Presumption is dangerous, especially in relation to Spiritual matters. However, there is a basis for a very blessed assurance. It is presumption for a person to think that he or she is saved because they agreed with a set of Biblical facts and yet have not experienced a corresponding change in their lives. Jesus said, in Matthew 7:21, "Not every one that sayeth unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who doeth the will of My Father, Who is in Heaven." He is further quoted in Luke 6:46 as asking this sobering question, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" No wonder we are instructed to "…..give diligence to make our calling and election sure…." (From II Peter 1:10). In the opening verses of this chapter, Peter, writing under inspiration, gives us what amounts to evidence that our calling and election is sure. When our lives are growing in the virtues listed in Verses 5-8, we have a basis for assurance. Spiritual fruit is inevitable when there has been a genuine conversion. It may be in varying amounts or in slower development but fruit there will be! Romans 10:10 informs us that "…with the heart man believeth unto righteousness…." Ephesians 2 reinforces this Truth, in verse 10, with this excerpt: "created…unto good works…." It is believed by too many people that you have to do good to be saved, when the reality is that when you are saved you will do good. Let's not get the cart before the horse! Selah! How scary is the possibility that you could go through a big part of your life assuming you are saved and end up lost because there is no evidence that you submitted to His Lordship?! Ron
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Imagine that you are the most powerful and popular person on the planet. Add to that that you are extremely brilliant. Next, add to the mix that you have more money than you could spend in ten lifetimes.You have lovely mansions in many countries. You are admired and respected by famous people all over the earth. You will leave a legacy that will enrich your world. People will study and read about you for years to come. Your life will be a role model for each new generation. Now, let's put it on a different level. You are a good parent, spouse, son, daughter, whatever. You are loved and respected by your family. You have a nice home, car, job, etc. You are moral and upright, a model citizen. You pay your bills. You have laid aside a good amount of money for your future. You attend church regularly and give generously, as well as serve. You are honored with prestigious degrees from big name schools. Your health is good. You are courteous and pleasant to others. In either scenario, what's missing? Suppose that either or both of these hypothetical individuals have not received the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. They die! What then? Jesus asked a question, found in Matthew 16:26, that should haunt anyone who has never come to Him for salvation. "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul…?" Indeed, how awful to be great and/or good all your life and end up lost forever! No matter how good or bad one is, imagine being lost forever! Selah! Are we doing anything to cause people to think seriously about this haunting question? Ron
Israel had times of favor from God and then times of moral and Spiritual failure. The Church has had times of great blessing because of revival and then times when it has lapsed into worldliness and/or Laodicean slumber. Individual Christians have had times of great closeness to God and times of what we call "backsliding" and/or lukewarmness. Why this pattern of "ups and downs?" I believe the answer is found in these challenging words from Hebrews 2:1. "Therefore, we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip." Picture a river flowing swiftly along. You are standing on the dock of your riverside home. Your boat has been tied to the dock but not very securely. A strong current breaks the rope and your boat has begun slipping away. Your boat was, some time ago, well tied but conditions have worn down the strength of the rope and you have been too busy, too preoccupied to notice. You have let it "slip away." We start out with excitement and give a good amount of time to the things of God. It seems as if we can't get enough of God, His Word, prayer, church attendance, witnessing, preaching, etc. However, over time, subtle distractions divert our minds and hearts from what really matters and little by little our hold on Spiritual realities weakens, and we lose our grip on them and they start to slip from our grasp. Could this be happening now in someone's life? Grab hold of the things that count. Reorder your priorities. If you move decisively, you may not suffer serious loss of God's richest blessings. Selah! Strengthen your hold and resist distractions. They don't come your way by accident. Ron
"How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation…?" (From Hebrews 2:3). Many Christians have assumed that this verse relates to failing to receive salvation. While that might be a possible application, the basic interpretation has to do with those who have been saved but are neglecting to grow spiritually. How can they escape? Escape what? I suggest that we can't escape great loss if we neglect so great salvation. We lose the joy of rich, intimate involvement with our Lord. We lose the comfort of the Scriptures. We lose God's power operating in and through us. We miss the discovery of precious gems of Truth. We lose peace that would sustain us under pressure. We will likely lose assurance of our salvation. (We won't lose salvation but we may not be sure we ever had it). These are a sampling of what we lose. Therefore, we need to consider what it means to neglect so great salvation. We can do this many ways. One way is not spending time talking with God (i.e; prayer). Another way is not listening to Him (i.e; reading His Word). Still another way is failing to count your blessings. Appreciating your blessings motivates praise and gratitude which, in turn, brings more blessing to you. A further way to lose out is the loss of rewards that God wants to give us. I think you get the idea. Selah! There is no experience on earth that compares with that of living with a consciousness of His approving Presence, during each day of our journey to Home! Ron
I am more convinced than ever before that the typical experience of too many who claim to be Christians just doesn't "cut it" for themselves or for others. Why is it that many Christians generate little, if any, excitement and enthusiasm over their being saved? There are many possible answers to this question. Most would probably be helpful. I would like to give what I consider the "bottom line" answer to be. Those who profess to be Christians have never had a genuine conversion, or they have had a true conversion but have not yet come to grips with the wonder of it. As I have pointed out in previous articles, it is easy to assume that agreement with certain basic salvation Truths means that anyone who believes these facts is saved. No, that might be a starting point but, if this faith is not acted on, it is a faulty faith. Biblical faith involves a surrender of our lives to the One we trust and a commitment to cultivate our relationship with Him. This can not be done by trying to "tuck Him in" to our busy days. A fierce faithfulness demands that He be the center of each day's activities and responsibilities. It means that we will relate to Him with an intensity of purpose to know Him better and better. We will take the time and make the effort to talk with Him, listen to Him, and obey Him! We will invest time and energy to understand the magnitude of what His grace and mercy have accomplished in our lives. The more we understand, the more excited and exciting we will become. Selah! An increasing and fervent faith is contagious! Ron
"For to me to live is Christ…" "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection…." (From Ephesians 1:21; 3:10).
The two words "sterile" and "Christianity" do not go together! However, what some call Christianity may be very sterile indeed. If we consider ourselves to be Christians, is our lifestyle any different from the general population? Is it possible, is it acceptable, for someone who doesn't know the Lord to be more passionate about their purpose in life than we are about our relationship with Jesus? I realize temperament has a bearing on the way we respond to life. Nevertheless, a quiet, passive, matter of fact person would, I suspect, get excited if he or she became aware of a bomb coming toward them. Maybe we have never felt the impact of a dynamic consciousness of God's Person at work in and through us. If so, why not? How much priority have we given to the cultivation of an intimate relationship with Almighty God? Is there anything competing with God for our attention and time? Do we allow anything to do that? How can we interest anybody in a Christianity about which we are "ho hum?" Was it not the fervency of the disciples after the resurrection, and the burning heart of the Apostle Paul that ignited the flames of evangelism? Isn't it time to draw near to Him and let the white-hot heat of His holiness set our hearts on fire? Even as I compose these lines, I feel conviction for living below the standard of an "all out" commitment. My heart is challenged to renew and intensify my determination for Him to be the consuming passion of my remaining time on earth. Perhaps you feel the same. If so, let's follow our hearts! Selah! Hearts on fire will ignite fire in other hearts! Ron
"….tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem (for us, in God's Presence) until ye be endued with power from on high." (From Luke 24:49). When He sets your heart on fire, spread the flame!
"Sound bites" have become a normal part of our lives, these days. While at times they have a useful role to play, they all too often lead to mental laziness. This is bad for the general population. We accept too much information as being true, because we are too busy or too mentally lazy to check. Besides, if it comes from one of the major networks, it must be basically reliable. Right? Wrong! It can be out of context, it could be misinformation, accidentally or on purpose. It may reflect the bias of the source of its origin. It's an understatement to say that we need to be careful what we assume. A similar and deadly error is found among genuine Christians. Are we to automatically accept as true all that is said from the pulpit? Some, evidently, think we can or should. Now, lest someone think that I am faulting Godly Pastors, I am not! Most of what a true man of God preaches can be trusted. However, he is a human being and he might assume something without carefully checking it out. He might share something from where he was trained but his teacher(s) could be off track. They are human too. What I am driving at is that we have a responsibility to study and check the Biblical content of a sermon or Bible Study in order to be sure that what is taught is correct. The Apostle Paul commended the Bereans because "….with all readiness of mind, (they)..searched the Scriptures daily whether these things were so (true; correct)." (From Acts 17:11). A disciple will discipline himself to "Study to show thyself (himself) approved unto God…." (From II Timothy 2:15). Selah! Don't let anyone do your thinking for you! Use your God-given mind to good advantage! Ron
An interesting question comes to mind. Would New Testament believers use modern methods to share the Gospel? Keep in mind that some methods they used would be modern during their period of time. I think the answer to the question is that they would have used them, if they were not in violation of Scripture. However, they would not have relied on the methods! They would have relied on the Holy Spirit's Presence and power! "….they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness." (From Acts 5:31). What about today? Is the reality of the Holy Spirit's power just academic to us? Have we reversed the order? Do we try methods and programs to interest people and then ask the Holy Spirit to bless our ideas, thinking this might draw some to come under the sound of the Gospel? I wonder! What would happen if we scrapped all methods, schemes, and programs and gave ourselves to prayer, fasting, and to having a heart burden for lost people? I speak to myself, as well as to any who read and think about this. Is God waiting to, "….shew Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him….? (From II Chronicles 16:9). Am I suggesting that we should use no modern methods? No, use them, as long as they aren't out of harmony with Biblical principles and we rely on God and not methods! Selah! If we have to choose between God and methods, forget the methods. God is still mighty! Ron
"(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God…." (From II Corinthians 10:4) Our greatest weapon is the Holy Spirit's use of His Sword in us and through us!
The Old Testament High Priest, the man God allowed to represent the entire nation, could only enter The Holy of Holies once a year. He could only enter after elaborate preparation. If he violated any of God's instructions, it would mean death. Why was God so strict? Because He is holy and He can't tolerate any sin in His Presence. The Old Testament High priest offered sacrifices for himself and for the people. He had sin, as did they. Christ had no sin at all, so He could go into the Father's Presence, into the Holiest of all, without restrictions. The wonder doesn't stop there. Since all of us who have received Him, as Lord and Savior, are credited with His infinite righteousness, this gives us this glorious freedom to go into the Father's Presence, anytime, and stay with Him as long as we want to be there. Truly, Calvary covers it all! If we could only grasp it, being alone with God is a little glimpse of Heaven, while we are still on earth. Love Him, praise Him, enjoy Him, converse with Him, honor Him, thank Him.
"Sitting at the feet of Jesus, where can mortal be more blest?There I lay my sins and sorrows and, when weary, find sweet rest. Sitting at the feet of Jesus, there I love to weep and pray, while I from His fullness gather grace and comfort every day." (J.H.).
Selah! God is always there in the quiet place. He looks forward to having you come and spend some time with Him. Ron
"Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us…." (From Hebrews 10:19-20).