Bible Ballistics: Sorry, I Don’t Go There? Pt. 2 Vol. 7#08
As we continue our thoughts from last week, we know that God saves and changes lives, but “just saying so, doesn’t make it so”! Only the life-changing blood of Jesus can change a heart from sinful to holy!!! And when He does, there is an evidence of His presence.
“Wash you, make you clean;
put away the evil of your doings
from before mine eyes;
cease to do evil;
17 Learn to do well;
relieve the oppressed,
judge the fatherless,
plead for the widow.
18 Come now,
and let us reason together, saith the Lord:
though your sins be as scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they be red like crimson,
they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:16-18
The only way that we can be changed and cleansed from our sin, is by grace through faith in the blood of Jesus—realizing that we can’t save ourselves or change our own hearts apart from Jesus. Playing church won’t do it. Living a lie—no matter how convincing it may be—will never make you a child of God. Only Jesus can do that! What are you depending on?
“Because thou sayest,
I am rich,
and increased with goods,
and have need of nothing;
and knowest not
that thou art wretched,
and naked:” Revelation 3:17
If you are familiar with the context of this passage, Jesus Himself is speaking to a “church”—those who claimed to know Him. Yet their perception of themselves, is totally opposite to what Jesus reveals to be the truth about them! Jesus says that they considered themselves to be “rich… ….increased with goods…” and in “need of nothing”! This is the state of many churches around us today, particularly in America. So many churches aren’t seeking God, for they think they already have all they need. But it would seem that Jesus is warning us that when we think we “have need of nothing”, it may be time to examine where we really are. He also tells us that to accomplish anything of value for His kingdom, we must abide in HIM.
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine,
ye are the branches:
He that abideth in me, and I in him,
the same bringeth forth much fruit:
for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:4-5
Only what we do with the power and Spirit of Jesus will bear any real and lasting fruit—personally or corporately!!! We can spin our wheels and impress people, or we can “abide” in Jesus and watch God do mighty things (And man isn’t the judge of what is the mighty work of God)! God works in ways often incomprehensible to the world!
“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.” 1 Corinthians 1:25-29
It’s all about God—NOT me! As we mentioned last week:
“For of him,
and through him,
and to him,
are all things:
to whom be glory
for ever. Amen.” Romans 11:36
Where is our focus? Let’s see what else Jesus had to say to the church we observed above:
“I counsel thee to buy of me
gold tried in the fire,
that thou mayest be rich;
and white raiment,
that thou mayest be clothed,
and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear;
and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve,
that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love,
I rebuke and chasten:
be zealous therefore, and repent.” Revelation 3:18–19
Jesus calls people to repent and buy HIS ‘goods’! But with what? Not with money, but with faith in HIM and HIS atoning work at Calvary, that’s how! We must respond to HIS Spirit’s call with a contrite heart ready to abandon self, and cling to the cross. Here is Jesus’ invitation to YOU:
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:
if any man hear my voice,
and open the door,
I will come in to him,
and will sup with him,
and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
And what door is Jesus knocking on? The door of the church? The door of your heart? If any person hear! If the Spirit brings you to the place of hearing the “knock” on the door, and you respond in repentance and faith to “open the door”, He has promised that He will “come in to” YOU, and you will “sup” or dine together—you become His and He will ever be with you because of the “new birth”!
“But as many as received him,
to them gave he power
to become the sons of God,
even to them
that believe on his name:
13 Which were born,
not of blood,
nor of the will of the flesh,
nor of the will of man,
but of God.” John 1:12-13
I believe Jesus paints a wonderful picture of this in His ‘Sermon on the Mount’; a beautiful image of realizing our need and receiving the only thing that can meet the need, make the change, and give us life: JESUS!
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
But who are the “poor in spirit”? The “poor in spirit” are those who realize and see their own abject spiritual poverty; those who see that without Jesus there is no hope, but that with Him there is no end to hope, life and joy!!! He alone came that we might have life—real life—abundant life! He said so Himself!
“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.” John 10:10
Real life is only found in Jesus. Anything else is an imitation of life from the thief, the enemy of your soul (that we mentioned last week). His desire is to steal, to kill and to destroy, but Jesus can and will give you “abundant” life! Yet belonging to Jesus doesn’t mean the war is over, but it does mean that we can be victorious in the conflict. But we must maintain our vigil, because we still have an enemy who wants to distract us and rob us of our effectiveness and value to God’s kingdom work. And this is a serious issue that we often neglect to address, but James nails it to the wall for us. We need to consider what James warns us about:
“From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
2 Ye lust, and have not:
ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain:
ye fight and war,
yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
3 Ye ask, and receive not,
because ye ask amiss,
that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses,
know ye not that the friendship of the world
is enmity with God?
will be a friend of the world
is the enemy of God.
5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain,
The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
6 But he giveth more grace.
Wherefore he saith,
God resisteth the proud,
but giveth grace unto the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God.
Resist the devil,
and he will flee from you.
8 Draw nigh to God,
and he will draw nigh to you.
Cleanse your hands, ye sinners;
and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
9 Be afflicted,
let your laughter be turned to mourning,
and your joy to heaviness.
10 Humble yourselves
in the sight of the Lord,
and he shall lift you up.” James 4:1-10
We can walk in holiness and righteousness because of HIM, and HIS redeeming work, which has given us “NEW LIFE” –a new life that should be evident in all our ways; or we can be an “adulterer” before the God that we claim to love and serve! Are you willing to “Humble yourselves” before God, or would you rather stand on your own flesh and its merits? It’s your choice, but choose well.
When we truly belong to Jesus, He is always working in us with His purpose in mind. The question we must ask is “Am I cooperating with His work and walking in the Spirit, or am I constantly running from, and wrestling with God?” Do I have to learn everything the “hard way”? Is my confidence in Jesus? When my confidence is in Him, my life can be ordered by Him.
“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” Psalm 119:133
And be sure, God knows those who are His:
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:19
“For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off. 23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. 24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.” Psalm 37:22-24
And if God knows, how ought we to live? First we must be sure we are God’s own, and then seek His face and His will in all our steps. And often that means we refrain from some behaviors.
“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil…….Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21, 22 & 24
And praise God we don’t ever have to do this alone, yet we are expected to continually consider our ways.
“Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” 2 Peter 3:14
We can have confidence in the one who is working for our good, because He is always with us–always:
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13:5-6
So the question isn’t “Is God faithful?”; but rather do you belong to Him. Have you bowed your knee before Jesus Christ in repentance and faith? Or are you counting on something YOU have done to make you right with God? Remember what we said earlier:
“The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity”.
So the main question that we all need to ask and come to grips with is, “Do I belong to Jesus?”. If you say so, where is your evidence? Are you living in accordance with the Spirit of God and the Word of God. Are you claiming a relationship that God doesn’t recognize. It’s a question of eternal import. One that Jesus states clearly!
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:20-27
The question isn’t what do you claim, but who do you possess? Your ‘house’ may look just like the real thing to others, but God knows the foundation that you have chosen to build upon, is it the “Rock Of Ages”, or “Sinking Sand”? If you are on the rock—you will stand with HIM!!! For those who are in Christ Jesus have this grand assurance:
“As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:36-39
Are YOU in HIM? I’m praying! May God open your eyes to see Him!!!