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ELI3

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  1. I agree; "If it is God's will". However, according to Scripture (Heb. 10:25), isn't it God's will to be faithful to a local Bible-believing church? Look at what you are saying. If everyone used these excuses to justify why they can't be faithful to God's command then: as goes the economy, so goes the church. This hardly seems to be the attitude of the early Christians. (Think about the catacombs in Rome) Isn't Matt. 6:33 still in the Scriptures? Please don't misunderstand me, I realize that there can be some extenuating circumstances for a temporary period of time. Even some of the early Christians fled Jerusalem because of persecution(Acts 8:1-4), but as soon as possible they were assembling with other believers in local churches (Acts 11:26). I also believe that one should truly be led of the Holy Spirit in this matter. Unfortunately, in this "Laodocean age", too many people are not willing to put Christ and His cause to "build His church" as a top priority in their lives. (II Cor. 4:16-18) ELI
  2. It's usually about priorities and commitment. I have been saved for over 30 years. During that time I have been a member of three different Independent Baptist Churches. Sometimes I had to drive over thirty miles to go to church. Was always there with my family whenever the services or activities were scheduled. If it got to be too much of an expense or a problem with time attending faithfully, we would simply move closer to the church. If necessary, I would change jobs. After all, aren't we supposed to be pilgrims and strangers down here? It seems that too may people have higher priorities on keeping a nicer house or having a better job than being in God's will about Hebrews 10:24,25. ELI
  3. Once Saved, Always Saved! If you do not believe that Jesus has saved your soul from Hell forever; can you really claim to be "saved" at all? Although there are many different denominations that claim to be "Christian"; there are basically only two kinds of belief about salvation among them. The more popular belief teaches that salvation is something that can be gained and lost many times in this life. It claims that a person is saved by grace initially, but that there is always the possibility of him doing something wrong at a later time that would cause him to lose his salvation. If he happens to die in a lost condition, he goes to Hell, even though he may have been in a "saved" condition earlier. Because of this, he can never know for sure that his soul is safe from Hell until he has actually made it to Heaven. The other belief is that salvation can be received only once, and that it can never be lost. It teaches that once a person truly repents and trusts Jesus Christ to save him, he immediately receives everlasting life and can know for sure that he is going to Heaven when he dies. Think about it! These two beliefs are completely opposite of each other. One glorifies man, while the other glorifies God. Which of these two beliefs does your church teach? Which of these two beliefs are right? Let's see what the Bible says about it. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ ]esus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:8-10) From these verses of Scripture, there are three things to consider: FIRST - THE GRACE OF SALVATION "For by grace are ye saved... the gift of God..." Grace is the positive side of mercy. Mercy is when God doesn't give us something bad that we really deserve (everlasting damnation). Whereas, grace is when God gives us something good that we really don't deserve (everlasting life). In the context of salvation; grace is best explained by the idea of a free gift. The Bible says that "the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. 6:23) When God offers us salvation as a gift, it is truly an "act of grace" on His part, because He is doing it out of a pure love for us. After all, God doesn't really need us. He could have gotten along just fine without us. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5 :8) The "grace of salvation" completely eliminates the possibility that a sinner can do anything to make himself worthy of eternal life; because if he could, then God would be in debt to him. In the application of salvation, this would deny God glory and the credit of grace on His part. "Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt." (Rom. 4:4) Many people state that they believe that salvation is by grace initially, but they think that it is possible for them to lose it. Actually, however, THEY ARE REALLY BELIEVING A "SALVATION BY WORKS"! They claim that they must hold on to their salvation by faithfully doing certain righteous activities such as " going to church, keeping the commandments, praying daily, etc." They warn that if one slacks off from doing these things, it could cause him to fall back into sin, thus losing his salvation. But if this were so; then when anyone finally made it to Heaven, they could boast how they got there because they had faithfully "gone to church, tried to keep the commandments, prayed daily, etc." These righteous activities became their "works" that determined whether they would be "finally" saved or not. These "works" would cancel out salvation by the grace of God, for if it is "...by grace, then is it NO MORE OF WORKS; otherwise GRACE IS NO MORE GRACE..." (Rom.11:16) The Bible says: "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the LAW OF FAITH." (Rom. 3:27) SECOND - THE FAITH FOR SALVATION "Through faith ... Not of works ..." While "works" cancels out salvation by grace, "faith" compliments it. "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace... " (Rom 4:16) Faith is the channel through which salvation is imparted to the soul. WHAT YOU BELIEVE WHEN YOU ASK JESUS TO SAVE YOU DETERMINES WHETHER YOU RECEIVE SALVATION OR NOT. Jesus demonstrated this spiritual principle when He healed the centurion's servant: "...as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee." (Matt. 8:13) Also, when He healed the two blind men: "According to your faith be it unto you." (Matt. 9:29) In salvation by grace, "faith" is trusting God to do by His OWN POWER what He has promised to do (give everlasting life). In other words, SAVE you from what you deserve, which is everlasting damnation in Hell. In order for anyone to really receive "everlasting life", they must understand and believe that God will give it to them ONE TIME, FOREVER! Jesus emphasized this principle of faith when He said: "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire (everlasting life), when ye pray, BELIEVE THAT YE RECEIVE THEM, and YE SHALL HAVE THEM." (Mark 11:24) If you are waiting to see whether you get to Heaven or not before you can know that you are FINALLY SAVED, you have not BELIEVED that you received EVERLASTING life through Jesus Christ. You are still DOUBTING HIS POWER and are trusting in your own righteousness. Those of you who believe that a person could lose his salvation, cannot really claim to be saved "by grace through faith". Of course, at this present time you are not in Hell, so you can say that you are "safe" for the moment. But remember, you are not in Heaven yet either; and you don't believe that you will be "eternally saved" until you get there. Really, YOU DON'T HAVE FAITH FOR SALVATION ANY MORE THAN THE WORST LIVING ATHEIST, because he is not in Hell yet, either! In fact, as long as any person is physically alive, he can claim to be safe from Hell for the present moment. However, IT TAKES FAITH TO BELIEVE THAT CHRIST HAS SAVED YOUR SOUL FOR ALL FUTURE MOMENTS! Let's just consider something for a moment. Suppose it were true that a person who was once "saved" could be lost again. But suppose this person never did get saved the second time and ended up dying as a lost man, going to Hell; after having once been "saved"? What was he saved from? Was he saved from the penalty of sin? No; because he did not escape Hell. Was he saved from the power of sin? No; for apparently he fell back into sin and died as a lost man. And we know that he wasn't saved from the presence of sin; because as long as we are in this life, we will be living in the presence of sin. What was he really saved from then? The obvious answer is NOTHING AT ALL! He may have claimed that he was saved. His friends and relatives may have thought that he was saved. He may have even tried to act as though he were saved. But in the final end of it all, since he went to Hell, HE WAS NEVER SAVED FROM ANYTHING IN THE FIRST PLACE! THIRD - THE WORKS FROM SALVATION "For we are his workmanship..." When it comes to "works" in salvation, most people try to put the cart before the horse. They feel that if the threat of losing their salvation isn't there, it will lead to lawlessness. They do not understand the perfect righteousness of God or that good works are a RESULT of salvation. For instance, consider an apple tree: it doesn't bear apples to become an apple tree; neither does it bear apples to stay an apple tree. It bears apples because God made it an apple tree. Just the same with a true Christian; he doesn't strive to live holy or do good works to get saved, or stay saved. He does it BECAUSE GOD HAS SAVED HIM AND LIVES IN HIM! It has become part of his nature. "For it is God which worketh in you to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Phil. 2:13) He is God's "workmanship"; just like a watch is the "workmanship" of the watchmaker. Remember, once you have sincerely repented and completely trusted the salvation of your soul to Jesus Christ forever, you can be confident that He will never let you lose your salvation. For He is the "AUTHOR AND FINISHER" of your faith! WHATEVER GOD STARTS, HE FINISHES! "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 1:6) Friend, the Bible says: "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in THE FAITH ..." (II Cor. 13:5) Maybe, after reading this, you have realized for the first time that, because you had always thought that you could lose your salvation, you have never really had enough faith to believe that Jesus could save your soul one time, forever. Right now, why don't you ask Him to, believing that He will? Remember, the very moment that you sincerely repent and completely trust Jesus to save your soul from Hell, THAT VERY MOMENT , YOU ARE SAVED... FOREVER! ELI
  4. The Law Of Faith In Salvation Can the grace of salvation be received by "hope" in the promise of God, or must it be received by "faith"? Have you ever watched the evening sun set in the east? Have you ever heard of an apple falling up from the ground into a tree? Of course not! The reason for this is that because of the earth's rotation, the sun always sets in the west. Also, because of gravity, the direction of the fallen apple will always be downward. When God created the universe, He established certain principles that would help to keep things consistent and in order. These principles are often referred to as the "laws of nature". Friend, the Bible records that there are also certain principles which can be found in the spiritual realm. For example, it speaks of a law of sowing and reaping, the law of sin, the law of liberty, etc. Please understand that these are not like traffic laws which state "do this" or "don't do that". They are "operating principles of cause and effect". I would like to call your attention to one of these spiritual laws which is mentioned in Romans 3:27. It is called the "law of faith". This is a principle which pleases God and brings much glory to Him. It allows one to show God that they are willing to believe what He says, regardless of the circumstances. For the Bible says: "But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Heb. 11 :6) I suppose that most people in our community would claim to have "faith that is pleasing to God" because of part of this verse. They believe that "God is". They acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being. However, according to the Bible, this kind of faith by itself is not enough to please God. "Thou believest that there is one God, thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble." (James 2:19) You see, even though the devils believe in the existence of God, they are still condemned, because they haven't trusted in Him. In order for your faith to qualify as one that pleases God, you must also believe that "He is a rewarder to them that diligently seek Him". In other words, when someone prays to God for something, they must be persuaded that He can and will do what He says He will do. Otherwise their prayer is without faith and therefore not pleasing to God. Jesus emphasized the importance of this "faith principle" in Mark 11:24. "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye shall receive them, and ye shall have them." This is not to say that one never receives anything from God unless they have faith. After all, even the staunchest atheist receives many wonderful things from God (physical life, health, etc.) in spite of his unbelief. However, when it comes to certain things, God refuses to give them to us unless we truly have faith that He will. This way, He is not forcing them on us, but giving us a choice as to whether we want to receive them or not. A Scriptural example of how this "faith principle" works can be found in the book of James, chapter 1:5-7. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But LET HIM ASK IN FAITH, NOTHING WAVERING. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. FOR LET NOT THAT MAN THINK THAT HE SHALL RECEIVE ANY THING OF THE LORD." From this verse we can understand that if a man would ask God for wisdom, but does not have the faith to believe that God will give him wisdom, then he will not get wisdom. He may claim that he hopes that God will give him wisdom, but "hope" IS NOT "faith". "Hope" always has a tinge of doubt mixed with it. Whereas faith is positively "knowing" that one's prayer will be answered, based on the promise of God's Word. Let me briefly illustrate the difference between "hope" and "faith" by asking you a question: Do you know that there is a God, or do you hope that there is a God? You see, if someone only hopes that there is a God, then there must be some doubt as to whether they really believe in His existence or not. Merely "hoping" that God exists fails to qualify as real "faith" compared to "knowing" that He exists. Now that we have established that there is a difference between "hope" and "faith", I would like to ask you another question: If you were to die five years from now, do you KNOW absolutely for sure that you would go to Heaven? Unfortunately, there are many sincere, religious people who answer: "I hope so, but nobody can really know that for sure". According to the "law of faith", this reply proves that they actually lack what is necessary for the salvation of their soul. They might have "hope" but THEY LACK FAITH! I repeat; HOPE IS NOT FAITH! They have never really trusted in the power of God's grace to save them from Hell. They are really still trying to make themselves worthy of going to Heaven by living a "good" life. They are really still trusting in their own "self righteousness" instead of receiving "God's righteousness". They cannot claim to have God's gift of everlasting life, because they don't believe that He will really give it to them until the day they die. However, the Bible says: "For by grace are ye saved THROUGH FAITH: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph. 2:8,9) Listen, because of God's wonderful grace, He freely offers "everlasting life" as a gift to those who will receive it by FAITH alone in the one, perfect sacrifice of His Son on the cross at Calvary. This way, the "law of faith" guarantees that there can be no chance of anyone boasting that they deserve to go to Heaven because of their "good" life. For the Bible says: "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by THE LAW OF FAITH." (Rom. 3:27) "Therefore it is of FAITH, that it might be by grace... And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace..." (Rom. 4:16; 11:16) Friend, if you have believed a "gospel" that claims you can lose your salvation, you did not have FAITH to believe that God offers "everlasting life" as a free gift. You may profess to be saved for now: but if you can do something which would cause you to be lost in the future, you can only "hope" to be saved for eternity. You may say that you have everlasting life now, but if it can be ended, then it isn't really "everlasting" to begin with. It is only probationary , dependent upon your behavior. Because of this, God's promise was made of none effect, and your "faith" was made void (see Rom. 4:14). According to the LAW OF FAITH, since you did not believe that God would give you "everlasting" life when you prayed to be saved, you did not receive it. You are just like that man who asked God for wisdom, but didn't really believe that God would give it to him. As a matter of fact, the Scriptures even state that because of your refusal to believe the written record of God, you are really insinuating that He is a liar. "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: HE THAT BELIEVETH NOT GOD HATH MADE HIM A LIAR: BECAUSE HE BELIEVETH NOT THE RECORD THAT GOD GAVE OF HIS SON. AND THIS IS THE RECORD, THAT GOD HATH GIVEN TO US ETERNAL LIFE, AND THIS LIFE IS IN HIS SON. HE THAT HATH THE SON HATH LIFE; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God: THAT YE MAY KNOW THAT YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE;..." (John 5: 10-13) What about you? Are you willing to believe the record of God? That He will give you "eternal (everlasting) life" through faith in His Son? If you are, then... right now... why don't you pray and ask Him to, believing that He will? For it is then that the "LAW OF FAITH" will go into effect. Remember, the very moment that you call upon God with a believing heart to save your soul from Hell, that VERY MOMENT ... you have "EVERLASTING LIFE"... AND ARE SAFE FROM HELL FOREVER! ELI
  5. Any Eligible Future Husbands? I have a very serious question. It seems that a lot of young people yoke up together for marriage in Christian colleges, but unfortunately, there are many young men and ladies who are not ready for a lifetime commitment at that stage of their life. Does the window of opportunity close for them? I realize that God should be trusted in this situation, but it can be very frustrating for those who are waiting for ?Mr. or Miss Right? when you are in a small town and trying to be faithful to the Lord, your Church, and not yoke up with unbelievers in the world. This letter is not about me. I am a saved, happily married man of 32 years, and I thank God for the wonderful godly wife that He gave to me. She has proofread this letter. However, I know of two attractive Independent Baptist ladies (ages 27 and 25) each of who would love to be married to a mature Independent Baptist husband. These ladies were saved at a young age, raised in Christian homes, have godly standards, and would make wonderful wives and mothers, but there doesn?t seem to be any godly Christian men between the ages of 27 and 33 who are available. They are praying and trying to be patient. Anyone have any suggestions? ELI
  6. Free Will and Final Choices! Is salvation of the soul a lifelong series of choices, or can one be saved instantly as a result of one single choice? If you were to die today, do you know absolutely for sure that your soul would go straight to Heaven? What if you die five years from today? Are you convinced that you will go there? Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could know for sure? For then, any problem or hardship that you might face down here would not be so unbearable: because you would know that when this physical life ends, you are going to a place where there is no more pain, or sorrow, or death. And just think, you will be living in that place with Jesus for millions and billions of years, never to end! Friend, the Bible reveals to us that a person can know for sure that his soul has eternal life now, therefore guaranteeing him of a future home in Heaven. This guarantee can be secured instantly in this present world as the result of one single "choice". That "choice" being: to sincerely repent and totally rely upon Jesus Christ alone for the salvation of one's soul. Listen to what the Scriptures say in I John 5: 11-13: "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; THAT YE MAY KNOW THAT YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE, and that ye may believe on the name of Son of God." Now, there are many religious people who would object to this on the grounds that there is always the possibility that a Christian can choose to turn away from Jesus and die in that condition, resulting in condemnation to Hell. They do not believe that a person can have an "eternal security" for their soul in this life as long as he still has a "free will". Consider what kind of conclusion this "free will" objection will lead to. First of all; a free will is a wonderful privilege from God because it gives man the ability to independently respond to Him. After all, God could have created man as a race of "mindless zombies" or "computerized robots". However, this would never be a satisfying relationship for Him. Keeping this in mind; we must conclude that those who are already in Heaven still have a "free will"; or do you suppose that they are just like "zombies" or "robots"? Of course they are not! But if they still have a "free will", then wouldn't there be the possibility of them turning away from God sometime in the future and end up in Hell? They could never have the peaceful security in knowing that they were safe in Heaven forever. For, even if they were to behold God in all of His glory [some call this the Beatific Vision], there would always be the chance that they could end up like Lucifer and his angels. The point is: in order to be consistent; all of those who believe that a person can never be eternally secure in this life because of his "free will" must conclude that a person could never be eternally secure in Heaven either! Having considered all of that; may I remind you that there is such a thing as a FINAL CHOICE. For when one makes a "final choice" about a particular matter; he may have had a free will up to that point, but not after. He may have a free will in other matters, but he cannot go back and reverse that particular choice because it was "final". You see; ONCE A PERSON MAKES A "FINAL CHOICE", HE HAS SURRENDERED ANY OPPORTUNITIES TO USE HIS FREE WILL TO CHANGE THAT CHOICE! To illustrate this, let's suppose that a person has been diagnosed with cancer in one of his feet. The doctor gives him a choice as to how he wants to keep it from spreading. Either he can try to treat it medically, hoping to stop it; or he can have the foot amputated, guaranteeing that it wouldn't spread. If he has the foot amputated, he has made a "final choice". Two years later, he may wish that he had never made that choice, but he can't change it, because it was "final". This same principle of "final choice" can also be applied to receiving salvation by the grace of God. The reason for this is that when a person sincerely repents and through faith depends upon Jesus Christ alone for the salvation of his soul; he immediately receives "everlasting" life. Jesus said: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE, and SHALL NOT COME INTO CONDEMNATION; but IS PASSED FROM DEATH UNTO LIFE." (John 5:24) The Scriptures teach that "...the gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. 6:23) The adjectives "everlasting" and "eternal" before the word "life" prove by context that it is speaking of something that is permanent, endless, etc. The very fact that this life is a "gift" from God and that it is "everlasting" necessitates that it must be received as the result of one single, "final" choice. Jesus said: "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, BELIEVE THAT YE RECEIVE THEM, AND YE SHALL HAVE THEM." (Mark 11:24) Consider this for a minute, suppose that you were to pray, believing that God would give you His gift of everlasting life [through Jesus Christ] today: would you have to ask for it again next week, or next year? Of course not, because if you had really believed that God would give it to you, and that it was "everlasting", [as Jesus said it was]; then you would have already had it. If you were to keep asking for it, then you must not have really had enough faith to believe that Jesus would give it to you in the FIRST PLACE! Listen to how He puts it as He is speaking to the Samaritan woman in the Gospel of John: "Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water [the physical water in the well] shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him SHALL NEVER THIRST; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into EVERLASTING LIFE." (John 4:13,14) Please notice; in the physical realm, in order for a person to keep from getting thirsty, he has to keep on taking drinks of water. However, in the spiritual realm, once a person has taken a drink of the "living water" of salvation, he will never have to take another drink again, for he will never be thirsty for it again! He had a free will beforehand to choose whether to drink of it or reject it, but not after, for he has made a "final choice". Another example of this can be found in the Scriptures when Jesus said: "And I give unto them ETERNAL LIFE; and THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one." (John 10:28-30) Friend, since God is more powerful than anyone, even the devil himself could never pluck one of God's children out of His hand. Neither would someone be able to jump out, because once they have entered into God's hand, they have made a "final choice". Suppose that a small child wants to cross a busy street. His father will take him, but only if he puts his hand into his father's. As they get halfway across, the excited child may try to pull away from his father's grasp. However, because of the loving father's strength and knowledge of the potential danger, he would never let go of his child. The child had a free will to choose as to whether he wanted to put his hand into his father's, but once he made his choice, he could not reverse it. The apostle Paul speaks about the time that he had made his "final choice" about the destiny of his soul when he tells Timothy: "... I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day." (II Tim. 1:12) Please note that he doesn't say "whom I am believing" or "which I am committing". This is because he knew that there was a time in his past when he had made that "final choice" to commit the responsibility for his salvation to Jesus Christ alone! Friend, if you haven't already; right now you have the "free will" to make that "final choice". Why don't you admit your need for salvation and commit to Jesus Christ the responsibility of saving your soul from Hell. "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." (Heb. 7:25) After all, that's why He died on the cross and rose from the dead! Remember; the very moment that you completely trust Jesus Christ to save your soul, you have made a FINAL CHOICE and can always be thankful that you will NEVER have to be cast into Hell. For Jesus said: "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT." (John 6:37) ELI
  7. Please be careful what is meant by the "home chuch movement". While door knocking last week, my wife and I ran into someone who claimed that God was not working through the local churches any more. At first, she seemed to have a little more Bible knowledge than people we usually meet, but when she quoted II Cor. 6:17 for her reason for not attending ANY church, red flags went up. Then, this past Sunday, a lady from our church brought a tract that was on display at a Gospel music concert titled: Does God Love You?. This was published by Family Radio (not to be confused with American Family Radio). I did an internet search on this and found out that it is the teachings of Harold Camping. He also has set a date for the rapture, does not believe in eternal punishment for the lost, and is calvinistic on the doctrines of salvation. Beware of this false prophet. ELI
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