Is it possible to identify a lukewarm Christian? Jesus had this to say about the church of Laodicea. Revelations 3:15-17 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: This group thought they were spiritually and financially rich, and in need of nothing. God wants us to look to him, for both our physical, and spiritual needs. Many in the body of Christ point to a person they perceive as a casual Christian, as being lukewarm. They are not on fire, for Jesus. “Look, I go to church every Sunday, bible studies on Wednesday evenings, I am praying and studying fervently, I fasted last week for two days, I am an usher, and a member of the band. I formed the group that helps preach the Gospel to the homeless. Yes I am on fire for the Lord!” This mindset is boastful, it defines a lukewarm heart. Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Jesus did not suffer and die on the cross, so we could point to our behavior and say, look how hot I am for you, see how on fire I am, in your service. Ephesians 2: 8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
The first thing we need to keep in mind is, we should not be trying to decide who among us is hot, who is cold, and who is lukewarm. 2 Corinthians10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. Only God knows our heart. A lukewarm Christian, is quite likely, the very person who is sure they are not! A lukewarm Christian may be financially well off. They could easily think, “God has blessed me financially for my faithfulness, for my generous giving of time and money.” 1 Timothy 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. Many have mistaken wealth or financial ease, as a sign of godliness, Paul instructed Timothy to withdraw himself from such, and referred to them as perverse! James 2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? On the other hand, a person may be doing a great many good deeds in Jesus name, with a totally humble heart and mind. Only God knows. A lukewarm heart, is one that thinks anything “they” do, puts them right with God. We do not please God by our good works, they are fruits that come from knowing what a good and generous and wonderful God we serve. God is pleased with us, because of our faith in what our friend, and brother, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, did for us on the cross.
One of God’s name is I Am. The most powerful name, or word for that matter, in any language is Jesus. Philippians 2:9-10 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. Peter gave us an example of how we are to use Jesus name, with authority, to heal, and bring glory to God. Acts 3:6-7 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. But what about the name I Am, does it also have power to do good in our lives? I am here to tell you yes. And many of us have been misusing and abusing this power without knowing it. We first see this odd name or title in Exodus, God is speaking to Moses, and Moses asks God whom shall I tell the people has sent me? What shall I tell them is his name? And God responded, Exodus 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you. Jesus refers to himself as I Am in the Gospel of John, and was nearly stoned to death for using this name. John 8:58-59 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
Now let’s look at how to correctly use this powerful name, or title of God, to bring health, happiness, peace and prosperity to our lives. God has given us power, if we have accepted Jesus into our lives, over his creation. Psalm 8:5-6 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet. As we read earlier, when Peter healed the cripple in the temple, we are given this power through our words, and faith in those words. Proverbs 18:20-21 A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. God states here, that even life and death are in the power of the tongue. And in Isaiah we read this, Isaiah 57:19 I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him. God creates the things we speak! We can read in Genesis how God spoke the entire Universe into existence! As children of God, he has given us similar power and authority. His desire is for us to become more and more like himself. And to that end, he has given us the power to create and mold the world around us, with our words and thoughts. Finally how do we do this, and how is I Am used to create our world to be more like God’s kingdom? Many of us know, and have recited, the Lord’s prayer. In it we have repeated many time , “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” By reading God’s word, and believing those things we read, we come to see that God’s will for us is not sickness, disease, pain, suffering or poverty. These things do not exist in heaven, neither are they a part of his kingdom. Jesus instructed his disciples to heal the sick, and told them, Luke 10:9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. We must then, use the power and authority of our thoughts and words, given to us as children of God, to always make our minds, our bodies, our surroundings, and those we come in contact with, more and more like the kingdom of god. Whenever we speak the words I am or I’m, let it be in a positive context. Read God’s word, and search out every good gift and promise, that are made to those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Every positive scripture you come across, in the old or new testament, are promises God has made to you, as one of his children! Begin to feel and know God’s love for you, know that when he looks down at you, he sees Jesus in you, and none of your imperfections. And begin speaking all God’s good promises into your life! I am healthy, I am blessed in everything my hand finds to do, I am not fearful, I am full of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. I am at rest, I am sure God shall supply, all my needs, according to his richness and glory, through Christ Jesus. Put away all the old I am’s you have been using in the past, I’m sick, I’m tired, I’m poor, I’m a failure, and on and on. If these things are true, remember we have the power to create the fruit of our lips. Begin to speak only good I am’s into you life. And use the power of I Am. To change your life, and the life of others, to reflect God’s kingdom.
In the 13th chapter of Matthew, Jesus gives a parable of wheat and tares. Matthew 13:24-30 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. Jesus is asked latter in the same chapter, to explain the parable to his disciples, he gives his explanation in Matthew 37-43. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Is it possible to distinguish wheat from tares? It is explained that they look almost identical. Perhaps we can tell them apart from their works. Good wheat must be doing good works, and the tares are probably not being very serious about their Christian calling. Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Here Jesus explains that even those who do many wonderful and mighty works, and miracles in his name, will not enter his kingdom. It looks like it may be even more difficult than it first appeared, to tell the good wheat from the tares. We could ask our Pastor, Minister or Priest, to help us. They have studied theses things much more indepthly then we have time for. Perhaps they can help us to spot the wheat from the tares. 2 Corinthians 11 :13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. Satan himself, would be almost impossible to detect, if he gave a sermon at your church next week. So how can we possibly detect good wheat in our churches, or in the world as a whole, from bad tares? The answer is Jesus. He is the way, the truth and the life. He is the answer to all our questions. In the previous verse Jesus explained that not those that say Lord, Lord, or that do many mighty works in his name will enter the kingdom, but those that do the will of his Father. John 6:28-29 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. Jesus said the works of God are not works we do. If this were the case, then we would have something of ourselves to boast about. He said the work of God is to believe in Him. Romans 3:27-28 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Jesus made it abundantly clear, he is the only way to enter into his kingdom. Paul emphasized over and over, that faith in Jesus, and not our own works, is what saves us. Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 not of works, lest any man should boast. Jesus said, he was the only way to the Father. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. 1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
If anyone preaches there are many ways, and paths to heaven, including the Pope, or Oprah, or an angel himself, apart from, or besides Jesus, and faith in him and his finished work on the cross, this is a tare, and not good wheat. Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. Hindu, Muslim, Buddhists and many Christians are about to be merged into a one world religion. The message will be, we all worship one God, and many paths lead to him. The tares will go along willingly. The wheat will remain faithful unto death, proclaiming, Jesus alone is the way, the truth, and the life.
The Secret, was a popular book written in 2006 by Rhonda Byrne. The book attempts to explain the natural law of attraction. Its primary claim is, if we think and visualize negative thoughts and feeling, and verbalize them, this is what we will inevitably attract. Inversely, if we think and visualize positive thoughts and verbalize them, we will attract these positive forces into our lives. Is this New Age thinking? Or is it based on a much older wisdom. Finally and most importantly, is it a waste of time, or does it actually work?
I am here to tell you, that most of the principles spelled out in this book are based upon the Holy Bible, wisdom that God has provided to those that seek it, for thousands of years. Proverbs 3:13-14 Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.14 For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. The Secret highlights gratitude and visualization as the two most powerful processes to help make one’s desires manifest. It claims that being grateful both lifts your frequency higher and affirms that, as you believe you will receive that thing you desire. Visualization is said to help focus the mind to send out the clearest message to the universe.
God speaks about negative thoughts bringing about negative results in Jeremiah 6 :19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it. Our thought are very powerful, for good and for evil. And in Numbers 14:27-28 we read, 27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.28 Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Negative thoughts, and an ungrateful spirit, do not attract positive results. Positive thoughts, and most importantly positive, faith filled words, bring about positive results. Proverbs 16:3 Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established. God says he will establish our thoughts. Giving thanks is also an important ingredient in God’s will for us, and in attracting positive results in our lives. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. We need to learn to be thankful for the good things in our life, in good times and in bad. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we need to learn to speak uplifting, positive, productive and encouraging word about our health, our finances, our marriage, our jobs, our spouse and children, and our lives in general. This is where some will interject, saying, this is just wishful thinking, or whistling in the dark. Or, it is a lie to speak good, of my miserable circumstances. If this is how you feel, do not give up, do not give into negative thoughts and feeling. If you do not immediately see improvement in your situation remember, Romans 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Paul is writing about Abraham, who had to wait patiently for his son Isaac, also God spoke of him several times as the father of many nations, when he and Sarah were childless, and well advanced in years.
The Holy Bible is full of passages that encourage us to be positive, to think positive, to speak positive and to be patient for good results. James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. I conclude this article by citing a few examples the Holy Bible gives of the power of our words. Isaiah 57:19 I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him. Proverbs 18:20-21 A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 15:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life. Lets remember to thank God for all his blessing, think on, and speak what we want, not what we see, and we will all begin to unlock the Secrets of God.
Is it possible to really understand the Holy Trinity? I have heard some theologians say it is just not possible for man to fully comprehend. God is infinitely wiser and more complex than we can fully understand. But he does want us to seek him, and ask him for wisdom and understanding, in things concerning him. If we do, he has promised to give it to us. Jesus said in John 10:30 I and my Father are one. For this saying, the Jews were ready to stone him. The very first verse of the gospel of John states, John 1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John goes on to explain that Jesus was and is that Word. John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. So Jesus and the Father are one, and they were together at the beginning of all things. Jesus is referred to three times in John chapter 1 as the Word. Of all the names John could have used for Jesus, he used the strange title the Word. The Holy Bible is complete. It was given to God’s prophets and apostles through direct revelation by his Spirit. That same Spirit now guides and directs us through that Word. Jesus told his followers, John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. It is only through God’s word that we know anything about Jesus, our only hope of salvation. Jesus prayed, John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit, are not one being, but they are one God. Inseparable in all that is good, and holy, and righteous, and pure about their character. God the Father is love, Jesus is love, his Spirit is love. They are always in agreement, not on which direction they might travel, like siamese twins, but in the way they think and behave. They can never lie or deceive, they are one in thought, word and deed. Imagine a one carat diamond. Perfect in all its facets. If a jeweler were to split that diamond into thirds, each would be completely a diamond! Philip asked Jesus if he would show them the Father, John 14:8-10 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Jesus appears to be a bit puzzled at Philips request. Jesus knew that each piece of that perfect diamond was identical. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we begin a journey, guided by his Spirit and Holy Word, to become more like that diamond.
Has the time for miracles, and mighty acts of God past? Most secular leaning people would say yes, or point to modern technology as a miracle of man. Many people of faith have also come to the conclusion that, the days of miracles ended, with the original apostles. Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: God did not grant special powers to one group of children, and withhold them from another. The original apostles walked and talked with Jesus for three years, this increased their faith, and it is our faith in Jesus, and in his word, that produces miracles. In the gospel of Mark a man who was not a disciple, brought his son to Jesus, to cast out an evil spirit, he asked Jesus, Mark 9:22 but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus responded to him with these words, Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. These words are as true today, as they were two thousand years ago. Another time Jesus followers found a man preforming miracles in Jesus name, that was not one of his followers. This should debunk the notion that only his disciples were given the authority to preform miracles. The story is found in Mark chapter 9. They asked Jesus if they should forbid this person from doing these miracles and Jesus answered them by saying, Mark 9:39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
Jesus has ascended to heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. In his absence he has given his spirit and authority to his followers, to think as he thought, Philippians 2: 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:, and to do as he did, John 14:12-14 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. Jesus says in this verse, that this would be accomplished by those that believe, in him. Not those that walked with him, or came shortly after him, or witnessed him, or touched him, but those that believed in him. When we preform any miracle in Jesus name, it brings glory to Jesus, and to the Father. Mark 13:34 For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Jesus has given his authority, to those that believe in him. His servants. When a person is invested with authority, it is up to that person to use that authority. The bible states, James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Faith that is never exercised does not produce miracles! This type of faith comes from trusting in God, and not the material things of this world. It is likened to the kind of faith a small child has in its parents. Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. By reading Gods word, we become more and more familiar with who God is, and who we are as His children. It is no small thing to be a child of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and beyond!
Finally how do we put this faith in action to produce a miracle? Jesus cursed a fig tree,when he found it had no fruit. Jesus wants all his creation, especially those he died for, his brothers and sisters, to produce good fruit. His disciples were amazed to see how quickly the fig tree had shriveled up, and died. He then told them this, Mathew 21:21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. Jesus spoke a word to the fig tree, he spoke the entire universe into existence. He told his followers to speak to the mountain. Speak to that thing in the name of Jesus, that does not conform to his will. Command it by the authority he has given you, believe he is willing to accomplish anything that is according to his will, and you will begin to see miracles!
God wants us to trust him, and his promises. Hebrews 11:6 “ But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” We cannot please God without faith. Faith in Jesus is the bedrock of our salvation. The power of God, and the Holy Spirit, is released through faith. Mark 11:22-23 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” This verse not only describes what can be done with faith, it tells us how to use it. First Jesus tells us to have faith in God. When we read the Holy Bible, we need to be aware of how many times God came through for the person, or people, he was dealing with. God wants to teach his children, like any parent would, to be able to do things for themselves. God wants us to take off the training wheels on our bike. He does not want to follow us around, holding onto the back seat forever, as we pedal. Notice Jesus said, “whosoever shall SAY, onto this mountain, be thou removed.” We must use our words, to speak to our problems, or the problems of others. Next Jesus says, we must not doubt, but believe those things we Say, they will come to pass. The term, come to pass, is not an expression of immediacy, but denotes a thought of patience, or waiting. James 1: 3-4 “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
We have had an infestation of stink bugs in our home this spring and summer. I have tried everything to get rid of them. One day I was fed up, and almost without thinking yelled,”In the name of Jesus, stink bugs leave this house now, and don’t return.” I was surprised that I had waited so long, to speak to this problem. I noticed they were still around a few days latter. Perhaps worse then ever! Well I guess they were coming out from their hiding places, because after about a week they were all gone! Some things I have spoken to, in Jesus name , have manifest themselves almost immediately, and a few other things, I have been waiting on for years. James states, the trying of our faith works patience. Use your faith correctly, and it will increase. Romans 4:17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Paul here is speaking about Abraham. God called Abraham a father of many nations, long before he had any children. And Abraham continued to believe God, and his promise, long into his old age. We need to hold onto, and wrestle with the things we are believing for. Jacob wrestled all night with an angel, and declared, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” Genesis 32. Finally, don’t waste your faith on things of this world. A house in Florida, a cottage by the lake, the newest car, or fanciest cell phone. James 4:3 “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” Remember it is more blessed to give, then receive. Read the Holy Bible, write down God’s promises to those who have received Jesus, as their Lord and Savior. If you have, all God’s promises in the old and new testament are yours! You are a child of God. Paul wrote, Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Read God’s word. Hunt for the power and blessing you have been given, when you became a part of the family of God, like you would hunt for gold or silver! God’s promises and blessings are more precious then all the gold and silver in the world. Trust in God and be patient, and your faith will increase.
How can a person know for sure if they have been saved? Is there a complicated formula, or set of rules to observe, or adhere to, for a person to know with certainty they have been saved? I see this question come up quite often, and there seems to be a good deal of confusion concerning this topic. God certainly does not want his children confused, when it comes to such an important topic as salvation itself. 1 Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” God wants you saved! He sent Jesus to die for your sins. If there had been an easier way for us to obtain eternal life, then for God to send his only begotten son to be humiliated, beaten, and crucified, God would have done it. God not only wants you to be saved, but he very much wants you to know, with out fear and doubting, that you have been saved. 1 John 4:17-18 “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” God says he wants us to have boldness in the day of judgment. Looking forward with a joyous and happy expectation, for the return of Jesus to judge the world. Now let me get to the point. We know we are saved, if we believe Jesus died for our sins, and he was raised on the third day, and we tell God this with our mouth, asking Jesus to come into our life, and be our Lord and Savior. Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” That is all there is to it. You could stop reading this article now, and know you have eternal salvation. Many denominations would like to complicate this Good News, some out of ignorance, and some out of a desire to manipulate and deceive. Romans 16:17-18 “ Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Satan and his ministers, want you to be deceived into thinking there is more to it then that. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 “ For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” It states in this verse, Satan’s ministers are ministers of righteousness. They want you to think, that righteousness comes from them, and not from Jesus and his finished work on the cross. There is no complicated formula, or procedure. Satan wants you confused, scared, uncertain, and deceived. 2 Corinthians 11:3 “ I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” But many would argue, what about repentance? You must REPENT of your sins. God does not want us to continue to sin, not because it harms Him, but because it harms us. He loves us, and does not want to see any of the consequences of sin, come into our lives. If after you have accepted Jesus into your life, as your Lord and Savior, you want to reap the benefits of being a child of God. Begin to read His word. Everywhere you read a good promise, know that it is now yours! Referring to Jesus, Paul wrote, 2 Corinthians 1:20″ For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” If you read any curse that comes from disobedience to God’s word, know that Jesus paid the price for it. Galatians 3:13 “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” The more you read God’s word, and come to understand how much he loves you, your sinful life will begin to disappear, as a foggy morning is replaced by a brilliant and warm sun. Romans 2:4 “ Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Do we need to mix good works with our faith, to get to heaven? Ephisians 2:8-10 “ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Romans 3:27 “ Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.” Lucifer’s original sin, was one of boasting. His brightness and beauty led him to be vain, and think more of himself, then of his Creator. God wants us to come to Him completely humble, and thankful, for His free gift of salvation. God does promise, in many places, to reward us for our good works and deeds. Mathew 6:20 “ But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” God is faithful to reward us for our good works. Some servants will be given 10 cities to rule over in His kingdom and some 5, but salvation is a gift. Lets be always mindful of what a good and wonderful God we serve.
I noticed several similarities between Paul’s shipwreck recorded in Acts chapter 27, and salvation that comes through our Lord Jesus, and faith in him. Paul in this story, is being taken by soldiers with other prisoners, to be judged before Caesar. All men and women, small and great, will be brought before God, to be judged. Rev. 20:12 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” When this day comes, we do not want to be judged according to our works, we want to have our names written in the book of life. Rev.20:15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” All the good works in the world will not save us from this fate. Only faith in Jesus, and his finished work on the cross, will get our names written in the book of life. Next we see the ship is in great distress from a violent storm. Acts 27:20 “ And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.” This is how many come to accept Jesus into their lives. Often when we have no hope in this life, and things look there darkest, we turn to God for help or comfort. Paul was then given a message of encouragement from God, that he, and the men with him, would be saved. He then gives this message to the men sailing with him. Acts 27:25 “Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” Paul wrote letters to the brethren to encourage and instruct them, and us, while we wait for the fulfillment of our salvation. If we do turn to God, and accept Jesus, everything is not instantly wonderful and easy in our lives. Acts 27:29 “Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.” We likewise hope and wish for the day of our Lord’s return. When trial and tribulations do come, we sometimes want to flee from the presence of God, and run back into the world, just as ancient Israel wanted to return to the comforts they knew during their slavery in Egypt. Acts 27: 30-31″ And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.” This is the truth of the Gospel of Christ. Except we hold fast, and abide in Jesus, we cannot be saved. Jesus told his disciples, John 14:6 ” I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” There is no salvation apart from Jesus. Next, Paul might be seen as giving communion to those that have trusted his word, and remained in the ship. Acts 27:35 “And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.” Following the last supper, Jesus was betrayed, handed over to the soldiers, beaten and crucified. Next we see the ship, was violently destroyed. Acts 27:41 “And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.” Although Christ was crucified and died, that was not the end of his followers as many had supposed. He had been told of the Father, that he would lose none that had been given him. Just as Paul had been told by God, all that remained in the ship would be saved. John 6:39 “ And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” The men aboard the ship make it safely to shore and things get much better. They are greeted by friendly natives, who give them food, and build a fire to warm them from the cold rain. But suddenly Paul is bitten by a venomous snake. In a similar way, Satan, often portrayed as a snake, continues to torment and persecute the Church. But we see that Satan has no power over God’s children. Acts 28:3-6 3 “And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live.5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.6 Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.” Finally, we see the snake is shaken off and cast into the fire, hallelujah! Satan will not be around forever to deceive and torment this world! Rev. 20:10 “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”