"Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple!" Luke 14:33
The Rich Young Ruler!
"Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?"
In the story of the rich young ruler (read Matthew.19:16-26) we see where the guy asked the right question (verse 16), and because he really did want to know what he must do to have eternal life Jesus gave him the right answer.
"He chose" NOT TO abide in Jesus' words because he didn't like the answer Jesus gave him...
Simply put, "He did the choosing" by loving and hanging onto his money and the kind of life it could give Him MORE than he loved God and the life of sacrifice without it that He was asked to make - Matt.6:24.
He wasn't ready nor willing to "pay the price"!
So by this (his turning away) the rich man showed that he loved obeying money/mammon MORE than he loved obeying God and the eternal life Jesus was offering FOR THE ASKING - Matt.16:19, 29.
THAT WHAT STOPPED THE YOUNG MAN FROM SELLING ALL HE OWNED TO GIVE TO THE POOR AND FOLLOW JESUS, WASN'T "GOD" AT ALL, IT WAS "HIMSELF" - IT WAS HIS OWN LOVE FOR RICHES AND WHAT THEY MEANT TO HIM THAT HE JUST COULDN'T BEAR TO PART WITH THAT STOPPED HIM COLD IN HIS TRACKS FROM COMING TO JESUS!
"NO DEAL", he said. "THAT'S ASKING TOO MUCH OF ME", and walked sorrowfully away, realizing that he couldn't have BOTH of them: the kingdom/riches of this world and the kingdom/riches of the next going for him.
Jesus gave him a choice! It had to be one or the other! Thus through his lust to hang onto wealth and power he never did trip over and find the Awesome Treasure that could have been his for the asking just laying there in the field, nor did he fathom the Perfect Pearl who was standing directly in front of him and speaking to him! (Matthew 13:44-46)
And after the rich man sorrowfully turned away from Jesus (because he had great possessions), Jesus then turned to His Disciples/Followers saying...
"And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Matt 19:24
When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, 'Who then can be saved'? Matt 19:25
To which Jesus replied...
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. Matt 19:26
After which Peter replied for himself and the others...
27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
AGAIN ALL GOING TO PROVE that entering into the Kingdom of God is based on a DECISION! A decision that we make that comes from receiving the revelation knowledge of Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior. A decision we all can make. A decision made with sacrifice: a giving up something in order to receive something -
because it is a decision exactly like the one that is based on aones marriage and wedding vows -
a decision to lay down our life and will so that we can take up the life and will of another and where the TWO become joined and become as ONE in it -
therefore the one who is NOT willing to make such sacrifice (i.e. "OBEDIENCE TO HIS WORD", for instance) for that relationship is also NOT worthy of Him and the eternal life He offers to those who do love Him by coming to Him for that eternal life He is offering - Matt.10:37-38.
This all goes to PROVE that a person must first receive the revelation of Jesus Christ, then that person takes the word (the seed) that He put in you by faith and DOES it / OBEYS it - not through the OLD operation of the flesh, but through the NEW operation of the Spirit who comes to live IN them. Then will that person find out the reality and joy of the glorious promise it contains for themselves!
"Believing with the heart that God raised Jesus from the dead is also OBEYING this same God who raised Jesus from the dead!"
(Otherwise, they are just whistling dixie and singing to the tune of a "mental assent belief" only. No different than that of many of todays professors, apostates and unbelievers"!)
In other words, though they claim to be "Hearers" of the word, they are not "Doers"!
GOD'S GRACE IS FREE!!! It's all Right There in His words!
THAT is where we have to find it and go and get it - already contained "IN" His words!
FREE? YES! - BUT (IN ORDER TO GO GET IT AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS) THE THING STOPPING US (I.E. "UNBELIEF!") MUST FIRST BE LAID HOLD OF AND CAST ASIDE IN ORDER TO GO THERE AND GRAB HOLD OF IT!
WE DO JUST THAT WHEN WE SEEK TO "HEAR AND OBEY" ONLY GOD'S WORD.
"UNBELIEF" isn't something that belongs to the Mind alone, but to the spirit and the body and the will as well.
It is a DECISION we can make ourselves "IF" we so chose to!
A decision based on TRUTH, one involving the whole person!!
To claim to believe in that Person without selling all we own and give it away (i.e. "unattach ourselves from it") in order to Obey, Come to, and Kneel before that same Person (who is now high and lifted up) is LUDICROUS!
THAT is NOT Faith - THAT is "UNBELIEF"!
And THAT is why the Rich man couldn't bear to part with his riches.
To him those riches of his were more valuable TO KEEP and TO LOVE - To Have and To Hold - than what Jesus was offering in their place, namely: "Himself"; the True Riches, coming to live in his heart!... FOR FREE!
All he had to do was open his arms wide (thus letting all his earthly treasures fall by the wayside) and reach out to Him with empty hands and heart in order to receive.
(The sad thing in all of this is that the rich young ruler had the Treasure of a Lifetime appear right before his eyes in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet he refused to SEE Him for who He was, because he was too busy loving all the treasures he had acquired during this earthly life and what money could give him, and how he couldn't bear to be without them anymore!)
The above lesson applies to all of us! If we're not willing to let it all go to take up the cross and follow Jesus, then we are not Worthy of Him either! Matthew 10:37-38
The L-U-S-T for Life!!!
(Just a few days after my being "Born Again", it was bedtime, and I was lying in bed happily wrapped in the arms of God. I remember that I had a smile from ear to ear. I was at total peace and surrender, just quietly loving and praising my Lord before sleep!
Then, all of a sudden and without warning, I felt myself being taken away (although in one sense I never left my bed) to a place I can only describe as... "Impossible"! I don't know how the Lord did it, but by His Spirit He brought me to a place of... "Death"... and then pulled back leaving me utterly alone to experience what it was like to die without Him!
Looking back on it all now, I realize that in order to really experience what Death without Christ was like while still alive, one must know what Life through Christ was like first. And I sure did!!!
Coming to experience this state of absolute death for myself (i.e. experiencing what it was like to die WITHOUT Christ), it was so shocking that it felt like the skin of my forehead was literally peeling away in my unbelief and shock that anything could be so horrible.
I could not believe that Death was so... UTTER a reality, so... FINAL a state. I was in utter unbelief and awe over how totally powerless I was to do... ANYTHING, and how wide open the eyes of my understanding were to see and take in... EVERYTHING!
This is written from experience, one where I was made to see things as they really are. Now I am like a dead man come back to life in order to warn the others not to end up here. However, I have learned that if they don't care to hear what God has to say, then nothing I can say will ever persuade them either.
Like the rich man who said: "...Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent." Luke 16:30
To whom Abraham responded: "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." Luke 16:31)
Dying without having and knowing Christ as your personal Lord and Savior is worse than anything that can be imagined or thought of. Even though it may not seem so to others at the time, nevertheless it is. It means that you're Dead, you Know that you're dead, and you know that this POWERLESS/UNABLE TO MOVE/DEAD Condition of your dying "Separated from God" (i.e. "Death without Life") that you're in will last forever without hope!
Stop and think about this for a moment. Does anyone realize that it is "sin" that leads to this state? Can we even begin to realize the awe and wonder of God in giving His only begotten Son in order to keep us from experiencing that moment and what it's like with shock and unbelief? This is what "sin" does - it separates and it destroys. Jesus, in turn, came to destroy the effects of unresolved sin to all who believe.
Now... a mind without the use of a body is just as worthless as a soul without a body or a spirit to empower it. What good is it to be fully concious of all around you yet unable to move a muscle to flee from it or reach out and grasp it? To think but to be unable to move, to do, is what it's like to be a paraplegic. This is something like it is for the person who dies outside of Christ - only those who die outside of Christ know that they will be this way (Powerless - "DEAD")... throughout eternity!!!
We are first of all made to be "spiritual beings" with hearts, souls, minds and bodies. To live separated from God is to have and to have and to live a "physical (temporary) life" only. Only the "spiritual" (or eternal) life is life worth having and keeping, no matter what the temporary costs may be. The "Soul" is comprised of "who" we are. It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh profits nothing, escpecially after it's Dead!
"Jesus" had eternal life even as He went to the cross He knew that; although His separation for our sin from the Father was real, He knew that the grave was a temporary place and that He would (in 3 days and nights) be raised to life, and The Life that He spoke to others of...
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? John 11:25-26
It is also written...
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:16-17
Over and over again Jesus refers to "Eating His Body" and "Drinking His Blood". Do you know why? Because His "Body" is the true food. In other words, "He is the Word of God in the flesh" --
...It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)
Out of His mouth flowed Spirit and Life --
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63
And what about the "Blood" that He shed??? What did that contain? It contained the Spirit of God --
"For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." Leviticus 17:11
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. 1 John 5:11-12
We see then, that by "Eating" His flesh and "Drinking" His Blood that we; through faith, gain eternal (i.e. a new and spiritual) life --
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. John 6:54-58
Seeing as how His body is no longer here but ascended into heaven at the Father's right hand, and as how His blood was all shed at calvary, how then is it possible for anyone to EAT His body and/or DRINK His blood today???
In the only way it can be done: "BY FAITH ALONE through Hearing/Understanding the Gospel."
His Life (the life is in the blood) was shed for us, and His body (the Word of God made flesh) was broken for us! And the ONLY WAY that one can eat and drink of Him is to receive the revelation of Him through the Holy Spirit.
We must either GO to where He is and Partake of Him or He must come down from heaven so we can partake of Him.
The truth is that the baptism with the Holy Spirit does exactly just that! "He" it is who crucifies and buries us with Christ, and makes Jesus known, real and alive to us! He takes what is of His (see John 16:13-16) and gives it to us. We taste - we eat - we drink. There is nothing like the taste of Christ!!!
The Spirit takes and REVEALS HIM to us! We see Him high and lifted up to heaven, full of glory, and we worship Him as He is: In Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24).
This, "SEEING Him risen to New Life IN us and we being crucified WITH Him", is how we eat and drink of Him, and how we gain eternal (i.e. "spiritual or Spirit-filled") life."
The ONLY WAY that one can partake of Him is to be (i.e. SEE HIM) "In The Spirit". It is in the Spirit whereby one sees the risen Christ as He is, and Feasts their eyes (i.e. the eyes of their spiritual man) on Him. In order to do this one MUST, through faith, be Born Again (John 3:3).
This is a life like no other. How can one compare eternal life with temporal life??? How can one compare what's important to the temporal life as being unimportant to eternal life. How does one compare all that is passing away with all that is coming??? What's alive and catches the interests of the world is dead to the interests of Christians, and visa versa.
There are two realities:
#1. When one dies it is the agony of knowing and finding that life (even physical life) is all over... forever.
#2. The other (whether alive or dead) is the lasting joy of having and knowing "Christ" (i.e. "life eternal")... forever.
Some people believe that "imagination" is eternal and will be with us forever. However, "death" destroys imagination and replaces it with The Stark Naked Truth"!
Imagination is what some people use for "faith", presuming they're going to live forever. The Christian; on the other hand, has no lack of imagination, rather they have obtained the Grace of God and walk by faith, therefore they know where they've been and where they're going (John 3:11). They don't have to "presume" anything... they just KNOW it because "Christ"; Eternal Life Himself, lives IN them!
To know what Life is like, see what Death is like
(I have decided to include this teaching from one I had done in the past because I believe it is so relevant for today....)
This is a brief step-by-step Bible study on Genesis 3 and how ones eye becomes darkened and heart becomes hardened because of sin....
FOR THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH!
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single (i.e. 'pure'), thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matt.6:22-23)
"Darkness" stems from an "Evil Desire", and every evil desire to sin begins with Deception"...
#1. DECEPTION -
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?
"Hey Eve, why do you always listen to what God tells you? He's not the only one around here you know. Hey, I know something that you don't and have, something I just know that you're itching to have!"
Step one: That voice she brought in and touched was mocking God!
In the Garden we see how Eve allowed the serpent to deceive her by raising a question concerning what God had said concerning every tree. The serpent wanted her to know that he knew of One Tree that was very special and in need to be tasted of. And that, of course was the One that God had forbidden her to eat of. So he made it sound to her as if he knew something she didn't in order to turn her understanding away from what God had said.
DARKNESS: Anytime that we too allow ourselves to be led away from standing upon the final authority of God's voice; by heeding another voice, is when we too will have opened the wide door to deception and the ensuing darkness that follows!
LIGHT: If we will choose to walk in the fear of God then the eyes of our heart (i.e. "our spiritual understanding") will be opened and we will need none to teach us of the Spiritual Truth behind God's words. Then; rather than hearing different reports that will have us questioning what God said, we will instead be about abiding in what He alone said.
On the coat-tails of Deception comes "Doubt"...
#2. DOUBT -
GENESIS 3:4, 5...
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
"Hey Eve, nothing can happen to you! You'll become like one of us, "gods" knowing good and evil. So relax! You can't die! You were created in God's image! He just doesn't want you to know as much as He does. Don't listen to Him, just go for it!"
Step two: That Voice she brought in and touched further was calling God a liar!
Once the person is Deceived; they have opened themselves up to become more easily influenced by it, like a rounded-off stone that is about to begin its downhill journey, picking up speed as it goes, traveling farther and farther away from hearing God's voice .
So then once Eve started to listen to what the other voice said, she began to be led away by her lusts and into having Doubts about God via His word... "The serpent said that I will not die if I eat of it! He seems to know these things! If true then that would make God a liar! He knows that I would then be like Him, a god, if I eat of it, and my eyes would be open? Is this why He seeks to keep this knowledge away from me? Is it because He wants to keep the tree all to Himself, as the serpent declares?"
DARKNESS: Anytime that we too invite within us the wisdom of other voices and influences is when we begin to doubt the wisdom and influence of the voice of God!
LIGHT: The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom! (Prov.9:10)
Immediately following Doubt is "Desire"...
#3. DESIRE -
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise...
"Hey Eve, Lk!" said the serpent, "Taste and see how pleasant and desireable it is to have the one thing (i.e. "sin") that God forbids you have. mmmmmmmmmm!
Step three: She now brought that voice inside of her next to her heart, intent on becoming wise!
So Eve; because of heeding the voice, did a complete reversal. She now saw how very desireable the tree that God forbade her to eat from was and that she now "wanted" it. Now it became the desire of her own heart that led the way to getting what she wanted.
Touching "Darkness" becomes easier and more inviting the farther we allow it to take us away from God! It allows one to foolishly burn both ends of the stick at the same time without thinking they're going to get burned for it, because to them, in God's eyes, they can do no wrong.
DARKNESS: Anytime we come to see that "sin" is pleasant to the eyes is when we have allowed ourselves to become deluded and in doubt concerning ALL of God's word.
LIGHT: We must not allow our lusts (whether they be sexual, health, wealth, security, etc.) to overpower and rule us, rather we must remain under the jurisdiction of God abiding in His word.
After Inward Premeditated Desire gets its way it always leads to the actual outward act of Disobedience...
#4. DISOBEDIENCE -
she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
"Hey Eve. Didn't I tell you that it (i.e. "rebellion against God") is good? Delicious isn't it?! Do I know what I'm talking about or what? Mmmmmm. Don't be stingy, there's plenty more where that came from, so pass it around!"
Step four: So when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death!
Now there was no stopping her! The pride of life - the lust of the eyes - and the lust of the flesh were all at work in her, begging her to taste of the forbidden fruit!
She had allowed herself to be drawn away by the promises of hidden sweetness and immortality, and in believing herself to be like God through abiding in the serpents voice, she made herself, willed herself to taste the forbidden fruit for herself, and even swayed Adam with the serpent's "divine" revelation to eat (i.e. 'to disobey God') as well, clouding out God's command right out of their mind.
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (James 1:14-15)
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:1-2)
Notice that once the act of disobedience is in full swing we begin to see other elements arising from within. The door has been opened and the results of sin come forth...
#4A. SHAME -
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
(Note earlier in Genesis 2:25 that they were both naked and without any shame.)
#4B. FEAR -
And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
(Note how well this fits in with Heb 10:26-27, and there being a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.)
#4C. BLAME -
And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
Note how Adam couldn't accept the blame for his sin: "Hey God, I couldn't help it, she deceived me!"
We can use all the excuses in the world to try and avoid the fulness of the revelation we have received. But God accepts no excuses! We know that whatever isn't of faith is sin (Rom.14:23), and we have no excuse... none whatsoever!
We are commanded to, GO AND SIN NO MORE! (John 5:14) And IF you have been "Born Again" then you have been empowered to do just that!) (Romans 6:6-7)
#5. DEATH -
And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Death is "Seperation" from God! "For the wages of sin is death!" (Rom.6:23))
DARKNESS: For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (2 Peter 2:21)
LIGHT: And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. (2 Thes.3:4)
#6. DESTRUCTION -II Th 1:7-9...
- Will commence at the coming of the Lord -
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
......end of Bible study......
We're no different than Adam and Eve! I am beseiged by sinful/rebellious thoughts several times each day. But I know there are no excuses for any of us to sin, and perhaps I may even know a tad more than some of my readers on this because of the depth of the cross, the glorious revelation and the freedom from sin that I have received. For me the excuses are over! I know better, therefore I expect to be held all the more accountable!
With Paul I too understand the meaning of Romans 7:25. And I also know that I can and have fallen back on Scriptures as 1 John 2:1 telling us that we have an Advocate before the Father. But at the same time I pray that I am wise enough to know that I dare not use Him as my crutch to continue in sin!
"Unto the pure all things are pure." (Titus 1:15)
Jesus tells us that whatever we allow to enter our personal surrounding and touch us; whatever we chose to have our eyes fixed or focused on is that which we are also allowing into our bodies to consume and absorb us. This causes the body to be either full of light or darkness - full of Him or self - full of love for God or love for the world - full of truth or lies.
When we realize that the revelation of God is unmatched and that obeying Him is worth far more than all the kingdoms of the world and its enticements, our bodies will be full of light and our hearts will be full of heat and soaring in heaven. But when our eyes are set upon evil (i.e. "Upon Disobeying God"), and we make excuses for sin (using God's Grace as a prop for it, etc.), then our bodies are in a great darkness and our hearts have grown cold. (Matt.6:23)
Worse yet, this is the very way in which we once again allow our bodies to grow accustomed to the darkness and shun the light, and our hearts grow accustomed to being lukewarm towards God.
Our bodies are to be the temple, the dwelling place of God. (2 Cor.6:14-16) God is Light (1 John 1:5-7), and in Him is no darkness at all.
The first thing it takes to break free of the darkness is the knowledge of God in His Grace and Truth (John 8:31) revealing Himself to ones heart!
The next thing it takes to stay free is for us to lay hold of this newly discovered quality of the now seeing heart which enables us to take hold of and bring the eye and the whole body in line with the Light of Truth we received. (John 8:32)
This quality; or pureness of heart, is of a kind that is based upon Love - "A Pure Love towards Him who first loved us and gave Himself for us". (cf John 15:13)
"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." (Matt.5:8)
Without our utilizing this God-given quality of purity of heart, no one is going to see the Lord! We are commanded to Love the Lord thy God with our Whole heart! (Mark 12:30)
DO NOT BE DECEIVED! Without Holiness (i.e. without our seeking to be holy through our seeking to know and obey God) we will fall away from Grace! God does not save sinners to keep them sinners!!! That's not in His game plan! He saves them, converts them and empowers them to be holy like Himself. (1 Peter 1:16)
Therefore, every born again Christian is without excuse! Because when it comes to our wanting to remain in sin, continually doing the disobedient things we've always done after He has saved us, there remains no more excuses for sin (Heb.10:29). We are called to "Go and sin no more"!
There is no BACK-SLIDING into the Kingdom for the chosen! We are to take it by force - by casting aside every evil way that stands against us in our pursuit. (Ps.119:101)
Simply put, sooner or later; if we really do love the Lord, we will end up DOING what He says (John 14:23)... if we don't we won't (John 14:24). Simple as that!!!
There is no other choice for those who Love Him! We will DO as He says, "IF" we truly Love Him! There's no other way around this. As Christians we are "FREE" - free to Love Him thus obey Him, or free to fly the coop, continue in sin and do our own thing (2 Peter 2:20-22)... IF we so desire - IF that's all He and what He did means to us. The choice is entirely ours!
If our eye is set on worldly things, then of empty, worldly things we will reap, and we will be in a great darkness. These worldly things, or lusts, consists of the pride of life, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, and are all directed at the self and self-interests.
But if we set our eyes on Him and His interests (Heb.12:2) and the things unseen (Matt.6:6; 18; 2 Cor.4:18), our eyes will be singular and full of light and we will reap heavenly rewards - both now; in this life, and in the world to come!
We can't have it both ways: Matt.6:24 and read 'My Story')
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED???
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 16:31
And when he (The Spirit of Truth) is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
Of sin, because they believe not on me;
Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. John 16:8-11
And so..... What does it mean to BELIEVE???
Firstly, when anyone receives the Spirit of Truth, they have to admit that they are a "Sinner".
Not only a Sinner but a "Lost" Sinner as well: one who needs desperately to be found and saved.
Not only a Lost Sinner but a "Helplessly lost" Sinner: one who is powerless and cannot keep themselves from sinning as long as they live in the darkness with the sin-nature they were born with.
Add to that dilemna a "Hopelessly, helplessly, lost sinner" as well: one heading for death, and only worthy of the judgement and hell.
In order to BELIEVE, then, the first step is the need of our being soundly "Convinced" of our sins by the Spirit of Truth as is described above.
So... the Spirit of Truth's job is to cause us to have (through the coviction of sin) an overwhelmingly URGENT need to be delivered and saved from having to pay for the penalty of our sins. In God's eyes "sin" has made us totally decrepid, and we see and agree!
Without having a Profound Conviction Of Sin the person will come to Jesus for all the wrong reasons, and never really come all the way to Him anyhow, and usually end up having "Religion" take His place.
This "Profound Conviction Of Sin" I speak of is of such a supernatural quality that it causes the sinner to cry out: 'Save Me', and openly admit that they are lost, helpless and hopeless sinners, and that it is imperative that something MUST be done.... right away.
It is this "Knowledge" of who they are, what they do, why they do it and where they're going that drives them onward to seek deliverance and lay hold of Christ....
Secondly, there must be the admission of your "Total Unrighteousness". This means that "anything" you try and do to on your own (apart from Christ) to help save yourself are as filthy rags before God.
What you really need is to be "Convinced" of is your unrighteousness: your sin nature, convinced not only of your being a sinner but of being a sinner through and through, a sinner without having the necessary righteousness to save yourself. Once convinced you will see that there is nothing 'worthy' or 'Godly' in you for you to lay hold of and save yourself!
Again, in order to BELIEVE then, it is necessary to have an absolute need of being "Convinced" of your UN-righteousness, and that you have absolutely none (so quit trying to save, keep saved, or help save yourself).
Simply put this means that the admitted sinner is also one without any ability to save or help save themselves in the eyes of God... ever.
The only Righteousness that God will recognize is "Christ's", therefore we must come to Him and have Him and Him alone become "our righteousness" before the Father.
Thirdly, there must be the knowledge that; because of your sins, you are going to be destroyed as you see yourself standing guilty at the judgement seat of God (Guilty because you really did not believe on Christ and come to Him so as to be saved) .
It is this "Conviction of the coming judgement" that motivates you and I to urgently come and lay hold of Christ, causing us to flee from the destruction (the wrath of God) that we know for certain is coming.
So finally, in order to BELIEVE, the only way to flee from the wrath to come is to fly to Christ... and in order to fly to Christ one must Come to Him with open and empty arms and simply receive the salvation He is offering!
Simply put this means that those coming to Christ will most gladly take and sell all they own, give it away, set it all aside, if that's what it takes (and it does) in order to have their hands and hearts empty of this world, the cares of this life and the deceit of riches in order to receive the Saving Grace that He offers freely to those coming to Him.
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. Matt 10:37-39
In Conclusion: Once a man is convicted of sin, of righteousness and of the judgement, he cannot rest until he has entered into his rest, BEFORE HE DIES. "Only when he enters into Christ, into the New Testament covenant He made, will he enter into his rest... that rest from his sins that he so desperately sought after!"
This is the entry into God's will -- this is what coming to Christ is all about: "This is "DOING" God's will"!
The question was: "What Must I Do To Be Saved?"
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye BELIEVE on him whom he hath sent. John 6:29
The answer is always the same: "BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved!"
Salvation and Believing is a WORK... a Work of God... a Work of reproof done through the Holy Spirit in convincing us of our sins, of our righteousness (or rather lack of it) and of the coming judgement. These are the "WORKS OF GOD", Workings of Grace that draw us to Christ!
So... not only is the believer "Saved" but he is "Made Anew" as well....
Therefore if any man be IN Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Cor 5:17
But we'll save that one for another day. :-)
The END of our Faith
Lest we forget...the END of our faith (what we do with it after we receive it) is more important than the beginning (how we received it), because if we keep it then we keep it unto the saving of our souls! 1 Peter 1:9
Our walk (our being samctified to and) with Christ requires that we GROW in the knowledge of the Lord in Love and Truth. Our Love is to become perfected - Our Love for the Truth is to be total, as we come to know not only more and more of Him, His ways, His words, His nature, His holiness and His grace - but also keep on doing what we know as well. John 14:23
This is 'unceasing'! We are to grow up and mature into the "image of Christ" that each of us initially received through faith when we first believed!
Remember that faith: "baby faith" (our initial faith) contains primarily "milk"... simply because we are too immature to handle MEAT. But we are told we mustn't stop there but continue to grow and increase in the knowledge and grace of our Lord (Hebrews 6:1-2), gaining some spiritual teeth, whereby we are able to sink them into the meat - the Life - the Spirit - of His word! ("My words are Spirit and Life!")
Milk is for babes, while meat is for the mature, for those having discernment. Then we'll need none to teach us! We are NOT to remain dependant on others for our spiritual milk, but grow up in Him, who is our daily Spiritual Bread, until we can administer grace and truth to the hearers by ourselves. This is what the Lord is after: "Maturity" in both Love and Truth!
We must come to "SEE" what it is that Jesus saw and is saying! Then we'll have the necessary "discernment" to keep from being tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14) by the teachings of men who twist the truth - "IF you continue in My word you will know the truth and the truth will make you Free"!!! John 8:31-32
The Holy Spirit has a job to do in each one of us! To be "sealed" with the Spirit, being yielded to God, is to want to be more fully formed and conformed into God's image of the Lamb that was slain! Romans 8:28
This simply means that we will do God's will, even if that means we must follow Jesus to do it. (and it does)
Many times the Spirit wants to take us and put us in places where we DO NOT WANT TO GO! John 21:18
I myself am guilty of not wanting to go or of doing God's will more than a lot of others, always looking for the "easy" (non self-sacrificial) way out, as God well knows! *
Regardless of the cost, will we follow??? Will we lay it all down??? He knows if we will but we don't. The Test of our faith to reveal our hearts will be "Right Here" (whether we go or not - Matthew 21:28-31), that will decide for all time "IF" we really do love Him enough to Deny ourself, Take up the cross and Follow Him, thus DO His will... or if we're a bunch of phonies "Pretending" all the while to play Christian! He knows!
Do we love Him enough to obey Him in the sacrificing/laying down of ourselves? (We may protest at first, but IF we really do love Him who first loved us, we will later change our minds and do it (For such is the Power of Love)... OR... will we go on refusing to DO His will, and instead pretend it's something else/something slothful and easy going that God wants us to do, until we become dry and shriveled up like a bunch of dry, rotting wood awaiting the fire!
We can't just "Drift in" when we feel like it, and "Drift out" when we don't! The Kingdom of God isn't like that at all! He INSISTS, yes DEMANDS that we follow Him!!! And in order to do that, one "MUST" deny themselves and take up their cross! In other words: "One must DIE!" And those who Love Him... Will!
We are likened to a fruit tree: First the seed goes in, it takes root, it pops it's head above the ground, it becomes first a little blade, then a full blown fruit tree full of pretty leaves.
Is that it??? Then what??? Well the Lord EXPECTS, yes even DEMANDS that we bear FRUIT! What good is a fruit tree if it doesn't bear fruit ? What good is the Word/Seed of God IN US, if we won't let it bear fruit???
The Lord will wait only so long. He will take us ALL THE WAY into 100 fold fruit production if we will let Him. Matthew 13:8
The problem does not lay with Him but with us. We are stubborn and resistant! How much are we willing to GROW UP??? How much of ourself are we willing to lay down at the foot of the Cross in order to bear fruit???
He'll wait until that tree should be mature enough to bear fruit. Then He will come, look and expect to eat of the fruit of His labors!
The Lord has absolutely no qualms in getting rid of those trees who take up precious space in the Kingdom without ever producing, even though they have had MORE than adequate wooing, time and fertilization to produce good fruit (Luke 13:6-9).
So in this sense we are to "Grow" - in love - in truth - in doctrine - in our personal knowledge of and relationship with our God and King! Those who don't (i.e. won't) grow and produce fruit will, sooner than later: "Fall Away". (see the parable of the sower)
It doesn't take long for the world, the flesh and/or the Devil to re-claim what was once "theirs", all the while allowing "us" to retain the "outward" facade of Christianity going while the "inward" reality has long since been dried up, choked off and most likely lost forever.
If I would pray one thing, it would be that everyone who names the name of Christ be shown with absolute and total conviction that THIS IS NO GAME! And that is EXACTLY what John 16:8-11 refers to. Yet not everyone (because they resist - because they love remaining in the darkness more than the light) will receive the Spirit of Truth!
This also has to do with the end times. I believe and I have said repeatedly that: "Once the false Christs and prophets of Matthew 24:23-26 are around it will be TOO LATE for the "foolish virgins" to find oil for their lamps; virgins who once had oil but lost it, virgins fully expecting to go with Christ, and virgins who fully expect to find some oil - BUT who end up going "Outside" of the church to find it. Matthew 25:10
They went out at precisely the wrong time, because they were "unprepared" to meet Him, even though they thought they were. They expected Him to come sooner in a "pre trib rapture"!" They had no need for enduring in the faith to the end! They had no need for carrying extra oil.
All they heard from their false prophets was: "PEACE, PEACE", when there was no Peace! So... we either have some extra oil for our lamps NOW - we either walk in the light NOW - OR we don't and won't later either!!!
Speaking the truth in love: "Those who have been deceived once, by the teachings of men concerning the last days and a rapture BEFORE Jesus Appears; they even deny His own words: "After the tribulation of those days", have allowed themselves to be tossed to and fro by every wind of Doctrine!
I can draw no other conclusion than say: "they are NOT receiving the Love of the Truth, and making the Truth/the Word their "Holy Ground" where NOTHING UNHOLY ever must be allowed to tread.
Therefore they will find it easier to be deceived a second time into believing the lie, when they go "OUT" to buy oil from those who sell: "Matthew 24:23-26"!!!"
Concerning the end times: "Those who have kissed His feet and elevated His Word WITHOUT CORRUPTING IT and leaving it AS IS, show a maturity, a love and a passion for the truth, and will yield to that truth in their sanctification to it whenever and wherever it applies"!
"SEEK YE FIRST..."
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33
What Jesus is saying is simply this: "You want peace? You want security? You want rest from your sins and for your soul? Do you want what's really important? Then seek ye first and foremost - 'To enter (Hebrews 4) the kingdom of God and gain His righteousness (Phillipians 3:7-9)' (today, right now)!"
Now note what this world offers: "The ability for us to lay up treasures on earth where they will rot, instead of our laying up treasures in heaven where they'll be preserved." (verse 19)
Just look at the world! This is what the world does, what it lives for: "To keep up with the Jones'; to buy and have to have the very best of what this world/life has to offer by being surrounded in it in order to try and feel secure and gain peace and comfort in these TEMPORAL things."
Any wonder then why they have no lasting peace and security? Any wonder why their hearts are always troubled? It's no wonder to those in the know when they see someone put faith in these shallow, temporal things and act as if their very lives depended upon them. They strive for them and can't live without them, and many do so all the while being "religious". (So much for that!)
You can't keep ones conscience quiet for long, especially when it constantly finds itself so ALONE AND EMPTY AND VOID of the real food and drink of personally having found eternal peace before they die. (Matthew 13:34-36).
In other places and to others, what does Jesus have to say about 'these' things?...
"...If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." Matthew 19:21
"Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple!" Luke 14:33
Simply put, if we are UNWILLING to forsake all we have in order to follow Christ then we had better quit kidding ourselves and hang it up before we even start. If TEMPORAL things and our love of them are more important to us than God and doing His will is, then we are most deplorable indeed.
What else does this world offer?: "The ability to make us believe that we can serve two masters (the things of this world and God) and love them both." (verse 24)
Take another look at this life and this world! What this world does is to make us believe that we can faithfully serve two masters. The world somehow believes that by going to "church", and/or cleaning up our "act" a little or a lot, that "WE" are somehow capable to make up for a life-style of greed, lust, self-gain, fornication, etc., thus gain the Kingdom and His righteousness.
Yet the only thing that can make up for having the love of the world is having the singular love of 'God', not 'church', and/or not some self-imposed 'clean-up action'. It's one or the other. Going to church, giving up cigarettes, booze, or giving to the poor, etc., cannot replace genuine (i.e. 'God-given') peace and security.
This is a lesson we've learned from hearing about 'Lot's wife'. Once you've decided to love and obey God, there's no turning back for any reason. The things of this world are a thing of the past. God knows what you need! By seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, he'll make sure we have enough food and clothing not to worry. A whole new change of heart needs to happen for this 'miracle' to take place. A whole new birth! This is a ... "MUST"!
Again Jesus tells us that...
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 6:24
He makes it obvious that what the "MANY" (spoken of in Matthew 7:13) are doing is trying to serve both God and mammon. It is clear that we can't live for 'both'. One of them has to go! That's just the way it is, and the Lord knows who they are and will give His Spirit only to them that 'LOVE HIM' (in 1 John 2:15), and do not love the world. To love Him means to do what He says, as He says in John 14:21.
What are some of the things that this world offers a man?: "A short life span, religion, temporary riches, fame, prestige, honor, the fear of death and the unknown, having expensive clothes for our bodies and the need for laying up a constant supply of food and water for our bellies." (verse 32)
Jesus sums it all up with these words...
"Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Matthew 6:34
"TAKE NO THOUGHT FOR TOMORROW!!!"
Oh the blessedness of being caught up in Christ! Not a care in the world! But how hard, how impossible this is to do with "worldly minded" people. I say this honestly because I know what it's like (and remember how it was) to never have had: (A) The True Drink, nor (B) The True Food, nor found (C) The Everlasting Peace with God.
(For if they did have Him then they would be "spiritually minded" and be at rest and have peace with God, and all of their worries would all become a thing of the past and would simply 'melt away'. This is the way that it is SUPPOSED to be and SHOULD be!)
(A) 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 6:34
(B) And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall NEVER hunger; and he that believeth on me shall NEVER thirst. John 6:35
(C) Peace I leave with you, MY peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27
All of the above are PROOF why a born again Christian does not take thought for their life or tomorrow! When such a one comes to totally trust Christ; drinking deeply from the river of life, thus believing in (i.e. = 'eating of') the Lord Jesus Christ, and they will hear Him pronounce 'His Peace' upon them in the most personal, intimate and solid of ways.
Then, at that moment, they will never be the same, see the same nor act the same as they once did. Life, as they once knew it (without Christ and God) will be over!
The Old Life is so... "Over" - and Christ is so wonderfully "Other" - that Paul says it like this...
"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." Galatians 2:20
When it's over... it's over - and it's over when "He" comes into us, and renews our minds as we receive a new heart! And now we know why Jesus says: "Seek ye first...".
Entering the kingdom of God and having His righteousness is more important than all the food, or drink, or clothing, or houses, or ambitions, or worldly treasures, or anything else that this world deems worthy of possessing. "Eternal Life" is priceless, and the only way to gain it is to believe on and come to the Lord Jesus Christ for it... and ye shall be saved... and Know it.
- shhhh - Secret Sins - shhhh -
What do we mean by "Secret" sins as opposed to "open" sins?
Simply this: "Secret sins are those lustful thoughts we entertain and things we do that are kept private and away from other people, while "known or open" sins are the things we do or say in public before a live audience."
We are all guilty of lusting after someone or something from time to time; and I more than others it seems. Nevertheless I will in no wise allow that shallow excuse to stand between me and my God, and neither must you! We are all tempted by and can all be drawn away by our own individual lusts "IF" we (being Christians) allow them to once again reign over us.
"For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another." Galatians 5:17; 26
There is a "Struggle", a "War" going on inside of us to be sure, one that we (in Christ) can and will gain the upper hand over... "IF" we will walk the way we began: following after the promtings of Spirit, and not the flesh. We don't need to follow behind the old STUBBORN JACKASS which is our flesh, but only in the yielded newness of the Lord. Let us finish the way we begun!
This "Battle" between the Spirit and the flesh has been ongoing since day one. To overcome it we need daily to Sanctify ourselves to the Truth - to receiving and abiding in His word - His word alone is Truth!
"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid." Romans 6:12-15
There remains NO EXCUSE for sin!
At one time (before we knew the Lord personally) it didn't really matter what we did, because (as long as we considered ourselves to be "good" and therefore, "righteous" men) we did what we wanted to do as long as it didn't hurt anyone else. (99 % of the world (most religious people as well as atheists) think this way!)
Doing this seemed "Right" in our eyes!
"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Proverbs 16:25
After all, we thought as long as we weren't "hurting" anyone that we were fulfilling God's commandment of, "Love one another". But now (upon our knowing Christ) we are no longer ourselves - we cannot keep on doing that which pleases us (i.e. the old creature) but do what pleases the Lord and the new men we are in Christ! This is imperative...
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
We are no longer our own! We have been bought with a price! We can no longer indiscriminately do what we feel like doing. We are "Christian men" who know God, therefore let us continue walking in the Light and continue obeying what we know God has said and is saying to each of us.
These are the "lusts" that the Bible makes us aware of: "Lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride (or lust) of life". (1 John 2:16) We are never FREE from these evil lusts (see Galatians 5:19-21) until we leave this world. What God is saying is that as Christians we (through the Holy Spirit) have the power in us not to fulfill them.
The breakdowns of these "lusts" are basically this:
The lust of the eyes can begin when anything has caught the attention of the eye. This is a "higher lust" in that it desires fulfillment in the way of the soul, in order to accumulate to itself all of the high and mighty and sparkly things that this world and its ruler can present.
The lust of the flesh deals with rebellion against God and with "fornication", that is, with anything that has to do sexually craving for another. This is a "lower lust" in that it desires fulfillment in the way of the bodily satisfaction and self-gratification.
The pride of life has to do with a mans pride, boastings and arrogance that he has in himself as measured by his own (rather than by God's) stature according to things as the amount of wealth, knowledge and power he has accumulated in this life.
"But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." James 1:14-15
Have we all clearly understood exactly what the Spirit of God; through James, is saying???
He is saying that we all (no exceptions) are drawn away when we dwell on and allow our lusts to control our persons. This is a sin! Once our lusts (evil thoughts) have become fulfilled they brings death. In other words, the full intention of Satan working through our lusts is to destroy the spiritual men that we have become in Christ.
That simply means that if we continue in these "lusts" unchecked, then we are as we were before the Lord saved us. We have become dried up (spiritually) and sitting on death row, only we don't know it, even though we may maintain a great looking outward appearance of being a Christian to others, but inside (where it counts) we are... DEAD and void of God, as we were before!!!
In conclusion, our sinning in "Secret" will find us out - if not before men while we live, then before God at the judgement. Hide them in the dark recesses of our soul as we may, yet if we chose to continue in them; rather than deal with them as one would deal with a festering cancer, it will not matter how much we "say" that we are Christians, for our own hearts condemn us now as well as when we stand before the Lord.
I pray that all of us who come into contact with this little message (myself mostly included), HEAR what is being said and repent of all of our Hidden and Secret sins before it's too late! With God's Grace we can and will overcome our lusts, as long as we keep doing our part (as God's children) to walk after the Spirit thus keep on stamping out the flesh with its lusts instead of letting it grow to astounding proportions and rule over us, as it had before!
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:1
Let us be determined to walk after the Spirit, and we won't fulfill the lusts of the flesh! How much better to be found abiding in those words of Romans 8:1 than to be found in those of 2 Peter 2:19-22.
...strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life,
and FEW there be that find it. Matt 7:14