Bible Lesson 49

PRACTICAL CHRISTIAN LIVING (Part 1)
JOHN 7:37-38

I will ask that you please buckle your seatbelts and prepare yourself to tackle one of the most critical and important issues that men in our day can think about and that is demonstrating that there has been a work of God on and in our lives. This lesson applies only to those who have been called, quickened, justified, and sanctified by the only One who can change any man’s moral center.

What we want to deal with in this lesson is living out the commandments, precepts, testimonies, statutes, and judgments of God as written in the inspired Word of God, the Bible. We are saved by God’s Grace, through Faith in His Son, Jesus Christ; but we evidence that we are saved by the way that we obey God, the way that we walk before God and man in this world. Our Scripture reference for this lesson (John 7:37-38) gives us the answer to the problem of sin and that is that every truly saved person is indwelled and empowered by the Holy Spirit (God).

Jesus spoke to the Jews back then and speaks to us today and He says in that scripture, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” Ephesians 1:13 tells us that the moment we truly believe, we are indwelled or sealed by the Holy Spirit, and that is the source of spiritual and eternal life.

Some of you may say, well, what has that to do with us? I say, that it should speak to everyone who reads this lesson because that is the place where we are failing as we proudly march through life proclaiming to the lost world that we are Christians, when in fact we show no marks of true conviction or conversion that comes with the impartation of the Holy Spirit in true salvation.

Permit me to lay further groundwork for the necessity of this kind of message. You will have to be willing to open your spiritual eyes and hear with your spiritual ears for this lesson to deal with your heart concerning the problem that is so rampant in our denominational churches today. If you think that there is no problem in the visible church, I ask you to look at the lives of those who make up your congregation. Can you see the results of the indwelling spirit? You should be able to easily see the Spirits work in those who are truly saved. Our scripture in John 7:37-38, speaks of those who know God in spirit and truth, as having rivers of living waters flowing out of their bellies.

That does not say that some people with great zeal but with little knowledge can go out to “save” people, which is what those who ask people to come to a church service think they have done. Certainly, it is good for people to be invited to church services, but that is not the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit in every person who is saved does many things; first He convicts a person of his absolute need for a savior.

John 16:8-14 tells us that the Holy Spirit convicts a person of his sin (singular). The great and condemning sin of all men is that they refuse to believe in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, for their salvation. Do these scriptures say that the Holy Spirit will convict men of their sin, of righteousness and judgment,? and the judgment is the process of condemnation!

That means that the Spirit works in every person to do these things: conviction of their depravity, the foolishness of their self-righteousness, and the righteous judgment of God on everyone that dies in unbelief. The Holy Spirit does not stop there but goes on to guide those who believe in all truth (Bible), and He will glorify Christ as He speaks to us concerning Christ. The little book of Titus, tells us that men are saved by Grace; but Grace goes past the initial act of salvation to become the teacher of those who believe; and He teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lust; and teaches us to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. Notice, the Bible, there in Titus, does not say we are to live godly lives once we get to heaven?..but while we walk this pilgrim way. The reason God saves any of us is so that we will live in such a way as to glorify Him and draw others to see His goodness. What a wonderful and gracious and personal God we serve!

He provides all that a creature will ever need to live a particular life here on the earth and a blessed and fruitful life once we pass on to that eternal life where the things that await us are so beautiful and pleasant and special that we are told by God through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, that “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him”. Heaven will be so beautiful and thrilling and peaceful and painless and filled with the blessed Savior that our physical eyes could not take it in and our ears could not understand that place where it is not evil. God promised that to those who love Him, and to them alone. Do you love God? I mean to love God, enough to obey everything that He has spoken to us in His Word the Bible? We might as well face it here and now, so that we will not be fooled, the only love that God recognizes is that love that is so deep and committed to Him that it does everything that He has called us to do.

There are many people today who have been church members almost all of their natural lives because their parents “pushed” them to join the church before they were able to comprehend what they were doing. That is not their fault, but that is the fault of careless parents and overly zealous church leaders. These people have never understood the Bible or understood that gift of God, faith. It was not their fault when it happened but it will become their fault in the judgment; because God has given us only one way to be saved; and that is through real committed and submitted belief in Jesus Christ(John 3:16; Acts 4: 10-12).

No person will be able to stand before God in the judgment and say it’s my parent’s fault or my preacher’s fault or my teacher?s fault. God will not hear that kind of excuse. We all have Bibles and we have read or heard some preach the truth and so we are without excuse (Romans 1:20). Now, so that we all understand, parents who pushed their children toward mechanical salvation before they were adult enough to understand, will be held accountable for that and preachers who were more interested in looking successful by, “saving” a lot of creatures will, also.

It’s time that America woke up and began to read their Bibles to hear God speak, instead of reading their Bible to teach it the things that sound good to them and that they agree with. God did not give us His Word so that we could proofread and change the things that make sinners feel convicted; but just the opposite, the Word is supposed to make every sinner that reads it miserable to the point that they “get it” and will make extreme efforts to conform to it. There is no doubt in my mind that many sweet and well-meaning people who desire to impress God are doing things that will bring them to the White Throne judgment to be condemned by the very God that they said they loved and served,(See Matthew 7:21-23)! These are people who in most cases have attended some denominational seminary, and have been “hoodwinked” into believing less than the truth of God. God did not say that those who truly believed in Him would come to know some of the truth or even most of the truth.

We must come to the knowledge of the real truth about God. When we have done that we will know that only those who are willing to humble themselves are ever saved, and (humble means to “bring low”). How low have you been brought? Many who preach and write and evangelize in our day, are pretty high on themselves and the only promise that God has made to them is that they will be abased, ( Matthew 23:10-12). Why do I bring up that kind of accusation? Because it is true and you all know it is. We have poisoned the stream at the well-head and we have polluted the Truth of the Word of God, which is meant to save us. Look at your church first, and then the churches around you. How many can you count within walking distance of your community? What is the state of the Spiritual health of your community? It’s a good bet that your community is in the sad shape many others are when it comes to Spiritual things.

Your community may be affluent, influential, educated, respectable and nice; and that is fine under the right conditions but if it is not a Spiritual Community, a community that is dedicated to serving God, for the most part, it is a sick community and will spend eternity in hell. That is because we as a society have been in such a hurry to get things done that we have been forced to take God and His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit out of our churches. What in the world is bro bob talking about? What I am saying is that we have created a fast-food kind of mentality. We want to do God’s work but we want to do it man’s way. It takes too long for us to wait on God to build His Church, so we began to enlist or recruit or to invite into our congregation’s people who were just like us.

People who were so busy with the world that they didn’t have a lot of time to read and study God’s Word, or to be concerned about those around them in need.

We wanted it all, a megachurch, a fast-growing congregation, all of our young children saved by the church, the pastor?s blessing (at least his tolerance of our little sins), and pew-mates that we like for a few minutes on Sunday, but don’t recognize any other time. What I am pointing to is the mind-set of most visible churches today. We have left conversion out of the salvation process and we have not needed God as a result of that. Salvation is a mighty miracle of God that puts the old man or the old nature to death and raises a new creature “in Christ”; and that new creature has been converted. He has turned from sin with all of his heart, mind, and soul and turned to God who he loves with all his heart, mind, and soul. Salvation is not what you get when you walk the aisle of a church and shake the preacher?s hand and are baptized; unless that new creature is what comes up out of the water when the person who walked the aisle is baptized.

There are no two ways about it and the Bible speaks to it when it says in 2nd Corinthians 5:17, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away and behold, all things have become new”. That means that as soon as a person has been saved and indwelled by the Holy Spirit, he/she is completely different on the inside (that’s where it counts). We will look much as we did before salvation but we have been converted and we are not completely different because we have a moral center that is not affected by Adam’s sin. Remember now, the saved person has been sealed and is now guided and empowered, and taught by the Holy Spirit. The first thing that God changed about me was my “want to”.

Before I was saved, I wanted to do what pleased the flesh. I loved the world and all its enchantments; but the moment that God saved me, I wanted nothing but to please God, in all that I do. The new Creature is a converted creature who has been recreated by God. He did not just change us in a few ways and does not allow us to do what we used to do. God has a plan for my life; and your’s too, when and if you are saved. Before I was saved, God was my enemy!

I had never declared open war on God but the way I lived and thought and acted was an act of aggression on my part. Now, I am the friend of God because I do whatsoever, He has commanded (John 15:14). When I was a sinner, I was under the wrath of God because I did not believe in His Son Jesus Christ; now God loves me because I obey Him (Ephesians 2:1-3; John 14:21-24).

Before I was saved, I was going to live for eternity in hell, in the literal and everlasting flames, where the worm never turns, and there are unspeakable terror and torments; but now that God has saved me He has adopted me into His family and I will spend eternity in pleasant, worthwhile, and pleasing service in the presence of the Savior Jesus Christ. How about you, if you died tonight where would you go, heaven or hell? If you were to stand before God today and He asked you, “why should I allow you into My heaven?”, What would you say? Would say, I’m better than most of the men or women in my community, or that you were a good person, or a good husband and good father, or some other good report about yourself?

If you were not able to tell God in all seriousness and truth (and He knows what the truth is about you), that you deserve heaven because you have an intimate and loving relationship with the Biblical Jesus, then you would have to go to hell. It won’t matter if you were a member of the biggest or the smallest church in America, or that you attended every Sunday, or that you paid your tithe, and swept the church and mowed the church lawn every week for fifty years?.

What matters is did you love Jesus Christ enough to obey all that you know He wants you to do. Did you put off the old man, and put on Jesus; because you were crucified with Jesus, (Romans 6:6; Galatians 2:20). Are you being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ and have you offered your body, a living sacrifice to God (Romans 8:29; Philippians 3:10; Romans 12:1-2)?

You can?t do any of those things that I just mentioned for yourself, but God does it all when we come to the end of ourselves and fall at Jesus? feet and trust the facts that you know about Him to the point that you act accordingly. Our problem is that we have compressed and revised what it takes to satisfy our congregations and leaders to the point that it will not satisfy God.

You see, God is the only one that can ever save any person, and God does things in salvation that the unregenerate flesh couldn’t do even if it tried. In our salvation, we are taken over by God’s Holy Spirit, the very power of God, and if we believe the Bible, the Holy Spirit “quickens” us, which means that He brings us from being dead to God because of our sin to new life Spiritually. This makes it possible for us to take our eyes off the world, and look at our miserable condition and our separation from God.

That’s what causes us to repent and even that repentance is granted by God because we are convicted of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Then we are regenerated (begotten of God) as New Creatures in Christ, and that brings with it the mind of Christ and the submission to the will of God, which includes the will and the power to do the things that please God. Within this process, God saves, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies the one saved and they take up a newness of life that will please God and will be a light to a world of darkness. All of this is the work of God, none of it of the flesh.

Once we are saved we become cooperative with God as we learn from His Spirit and are moved to obey His will. As I have told you before in previous lessons, God did not leave anything to the flesh in salvation, because everything that was of Adam, went to the cross with Christ, for those that Christ died for.

If as the universalists like to believe, Christ had died for everyone, then everyone would have to be saved; and we know that is not true because Jesus Christ said so in Matthew chapter 7, and verse 14. Jesus preached there in Matthew seven, and said, because the gate is strait, and the way is narrow, that leads to eternal life, few there be that find it. That means that only a relatively few will ever inherit heaven.

That does not mean that the number will be astronomical, it just means that compared to the number of people who have inhabited the earth, only a small number would ever take the time to even understand the Bible enough to know what God has done for us. Never think that just because your grandmother or grandfather or mom and dad, were Christians, that you are born saved. Don’t think you are saved unless and until you can look back to some point in your existence that your life and your nature changed radically. That is the thing that is missing in many of today’s congregations.

We are calling ourselves Christians and claiming that heavenly inheritance, while we lack any real change in our lives. God does not sanctify sin in anyone?s life, and unless you have been converted by the Holy Spirit?s empowerment, you are yet a sinner. I am simply giving you the warning, that Jesus Christ the Savior of all those who are God’s children, gave us all in the sermon on the mount. In Matthew chapter seven and verses 21-23, Jesus made it plain when He said “Not everyone who says unto me, Lord, Lord, will enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity”.

We live and worship, in a sense, in a society that feels that because they have built mega-churches, and have large Choirs and all the nicer things of the World, that God will have to accept us into His heaven. And it is not just the big churches that have gotten on the wrong path, most churches of whatever size have begun to make up the rules for worship. God has already done that and He said we must worship in Spirit and Truth. That means only truly saved people (people who have the Holy Spirit’s seal) have their worship received by God, all the rest is simply churchy noise. Then God says that we must worship Him in Spirit and Truth. What is the truth? The Bible, the inerrant word of God. So we have to know how the Bible says we are to worship and we have to obey what it says. If I understand the Bible most of today’s churches are simply making noise. They are not leading people to Christ so that God can save them, they are simply making church-members.

Salvation is all of God, but we have to desire it before all other things. Please think about these things and make sure that what you believe is not just another of the devil?s lies!

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob