Tag: Salvation

Luke 11 Teach Us to Pray – Part 4

Luke 11 Teach Us to Pray – Part 4

And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. (Luke 11:4) 

Forgive as we forgive.  We must realize that we are broken from our own sin.  It is a natural condition.  Romans 5:12 explains to us that sin came into the world and was passed down to every single man, woman, and child through the sin of one man.  This sin separated God from man and produced death in man.  In this manner, death has moved through all the generations of man, through one common ancestor.  Our sinfulness is more than that.

Not only do we have inherent sin, but; we also commit sin of our own.  You can try to say, “The Devil made me do it”, however; it was your own sinful nature.  This sin nature is driven out of selfishness.  Just as Adam chose to disobey God, so do we choose to disobey God.  This sin makes a separation between you and God (Isaiah 59.2).  WE forgive in recognition that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23).

We must recognize that just as we needed forgiveness, so do others around us.  We cannot hold ourselves to one standard, and hold all others to another.  We are all in the same boat, as it were.  If we have been forgiven, of all that we have done. Forgiveness that includes the sin that was on us from generations past, and those of our own seeking.  In recognizing then, we are truly and completely clean of sin, and that we could not have cleansed ourselves no more than a pig can clean itself in the pen.  Knowing that we did not earn this cleansing by our own merit, because we cannot be good enough.  We cannot be good enough because even at our best, we are still in sin from Adam.  We have come to the understanding that without this forgiveness our sin is punishable by death. (Romans 5:12).

Even though we deserve the death penalty, we have been forgiven of all sin in Jesus Christ our Lord.  This was a gift from the Father, and is witnesses in the sealing of the Holy Spirit.  Through this grace, we have been justified by God, in the faith we have in Jesus.  (Galatians 3:11). In having a true understanding of this in our hearts, we cannot approach the Lord with our petitions if we are holding something against another.

To be unforgiving, especially after we received such a gift ourselves, is hypocrisy. This attitude is contrary to the heart of God, who wishes that all should come to repentance and not die (2 Peter 3:8-10).  Jesus himself said that you come to the altar and remember that someone has something against you, or it you have something against someone else; leave the altar.  Jesus said, leave your gift where it is and make things right between you and them.  Once you have addressed the issue with whom you have offended or who has offended you, then come back to the altar.  With a clean heart, offer your gift.  Do not offer a vain gift to the Lord.

We must come to the Lord with the right heart, motivated by love and gratitude.  We cannot hold animosity.  To hold animosity means that we have judges ourselves to be more important than someone else.  We think too highly of ourselves in thinking that we deserve forgiveness but someone else does not.  In truth, no one DESERVES forgiveness, not you, not I.  Hypocrisy is as it’s heights in an unforgiving Christian. In fear and understanding, we humble ourselves before God.  We recognize that we needed his forgiveness, and so do others.  How can we who have been forgiven, not forgive other?  You may say, but I have not done the terrible things that they did to me, or to so and so.  That is not true.  Your sin had someone else tortured.  Your sin caused a mother to lose her child.  In fact she watched him being tortured, and beaten, and mocked.  She watched him shamed in public, and stung up to die.  Your sin caused a man to die.  How much worse can someone else do, then to kill someone either by malice of forethought or even by happenstance?

Forgiveness also does some other things.  Forgiveness sets the one who was wronged free from anger and resentment.  Forgiveness relieves victimization.  Forgiveness gives one the chance to renew their life.  Forgiveness causes a person to be stuck in the offence.  Forgiveness also reveals the nature of our own heart.  In order to love God with our whole heart, we must be able to love one another.  We are incapable of loving one another without being able to forgive one another.

And lead us not into temptation…

Part of this salvation provided by the Lord is Justification, which we covered already.  Now we move into the next portion, that of Sanctification.  Justification happened when we first believed on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  Justification is passed to us through faith in the gospel message concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  God sees our faith in Jesus and is pleased with this faith.  We are then given a legal righteousness imputed to us for all time, which delivers us from the penalty of sin.

Sanctification is a present experiential or progressive work performed in us by the Holy Spirit, keeping us holy until the final phase of salvation.  Sanctification is then a process of spiritual growth in the Christian life where we are delivered from the power of sin in daily life through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Looking again at this portion of the prayer recorded in Luke 11 where is says, “and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”, in this context, we see a great hope in living for Christ in our daily lives.  This is not some vain wish or aspiration, but; a real living hope!  This is voicing and expectation in dependency.  This statement gives recognition that we are dependent upon the very Spirit of God not only as a provider, but as a protector.

This is pleas has specific connotations. I am sure that you recall, if you have had a child, or know someone who has a toddler.  When the child gets old enough to walk, but not old enough to know better, which for some of us can last until the 40s. (LOL) The very safe environment of the family home can become a living hazard to the exploring babe.  A parent must safeguard the environment with outlet covers, door latches, and the sort.  Even then with all of those precautions, a parent must be ever vigilant for where the child is and what they are doing, especially if they are to quiet.  The attentive parent must from time to time, correct or avert the attention of the young one from things that may cause them harm.

This is the plea made here.  God keep a watch out for me God!  Keep me from the things that would harm me.  Even if I really think I want them.  Protect me not only from the temptation out there that is in this sinful age, but also from the lure to sin that I create in myself.  Don’t let me sin against you, safeguard me!  We must also realize that we are in a real spiritual battle.

There is a war going on in the spiritual realm.  In that realm, just as there are angels that are aligned with the Heavenly Father, there are fallen angels who fight against his will.  These fallen angels, known as demons, have a leader we know by the name of Satan, the devil, the Evil One. They make war against the lamb of God, Jesus. Since you are in the will of God and in the family of God the enemy will make war against you.

This evil is real and is powerful. Alone we cannot stand against such power.  However, our God is all-powerful, and in Him, we can stand against the Devil and his demons.  You see God is our salvation, and our protector from this present age and all the evil that it contains.  There is no enemy that can stand against us, because we can call on the name of Jesus.  This prayer is a seeking of the will of God in our lives.  Jesus then says in his model of prayer, that we should seek first the kingdom of heaven.

We should seek to do what is the will of God the Father in recognition of who He is, and what he had provided for us.  We must never forget that He did these things because of His great love for us as mankind and as individuals. We glorify Him, but in actuality we do this because He has glorified us first.  Not only that there is a future glorification to come that we cannot understand.

The final stage of salvation is glorification.  For a lot of us this happens when we die.  But there are some of us who may yet see the rapture of the church.  I say this because we are in the last days, and he is standing at the door ready to open it wide.  In this final glorification we will put on immortality.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (1 Corinthians 15:53-55 KJV).

Death shall be finally defeated.  We will have moral perfection and a resurrected body.  This is a promise made by God and this promise will be deliverance from the presence of sin.  You see we will be in the presence of God himself, and sin cannot enter into His presence.  There are allot more things that can be written, concerning this prayer.  I think to answer the question, is there more to this prayer than just being a model for prayer can be answered with a loud, resounding “YES!”  Thanks God! YES!

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The Roman Road

Matthew 4:17-19, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  And he saith unto them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’”

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1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

In a web article written by R. C. Sproul published in 2014 for Ligonier Ministries, the Reform Theologist declared,

“One of the most important subdivisions of theology is Christology, which is the study of the person and work of Christ.  Within that field of study, when we want to get at the aspect that is most crucial, the aspect that we may call the “crux” of the matter of Jesus’ person and work, we go immediately to the cross.  The words crucial and crux both have their root in the Latin word for “cross”, crux, and they have come into the English language with their current meanings because the concept of the cross is at the very center and core of biblical Christianity.  In a very real sense, the cross crystallizes the essence of the ministry of Jesus.”  (Sproul, R.C. “What Does It Mean to Know Nothing except Christ and Him Crucified?” Ligonier Ministries, 11 Apr. 2004, http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-does-it-mean-christ-and-him-crucified/.)

Every Christian should be in the business of witnessing for Christ and the power of the Cross in our lives. We should be sharing what Christ can and will do for those of whom we are speaking to, or communicating with.  When Jesus told Peter that he was going to be a “fisher of men”, he meant that his purpose in life was to make disciples.  This is the mission of every Christian who is on the face of the earth.  The first part of discipleship is the process of personal evangelism.  As we see by the example of Paul, the cross is the center or our message.

This is our objective then, to share Jesus Christ, and his work of salvation that was completed at the Cross, Jesus declared on the cross, “it is finished” (John 19:30).  These are probably the most important words ever said in the history of man on earth, maybe even in all creation.

What are we trying to tell the individual about this work of the cross?

Personal Evangelism is about relaying this information:

  • The individual is lost
  • Christ made sufficient provisions for them
  • Salvation is only obtained by faith in Jesus and the work of the cross
  • A choice must be made

As we begin our personal evangelism efforts; we must consider how important our relationship with to whom we are speaking.  It is actually very rare to find someone, especially in the United States, that has not already heard something about Jesus.  They have been informed from a wide variety of sources.

Most of these sources are unfortunately untrustworthy.  There have been a lot of false teachings, frauds, and legalist that have convoluted the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to gain authority or financial supremacy over others.  Many have been enslaved by false doctrines and blinded by Church Dogma. Their perception of Christ has been understandably distorted.

For this reason, evangelism is an ever changing process, but one thing will always remain true.  The best way to evangelize is always through a personal relationship with the prospect.  Gaining the trust of the lost soul, in order to show them Jesus Christ. In this manner we can show what a personal relationship with Jesus looks like.

A genuine relationship disproves lies, and breaks down fears, stereotypes, pain, and anger.  It gives you an opportunity to speak to the heart of the individual and address their spiritual need on an ongoing basis, developing trust, and opening doors through the intervention of prayer and the Holy Spirit.  The importance of this was relayed by God himself.

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” (John 1:14a).  God, through Jesus Christ, became accessible to man on an intimate level. To dwell among us means to reside, or live with.  God came and shared his time with us.  This is what the church needs to do.  This is what you need to do as a Christian. Get into the neighborhood, embrace a neighbor, learn their stories, develop relationships for the sake of spreading the gospel, showing them Jesus.  Jesus ate with sinners, ministered to the sick, confronted false doctrine.  If we are the salt of the earth, then this is how we must live to be effective for the cause of Christ.

The most common route of scripture that is used for leading someone to Christ is referred to as “The Roman Road”.  This is a selection of scriptures from the book of Romans.  These verses lay out the plan of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  There are some small variations, however they following verses are commonly used.

Rome1

The “Roman Road” Plan

  • Gain the attention

o   Romans 3.23

o   Romans 3.10

o   Romans 5:12

  • Establish the Need

o   Romans 6:23

  • Supply the Answer

o   Romans 5:8

  • Close the Deal

o   Romans 10:9-10

o   Romans 10:13

o   Reassure

o   Romans 10:17

Deeper Look

We must never assume that whoever we are speaking to has a proper understanding of God.  We must also never assume that they are ignorant of scripture.  When I share scripture with someone I generally either tell them the scripture in a form of conversation or either locate the scripture and pass my bible to them and have them read it aloud for themselves, then I begin a dialog with basically asks them to tell me what they have read and what they think it means.  This is where knowing other scriptures than the Roman Road comes into play.  The other scriptures can be used to explain the text and give it context.  Your personal witness gives you the ability to make it real to them.

Romans 3.23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3.10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

With these opening verses we establish some facts concerning God.  We show that God is a holy God. “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5).  He has established a set of laws, we commonly refer to as the 10 Commandments.  These were established to show us the holiness of God, and how impossible it is to be righteous and holy like God is.

It does not matter how “good” we are in compression to someone else.  If we point the finger at our neighbor who cheated on his wife, and yet we look at his daughter with lust, we are still just as guilty of adultery as our neighbor is (Matthew 5:28). So when the Lord said thou shalt not commit adultery, you violated that commandment. But the list goes on, how many “white” lies have you told? How many times have you passed on gossip about someone else?  If so then when the Lord said thou shalt not bear false witness of they neighbor, you violated the law in both external application and internal intent.

The Ten Commandments are only an outline of the Law, if you could not even keep them, then how could you ever hope to keep the whole law?  But even if it were possible to keep the entire law with every jot and every tittle you would still have the inherited sin of rebellion that has been passed down from the original sin of Adam.  Some sins follow generations.

Ever here of “Sins of the father?”  This is an illustration that shows a spiritual principle, “Sin has a consequence for the sinner and his whole family, even to the children and grandchildren.”  This is also why some sins take what is called a Break in the Cycle to alleviate.  An example is child or spousal abuse, or even alcoholism, or drug abuse.  Lee Strobel cites that almost down to the last, every predominant atheist in history has had issues with their Father, either abuse, neglect, or abandonment.  Prisons are filled with men and women who had the same issues.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The argument then comes to “I didn’t know”.  There are some terms that are thrown around in the legal system.

  • Malum in se (latin) – meaning wrong or evil in itself. In other words, “the act is inherently wrong by nature, independent of regulations governing conduct.
  • Malum in prohibitum (latin) – meaning wrong because prohibited.
  • Ignorantia juris non excusat or inorantia legis neminem excusat (latin) – basically both terms mean that ignorance of the law excuses no one.

So if we as mankind expect adherence to our laws, customs, and norms of society, and do not excuse ignorance of the law as a defense to defer adjudication, then why do we expect God too?

Now knowing that we are all guilty of violating the law of God and thus fore failing to live up to God’s standard of Holiness what does that mean?  Just like when you violate a law in society there is a consequence.  The consequence is death.

“Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:15).

Death brings an end to the hope of redemption.  “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27).

Death brings a time for judgement.  You can kind of explain it like this.  When you break the law, the police come and arrest you.  You are put in jail and then you are brought before the judge.  But unlike here in the United States, you only have a prosecutor, “Satan” and no lawyer for your own defense.  You are brought before the court, God is the Judge, the Word of God is the Law you are judged from.  Satan is the prosecutor and the witness against you.  It doesn’t matter what kind of “cool dude” you thought Satan was while you were living, he is revealed as your enemy and takes pleasure in insuring you fate,  a sentence of Death.  There is no appeal process.  Because God is just and holy, and  there is no higher authority, His judgement is final. Ignorance, willful or not, is no excuse.

The death penalty is so fierce it is described as “weeping and gnashing of teeth” and described as fiery torment.

  • Matthew 13:42 – And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
  • Matthew 13:50 – And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
  • Matthew 22:13 – Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
  • Matthew 24:51 – And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
  • Matthew 25:30 – And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I know there are allot of preachers out there that say we should not speak of hell, but I don’t see how we can love someone and not warn them of the truth of their fate without Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Ignorance is no excuse, and judgement is final, the consequence is death.  But there is hope!  “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:17). Jesus Christ himself, who is God, provided the payment for the penalty.  Jesus died in your place.  This was the whole purpose for Jesus coming to the earth. He voluntarily took your place and received your death sentence.

He died so that you would not have too. In doing this, he stepped in as your lawyer in the throne room of God. Every sin you have ever  inherited from Adam, or committed in your life or will be has been removed from your account by the death of Jesus.  You have been set free from the penalty of death because he died.

That is what is so different of Jesus from any other religion on earth.  God loved you so much the God died for you.  NO other religion, no other philosophy, no other science can, nor will make that claim.  Not Buddha, Not Mohammad, not the Pope, no one can say that they restored you to God, but God himself in the form of Jesus who is the Christ, the living Son of God.

On top of that, you did nothing to earn it.  Look again at Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  It is a gift! A gift is a contribution, bequest (inheritance), bestowment, payment on behalf of someone else.  In it’s truest form requires no cost to the receiver.  This is more than just a “get out of hell free card”. More than just getting into “heaven”. This gift is eternal life in communion with God.  This gift restores you whole being to what it was meant to be before Adam ever sinned.

Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

If you confess faith in Jesus, and Lord and Saviour of your soul and really believe in your heart that Jesus provides justification through his death, and believe that Jesus rose from the grave then you shall be saved according to your acceptance and profession of faith.  It takes an internal belief, acceptance in faith that results in a public profession in Jesus.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Whosoever means “anyone who will” believer and choose to act on their belief will be saved.  The bible says that even the demons believe in Jesus.  So believing in God, or even believing that Jesus existed and was a “good man” or a “prophet” won’t save you.  You have to understand that Jesus is the only way to salvation and call out to him.  You have to depend on him for your salvation.  If you were hanging out the window of a burning building, and a fireman on a ladder told you to take his hand and to trust him not to let you go, you can say all you want to, but until you take his hand you wont be saved.  It’s the same with the kingdom of God.

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Now is your time to choose.  Do you believe what I have told you?  Do you understand what the scriptures say about life and death?  Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God that was sent to die for you?  Do you believe that he wants you to live in freedom, right by his side?  Will you accept his give of life, or will you choose to die?

 

What is Repentance?

Jesus said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:32)  What then is repentance? Why is it so important?  What does it look like?

I will tell you first what repentance is not. Repentance is not just being sorry because you got caught.  Although, being caught can be a motivation towards repentance.  Sorrow for being caught and apologizing is not repentance in itself.  In truth, repentance does not require an emotional response either.  Yes emotions can be a factor in bringing someone to repentance.

What is required for repentance?

  • Repentance requires an understanding of a wrong that was committed.
  • Repentance requires an understanding of consequences that have a cause and effect from act committed. Repentance requires ownership of the act committed.
  • Repentance requires a sincere commitment not to re-commit the wrong that was committed.

For Christian repentance it requires acceptance that Jesus paid the consequence for the wrong committed.  Christian repentance requires that we commit our lives to God through Jesus.  Acts 20:21 tell us that it is “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ”.  So then, repentance is a decision, a change of mind, resulting in an inward and outward action of turning from your old way of life to a better life in fellowship with God through Jesus the Savior.

Repentance is a gift that God has given us.  We have all been hurt by someone in our past, by someone we really loved and trusted.  We have all felt so betrayed that we didn’t see how we could ever trust anyone again.  No one could make us love again.  No one would ever be allowed to get that close to use again.  We have all felt that loneliness that comes with the anger and isolation of mistrust.  For those of us who have overcome and have someone in our lives we can trust again, how did we do that?  Better yet for those who still struggle with trust issues, how do you overcome?

How do you trust someone again?  Can anyone EARN your trust?  I think the answer is no.  No one can earn your trust.  So then what?  This is the way… you have to give someone your trust.  You have to take a chance.  You have to give it away.  You have to forgive. This is what I mean by, repentance is a gift from God.  We cannot earn Gods trust any more than someone can earn yours, if you have been hurt.  God chooses to give us a way to come into His graces.  God chose to make the sacrifice of blood that was necessary to bring us in to his fellowship again.  Why?  Because like you, God wants to be close to the ones that He loves.  Because God knows that having a relationship with you as an individual is worth the sacrifice.

Repentance is a part of the foundation of Christianity.  Acts 17:30 states, “…but [God] now commandeth all men [women] everywhere to repent.”, and again in Luke 13:13 we discover that unless we do repent, we will perish.  So then the way to eternal life starts with repentance… a choice to change.  Peter announced in Acts 2:38, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Repentance is necessary for salvation.  How can a husband who has wronged his wife expect to be forgiven and trusted if he is still committing the offences that lead to his separation from his wife?  How can an employee make amends to an employer if they are still stealing from the employer?  How can an addict be trusted if they are still using?  It doesn’t make much sense does it?  It is one thing to be sorry, it’s another to choose to change.  Repentance is yet more than these, you have to put your faith in Jesus.  You have to trust that He has the power and the will to deliver you.

In Alcoholics Anonymous, the first few steps to recovery are to admit you have a problem. Know that you are powerless to stop it. You have to take a moral inventory of yourself. Know that you can be delivered from the behavior by a higher power.  Then commit to that power, and continue in the way you are led.  I can think of no better example of repentance.

When you repent, you have to put your faith in Jesus to deliver you from your moral bankruptcy.  You have to commit to Jesus for life.  The phrase “Let go and let God.” Does not mean to quit trying.  It means to submit to Jesus.

“Know ye not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether to sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness:  But God be thanked, that ye were servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.  Being made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Romans 6:16-18)

This is the doctrine of salvation – “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who know no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (II Corinthians 5:21)

Jesus stepped in and took blame for everything you ever did, or will do against God, and paid the price with His life.  You say I didn’t do anything against God.  Well the truth is you have. Every lie, everything you took that wasn’t yours.  Every vile thought, every time you talked about someone behind their back.  Every time you judged the homeless, or ignored a widows tears, or a child’s hunger.  When you chose to use your pain to hold judgement against someone else, you did those and more against God.  Just because you call yourself a Christian doesn’t mean you don’t need to repent either.

1John 1:8-9 was talking to followers when he said, “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  The church of Pergamos was warned, “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” (Revelation 2:16)  Examine yourself today and confess aloud your sin to Jesus and recommit your way.

The Lord Himself commanded us to take up our crosses daily.  This way you can be in fellowship with God today.  “That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.  And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” (1 John 1:3-4)

This is a gift from God toward us, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Romans 5:1)