If God wanted to talk, would you listen?

“He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.”

‭‭John‬ ‭1:11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

We listen to so many narratives in life.  There’s no shortage of voices trying to get in on your internal conversation, trying to explain life, and define reality.  We give credence to scholars, philosophers, authors, gurus. Like the ancient Athenians, we love to listen to whatever seems new (Acts 17:21 NKJV).

But in our rush to hear the counsel of the multitude of voices, there’s a short circuit.  Jesus said, “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.”  But why?  Why are so many of us so quick to believe everyone else but God?  Why are we willing to stake the destiny of our lives on the words of so-called “teachers” – new age philosophers, business magnates, celebrities, and even those claiming to speak to the dead – and yet be unwilling to even hear out the God of the universe?  He does not just explain reality; in fact, He is supremely qualified to explain reality because He made reality.  And although much of what we blame God for is actually not part of His original plan, He can provide answers and perspective that no one else can.

Will you give Him the same opportunity you may be giving to an outspoken tv personality?

If God wanted to talk with you, would you listen?

“I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.”

‭‭John‬ ‭5:43‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;”

‭‭II Timothy‬ ‭4:3‬ ‭NKJV‬

“So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’…”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭13:27-28‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten.”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭9:5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

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The real date of Jesus’ birth

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:9-10, 14-15, 17, 21 NKJV

Have you ever said, “I’m not Jesus”?

Bless those who persecute you?  Bless and do not curse?  Don’t take vengeance?  Overcome evil with good?

Jesus blessed those who reviled Him, and even prayed that God would forgive those who murdered Him.  But can God really expect me to be like that?  After all, its true: I’m not Jesus. Neither are you.

Much is made over the exact date of Jesus’ birth.  But the most important thing isn’t when He was born, but that He was born.

And because of His birth, today can be your Nativity.

No, you’re not Jesus. 

But is Christ in you? 

Are you crucified with Christ?  Can you say that Jesus Christ now lives His life in and through you, and that you no longer live?

Although you’re not Jesus, Jesus Christ can be born in you today. 

Today can be your Nativity.

These words are like water to a thirsty soul this morning

As you read the promises, remember they are the expression of unutterable love and pity. The great heart of Infinite Love is drawn toward the sinner with boundless compassion. “We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Ephesians 1:7. Yes, only believe that God is your helper. He wants to restore His moral image in man. As you draw near to Him with confession and repentance, He will draw near to you with mercy and forgiveness. Steps to Christ,  pg 55

Why people don’t give Jesus a chance

No one has ever proven their love for you more profoundly and completely than the Son of God. Maybe you don’t want to open your heart to Jesus because you fear that if you really contemplated who He is, and what He’s done for you, you’d fall in love with Him.  That has been my experience, and I highly recommend it.

Romans 2:4 NASB

Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

John 12:32 NASB

“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”

Don’t hate yourself because of your sin.

Don’t hate yourself for your sin. You are a sinner, but God valued who you are so much that He died so He could redeem you and work in your life. He knew you would make mistakes, but He didn’t choose to throw you away.  He wants to SAVE you, and save the parts of you that truly define the real you (which is NOT your sinfulness).  There are things about you that make you truly unique and special, apart from the mistakes you’ve made, and THOSE are the things that make God so CRAZY ABOUT YOU.  Those are the reasons He said, “I just can’t give you up.”  He knows He can HEAL your sin and brokenness and TRANSFORM you into that person that you so desperately long to be.

Jesus loves you so much, just as you are. Come to His feet in your heart, right now.

Do you really not need Jesus?

It’s hard for me to imagine how some people just don’t seem to desire a relationship with God. You feel happy about being a husband, a father, you take joy out of life without sensing any greater calling for your life. It’s interesting that you don’t desire the presence of God in your heart, and yet you couldn’t continue to be alive if He withdrew his power from your organism, for by His intentional and constant power all existence holds together. It’s funny that you could derive a sense of happiness and meaning from an otherwise godless life from the joy of being with other human beings and having, raising and loving children, when it is by God’s design that human life, and procreation, are possible. He is the inventor of marriage, the original Creator. The triune God is also the original social being.

You were made in His image – social, gifted with the capacity for pro-creating and loving and making your dreams and plans a reality (within certain bounds). You were made by Him. You exist as the precise individual that you are, only because before you came to be, He imagined you in his heart, He envisioned your face in His mind’s eye, He said, “Let there be you.”

So you get busy making a life for yourself and you make it as full and enjoyable as possible. But why don’t you recognize what has been made evident to you, that there is something more? In disregarding God, you’re disregarding not only the hand that feeds you, but the hand that made you, the mind that saw you before you existed and wanted you, the Person that willed you into existence; the heart that loved you aeons before you came to be; the arms that long to hold you even as you run from them; the soul that gave it’s life for you, before you could even be alive to appreciate it, in the hopes that one day you would choose to reciprocate His love, and accept His invitation to belong to Him forever.

How can anyone not seek to truly know the answer to the question, “Who is Jesus, really?”

It’s easy to think of talk of Jesus as empty. You could say, “Christians are silly little people who don’t have the strength of character to face reality.” But what if you’re wrong? What if the devotion of millions to a Savior they’ve never laid eyes on stems not from foolish denial, but from the gratitude of a healed heart? What if He really did die for you? What if He really lives now, and will truly one day assume the throne of the entire universe and reign over all existence, and you rejected Him when He offered you His hand in friendship? What place will there be for you in that everlasting kingdom, the only one that really matters?

I’m just asking.

Rebuttal: “Does the Bible Teach Eternal Security…?”

 

Grafting of olive tree (Olea europaea) Mallorca.

Image via Wikipedia

 

I came across a blog post promoting the concept of eternal security, or “once saved, always saved,” and I wanted to share my response with our readers. I gave other biblical evidence to support what I believe to be the true biblical position on this topic here.

I think a lot of the verses you mentioned do indicate that a person must abide in Christ in order to remain saved. Just as entering into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ requires a choice on our part to give our hearts and lives to Him, each day we must choose to remain in that relationship much the way a married person must choose each day to remain in that relationship and honor the vows they made on their wedding day. It’s a commitment which lasts a lifetime, so long as both people choose daily to honor the commitment.

Consider Christ’s use of the vine and branches in John 15 as an analogy of our lifelong relationship with Him. I pose that all the branches who are connected to Him are saved. How can a branch who is drawing his or her life from the Vine, Jesus Christ, be anything but saved? Indeed, Jesus says in verse 2, “Every branch IN ME that does not bear fruit, He [the Father] takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” Thus the people who are branches are people who are *in Him.*

And yet, even though they were once saved – connected to the Vine – Jesus says,

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.” John 15:5-6.

What does abide mean if not to remain in Him?  And we me must already be in Him in order to remain in Him.  Once we are saved/connected to Him, we still have a choice: remain in Christ, or don’t remain in Christ. If we choose not to abide in Christ, we are cut off from the Vine, apart from which there is no life as per John 15:6.

Consider also Romans 11, in which Paul uses the imagery of the grafting in of branches into an olive tree to talk about salvation (verses 17-23):

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.

You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”

Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either.

Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

Paul said we were grafted in (saved) by our faith (this is the same concept of righteousness by faith taught by Paul in Romans 3:22, 24-25, 28). “Do not be conceited, but fear,” Paul warns. He’s saying, don’t be haughty, don’t be presumptuous, but fear – for “if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either”; if we do not “continue in His kindness,” we will be “cut off”. If we later lose our faith in Christ, we will *not* be spared. This shows a clear picture of how a saved person can choose to stop abiding in Christ, to separate him/herself from His kindness, and in so doing, lose his/her salvation. For there is no salvation apart from Christ.

This does not mean that just because a saved person makes a mistake and falls, that they have lost their salvation. It’s only if they abandon the faith and start living a life of habitual sin with no more regard for Jesus’ commandments, and they completely grieve away the Holy Spirit, that their name can be blotted out of Christ’s book. If we taste the best that God can give, if we partake of the heavenly Gift, and then fall away (not meaning stumbling and getting back up, but again, meaning abandoning the faith), Hebrews 6:6 says “it is impossible to renew them again to repentance”, for “ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.” (Hebrews 6:7-8)

Lest anyone misunderstand, the Bible does teach that we can have assurance of our salvation. But we have no assurance of salvation apart from Christ. We must ABIDE in Him, and as long as our very lives are as intimately dependent on Jesus Christ as the life of the branches depends on the Vine, the Root of that divine tree, we have full and complete assurance of salvation. We just can’t trample Jesus underfoot (Hebrews 10:29) by abandoning our faith in Him and returning to an unrepentant life of brazen, abandoned, habitual sin and claim to still have salvation in Him. To say that because we once verbally accepted Christ we can now never be lost is tantamount to saying the same thing that the Jews said in Jeremiah 7:9-10:

“Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal and walk after other gods that you have not known, then come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’–that you may do all these abominations?”

The obvious answer is, of course not. Salvation is not a license to sin. And although I know that wasn’t your premise, can it honestly be said that the doctrine of eternal security doesn’t lead down a slippery slope that ends with just such a license?

What do you think?

(Note: The author of the above site deleted my comment without responding to any of my points.)