Bible Lesson 74

Where are we?
2ND CORINTIANS 13:5

Part III

Have you ever woken up from a sound sleep, and for a moment did not feel that you were where you should be? If you have, remember what an unsettling feeling you had for that moment, when you really did not know for sure where you were. I believe that there are many good people today, who have the same feeling about the reality of the world that we have awakened to at this point. We should be joyful, zealous, and productive children of the living God; but because of the conditions that surround us we are almost dizzy, as we seek something that makes any sense.

For the true Christian, that feeling of uncertainty should not last but a moment, because God is still on His throne, He is still sovereign over all things and for us who know God through the forgiveness of sin, we know that everything that happens to us, will work together for good because we love God, and are the called according to His purposes (See Romans 8:28).

Understand now, I am not saying, nor does Romans 8:28, that everything that happens to us will seem at the time to be good, rather, it will work together with all other things to our good. We seem to be looking at a long and rough road, as the economy is turned down and so many people are out of work.

That is the result of the greed of many of our people coming to bear; because we have danced to the tune of those who are interested only in position and greed and the fiddler has to be paid. Yes, we will have tough times for a while; but America will still be one of the best places in the world to live.

We have attempted to shove God out of our homes, our schools, our society, and our government, and surprisingly out of many of our churches. We have forgotten that when God moves out the devil moves in. The Psalmist tells us, ‘Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord’.

(Psalms 33:12). We began as a nation that knew God and honored Him in our service to Him; but as our nation has grown and prospered because of our faithfulness to God, we have become fat and loose and we no longer think that we need God. Just stop and think about where we are as a nation. America the beautiful is now determined to set aside God’s law in favor of our perceived goodness.

We have great numbers in congregations that have tolerated homosexual ‘so-called preachers’, congregations that are awash in fornication, divorce, and child abuse. Our nation is subject to civil disorder whenever the majority expresses its will, and we have politicians who are practicing homosexuals.

I mention homosexuals here because those who practice that lifestyle have made it unavoidable. Sinners can do whatever they desire, but they have no right to subject our children to their sin. When we set aside God’s commandments and God’s plan for His creation and we begin to accept sin in any form in our lives, we open ourselves to God’s judgment.

Does that sound like I hate homosexuality’ I don’t know what hate is, in a nation that attempts to make things that are hateful to God, acceptable to people? I preach and teach against all sin, whether it be homosexuality, fornication, adultery, abortion, greed, theft, idolatry, covetousness, murder, and all the rest; and what I am doing is warning those who think they can sin and not reap the consequences. Thankfully, God is a God who forgives, whenever we repent and turn away from sin.

Those who repent and turn away from sin and obey God, will inherit heaven, and that is my wish for every sinner; however, I can’t do it for you, you have to cast yourselves on God and ask Him to forgive. Those who are stiff-necked and refuse to submit to God will inherit hell for eternity and I don’t even want to think about that, so I am sending this warning out to you. You may not think that telling someone who is headed for trouble, that they need to turn, is done in love, but believe me, I love you all, every sinner, regardless of your sin, and I want to tell you the truth because you are God’s creature and I love you because of that (See Psalms 50:16-23; Psalms 68:21; Psalms 92:4-8; John 3:16-21).

Homosexuality is not the only sin that will damn your soul, it weighs about the same as adultery, fornication, abortion and the like, but remember anything that violates the character of God is a sin and any unrepented sin will get you a free pass to hell. You may not believe that, and you don’t have to unless you want to escape condemnation. Let me say right here that to repent means to turn from all sin to God. You can’t repent of your precious sin today and return to it tomorrow. You turn and you continue to walk away from sin toward God.

I firmly believe that we do not know how to stop and examine ourselves as we are commanded to do in 2nd Corinthians 13:5. Listen to what God inspired the writer of that verse to say to us. This is the Word of God to man, whoever you are’..’ Examine yourselves, as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you unless indeed you are disqualified’ But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified.’

I believe this verse of scripture should be the motto of every truly saved Christian. All Christians are called to be aware and awake to their flesh and the inventions that the devil is constantly putting in our path. We have to stay open to the truth in our own lives and the way that we do that is by knowing and using the scriptures to judge our own lives. We grade our lives and we are honest about our grace. We are not like some of the children to get an F on their report card but change it so that appears to their parents to be an A. Notice, if you will, that scripture verse commands us to examine ourselves, not our brother or our sister or anyone else, ourselves!

Our Bible has guideposts or verses that will help us to examine ourselves throughout it; but I think a good one is found in James 2:14-20, which gives us an excellent point when it says faith without works is dead’. Works’.a word that we do not deal with from our pulpits very often; but a word that God expects us to know and to exercise, as we live our daily lives here on the earth. Just what works are we as Christians to do’ Does that mean that God has certain works that He intends for us as Christians, must do’

I want to be very careful here because this involves God’s supernatural work in our new birth, and we must understand that before we can understand the works that we do as Christians. We know from John 3:3,5 that we when we are truly saved, must be born again, or born from above. Ephesians 2:10 reveals to us something about that new birth, when it says, ‘For we are His (God’s) workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them’. Let’s review what we have just said. We, who are truly saved, have been born again’..born from above, a work of Almighty God and we have been created in Christ, unto good works.

So what are those works that we are to perform, or rather that we will perform’ Not because we have to but because we have been born again, a new creature in Christ, we can’t help doing good works? We work because of who we are, Christians! Keep reading because we are going to look at the works (plural) that we will do because of who we are now. Open your Bible now, and let’s look at what Ephesians 2:10 tells us about who we are, once we have been born again and ‘in Christ’. Now, did you realize that you, if you are truly saved, are ‘In Christ”

Have you realized that in salvation, you were created a new creature, with the old things passed away and all things being new’ I ask all of these questions to make sure that you are truly saved, since so many people today who call themselves saved, are merely church members? The truth is that joining a church makes you a church member but is does not equate with being a Christian. You must follow my reasoning because it takes that new creature, which has had the hand of God on their life, and has come forth as a completely new creature, with the old things passed away, and all things being new. The true Christian lives the way Christ lived, and that is what is meant by doing good works. Whatever the Christian does is done out of faith, and out of love for Christ. We have a calling in this new life, and it is to be salt and light in a world of the darkness of sin, (Matthew 5:13-16).

Jesus, as He walked here on the earth, was filled with compassion, and humility and love for others, especially those who were oppressed, sick, or poor. We should show them the compassion of love for those that we come in contact with as we live our daily lives. We find in the epistle to Ephesians, chapter four and verse one that Paul exhorts us under the inspiration of God to ‘walk worthy of the calling with which you are called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’

That covers a lot of ground for us as we see that we should walk daily, humbly and gently dealing with everyone, especially those of like precious faith, as we walk with them in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, using all the peacefulness that is in us to maintain that unity. It’s high time that we, as people that call ourselves Christians, make very sure that we have been redeemed, rebirthed, and reborn to do good works.

Some may think that I am spending too much time on the works that God created us to do, but it is impossible to overstress their importance. Remember, God called us to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, so we must without fail walk as Jesus walked here on the earth. I suppose that we might begin by asking in most situations, what would Jesus do in this same situation. Things that Jesus would do, we should do; and things that Jesus would not do we must never do! What about abortion, do you think that Jesus would support the wholesale killing of little unborn babies’ You know that he would not, so it is incumbent upon us as Christians that we do not support abortion.

Do you realize that America has killed more babies since Roe v Wade, than the entire population of Canada’ That is not good works that is horrible works? We have many lengths to travel to come back to the point that we understand what Jesus Christ was all about, as He lived here on the earth. His mission was to reveal God to us in a form that we could better understand and accept. Most of us cannot understand God, who is Spirit, but we can understand someone who was exactly like us. Yes, Jesus Christ was fully God; however, He was also, at the same time, fully man just as you and I. We can understand someone who has our form and flesh and who walked and talked and had the same emotions that we have. The way that He lived was to demonstrate how we should live and what He did we should do.

In the gospel of Matthew chapter 7, as Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, He warned those who were religious back then, that they were on the wrong road, going in the wrong direction. According to Matthew chapter 7 and verses 15-20, Jesus spoke to them about the reason that they were headed in the wrong direction. They thought that they were on the narrow way to heaven, however, they were on the broad way to hell. They were wrong because they had chosen to listen to false prophets, instead of knowing the Word of God for themselves. That warning should shock the organized church of our day to its roots; because we are headed in the wrong direction as evidenced by our lack of being ‘like Christ’.

True born again Christians are people who have been indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is in a permanent residence with each and every truly saved person. We are exhorted to ‘fight the good fight of faith’; and we are reminded that our fight is not with the flesh but with the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:12; 1st Timothy 6:12). Those verses are often misunderstood or misapplied in that most people tend to believe that the flesh is one way and the Spirit is another. The truth of the matter is that the Spirit that takes up residence in the truly saved person, is the mover of the flesh.

The Spirit teaches us, leads us and guides us to the things of Christ, and the flesh obeys the movements of the Holy Spirit. Let’s look back to Ephesians chapter 6 and share those verses from verse 10 through verse 20. They tell us that we are to be strong in the Lord and In the power of His might. We are then told to ‘put on the whole armor of God, that will enable us to stand against the wiles (deceit, cunning devices, error). For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Therefore we are to take up the whole armor of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. We are to stand, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. We are to take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all saints, Ephesians 6:10-18). We know that God has sent us to fight the good fight of faith, and no commander of troops would send out troops without any protection, so God has provided protection for those who are in His army.

Notice now that God says that as His troops we must put on the ‘Whole armor’ that He provides to us in salvation. He stresses the whole armor in verses 11 and 13. That speaks to a problem that we have in our day because those who belong to the visible church of our day, for the most part, are week-end warriors; and don’t have all of the armor that God provides for His troops. Most church members don’t answer the call to battle and those that make any effort at all will straggle in with a few items of armor but not all. The reason being that the majority of people in the visible church of our day are lost people who have been invited into congregations that are not real warriors. We have seen evidence of lack of armor for our brave fighting men there in Iraq, where America was slack in producing vehicles with enough armor to withstand roadside bombs; but God always provides all the armor that Christians need to live to the glory of God.

Fortunately, God does not have any draft dodgers or people who flee to other countries to escape their responsibility to defend their nation in a time of need. God’s people always answer the call and come prepared to stand against the devil and his devices. The Apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of God, in Philippians chapter 2, verses 1-11, tells us what we need to know and do, to live the Christ-like life, and those verses tell us that if we are truly saved we should be like-minded, loving, of one accord and like mind.

We are to allow nothing to be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. We are told to look out for our interest while at the same time looking out for the interests of others. We are told that we should have the mind of Christ, which was that although Christ held all the rights, privileges, honor and such of deity, He did not shrink from laying all that aside for a time to complete the mission of sacrifice that was given Him by the Father. That should be our mindset and attitude, ( Philippians 2:1-11).

Then God continues to speak to us through Paul and He says in the next two verses of Philippians chapter 2, that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure, (Philippians 2:12-13).

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus Christ, the Savior of those who obey Him, preached and said that those who are saved, are to be salt and light and that we are to produce the goodness of salt and light.

(Matthew 5:13-16). Verse 16 exhorts us to let our light shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. That means that the life of every truly saved person should so shine with the goodness of Jesus Christ that even lost men will see our good works and glorify God. How about you, is your light shining in such a way that the people you work with and the people you live among and play among seeing something in you that makes them glorify God, or have you allowed your light to dim and go out’

Perhaps you have played the church game and you may belong to a big or small church group, but you have never really had any light and you have not served as salt to preserve the good in your community. There are a lot of people if you talk to them would tell you in no uncertain terms that they have been a Christian ever since they joined such and such church, but they do not stand on the promises of God’.rather they sit on the premises that they think is the only place that God hears or receives worship.

You know whether you are God’s child. You should know it because all of God’s children are lights that shine in this world of darkness. Don’t play the game of religion because God already knows that game and he does not deal with people who play at religion. I love the visible church, but I hate what it has become, and the only way that we will ever turn it around is for those who know the Lord and strive, in His power (the Holy Spirit in us), to obey all that we know He would have us to do, to take a stand against what is going on. We will have to stand against error and outright heresy that exists in the churches of our day.

We will have to make those hard decisions that all true Christians have to make, and we must never become part and parcel of the problem; but rather become part of the solution. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that when preachers stand before congregations and say things like, ‘Jesus loves everybody’ and that ‘God loves you just the way you are’ that they should know that they are contradicting the Word of God. We should know that when God does a work in a person’s life, that that person will not be a failing and falling person for the rest of their life. God calls us out of sin, but the visible church has decided to insist that we are all sinners and everything that we do is sin. What preachers should be doing is exhorting people to refuse to sin, and reminding them that when they do they are in trouble with a Holy and Just God.

Preaching has never been, at least up until the past few decades, about making sinners feel good about themselves, or making them feel at home among the people of God. Jesus Christ said that He did not leave heaven and come to the earth to make people feel good about sin. Instead, Jesus Christ preached in Matthew chapter 10:34-38, that He came for a different purpose, and that purpose was to divide or set a man at variance against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

Jesus did not come to the earth to broker a peace treaty with the devil, but to defeat the devil. Christ tells us for certain that not many people will take the time or make the effort to enter that strait gate and walk that narrow way that leads to eternal life, but rather that most people will choose that wide gate and the broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). I challenge preachers to begin to say what the Lord had to say and preach that there is power in the blood of Jesus Christ and that Salvation does make a radical difference in every person who is truly saved. Think about what you have read here and in the verses that were quoted here, and begin to be part of the solution that will lead others to Christ.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob