"For it is God which worketh in you both [to will and to do] of his good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13)
The Greek words "to will and to do" (kai to thelein kai to energein) indicates an "empowering" or "energizing" of the believer's actions and desires to fulfill the purpose of God which He had planned in the life of the Christian, and to produce fruits of the Spirit (Jn. 15:5; 1 Cor. 12:6). It should be a labor of love to seek after fulfilling God's Will in the life of every Genuine Christian; the lack of any intent to move towards a plan of action leads to slothfulness, and this can be a serious indicator that one may "not" be saved (Matt. 25:24-30), or perhaps drifted far back into their old sinful habits motivated by the flesh, or even controlled by Satanic forces (cf. Lk. 11:24-26; 12:47-48; 1 Cor. 10:1-12; Heb. 3:12-18;6:6; 10:26; 12:1; 2 Pet. 2:20-21; 1 Jn. 2:19; Jude 4-6). The "good works" done by the Power of the Indwelling Spirit of God is the driving force behind our actions to do what [pleases] our God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Ps. 110:3; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19-20; Gal. 3:3; Eph. 1:5,9; 2 Thess. 1:11).
Even the most minute of Christian labor (as a true disciple) put forth in serving Our Lord, he/she will not lose their reward (e.g., a cup of cold water to one of these little ones; i.e., "a child of God"; Matt. 10:42). There has to be evidence of the regenerate nature in those who profess to be born again; the sanctification process for every Christian done through the Spirit empowered life varies with each person [in] Christ, and much of this is done through the renewing of the mind and continually being fed by the Word of God and its application in our lives (Matt. 4:4; 5:6; Jn. 15:5; 17:17; Acts 1:8; Lk. 24:49; Rom. 6:1-23; 12:2; 2 Cor. 3:18; 4:16-18; Gal. 5:16; Phil. 4:13; Col. 3:1-25; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:4-8; et al). Just feeling "bad" for lying or stealing does not prove that a man or woman has been given "new life" from Christ (cf. Rom. 2:14-16); there needs to be remorse driven by repentance before God in addition to a broken and contrite spirit, and if this is not evident, then there is the great danger which can lead to false conversions (cf. Matt. 7:21-23; 13:27-30; Lk. 18:9-14; 2 Tim. 4:10; 1 Jn. 2:19).
Immorality and Evil takes on many forms in this world, and even under the guise of "human good" (e.g., "sins, philanthropy, evil spirits, false religion, deception, etc.") as a direct consequence resulting from the first rebellion against The Absolute Sovereignty of God; this was initiated by none other than the Serpent of old himself. This gave birth to the children of the Devil (by nature) who remain obstinate in their rebellious nature, and refuse to submit to the Holy Commandments and the Lordship of God and Christ; therefore, God gave them over to their reprobate minds to live the rest of their lives to fulfill their sinful desires intrinsic to their "spiritual" progenitor, the Devil and Satan (Gen. 3:15; Jer. 17:9; Matt. 13:38; Mk. 7:21-23; Jn. 8:44-45; 12:31; Acts 5:3; Rom. 1:27-29; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 2:1-3; Rev. 12:9-10). Sexual immorality is running rampant as in the days of Lot, such as: LGBT activists being lauded, or even being "persecuted" by Christians; and warning them that their souls are in danger of hellfire is considered unloving and hateful speech (Isa. 5:20; Jn. 3:19; 15:18-19; 17:14; 1 Cor. 15:33; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 4:3; 1 Jn. 3:13).
"And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because [HE FIRST LOVED US]. If a man say, I love God, and [hateth his brother, HE IS A LIAR]: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also." (1 John 4:16-21)
To "know" that God exists and to know God in our hearts are expressed with two different Greek verbs. The evidence of God's existence is "known" (Grk. gnoston) by all men through His moral laws and reasoning (Rom. 1:19-21); those who are born-again also "know" (Grk. ginosko) God, but they also "know" (Grk. oida) Him through an internal knowledge of Him; especially in a saving relationship. Both Greek verbs are used to describe the one who has been brought into an intimate union with the Divine Creator from being transformed from within, and from the knowledge of Him revealed through His Word (cf. Eph. 4:13; Phil. 3:8-10; 2 Tim. 1:12; Heb. 8:11). A general love for your fellow human beings falls short of the Divine Love which comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God (Jn. 14:15,21,23-24; 15:13; Eph. 3:13-21; 1 Jn. 2:4-6; 4:19).
Philanthropy means "the love of humanity", but this type of love isn't anymore different than the love of the World in the secular sense; they love humanity (e.g., "Oprah Winfrey"), but they DO NOT Love God at all; how can they if they DO NOT even KNOW God? Divine Love is set apart from any other forms of love this world has to offer. Although some may have problems differentiating between the two, the Lord's Love for humanity is in stark contrast to the philanthropic love of this world and its system of deception. The Love of God is Divine Love, Holy Love, Sacrificial Love, and Eternal Love; this type of Love is unattainable and cannot be acquired by the unregenerate, nor is it ever manifested by those who are of this passing World. Divine Love is from above, and it is committed to placing others before ourselves, and especially the reciprocal Love that we have for God first and foremost (cf. Jer. 31:3; Matt. 6:24; Mk. 12:28-32; Lk. 6:35; Jn. 2:9-10; 3:16; 13:34-35; Rom. 5:8; 8:37-39; 12:9-10; 13:8; 1 Cor. 13:13; 16:14; Gal. 5:13-14; Eph. 4:2; 5:2; Col. 3:14; 2 Thess. 3:5; 1 Pet. 4:8).
"When an unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, [he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished]. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation." (Matthew 12:43-45)
The passage cited above does not refer to men and women who were demon possessed, but the influencing power of evil spirits that enter the abode of those who live a life contrary to the message of the Gospel (cf. Matt. 5:1-12; Rev. 16:13-14). Jesus had commended Simon (aka, Peter) for answering correctly concerning the identity and personhood of his Lord (Matt. 16:16-17); and just a few moments later, Jesus turned toward Simon and rebuked Satan for attempting to prevent the Lord from fulfilling His mission to be the Sacrifice for sins of all who will believe (vv. 22-23). The Pharisees constantly denied the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and even accused Him of blasphemy by attributing His good works and miracles through the power of Satan himself. In some instances recorded in the Synoptic Gospels, those who were demon possessed knew full well that Jesus was in fact God Incarnate; the demoniac of Gadarene had more than one "witness" (i.e., "we", Matt. 8:29) who acknowledged Christ's Deity (Matt. 8:28-32; Lk. 4:33-35; Acts 16:16-18; 2 Thess. 2:3-4).
"Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, [Jesus I know, and Paul I know; BUT WHO ARE YE?] And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded." (Acts 19:13-16)
There is a false teaching being spread in churches that if a demon possessed person knows your "name", then they know your name because you are a Christian; this is a lie and deception based on reading into a text in Scripture what is simply NOT there. I have encountered demon possessed people who knew my name long ago, and although I would often attend church, this occurred when I was living a life not too different from the rest of the world. This startled me at that time as they spoke with voices that did NOT sound human, and this is what led me in the ministry of spiritual discernment. Do demons know who Donald Trump is? What about any of the celebrities in Hellywood? According to these false teachers, they DON'T, because none of those people are saved. Does the bible say:
"If the demons know your name, then you can be certain that you have Eternal Life. This is the assurance and confidence that you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ." (Doctrines of demons 6:18)
By the way, there will be MANY who claim to have known the Lord who will be rejected by Him in the Day of Judgment; these are those who claim to cast out demons, minister the word, and even done miracles in the name of Jesus (Matt. 7:21-23). We see an example in the text cited above; we also see this in the RCC, and in the church visible by con men and women pastors who bilk the poor out of their life savings with false promises of financial security. These frauds are storing up wrath, and it will be poured out undiluted among these wolves in sheep clothing when it is their appointed time to meet their maker (Matt. 15:14; 2 Pet. 2:1; Rev. 20:12).
Salvation by human achievement is demonstrative of those who are completely devoid of the Holy Spirit and lack the God-given strength to restrain the flesh or overcome sins for obvious reasons; this is one of the reasons why demonic lusts such as pedophilia join the spirits of Catholic priests who grant evil spirits the permission to access their open house with a welcome mat. The only one who can fill that void and evict unwanted guests in the heart of the unregenerate man or woman is the Guest of Honor, and this is none other than Jesus Christ Himself (cf. Ezek. 36:25-27; Jn. 14:15-18,21-23; Rom. 5:5; 8:9-11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; 12:13; 2 Cor. 5:17; 13:14; Eph. 1:13-14; 5:18; 1 Thess. 4:8). This is to keep your temple occupied; anything other than the Godhead within you spells trouble and leaves your door wide open (Lk. 22:3-4; Jn. 13:26-27).
There will always be a struggle between the soul and the flesh in the life of every Christian, and if there isn't, then it is almost guaranteed that such a person is NOT born-again (Rom. 8:23; 1 Pet. 2:11-12). The unregenerate are already under the controlling sphere of influence governed by the god of this world, and even Christians are susceptible to his schemes if the full armor of God is not equipped in spiritual warfare (Job 1:6-12; Zech. 3:1-2; Matt. 16:23; Jn. 8:44; 10:10; Acts 5:3; 1 Cor. 7:5; 2 Cor. 2:5-11; 4:4; 11:3; Eph. 2:2; 6:10-18; Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8-9; 1 Jn. 3:8; Rev. 12:9). A Tradition in Tarsus says that the corpse of a murdered victim was tied to the murderer, and the decaying corpse would infectiously spread to the murderer, which would eventually infect his entire body, resulting in a slow and painful death; Paul considered his body, even though saved from the penalty of sin, a constant struggle within the members of his body, and would even beat his body into subjection to restrain its sinful impulses which would disqualify him from ministry (Rom. 7:22-25; 1 Cor. 9:27; 1 Tim. 3:2; Tit. 1:6).
Walking in the Spirit, being led by the Spirit, praying in the Spirit at all times, constantly being fed the Word of God and meditating on it, fasting, fellowship, and strengthened by the other members of the Body of Christ is crucial in spiritual warfare. Spiritual overconfidence will leave you wide open for the enemy and his forces to leave you battered and beaten to a pulp, because your strength comes from realizing your weakness before the LORD, and complete and total reliance upon Him to empower you every moment of your Christian walk by the Grace of God supplied to you (1 Cor. 15:10; 2 Cor. 4:7; 12:9-10; Eph. 3:16; Phil. 4:6,12-13; Col. 1:29). If you're engaged in spiritual warfare, do NOT sound the trumpet and let the [enemy] know your plans and strategy; make certain that you know there aren't any spies such as Judas' attempting to foil your ministry with deceit, false teachings and hypocrisy, because there usually are, especially if you are a threat to the kingdom of darkness (cf. Rom. 6:15-18; Gal. 2:4-5; 5:13; 1 Pet. 2:15-16; Jude 1:4).
When a "professing" Christian brags about some spiritual "gift" as if they "earned" it, then it may be a sign that their gift is a "counterfeit" gift, and most likely NOT from God, but from another source . . . and in reality, it is NOT a "gift" at all -- but a "fiery dart" from the enemy used to hinder or weaken Genuine Christians (those with the gift of spiritual discernment should immediately be sought out). One major sign of counterfeit spiritual "gifts" is bad theology and false doctrines accompanying these false gifts (2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 1:6-7; 2 Pet. 2:1; 1 Jn. 4:1).
"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, [Make you perfect] in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (Hebrews 13:20-21)
The Greek verb for "perfect" (katartisai -- aorist optative) is employed here to refer to the equipping of saints by way of restoring, preparing, shaping, adjusting, or mending. All Christians are "equipped" and "made ready" by God to fulfill His Divine Decree in the life of every child who belongs to Him (Isa. 61:1-3; Matt. 4:19; Rom. 12:6-8; 13:12; 1 Cor. 12:6-11; Eph. 4:11-13, 20-24; 6:11-18; Phil. 4:19; Col. 3:12-15; 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Thess. 5:8; 1 Pet. 3:15; et al). You want to use the [gifts] that the Spirit of God has given you effectively, and to its maximum potential; engaging in fellowship within "the Body of Christ" and assisting the weaker members in spiritual growth, praying at all times, and diligently studying the Word of God and applying it in your Christian walk.
The Bible commands us to keep ourselves in the Love of God (Acts 13:43; Jude 21), and it is the responsibility for every Christian to work out their Salvation through faithful living and obedience to the Commandments of God and Christ (cf. Gal. 2:20; Eph. 2:10; Phil. 1:27-28; 2:12; Tit. 2:14; 2 Pet. 3:18). Failure and neglect to do so will incur the chastening of God (1 Cor. 11:27-31; Heb. 12:5-11), but even in the process of discipline, God will work all things out to fulfill His Divine purpose in the life of His children (Rom. 8:28). The Greater our Love is for God and Christ, and our understanding of His Love towards us through His Grace, the greater our obedience will be to His Commandments; so let us abide in Christ who is our chief shepherd, and stay faithful to His leading and guidance in our daily walk with Love in Him (Jn. 8:31; 15:7; 14:21; Rom. 5:20-21; Eph. 5:2; Col. 2:6-7; Tit. 2:11-13; 1 Jn. 2:6; 3:6,24; 4:19; 5:3).
"The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:1-5)
Hello Family of God,
"He that committeth sin is of the devil; for [the devil sinneth FROM THE BEGINNING]. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might [DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL]. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not from God, neither he that loveth not his brother." (1 John 3:8-10)
All of us will eventually come to a fork in the road which will determine our Eternal Fate (Deut. 1:26-38; Josh. 24:15; Matt. 8:21-22; 16:24; Jn. 3:18; Heb. 3:7-19; 4:1-8); we must be ensured that the path we take is the correct one, because many will travel too far in the wrong direction at some point in their life and encounter pitfalls, thorn bushes, and ravenous birds, they can't seem to extricate themselves out of, and eventually towards the edge of a cliff to their own destruction. One must be settled in their hearts and consider the consequences of both good and bad life decisions. In the life of every man or woman, there are only two paths to take: the broad way, or the narrow way; and the exclusivity of the One True Religion of Christianity cannot be compromised in the least (Isa. 35:8; Matt. 7:13-14; Lk. 13:23-25; Jn. 6:40; 14:6; Acts 4:12; Jn. 14:6; Heb. 10:26). If one feels as if they have already taken the narrow path and cannot make any distinction from whence they were before up to that point, then perhaps they are continuing down that broad and wide gateway, and it may unexpectedly slam shut (cf. Ex. 10:20; Isa. 6:10; Prov. 14:12; 16:25; Matt. 21:32; Mk. 8:17-18; Rom. 2:5; Eph. 4:18; 1 Tim. 4:1-2).
If sin is dominating your life, then I would suggest that you examine your pattern of living in light of what the Scriptures teach concerning the lifestyle of the fruitful and the barren; you want to make absolutely certain that your life is Spirit-led, and not the pull of the flesh and its sinful desires. In both the parable of the vine and the branches, and the parable of the sower, there are those who produce fruit, and there are branches that dry out because there is NO life [in] them. There are the results of Christian ministry that result in some bringing forth a harvest of thirty, sixty, and even a hundredfold; we find a parallel in 1 Cor. 3:8-15 where the fruits of ones labor in ministry yields results that remain (i.e., gold, silver, precious stones), and those done in vain as a result of not tending to the crops (i.e., "wood, hay, stubble"). The lifeline of every Christian is Christ the Vine (Jn. 15:5; Phil. 4:13; 1 Jn. 2:27), and if there is no connection to the vine, then the branch will continue to remain barren and eventually "cut off" and cast into the fire to be burned (Matt. 3:12; 25:24-30,41; Rev. 20:15).