Christ

Do you truly believe in God, or are you full of bologna?

bolognaLove and obeying God and belief are all united. When a person who is saved says, “I believe in God,” it means something totally different than when a false convert says, “I believe in God.”  The actual believer means that they love God and their highest goal is to obey Him in love. That’s actual belief.

On the other hand, the false convert says he believes in God, but doesn’t actually have Christ inside his heart reigning supreme. The false convert doesn’t actually want to obey the Bible simply because his love for Christ is the highest authority in his heart.

So true believers and false converts both say, “I believe in God.” The difference is that if you actually search deep into their motivations and desires and hearts, you will find that only the true believer actually believes and loves and obeys God because he knows God and is forever indwelt the Holy Spirit. Therefore the true believer will persevere until the end, and always grow stronger from persecution and struggles and failures and weaknesses.

Meanwhile, the false convert doesn’t actually believe or love or obey God from a heart forever ruled by Christ. That’s why under persecution and struggle and failures and weaknesses, the false convert falls away and recants his belief in Christ and the Bible, and abandons the truth, and eventually seeks out a lifestyle that makes sense to him – like the world and sin.

It’s something else, you know, when you meet those people who say, “I believe in God too” or“yeah, I’m a Christian too.” And inevitably they follow up with the self-exposing words, “but I don’t go to church” or “but I don’t read the Bible” or “but I don’t pray.” I’m like, “Really? You’re a Christian who doesn’t follow Christ?” That must be some new form of Christian that the devil invented.

When a person claims to be a Christian, yet lives a sinful lifestyle that is totally void of any actual fruit and love and obedience and belief in God and His Word, and his life is characterized by the world, worldly lusts, worldly desires, worldly motives…. then, chances are that person is full of bologna.

Follow up with a few statements from the Bible, and see if their attention suddenly drops. Quote Christ a few times, and see if they suddenly lose their interest in the conversation . Ask them their testimony and see if they even have one. Ask them the Gospel and see if they even know it. Ask them who Christ is and see if they say God. It usually doesn’t take long to discern that they desperately need a full-on Gospel presentation and that their wild lifestyle isn’t merely circumstantial, but rather a direct result of their choices and desires to follow sin instead of Christ.

There is a reason people don’t know the Bible, and it is usually because they have spent their whole lifetime choosing to read anything else, and the Bible is the least important thing to them. Be discerning people, there are lots of false converts out there, and instead of teaming up with them, we should be evangelizing them and avoiding their misdirection. We need to be discerning and test our friends, family, loved ones and peers. We shouldn’t be naive, but rather we should be diligent and wise and prayerful and sober-minded.

If people are complicating the Bible, and complicating their lives and missing church and missing Bible study and missing fellowship and missing accountability and missing enthusiasm to obey Him, then it’s likely not just a coincidence, but rather a giant redflag about them.

People who don’t actually like something or love something, over-complicate matters and make excuses and miss meetings and have a hard time showing genuine enthusiasm. Contrastly, when people do actually like something or love something, then they make it simple and take responsibility and show up early and get excited to participate and even seek out additional related things.

Like, a person who wants to go to the store might say, “It’s just a block away, we’ll be there and back in no time. Let’s go.” See, easy. There’s like 1 step involved and plenty of enthusiasm and simplicity.

But, a person who doesn’t want to go to the store might say, “It’s dark and dangerous outside, and it’s raining, and the store is all the way down the street, and we have to put on our shoes, get dressed and find our raincoats, and find my wallet and keys, and then get into the car, and maybe dirty up the floorboards, and maybe stop and get gas, and then hope that they aren’t closed, and…”  See, difficult. Complicated. Lots of steps involved. No enthusiasm. No simplicity.

I always ask myself when I’m dealing with a person who claims to be a believer, which one of these people do they become when I am talking to them about God. Which person are they when extra events are introduced into the conversation. What about Bible study, and fellowship groups, and opportunities to serve, and evangelizing strangers? Are they at least trying to find way to obey and serve Christ, or are they making things complicated and trying to increase the number of steps involved? My question is, what are their actual desires about God and the Bible and belief and obedience and love? Because those things come in a cluster. If you love, you also obey, and also believe. So without all of those, then a person isn’t really believing at all. They are just saying they believe They’re lying to themselves and others.

If I told you I believe that my house was on fire, but I just sat in the house calmly and didn’t do anything about it, then it would be hard to convince you that I am telling you the truth.

But, if I told you that my house was on fire and I jumped up and ran outside fast as lightning, then WOW! You’d really be convinced that I believed that.

Same concept applies with actual saving belief in God. If a person actually believes, then God’s Word, the Bible, won’t be a table decoration. The person who actually believes because he is filled with the Holy Spirit and ruled by Christ, knows God and is highlyconcerned with Him and obeying Him and learning about Him. Anyone who is actually saved knows exactly what I am talking about. True Christians are hyper-aware of their sin and they have a genuine desire to please God, because they know that the Almighty GOD is reigning and orchestrating every single detail of life!

True Christians KNOW that the all powerful God is able to answer prayer and control everything in the universe and they are aware and conscious of Him and therefore, because they actually know that to some extent, they are overwhelmed by that truth and are forever changed by that heart-piercing reality. You can’t meet God and then be the same afterwards. It’s impossible to be transformed, given the Holy Spirit, born again, and then like… I don’t know… somehow forget God is right here watching and listening to everything you do. That’s not something that you can walk away from the same as you were before.

It is the most important and supernatural and extraordinary thing that has ever happened in your life. It’s more important than your wedding, the birth of your children, your graduation, your first kiss, anything. There is nothing more amazing then having your eyes opened to the truth of God and your own depravity, and being filled with the Holy Spirit, and loving and believing in God for the first time. It is the single most important and radical thing that has ever happened. So, how can a person say they “believe in God” and yet have nothing to say in terms of a testimony or the Gospel or some change in their heart or anything?

It’s just crazy what some people will accept in a profession of faith. How many people are out there who call themselves Christian, and yet are the farthest thing from it? Too many. And many have even been baptized! They have never admitted their helplessness or repented of their sins or believed in Christ with saving faith or understood the Gospel or submitted and committed their lives to God. They have never truly loved God or believed in Him, and they will walk away from God as easily as they supposedly chose Him.  They call themselves Christians and believers, for all the wrong reasons.  They are Hellbound and in desperate need of the true Gospel. Be discerning, brothers and sisters. There are many false converts out there saying, “I believe in God” and claiming to be Christians.

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The Good People

Good-People

There are so many people who want to say they’re good. They always want to say they are “good people.” It typically implies that in comparison to “bad people.” The problem is their level of contentment with their own condition. As a “good person,” which basically means they don’t lie, cheat or murder, that they’re doing all they need to do to feel comfortable with themselves and their lives. They would go through life, being that “good person” and doing whatever they think is right.

But, what about growth? What about progressive sanctification? What about learning and understanding and being more and more obedient to the Word of God? What about the thoughts they have and the feelings they have and what goes on in their hearts? Not merely an external assessment, but also a complete internal assessment of every moment they live publicly and privately. But instead of lust, they judge themselves based on adultery. Instead of greed and envy, they judge themselves based on stealing. Instead of gossip and resentments, they judge themselves based on murder. They examine the outside, but not the inside. They examine behavior, but not actual holiness and purity. They examine their surroundings, but not God and the Bible.

The “good people” rarely compare themselves to Christ. Instead, they compare themselves to the people around them. Instead of the Bible, they use society as their measuring stick.

Love is a chief concern for most people, yet without obedience to Christ they’re cannot be loving. A person cannot disobey God and somehow think they are still loving others.  Anyone who is disobeying God is not loving you or being a “good person.” It’s so easy for people to pretend to be “good” and “loving,” as long as God and the Bible are not the standard.

It’s a lie. That’s what I’m saying. The idea is a lie, that people are “good and loving,” yet they don’t need to apply more Bible and obedience to God’s Word every day, and they haven’t even examined their hearts and minds against the Bible and Christ. They’re not really goodat all, and their lack of interest in pleasing God and assessing daily their hearts with God is the first redflag.

People who aren’t constantly updating and disciplining themselves, applying biblical obedience, examining and re-examining their hearts, comparing themselves to Christ, comparing themselves and their lives to the Bible, are not even in the realm of good or loving. Holiness and purity are hard work! We have to constantly assess ourselves, our motives and our thoughts and behaviors. Christ said if you love Him you will obey Him. That doesn’t mean just the parts you want to obey, that means everything He has said and recorded in the Bible; and anyone who loves Christ is going to be seeking greater obedience to Him. They are going to love pleasing God and have a powerful desire and attraction to God. You don’t have to convince Christian people that they aren’t doing enough for God, because they already know they’re not good enough and are struggling to some degree to improve and evaluate themselves all the time.  Remember to elevate Christ’s perfect life and sacrifice and His Holy Word the next time you encounter “the good people.”

But, watch the defensiveness rise when you approach a “good person” about a flaw or error. They will fight tooth and nail to prove they are “good people.” They take every hint of advice or admonishment or reproof or rebuke or encouragement as an attack on their “goodness.” But, placed next to Christ, how does that really look? If we’re going to be good, then we need all the help we can get and we should trust others and invite and welcome all the insight and advice we can get. We should be seeking out accountability from others, and not avoiding the confronting of sin in our lives. Sin is the enemy, and loving God means hating sin. We should accept any assistance at locating and destroying sin in our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

The Importance of Doctrine

The Doctrine of GodThere are people who are actually saying, “we don’t need doctrine we just need to love people.”

A person saying that cannot possibly have read the books of Timothy or Titus, and a person rejecting doctrine must have no clue even what the word “doctrine” really means. There are many, many places that explain the unyielding importance of doctrine, but Timothy and Titus specifically use the word “doctrine” over and over like an emergency siren. The English word “doctrine” comes from the Greek root word “διδασκαλία” which simply means “teaching.” To reject doctrine is to reject the Bible, the Word of God and Jesus Christ.

It’s ironic, and quite a bit silly, that a person would embrace the teaching of “loving people” (Mark 12:31), yet reject the idea of teaching. That’s a direct contradiction. Doctrine is teaching; the Bible is all doctrine. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” The Greek word used there for “teaching” is “διδασκαλίαν” which can be translated as either doctrine or teaching. So the verse says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for doctrine.”

So you either embrace the doctrine of Christ, or you reject it, but you cannot cherry-pick just a couple parts of Jesus’s teaching you wish to accept. Christ’s message about Himself is clear, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters” (Matt 12:30) – all or nothing, Heaven or Hell, truth or lie, right or wrong, yes or no, all in or all out – we don’t get to invent our own middle ground and replace His life and eternal message with some compromised half-truth. A half-truth is a lie. Anyone espousing that doctrine is not needed is a liar. Every time you see a chapter and verse referenced, you are seeing a reference to doctrine. Here are just 8 direct references,

1. “In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following” (1 Tim 4:6).

2. “All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against” (1 Tim 6:1).

3. “Teach and preach these principles. If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing” (1 Tim 6 2-4).

4. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires” (2 Tim 4:3).

5. “holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict” (Titus 1:9).

6. “But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).

7. “in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine” (Titus 2:7).

8. “showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect” (Titus 2:10).

If you reject the teaching, the doctrine, of Christ, then in the most serious sense, you reject Christ Himself. So do away with the false idea that doctrine is unnecessary, because the Holy Bible is a collection of doctrine. To say that doctrine isn’t needed is to say that the Bible isn’t needed, and you cannot say you love people and yet reject God. You cannot love God and hate His Word. You cannot separate God from His revealed will for us, His doctrine.

This is why getting to know the doctrine at a church is extremely important. You must study what the Bible teaches and compare that to how your church is interpreting and representing the Bible. There are a zillion false doctrines out there, and a zillion pastors who sneak false doctrine into their churches.

Besides, it’s easy to check up on it! Just look for your churches “statement of faith” or “articles of faith” or “doctrine” or “doctrinal statement” or a section titled “what we believe” or something like that, and you will be able to compare what the Bible says against what your church claims it says. The next step when evaluating your church after you have established that is has good doctrine, is to examine if they are applying that doctrine and actually living out the truth that they claim. Now go research it, because it may be the most important research you ever do!

Also beware of a pastor that only says, “we believe the Bible” and avoids any further elaboration. I have met too many pastors in person who know they have false doctrine, and they realize you are seeking to research, so they give you that answer in order to prevent you from finding them out. They will hide their doctrine from you. I have met a very large number of “Bible believing” men and churches who were extremely unbiblical and who held to tons of false doctrines. So, press the issue and get the facts and if they refuse to give you documented proof of their doctrine, then get out fast!  Always ask for documentation!  This is because many people will refuse to document their beliefs because they know how easily their ideas are disproven on paper, so they keep their words limited to conversations they can manipulate or distort.  The will talk circles around others, and can almost always convince you, so be careful and take the information home to study against Scripture for yourself!

October 20th, 2013 – Birthday Love.

Gift of FaithThanks to God alone I’m one year older. The Lord is with me and He strengthens me, so that through me His work might be accomplished, and that all might hear I was rescued out of the devil’s mouth! The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be all the glory!

After a year at Grace church, I have received so much mercy and graciousness, it is truly remarkable! I cannot thank my friends here enough for all the love they have shown me! Coming to Grace was by far the best decision, and every day I am reminded how powerful God’s sovereign providence is over all the tiniest details in life! He is in total control.

The Lordship of Christ, being transformed by Him, loving Him and seeking the purest, deepest possible relationship with Him is undoubtedly the most dominating and absorbing motivation in my life. I can’t get enough of Him, His Word, His people and His glory! I thank God for every second that He keeps me breathing, and when that day comes that I’m no longer here on this earth, if no one ever knows anything else about be ever, let it be known that God showed His love to me, saved me from sin, baptized me with His Holy Spirit, and gave me the eternal gift of true faith. I am forever His, and He shall forever be the greatest love of my heart.

I am changed unmistakably, because He loved me and sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for my sins. I have new desires, a new heart, and a new volition to seek Him and His glory over all things unto death. That is not normal human behavior! That is the supernatural work done only by the Word of God, His Holy Spirit and His Son! An impossible to mistake recreation that can never be undone. I will forever be His, and He shall forever be my Lord.

All I did was pick up the Bible, read it, and believe every Word of it! That means acting on what I read and actually walking in that faith! After believing that He was real, that Christ is God, that everything the Bible said He did was true, and that receiving His Word as objective truth was my priority, the only thing left was to keep reading and studying and – with my faith in Him – actually do what the Bible instructed! That’s the difference! It’s hard to explain real belief to unbelieving people, but my testimony is that true belief was the difference between reading with obvious doubts (manifested in my actions) and reading in full-fledged willingness to obey! Then, I started with Mark 12:30 and to this day that is where I start every morning — completely emptying myself and placing all of my love, strength, heart, will, soul, mind, and life in Him! If you just do that, Mark 12:30, I mean really do that beyond anything you ever gave to this world, and trust in Christ, then you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about! Life is not life without Jesus Christ’s love!

May the Lord be glorified first and foremost; not just my birthday but my deathday and everyday in-between!