Bible Lesson 73

Where are we?
Luke 18:1-8

Part II

In our last lesson we began with the question, ‘Where are Americans and where is America’; and we proved that the visible church of our day is far from being what God’s church must be. Today we want to begin by asking ‘Where is God’ The answer is that God is where He always has been, and where He will always be, in His Heaven, on His Throne! There is not a problem with the true church; instead, the problem is with the visible church which holds its self out as the true church. God is satisfied with the true church which is made up of truly saved and obedient people scattered over all the world; but He says that He is not satisfied with those who profess to know Him and do not do His will (Matthew 7:15-23).

We have allowed ourselves to be confused by misunderstanding what the Bible means when it uses the word church in the New Testament. Remember now, the New Testament was written in Greek, for the most part, and the word that is translated, as the church, in the New Testament is the Greek word ecclesia and that does not speak of what we normally think about when we say church. Our minds normally run to a specific building or a series of buildings that are called churches.

What the Greek word, ecclesia, means is ‘a gathering of the called-out ones’. In other words, when two or three are gathered in the Lord’s name, to worship, and learn about God, that is the church. It does not mean ‘brick and mortar’ which God never suggests. We began to build churches, and I have no problem with that, as long as we remember that the true church of God is to be the bride of Christ, pure and without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:25-27).

The problem began when we left God’s way of building His church and began to strive after numbers. The only kind of numbers that God shows any interest in is the number of truly saved people that we have in our fellowships. As proof of that, I submit to you that, Matthew 1:21 says that Jesus Christ would save His people ‘from’ their sin. Then John 3:16-21 makes it clear that those who will receive eternal life are those who truly believe in Jesus Christ as He is presented in the Bible.

Verse 18 of John chapter 3 tells us that all who do not believe in Christ (and believe does not mean a mental nod of our head; but a belief that radically changes the person from the inside out, See Ephesians 2:10). I can almost feel the resistance from many who have joined one of the visible churches that abound in our day but have not been taught the truth of the Word of God. They think that I must be reading out of some other book than the Bible; however, I am quoting scripture to prove what I say, so perhaps it would be better for you to read the verses that I quote, to find out if you have been lied to.

Please do not play ‘Russian roulette’ with your eternal life! God is going to hold those who have misrepresented and violated the Word of God to you responsible, but you will be held responsible for not knowing the truth for yourself. No person in the U.S.A. will be able to stand before God and say that they did not know the truth; because we have Bibles everywhere and all we have to do is to pick one up and begin to read it.

Our problem is that we have been lulled to sleep by men who have not been called to preach but have chosen to take it upon themselves and they have been taught in Seminaries to preach tradition instead of truth, and they find that is the way to have large congregations. Woe to those who are guilty of leading simple people astray!

What we need to do is to stop and examine ourselves to make sure that we are doing what God has told us to do. God did not create man and leave him beside the road to either sink or swim. God created man to live forever and those who know God through His Son Jesus Christ will live forever. We will pass through death, but when our heart stops beating, instantly we will go spiritually to be with the Lord, until the resurrection, at which time we will be rejoined to our bodies, which will be instantly glorified and fitted for heaven and we will spend all of the eternity worshiping God and doing what He has for us to do in eternity. (2nd Corinthians 5:1-8; 1st Corinthians 15:35-58; 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18). Have you made preparations to be in that group that will be forever in heaven with our Lord’ If you haven’t I beg you to begin to think about death, and then life after death. There are only two destinations after death, one is heaven, for those who know God through His Son Jesus Christ and are obedient to Him, and the other is hell, where all those who have been unheeding and disobedient will be tormented in eternal flames.

Do you have children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren’ Have you thought about how your life and your lifestyle is affecting them’ Our Children are great at mimicking what they see in us daily. Have you made it one of your guiding principles to live in such a way as to influence them to be men and women of principles, who have a moral center that is focused on God and His Word, or is it your choice to roll the dice, so to speak, and just let nature take its course’ It is one way or the other and God knows and will judge you accordingly. If we have studied our Bibles, we find that God began with a master plan, to create men in his likeness, who would be fit to live forever. We know that Adam and Eve failed to obey that one command of God, which was that they were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and they failed the test of God and were cast out of the Garden of Eden. Now, be sure you understand that Adam and Eve did not ambush God; because He knew that they would fail since God is Omniscience (knowing all things before they happen). God created man to obey Him and that’s what God is working out in His perfect plan. Human beings who can believe to the degree that they die to self and live through Christ (Galatians 2:20), will obey God and live in such a way as to glorify Him’ and they will spend eternity with Him in heaven. Those who become so selfish and worldly that they brush the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God in the flesh, aside to serve the devil will spend eternity in hell with their father Satan (John 8:44; Matthew 25:31-46).

God created a perfect structure for lives that are worth living, and that structure begins with a Father and a Mother, we call it a family. The family unit, Father, Mother, children are the basic building block that God intended for His glorious creation. How closely are we following God’s ideal in our society’ Not very closely at all; because we have put the church between fathers and mothers and their children. The church, either knowingly or unknowingly, has begun to fracture our families and we have obliged them by being willing participants. Think about this, a family unit goes to church on any given Sunday, and then the children are separated from the parents, who normally pick them up after the service. The visible church goes further in many cases to separate the married couples from the singles and then divorced from all others, and it seems that most of the church programs tend to keep the old folks on shopping trips and the youth at Disney World, or some other place where they should not be. Listen to me now’. God gave children to parents and I cannot find any warrant in Scripture for the church to supplant the teaching, discipline, and raising of children, from their parents. Oh, I know that parents that get to pawn their children off on some church will disagree, but that doesn’t change anything.

Our problem is that we do not have enough depth of knowledge about God or God’s grace, or faith to fill a thimble. I have to say that to you, although it does not apply to everyone it applies to so many that, in our Scripture text for this lesson, Jesus Christ put a terrifying question to those who heard Him speak back there, and to us who ponder these verses today, when He said to them ‘When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth” My Greek interlinear translates it this way, ‘Nevertheless the Son of man coming then will he find ‘The Faith’ on the earth’ The half-brother of our Lord Jesus Christ, mentions that same kind of faith in Jude verse 3, where he exhorts us who read that scripture, to contend earnestly for ‘The Faith’! We have to be careful here because many will say, well, bro bob, faith is faith, and if a person says they have faith that is what saves them. That is not the truth, in fact, it is the devil’s lie and that’s why we are using this lesson to warn ourselves and others that there are all kinds, degrees, representations, shadow and the like of faith; and there is only one faith that saves, and that faith is ‘The Faith’. The faith that saves is a gift from God along with God’s Grace. Grace and Faith come in the same package from God and it is God’s grace that saves, faith does not save us, faith is the instrument that reaches God’s Grace and brings salvation. This may not be the best illustration of Grace and Faith, but I like to think of God’s grace as a sea that is full to the brim and faith like a large drain pipe that reaches from God to those that God saves. We are saved by Grace, through Faith and nothing else (Ephesians 2:8-9). Now is it possible that a person can say that they have faith and not have saving faith’ It is not only possible but probably because the question that is asked by our Lord in Luke 18:8 points to the fact that true faith will continue to diminish before His return to the earth. There in Jude verse three and four Jude exhorts us to earnestly contend or strive to win every contest between false and true faith. Christians are soldiers of the cross and all that pertains to the cross of Christ; We are not to surrender our positions to those who are not preaching the truth. Jude comments on ‘certain men having crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ’. Jude is warning us that in his time, just after the cross of Christ, and the mighty Pentecost experience of the coming of the Holy Spirit, that there were already these men who had crept into the church and had begun to teach a vain faith, a faith that does not save, (1st Corinthians 15:12-19).

Jesus Christ came to the earth teaching that there is only one way to eternal life in heaven, and that is by the way that God set in place before the foundation of the world, (Ephesians 1:3-14). That way is seen in Christ’s preaching that we call the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew chapter seven, we find Christ as He commands all men to ‘Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction (Hell), and there be many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life, and few find it’. The Greek word that is translated enter there in verse 13 of Matthew chapter 7, is in the imperative tense, so it is a command. We know that Jesus Christ is the only gate that opens to God, (Acts 4:12; John 6:44), so He is that narrow gate and the narrow way. Ask yourself, have you gone to the trouble to know the Bible well enough that you have the assurance that you are saved’ If you don’t know ‘The Faith’ and are not contending earnestly for it, you need to make sure that you don’t enter that other gate, that wide gate that opens to hell.

Now, if you have been following my Bible lessons, you will not be surprised that I am always warning you about false prophets. The reason that I do that is that Jesus Christ was always warning us about false prophets. There in Matthew chapter seven where we found Jesus commanding us to enter the right gate, the narrow gate that leads to eternal life and pointing us away from that wide gate that leads to hell, we find Jesus Christ in the very next verse, verse 15 of Matthew chapter seven, as He warns us to ‘Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves’. Doesn’t it grab your attention that the only Savior of mankind, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, who just points out to us in these scriptures that there are two gates, and only two gates that we can enter through, one is narrow and the other is wide, and Jesus said that only a few would make the effort and spend the time to find that narrow gate, so they will go in at that wide gate that leads to hell. Having made the gates known to us, Jesus then issues a serious warning and says’.Beware, or be warned that there are many false prophets out there who look like sheep but they are ravening wolves! That and the question that Jesus asks in Luke 18:8.’.’ When the Son of man comes, will He really find faith on the earth” Remember now, the best translation asks ‘will He find The Faith on the earth” In all probability when Jesus returns He will find all manner of faith, and all degrees of that false faith, but there will be relatively little real saving faith on the earth. We are in the last days but we are on God’s time table so we don’t know when Christ will return but it could be today, so we need to be ready. Are you ready for the Lord to return and shut this cesspool of sin down’ Are you ready for the Judgment’ Most people are not, so make very sure that you have the Holy Spirit’s assurance that you belong to Jesus Christ? Make sure you can look back to that time when you became a new creature, with the old things passed away and all things made new (2nd Corinthians 5:17). There is a sure test of your salvation and we find it as Jesus Christ speaks to us in the gospel of John 14:21-24, and what we measure is our obedience to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ said there, that those who have his commandments and keeps them are the ones that love Him, and he that loves Christ will be loved of His Father, and Christ would love Him. That makes it pretty clear whether you are loved by Christ and will be going to heaven for eternity when you die. Do not accept the whimpers of those who have surrendered to the devil in this battle against sin, belief in God, and the power of Almighty God to change you and give you His power to defeat sin in your life. I truly wonder where those who say that they were called to herald the good news of the gospel, ever found any scripture that says that God is not able to give those who are truly saved the power and the will to overcome sin in their lives. I would be happy to hear from any of you who have found that scripture, and if you can find it and show me where God ever said He could be defeated, I might change my understanding of salvation. Just one precondition, don’t waste your time and mine by pointing out Romans chapter seven, where Paul looks back and remembers that there was a time that He had thought that he was secure but when Jesus came, he found out that he had been lied to by those in authority, and He saw that there was only one way that any person could be saved and that was by the blood of Jesus Christ. People who want to use Romans chapter seven as a place to justify their sin, apparently have never read Romans chapter six and eight. Ask yourself, is anything too hard for God to accomplish (Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17, 27)’ No, indeed, there is nothing too hard for God. The problem exists in that we have allowed ourselves to believe the devil’s lie that says, ‘did God say that” That goes right back to prove the truth of our scriptural text in Luke 18:8 where Jesus Christ makes the statement about His return to earth’.and asks would He find ‘The Faith’ on the earth at that time. Christ will not find much if He finds any at all because we are living in the last days and we have a form of godliness, but we deny the power thereof, (2nd Timothy 3:1-5). Instead of being the church victorious, we are the church that has raised the white flag of surrender to the devil and to sin.

Well, then just what is ‘The Faith” Let’s ask God to show us in His Word the Bible just what ‘The faith’ is, and you follow along and check all the scriptures that God will give us about faith. Let’s begin with Hebrews 11:1, which tells us that ‘Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’. That means in the language of our day, that ‘The Faith’ is a mind-changing and heart-changing gift from God that makes what we hope for real, and proves that which we have not seen. Faith is a God-gift (Ephesians 2:8-9), and it has the power to make what we seek from God something so real we can handle it and prove it by supernatural means. As we mentioned just now, faith is a gift of God, hence it is a supernatural gift that comes in the package with God’s Grace. That faith is only effective when the person and work of the Son of God are focused on it. Grace allows us to receive the quickening of God and allows us to see our dreadful condition as sinners, and then faith is given to us by God so that we can exercise that faith by truly believing all that the Bible reveals concerning Christ. How do we find out things about Jesus Christ and His person and work’ The Bible tells us in Romans 10:17, that ‘Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God’. We must come back to the Bible if we are to have saving faith; because no other book or books can reveal the truth of God to us. Faith is not only a New Testament principle; however in the Old Testament, but faith is also demonstrated rather than denoted, and unless we who live under Grace understand that our faith must be demonstrated, we will never be able to know faith. We can find faith demonstrated in the Old Testament clearly in Genesis 15:6 where we are told that Abraham believed in the Lord, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. The Greek word that is translated faith in the New Testament is from the root Pistis, and it means Faith, belief, trust, fidelity, firm conviction, and even personal surrender to God. It does not speak of some nebulous mental assent as so many in our day seem to think. True Faith brings with an assurance of our salvation (Acts 17:31). True Faith brings with it the peace of God (John 14:27). True faith brings with it, the promised new birth ( John 3:3; Ephesians 2:10). A way of life, conduct that is so strong that it proves that we have died to self (2nd Corinthians 5:17). True faith believes everything that the Bible teaches, including but not limited to the belief that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, that Jesus Christ has always existed as the second person of the Godhead, that before the foundation of the world, Jesus volunteered to become the sacrifice for those who would obey Him. That Jesus Christ was supernaturally implanted in the womb of Mary, a young Jewish virgin, and then He was born without the taint of sin and never sinned as He lived on the earth. That Jesus Christ took upon Himself the sins of those who would believe and obey and paid the sin debt for those as the Father extracted the just penalty for our sins. Jesus died on the Cross and was buried and on the third day bodily arose, and forty days later ascended back into heaven, from whence He had come and was seated at the right hand of God where He sits today as He makes intercession for us, who obey Him. In short, those who have true faith know the Bible and believe that it is the inerrant, infallible word of God, and we believe it without reservation. For those who have true faith, the Bible has become the rule and guide of our lives (Psalms 119:11, 33,89,97,105). That all comes with true faith, ‘The Faith’.

There is as we have said previously, all kinds and degrees of what people refer to as faith. The Bible speaks of no faith, little faith, great faith, strong faith, faith made void, and of course ‘The Faith’ that we find recommended in the Bible.

Faith, true faith, must come without doubt, because Jesus said in Matthew 21:21 that his disciples must have faith without a doubt if they would be able to move mountains and cause a green fig tree to wither in a matter of hours. James, the half brother of Jesus, wrote in the epistle called James, that men who pray must have faith, with no doubting because a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Some have attempted to say that James and Paul disagreed about faith because Paul stressed faith overworks and James states that faith without works is dead. They are not in disagreement, because Paul is stressing that we are saved by Grace through Faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). Paul is saying that we are saved through faith alone, and James is saying that faith is never alone. Faith and works are twins and they come conjoined. Faith always brings with it works and for proof of that I would refer you back to Ephesians 2:10, which tells us that in salvation, ‘We are the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works, which God predestined that we would walk in them.’ Are you walking the good works that God predestined that you would’ Would God find ‘The Faith’ in you if He came back today’ Think on these things’

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob