Friday, August 12, 2022

Webinar--ASSURANCE OF SALVATION

 GOD’S LOVE: (Who He is)

·       WE NEED THIS ASSURANCE: Ephesians 3:19 …know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

·       John 12:23–25 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it…

·       Romans 5:8–10 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.

·       John 3:14–16 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

·       John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

o   IT’S A GIFT: Ephesians 2:8–9  by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

HE RECEIVES ALL WHO COME TO HIM

·       Romans 10:12-13  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.  For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21) 

·       Jeremiah 3:12–13 “Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, ‘Return, faithless Israel, declares the LORD. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the LORD; I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the LORD your God and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice,’ declares the LORD”.

·       Isaiah 55:1 “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”

·       John 7:37–38 “Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

·       Matthew 11:28–30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

·       Isaiah 57:15 For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.

·       Ps 34:18–19 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.

THE NATURAL MAN DOES NOT COME:

·       Romans 3:10-16 As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; 11There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one." 13"Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit"; "The poison of asps is under their lips"; 14"Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." 15"Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways;

·       1 Cor. 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

·       John 3:19-20 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 

·       Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

·       SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS: BE ALERT! Luke 18:9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt.

o   Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

THE ROLE OF OBEDIENCE:

·           1 John 2:4 The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 

·           John 15:14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

·       Matthew 7:15–16 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

·       1 John 1:8–9 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

DOUBTS: (Stop looking at yourself for reassurance!)

  • DO I HAVE ENOUGH FAITH: Hebrews 11:29  By faith the people [of Israel] crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.

o   SARAH: Hebrews 11:11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.

  • AM I OBEDIENT ENOUGH? 1 Timothy 1:15-16 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.  But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

·       AM I RIGHTEOUS ENOUGH? 2 Peter 2:7–8  …if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);

·       AM I WORTHY ENOUGH? 2 Chronicles 33:12–13 And when [Manasseh] was in distress, he entreated the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom.

WE MUST REASSURE OURSELVES: 

  • : 1 John 3:19-23 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him 20in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. 21Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. 23This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.

o   1 John 4:15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

o   1 John 5:1-2 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.

  • A CHANGED LIFE IS THE FRUIT OF THE GIFT OF FAITH: 1 John 2:3-6 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

  • ASSURANCE GIVES US CONFIDENCE: 1 John 4:16-18…God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

·       John 10:27–29 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

I’M NOT GOING TO FALL AWAY. I WON’T ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN: (ES)

·       1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

·       INSTEAD: 1 Peter 1:4–5 …an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

·       WE PARTICIPATE IN OUR SALVATION BY GOD’S GRACE: Philippians 2:12–13…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

 

Thursday, August 11, 2022

SELF-CORRECTION AND GROWTH

 

Our emotions can lead us astray, but so too our worldview biases. To a great extent, we are what we think and believe. If we believe our mailman is trying to kill us, this one belief will affect everything—our thoughts, feelings, decisions, and even our lifestyle—and this is true of many of our beliefs.
 
Therefore, it is of utmost importance to think and believe accurately. It’s like driving a car. If our eyes do not give us accurate feedback, we will crash. However, correcting our thought-life is far more difficult.
 
How then can we see and evaluate our thoughts and emotions correctly? It’s like learning a new language. You first must learn its vocabulary and grammar. If you simply try to learn it on the street, you will make many embarrassing mistakes and acquaintances will eventually lose patience with you.
 
We require accurate instruments to guide and correct our misguided thoughts and feelings. One of the Kennedys had been navigating his plane during a cloudy night. It is reported that he had trusted his intuitive senses instead of the instruments on his panel and crashed.
 
I later learned that without resorting to the instruments on his dashboard, the pilot might not even be able to perceive if he is flying upside-down. This is the way we live our lives—blindly trusting in our thoughts and feelings without the correction of a trustworthy panel of instruments.
 
For the Christian, the Bible, as we are guided by the Holy Spirit, is our corrective. For example, I used to be governed by hatred. When I first reluctantly began going to church, and people greeted me at the door, I felt confident that they all were hypocrites. However, God began to show me that I was no better than anyone else, as I had wanted to believe, and that was painful and humbling. However, understand myself and my weaknesses opened my mental eyes and enabled me to begin to understand others better. I had to go through this painful process in order to feel and think more accurately.
 
We are the lens through which we see and understand all else. If our lens is clouded, so too our thoughts and feelings. What we think determines all else. Therefore, Jesus continues to sharpen our minds:

·       I made [You] known to them…and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:26)
 
To know God is to love Him and to become like Him. Returning to humility—the Bible teaches us that God’s thinking is so far above our own (Isaiah 55:8-9) that it is rational to distrust our thinking in favor of His:
 
·       Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7)
 
Consequently, I have had to learn to distrust my own evil thoughts and feelings in favor of His. Therefore, it is no longer difficult for me to understand that as our thought-life is corrected, so too the rest of our lives:
 
·       Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
 
Seeing the errors of my own ways and their consequences, I now only want His ways!

BORN TO WORSHIP



 

It seems that worship and service have been written into our DNA. Bob Dylan had written a song, "You Gotta Serve Someone," and it appears to be true.

 

We are devotees, some to gurus and others to rock stars. A video of Michael Jackson fans reveals adoration to-the-max, fans breaking through police lines to just get a glimpse of their god.

 

While some worship celebrities, others pursue self-worship. While some worship by pursuing autographs from their idols, the educated disdain these forms of worship in favor of the worship of SELF-attainments—university degrees, the acquisition of knowledge, money, power, influence, and the adoration of others.

 

Nevertheless, it seems that we are all in the worship business, but which form of worship is the most beneficial? Has our DNA been programmed to grant us a “survival advantage” through certain forms of worship? Well, what advantage do we accrue through self-worship or the worship of others? One breeds arrogance and eventual disappointment; the other breeds vulnerability to abuse.

 

However, the worship of the God of the Bible, trustingly and adoringly, is associated with many benefits—physically and mentally. This is the form of worship our DNA had in mind. As we trustingly adore God, He provides:

 

·       Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! (Psalm 37:3-7)

 

Real worship is obedient worship, the result of worship. It is faithful to its Savior, even when it only consists of confession and repentance. When we delight and commit ourselves to Him, He will provide. Jesus reiterated this principle in different words. He will provide us with everything we need, even if we have to wait for His provisions:

 

·       “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31-33)

 

To adoringly worship anything apart from God might yield immediate benefits, but it will end in disappointment, as it had for King Herod of Israel.

 

Emissaries had been sent to Israel in hope of buying grain from him. They knew how to get what they wanted from him. They praised him as a god. While it satisfied King Herod, it wasn’t worship that he would long enjoy:

 

·       And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last. (Acts 12:22-23)

 

Herod had evidently lived a “full life.” However, what he had worshipped eventually failed him.

 

In contrast, those who worship the God of Israel must undergo a regiment of painful refinement to prepare them for their eternal reward:

 

·       So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison…(2 Corinthians 4:16-17)

 

“Light momentary affliction?” It doesn’t feel this way, but from the vantage point of eternity, this world is only a temporary, though necessary, journey to receive our eternal glory and kingdom where worship and adoration of our Savior will become our daily feast.

 

Worship of the unseen God might feel like work rather than a privilege. However, for those who know the love of God, it is a delight, as it is for His Messiah:

·       And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. (Isaiah 11:3–5)

 

I look forward to the time when His righteousness shall prevail. However, I must admit that it is only after 46 years in the Lord that I now look forward to awaking so that I can worship my Savior. Serving Him has become my delight!