Bible Lesson 207

ARE WE SAVED OR JUST SELF DECEIVED

Jesus Christ said “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.” John 6:35-36.

“What a lesson this is for every under shepherd. Your message may be slighted by the crowd, and many ‘believe not’?.but the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His.
2nd Timothy 2:19, A.W. Pink

This month we will open our Bibles and learn how far we have drifted away from God and His Amazing Grace. Why would the creature move away from The Creator’ Well, therein is the question that we must examine, before we can move back again under the wings of our Great Almighty God. Can there be any doubt that the visible church in our day has ‘gone into business for itself ‘ so to speak, as we have fallen under the spell of humanism, and begun to think more highly of the creature than we do of the Creator.

We have left being concerned about the souls of men, and have become concerned about drawing crowds of people so that we can fill pews, and gather names on our rolls. We have become satisfied with a false unity in the congregation.

We cherish a crowd that does not know much about what the Bible says, and are concerned more about how the building fund grows, than we are about the Kingdom of God. If you are part of that kind of religion, then you are part of the problem and not part of the solution. We have seen before that Our Savior Jesus Christ questioned the early church and asked “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth'” (Luke 18:8). What I have said so far should cause serious seekers of God to ask something like, ‘Is there a problem with faith'” The answer is, no there is not a problem with faith, the problem is that we have painted over God’s Saving Faith, with a faith that is identified with mental ascent. We do not have Saving Faith,simply because we say that we have it.

The proof of Saving Faith stands only in the death of our old creature and the recreation of a New Creature, “IN Christ”. This new Creature has had the old things (of Adam) passed away, and all things have become new (In Christ). This New Creature is obedient to all of God’s commandments, and He loves God and loves His neighbor.

These new creatures are added to Christ’s Church as God regenerates and energizes them to live like Saints, and influence their communities to walk the way God intended for man to walk. What do you think God intended for Adam and Eve’

We know that God knew all the time that Adam would fall, but we serve a God that tries men to see how they will act. God’s allowance of disobedience in Adam, was because Adam had a free will, and by that I mean that He was free to do what he wanted to do. None of us are born with that kind of will. Our will is a will that Adam damaged; and we have a will that is free, but only to sin. Everything that you and I do prior to being born again In Christ, is a sin. Doesn’t matter if we think it is good or that everyone else agrees that it is. We do not have ‘saving faith’ and so anything and everything that we do is sin, (Romans 14:23). That means that every Christian is accountable to God for how He lives, and by that I mean that some Christians are baby Christians and they do not have their conscience as educated as others and although they have faith and follow the truths of God they may abstain from something that a man with more faith would enjoy. It is the Truth that matters, and that is my purpose in writing these messages that point us toward knowing the truth and making sure our faith is sound. I am firmly convinced that the visible church, or far too many of our visible churches, are less than healthy.

By that I mean that the routine of many churches has been tainted by less than Christian teaching, preaching and believing the whole counsel of God. Are there some that are pleasing to God’ Certainly there are, however that does not change the fact that those that are not pleasing to God are leading people further away from God and His Gospel of salvation, and they are wrong and must be called on their error. The visible church has been wrong for so long that they have set their errors in concrete (sinners heads),and they will throw song books, Bibles, the offering plates and all kind of unkind epithets at anyone who attempts to preach the truths of the Bible.

Now, who is responsible for the error’ Doesn’t matter, although the pastors have to shoulder most of the blame, those in the pews and on the church rolls must also come to the ‘lick-log’, which means that we must either fish or cut-bait. We have become a people who have open minds which has the idea of hearing everything, and believing all of it, whether it is true or false. We have majored in the minors of life and of holiness. We seek churches that fit our ideas about preaching and that will accommodate our quest for creature comforts, and we move between churches seeking what we want and getting what we want instead of getting what we desperately need.

We seem to have the idea that we can be saved anytime we want to, but delay holiness and knowledge and accountability to God, until we go to the grave. That sounds like a lay-away plan, but God doesn’t offer a lay-away plan. Wherever you are with God when you die, determines where you will stand in the judgment. There is nothing in the grave that will change anything about your final destiny! So then how must those who will inherit that heavenly estate, live while here on the earth’ That should not be hard to answer because God tells us exactly how we are to act, when we are truly saved.

Now, let me clear up an important misunderstanding in the church that we must get right before we can move on with our discussion on the Christian life. We have made up our minds that salvation consists of how much of whatever, we personally decide to do for God. In reality, that kind of mindset is our religion, and that does not equate to being saved at all. True salvation, comes with a dying to self and everything else in favor of obedience to God and His Commands, Precepts and His Word (Bible). With that said we can now proceed to deal with true salvation. Jesus Christ set the Plan for us when He said to Nicodemus in (John 3:3, and 5), that Nicodemus, and we today, require a new birth (birth from above). Now, let me ask you, have you been born again’

Can you look back to a period in your life where it was obvious that God was calling you out of the world unto Himself’ Surely no one who reads this can think that when the Almighty God, The Creator, Sustainer, and Savior of those who obey, works in and on a person, that it is not clearly evident. When God works in your life, to save you, there is a great tribulation in your heart, mind, and soul. God calls you to the Cross of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and allows you to see yourself; and what it took to wipe your sin debt clean. When you see Jesus Christ, who gave up heaven and all that heaven offers, to descend through the womb of a young maiden who had never known a man, to take on the form and flesh of mankind and walk among us for some thirty years, without sin, as He made that long trip to the Cross which was his mission, it invariably breaks your heart. Jesus Christ, substituted Himself on the Cross and bled and died for those who would obey Him (Hebrews 5:8-9).

Seeing what it cost God, because Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, for your sins to be forgiven, drives you to loath your sin and yourself; and in true salvation, that plays out in sincere grief and repentance (turning away from all sin, to submit and commit to God). We become the handiwork of God, created in Christ for good works, which God had foreordained that we would walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). So we can safely say that one of the first things that every Christian will know for certain is that he/she has made a mess of this life that God gave us, and that we readily give up control and ask God to forgive our stupidity, and arrogant sins, and restore a right relationship between God and ourselves.

Yes, I was stupid when God found me, and so were you; and the proof is in the Bible, God advises us in Psalms 14:1, where God tells us “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God”. If you are truly saved, you know for sure that you did not consider God as God, because you wanted to be your own god, the captain of your soul, so to speak; and God showed you, that you were on the devil’s course to hell. True salvation, is always a supernatural event, controlled entirely by God, from start to finish. The very first thing you come to know is that God is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, and you are a simple creature in need of divine intervention. If you are truly saved, let me ask you what Christ saved you from’ What He saved you from was, hell fire and torment for eternity. He did that by paying your sin debt. He who knew no sin, became sin for us, and as the epitome of sin, was nailed to the cross that we deserved; and suffered the punishment for every sin we had or would ever commit.

He took our place and died for our sin, though He never sinned, He died and when He said “It is Finished” every person who would ever believe (obey) was saved. These, will everyone come to Christ in the way that we must, and be saved in God’s time. Some ask the question, What about those who will never be saved’ They will go to hell for eternity. Some ask, how can we know who will believe. I answer, only when we see evidence that they have been with Christ, and show works worthy of repentance, in a Christ like life. The truly saved Christian has been to the cross in Christ and died, was buried with Him, and resurrected with Him, to a newness of life. That newness of life is the life that Christ lives through every truly saved person (Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:1-14; Romans 8:1-17). Is the life you now live, lived by Christ’ That is not a trick question. You see the truly saved person is a Saint, not a sinner. The truly saved person is Holy, and sanctified, and set apart, because they are in Jesus Christ.

Saint, sanctification, holy and set apart are all from the same root word, and they all mean that the truly saved person has been set apart for God’s use only. We have come apart from the world and the worldly, and we are to remain holy because God uses only people who are holy, sanctified and set apart for His use. We did not reach this high level of life through our efforts in the flesh. We are what we are, because God who is Sovereign over everyone and everything in our world, especially in True Salvation,decreed it. This is not my first time to preach that saved people are special people, and that they live special lives because they have submitted their lives to Christ, who now lives through them. Remember Christ said “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23).

Have you denied yourself; your plans, your desires, your intentions and your way of life, in favor of Christ living through you’ To your knowledge, who was the only human that ever lived a perfect life, never sinned in any way’ You know that it was Jesus Christ, the God-Man, God with us, the Savior and the only mediator between God and man. We are never saved by our ‘profession’ of faith, we are only saved after God puts us to death, and raises up that new creature “in Christ”, then our lives are lived the way Christ lives. Jesus says to lost people, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30).

Important: Nothing that you can ever do, will cause God to save you. You will always be made willing by God, and only God can ever begin salvation in anyone! So how does anyone get saved’ Well, if we are willing to spend some time reading the Bible, we find that God tells us in His Inspired Word the Bible, that “Faith come by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, so you either read it for yourself or you take a chance and allow others to teach you what it says. At any rate you put yourself in God’s way, you hang around with people who claim to be saved; however you always measure their talk against their walk. You can bet that great musicians spent a great deal of time around their instruments of music, and great carpenters spent a lot of time sawing and making things, and football players spent a lot of time at first just being around the game and taking tips from those who played the game. You will probably not find God hanging around the gambling boats or the beer joints. I can assure you that there are no places where you can drive in and fill up on God.

God is the beginning and the end of true salvation, and so our eyes must be open to God and our ears sensitive as they listen to the Truth. We must desire God, and a right standing with God, more than we desire anything or anyone in the world. So always remember that you only have a few days on this earth, so you would be smart if you studied to show yourself approved unto God, a workman who needs not be ashamed. (2nd Timothy 2:15). You must begin at the beginning and that is in knowing for sure that “God is; and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him,” (Hebrews 11:6).

Then you must come to the realization that you are a Sinner, without help or hope without God, (Romans 3:10-18; Colossians 3:6). When you get to the point where you realize how bad you are, and how Holy and Gracious God is, and you desire to be reconciled to God, be still and know that He is God; and wait upon Him. (Isaiah 40:28-31). Forget the idea that there is a way that we can work ourselves into salvation. We cannot rush God, nor can we deny God, He is all-powerful and He alone controls salvation. You cannot be saved and not know it for certain (there may be times and situations that make you wonder, but they will be temporary). Remember that God merely spoke and all things came into being on His call and His will, so when God does a work to grant you that status of Newness, you will always know it.

We will always live according to God’s written Word the Bible, because we have the living Word of God, walking with us, and for us. God has set down a plan for the best life that a person can live and we find them in Exodus chapter 20, we call it the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments, so that’s how we live. We love God supremely which means that we will not have any gods before Jehovah God. We will not make or devise any object of anything to be set up to represent God, and will not worship any idol. We will not take His name in vain, which means much more than foul language (for instance, we will not claim to know Him and live for Him, unless we are truly saved; or attempt to use His name to further our own desires). Then we will honor the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

That day is set apart for God and our drawing closer to Him, We must not do our normal work, and whatever we do must be done to glorify God. If we keep those commandments then we prove our love for God; however, He commands us to love our neighbor (those who have need and are within our ability to help). If we love our neighbor we will first honor our father and mother; hopefully they are good parents who have taught you to love God and others; but whatever kind of parents you have you should show deference toward them, because God gave you the duty to honor them. You will not murder, which means that you do not set in motion a plan to kill them, you will not premeditate in your heart to kill anyone or hate anyone enough to kill them. You will not commit adultery, in other words you will not have sex or even desire to have sex with anyone other than your marital partner. You won’t steal, or bear false witness against your neighbor; and finally you will not covet ‘anything’ that belongs to your neighbor.

That pretty well outlines what the Lord expects from those who are His Children. We walk like Jesus, because we are being led by Jesus who loved us and gave Himself for us.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob