Bible Ballistics: Sorry, I Don’t Go There! Pt. 1 Vol. 7#07
As you can surmise from the title designation “Pt. 1”, we will be taking this study through next week, simply because there is too much to share in one article. So next Sunday we will look at Pt. 2 and hopefully give you some serious food for thought. Related to the things we have been talking about so far this year, I continue to call each one to ‘examine’ our own hearts and lives to see where we truly stand with Jesus, because it is too important an issue to ignore or neglect. And I believe that many in our day are far afield from “Biblical Salvation”, a burden the Lord has placed on my heart and I must obey his call and share truth.
I am deeply grieved that our culture is opening it’s arms wider and wider to receive the things of the world and the “prince of this world”, while rejecting and ignoring the things of God and His Son, Jesus Christ the Lord of glory; as well as those who are His (See John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; and Ephesians 2:2 to see that Satan, the serpent, the Devil/Lucifer are references to the same “prince of the world”). We are seeing more and more open, blatant acceptance of this enemy of the souls of men, the one who seems to be becoming the hero of the world, ushering in a time that God prophesied would come in all of scripture (And that’s a subject for another day); a time that scripture warns us abut again and again. Yet it seems many have missed that warning and are under the delusion that they can be on both sides of the fence and can love the world and God at the same time; but scripture tells us that is impossible.
While genuine believers do stumble, and make egregious mistakes and sin, they do not “live” there continually because God disciplines His own children, and brings them to repentance or He may take them home, in fact scripture clearly confirms that very thing.
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Hebrews 12:6-8
“If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. 17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.” 1 John 5:16-17
Now please understand, that while we can’t always discern between a “sin unto death” and a “sin not unto death”, we are to continually pray for our brethren who have stumbled and reach out to them, but God says there is a line that believers can cross. That’s one reason I believe God clearly tells us we are to pray “in the Spirit”, and when we are praying according to the direction of the Spirit, it will be the right thing. But the point I want us see is that God is telling us something important? God is telling us that believers are accountable because they belong to HIM! The lost are already dead in sin, so John is talking to those who are genuine believers. But everyone must be sure they are in the faith!
What do I want to convey in this article today? I earnestly and with a grieved heart call us to examine ourselves and be sure that we truly belong to Jesus, that we might have the confidence of having HIS life in us; to be sure we belong to Him! This is eternal life—not just the promise of heaven, but also the life of Jesus within us, at work in us all the time.
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:7
“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13: 3 (And 5, Jesus repeats this twice, that means it is important)
And true repentance brings change, change that God works within that we are to work out. To coin a phrase, “no change, no salvation”:
“God shall hear, and afflict them, even he that abideth of old. Selah. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God.” Psalm 55:19
Have you allowed God to change you? Or are you still walking in your own selfish, sinful ways? Are you a “new man/woman”? Does your lifestyle reflect Jesus’ new life?
if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature:
old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God,
who hath reconciled us to himself
by Jesus Christ,
and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ,
reconciling the world unto himself,
not imputing their trespasses unto them;
and hath committed unto us
the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors
as though God did beseech you
we pray you in Christ’s stead,
be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us,
who knew no sin;
that we might be made the righteousness
in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
“I am the door:
by me if any man enter in,
he shall be saved,
and shall go in and out,
and find pasture.
10 The thief cometh not,
but for to steal,
and to kill,
and to destroy:
I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly.
11 I am the good shepherd:
the good shepherd giveth his life
for the sheep.” John 10:9-11
A real relationship with Jesus is not just a “prayer”, or a “formula”, or “walking an aisle”, or doing “works of the law”, or doing “good works” that we are depending on to save us. It is becoming HIS SHEEP!!! A real relationship with Jesus comes when we sense the conviction of His Holy Spirit calling our heart to forsake our sinful, selfish ways and repent of those sin, and trust in Jesus for transformation and redemption. Paul says it about as well as it can be said in Colossians 1:
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” Colossians 1:12-14
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44 God draws us unto the Son via the Holy Spirit, and Jesus brings us unto the Father!
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6
Only one way—and it’s all of God, we simply respond in repentance and faith to HIS work on the cross, from within our hearts. We are delivered from sin and the power of the devil, and are translated (transferred/placed) into the Kingdom of Jesus. How? By His redemption (buying us back from death) for our sin on the cross where His precious, sinless, divine blood paid the debt that I owed, because my sin made me unable to pay any other way but by death and hell. And by faith in His payment/redemption, which His sacrifice made, our souls can be saved from the clutches of HELL!!! (Remember the “wages” of sin IS “death”!) But praise God for grace—getting what I don’t deserve; and mercy—not getting what I do deserve!!!
“For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works,
lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus
unto good works,
which God hath before ordained
that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:8-10
By the grace of God I am saved, delivered, redeemed and made new—not left to flounder in my sin until I get to heaven, but made a new creation to live the life of Jesus in the here and now! Not saved “BY” good works, but saved “UNTO” good works—I don’t work to be saved, but if I am genuinely saved, His work will be manifest in me! (See James 2:17-19 & John 14:15, 21 & 15:10). Again, my point isn’t to repeat the gospel of grace and faith that gives us this new life, but to remind us that when we receive “eternal life” it is the life of Christ being worked out in us right now. And to experience this, I must understand that true, genuine, heaven sent salvation is a work wherein I die to my own sinful ways, and receive the life of Christ within.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:1-6
Because “all have sinned” we are “the ungodly”, so we all need Jesus, and when we come to Him we are made “godly” by, in and through HIM, because we can now walk in the Spirit– not the flesh!
“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:8-18
Did you notice how many times Paul reminds us of the nature of the transforming “Spirit” within all those who belong to Jesus? And when Jesus is within us, we are enabled to live for Him each and every day, in each and every thing we do. And because He is alive within me, there are places I don’t go, there are things that I don’t do, there are words that I don’t use, and try not to listen to or read as a regular endeavor. Now you might say that is a little harsh and demanding, and you may be right, but what price am I NOT willing to pay to be pleasing to my Lord Jesus Christ and Father God? None! While I’m not perfect, nor do I claim to be, I do earnestly strive to please my Lord in all that I do. Why? Again, Paul says it better than I could:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8: 28-31
“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.
21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” Galatians 2:20-21
And why do I desire to live this way? How can I?
“For of him,
and through him,
and to him,
are all things:
to whom be glory
for ever. Amen.” Romans 11:36
All because of HIM, the One who is worthy because:
HE IS GOD!
HE paid for my sin!
HE provides all that I need to live for HIM!
HE is coming again!
It’s all about Jesus, and if I belong to HIM, then my life should reflect HIM in all I do. What is your life marked by? Jesus? Or something else?
In closing today, I’d like to share my own testimony with you, the story of how I came to know Jesus Christ as my own personal Lord and Savior, and we’ll pick up form there next Sunday.
I was raised in a Christian home, with two parents who loved God and loved us children. We were not only taken to church but also taught to live what we were taught in church and at home, by the example and instruction of our parents.
While I knew the “facts” of biblical teachings, I had a heart of rebellion that ran deep within me. I could talk the talk, and live the life that was expected before others, but deep within my heart there was an emptiness, yet I wasn’t willing to really do things God’s way. I was a people pleaser, but deep within I was full of pride, arrogance and a heart full of grudges and resentments that others didn’t see.
I married when I was 17, the same week I graduated from high school because I wanted to be on my own, and be my own boss, rather than to yield to my parents. I knew very quickly that I had ‘jumped out of the frying pan into the fire’, and the resentment and grudges grew more and more with each passing year. I was so full of discontent that I yielded to the temptation to let my affections wander. This ended up in a divorce from my first husband, and another marriage made of two homes that I was the main cause of destroying. All this time claiming to be a believer, I simply moved to a new town and a new church. In fact I found a preacher that told me that God wanted me to be happy, and “not all marriages were really marriages before God”!! Really? At the time it was just the thing I wanted to hear to fulfill my own lusts and desires and justify my sin, but it IS NOT what God’s Word teaches about the sanctity of marriage. I was an adulterer and I just ran headlong my own way, with no compunction or concern for what it might cost me or the other people that were affected. I resumed my “people pleasing” lifestyle in a new church that simply accepted me as what I pretended to be. I had made so many “professions” of faith in Jesus, and had been baptized enough times to “know all the frogs by first name”, but not once had I faced my own sin and my need to be “changed” and “transformed” by the blood of the Lamb.
After several years in the “new” marriage, I had just participated in a “revival” in the church we were attending (never stopped doing the “good” works before men”), and had been burdened about the true nature of my evil, prideful and resentful heart but just tried to ignore it. On the Monday after the revival, a very dear friend called me on the phone and was so excited to tell me that she (also a worker in this church) had finally come to realize that she was not saved, that she had been trying to save herself all these years, and that the Lord had spoken to her heart and called her to repentance and faith, and she had responded and been saved that very morning! Of course she called on the phone and I feigned excitement and congratulated her, but when I got off the phone I shrugged my shoulders and said to myself, “So what?”
At that point God began to speak through the convicting power of His Holy Spirit, and kept whispering in my ear, “That’s what you need! You aren’t my child”! But yes Lord, I must be yours—I’ve been raised in the church, I’ve been teaching since I was a teenager, I sing, I play, I attend your church faithfully, and everyone is impressed with me. They just elected me as the women’s group leader! Yet God kept on whispering, “You are NOT my child”, but Lord look at all I’ve done. And He kept coming back with that same, still small voice, “You are NOT my child”. In desperation I called a dear friend to come over, and she did, so I argued with God and her for a good while still, (and she said very little but I know she was praying) until I finally had to acknowledge that God was right and I was wrong. I had to fall on my face and confess to God that I was in need of His cleansing, life-changing salvation that only Jesus could give; that I could never earn it myself, and my heart told the story that I knew to be true, regardless of what others thought. He saved me, praise God, so I made my conversion public and while many tried to convince me that I was already saved, I assured them that God knew my heart and I knew what He had truly done in me on that Monday morning, in my own living room, in tears on my face before Him—HE saved me FROM my sin, and put a new heart and spirit within me. The Holy Spirit of Jesus came and redeemed me, and put His love and Spirit within me.
And while I didn’t achieve perfection, I did gain a new heart, a friend that is closer than a brother, and a redeemer who has never forsaken me, but has worked in and through my heart to make me more like Jesus with every day that I walk with Him. Through circumstances of life, I went through two more failed marriages (Both on grounds of immorality against me, you do “reap what you sow” Gal. 6:7) but by God’s grace we made it through the trials and difficulties, and God has never failed me. I came to Oklahoma in 1979 as a single mother with four children between 12 years old and 10 months old, and God has always gone before us; we never missed a meal or went naked because Jesus always provided for us. And I have tried to faithfully serve Him at every opportunity, and in 1987 God sent a wonderful godly man to share my life and the life of my family, and through thick and thin, good and bad God has grown us more and more into the image of His Son. And I thank God for grace, mercy, forgiveness and His restoring work. I serve because of God’s provision, and His power to deliver from sin!
May you know Him in all His fullness! See you next week!