Wednesday, January 25, 2017
going to list three reasons it is essential to believe in eternal security.
If a Christian can lose or leave their salvation then where does your assurance come from? Is it in your ability to remain steadfast? Is it in your ability to resist sin?
Not believing in an eternally secure salvation leaves believers with a hope so salvation and not a know so salvation.
I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13 NLT
God's Word reveals to us we have a know so salvation. We can rest assured in Christ's Finished Work. If your salvation isn't secure then your assurance is based on the faulty and insecure foundation of performance.
If salvation isn't eternally secure, can you be sure you will be saved tomorrow? How about next week? Next month? Next year? What about in ten years? Who knows what the future holds, you may give up your faith, you may be overcome by that old temptation or addiction. It must be agonizing to believe that your salvation is in your hands and not God's.
The second reason for believing in eternal security is if salvation isn't eternally secure then salvation is begun by Grace but completed by works. Without eternal security, we have little assurance of tomorrow. We must then strive to keep our act together.
Who do you want to perfect your faith? Jesus or your own abilities and performance? God's Word says Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith. Look at what Paul declared;
6 I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious expression of grace in your lives will faithfully continue the process of maturing you through your union with Him and will complete it at the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ! Philippians 1:6 Passion Translation
Paul the Apostle of Grace says He who began the work will complete it. The way some seem to teach salvation it should read, He who began the work expects you to perfect it by your efforts and performance and good deeds and steadfast faithfulness. If your salvation isn't eternally secure then only your works and performance will assure you that you are saved and will remain saved.
The third reason for believing in eternal security is what is your hope for eternal life? You may be thinking what do you mean? What I mean is what is your hope for eternal life if you sin just one time after you've been born again?
Some would answer, "Oh, I just confess it and I receive forgiveness."
That sounds real spiritual but the truth is Christians are forgetting what the wages of sin actually is. The wage for sin isn't losing fellowship with God. It isn't God turning His back on you until you repent. It isn't an unanswered prayer. It isn't a loss of peace. The wages of sin is death.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23 KJV
The major implication of this truth is that when we sin the result is spiritual death. That is the only wage or consequence for sin. How many sins does it take to be lost? In truth, none because we were born in Adam, separated spiritually. But it is still a truth only one sin is enough to produce spiritual death. In fact, just one sin did accomplish this. Adam rebelled and partook of the forbidden fruit.
So what is the hope of eternal life when we all know we blow it, miss it, foul up or just plain sin on a regular basis? In truth, if our salvation wasn't eternally secure, then each and every time you sinned you would be lost, partaking of spiritual death and needing to be redeemed over again. You may object and say but what if I confess, won't I be forgiven?
Listen, what would be your spiritual state from the precise moment you sinned until the exact moment you confessed the sin? You can't escape it, you can't argue or reason it away. You would be lost, partaking of spiritual death. Your only hope is in a once for all time salvation that is irrevocable and unchanging, and eternally secure. An eternally secure salvation means your right standing, your eternal life could not be jeopardized by any actions on your part.
So then to answer the question, does it really matter if we believe in eternal security? Is it really that important a doctrine? Is it really an essential Bible truth for Christians? Brothers and sisters, you better believe it is!
Our assurance for our eternal destiny hinges on an eternally secure salvation. A salvation that starts with Grace matures by Grace, and is completed by Grace is only possible with an eternally secure salvation. Our hope for eternal life only rests on an eternally secure salvation. Don't allow fear, condemnation or tradition to convince you that your salvation in Christ is temporal and rooted in your works or performance or ability to remain in faith. If you are in Christ, you are secure in Grace.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
The Gifts of the Spirit
Let's briefly examine the gifts of the Spirit. In doing so we will also allay some myths about these gifts. Paul lays out these Gifts of Grace in 1 Corinthians 12. The Gifts of the Spirit can be divided into three categories. The revelation gifts, the power gifts, and the inspirational gifts. More simply, 3 that see or reveal something, 3 that do something, and 3 that say something.
The revelation gifts are the Word of Wisdom, the Word of knowledge and the Discerning of spirits. Let me say first what these gifts are not. It is not the gift of wisdom. Any believer can ask in faith and receive His wisdom. It is not the gift of knowledge or the gift of a special ability to study well.
The Word of Wisdom is a revelation by the Spirit concerning a purpose or plan in God's will. With this gift, God reveals the future. The Word of Knowledge is a revelation of facts concerning people, places or things in the past or present. When praying for the sick many times this gift manifests. I recall being on a crowded bus in southern California. I saw a passenger and the Lord by the Word of Knowledge revealed he had Aids. A different passenger who was a Christian spoke to him and he revealed verbally he had Aids. She tried to pray with him and he didn't seem to desire prayer. How could I possibly have known this fact before he verbally confirmed it? This is the Word of Knowledge in action.
The third gift is the Discerning of spirits. This is not the gift of suspicion, which is how this "gift" usually manifests. Judgmental and envious Christians will "discern" the "spirit" motivating another believer. They are quick to accuse and condemn and justify it with this gift. God is good and not the accuser. This simple gift is the Discerning of spirits. It is actually seeing into the spiritual realm. It is rare but sometimes believers may see an Angel. In 2 Kings, Elisha's servant was given the momentary ability to see the angels protecting them. Some have had visions and visitations of Jesus. That is this gift in operation. We should never ask or seek a vision or some experience. We have His indwelling Spirit and Word to comfort and guide us.
The power gifts are the Gift of Faith, the Working of Miracles and the Gifts of Healing. It is better described as wonder-working faith. All believers have faith. We grow our faith by feeding on His Word. This special faith is a gift imparted as the Spirit wills. Supernatural provision or deliverance occurs with this gift. Jesus feeding the multitudes or Daniel being delivered from the lion's den is an example of this gift.
The Working of Miracles is a gift whereby the natural course of events ceases for the glory of God. Jesus stilling a storm is a perfect example of this. Believers united have prayed against destructive hurricanes or tornadoes and they've dissipated or turned away.
The Gifts of Healing is not the gift of dispensing medicine or scientific medical breakthroughs. It is God's supernatural healing power manifested in the bodies of the afflicted. Truly any Christian can lay hands on the sick and see healing. This gift is more often evangelistic and on a mass scale. It demonstrates God's goodness and love to the masses.
The inspirational gifts are the Gift of Prophecy, Divers kinds of Tongues and the Interpretation of tongues. Prophecy isn't the gift of preaching or teaching. It is merely an inspired utterance in a known language. Paul laid out the specific purpose of prophecy. It is to build up, to stir up and cheer up. It is not to proclaim doom and gloom. It is never a believer proclaiming disaster and destruction to sinful cities or nations. Jesus bore all the punishment for sins.
Divers kinds of Tongues is an inspired utterance in an unknown language. It is God speaking to man. The Interpretation of Tongues is the ability to interpret what was uttered in another tongue.
These Gifts of Grace were given to the Church to equip us to win the World for Christ. It was bestowed upon us to build us up and encourage us in our relationship with God. God in His goodness wanted a divine means to inspire and bring joy to the Church.
Who can operate or flow in these Gifts of Grace? Any Christian. If you're a Spirit-filled born again child of God you're qualified. He qualifies us. Don't we need to be sin free and perfect to operate in the miraculous?
Tradition teaches us that we need to be almost perfect before we can pray for someone. Many times we see someone in a store or a street corner that could really use our prayers. Yet, we allow intimidation and fear to rob us of the opportunity. We don't think our prayers will work. We know we haven't been living the best. Maybe we can get our Pastor to pray for them.
Reject that mindset. These Gifts are the Gifts of Grace. Jesus completes us. His Finished Work qualifies us. It's Him and Him alone doing the work, not ourselves. We are righteous and He always hears our prayers.
What about the stuff on Television? I'd have to visibly see a specific broadcast to know if something was fabricated or real. In honesty, just because something is spectacular doesn't nullify it. Also, just because something appears real doesn't mean it is. Trust the leading of the Spirit and look to the fruit of a ministry to validate it.
In summation, the Spirit of God is the Spirit of Grace. He has our best at heart. We can have a fruitful and joyous relationship with the third person of the Godhead. Our good God desires intimacy and relationship with each of His children. He qualifies us, He accepts us and rejoices over us. You're accepted into the beloved, enter into a deeper intimate relationship with your Father. He welcomes you and loves you deeply and eternally.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Acts 10:46a NKJV
We've been in an extended study of the Precious Holy Spirit, the third Person of the triune Godhead. As we've previously stated, no study of the Holy Ghost is complete without examining the Gifts and ministry of the Spirit.
In our last post, we addressed the many objections to praying in tongues, some hold fast to in their hearts and minds. Only by receiving wisdom and revelation from God's Word will these strongholds be removed. Today, I sense the strong leading to share with you the benefits of praying in the Spirit.
Some have said, "I see no benefit in praying in a language I can't understand." I take notice that all of those making this statement have never actually spoken in other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance. There is no difference in this logic, then those in years gone by saying they see no benefit in traveling by airplane or by motor vehicles. Usually, those making these statements had only traveled by ship or by horse and carriage.
If you've never spoken in tongues, of course, you're not going to understand it nor intellectually see a benefit in the practice. The Word of God is clear, you can't see or understand the things of God intellectually or by the natural mind. I trust you're not natural minded and will readily receive the truth that will bless and strengthen your relationship with our good Father.
Graceful benefits of praying in the Spirit
1. Tongues serve as evidence of one having received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:4, Acts 10:44-46, Acts 19:1-6 all clearly reveal tongues as the evidence one has received this Baptism in the Spirit. Peter used this experience of the Baptism in the Spirit evidenced by speaking in other tongues as proof that God was granting salvation to the Gentiles as well as the Jews.
2. Tongues act as a doorway to the supernatural, flowing in the gifts of the Spirit and operating in signs and wonders.
Mark 16 reveals Jesus' plan for the ministry of the Church to operate in signs and wonders. He includes speaking in tongues as one of these signs. Throughout the book of Acts, we see many miracles and mighty signs and wonders manifested by the Church. None of these began to happen until the believers had received the Baptism in the Spirit and spoken in other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance.
3. Tongues serve as a reminder of the indwelling presence of God. It helps us be more God inside minded.
Jesus declared the Spirit will be upon us and shall be in us. Becoming God inside minded makes us more aware of His presence within. We won't be overcome by feelings of loss, abandonment or loneliness when we realize that He is always with us.
4. When we pray in tongues we are praying divine secrets or praying mysteries.
Paul revealed this wonderful benefit in his Epistle to the Corinthians. This word translated mysteries in the Greek reveals some powerful truths. In the Greek, it means a hidden thing or secret thing not obvious to the understanding. It's hidden counsel or purpose. It's hidden counsels concealed to the ungodly and World but made plain to the righteous. We tap into these hidden counsels by praying in the Spirit.
5. When we pray in the Spirit we are praying the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God is revealed to us when we pray in the Spirit. We receive wisdom, revelation, and guidance from the Holy Spirit.Paul reveals this wonderful benefit in 1 Corinthians 2. Speaking words the Spirit gives is praying in the Spirit. When we spend time praying in the Spirit we are tapping into God's wisdom. We are able to receive insight, direction, and guidance from the Spirit when we pray in the Spirit.
6. Praying in the Spirit enables us to bypass our natural mind and our own thoughts and agendas or ideas and pray God's plan.
It is clear from Paul's Epistle when we pray in the Spirit our understanding is unfruitful. In other words, tongues eliminate the potential selfish or self-seeking motives in prayer.
7. When we pray in the Spirit we are praying God's best and perfect will. We don't always know what to pray or how to pray in a given situation but He does.
Romans 8 reminds us we don't always know what to pray in some situations. Thank the Lord we can rely on His Spirit praying through us.
8. When we pray in the Spirit we are receiving spiritual refreshing.
Isaiah prophesied of the refreshing that praying in the Spirit brings. Feeling "burned out"? Pray in the Spirit.
9. When we pray in the Spirit we enter into the rest.
Again Isaiah prophesied of the rest and refreshing brought forth by praying in the Spirit. Feeling weary? Pray in the Spirit and enter into God's rest.
10.When we pray in the Spirit we are stimulating our faith or trust in God.
Jude reveals by praying in the Spirit we stimulate our faith in God. This intimate prayer reminds us we can rest in His all the time goodness. We can put our full confidence and trust in Him.
11. When we pray in the Spirit we are recharging our whole spirit soul and body.
Paul teaches when we pray in tongues we edify ourselves. This word "edifies" in the original Greek means to build up, to repair, to restore. It also connotes the idea of promoting growth in wisdom, Grace, and blessedness. It is equivalent to recharging a battery. We are energized, recharged in our total being by praying in the Spirit.
12. Praying in the Spirit offers us a powerful way to offer praise and worship to the Lord.
Paul's instruction reveals we can pray in the Spirit as well as sing in the Spirit. Praise and worship in the Spirit bring our devotion to a much higher level. Tradition mistakenly assigns the definition of singing in the Spirit as singing with just a little more energy, gusto, and vigor. The Scripture is clear singing in the Spirit is to sing in tongues. Paul references singing spiritual songs and hymns and making melody in our heart towards the Lord.
13. Praying in the Spirit enables us to give thanks well.
As Paul teaches about proper exercise of praying in tongues amongst the unlearned, he reveals a great truth. Prayer in the Spirit enables us to give thanks well. Our worship is taken to a higher dimension with tongues.
14. Praying in the Spirit magnifies God.
The book of Acts reveals to us when we pray in tongues we magnify God. We know God doesn't actually become physically larger. It just means He becomes bigger to us. His love, His wisdom and guidance and Word become bigger within us than whatever we are facing. In our worship and devotion, we magnify Him. We're able to offer our good Father praise and worship and thanksgiving in the Spirit.
15. Tongues are God's plan and will for all believers. Mark's Gospel reveal the words of Jesus. This is His best and will for all His Church. Tongues? Blame Jesus! Paul's Epistle echoes the same sentiment. It's always been the Father's highest and best for His Church to operate in the power of God. When we receive this free gift we are fulfilling His plan and desire for the Church. This is not to say God is disappointed or looks down on those who have yet to receive. The Finished Work is what completes our identity, not any Spiritual gift.
Here we have fifteen Scriptural benefits of praying in tongues. This Grace gift is made available to all who will simply respond. Praying in the Spirit will build you up, and stir you up and cheer you up. Freely receive this wonderful gift in Jesus name.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net