Sinner’s Prayer.  “Billy Graham was converted in 1936 at a Sunday-styled crusade. By the late 1940s it was evident to many that Graham would be the champion of evangelicalism. His crusades summed up everything that had been done from the times of Charles Finney through Billy Sunday except that he added respectability that some of the others lacked. In the 1950s Graham’s crusade counselors were using a prayer that had been sporadically used for some time. It began with a prayer from his Four Steps to Peace with God. The original four-step formula came during Billy Sunday’s era called in a tract called Four Things God Wants you to Know. The altar call system of Graham had been refined by a precise protocol of music, trained counselors and a speaking technique all geared to help people ‘accept Christ as Savior.’

     In the late 1950s Bill Bright came up with the exact form of the currently popular Four Spiritual Laws so that the average believer could take the crusade experience into the living room of their neighbor. Of course, this method ended with the Sinner’s Prayer. Those who responded to crusades and sermons could have the crusade experience at home when they prayed, Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.”

     Later, in 1977 Billy Graham published a now famous work entitled, How to Be Born Again. For all the Scripture he used, he never once uses the hallmark rebirth event in the second chapter of the book of Acts. The cataract (blind spot) kept him away from the most powerful conversion event in all Scripture. It is my guess that its emphasis on baptism and repentance for the forgiveness of sins was incompatible with his approach.” (S. F. Staten – op. cit.).

 WHAT THE SCRIPTURES AND THEREFORE THE HOLY SPIRIT HAVE ALWAYS TAUGHT ON THE SUBJECT

 WE ARE SAVED OR JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, BUT WE ARE NOT SAVED BY FAITH ONLY!

 “Faith alone” shows up once in Scripture, but only when James states by inspiration that we are NOT saved by faith only – James 2:24.  If it were by faith alone, what place is there for salvation by grace?  By hearing?  By confessing Christ?  By baptism INTO Christ?  Faith must be understood as TRUSTING OBEDIENCE, not MENTAL ASSENT, to the facts of the Gospel.  Obedience involves ACTION on our part but is NOT a work of human merit!  See John 12:42; 1 Corinthians 13:2.

FAITH COMES BY HEARING AND HEARING BY THE WORD OF GODRomans 10:17.

It comes only after the Gospel of Christ is preached or not at all.  Faith is a matter of human choice.  Faith in Christ leads one to the completion of the commands of Christ for salvation.  It is the golden thread which ties all things together.  Without faith we cannot please God and therefore could not be saved – Hebrews 11:6.

 REPENTANCE, A CHANGE OF THE MIND AND WILL (DISPOSITION) TOWARD SIN MUST OCCURActs 2:38.

One must determine to make a clean break with whatever the Scriptures show is sinful living.  It is summed up in Jesus’ warning “SIN NO MORE” – John 5:14; 8:11.

THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST MUST BE CONFESSED (PROCLAIMED) AS DEITYMatt. 10:32; Romans 10:9-10.

This is NOT a public declaration of the details of a sinful life, exposed to the world.  HOMOLOGEO – to assent, acknowledge – to AGREE WITH the stated fact that Jesus of Nazareth is DIVINE.  This is done “unto salvation” like all the rest of the Gospel commands, NOT in exclusion of them!

BAPTISM CROWNS FAITH AND PLACES THE BELIEVER “INTO CHRIST”Acts 2:38; 22:16; Galatians 3:26-27.

 No other act can do this – only baptism puts us “into Christ”!  It follows if we are not baptized, then we are never put “into Christ.”  And if we are not “in Christ” we remain unsaved.  Baptism is by immersion ONLY and is for believers only.  It is NOT a work of human merit!  Like the baptism of John, it is of God (Matthew 21:25-26) and required for righteousness’ sake (Matthew 3:14-15).

 What if I told you they have changed the Gospel plan of salvation and what you have been told, and may even now firmly believe, is a lie?  Friend, that is EXACTLY what I am telling you.  Open your New Testament and read it for yourself.  Take off the blinders which have held you suspended in disobedience to God’s will.  Of course you may continue to hold on to what you believe.  It is a free country.  Your mind is your own.  But I have placed before you eternal life or eternal death so make your choice.

 I HAD RATHER YOU BE MAD AT ME FOR TELLING YOU THE TRUTH, THAN HAPPY WITH ME FOR TELLING YOU A LIE.

– Danny McCain

Note:  I am indebted to Steven Francis Staten for material on this important subject.  I am uncertain where we agree on other subjects, but he is quite on the mark with this.  For more information, please follow this link:  http://www.bible.ca/g-sinners-prayer.htm

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With God, the End is Better

“The end of a thing is better than the beginning; the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit” – Ecclesiastes 7:8

The inspired writer was taking into account the fact that finite beings cannot see all ends but Jehovah can.  He who knows when a single sparrow falls to the earth considers everything.  This is His universe.  This is His world.  Every particle of matter, atom, proton, neutron, electron; every strand of DNA, He created, set in place and motion.  Of all beings, He would know best where everything’s place is in His plan to redeem this world for His glory.  We cannot possibly understand nor fathom such a Mind.

“The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His anointed, saying, ‘Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.  He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision”Psalm 2:2-4.

He laughs at the dreamers and scoffers who, like gnats on an elephant, try to cut Him down to size, who think vainly they can match wits with Him.  Ashes and dust cannot compete.  Just let them try.  It’s like grasshoppers trying to master Calculus.

That is why we must learn to trust Him and cease trying to second guess His motives and actions.

“But as for me, I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause – Who does great things, and unsearchable, marvelous things without number.  He gives rain on the earth, and sends waters on the fields, He sets on high those who are lowly and those who mourn are lifted to safety.  He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot carry out their plans.  He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the counsel of the cunning comes quickly upon them.  They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope at noontime as in the night” Job 5:8-14

The end of a thing is better than the beginning when we leave God in charge of everything.  It is better because He knows to what end and purpose all things lead.  He never misses anything.  All His equations balance.  To us the world is chaos, confusion, pain and heartache.  It is also unity, order, thrill and joy.  It is a blend mixed by God who, in His eternal wisdom, has reserved all answers to Himself.  He does not answer to anyone nor ask advice; there is no need.

Therefore, let us learn to live with what God has given us.  We don’t have to like it, nor do we have to accept it to the point of not requesting improvement, but may we live with it until that time, or until the end of our earthly lives.

When I was a young man I worked in a machine shop.  I spray painted 10 pound water pump casings, picking them up out of huge metal bins to fasten them one at a time to hooks on a moving line.  I did this for hours on end.  I was 135 pounds soaking wet.  In the beginning, my arms looked like twigs.  I did it for probably a year, maybe less.  It was hot, slow, painful, work.  But from all that, I gained considerable stamina, “wiry” strength in my arms, and a grip of iron that still serve me in my old age.  The beginning of that was not pleasant, the end, however, has paid off handsomely.  The pain and sweat were worth it, not so much then, but now.

I do not know what burden you carry.  It could be worse or less than my own.  I do not know if you will ever, in this life, see complete relief from it.  Consider that your lot, if you like, that God has placed on you at least for the time being.   Pray for deliverance but be sure to tell Him that His will be done (Luke 11:2).  If it goes on, then believe it has purpose and let Him who sees the end from the beginning handle it and sustain you (2 Corinthians 12:9).  It is His working in us and on us to bring His sons to glory with Him which is where it shall all end if we remain faithful through it all (Hebrews 2:10).

“But He saves the needy from the sword, from the mouth of the mighty, and from their hand.  So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts her mouth. Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty, for He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole” Job 5:15-18

 

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