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Showing posts from July, 2016

True or False? Galatians 5:22-24

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." (Galatians 5:22-24)

If this is true, do any of these words describe you? They were given to the new Christians at that time. You probably remember the love, the peace, and the joy you had when you became a Christian.

One of the reasons you might not have joy like that anymore is the chastening of the Lord. "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:11). The chastening is meant to be short-lived. You can see the progression in Psalm 32:

"Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and …

True or False? Galatians 5:19-21

"The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19-21)

Is this true? If it is true, are any of these words descriptive of you? The words describe an unbeliever. If you are a believer, confess them as sin and forsake them today.

A Couple of Assumptions

The "true or false" posts I will be posting over the next week or two are based on two assumptions. The first is biblical:

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." (2 Tim. 3:16)

The second assumption is that you believe the first assumption.

True or False?

"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.'" (Matthew 18:21-22)

Is this true or false?

If it is true, are you forgiving your brother that often?

"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart." (Matthew 18:35)

If this is true, are you forgiving from your heart?

This is forgiveness in quantity and forgiveness in quality.

Life

One of the characteristics of human life is knowledge of that life. We can declare that as an axiom, without proof. We have not yet met anyone who was unsure that he was alive. There are many other evidences of life besides knowledge: eating, sickness, breathing, and sleeping are a few.

There is a parallel truth in the spiritual life. Someone who is spiritually alive should have knowledge of that spiritual life. However, there are also other evidences to that life just as there are to physical life. Many of them are found in that short letter towards the end of your Bible, 1 John.

I will start with 1 John 5:13:

"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."

Notice that this verse gives the reason that 1 John was written. I encourage you to read those five short chapters several times this week in order to find out whether you have spiritual life. Remember, there are only two destinations: destruction a…

How to Know You Are Saved #9: Jesus Said So

“I tell you the truth; whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24)

Notice the present tense: hears my word, believes in Him who sent me, has eternal life. Notice the future tense: will not be condemned. Notice the past tense: he has crossed over from death to life.

How to Know You Are Saved #8: Loving Enemies

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, j…

How to Know You Are Saved #7: Loving Christians

“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.” (1 John 3:14)

Christians love non-Christians. Non-Christians love non-Christians. It takes a Christian to love a Christian.

In her autobiography, Climbing, Rosalind Goforth tells of an elderly man who was unsure of his salvation. He said, “I wanted to convince myself all these years that I’m going to heaven, but I can’t.” She asked him if he loved the Lord’s people. He said, “Oh, it’s my greatest joy in life to be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day singing the Lord’s praises.” Then she pointed out 1 John 3:14 to him: “We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers.” Love for the brothers is evidence of salvation.

Consider the opposite. Suppose you brought a non-Christian to church. He would not feel comfortable. He might admire and respect Christians, but he wouldn’t love them like they love each other. He cannot. Jesus said th…

How to Know You Are Saved #6: Discipline

If obedience is a means of knowing that you know the Lord, what happens when you disobey?

“And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.’ Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and p…

How to Know You Are Saved #5: Obedience

“No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” (1 John 3:6)

“No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” (1 John 3:9-10)

“We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.” (1 John 5:18)

We know we are saved because we are no longer living in sin. If it looks like we are living in sin, then there is no reason for others to know that we are Christians, and no reason for us to, either.

“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.” (1 John 2:3)

Obedience is not the means of salvation; it is an evidence of our salvation. Are you obedient?

How to Know You Are Saved #4: Confessing Jesus as Lord

“Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:3)

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

This confession is not a matter of the mouth only. People who do not have the evidence of the Holy Spirit say it in liturgies all of the time.

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)

How to Know You Are Saved #3: Change of Character

“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissentions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)

If this list describes your normal state, you will not inherit the kingdom of God.

“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. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-25)

If this describes you, you are saved. Jesus saves out of the first list into the second list. If you find yourself in both lists, it is for one of the following reasons.

1) You are mistaking natural personality trai…

How to Know You Are Saved #2: The Holy Spirit

“We know that we live in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” (1 John 4:13)

“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.

The Holy Spirit is the present guarantee of our final salvation, the resurrection of our bodies:

“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.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)

“Now it is God who has made us for this …

Assurances of Salvation: How to Know You Are Saved #1

There is a minimum of truth without which a person cannot be saved. This is the gospel.

“Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-5)

Here is the basic truth of the gospel:

1) Who Jesus is—He is the Christ.
2) Christ died for our sins according to the scripture.
3) He was buried. His burial did two things:
• It confirmed His death. He was dead and buried.
• It confirmed His resurrection.
4) He was raised on the third day according to the scripture.

This is the truth that saves. Believing any less than thi…

Jesus Is the Only Way

There are some wonderful truths about Jesus and the Father in the Gospel of John. Please read the entire gospel and pay attention.

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13)

“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” (John 1:17-18)

“He then added, ‘I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.’” (John 1:51)

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not beli…

By Grace, Not Works

Most people in the religious world and non-religious world believe that good works have something to do with any reward after life.

Here are a few statements from the New Testament which speak to that thinking:

“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” (Titus 3:5-8)

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

“Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything go…

Good vs. Bad Works

Good works will not save you. However, bad works do result in a negative judgment:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NIV)

“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21 NIV)

“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NIV)

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no …

The Ten Commandments: Coveting, Part 2

It is sin to covet your neighbor’s stuff. It is also sin to covet your own stuff. It becomes your God.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

We see this kind of coveting in Mark 10:

“As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.”’ ‘Teacher,’ he declared, ‘all these I have kept since I was a boy.’ Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sel…

The Ten Commandments: Coveting

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Deuteronomy 5:21)

The tenth command is not based on any possible action, but only on thinking, wishing, wanting something that is not your own. It is closely connected to the first command:

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5)

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10)

Coveting is a great sin.

The Ten Commandments: Lies or Truth?

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” (Deuteronomy 5:20)

“A heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” (Proverbs 6:18-19)

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” (Revelation 22:14-15)

Notice the other sins that accompany lying.

In the early books, we have the command in the Ten Commandments.

In Proverbs, we have this poetic sentence: “Six the LORD hates, seven are …