Would you like to know 100% sure that you are saved?- My newest article.
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Would You Like To Know For Sure That You Are Saved?
In our life we make many decisions which produce actions and results. Some people waste their life. They live for today with no thought of tomorrow. Every dollar they get, they spend. They seek the pleasures of this earth that waste all that they have and damage their own body with riotous living. They do not have the insight to see past the present and know that a wasted life and sinful acts not only bring heartache to ourselves but to others. Do we want to spend our time on this earth in bondage to sin?
Others, instead of wasting what they have, invest their time and effort and plan for their future on this earth. They know if they don’t take care of their body it falls apart. They know if they spend every dime they have they will have nothing. They have the knowledge to understand that there is a future on this earth which is more important than the present and they understand that actions that might give instantaneous gratification will not give long term gratification.
The wisest and the most insightful see an even bigger picture. They expand their mind from seeing our future on this earth and go to the next level of planning and dedicate their life in the pursuit of the things that neither wither or decay. They have the insight of planning not just for this life, but for the next. These things include their relationship with God, the things done for others in the name of Christ and our everlasting home in heaven with Him. As the hymn writer once said, "only one life twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last." Our time on this earth is so small and insignificant compared to eternity. It is like a vapor that disappears quickly. From life we understand cause and effect, that we sow what we reap. Do we want to waste this life or do we want to spend it planting the seeds for a happy eternity.?
Who doesn’t want to be loved? Yet through Christ we have the greatest love relationship possible. Does anyone want to be bad? Through Christ, we can have deliverance from sin. Who wants an abundant life? Through Christ, we have life more abundantly.
How valuable would it be to have the assurance of being 100% sure you are saved? Could anything be more important than planning and knowing for sure our eternal resting place? What could compare to knowing that we are saved from our sins, right with God and on our way to heaven to be with our blessed Lord? During that time, is there anything more important than knowing that our sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west?
This is a question that is important to many. It is so important that many ask it when they are attempting to witness to others. They start out by asking this question. If the person is unsure, then they go through the path of salvation. They help people to realize their a sinner, discuss confession and repentance of sins, believing, and accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior. Without a doubt all these things are solid biblical principles and its important to make sure we understand the truth and know the plan of salvation correctly. However, one thing I was taught as a youth was we don’t take the word of the pastor, we go to the Bible and see what the Bible says on something. So it made me curious. I went to my Bible and attempted to look up the words "know" and "saved" in the KJV New Testament. I couldn’t find a single verse anywhere that included both words. My next step was to look at verses in the New Testament which use the word, "Know". From that, I found the verses that allow us to KNOW we are saved.
The answers in the verses that are found boil down to four ways of knowing.. Love, fruits obedience and the Spirit. But why is this different than what most people answer? After all, we know the Bible says, "IF we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life." "For god so loved the world that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." Is the other wrong? No, Rather the difference is that while these are true Biblical principles that lead to salvation, yet after, we need to check to make sure we did it properly, In other words, the path is different than the proof.
For example, let's say someone is in NJ and they want to know how to get to New York City. One might say the directions are you take the turnpike to the Lincoln Tunnel. How do you know you got there? Well you will see the Empire State Building, you'll see China Town, you'll see Grand Central Station, you'll see Ground Zero. The way of getting to NYC isn’t seeing these sites, the way to NYC is the directions. But if we follow the directions right, we will see those sights. If those sites are not in the city we arrive at, then we have to go back and look to see if we followed the directions properly.
Another example is a student taking a class in school. The students may have to do certain homework assignments, write certain papers, take tests or exams to pass the course. While one may do these assignments, it doesn’t mean that the person has passed the course.. he has to do it right. How does one know he did it right? The teacher takes out the rubric or the grading scale. He examines the assignments to the answers and marks them correct or incorrect. If he has everything done completely, he passes. Grading the papers doesn’t cause the student to pass. Submitting the requirements correctly causes one to pass.
So while the way of salvation must be followed, the Bible has given us ways to know that we can have the assurance that we are truly saved.
The Bible tells us several rubrics that tell us if we have done it right.
"We KNOW that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not [his] brother abideth in death." (1 John 3:14).
One of the greatest results of being saved is the love of God flowing through us to others. The older I get, as I look at the world, the only thing that has any meaning is love. The apostle Paul says without love I am nothing. Jesus was once asked what was the greatest commandment. His response was "love the Lord thy god with all thy heart soul and strength and your neighbor as yourself." So many in this world try to find happiness in the things of the world. They are mislead by the media that if you buy my product you will have happiness, but the happiness that comes from things is short lived for they can not love back. It distracts them from what gives satisfying happiness. Some people think fame gives happiness, but that is short lived. Someone once asked a millionaire how much money it takes to make one happy. His answer was, "just a little bit more". People are seeking happiness in the wrong things, but the only place that we can find true contentment is the love of God. When we become saved, the Holy Spirit comes inside us and "the love of God is spread through our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us."
There are three concepts that we call love in the original Greek. The first eros, is the physical attraction. It is lustful. It relates to loving something we find attractive. It is desiring physical pleasure and our senses satisfied. The second is the philos love, the brotherly love. You may do things together as friends. but it is not the deepest love. In this verse we have the agape love. The love of laying down one's life for our brother. It is the love when we care more about others without any concern for ourselves.
While some may be unloving, others take the other extreme and love the person yet do not address the sin issue. The old adage, "love the person but hate the sin" may not be in the Bible yet it is not far from the truth. The pendulum has swung so far while some may have had hatred for sinners in the past, now the devil tries to convince us that under the concept of love for others, we should accept and love their sin also. That is far from the truth. While we love the person, our heart also groans for their sin. When we think about someone we love sinning, it saddens us. We can not condone or love the sin of the person, rather we love them as God sees them. As someone who He created for a new life in Him. Our love for all is a pure love, which desires their best which is a life free of sin and in fellowship and grace of God. Some people we call friends care more about the happiness we bring to them rather than our well being. But our love, the agape love, cares about their well being.
"Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love [of God], because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down [our] lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels [of compassion] from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? (I John 3:16-18)
What a shocking statement to many. Lets examine our lives, and see if we have truly showed this kind of love to our Christian brothers, not just our Christian friends.
We may have earthly brothers we love and that is good But as Jesus said his family is those who do the will of God. Now, many may say, "Oh, I love my friend in the church." But what about the other Christian brethren? When we are in the church, we may have friends that we care about, but what about that Christian on the other side of the church. Does your heart burn with agape love for them that you really care about their well being? Look on a different part side of the church. Do you have the agape love for that stranger also. Many may go up to a church member and say, "Hello, how are you?" And they give the expected response, "Fine, how are you?" but do you really want to know how they are? Do you really care about them and want to know their problems so you can pray with them and help to be there for them to share in their problems with them?
After God has done so much for us, do we have any excuse not to? How wonderful would it be if we had churches with the agape love in them. But the sad thing is, we don’t. Dear sir, remember the parable of the unforgiving servant. If god so loved us enough to die for us, shouldn’t we care enough for the brethren?
In fact, our blessed Lord Jesus Christ goes even farther and talks about those who do not love us. He says, "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Mat 5:46-48)
Many feel they do such a great job when they love their family. They love their friends. But Jesus is not impressed with that. He compares people who feel that way to the hypocritical church publicans. Jesus goes much farther than John. While John tells us that those who are saved will have a love for the brethren, Jesus goes farther and tells us to love our neighbor also, and even our enemies.. I remember one person once said to me, "I am glad I’m not like Jesus because I want my enemies far from me." What a sad commentary.
Jesus tells us that we should treat our Christian brothers in need as we would treat him.
Jesus said, "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me."
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, "Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?"
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Then shall they also answer him, saying, "Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?" Then shall he answer them, saying, "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me."
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
(Matthew 25: 34-46)
How wonderful churches would be if it was place as described in the Bible where they loved each other. What a place of joy the church would be if everyone felt that their brother really cared about them. How wonderful would the Spirit be able to move if we truly loved each other as he loved us. If we are lacking in this area, let us pray to God so that we may be made right with him and find out where we are holding back from him so that we too may have this blessed love of His flowing through us.
So to summarize, if we are saved, the agape love of Christ will be in us toward our brethren.
2. THEIR FRUITS
"Ye shall KNOW them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." (Matt 7:16-20)
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." (John 15:4-6)
Here our Lord tells us another way to know, "by our fruits." While I am not suggesting we judge others, we can apply these principles to ourselves.
We are not a gospel of works, yet works do follow faith. Jesus said if you clean the inside of the cup, the outside will be clean also. James said, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." (James 2:26). So true is the life of the Christian. When we are born again, all things become new. We have the Holy Spirit within us. And that new relationship, that new heart, creates a different set of works that the unsaved man does not produce.
The comparison to the vine/branches comes from our Lord himself. When we are saved, we are not our own. The Holy spirit comes within us and that sweet relationship occurs. As we draw closer to Him, he is able to work through us and produce the greatest results. We do not take credit for our works. It is merely Him working through us. Lets examine ourselves. What works are manifesting themselves? Is it the works of the fleshly heart or the works of the converted sanctified heart?
I am not advocating judging our neighbors salvation. Only God can do that. Yet at the same point, if we see someone who claims to be a Christian yet is producing the wrong type of fruits, then perhaps that could be a sign something is wrong where we could be an encouragement to them in Christian love or perhaps they have a special need that needs to be addressed. But our focus should first be to "pull the moat out of our own eye". Using this test, we can look at our own lives and see if that special relationship with the Lord is producing fruits pleasing to him. If it is not, then perhaps we might wish to ask why.
What are fruits of the spirit?
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."(Gal 5:19-24)
Here we see two sets of fruits or results of our life. One set leads to happiness, the other to destruction.
Whatever vine we are drawing from will determine what fruits will be produced. If our fruits are of the flesh or the corrupt nature of the unsaved, then the word clearly states that those who are producing such will "NOT inherit the kingdom of God"
If we are in the Spirit of God, then we will produce a different kind of fruit, the fruits of the working of the Holy Spirit within us.
The fruits of the Spirit are heart actions. If the working of the Lord in us creates this new heart as promised, then the right works will follow. We are not judged by our works, however, when the Lord cleanseth us, godly works follow.
The fruits of those who are lead by the flesh are listed both heart actions and manifestations of the unsaved heart. Paul here describes these horrors, and also adds an "and such like" at the end letting us know that these are examples and not a comprehensive list. As we examine our heart, in light of these verses, we will know if we truly have the heart of God or the flesh.
Here are the fruits of the Spirit:
Love- We have addressed the concept of the agape love in the previous point. As we have seen the importance of love, it is not surprising this is the first mentioned fruit. May we seek to have this perfect love for God and others. As Jesus said, loving God and our neighbor is the greatest commandment and what all other commandments are dependent on.
Joy is also a fruit of the Spirit. I am not saying everything in the Christian walk will be perfect. Truly Jesus wept and even was called a man of sorrows. But while there may be sorrows in the Christian walk, do we not have the joy that comes from having a God who loves us and is on our side? Do we have our blessed Lord there with us, that we can trust him and that we know the world the devil can do is destroy the body? Truly we have much to joy about. Our joy is not the things of this world. Our joy comes from Jesus and appears as our eyes focus on Him and all that he does for us. And as we live knowing that He is with us always, we can have His joy throughout all life's troubles. We also have another joy that the unsaved don’t have. When one sins they have heartaches and sorrows from their sins. Yes the rain may fall upon the just and the unjust, but God's commandments are not to enslave us, but because he loves us. He desires to keep us on the road of safety and happiness. Someone once told the story of a criminal who eventually gave himself up, because he could not take the fear of dodging the authorities and his conscience. While Christians do have difficulties in the Christian walk, it is nothing compared to the consequences of sin. These are blessings the unsaved don’t have.
Peace-When we are alone with our Lord we have his peace. Yes we can be angry but sin not, yet we have a peace knowing that we can trust God and that he is there for us always.
Longsuffering- As we think about how patient God is for us being mere mortals. what excuse do we have for not being patient with others? If not for the grace of God perhaps we would be making the same mistake. During our lives, many may disappoint us. Many may hurt us, yet we should be long suffering and trusting God throughout and knowing that he will work things out according to His good pleasure.
Gentleness- the Greek word here, chrestotes, is in other places translated a goodness and kindness from within. a good temperament. A kind and heart.
Goodness- This Greek word describes a heart of benevolence of love for our neighbor. Its a goodness that flows out to others that seeks the best for them.
The parable of the good Samaritan, showing goodness and kindness to one who was his enemy is an example of loving our neighbor. When we have the heart of God within us, we show his kindness and goodness to others.
Kindness- as God has been kind and loving to us, we too should be kind to others. The parable comes to mind with the unforgiving servant. How that as God forgave us, we too should show loving kindness to others.
Goodness-being good is a fruit of the spirit. If we are doing bad things, then that is not compatible with the Christian life.
Faith- How important it is to have faith in our Lord. We are justified by faith. We learn here that the working of the holy spirit produces faith. When we are saved, we believe God. How can someone say they trust God yet not believe what He says and what He promises? Let us trust Him and go forward.
The Greek word for faith here is pistis. It implies strong unwavering convictions. A confidence, not in our might, but in the Lord that is unshakable. When we draw closer to him, and His Holy Spirit moves within us and we truly have that unshaken confidence in Him, how can we fall for the lies of the devil or the flesh? . The Greek word also implies one is faithful. Someone one can trust. How sad it is when I hear someone who is a Christian lying, for they are not faithful and can not be trusted. They have discredited their ability to be a witness of Christ, because their word is not good. Are we trustable? Do we have that unshakable faith, not in the strength of man, or the doctrines of man, but rather the Lord Jesus Christ? If we do, it will affect all that we do.
Meekness- some attempt to teach Christian men to be macho men. like the town bully who doesn’t give in and have his mind made up. The flesh may find the tough guy attractive. Yet we need that sweet gentle sprit within us. We need to have a gentleness about us. This is a fruit of the holy spirit being within us. God is not a tough bully with us. He shows love to us. And we should have that sweet gentleness of His Spirit within us.
Temperance- is another word for self control. Are we and the Holy Spirit in control or are our fleshly desires in control? Many say they can not help themselves and sin regularly, however who or what is in control? The corrupt fleshly nature or the Spirit of God who has come to give us dominion over the flesh and death. The word would not list this as a fruit if it were not possible. Through the workings of the Holy Spirit within us, we can have self control of the flesh.
Compared to the fruits of the Spirit are the fruits of the flesh or the corrupt nature. This is opposite to the nature of Christ and His Holy Spirit.
In this passage, we go farther and compare two different kinds of love. As the fruits of the Spirit began with the agape love, here he begins with the opposite, the fleshy lusts, Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness. As it states in the book of Acts, even though we may not be under the law we are still commanded to respect the law of purity. Here Paul agrees with the vileness of physical sin. He talks elsewhere about how it is a sin against our own bodies and defiles them.
Here he leaves no stone unturned.
Adultery- the sin of breaking the marriage vows. Sin never just affects us. It effects many people. It can affect a spouse, children, and the person the sin is committed with.
Fornication- even if you are not married it is sin. You are cheating on the future husband one might have. Many say, it doesn’t matter what one does before marriage, but God disagrees with that. It is still sin. Paul describes fornication as a sin against our own body.
Uncleanness- even if an action doesn’t fall in the category of fornication, if it defiles the body, it makes the person unclean. We tend not to use the word unclean. We don’t call those who have fornicated unclean. The world teaches us it doesn’t mean anything, but the Bible calls it what it is. Physical uncleanness of the body where the germs and diseases of many people are floating around with in the person. And if that person marries, it spreads to that person also. God can still forgive and save, but the physical consequences remain. The damage it does to others remains. While many professing Christianity may feel that purity in a marriage is a nice positive, how sad it is many professed Christians do not desire God's best of one man and one woman who are pure.
Lasciviousness- or simply lustfulness. These include any acts of lust of the mind as well as the Bible. Many feel its not a sin as long as one does not act on it. Jesus said even thinking a lustful thought is the same as adultery.. This could include looking at someone with a lustful heart to a physical closeness that stirs up feelings of physical desire.
Unfortunately, the American society attempts to trap young people and adults in the seduction of lust. The media has attempted teach people that it is normal for youth to not have their lusts under control. The changes of our society with the Internet has caused young children to be exposed to viles that any person with the slightest degree morality would find offensive. And our society has become so corrupt that it has allowed these companies to exploit our youth for their profits under the misinterpretation of freedom of speech.
100 years ago in America, women were trained to dress modestly so as to not attract the attention of the opposite gender. Today, many in the United States dress not with the adoration of holy heart and life but for the seduction of the flesh.
Although God is faithful to forgive our sins if we confess them, the Bible states that those who give into the temptation of fornication and even lust, will not enter the kingdom of God.
The real question is, how do we view others? Do we view them with the greatest of respect with that deep and God glorifying agape love? or are we attracted to the things of the flesh? Do we view them as physically attractive or alluring to the flesh? When a Christian seeks a spouse, do they judge by their appearance, the pleasures of the world, the power in the world, the money of the world they bring? or are they judged by having the heart of God within them? When someone sees a male or female, how do they look at them? It could be a lady or gentleman on the television or in person. Does our heart have lustful thoughts or do we view them as people who God died to save from sin. With the respect of a mother father sister brother, or are they viewing them as attractive to the flesh, thinking there is no harm to look or imagine as long as they don’t act. "Oh how deceitful the devil is and how gullible we are to the fleshes advances when we are not in the spirit."
Idolatry-(or image worship). Many in the past created idols made with man's hands. As we appear no longer to do this today, we may think how foolish they were. But how far are off are many in this world today. Are not many brought up to believe the possessions of the world are our source of happiness? Do not many work hard and strive for more things thinking they are the source of joy? Do not many put these trinkets on pedestals, slave their life for them, only to see them decay and find that these things do not bring true happiness. How sad it is for so many children who have absentee parents, yet they give things to their kids. To some, money is the image of worship. To others, physical is a thing of worship. To others sports teams sports players and entertainers are where there heart is. To others power is the idol they seek. As we look at our life, where is our heart? Do we have idols in our life that keep us from the house of God? That we spend more time with than being with the Lord? Anything that comes before God to us is our God and it is idolatry.
Witchcraft- the word here is pharmakeia, the word we get pharmacology or drug use from. In this world today, with the advent of Harry Potter and other types of entertainment, witchcraft is gaining in popularity. When you play with the devil you are playing with fire. He is seductive, he is sly. He is as a roaring lion seeking who he may devour. People are fascinated about the myth of asking for whatever you want and it being done for you, but the real devil is out to enslave you and to cast your soul into hell. It is a lie and so many fall for him. Part of this type or religion is drug use. People want to get high rather than face the reality of life. Please keep in mind that I do understand that there are people with real physical and mental/biological infirmities for which they do need medicine. Even the Bible says to take a little wine for thy stomach sake, for thy infirmities. But so many escape to the world of drugs to avoid real life. Some use alcohol. Some use illegal drugs, but they are addictive, they damage the mind and the body and are the opposite of the self control of the Christian. God desires to protect us from these harmful influences and he is there with us to help us face the hardships of life with a sober, alert mind.
Hatred- The opposite of love is hatred. Since a fruit of the Spirit is the agape love of God, how can we hate others after all He has done for us. So often when we or those we love are hurt by people, we are tempted to hate them. But that is not the message of Christ. Even as He was being crucified on the painful death on the cross, He said with love to them, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do." Yes, while we love God and others, we should have a strong dislike for sin, sickness, and many of the workings of sin and the devil in this world. But at the same point, our focus should not be on that emotion, rather our focus should be on the love of Christ and allow His love to flow through us to others.
Variance- The word variance could be interpreted, rivalry quarreling, debate, contention. Clarke’s commentary describes this as: "Contentions where the principle of hatred proceeds to open acts; hence contests alterations: lawsuits and disputes in general". We should live in peace with our brother. If at all possible we should strive to solve problems one on one with a person, not with a self seeking heart but a heart for Christian love for the person. If that fails, then we should with a brother/sister and the support of the church attempt to solve the problem. If all are open to the will of God, they will pray over these matters together so that all may see the Lords way and not their own. Just as a child should not be punished in anger, so too any potential wrongs between brothers should also be handled in love for our brother.
Variance could also include debating. Many times I see people who profess to be Christians, yet have a strong desire to debate and argue with one another. Yes there is a place in the Christian walk for apologetics. And yes it is important for us to have an answer for what we believe. Just because someone may win a debate does not necessarily mean they are right, it merely means they are a better debater. Also, its a selfish act, because instead of seeking the truth, they merely want to show themselves superior and win.
At times when I talk to someone, who has a different point of view, I first ask, "can we both be open minded to see what God's truth is in a matter, or are we merely going to try to defend our position?" If they say they are inflexible or not open to seeking out the truth before their beliefs, then I simply stop. Do you have a constant desire to debate and defend oneself? My friend, we have given our lives to God. We are merely failures who can not succeed without God. If we can not stand before him and defend ourselves, with all conscience, do we have to justify ourselves always?
Emulations- this word is translated many places in the Bible as jealousy. Clark calls this strife to excel and the expense of another. Barnes calls this a zeal or bad cause leading to strife. Many times people "fight" for what they want, yet didn’t Jesus give up all for us?
So sad it is when people in churches try to get the upper hand. I have seen situations where pastors viewed themselves as the church leaders and their word was the final word. I have also seen churches where there were certain people with power treating the pastor as if he were merely a shepherd or hired hand. Dear brothers and sisters, doesn’t the Bible teach us that we are all part of the body of Christ with different purposes? Neither is better than the other. All are on the team together, not to glorify themselves or build a name for themselves through the church but to glorify God. The church is not the pastors. The church is not the members, it is Gods. The pastor has a responsibility to teach us the word and to be an unbiased source we can go for to solutions of problems. How sad it is when any one feels that they have all the answers and cannot reason together to be open to God's leading in a particular area.
Pride could also fall under this category. We know in the Bible it teaches that God hates a proud look. Let us not have a proud opinion but a humble opinion. Having pride could cause jealousies, and church breakups. It is opposite to the fruit of the spirit which is love and gentleness.
Wrath- the Greek word here is thumos which means passion in breathing hard. Have you ever saw someone who got so worked up on something that they were releasing large sums of energy and got worked up over on it? Having this kind of attitude toward our brothers and sisters is not a fruit of the spirit, but of the flesh.
strife- one of the fruits of the spirit is peace. The opposite of that is strife. While I believe we should be firm in our beliefs and be willing to take a stand for God and his ways, fighting is not the answer. In the world, we have to be witnesses of the truth. Perhaps peaceful demonstrations, for God's ways, even be willing to die for him. yet in the body of Christ, we should attempt to solve differences peacefully in love. we should be unified in Him and not attempt to solve problems by fighting.
Seditions- the word here means divisions. So often churches split up rather than try to solve things together. I have heard of church members who have left churches when other people desired to make a church more worldly in the belief of being peaceful. Others leave for selfish reasons, because they're not getting what they want. When God puts us in a church, while we should not go into churches with the intent of being a trouble maker, if this a church where there is a sense of understanding of right, rather than leave, we should attempt to work things out and remain there as a witness of the goodness of God.
I know of a pastor who joined a church whose beliefs were different than his own on certain doctrinal issues. When it was found out, he left the church and took a strong percentage of the membership with him. The church was weakened and fell apart. While he may have been a convincing preacher, this type of action is not a fruit of the spirit but of the flesh.
I know of another story where a pastor who needed a building merged with another church. He gave the impression it would be a merger, yet once it took place, he did not work with the other members and they eventually left with the heart of being peaceful, yet the church lost their voice and their influence, as limited as it was. Many felt this pastor, "stole" the church building.
However, many church members have done acts equally as wrong. I have heard stories where church and/or board members would gang up on a pastor because they felt they were in charge and the pastor was merely their employee who had to be subservient to them, rather than their conscience before God.
How sad it is when differences occur that hurts people. If we work at the initial stage with bad feelings with others, then this fruit hopefully can be avoided. When this happens it divides and weakens the body of Christ while the devil becomes more vicious toward us in our weakened condition.
Heresies-The Bible is our source of truth. It is God's word. From the word of God, we create certain creeds or doctrinal statements. Most churches have doctrines or beliefs that have differences and there is nothing wrong with having different levels of understanding. The problem comes when we who are humans, put our doctrinal beliefs above what God has said. How often have I heard a preacher say, "The Bible says this, but our doctrine quoted is that, so the verse must mean something else". Let us use the Bible as our source of truth. If we have a doctrinal belief that is true, then we can truly trust the Word of God to be interpreted literally without twisting it to fill our needs. And as we are all people, we can also have faith that our doctrines are not the unifier, but the Word of God and Jesus Christ is the unifier.
Envying- Clark describes it as, "pain felt at the excelling of another." When we see a brother succeeding, let us be happy with it. Has God not promised to meet all of our needs and be there for us? He knows what is right for us. And the brother who succeeded, let us not forget about the brother with the need either. when we come with a proud look toward our brother who God has blessed differently. When God blesses us, the blessing he gives are not ours, but His. For all we know, He gave it to us so that we could be a blessing to our brother in need?
Murder-Murdering is something we know to be wrong. While we do not physically kill our brother, can we wound him unto death? Can we kill his spirit?
Jesus said, "Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." (Matt 5:21-22)
Let us be a positive on all we meet rather than harm them or kill them.
Drunkenness- When a person is under the influence they can lose control of their body thinking and actions. The Bible teaches us in many places to be sober. While many view sober as the opposite of drunk, it entails much more. It involves being serious, in control of ourselves. The Bible teaches us to keep our body in subjection and under control. When we drink, we lose control. Alcohol is a drug which while it may have medicinal purposes, can be exploited for recreational use as other drugs. In our fallen world, many view the influence of alcohol as an excuse or acceptable justification for doing what is wrong, however god tells us that once we are drunk, we are already guilty. Let us keep our mind and body under control and the world teaches instead of being drunk with wine,to be filled with the holy spirit of God.
Reveling-the Greek word here is "Komos" which means according to Strong’s- a carousal (as if letting loose). This is basically describing "partying". How sad it is for so many who feel they have to incorporate a letting loose and partying in their worship. |They get into the beat and enjoy the beat, concerned about having a good time rather than dealing with serious issues. Some, instead of calling service a worship service, call it a celebration service. How sad it is when I see churches who have a letting loose where they are acting wild, partying and viewing church as an entertainment time rather than a serious worship time. I am not saying we should not praise God. I am not saying there is not a time to celebrate. However we see here those who are looking for fun times, and who view God and Christianity simply as a party time, a play time, a fun time, rather than something serious which we should thank God for, appear to not be understanding what the Bible is teaching here. I have heard young people say, "If Christianity took a stand against rock music, I wouldn’t want to be involved." or "how come the devil has all the good music." Sadly, they don’t understand they are manifesting fruits of the flesh which are contrary to the Spirit of God. We should not attract people to churches through partying, but rather with something better, the Spirit of God and the blessings that come from living a holy life.
And such like- This is the etc. Meaning this is not a complete list. Many religious leaders of that time were following the letter of the law. If it wasn’t specifically spelled out, then they felt they could get away with it. The Bible says we are not under the letter of the law but the spirit of the law. If something sounds wrong, we avoid it. If it is similar to something wrong, we avoid it. We desire to live with a clear conscience.
Shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven-
As we look at this, let us look at our lives. What fruits are we producing? If the fruits of God are not manifest in him, maybe we need to reevaluate that we truly have given our life to him and surrendered all to him.
Do not be deceived my brother. If a person is producing these fruits the results are clearly listed here.
" We KNOW that whosoever is born of God sinneth not but that he is begotten of God keepeth himself an that wicked one toucheth him not." (1 John 5:18.)
"And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we KNOW that he abideth in us, by the spirit which he hathh given us." (1 John 3:24)
"If ye know that he is righteous, ye KNOW that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him." (1 John 2:29)
"But whose keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected. Hereby KNOW we that we are in him" (1 John 2:5)
"He that saith I KNOW him, and keepeth not his commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him." (1 John 2:4)
When we look at verses talking about "knowing" we are saved, there is no condition mentioned more than not sinning. We see it listed here numerous times.
"Sinneth not" "keepeth his commandments" "doeth righteousness".
We can go back to the beginning of time where God gave simply one commandment, not to eat of the fruit. The consequences of disobeying just the one commandment, was death.
God gave to Moses the Ten commandments. Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" The apostle Paul says, "how are we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein." Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to " go and sin no more". Numerous places God says, "Be ye holy for I am holy." And the verses go on and on. And these verses go the farthest saying, we know we are saved if we are not sinning and keeping his commandments.
Gods commandments for us are not nay, but yea. Their purpose is not to make our life harder but easier. Instead of being enslaved to sin, we now can have a better life through Him. As a child may find the flame of the fire enticing, it will burn him. Gods laws prevent us from being burned, build our character, ethics, trustworthiness. Just as a misbehaving child reflects a poor light on the parents, so when we call ourselves a Christian and live like the world we disgrace our heavenly father. While taking the right path may take more initial effort, it saves us from long term heartaches. Just a thief may not be caught the first time, eventually it catches up with him. The Bible says, be sure your sin will find you out. Isn’t it so much easier to avoid the sin in the first place?
We learn from Aachan that unconfessed sin not only destroys us but others. How many caring mothers have cried their heart outs toward God for the sins of their children. How many children are hurting because of the sins of the parents. How many spouses are hurting because of the sin of their spouse.
Nothing hurts more than loving someone who doesn’t love back. Think of the hurt done to our Lord, where even when we did not know him, he loved us so much that he died for us, and so many reject Him. Only a God as great as ours could love that much and also stand that much hurt of unrequited love by so many.
Even though it may not be as we were taught, let us look plainly at the vast amount of verses where the Bible teaches on this subject and claim this promise. Let us not use man's failures as reasons not to excel to God's heights for us.
He said he has not come for the righteous but to bring sinners to repentence (turning from sin.) My brother, if this is the purpose that our Lord came, how can we remove this condition? IF we commit a sin, we know we can go to him for forgiveness, but this is not the lifestyle God has called us to. He has designed something special, something pure, something holy, a life where the Holy Spirit can dwell within us and we have that sweet fellowship with Him.
4. The Presence of the Spirit of God Within Us.
"Hereby KNOW we that we dwell in him and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit." (1 John 3:13)
Jesus said he will go away, but he will bring another comforter who will teach us all things. (John 14:26)
Paul says, "For as many that are lead by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God"(Rom 8:14)
There is much in the Bible on the role of the Spirit of God in our life that this article could never do justice in covering it completely.
When we become saved, the Spirit of God indwells us. But many ask how we know he is there. Even though our eyes may be looking the wrong direction, he is still there. Yet we should acknowledge Him and face him.
I heard one pastor who was getting excited about a point say that the spirit of God was moving. At some churches, because they are jumping around, they feel they are filled with the spirit, but, as we saw earlier, the Bible teaches reveling or partying is not a sign of the spirit of God. When we look at Isaiah, when he came face to face with the glory of God, and his eyes were opened, his first response was how unworthy and sinful he was to be in the presence of God.
Some believe speaking in tongues is a sign of the working of the Spirit of God. Even though there were tongues in the Bible, it never says to use that as test of the working of the Spirit of God as it never says tongues can not come from other sources also.
John says that "every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God." (1 John 4:2).
Here we are not talking about people but spirits. Here the right kind of confession is needed, not merely words. Cannot even the devil mouth words? The word confess here is homologeo which means, Assent to, convenient acknowledge, give thanks, promise. This word implies not merely saying a fact, but committed to this and leading us to act on this. The true spirit of faith confesses it in action not only that he is God but that He is is their Christ or Messiah, or Lord. If we truly believe, actions will follow.
If we have His Spirit within us, then as we have seen earlier, love for the brethren will follow, the fruits of the spirit will follow, the obedience to His commandments will follow.
The Bible teaches, "walk in the spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh". When we are walking with Him and fellowshipping with the one who loves us most, how can the pleasures of the flesh be enticing? If we have His love spread throughout are hearts toward others, can anything give more satisfaction? My Brother or sister, the storms of the world can get us down and discourage us and cause us to sink, but let us get our focus in prospective again. Let us see His nearness to us. How he hurts when others hurt us, and let us then go forward living our life knowing he is there watching us. Let us live so that the one we love most does not see us doing nothing or doing actions displeasing to him as the wicked servant. Rather let us be seen doing our father's business and spending our life being productive for Him with whatever talents and abilities he has given us. Then when our time on this earth comes close to the end, we can with have no regrets when we see him face to face and He will say with love, "well done, thou good and faithful servant."
My brothers, how do you measure up? Do you have that intense agape love for God and others? What type of fruits are you producing? Are you obeying his commandments? If you sense something is wrong, do not ignore it. Go to Him and he will show you all things. James says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given unto him." (James 1:5)
Perhaps there is unconfessed sin? The psalmist teaches us, "If I hide iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." Many times areas which we have not surrendered to god are a stumbling blocks to our relationship with him.
Perhaps you have not known the truth? It is not your fault that with all the misinformation and lack of information out there about what god desires you were not aware of these characteristics of God. As one seeks His truth, He reveals His ways and allows one to become the person he desires.
Perhaps you have not claimed the promises. Many try to change in their own might. However we need the working of the Lord to do it within us. These actions are not our works in our might, for we can not save ourselves. It can only be done through the converting power of God and through His strength. When we trust him, and not our own thoughts, he can work through us.
Perhaps you have not given your life to Him? Many have been told to simply say a prayer but really don’t understand what is being said and have life changing faith. If that’s the case, then go forward in Him and allow Him to change you as you trust him.
Perhaps the reason is something else. My brothers if you sense something is wrong, pray to him for wisdom. As you pray to him and ask for the truth, He will show you and use you to do great and mighty things for him.
In the Old Testament it says, "And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart." (Jer 29:13) In the New Testament it says, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Matt 7:7). As we seek the truth from Him and be willing to receive Him, he will give us a new heart and all things will be come new. Then we will enjoy a relationship with our Lord greater than ever we could have imagined. Let us claim the promises and rejoice in this new and wonderful life that can only come from being right with Him.