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Showing posts from February, 2007

Assurance of Salvation--Part 3

“This is how we know that He lives in us; we know it by the Spirit He gave us.” 1 John
3:24

“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:16-17

God’s Spirit talks to our spirit to tell us that we belong to Him. We are His children. I cannot explain it. But to those to whom this has happened it does not need explaining.

Gentleness

The following was written several years ago by our daughter, Heather Torosyan. I came across it and decided to share it with you.

Have you ever asked yourself the question: ‘I’ve read that portion a hundred times. How is it I’ve never seen that before?’ This may regularly happen with parts of Scripture we aren’t very familiar with, but recently it happened to me while reading one of my favorite parts of Scripture. The way the verse jumped out at me and practically bit me on the nose was partly due to reading it in a different translation. It was this:

NASP: Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men.

NIV: Let your gentleness be evident to all. Phil 4:5

Forbearance is not an everyday word like gentleness is. I’d like to focus on that quality of gentleness in the believer’s life for it is the ‘gentle that will inherit the earth.’ Matthew 5:5

As Christians we really are up against a hostile world and we need to be tough. We need to have thick skins. But sometimes we spend so much time in …

Inexpressible Joy

1 Peter 1:8 “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” It is hard to express something that is inexpressible. Here is an attempt from the diary of a Mrs. Kitty Trevelyan quoted by Paget Wilkes in Missionary Joy in Japan (1912) “How is anyone to know the false joy from true? Well, Missis, I can’t say. I think folks can’t unless they try. As far as I know, it’s a kind of joy that makes you ready to let all the world trample on you and never mind a bit. It’s a joy that makes you feel as if you could forgive your greatest enemy, because if they only felt what you feel they would like to be your brother at once. It’s a joy that lifts you above all the joys of the earth as if they were poor forgotten dreams, and makes you ready to stoop beneath any burden or trouble in the world because of the hand that fits on the yoke. It’s a joy that makes you feel lower than the lowest up…

Joy in Heaven

In Luke 15 Jesus tells of three parties on earth because a sheep was found, silver was found, and a son was found. Then in verses 7 and 10 he tells the reason for the stories: “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent,” and “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Joy in Salvation

Habakkuk 3:17, 18 “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Habakkuk is anticipating a day of calamity. He describes his fear with words like “my heart pounded”, “my lips quivered”, and “my legs trembled”, and at the same time he waits patiently for the invader which will strip his farm. When this happens he will “rejoice in the Lord” and be joyful in God his Savior. He is saying that the physical environment will have no effect on his joy in his salvation.

Joy on Earth

Luke 10:20 “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” The apostles returned with joy because demons were subjected to them in Jesus’ name. Jesus gave them a mild rebuke. They had their reasons for joy out of order. According to Jesus their reason was no reason at all. Heaven is the reason for joy. It is the place of joy. Jesus anticipated this joy for Himself and provided it for us. Hebrews 12:2, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Another Reason for Joy

Luke 10:21 “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” Galatians 5:22, 23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. One of the assurances that we have on earth of our everlasting life in heaven is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13, 14 “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of His glory.” Romans 8:14-17 “because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not recei…

Rejoice in the Lord Always

Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” 1 Thessalonians 5:16 “Be joyful always; pray continually;” We have our sins forgiven! We have our names written in Heaven! We have the fruit of the Spirit! Here we have a command to rejoice. This obedience should be normal. We get to obey with something we already have. We get to rejoice with the joy we have as the fruit of the Spirit. The command is not contrary to our nature. It is in-line with it. The command is not multiple choice. Obedience is not an option. The provision is there to rejoice. This obedience is not to be faked.

Causes of No Joy

Hebrews 12:5-11 (KJV) “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But is ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”

Chastening is not joy…

Singing in Heaven

On Saturday night, October 18, 1947 (I think), I received Jesus Christ. My sins were forgiven. I was indwelt with the Holy Spirit. I had joy I had never known before. It was in Baltimore, Maryland at a Presbyterian Church at the corner of North Ave. and St. Paul. The speaker spoke on the early verses of Psalm 40. “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” My name was written in Heaven. That was fifty-nine years ago, the joy is still there.

Here is some of the singing in Heaven with the reason in the lyrics. Revelations 5:9, 10 “And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”

Joy in Heaven

Zephaniah 3:14-17 “Sing, O Daughter of Zion; shout aloud, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O Daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, ‘Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.’” The wonder of this last phrase is that God is singing with delight and joy because of the salvation of Jerusalem. God’s joy is the cause of all of our joy here and in Heaven. Believe me, if God were not joyful in Heaven because of our salvation then there is no way we will be joyful in Heaven.

These few scriptures and comments on salvation and joy make a case for a close cause and effect. But we have many saved people in this world who do not have this j…

Substitutes for Joy

There are three parties described in Luke 15. They were the result of finding a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son. In each case, there was great rejoicing. These were parables taught by Jesus so that we would understand that there is great rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner who repents. If it is possible to increase the joy in Heaven, this is it. The salvation of sinners is why Jesus came to this earth. It is why the whole Bible was written. This salvation includes being like Jesus. The culmination of all of this purpose and accomplishment is the singing that takes place in Revelation 5. It is one big party.

Like in all true, wonderful things, there are distortions, copies that are unlike the real. In the parables the rejoicing took place before the party. The party was held in order to have others join in the rejoicing that already was.

The world creates parties in order to rejoice. They are not the result of rejoicing; they try to be a cause of rejoicing, like the p…

Assurance of Salvation--Part 2

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13

This letter of 1 John was written “so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Do you want to know? Read the letter through several times. After the first two readings go through it the third time and mark every occurrence of the word “know.” It will show up with two different meanings, but mark them all. Each verse will tell you experientially how you can know that you have eternal life.

The Luxury of Hatred and Vengeance

The prejudice and antipathy, at the time of Jesus, between Jews and Samaritans had been going on since the return of the Jews from exile in the 4 and 5 hundreds B.C. That is a lot of years. We have similar hatreds between Jews and Muslims for the last 1300 years. There has been something similar between Christians and Muslims and Christians and Jews for hundreds of years. We would like to say that real Christians are not participants in these hatreds. Certainly, they have the fruit of the Spirit and the Commands of Jesus, but in many cases they conform to the worldly culture around them. It is gross sin and should be confessed and renounced.

We can understand this sort of thing between Shias and Sunnis in Islam. They do not know the Father. They are taught that vengeance is right and virtuous. They do not think of it as sin.

“There is a way that seems right to men but their end thereof is the way of death.” Proverbs

God said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” However, mankind in all con…

Evidence of the Spirit

And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. (Acts 4:33 NKJV)

Two things strike me as I read this sentence. One is “great power” and the other is “great grace.” It seems to be possible to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus without “great power” and it seems to be possible, too, to have a body of believers without “great grace” resting upon them.
There was something special that preceded this statement:

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. (Acts 4:32 NIV)

People were not attached to their possessions, and they were of one heart. Maybe this is why there was “great power” and “great grace”? No, this was another evidence of that power and grace. Here it is in verse 31:

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the wo…

Why and How

Two of the most basic questions that mankind has had since the Fall have been “Why” and “How.” In both religion and science, they have caused great searches, theories, guesses and finding of fact. As a result, there has been a great advance in science. In the process of this advance, there also have been wrong conclusions in every century.

Because of man’s impatience for answers, his credulity, his mysticism, and his rebellion, we have billions of people living in scientific and spiritual darkness.
There is a basic right answer to every “why” and “how” question.

The answer is,
…the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land. (Jonah 1:9 NKJV).

I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness… (Isaiah 45:6, 7 NIV)

It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. (Isaiah 45:12 NIV)

This right answer has been around for a long time. Rebelling against Him has caus…

Loving the Individual

Some of you have not been able to grasp loving all of the people in whole nations, or races or religions. If not, let’s start at the other end. Instead of loving the whole, let’s start with an individual. This individual must be someone who is not a relative. He may be a brother in the Lord, a neighbor or an enemy.

Jesus had something to say about each.

Brothers: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34, 35

We are to love just like Jesus loved us, sacrificially.

Neighbors: “And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Matthew 22:39

This love is like we love ourselves, a lot. Jesus defined “neighbor” in a story in Luke 10:25-37. The neighbor was a despised member of another race and religion.

Enemies: “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,” Luke 6:27

“But love your enemies, do good to …

Confident Prayer

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14 NIV)

Much of prayer is wishful, hopeful, anxious or desperate praying. The following texts are God’s conditions for answered prayer.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6, 7 NIV)

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. (John 16:24 NIV)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: love each other. (John 15:16, 17 NIV)

But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wi…