By John Young
"Oops, I missed a step" Salvation.
Romans 8:26-29 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
I was saved at the age of five. To be honest I do not remember a time that I did not believe Christ paid the price of my redemption through His Blood. (Having Godly Missionary parents, and learning to read from the Bible tends to have that effect.) So to be more accurate; At the age of five I made my profession known. And then at the age of 16, I confirmed that faith by being baptized at Gilead Baptist Church in Owosso, MI.
We are to make sure our salvation:
Philippians 2:11-13 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.12 Wherefore,my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and todo of his good pleasure.
I bring this up to tell you that the greatest question I had as a child and as a young man was "Did I miss a step?" This question never came about from an unbelief in Christ or the Bible but from a strong desire to do all that I could to follow as closely as possible God's words for my "salvation".
Now as every Bible Believing Christian knows it is the faith in Christ work which saves us and this salvation is free. The problem though is the "application process" or a set of requirements in order to "qualify" your faith. "Things you must do before this "event" that show you are truly "accepting" salvation "correctly" and things you must do after the event to "prove" you have been "saved". (Sounds harder then doing my taxes in order to get money that is already mine!)
Also, each process is fully backed up by random verses which promote their process with a additional caveat that if you ascribe to any other model then you are not correct and are now bound for Hell! If their model is not popular among other Christians they will add the fact that Christ said "few there be that find it".
Matthew 7:13-15 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.15 Beware of false prophets,which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
On one small point I appreciate the Catholics because they are honest and say it is all part of a "process of salvation" but for many Baptist (because they play gymnastics with words and separate the process in our minds) will pay lip service to "faith in Christ alone" but then doubt a person's salvation if they failed to complete a "process of sanctification" to which many unconsciously ascribe and link to saving faith.
Some Christian Jews had this problem in:
Acts 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judæa taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses,ye cannot be saved.
Many say some things are needed before true faith can "become available" Some say a various level of repentance or sorriness for your past sins is needed before salvation. Another relies on various levels of hearers knowledge or the presenters accurately voicing the truth; they have to understand the events correctly as presented in the correct bible (1611 KJAV Pure Cambridge Edition only for English speakers or it won't work).
Now we come to the "Free Gift" hopefully you chose the correct "pre-approval process. At this point you have three options (but be careful because if you chose wrong you don't understand salvation and will have to start over or go to Hell!)1. "Ask for salvation" by prayer. 2. Just acknowledge Christ work but don't say anything or it proves you do not believe Romans 3:19. 3. Be baptized by immersion before believers to show your belief.
Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Now you are saved but you we're not really saved you did not give God Lordship authority or do not do these following things in six months/rest of your life or when we all discover a mistake in our model.
By this time you understand what I'm getting at through my exaggerated examples and may even ascribe to a milder form of one or two points my intent is not to prove or disprove anything but to also share the model I used for salvation. Look. Believe. Follow. Simple desire of the heart words.
John 1:33-37 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. 35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 36 and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! 37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
What I learned as a young man is that while information, knowledge, physical actions, etc can help me better understand Christ redemptive work and to grow in faith and wisdom, there are no steps, no process, no "things" I can do to pre-approve myself mentally or verbally.
Ultimately Salvation is a matter of the Spirit and must be performed through the hearing the Spirit’s call and not from some steps,formula or process. These things will merely amplify what the Spirit has already done in my heart. The Spirit gives the birth and I merely cry Aba! Father! (Galatians 4:6)
Galatians 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
Genesis 4:26c then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.
Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord [from the heart's true desire] shall be saved.
Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
Acts 11:15-17 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. 16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. 17 For as much then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?
At this point many out of concern will perhaps wish to present a step we must keep in mind or risk leading a sinner down a wrong path. Remove that link to head knowledge and let Christ work in the man's heart. Lift up Christ and let Him worry about the steps and you might be surprised that a few extra lost people find the narrow way into heaven without all our extra steps and sign post.
We need to learn that: People "being saved" require a process and teachers but people which are saved required only a Saviour.
John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; [not head] and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Man’s Dilemma and Its Remedy
By: James Foley
Text: Luke 21: 5-38
In our text we find mans dilemma. The reading is lengthy, but necessary to show the severity of mans dilemma. The whole world is in turmoil today. In our text we can see the full scope of this world-wide turmoil. Religious turmoil: turmoil of nations: turmoil of nature: turmoil in personal lives and family relationships. Everywhere we look we see this turmoil and the resulting confusion and moral decay it generates. Peace seems to be an elusive dream, often spoken of, but always just beyond our grasp.
Why is it that, of all the great minds and great nations of this world, there is not one that is able to bring peace? Not one that can turn back the moral decay and right the wrongs of a society seemingly bent on self destruction?
The great minds of our time would shrug their shoulders in response to this question, but there is an answer; there is a remedy to man’s dilemma. But sadly it lies just beyond the grasp of natural man’s ability to comprehend. The short answer to this question is simply that mankind, outside of God, cannot see the root of the prOBlem. We look at people and nations as the source, never once realizing that there is a power behind people and nations and that this power is spiritual, not physical.
This power is evil in its very nature and it has been with us from the beginning. It has a name and his name is The Devil, Satan, The Prince of Darkness, The god of this world. He has instituted a masterpiece of deception that dates back to the Garden of Eden. Actually his masterpiece is twofold. The first is the idea that he does not exist. Consider how he appeared to Eve on that fateful day. The whole world is deceived into thinking that he is a fictional character. You are seen as simple minded and gullible if you believe that there is a real Devil. 2Co 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
The second part of his masterpiece is false religion. He perverted Scripture when he approached Eve. Gen. 3:1. Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
This second part of his masterpiece is almost impossible for people to see unless they know what to look for. He puts this into play when someone, by God’s Holy Spirit, begins to see some little glimmer of truth and light. It is then that he inserts false religion. Luke 21:8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. This part of his masterpiece is very insidious, it can work in two ways. It can work to keep people from the truth when they hear it, but it can also draw people away from the truth once they have heard it. I have seen this principle at work many times. No sooner than someone says yes to God and becomes saved, then there is some false religion that comes knocking at their door. I have seen this in effect in both personal lives as well as churches in a community.
2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
So then, we have established that there is a very real evil, in the form of a spiritual being called Satan. Having done this it becomes paramount that we understand that both our dilemma and its remedy are on a spiritual plane. This simply means that the reason nations and our great thinkers are at a loss to find a remedy is because they are attempting the impossible; that is; they are using the wrong weapons. They use worldly, physical weapons where only spiritual weapons will prevail. James 4:1-7. From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot OBtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Evil cannot be fought against with evil. Mankind, outside of Christ is evil. So then, if we are to fight against evil, it must be with good. Herein lies a prOBlem; do we have any good? Rom. 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Mat. 12:26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? Man, in his natural state is subject to the power of Satan, he is the god of this world. They have no weapons!
What are the weapons of spiritual warfare? First we note that the source of our weapons and any strength we might have to wield them is God. Eph.6:10 -11 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
In Eph. 6:12 we see the magnitude of our prOBlem. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. This is way beyond our ability to combat in our natural state.
Ok, we have seen the enormity of man’s dilemma, now we will look at the remedy for this dilemma.
Eph. 6:13 begins with the word “wherefore”, or because of what was said in Ver.12 we need the whole armor of God. Why is it that the Christian can withstand all that the world can throw at him? Rom. 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. It is because it is God that holds him up. When we have done all that we can in our own strength and can do no more, still we can stand with God’s help and weather the storm.
Eph. 6:14 And now we get into the actual armor of the Christian. Each piece is indispensable; each has its specific purpose. Here in Ver.14 we have the Christians loins girt about with truth. To have our loins girt about with truth means to put on Christ as a garment, for he is truth. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. This is the only way to God. The breastplate of righteousness is the second piece of armor. It protects our vital parts, such as our heart. It is listed second because without truth, there can be no righteousness. Truth is first and begets righteousness, and this righteousness is not ours, it is the righteousness of Christ.
It is interesting to note the order of these pieces of armor. To reverse this order is to reject all that God is. Paul said this about righteousness: Rom 10:3 for they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. Back in Ver.1 he prayed for Israel to be saved, which would bring about true righteousness. Putting righteousness before truth, or salvation only results in man’s righteousness, which is not acceptable to God. His order is reversed. At the moment of the acceptance of truth (Jesus) we are covered by righteousness, His righteousness. Phil. 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Eph. 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Once we know the truth and have righteousness is the only time we can prepare to fight the spiritual battle. Notice I said “prepare”, because being newly saved, or born again, we must have preparation. No soldier goes to war without proper training. This is why we have the Bible, so that we might be able to fight the good fight of faith effectively.
Paul speaks of this in this way: 1Cor. 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may OBtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to OBtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: Paul strove to fight effectively.
Eph. 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Faith is the believer’s most important tool, as well as a vital piece of his armor. It is also the most difficult for him to master. Faith is not an intangible, as the world thinks it is. They speak of blind faith and they envision our faith as being blind simply because they can neither see it or our God, so to them our faith is blind.
In reality our faith is solid and immovable if exercised properly. Heb. 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Here we see two things that the world cannot see and knows nothing of. But we who live by faith can see it and are the recipients of the rewards of living our lives by faith. Two things of note in this verse are that it says that faith is substance and evidence. Let’s read it again.
Hebrews 11 is said to be the faith chapter, and so it is. Please take time to read this at home and you will see why it is called the faith chapter. Faith then is our shield, as this verse points out. Faith is what will pull us through when all else has failed. Once again it is needful to point out that the faith we speak of is not our own: Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
Eph. 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: We cannot hope to help ourselves or others, spiritually speaking, or even begin to fight a fight of faith until we have the helmet of salvation. It is impossible to fight God’s enemies when we are on their side, when we are yet enemies ourselves.
Col. 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.
And now we come to the only offensive weapon in our list of the armor of God. It is listed here as the sword of the Spirit. As such it is defined in our text as The Word of God. Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Ironically, it is by His word that His enemies become His friends. His word is able to cut through the smoke screen they put up. It is able to see through all the evil thoughts and intents of their heart. All excuses are put aside by it and the reality of their lost condition is brought out into the light of day.
By Standing Firm In Christ
Romans 7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
Romans 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
Why is it today that so many Christians have no qualms about committing spiritual adultery? They attest that they are married to Christ Jesus, yet they subject themselves to the bed of the Law by insisting they must obey certain of the Mosaic/Levitic Laws?
The one who professes faith in Christ will never walk in total victory until that one comes to the realization that if he is in Christ, he is freed from the Law.
Galatians 3:24-25 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Does this mean we are free to steal, kill, covet, take the Lord's name in vain, etc.? In the words of the Apostle Paul, God forbid! Those who are Christ's have put on Christ. They have no desire to do the things that are evil in God's eyes. They don't want to steal, kill, covet, take the Lord's name in vain, etc.. Rather, they want to do that which is pleasing in His sight.
1 Timothy 1:8-10 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
The Law is for the unrighteous. The righteous have been delivered from the Law for they have put on Christ through faith.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The Apostle James wrote "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." If you keep your eyes on Jesus, you will have less occasion to stumble on your journey through life. If you truly love the Lord, you don't need the Law, for you will not want to do the things that require the judgments for breaking the Law.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His Glory and Grace.
What and Why?
Today is Sunday
It’s the Lord’s day
Time to try and protect your soul
And worship his name
God must have a plan
Something I still must do
What, I just don’t know
I should have been killed
Why that truck hit me on that road
I’ve a feeling my task
Concerns people living in the street
Maybe my poems of street life
And hard times
Are the key to what I need.
This is a new skill
I just didn’t know I had
I just started writing one day
Around my birthday,
It’s a puzzle that I have to solve.
It stays in the front of my mind
It’s all I think of
The Lord will let me know,
In His own way
All I know to do
Is be patient
When you’ve gotten trampled by
the hand life dealt you, at first you
cry, why me, oh woe is me.
You wonder why with your mind all
boggled, why you were sent all this
trouble, you feel forsaken and wish it
would stop, maybe God wants to see
if you’ll flip or flop.
You learn to make do, learn harsh
lessons from the streets, these rules
ain’t written in books, some are hard
The sad part is, you get used to the
life, you kinda forget how it used to be
like, the past seems like a dream, so
far away, so you live by three rules to
help you make it through each day…
1.Don’t lie, cheat, or steal, this is
not the way, your days are much
better without this pain.
2. Do onto others as you hope
they’ll do unto you,
3. And keep our Lord as close as
you can, and pray. He’ll watch
It’s not very hard to end up this way.
More good people are added to the
streets each day.
Please don’t shun them
for being this way,
for you are truly closer
than you think
to being the same.
Thank you, and Good Day.
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