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The Danger of Being Lukewarm

Today God has given me something in Revelation 3, verses 14 through 16, which say:

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:14-16)

Being lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-is never a Spiritually good thing. If you’re on ‘fire’ for Christ, and are really feeling zealous for God, then wonderful! If you’re really struggling with sin, and having a truly hard time, then you have only to repent and God will forgive you. The problem comes with being lukewarm; when you’re “lukewarm,” you aren’t doing anything to further God’s kingdom, but you aren’t exactly struggling with sin either. It’s the kind of thing where it’s a problem, not because it’s impacting your life, but because you’re setting an example of mediocrity for others; an example of being in the World and almost not of it.

One sinful person who refuses to repent can infect a body of believers. Likewise, one person with true zeal for God in his heart can have a positive impact on a Church. A lukewarm believer, however, impacts the Church without being readily obvious in doing so. By that I mean, a lukewarm believer slows everyone down, by the simple fact that they aren’t doing anything. Someone whose sinning can repent and use their experience with that sin issue to help others with their sin issues, but a lukewarm believer can only cool the fire of a zealous person, or halfheartedly try to help someone whose stuck in sin. They don’t help others learn from their mistakes, nor do they help spread the Gospel, but rather simply hinder the Church by sapping the life out of it.

Thus, we see God saying that He’s going to “spit them out of his mouth.” Jesus didn’t die and rise again so that we could go to Church, sit there dully for an hour or two, then head home. He died so that we could be given a new life, not so that we could give Him half our worship. Giving Him half our devotion is in fact more counter-productive then blatantly living in sin, because the one whose blatantly living in sin knows that they are sinning, and can thus repent. However, with someone who only gives half his worship to God, it is possible for them to not immediately realize that they’re also giving half their worship to the World; after all, they go to Church, perhaps they even read their Bible from time to time. Surely the fact that they get drunk from time to time, or that they smoke, or gamble on occasion, surely that’s perfectly fine. I can tell you now, the two do not counter balance each-other. You can’t really live a half-life; you can try, but in reality you’re giving your life to Satan and deluding yourself about it.

We must always strive, then, to not only be giving God half our worship. Jesus sent us His Holy Spirit after ascending to be with the Father, it would be abusing His gift to only half love God, or to only half obey when He asks us to do something. God wants those who are on fire for Him, not those who put up a facade of Christianity to make them-self feel justified when their sin later.

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Posted by on August 8, 2013 in Delivered Through Love

 

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Pretenders

Today God gave me something in Revelation 3, verses 1 through 4, which say:

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:1-4)

It’s possible to act like a Christian, and to talk like a Christian, but not be a Christian. This I believe is what the Church in Sardis was; pretending to be “alive” while they were living in sin. God is telling them here to wake up to their sin, and repent while there were still some in their congregation that weren’t yet trapped by sin… The same can be said of many Churches today; there are more than a few claiming to be alive in Christ, but not actually having faith in Christ as their savior.

I do not believe it is possible to lose your salvation, but it is possible to have never been saved. An empty confession of faith, which lacks actual conviction or meaning, means nothing. If we’re living in habitual sin, we need to really examine our-selves and see if our confession in Christ really is genuine. No Christian will ever completely fall to sin, though it is possible to stumble for a time. Thus, if we find our-selves in bondage to something, we need to ask God to save us from that which is enslaving us–it’s just common logic.

 
 

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Salvation Throughout History

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. (Psalms 40:1-3)

David is basically giving us the process of salvation here: First we cry out to the Lord, and He ‘inclines toward us and hears our cry.’ After that, God lifts us up out of the ‘pit of destruction,’ and sets our feet upon the rock (also known as, “the corner-stone,” and, “the stone the builders rejected:” Jesus Christ). From there, He puts a ‘new song in our mouth,’ and we praise Him for all the good He has done for us.

The truly interesting thing about this passage, though, is that it’s David writing it. Someone, who as we just discussed in the previous post, was living in the time of the Old Covenant. So then, how do we understand the two facts in light of each-other? One the one hand, David has outlined for us a beautiful picture of salvation. However, on the other hand, he was living in a time before Christ; a time where the only thing they could know for certain was that if they didn’t obey the law perfectly, they would be doomed to eternal torment.

Well, to answer this, let’s remind our-self of a fact that has always and will be true: It is impossible to always perfectly obey the law, as it is defined by the New Testament (i.e. with anger being equated with the actual act of murder, and lust being equated with the actual act of adultery). So then, given that it’s impossible to perfectly obey the law, how is it that anyone who lived prior to Christ saved? To answer that, let’s take a look at a different Psalm:

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    in all generations.
 Before the mountains were brought forth,
    or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

 You return man to dust
    and say, “Return, O children of man!”
 For a thousand years in your sight
    are but as yesterday when it is past,
    or as a watch in the night. (Psalm 90:1-4)

God entirely transcends time. The time between David’s birth and Jesus’ death, to us, is very significant. However, to God it is entirely meaningless. He can look back and see Jesus paying for our sins, just as easily as He can look forward and see Jesus paying for David’s sin. David’s understanding of the Gospel was incomplete, but He had faith in the Messiah to come. Thus, he was saved.

 
 

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Clean Hands and A Pure Heart

(Ignore this if you haven’t read many, or any, of my earlier posts). In a previous post, I mention that I believe, “the hill of the Lord,” to be Calvary. However, the context of the phrase in this situation (Coming to the cross-i.e., Calvary hardly requires you have clean hands and a pure heart; anyone can come to the cross and be saved) leads me to believe that this time the phrase refers to Heaven. I say this to avoid confusion later in the post.

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (Psalms 24:3-5)

There has only ever been one person who (of His own volition) deserves to come before God, and be declared fit for Heaven, and He was God incarnate. None of us can ever hope to be righteous in all that we do (i.e. have “clean” hands), or pure in heart. Particularly given that all we can do of our own volition is sin, sin, and sin again. Even if we try to get free from sin by will power and determination, there is no hope for us because our very heart is filthy and set determinedly towards sin. The blunt reality is, none of us deserve to receive any kind of blessing from the Lord, much less eternal salvation… And yet, that is exactly what He gives us in Jesus.

Because Christ came down from Heaven, and on the cross lay down His very life for us, God now declares us to have clean hands and a pure  heart. Because Jesus took our sin nature on to Himself, and became our sin  (as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:21), we no longer are trapped by any temptation or any sin. We can now rest in the assurance that no matter what happens, God will always provide us with what we need in the moment.

 
 

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The Christian’s Cause for Worship, Pt. 2

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest. (Psalms 22:1-2)

The interesting thing about this particular passage, and about Psalm 22 as a whole, is that throughout the passage David is prophesying the words and feelings of Christ when He was on the cross. In this particular section, David uses the same words as Christ on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (see Matthew 27:46).

Jesus did this, I believe, in order to show us He was fulfilling this passage in His death. Once we know that, David actually gives us unique insights into what exactly Jesus was going through. We knew already, and rejoice in the fact, that on our behalf he endured unimaginable pain, and took all of our guilt and shame upon Himself. However, David reveals things such as this:

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet—I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me; (Psalms 22:14-17)

Jesus went through every bad thing we could ever imagine. He was tempted in every way, shape and form that we too have been tempted in. He endured the unimaginable wrath of God, and all solely in order to save you and me. More over, He sent His very Spirit to comfort us and help us in our times of weakness and despair. Talk about something we can celebrate over!

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2013 in Delivered Through Love

 

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The Christian’s Cause for Worship, Pt. 1

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in His word:

May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions! Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright. O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call. (Psalms 20:5-9)

Now, this passage actually teaches several things. However, there is one main point which is applicable to our lives today: The Gospel, and the Gospel alone, should produce praise and worship in us. See, some people trust, and even worship to a certain extent, money and other physical belongings. Some even trust in the modern form of the chariot, cars. However, the Christian should understand that, while money and cars and belongings are all very useful and often necessary, the Gospel is the only thing that should cause us to be worshipful.

God’s salvation for us – Jesus’ death and Resurrection, should cause us to shout for joy!-At the least mentally, if not physically, depending upon the situation.-It should cause us to see that we have been made pure and holy in God’s sight. Thus, we can be confident when we call to God that, if what we ask is according to His will for our lives, He will indeed answer us.

 
 

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Today’s Sermon

Hello again!

Today we heard a wonderful sermon by a wonderful pastor. Joseph Prince seems to like nothing more than preaching the Gospel. In fact, his Church has become so popular due to God’s empowering him to preach sermons that are both centered around the Gospel, and applicable to our lives today, you need to make a reservation just to be able to go to hear him. That aside though, this is a part of the sermon we heard today:

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2013 in Delivered Through Love

 

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