Choose Boldness & Endurance

Choose Boldness & Endurance

If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.  If we deny Him, He also will deny us.  (2 Tim 2:12)  We must sustain our faith throughout our lifetimes, and when we do, the Lord promises that we will one day reign with Him.

But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.  (Mt 10:33)  Let us be watchful that we never—in any way—deny the Good News of Jesus Christ.  It takes the grace of God to boldly and persistently pursue a life of faith in Jesus.

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.  (Lk 9:26)

To deny Christ means to reject Him and His claim to be the Son of God and savior of all those who believe in Him.  This denial is a life-long denial, where there is no repentance and no acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ.  To those whose lives deny the Lord, the Lord will also say to them one day, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” as we read in Matthew 7:23.    (Source:  http://answersfromthebook.net/jesus-said-that-if-you-deny-him-before-men-that-he-will-deny-you-before-his-father-peter-denied-the-lord-does-this-mean-that-jesus-will-now-deny-peter-before-his-father)

We need to be bold and brave in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We aren’t all called to be preachers, pastors, missionaries, or evangelists, but we are ALL called to let our light shine in a dark and pain-filled world.  One way to do that is through good works that bring glory to God.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  (Mt 5:14-16)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  (Rom 1:16)

Each one of us can be courageous in living our life as a follower and servant of Jesus Christ.  We may do that quietly and without fanfare, but all who know us should perceive that we have been with Jesus.  (See Acts 4:13) 

For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.  (Rev 19:10, emphasis added)

Another way to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel is through telling others about our own, personal testimonies of God’s goodness to each of us, and of His miracles and wonders.

Justified by Faith

Justified by Faith

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are justified (made righteous) through faith in Jesus Christ alone—not by works. 

Here’s what the Bible has to say about justification:

. . . knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.  (Gal 2:16)

Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  (Gal 3:24)

. . . and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith . . .  (Phil 3:9)

Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.  (Ac 13:38-39, underscoring added)

Even the faith which we have is a gift from God according to Ephesians 2:8.  So we cannot boast in our faith, because the faith in which we operate is a gift of God.  So, am I saying that good works have no place in the believer’s life?  No!  Of course not, but let us appreciate and thank God for His precious gift of salvation and the justification that is included in it.

Yes, there is a place for good works.  According to Ephesians 2:10, we were created in Christ Jesus to do good works.  Titus 3:8 reminds us to maintain good works because they are good and profitable to all people.

So, in our walk of faith let us recognize that we need to feed and strengthen our faith by reading the Word, and we need to maintain good works, as well.  With such behavior as this, God is well pleased.

Guard Your Fellowship

Guard Your Fellowship

What is fellowship?  Genuine fellowship indicates a communion or spiritual union between like-minded and like-hearted people.  For a believer, our deepest fellowship can only take place with Christians who are as committed to the Lord and as mature in their walk of faith as we are.  How can light ever cooperate with darkness?

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  (2 Cor 6:14 NIV)

Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  (Jas 4:4)  Don’t be so committed to friendships with unbelievers that you become lukewarm in your faith. Don’t learn to love the world’s ways.

Do not gather my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men, 10 in whose hands is a sinister scheme, and whose right hand is full of bribes.  (Ps 26:9-10)  Unbelievers may want to engage in behavior or activities in which no Christian would take part.

But they mingled with the Gentiles [nations] and learned their works . . .  (Ps 106:35) Associating with unbelievers can teach us habits which are not pleasing to the Lord, or may even lead us into an area of temptation.

I am a companion of all who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts.  (Ps 119:63)  Rather, it is far better for us and for our friends if we are both Christians and brothers/sisters in the Lord.  Because we believe God’s Word and we choose to obey His Word and His Spirit, we can encourage one another in faith and in good works.

This article is not teaching against evangelism by any means.  If you develop a friendship with someone in order to share your testimony with them, then you have embarked upon a holy purpose.  But if the person doesn’t accept the Lord as their Savior, then one might consider changing the status of that relationship to an acquaintance.  It would be appropriate to continue, in a spirit of love, to share unfolding testimonies with the person, or to invite them to church-related events where they would be exposed to other believers and opportunities to hear the Gospel. 

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. 20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned.  (Eph 4:17-20 NIV)  The fact is that unsaved people, no matter how nice they are or how much fun they may be, have no sensitivity to the spiritual realm or to the Spirit of God.  They are darkened in their understanding of spiritual things because spiritual things are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor 2:14)

True fellowship walks in the light as He is in the light.  (1 Joh 1:5-7)

Eternal Salvation

Eternal Salvation

And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him . . . (Heb 5:9)

Jesus Christ has purchased our eternal salvation, and there is ample testimony to this truth in the Scriptures.

This one who is life from God has been shown to us, and we guarantee that we have seen him; I am speaking of Christ, who is eternal Life. He was with the Father and then was shown to us.  (1 Joh 1:2 TLB)

Jesus has been shown to the whole world as our Redeemer and Savior.  He said about Himself that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  (Joh 14:6)  Faith in Him is the way to reconciliation and peace with God, our Father.

For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.  (1 Cor 6:20)

The price given for our salvation was Jesus’ life, suffering, death, and resurrection.  Jesus paid that price, and for this we give glory to God!  We are literally called to glorify God through our lives and how we spend our lives in His service.

. . . who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.  (Tit 2:14)

The Lord desires for us to be fervent and intense about performing good works.  What exactly are “good works” according to the Scriptures?  Good works are such things as:  feeding the poor; visiting prisoners; helping the homeless; preaching the Gospel; ministering to widows and orphans; etc.  With so many families fractured by living in different states and by relational hurts, these things are very necessary in these days.

. . . knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.   (1 Pet 1:18-19)

Honor the Lord by realizing the importance and value of the gift of salvation that Jesus paid for with His own, precious blood.

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world . . .  (Mt 25:34)

Bear Fruit to God

Bear Fruit to God

Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to anotherto Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.  (Rom 7:4, emphasis added)

When we were born again as a result of accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we became a new creation.  (2 Cor 5:17)  As a new creation, each one of us has been given a unique combination of gifts and talents to serve the kingdom of God.  Each one of us has been uniquely designed to bear fruit!

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.  (Joh 15:8)

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”  (John 15:1-2)

Our Father rejoices when we bear fruit!  He is the Vinedresser who takes special care to cleanse and prune those who bring fruit, specifically so that they can bring more fruit.  The Lord wants us to bear fruit to our full potential.  As you know, the Lord doesn’t want any lukewarm followers. 

We need to be passionately following Jesus—wanting to change as the Holy Spirit leads us and desiring to bear abundant fruit unto God.  How may we bear fruit to God?

Here are some ideas:

  • One type of fruit is a changed character [in us] due to the operation of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-25)
  • Walk in what God has already prepared for you by doing good works (Eph 2:10)
  • Be watchful in prayer; love one another; be hospitable without grumbling; and as we have received gifts, we should minister them to one another (1 Pet 4:7-11)

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing….”By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”  (John 15:4-5, 8)

We need to abide in Christ—to be aware of His presence in our lives moment by moment.  Not one of us can bear fruit without the Lord, but as we abide in Him, we will bear fruit because the Word of God says so.  As we bear fruit, the Lord receives glory and thus, we validate that we are indeed Christ’s disciples.  Have a blessed day!

Set Apart

Set Apart

But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself:  the Lord will hear when I call unto Him.  (Ps 4:3 KJV)  We have been “set apart” by God.

Moreover, when you divide the land by lot into inheritance, you shall set apart a district for the Lord, a holy section of the land; its length shall be twenty-five thousand cubits, and the width ten thousand. It shall be holy throughout its territory all around.  (Ezek 45:1)  God instructed the Israelites to “set apart” land for Him that would be considered holy.  In present times, we believers have become His dwelling place—the “land” set apart for God!  (1 Cor 3:16, 17; 6:19)

What does it mean to be set apart for God? 

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light . . . (1 Pet 2:9)

It means that we who have accepted Jesus as our Savior are God’s special people, and we are called to proclaim His praises and His good news of salvation to all people, everywhere.  We are Christ’s ambassadors on the earth.  (2 Cor 5:20)

He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.  (Ps 121:3)  This is a promise of God to His chosen people—those who are set apart for Him.  Every promise in the Bible is for us!  These promises are our inheritance. (Ps 119:111)

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.  (2 Cor 7:1)  We who have Jesus as our Savior—and are set apart—are called to holiness.  (1 Pet 1:15, 16)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  (Eph 2:10)  What constitutes “good works”?  Good works are actions which are pleasing to the Lord.  Because we have accepted Jesus as our Savior (we are set apart), He becomes the origin or source of our actions.  Christ is the root cause of everything, and good works are the fruit!

In conclusion, we are set apart as special to God.  Because we are, we walk in holiness and good works to the glory of God.

The Work of God

The Work of God

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this:  to believe on the One He has sent.”  (John 6:29)  This is the “work” to which each believer is called.

I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.  (John 17:4)  Here, Jesus refers to His own work on earth:  that of redeeming mankind back to His Father.  Jesus had work to DO

We, believers, on the other hand, have something to believe—that is our work.  There is nothing for us to DO except to obey John 6:29.  What we need to DO is to rest upon the finished work of Jesus Christ, our Savior, as we live our lives daily. 

As we rest in His finished work, we will have a desire to perform good works and to obey the Holy Bible.  We will want to represent Christ accurately upon this earth.  (see 2 Cor 5:20)  He is loving, merciful, and welcoming.  He is a wonder-working, miracle-working God.

As we abide in Christ, we will perform signs and wondersAnd as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.  (Mat 10:7-8)

Let’s perform our work cheerfully each day, friend!