Sunday, April 22, 2007

# 197: If, etc.

I apologize for not being online yesterday, April 21; our server crashed. Thanks for your patience.

This post will leave most casual Christians in shock and awe. What it will do is separate the make-believe from the genuine. The vast majority of people who claim to be Christians have been acclimated to a “nice-and-easy-does-it” church culture which says, "You are Christians; God bless you." They imply this message regardless of the type of lives parishioners engage in.

I will not give much commentary, but will let the New Testament speak “in your face” for itself. What will indisputably be exhibited is that genuine Christianity (the real thing) according to the New Testament is a conditional relationship from beginning to end. The word that will give the main thrust in describing how conditional our being Christians is, is the word “IF.”

First, I want to joyfully say that allowing Almighty God through His Spirit to live in and through a person is by all means the best and most complete life that can be lived. Being on God’s side, and thus God being on our side, makes a person know and feel so great (being positive about all areas of life because of God’s personal love for us), and therefore we, are becoming exactly what we were meant to be: children of God, or better yet, clones-of-Christ-in-the-making; or even better yet, gods in human form. There is no lifestyle which is better, more joyful, or more fulfilling than being one with Christ. This type of life is waiting for every person who makes Jesus Christ their Lord (boss) and Savior. This does not mean there won’t be hatred and possible persecution from institutional churches toward people like myself. As the Apostle Paul said, ". . . sorrowful, yet always rejoicing . . ." Also, he says, "in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds."

Although Christ’s Salvation is freely given to us by God’s grace, meaning we don’t have to—or can’t—work for it, we still have an obligation of obedience to all that is required in the New Testament. This obedience shows Christ we are His disciples: That is what I am going to clearly show in a verbatim manner through New Testament verses. Some of these verses will seem overwhelming, and thus invoke a negative reaction. And because of that negative response, those who truly want to be absolutely certain they are on the right path to eternity will start to implement them, slowly but surely. It won’t be easy and it may not be quick, especially if one is accustomed to the comfortable message churches in general preach.

Without actively engaging in this active part of the Christian life, one’s religion will be boring and joyless like politics: something you don’t discuss in public. That may be a good indication that one’s Christianity is make-believe. I understand that many will not agree since it is extremely difficult for anyone to change when they are already comfy-cozy with their so-so religion. For your sake and your sake only, desperately attempt to refute with New Testament Scripture the impact these upcoming verses should have on the lives of all real Christians. I am not talking about make-believe Christians. Most likely, they will disregard this section as the words of a disgruntled religious fruitcake and just continue their personal status quo. If you can’t discredit these verses, do one of three things: Stick your head in the sand and pretend you never read them; forget about Christianity all together; or pray that God will help you to adhere to what He demands from all who call themselves Christians.

John 14:21. "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me."

1st Corinthians 16:22. "If anyone does not love the Lord–a curse be on him. Come, O Lord!"

Hebrews 3:14. "We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first."

Luke 9:23. "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." The cross Jesus is talking about, is not the ornamental cross hung around the neck, but as the cross implied at that time, something of disgrace and hardship.

Colossians 1:22-23. "But now he has reconciled you . . . if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel."

John 8:31-32. "If you hold on to MY TEACHING, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." [emphasis added].

1st Timothy 2:15. "But women will be saved through childbirth, if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety."

Hebrews 12:14. ". . . without holiness no one will see the Lord."

Galatians 6:9-10. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of God."

1st John 2:24. "See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father."

John 15:14. "You are my friends if you do what I command."

Matthew 24:10-13. "At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. [Trinity Broadcasting Network]. Because of the increase of wickedness the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."

2nd Corinthians 5:17. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come." Do you and I live like the world does, or are we living to promote the cause of Jesus Christ? Are we really new creations, or are we fooling ourselves and playing make-believe?

Matthew 10:37. "Anyone who loves his father and mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son and daughter more than me is not worth of me . . ." Of course, some will say, "Who is worthy of him? No one." Our love and obedience to God allows Jesus Christ to count us worthy.

Hebrews 3:6. "And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and hope of which we boast."

John 15:5. "If a man remains in me and I in him he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." This verse is telling us we have a sure way we can know for certain if we are one of His chosen, by the amount of fruit we are producing. No fruit, no Christ.

1st Corinthians 15:2. "By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain." The “Word” Christ preached is in the New Testament, but most likely you won’t hear “God’s Word” in its entirety from a pulpit. The clergy doesn’t want to lose you; you are a good source of income for them.

2nd Timothy 3:5. "Having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them." Therefore, they only tell you exactly what you desire to hear without you even being aware of it.

2nd Timothy 4:3. ". . . they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." It is a form of religious entertainment disguised as worship, and if their ratings fall they will be looking for another job—maybe digging ditches. This paragraph sums up religion’s crime against God.

Galatians 5:6. "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." We express our love by producing much fruit, good works, and good deeds, which are all synonymous; they all are expressions of love.

Ephesians 4:27. ". . . but must work doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need."

John15:7-8. "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."

1st Peter 2:21. "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his foot steps."

Galatians 6:9. "Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will receive a harvest if we do not give up."

Ephesians 5:6-7. "Let no one deceive you with empty words, [those in the clergy who are money- and number-hungry], for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient."

James 1:12. "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."

Philippians 2:3-5. "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus."

1st Corinthians 15:2. "By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain."

2nd Peter 1:10. "Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

John 12:25. "The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life."

James 5:5. "You have lived in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter."

Revelations 2:11. "He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death."

Revelations 2:26. "To him that overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations."

The word “overcome” is mentioned another five times in chapters 2 and 3 in the book of Revelation. They all basically tell the same thing. Some might ask, "Overcome what?" Answer: Luke 10:19. "Overcome all the power of the enemy." John 16:33. "But take heart, I have overcome the world." Romans 12:21. "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." There are also another dozen or so verses which give a similar description of the word “overcome.”

Philippians 3:17-19. "Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, I have often told you and now say again with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ [I wonder who the modern enemies of Christ are.] Their destiny is destruction, their God is their stomach, [sounds like Americans], and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things."

Luke 21:19. "By standing firm you will save yourselves."

John 15:10. ‘If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love."

John 14:15. "If you love me, you will obey my commands."

Hebrews 6:11. "We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure."

James 2:19. "You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder."

Hebrews 5:9. ". . . he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him."

James 4:4. "Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God."

1st Peter 1:22. "Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth . . ." Sounds like obedience is a germane part of the Christian life.

Romans 8:9. "And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ."

How does a person know with certainty she/he possesses the Spirit of Jesus Christ? Answer: No matter how much one is doing in the work of advancing the gospel, she/he cannot seem to do enough of the work for Christ Jesus in the 24 hours allotted to all of us. In other words, Jesus is the main thrust in all we say or do. This principle excludes no one. Did anyone ever hear such words spoken from the pulpit? This paragraph could summarize a majority of what is presented in the New Testament. To dismiss this fundamental truth as unnecessary is a crime against God and self.

There are many more similar verses if you are not overwhelmed already; any more would overwhelm even the holy angels.

Finally, what large denomination is guiltier than most others? (I mean those who don’t believe Christianity is conditional, or put another way, those who believe "Once saved, always saved." Those are the ones who claim "God is not an Indian-giver.") Shocking answer: The Baptists. And who has been the greatest/most popular preacher of all times, who is still a practicing Baptist? You guessed it: Pastor Billy Graham. They believe that once a person accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, especially at an altar call, their Salvation is confirmed for life. That means that those who accept Christ as Savior and then do no more (change their lives), remain baby Christians; even if they do nothing else for Christ the rest of their lives, they are saved. This type of belief is appalling to me, but popular with those who are naive concerning what is taught in Holy Scripture.

There is one verse, and only one, that implies what they believe, and Scripture will discredit it. The verse is 1st Corinthians 3:1. "Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly–mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready."

Repeating what Paul says, "I cannot address you as spiritual but as worldly . . ." The only people who are not spiritual are those who do not possess the Spirit of Christ (The Holy Spirit). Now listen to this verse: Romans 8:9. "And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." Amen.

I truly believe everyone who possesses the Spirit of Christ understands this message, that our connection with Jesus Christ is conditional and actively desires to live accordingly.

To get more information on this vital subject, click on post # 152: "Billy Graham: Man of God?" I pray everyone reading this post will be blessed greatly by God for seeking more complete knowledge of God’s Truth.

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