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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 13 No. 18   Talking Or Taking???


I’m sure you’re wondering about the title today, but it’s one that came to me the other day, and I want to share it with you today.  Being from the Gulf Coast, I love the water and enjoy spending time at the shore—or any body of water; and if you’ve been around the water very much you are familiar with life-jackets, the devices worn when in the boat, or just around the water by non-swimmers.  There are also life-preservers on large ships of all kinds, the ones that the candy is named for (you know the little lifesavers candy rolls), and a unique thing that I’ve observed about both life-jackets and life-preservers, is that when they are needed, the person needing to be rescued (or kept safe before-hand) doesn’t ‘talk’ to the object, but he eagerly and gratefully puts it on for life!  Well, my friends, it’s the same way with Jesus; you can talk about Him all day, you can attend every church service in your town, you can walk a hundred aisles, and be baptized a dozen times, but just talking “about” Jesus and doing seemingly “religious” things isn’t enough—it’s not about talk, it’s possession, salvation and transformation that are the evidence that we belong to Jesus—we have been made one with HIM.  So, let’s peruse a few passages from God’s Word to learn what we can.  Oh, to be One with HIM—not just a talker but a taker—having taken God’s gift of salvation—Jesus!

That they all may be one;

as thou, Father,

art in me,

and I in thee,

that they also may be one

in us:

 that the world may believe

that thou hast sent me.”  John 17:21

Wherefore the Lord said,

Forasmuch as this people draw near me

with their mouth,

and with their lips

do honour me,

but have removed their heart

far from me,

 and their fear toward me

is taught by the precept of men:

14 Therefore, behold,

I will proceed to do a marvellous work

among this people,

even a marvellous work

and a wonder:

for the wisdom of their wise men

shall perish,

and the understanding of their prudent men

shall be hid.

15 Woe unto them

that seek deep to hide their counsel

from the LORD,

and their works

are in the dark,

and they say,

Who seeth us?

and who knoweth us?”  Isaiah 29:13-15

God identified the problem of Isaiah’s day—one much the same as in our day—that the people talked a great ‘talk’, but they didn’t truly know the God whom they “professed”!  As we sometimes here today in regard to “walking the walk, not just talking the talk”!  Jesus encountered this same kind of thing among the religious leaders of his day.

Art thou greater

than our father Abraham,

which is dead?

and the prophets

are dead:

whom makest thou thyself?

54 Jesus answered,

If I honour myself,

my honour is nothing:

it is my Father

that honoureth me;

of whom ye say,

that he is your God:

 55 Yet ye have not known him;

but I know him:

and if I should say, I know him not,

I shall be a liar

like unto you:

but I know him,

and keep his saying.

56 Your father Abraham

rejoiced to see my day:

and he saw it,

and was glad.”   John 8:53-56

Yet Jesus also talked about the cost of following Him, and the cost isn’t just in words!  Saying so doesn’t make it so; but taking hold of that ‘life-preserver’ and clinging to it for salvation, deliverance from sin’s penalty, and the “joy of The Lord” which is our strength is more than amazing; and well worth the price!

Then said Jesus unto his disciples,

If any man will come after me,

let him deny himself,

and take up his cross,

and follow me.

25 For whosoever will save his life

shall lose it:

and whosoever will lose his life

for my sake

shall find it.

26 For what is a man profited,

if he shall gain the whole world,

and lose his own soul?

or what shall a man give

in exchange for his soul?

27 For the Son of man shall come

in the glory of his Father

with his angels;

and then he shall reward

every man

according to his works.”    Matthew 16:24-27

Jesus makes it clear that when we come to Him in repentance and faith (knowing that I am a sinner, and I can’t fix it, and believing that Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection have paid the price for my sin—believing it and knowing HE IS the only “life-preserver” worth clinging to for eternal, abundant “life”!) we are to take up HIS cross daily—identify with HIM, and who He is—

God in the flesh—

The Son of Man—

The Son of God—

The Savior of the world—

The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world—

The Way, The Truth, The Life

And while we could go on, I want us to see is that just talking about Jesus, going to church, or any other thing that we think can make us right with God isn’t what salvation is.  Faith in Jesus alone, in His sacrifice, will make us right with God. Jesus actually refers to those who only ‘say so’ without possessing Jesus/being possessed of HIM!

Enter ye in at the strait gate:

for wide is the gate,

and broad is the way,

that leadeth to destruction,

and many there be

which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate,

and narrow is the way,

which leadeth unto life,

and few there be

that find it.

15 Beware of false prophets,

which come to you in sheep’s clothing,

 but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16 Ye shall know them

by their fruits.

Do men gather grapes of thorns,

or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree

bringeth forth good fruit;

but a corrupt tree

bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree

cannot bring forth evil fruit,

neither can a corrupt tree

bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit

is hewn down,

and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits

ye shall know them.”  Matthew 7:13-20

Jesus said “we” would know people by their actions, but He didn’t say we’d always be right; yet God is always right–the ultimate judge; and even when people misjudge, God always knows truth—The Truth, Jesus, and what we—you and I– have done with HIM!!  As Jesus told the disciples in John 14:6:

Jesus saith unto him,

I am the way,

the truth,

and the life:

no man cometh unto the Father,

but by me.

Jesus IS the only real life-preserver, so let’s go back to Matthew 7; Jesus makes it clear that being HIS child is more than ‘talk’, and being HIS follower, HIS very own, will become evident.  He does know His own.  How about you?

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

21 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.”  Matthew 7:13-21

We need to understand that God’s way isn’t our way—Jesus IS the only way to God, because HE was, is and always has been God’s perfect provision for our salvation!  Only Jesus—only, ever!

Father, I will that they also,

whom thou hast given me,

be with me where I am;

that they may behold my glory,

which thou hast given me:

for thou lovedst me

before the foundation of the world.

25 O righteous Father,

the world hath not known thee:

 but I have known thee,

and these have known

that thou hast sent me.” John 17:24-25

Paul writes:

Blessed be the God and Father

of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who hath blessed us

with all spiritual blessings

in heavenly places

in Christ:

4 According as he hath chosen us

in him

before the foundation of the world,

that we should be holy

and without blame

before him in love:”    Ephesians 1:3-4

Peter also gave us another reminder of HIS eternal being.

Forasmuch as ye know

that ye were not redeemed

with corruptible things,

as silver and gold,

from your vain conversation

received by tradition

from your fathers;

19 But with the precious blood of Christ,

as of a lamb without blemish

and without spot:

20 Who verily was foreordained

before the foundation of the world,

but was manifest

in these last times

for you,

21 Who by him do believe in God,

that raised him up

from the dead,

and gave him glory;

that your faith

and hope

might be in God.”   1 Peter 1:18-21

I don’t want to hear “I never knew you” from The Lord Jesus!  How about you?  Jesus said that He ‘never’ knew them; not He knew them and forgot, or that He knew them, but they slipped, or even that He knew them, and they missed the boat; but Jesus clearly declared that He “never knew them!  These who boasted of what “they” had done for Jesus, not one word of what HE had done through them (much like the name it-claim it folks who say if we _____, then God must____! NOT then, not now!)  Are you just talking about Jesus or are you being a reflection of HIS glory in you—the presence of HIS precious Holy Spirit in us—Jesus has given to us “peace with God”, that which HE bought with His own blood!  What are you clinging to?  The blood of Jesus, or your own ways?  Are you just talking about Jesus, or are you truly clinging to Him in total trust and dependence for every step of the way?

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

..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.

7 For scarcely for a righteous man

will one die:

yet peradventure for a good man

some would even dare to die.

8 But God commendeth his love

toward us,

in that, while we were yet sinners,

Christ died for us.”    Romans 5:1-2 & 5-8

All because Jesus loves you and me!  I implore you to join me in clinging to the One who loves you and gave Himself for you and me.  If you don’t know Him, I invite you to call upon Him today.  If you do know HIM, then I invite you to join me in seeking HIS face in all our ways.  Are you talking about Him or taking Him unto yourself? (Or in other words, do you talk about HIM or to HIM?)

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

Amen and Amen!