Archive for the ‘Perseverance of the saints’ category

Jesus doesn’t need your heart (if that’s all you’re giving Him)

March 23, 2010

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The whole idea of “you can’t judge a book by its cover” is not in the Gospel of Jesus. As a matter of fact, He said just the opposite: “you will know them by their fruit”

We have in our baptist churches this idea that you need to “receive Jesus”, and maybe “in your heart”.
This is, first and foremost, not biblical, and, secondly (but also important) not in the history of the church.
Our salvation is not a process in which God does half of it, and we do the other half. It is a supernatural work of God. It’s not simply jumping out of the way to hell and jumping in the line to heaven.
The moment we are saved we become new creatures (if we are truly saved)
And this change will affect everything in our life. I don’t believe there’s a single area in our existence that will remain untouched by God.
How can we, then, live, talk, think (and, yes, even dress – there are dress codes in the Bible) like the world!?

Today the notion of worldliness is almost lost. And this happens because the doctrine of sanctification is also almost lost.
It doesn’t bother us that we cannot be told apart from the world.
The moment you bring this up in a conversation (“we are Christians, we are not supposed to do that”), you are reminded instantly of the Pharisees. “You don’t know their heart” goes the reasoning further.

This is not a salvation of works. We are saved by faith alone. But this faith is always accompanied by godliness. Not in order to be saved, but as a result of being saved.
“Sola fide” (by faith alone) emerged with the Reformation, as a reaction to the Roman Catholic idea that good works are neccessary for salvation.
But look at what we, the baptists, have done: the Gospel that we are proclaiming holds that it doesn’t matter how we live, as long as Jesus “is in our heart”!
We have reduced the supernatural work of God that transforms us to almost nothing, since we can (presumably) live the way we used to when we were in and of the world.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”

“for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

Jesus can, and will look at your heart. But He doesn’t need to.

“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

What happened to 1 John, 2 Peter, the sermon on the mountain?
Did we stop reading that? (and preaching that)

How can we say that Jesus is in our heart, but this doesn’t neccesarily affect the whole body?

This is the litmus test:

“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test?”

We are supposed to take holiness seriously. And also take sin seriously.

A quote by JC Ryle (that we should probably hear more often) :”Perhaps you think the saints of God [are] too strict and particular and serious. You rather avoid them. You have no delight in their society. There will be no other company in heaven”

Others May, You Cannot!

November 14, 2009

—G.D. Watson (1845-1924)

If God has called you to be really like Jesus, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience, that you will not be able to measure yourself by other Christians; and in many ways, He will seem to let to let other good people do things which He will never let you do.

Other Christians and ministers, who seem very religious and useful, can push themselves, pull wires and work schemes to carry out their Christian goals, but these things you simply cannot do. Others may boast of their work or their writings or their success, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you ever try it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, but most likely God will keep you poor, because He want you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence on Him and the joy of seeing Him supply your needs day by day out of an unseen Treasury.

The Lord may let others be honored and keep you hidden and unappreciated because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it, but He will make you work on and on without others knowing how much you are doing; and then, to make your work still more precious, He may let others get the credit for the work which you have done, and thus make your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes.

The Holy Spirit will rebuke you for little words or deeds or even feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem to be concerned about, but you must make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and He has a right to do whatever He pleases with His own. He may not explain to you a thousand things which puzzle your reason in the way He deals with you, but if you will just submit yourself to Him in all things, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and bestow upon you many blessing which come only to those who are very near to His heart.

Settle it then, that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that He does not seem to use with others. Now, when you are so possessed with the living God that your secret heart becomes pleased and delighted with this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, then you will have entered the very vestibule of heaven itself.

Carnal Christian!?

January 25, 2009

He was a regular guy, grew up in the church, “received Jesus” and was baptised at 16, enjoyed youth groups and youth conferences, even the church sometimes (not always), used to (and liked to) sing in the church (including choir).

Nevertheless, after a while he didn’t want God anymore in his life.

But let’s have a closer look at him:

-Did he enjoy reading the Bible? Not really. Well, at times preachers/youth ministers would have prod him to read his Bible more, but it didn’t last.

-Prayer? The same. Not passionate about it, it was rather “got to do it because they say so”. Before leaving for a trip his mother would say “let’s pray” and he always thought “here she comes again…do we have to go through that every time?”

-Also related to sharing the Gospel, at times they had in that city Evangelizing rallies, and that would prod him to be there and occasionaly witness to others about Christ, but it was always (as far as he can remember) in the flesh. The Spirit of God was never there. And I assume it could go on.

-Was he worldly? You couldn’t tell that by the way he dressed, or talked, but in his heart he was always attracted to what the world had to offer. A minister asked him to accompany him in his missions. He didn’t want to because he would miss Sunday afternoons, when they had good TV shows. And because he was not passionate about the missions (and even in the countryside!? if it were at least in some bigger cities…). Then, friends from a youth choir would gather on Saturday evening to practise. For him would have been unconceivable to give up this precious time of the week.

-He once even held the morning prayer service (it was a small country church)

– A group of Christian young men came once to his city (they were Americans) and he asked one of them whether he liked Bruce Willis. For our guy the response wassurprising: “No, I don’t. Too much like the world”. He thought “not to like Bruce Willis!?”

It is so easy to “act” being a Christian (he didn’t do it consciously, of course). You have to have the right friends (in the church), go out mostly to “Christian” (birthday) parties and weddings, show up nicely in the church Sunday morning and in the youth groups and in Christian camps, etc.

Obviously, I was not bearing fruit (because I was the guy, of course). All these could be done (and were) in the flesh. The others didn’t know it, but, even worse, I didn’t know it myself. 

For all these years I thought that I was a saved Christian and that I went away from God. Now, when I think back, it is obvious that I wasn’t saved. I only thought I was. Because:

Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:2)

You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? (Matthew 7:16)

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter (Matthew 7:21)

And:

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! … (2 Corinthians 13:5)

There’s no such thing as a “carnal Christian”!