I imagine some of you right here, right now, are an expert as I may have been.
I am an expert. You may say, in what are you an expert? I am an expert at being able to sit in a church and look like I am very attentive to what is being said, but when I walk out, I cannot tell you a single word the preacher said.
Let me repeat that. I am an expert at being able to sit in a church and look like I am listening carefully, but when I walk out, I cannot tell you a single thing the preacher said.
Let me repeat that. I am an expert at being able to sit in a church, but I don’t hear a single word the preacher says, because I am thinking of other things while the preacher teaches.
Let me repeat that. I am an expert at thinking of things I want to do later today, tomorrow, or next week. So, while the preacher teaches, I don’t hear or understand a thing. Does this describe you?
Yes, you may be an expert at these things. You may be an expert at dozing in service, sleeping with your eyes open, or daydreaming in the service, or an expert at not hearing one word the preacher says—but what will you do when you are cast into the lake of fire? Will you also be an expert at figuring out how to get out? Even Satan can’t do that.
Summary of the difference between 1-an unbeliever, 2-a carnal or worldly Christian, 3-one that is growing, and 4-one that is spiritually-minded. Did you know that Romans teaches that the carnally-minded Christian will perish?
#1-A person that is not born again (an unbeliever) is in spiritual darkness. This life is their everything. Eat, drink, be merry, and make money is their life. Lusts, pleasures, riches, and the cares of this life dominate them, Once they die, hell awaits them, and, ultimately, the eternal lake of fire. They may be an atheist or part of any one of a multitude of religions. None of these understand in their heart that hell is awaiting them. Satan’s job is to keep them in darkness by using every thing imaginable. He has the power to deceive the whole world, but few even believe that Satan exists-Rev 12:3.
#2-Next is the carnal, worldly, or newborn Christian. These supposedly have repented and trusted in Jesus for their salvation. Once they become born again, they need to grow in the Lord. They need to start being conformed to His image. Their attitude needs a complete turn-around, a complete overhaul. Their attitude and thinking needs to begin to change to be like Christ’s attitude. Their attitude need to begin to encompass the fruits of the Spirit of God.
They need to put off what the Bible calls the old man—the man of sin, the man of anger, mistrust, being short-tempered, easily irritated, strifeful, and more. They need to put on the new man, which is after Christ.
Satan’s job here is to stop that from happening. Satan has at his disposal an incredible amount of things and devices he can use to stop a Christian from growing. His main weapon is deception, and his first device is stealth. A person, who thinks Satan can be stomped under their feet or that believes he does not exist, is already blind and in denial of what God’s Word says. Satan can use every pleasure in the world. He can give a person riches and fame. He can make a person believe that his voice is actually God’s voice telling them what to do. He can use persecutions, hardships, the cares of this life, the deceitfulness of riches, the lusts of all sorts of things, and every pleasure imaginable to stop a Christian’s growth, to stop a Christian from reading their Bible too much. He can use fear and even a person’s love for animals, people, or things. He is a grandmaster at getting a stronghold in people’s lives through everything from sports, to sex, to loneliness, and even a desire to always want to be around people or wanting to be important. Satan succeeds at hindering, and, finally, causing to fall almost everyone that becomes born again in this generation. He can use sickness and the death of a loved one, which causes you to get angry at God. Virtually everyone underestimates the devil, which is contrary to Rev 12:3.
Satan is behind nearly every church of every kind, unless it is a God-fearing, repentant, “Jesus is come in the flesh” church, with a born again (hopefully) spiritually-minded pastor. Even the lukewarm Christian church is not of God, because Jesus is on the outside knocking on their door. Christian churches that only do sprinkling baptisms and baby baptisms (which are Satan’s counterfeits) are dead.
It is very, very difficult in this latter day generation to find a good, spiritually-minded, born again Christian church. What you see on television and the Internet is a mirror of what the churches are like today. If you think today’s churches are ok, you are in deep, deep deception and are very shallow in understanding God’s Word.
Heb 5:13-6:3-…EVERY ONE THAT USETH MILK IS UNSKILFUL IN THE WORD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS: FOR HE IS A BABE. Milk is THE PRINCIPLES OF THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST,…REPENTANCE FROM DEAD WORKS, AND OF FAITH TOWARD GOD,…OF THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISMS, AND OF LAYING ON OF HANDS, AND OF RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD, AND OF ETERNAL JUDGMENT. Milk is for those that are carnal and worldly. These are new Christians or old Christians that have grown very little, which are nearly all in this latter-day generation.
#3-These are Christians that are no longer baby Christians and are growing toward becoming spiritually-minded and being perfect. The preaching of perfection (the meat of God’s Word) has almost completely disappeared from the world’s churches today.
#4-Last there is being spiritually-minded. This is a person that has resisted even to the shedding of blood, Satan’s tricks, schemes, diversions, detours, and countless other obstacles he has at his disposal. The spiritually-minded Christian has above all, stayed in God’s Word. He does not read only a verse or two a day. He has not let life’s diversions, pleasures, or even sickness stop him from being in God’s Word faithfully somehow. He has become a student of the Bible. He has put on the fruits of the Spirit of God. His love for God and his brothers in Christ is unwavering. He has overcome every obstacle that Satan has thrown at him, including fear, jail, being falsely accused, being beaten, lacking a place to lay his head, being hungry and without money, and every temptation imaginable.
He never took his eyes off Jesus the Author and Finisher of his faith. He overcame every test, every obstacle that Satan threw at him. This is faith. It is written, Heb 4:15-regarding Jesus: For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but WAS IN ALL POINTS TEMPTED LIKE AS WE ARE, YET WITHOUT SIN.
He has grown from being a very worldly Christian to being a spiritually-minded Christian, a Christian that is conformed to the image of Christ, a Christian that acts like Christ, that thinks like Christ, and brings forth the fruits of the Spirit. He is willing to die for Christ, because he has already died to himself.
By reason of use, he has his senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
He shall hear God say, WELL DONE THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT. THOU HAST BEEN FAITHFUL. He multiplied the talents God had given him. His attitude, no matter what he went through, was love. This is God’s will for you.
Few, few people will inherit eternal life, especially in this latter day generation. If you understood God’s Word you would know this. Heb 6:1-3- LET US GO ON UNTO PERFECTION;…AND THIS WILL WE DO, IF GOD PERMIT. What is perfection? It is for THEM THAT ARE OF FULL AGE, EVEN THOSE WHO BY REASON OF USE HAVE THEIR SENSES EXERCISED TO DISCERN BOTH GOOD AND EVIL. These are spiritually-minded.
God created you. You are not some accident that just happened. From before the foundation of the world, God had already ordained when and even where you would be born. You were born to be tested to see if you would admit you are a sinner, be willing to repent and follow Jesus. Satan was created to try and stop you by putting both obstacles in your path and evil thoughts in your mind. Your heart determines which way you will go. God loves you so much He died for your sins. That forgiveness and key to heaven is yours, if you will repent, deny yourself and pick up your cross daily and follow Him during your short time on this earth.
How much does Jesus love you? Consider. He was arrested. He was mocked, ridiculed, spit on, beaten, a crown of thorns embedded in His head, and blood flowing down His face. His flesh was torn off, as He was whipped with a whip of nails and other cutting devices. Some believe even His organs were exposed. He was tortured and beaten and tortured again. He was surrounded by people that hated Him beyond any understanding.
They hammered spikes through His hands and feet. All of His bones were out of joint. His tongue cleaved to His jaws.
HIS APPEARANCE AS HE HUNG ON THE CROSS DYING IN AGONY, WAS SO DISFIGURED BEYOND THAT OF ANY MAN AND HIS FORM BEYOND HUMAN LIKENESS-ref Isa 52:14. His beard was ripped off His face. This was God’s only begotten Son, and Satan wanted Him butchered; and, indeed, He was. But before He died, He suffered, and suffered, and suffered. The pain He must have endured before His death was unspeakable; and it lasted for hours.
This is what Christ did for you, so that you might have forgiveness of your sins. This, friend, is love. So we should love Him, because He first loved us. Won’t you love Him in return and obey Him? Aren’t you willing to forsake all and follow Him after what He suffered for you?
He loves you and asks you to repent, deny yourself, follow Him, and obey His word. Is He asking too much of you? And inexchange for surrendering to Him, he gives you life everlasting, but far more than this. He gives you eternal peace and rewards that are beyond anything we can imagine right now. He gave His life for you, won’t you give your life for Him? Is your heart inside you so hard, that despite what he did you, you, still want to live your life your own way, and have fun?
If you refuse that love and will not repent and receive the forgiveness of your sins, then you will pay the penalty for your own sins, and that, friend, is so horrible, words cannot describe it. It is torment in fire that will never, never cease. Rejecting Christ’s love leads to eternal torment.
So, if you love this world, you had better think carefully—are you willing to suffer for eternity, in exchange for a few years of doing your own will and pleasure now?
Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the WORD OF GOD. There is no growth, where there is no faith; and there is no faith apart from reading, studying, and hearing God’s Word, plus obeying it and letting it change you.
Becoming saved is only a starting point. Now one must begin to grow with the goal of being spiritually-minded and conformed to the image of Christ.
A requirement for a spiritually-minded Christian is to have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil-ref Heb 5:14. They need a pure heart-ref 1 Tim 1:5; 1 Pe 1:22. They need to have spent much time in God’s Word over many years, purifying their heart by obeying the truth-ref 1 Pe 1:22.
How can a person rightly divide God’s Word as the apostles did, unless they have a good knowledge of God’s Word, through much study, and are led by God’s Spirit, and have purified their heart?
Satan knows God’s Word well, but is unable to rightly divide God’s Word correctly, because he is full of pride and evil. Thus unsaved people and even worldly Christians, though they have read the Bible a hundred times and memorized much of it, cannot rightly divide God’s Word and understand it the way God has given for it to be understood. They hear Satan’s voice in their head, but they do not recognize it is Satan’s voice, so that is what they follow.
They divide God’s Word the same as Satan does. Over, and over, and over Jesus corrected the religious leaders of His time, who were not of God, showing them the error of their understanding. Did they repent? Only a few did. As it is written, the darkness has blinded their eyes. Repentance, humbleness, brokenness, the fear of the Lord, a pure heart, and love—is at the heart of understanding the Scriptures as Jesus did.
Can prideful, self-willed, self-centered people understand the Bible correctly? Absolutely not, yet some think they can. If they will not repent and humble themselves, they will perish.
Are you easily corrected, or are you stiff-necked, rebellious, and self-centered?
Jesus corrected the Pharisees, yet most were uncorrectable.
To be born again, a person must first admit they are a sinner. Then they must believe in the Jesus Christ of the Bible. They must believe and understand that Christ died and shed His blood for their sins, that He paid the penalty that had to be paid for their sins. Thus, we love Him, because He first loved us and did this for us. We must believe that He rose from the dead and now sets at the right hand of God the Father making intercession for the saints.
If we believe on the Jesus of the Bible and what He did for us, then we must repent of our sins and humble ourselves. We must forsake our sins. If we believe in Jesus Christ and if we repent, we are under commandment to be baptized by full immersion. Sprinkling baptism or being baptized before repenting or believing on Jesus Christ is no baptism at all. It is Satan’s counterfeit. It is written, Ro 6:4-THEREFORE WE ARE BURIED WITH HIM BY BAPTISM INTO DEATH (or buried by water): THAT LIKE AS CHRIST WAS RAISED UP FROM THE DEAD BY THE GLORY OF THE FATHER, EVEN SO WE ALSO SHOULD WALK IN NEWNESS OF LIFE. We are to be buried in the water, and as we come out, we are coming out into the newness of life. We are to be a new creature, a new man. Buried in the water, regarding baptism, is confirmed also in Col 2:12. Run, don’t walk, from a church that does only sprinkling baptism. If they cannot understand such a simple thing as how to be baptized according to the Bible, how can they possibly understand the more difficult things????
No one is born a Christian. This is another of Satan’s lies he puts in our heads. No one is a Christian because he goes to a Christian church. This is another of Satan’s lies.
Becoming born again is the beginning of a journey of many trials, tests, and the unforeseen. Satan is waiting for us, to try us,
to trick us,
to get us to go back to the way we were before we repented.
He knows our every weakness far better than we know ourselves. He knows what unrepentant desires you have in your heart. He knows the things of this world that you would love to do or have that you have not repented of. Thus, if you haven’t denied yourself in some area, you are meat for Satan to deceive and devour.
He understands the things that be of men-ref Mt 16:23.
The journey that God has set before us involves letting God transform us to be conformed to the image of Christ. Heb 12:1-WHEREFORE SEEING WE ALSO ARE COMPASSED ABOUT WITH SO GREAT A CLOUD OF WITNESSES, LET US LAY ASIDE EVERY WEIGHT, (or, we may say, every obstacle) AND THE SIN WHICH DOTH SO EASILY BESET US, AND LET US RUN WITH PATIENCE THE RACE THAT IS SET BEFORE US.
We may say this is first grade in school.
A first grader doesn’t know much. He must learn the alphabet and numbers. A first grader is unskillful in reading and in adding or subtracting.
In the same way, a brand new Christian is unskillful in God’s Word. He is a baby Christian. Beware of pride which Satan puts in your hearts, making you think you know more than you do. It can kill you fast.
The closer a person is to the light, the more they can see the dirt.
A new born again Christian is still a long way from the light.
The closer a person is to the light, the more he is humbled, the more he loves, and the more he understands how far he has to go to be conformed to the image of Christ.
New Christians, if they think of themselves more highly than what the Bible says of them, are becoming prideful already, and have opened a wide door for Satan to attack them. Beware.
No matter how much a person has gone to church,
no matter how much a person had read the Bible,
no matter how many sermons a person has listened to,
no matter how much money a person has given to their church,
no matter how many times a person has been baptized,
until they believe in Jesus Christ and His finished work,
repent, humble themselves (note I said humble themselves), become childlike to correction, and then obey God’s commandment to be baptized by full immersion, they are not born again. They need to learn to fear God. For it is written, GOD IS GREATLY TO BE FEARED IN THE ASSEMBLY OF THE SAINTS-Ps 89:7.
Once a person comes out of the water into the newness of life, they are born again—but only if they have faith in Christ as their only hope and truly repent. A prideful person or a person that hangs onto one sin intentionally has not repented. Once born again, they are the same as a child in first grade. If they think otherwise, then they are already beginning to be deceived. Pride and self centeredness are spiritual killers. Loving this world and the things in this world is a spiritual killer. Hear what follows again.
If a person has memorized the entire Bible and has done many wonderful works, yet
until they truly humble themselves and repent as the Bible says to do, in both deed and in truth, they are not saved.
And when they become saved, they are only in first grade. They do not start in the second grade, even if they can quote God’s Word backward. Their faith and trust is at a first grade level.
Often a newborn Christian that has a spiritual background will try to instruct others, but they themselves are a babe in Christ. In doing so, they can mislead many, and if they cause one of these little ones to go astray—woe to them.
This is a big problem for those that fall away from Christ,
or those that have been in a Christian church all their life.
Because Satan puts in their mind they are something above a 1st grade, and their prideful heart wants to believe it, and they quickly become a victim of the devil. Why is this? They do not want to believe that they are only a carnal, worldly, lukewarm, first grade Christian. It is as we might say, beneath their dignity. In essence, they have not crucified themselves, denied themselves or died to themselves. Little or no humbleness is spiritual death.
As a person studies the Scriptures faithfully and obeys them, he should begin to grow. Excuse-makers, accusers, and contentious Christians are already going in the wrong direction.
Disobedience to the Scriptures can stop his growth, just as refusing to eat food can cause a person’s growth to be hindered. If a person stops eating food for too long, they die.
If a person does not partake of God’s Word as they ought, they spiritually die. We stand only by faith and faith comes only through God’s Word—plain and simple. If we are faithful in Bible reading, and continue to humble ourselves and obey God’s Word, and continue to repent, and if we start dying to ourselves and denying ourselves in accordance with God’s Word—we begin to grow and then graduate to second grade. If we stop reading or studying God’s Word faithfully, we shrink back and dry up.
Yet as a second grader, they are still a baby Christian, and their understanding is still very shallow. Some people grow spiritually more quickly than others, because they are purifying their heart in obeying God’s Word. Others make excuses and don’t grow. Sometimes there is something the Christian doesn’t want to give up, it may be some possession or some sin in their life that hinders or stops their growth.
Others find things in the Bible they are doing wrong, God convicts them of sin, so they need to repent, but they resist. Their growth stops.
Following Jesus involves going through many things that Jesus also went through.
Persecutions can be expected.
People trying to deceive you can be expected.
Satan has all sorts of traps already set to trap you in some way. This is one reason he was created.
He has had 6000 years to practice deceiving billions of people, plus his wisdom far exceeds any human. He has been given much power to deceive people in their thoughts. He has power to create situations, such as the human mind cannot comprehend. Thus, only by obeying God’s Word can we hope to stand firm.
One of the most stupid things a person can do is to underestimate the devil, who successfully deceives the whole world-Rev 12:3.
A second grader is still unskillful in discerning God’s Word correctly, but at least he is beginning to grow.
By misusing Scripture, Satan puts in their mind they can do this or that sin.
A baby Christian is worldly or carnal, and he walks after the flesh. His love for God is shallow. His understanding of scripture is shallow. His obedience to God’s Word is shallow. His love for the brethren is shallow. He is often combative or strifeful, or even unloving. However, if he becomes uncorrectable, he is regressing, not progressing.
He has much to learn, and much growing to do, and many things to go through before he is conformed to the image of Christ. The more he resists, the more slowly he will grow, and the more slowly he grows, the more place he gives to Satan to easily deceive him. He walks more by sight than by faith and trusting in God.
Walking in the Spirit, walking after the Spirit, rightly dividing God’s Word, being spiritually-minded, reaching toward perfection, being filled with God’s love, total denying oneself, dying to one’s self, forsaking everything, becoming an empty vessel fit for the Master’s use are all things today’s church very seldom ever teaches on. Neither are these understood, except by a very few.
Fasting a day a week,
or a full week once a year,
is usually way beyond their understanding.
Thus, we have today’s church, a far cry from the church of 100 years ago that understood these things, which God indicates was the best ever—the Philadelphia church age.
A very, very few will fast 21 or 40 days as Jesus did, which is way beyond what a second grader or even fourth grader might begin to comprehend or have the faith to do.
A second grader must grow in order to graduate into third grade. Most Christians in this lukewarm, carnal church age of which is unacceptable to God, just never grow thanks to the pleasures of this life, the pleasures of sin which is so abundantly accepted, and preaching that is, for the most part, no preaching at all in this latter day time.
There are many enjoyable, time-consuming things to do, which include—movies, TV, the Internet, games, hand-held devices, delicious things to fill their stomachs, plus sex and every kind of perversion imaginable.
Many are concerned with how many people like them on Facebook, or they crave computer games; they need to keep in-touch; they need to buy this and that; they want sex, drugs—oh, it can all be so fun. Yet, if a person’s mind is centered on all these wonderful, enjoyable things of this evil world—it is not centered on God’s Word, the Bible, or repenting, or conforming to the image of Christ.
Did Christ go and buy all sorts of things, so He could enjoy life? Christ had a mission, and that was to seek and to save that which was lost, and then to give His life a ransom for many. Is this your mission?
Too many people today follow the ways of sin—selfishness, self-centeredness, pride, being in control, pleasures, money, cares of this life, or the lusts of other things, the fulfillment of pleasures, plus drugs, just to mention some. The God of the Bible has little place in this society. He has been replaced with a god of compromise.
Jesus was not led by the things and pleasures of this life, or even by food. Does this fit you?
Nothing caused Him to waver in any way from doing what His Father told Him to do. Is this you? Probably not.
Christ was never concerned with where He would sleep or how He would pay for things. Is this you?
How far from Christ are you?
If you would be honest, you would have to say, I am a long, long way from being as Christ wants me to be. If you can’t truthfully say that you are probably in spiritual trouble.
Then what are you doing about it? Are you reading a chapter now and then, when you ought to be devouring God’s Word, because it is far, far more necessary that your worldly food? Are you letting it change you? Repentance is a daily thing. Are you so worldly that you can’t understand the simplest things in the Bible, such as what you are now hearing?
This is not our world. Our world is yet to come, in heaven. We are only here to be tested to see if we will be counted worthy to inherit eternal life. Are you so blind that you can’t understand this easy to understand truth? This simple truth of being tested or proven was covered in detail in the Scriptures. When the Israelites were freed from bondage in Egypt, they began to follow the Lord, were tested in the wilderness, but then wanted to turn back. Almost all rebelled as time progressed, and only two entered the Promised Land. So it is today.
Do you even have the smallest understanding of what God means when He says to deny yourself, and pick up your cross daily, and follow Him, and trust in Him, not in yourselves? To follow Christ is not business as usual.
Do you remember the rich young merchant? He obeyed God’s commandments from his youth. Jesus loved him. Jesus told him to sell all he had, and after he did that—then to come and follow Him. You cannot follow riches, or this world, or the world’s ways, and Jesus also. You have to choose whom you will follow. The rich merchant went away sad, because he had great riches. This is how people are today. They want to keep their riches and the things they enjoy, and follow Jesus at the same time. The churches today will agree with them, but the Scriptures do not.
Do you understand the simple teaching of selling all you have? The rich young merchant understood, but the things he had were more important to him than eternal life. Oh, how he regrets that decision now, as he has already been in hell for about 2000 years. So it is with most people. The time period called “right now” is often more important than the time period 30 or 40 years “from now.” So they live for today and hope for the best in the future.
What is more important to you than following and obeying Jesus? If you had lived in the days of Jesus, would you have been making excuses why you could not follow Him? If you make excuses today, you would have done the same thing then.
If a person wants to be saved, they MUST follow Jesus and obey His Word now. Denying what you want to do and surrendering to Jesus is the only way, and very, very few people will do this by faith.
So they go through life in a delusion, thinking they are saved, but unable to honestly examine themselves by the Word of God.
Then, when they die, they learn the horrible truth—that Jesus never knew them.
This life is a time of testing to see who will follow Jesus the way that He commands. Thus, it is written-
Gal 5:16, 17 NIV-SO I SAY, LIVE BY THE SPIRIT (or, we might say, by the Word), AND YOU WILL NOT GRATIFY THE “DESIRES OF THE SINFUL NATURE.”
FOR THE SINFUL NATURE DESIRES WHAT IS CONTRARY TO THE SPIRIT (or contrary to the Word),
AND THE SPIRIT WHAT IS CONTRARY TO THE SINFUL NATURE.
THEY ARE IN CONFLICT WITH EACH OTHER,
SO THAT YOU DO NOT DO WHAT YOU WANT.
So what do many do? They compromise, and then perish, but they have peace on earth, fully confident they will go to heaven.
Jesus gave His life for you. WHAT HAVE YOU GIVEN UP FOR HIM? The answer for most people is they have given up nothing. This is the generation of little or no repentance, the generation of self-centeredness, and yet confident everything will turn out ok.
There is a battle to be fought, and a struggle that hast to be won. This battle rages in our mind, in our flesh, and all around us.
The devil, our Adversary, walks about seeking whom he may devour. If you are not listening very carefully, then you are even now doing exactly what Satan wants you to do, as outlined in the beginning of this message. If you are not paying attention or snoozing, you are missing things you may never hear again.
God’s Word is sharper than any two-edged sword. If His Word is not penetrating you today, then when will it penetrate?
There is a battle or conflict in each of us, as we try to follow Jesus.
This conflict is what the Bible commands us to do versus what we desire to do, if we have not denied ourselves as God commands.
This conflict in us is betweenwhat to give up and forsake, or not to give up.
This conflict is whether to die to ourselves, or not to die to ourselves.
Few churches in this blind generation will tell you to surrender all to Jesus, and few people are willing to do so.
No one who is lukewarm will inherit eternal life, even though many, many think they will-ref Mt 7.
It is written, Ro 6:6-FOR TO BE CARNALLY (or worldly) MINDED IS DEATH. Why is this? Because the worldly or carnal mind is hatred against God. It is not in tune with God. The worldly mind will not submit to all the righteousness of the Word of God.
Neither is it possible for it to do so-ref Ro 6:7,8.
A hundred years ago, there was not so much to give up, and many did follow Christ; but now this has changed. Satan couldn’t destroy the church with persecutions, but he has with fun and games, worldliness, the pleasures of sin and things to do—and the people love to have it so.
People love to go to churches that tell them they can have eternal life with no sacrifice or repentance.
Ro 6:18-FOR I RECKON THAT THE SUFFERINGS OF THIS PRESENT TIME ARE NOT WORTHY TO BE COMPARED WITH THE GLORY WHICH SHALL BE REVEALED IN US. God searches a person’s heart. You can expect to be tested with much the world has to offer, even as Jesus was offered all the kingdoms of the world, if He would follow Satan.
You must grow—through being in God’s Word and through denying yourself more and more, and surrendering to God’s Word more and more. In this way, you will gradually begin to be conformed to God’s image-ref Ro 6:29, and pass into the next grade, hopefully, the third grade.
The person that has reached the third grade can read and do basic math. He has grown a lot since the first grade.
Few understand in this wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked church age—the things which are being written here. So how are we, as Christians, to be??? Ro 6:36-AS IT IS WRITTEN, FOR THY SAKE WE ARE KILLED ALL THE DAY LONG; WE ARE ACCOUNTED AS SHEEP FOR THE SLAUGHTER. Those that become Christians in many countries of the world understand this clearly, as many are tortured, imprisoned, and killed for their faith in Jesus. However, in a few countries, such as America, as of this writing, persecutions have not reached this point—yet.
Satan has been much more successful in destroying the church with pleasures and riches and a lukewarm message in America, than he has with persecutions in other countries.
So, finally, if we do our part (our homework, if you will),
that is, if we dwell in God’s Word,
obey God’s Word,
surrender to God’s Word,
begin to forsake all as God tells us we must,
and as we begin to obey God’s commandments and His Word, we can graduate to third grade and beyond.
Remember, each person grows at a different rate according to their heart and degree of obedience to Christ.
A person that has determined to follow Jesus, no matter the cost, and has prepared his heart to do so, will grow far faster than a person that wants to follow Jesus and also hang on to the good and fun things of this life.
A person that is self-centered, that wants to be in control may not grow at all, or may grow very slowly.
So who fits this description?—the whole world! How can the Holy Spirit lead a person that wants to be in control?
As a person dies to themselves more and more, surrenders more and more to God’s Word, his understanding of the Bible begins to blossom. He begins to understand the Scriptures in such a way that he could not have even imagined when he was in the first or second grade.
As a person in first grade could not begin to understand such things as algebra or geometry, so the first or second grade Christian is not ready to comprehend perfection and holiness.
They have not yet reached the point in their spiritual growth to understand what it means to walk even as Christ walked,
and to follow in perfect harmony as God the Father directs.
Few, few people will ever reach this state, which God calls perfection; yet this is the will of God.
There are many roadblocks and stumbling blocks Satan is allowed to put in your way, to slow you down or even make you give up; but, in reality, they help you to grow as you overcome each obstacle. If you do not keep your eyes on Jesus and on obeying His Word, you have a rocky road ahead. God’s Word needs to be the center of your life—not riches or the cares of this life, not the lusts of other things or the pleasures of this life. The less you possess, the less Satan can use against you.
It is God’s will for you to be changed, born again, transformed, and completely remolded into the image of Christ. You should do the works of Christ, think like Christ, and even act like Christ in this present world. This is God’s will for you.
But—what is your will? Your will should be to have the mind of Christ more and more each day-ref 1 Cor 2:16. Your will should be to be more humble tomorrow than today, for the more pride you have, the more God resists you.
Are having lots of fun, earning lots of money, doing whatever your heart desires worth going to the lake of fire for eternity? God forbid, many believe it is, until they find the lake of fire is real.
Are having lots of fun, earning lots of money, doing whatever your heart desires worth spending time without end in suffering and torment?
Don’t believe those lying thoughts you have that tell you, you can have what you want now and eternity with God afterward. It just isn’t true. You can have what you want now, but then you receive everlasting torment; and you can never die.
You can suffer now and surrender all for Jesus now, but then in the next life you will have far, far more riches that are eternal than what you can ever imagine now. To invest your life for Christ now, is to gain much more than you can imagine. For it is written: 1 Cor 2:9-EYE HATH NOT SEEN, NOR EAR HEARD, NEITHER HAVE ENTERED INTO THE HEART OF MAN, THE THINGS WHICH GOD HATH PREPARED FOR THEM THAT LOVE HIM.
Do you love God more than the things of this world? Few people do. Am I trying to scare you? Absolutely, yes! If you choose to believe God’s Word on hell and the lake of fire, it is far beyond terrifying. Fear God, and depart from evil.
Jesus used these words in various forms over and over: “HAVE YE NOT READ?”
By using these words, Jesus, time after time, was showing various people that they did not understand the Scriptures properly and could not rightly divide God’s Word-ref 2 Tim 2:15.
Satan Misuses God’s Word By Putting In A Person’s Mind An Incorrect Or Incomplete Understanding
Satan is an expert at telling a person the flowers are more beautiful on the other side of the bridge. But he does not tell them that if they try to cross that bridge, they will fall to their death, because part of the bridge has collapsed.
The unsaved, the unlearned, the worldly, the carnal and lukewarm Christian all fall into this category. Therefore, they need a good teacher to help them stay on the right path, just as a child needs good school teachers to help them learn.
There are countless examples of this misuse of Scripture today. Some preach all Christians should be prosperous financially.
Some teach no Christian should be sick, and if they are sick and do not get healed, they have no faith.
Some teach sprinkling baptism.
Some teach to please men, not God.
Some teach ,in such a way, only to attract many people.
Some never use the words: repent, hell, damnation, judgment. Seems like they never read the Gospels of Mt, Mk, Lk, and John, plus Paul’s teachings. And they all seem to support their positions by misusing God’s Word or through very wrong thinking.
Example: they may say in defense of not preaching on hell, damnation, or judgment the following. It is written, Mt 18:6-BUT WHOSO SHALL OFFEND ONE OF THESE LITTLE ONES WHICH BELIEVE IN ME, IT WERE BETTER FOR HIM THAT A MILLSTONE WERE HANGED ABOUT HIS NECK, AND THAT HE WERE DROWNED IN THE DEPTH OF THE SEA. They may say in their defense that if they preached on these things, they would offend people, so they dare not preach these things.
Other preachers have become one subject preachers. They will not preach the whole Gospel. They also can defend their position with Scripture. They claim God wants them to preach this single subject, because nearly no one else is preaching it.
The list is almost endless. This teaching is mostly a result of Satan misusing Scripture, and then putting it into the hearts and minds of the unsaved or worldly Christians. Sometimes he puts it into the hearts of preachers that once may have been great evangelists, but they fell through some sin, or nearly fell, and afterward the understanding they once had seems to have diminished.
In this Laodicean church age, people are so shallow in God’s Word that they are moved easily with every wind of misleading doctrine that comes along. As it is written: Eph 4:14-THAT WE HENCEFORTH BE NO MORE CHILDREN, TOSSED TO AND FRO, AND CARRIED ABOUT WITH EVERY WIND OF DOCTRINE, BY THE SLEIGHT OF MEN, AND CUNNING CRAFTINESS, WHEREBY THEY LIE IN WAIT TO DECEIVE.
A Christian that cannot properly put Scriptures together is still a baby Christian. He is what may be said in the first, second , or third grade.
Nevertheless, God has told us that this latter day generation:
2 Tim 4:3-FOR THE TIME WILL COME (which is today) WHEN MEN WILL NOT PUT UP WITH SOUND DOCTRINE. INSTEAD, TO SUIT THEIR OWN DESIRES, THEY WILL GATHER AROUND THEM A GREAT NUMBER OF TEACHERS TO SAY WHAT THEIR ITCHING EARS WANT TO HEAR.
Indeed, through the TV, the Internet, evangelistic crusades, and guest preachers at churches, people do indeed partake of the teaching of many preachers that say what they want to hear. This prophecy has been fulfilled.
And what do they want to hear? They want to hear they will be healthy, wealthy and will prosper in this world.
They want to hear that they never need to give up anything for Christ.
They want to hear that they never need to witness or serve Christ, because it makes them uptight, and they might have to study the Bible more.
Then they want to hear that when they die they will go to heaven and have a lots of rewards.
Consider, what happens at many funerals. Does the minister ever say this person is now in hell? No, because it would be perceived as offensive and insensitive to the family and friends in attendance. So they lie or are deceived themselves into thinking everyone goes to heaven and no one goes to hell. The Bible clearly states only a few will enter heaven.
So they say this person is now at peace. They are in heaven. They are in a better place. They are now happy, when the person is actually screaming and gnashing his teeth in hell for the torment he is enduring.
Why are their so many denominations? One reason is because Satan has been able to take one or a group of Scriptures and put them together and make an incorrect doctrine out of them. Divisions arise, and, thus, another denomination.
We see this in the days of the Pharisees and Seduces. Each believed differently, because one had a more incorrect understanding of Scripture.
Why did the religious leaders attack Jesus often with Scripture? They had been deceived by the devil into believing the Scriptures did not mean what they really did. This same deception goes on in the mind of the unsaved, as well as the carnal, worldly, lukewarm Christians. The humble Christians can be easily corrected. The more prideful a person is, the less easily they can accept the fact that they are wrong.
If the unsaved or carnal Christian has a hardened heart toward correction (or they strive against Godly correction, or are combative and not meek or humble) they have little or no hope of growing in the Lord and obtaining eternal life—for GOD RESISTETH THE PROUD.
Here are clear examples of Satan putting into the mind of the unsaved or carnally minded, a wrong understanding of Scripture, and then Jesus correcting them with other Scripture to show them the error of their way. The end result of Jesus trying to correct people was that they often got angry and tried to kill Him. Few were humble and received the correction as a little child-ref Mt 18, as Satan had a stronghold in their thoughts and hardened heart.
This is so important, because this misunderstanding of Scripture (that nearly every one has along with the fruits of the Spirit) is at the heart of showing where a person is or is not in their walk with Jesus.
Satan puts into the mind of some, the following Scripture with a wrong interpretation. It is written:
Mt 12, beginning at verse 1-AT THAT TIME JESUS WENT ON THE SABBATH DAY THROUGH THE CORN; AND HIS DISCIPLES WERE AN HUNGRED, AND BEGAN TO PLUCK THE EARS OF CORN, AND TO EAT. BUT WHEN THE PHARISEES SAW IT, THEY SAID UNTO HIM, BEHOLD, THY DISCIPLES DO THAT WHICH IS NOT LAWFUL TO DO UPON THE SABBATH DAY.
Note, they ACCUSED. Remember Satan is called the accuser of the brethren. THEY (the religious leaders) ACCUSED the disciples of committing sin.
Mt 12:3-BUT HE SAID UNTO THEM, HAVE YE NOT READ WHAT DAVID DID WHEN HE WAS AN HUNGRED, AND THEY THAT WERE WITH HIM; HOW HE ENTERED INTO THE HOUSE OF GOD, AND DID EAT THE SHEW-BREAD, WHICH WAS NOT LAWFUL FOR HIM TO EAT, NEITHER FOR THEM WHICH WERE WITH HIM, BUT ONLY FOR THE PRIESTS? The religious leaders had tried to show Jesus and the people that the disciples of Jesus were in sin.
Then Jesus, in return, used other Scripture that showed these great, learned religious leaders had a wrong understanding of God’s Word, as He countered with other Scriptures. Then Jesus continued with even more Scripture—
V.5 OR HAVE YE NOT READ IN THE LAW, HOW THAT ON THE SABBATH DAYS THE PRIESTS IN THE TEMPLE PROFANE THE SABBATH, AND ARE BLAMELESS? Jesus had, in effect, exposed Satan’s misuse of Scripture in these great religious leaders.
But then Jesus went on even further than this. Jesus now showed these highly respected, religious leaders just how hard their hearts really were and how flawed their interpretation of Scripture was and just how deeply they misunderstood Scripture, as He said:
V.7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I WILL HAVE MERCY, AND NOT SACRIFICE, YE WOULD NOT HAVE CONDEMNED THE GUILTLESS.
Jesus now revealed before all the people that these Pharisees were not merciful, they were false accusers, and falsely condemned those that were totally innocent, and did not have the fruits of the Spirit of God. Jesus then finally reveals that He is God, when He said in v.8-FOR THE SON OF MAN IS LORD EVEN OF THE SABBATH DAY. Jesus had completely exposed the error in theology and character of these revered religious leaders before multitudes of people. He had revealed that they were false accusers. He had revealed these religious leaders did not have the fruits of God’s Spirit. Is it any wonder that they sought to kill Him? They despised correction. However, as time went on, did any of the Pharisees get saved? The answer is yes.
Regarding the fruits of the Spirit, there are two forms of love—an emotional love, an obedient love. Emotional love can be here today and gone tomorrow. Obedient love centered on God is eternal, if accompanied with faith and trust. That is why people can have tears flowing down their face in church, but when they walk out the door they light up a cigarette, pull out a can of beer and curse their neighbor.
Mt 12 revealed that the unsaved and carnal do not understand Scripture to varying degrees, and they do not exhibit the fruits of the Spirit as they ought; and there is no indication, in this case, that they humbled themselves and repented afterward.
What has just been covered is not the first time in the New Testament that Satan tried to mislead people with Scripture. That took place with Jesus Himself. Satan is skillful in the deceptive use of God’s Word and is also an expert at using a person’s own emotions and the weakness of their flesh against them. He probably has the entire Bible memorized with his super intelligence. Emboldened by pride, he came to tempt Jesus for a season and to contend with Him using Scripture. Jesus shows how to overcome the devil—by putting our trust in God and speaking the Word of God—“It is written.”
However, as God’s Word clearly reveals, Satan cannot understand the Scripture in their correct context, neither do his followers. If they understood Scripture correctly, they would not have crucified the Son of Man. For it is written: 1 Cor 2:7,8-BUT WE SPEAK THE WISDOM OF GOD IN A MYSTERY, EVEN THE HIDDEN WISDOM,…WHICH NONE OF THE PRINCES OF THIS WORLD KNEW: FOR HAD THEY KNOWN IT, THEY WOULD NOT HAVE CRUCIFIED THE LORD OF GLORY.
One might then say, “If Satan is allowed to deceive me so easily, what chance do I have, for he even deceived Peter in denying Christ three times?” God’s answer to this is that He guarantees each person that surrenders their life to Him, they cannot be tempted beyond that which they are able to endure, but God will with that temptation also make a way for them to escape-ref 1 Cor 10:13.
Again, hear God’s Word on how Satan misuses Scripture to deceive and tempt people, but the spiritually-minded can recognize this deception and counter it by faith and with the correct use of God’s Word. Nevertheless, the unsaved and the carnally-minded Christian (or Christian whose heart is not pure) has not reached the point where they can do this. They need to grow. So Satan keeps a person so busy with the things of this life that they don’t spend time in God’s Word as they ought. They never grow as they need to—so they perish, because they love the things of this present world more than they love being in God’s Word.
Mt 4:3-11-At first, Satan did not use Scripture in tempting Jesus. He used the needs of His own body. AND WHEN THE TEMPTER (which is Satan) CAME TO HIM (Jesus), HE SAID, IF THOU BE THE SON OF GOD, COMMAND THAT THESE STONES BE MADE BREAD. Jesus must have been very hungry and weak. The unsaved and carnal Christians might say to this temptation, “Hey, this sounds like a good idea.” This test comes to each of us in many forms, and nearly all fall for this one. This test was to see if Jesus would trust in His own power, or also if he would allow Satan to guide Him, or also if He would trust in His Father to provide. Other tests were also involved here. We are not to be led by Satan’s devices, but by every Word of God.
Mt 4:4-BUT HE (Jesus) ANSWERED AND SAID, IT IS WRITTEN, MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDETH OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD. This Scripture defeated Satan.
Mt 4:5-THEN THE DEVIL TAKETH HIM UP INTO THE HOLY CITY, AND SETTETH HIM ON A PINNACLE OF THE TEMPLE, AND SAITH UNTO HIM, IF THOU BE THE SON OF GOD, CAST THYSELF DOWN: FOR IT IS WRITTEN, (now Satan, having failed in his first temptation, begins to use Scripture). Satan said to Jesus, HE SHALL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE CONCERNING THEE: AND IN THEIR HANDS THEY SHALL BEAR THEE UP, LEST AT ANY TIME THOU DASH THY FOOT AGAINST A STONE.
How often are all of us tempted with various forms of this temptation, and we never recognize it is Satan’s talking to us? You should go here—because. You should do this—because. You should do something else besides reading your Bible—because. You can jump off a building, because God will protect you. You can speed in your car, because God will protect you. You can lie about something, because they will never know what you did. There are many forms of this temptation, some where Satan uses Scripture, but others where he uses your desires and emotions. Jesus responded to Satan.
Mt 4:7-JESUS SAID UNTO HIM, IT IS WRITTEN AGAIN, THOU SHALT NOT TEMPT THE LORD THY GOD. Satan was defeated again by the use of Scripture in faith and in truth.
Finally, Satan having been defeated twice by God’s Word, throws everything to the wind, so to speak. He pulls out every stop. He offers Jesus what he intends to offer to his son, the Antichrist, in the near future.
Mt 4:8-AGAIN, THE DEVIL TAKETH HIM UP INTO AN EXCEEDING HIGH MOUNTAIN, AND SHEWETH HIM ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THE WORLD, AND THE GLORY OF THEM ;…AND SAITH UNTO HIM, ALL THESE THINGS WILL I GIVE THEE, IF THOU WILT FALL DOWN AND WORSHIP ME.
Satan’s cloak of secrecy now comes off. Satan reveals his real motives. He wants worship. Satan wants people’s allegiance. Satan wants to be as God. He wants to ascend above the stars of God. He wants to be like the Most High. One temptation that Satan is very successful in using is that you can rule over yourself and be in control, but also go to heaven. Satan is pride, and all that are prideful are followers of Satan; and God resists them.
If every temptation Satan uses fails to deceive you, as a last resort, he may offer you riches, and glory and honor—if you will simply not follow Jesus.
Jesus again fights against Satan’s temptations with God’s Word.
Mt 4:10-THEN SAITH JESUS UNTO HIM, GET THEE HENCE, SATAN: FOR IT IS WRITTEN, THOU SHALT WORSHIP THE LORD THY GOD, AND HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE. Jesus is telling Satan through Scripture he was not going to worship Satan. He is not going to serve Satan. He will only worship and serve His Father which is in heaven. Satan is again defeated with the correct use of Scripture.
Jesus had passed all three tests and defeated Satan with the Word of God. Jesus had commanded Satan to leave, because it was written, THOU SHALT WORSHIP THE LORD THY GOD, AND HIM ONLY SHALT THOU SERVE. Satan’s third temptation against Jesus became the very tool Jesus used to command Satan to leave. GET THEE HENCE.
Then Satan leaves Him for a time. Jesus passed these three tests.
Mt 4:11-THEN THE DEVIL LEAVETH HIM, AND, BEHOLD, ANGELS CAME AND MINISTERED UNTO HIM.
Satan did leave, however he returned again and again through his servants, and ultimately tempted Jesus in all ways as we may be tempted, sometimes with Scripture.
We do not have time now to elaborate on them now. Here are some. It is written:
Mt 19:4-Jesus was tempted, so He responded with: HE…SAID UNTO THEM, HAVE YE NOT READ, THAT HE WHICH MADE THEM AT THE BEGINNING MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE?
Jesus being tempted said: Mt 22:31-…AS TOUCHING THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD, HAVE YE NOT READ THAT WHICH WAS SPOKEN UNTO YOU BY GOD, SAYING.
Mk 12:10-…HAVE YE NOT READ THIS SCRIPTURE; THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED IS BECOME THE HEAD OF THE CORNER?
Mk 12:26-AND AS TOUCHING THE DEAD, THAT THEY RISE: HAVE YE NOT READ IN THE BOOK OF MOSES…?
Lk 6:3-JESUS…SAID, HAVE YE NOT READ SO MUCH AS THIS, WHAT DAVID DID, WHEN HIMSELF WAS AN HUNGRED…?
Mt 21:16-JESUS SAITH…HAVE YE NEVER READ, OUT OF THE MOUTH OF BABES…?
Mt 21:42-JESUS SAITH…DID YE NEVER READ IN THE SCRIPTURES?
Mk 2:25-HE SAID…HAVE YE NEVER READ…?
This lack of understanding and misuse of God’s Word along with a lack of the fruits of the Spirit reveals a person’s true spiritual condition and walk with the Lord.
As an elementary school student cannot understand the courses for a university degree, neither can a carnal Christian understand the subjects of perfection and holiness. A carnal Christian is unskillful in using the Word of God, because he is a baby Christian-ref Heb 5:13. The pureness of a person’s heart, being guided by God’s Word through His Spirit enables a person to walk in the Spirit.
A person begins in first grade, so to speak. As that person feeds on God’s Word and obeys it, he grows in faith and likewise advances on to second grade and beyond. So what should you do?
Study to show thyself approved, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. Study as if you were very afraid of not reaching the goal God has called you to make, unrelentingly, devouring God’s Word; for it is far more important than your worldly food. Your worldly food may sustain you until tomorrow. God’s Word can sustain you for time without end.
There is a spirit of truth and a spirit of error. Which do you have?
A person that reads God’s Word grudgingly is most likely not a Christian at all. For it is written, AS NEWBORN BABES DESIRE (or crave) THE SINCERE MILK OF THE WORD THAT YE MAY GROW THEREBY-1 Pe 2:2.
How foolish a person is, if they say they want to be saved,
if they say they do not want to go to hell,
if they say they want to go to heaven,
if they say they want to be a Christian,
but they do not want to dwell in God’s Word day and night.
They do not want to obey all of God’s Word as it is written.
They do not want to forsake all sin.
They do not want to forsake all they have to be with Jesus.
They do not want to give up certain things for Jesus.
They do not want to serve Jesus.
They do not want to allow God to change them with His Word.
They are not willing to deny themselves,
to die to themselves,
because they still want to do the things they want to do.
The flesh or one’s own personal desires and selfish ambitions can neutralize the working of God’s Word in one’s life.
If a person does not want to give up certain things,
if they do not want to change,
and be transformed
if they do not want to dwell in God’s Word day and night, then they do not really want to have eternal life. For it is written, REPENT, BE BAPTIZED EVERYONE, and NEWBORN BABES DESIRE (or crave) THE SINCERE MILK OF THE WORD THAT YE MAY GROW.
If a person is not crying for out for God’s Word to feed them, then neither are they crying out to God to take them to heaven.
If a person has to be constantly reminded to read the Bible, then they are not there, because the Bible CLEARLY STATES, they shall desire or crave God’s Word just as a baby desires or craves milk.
Such a person is a make-believe Christian that tries to look like they are saved, but their heart is not right.
If that unquenchable craving to read God’s Word is not present in a person, then they are not even a baby Christian, because if God’s Spirit is in them, He wants to grow in them; therefore, there is a craving for God’s Word. But if that craving, that yearning, that desire, that drawing is not there, then reading the Bible is just a command someone tells them to do. They are not a carnal Christian, they simply are not saved.
When a person receives the Holy Spirit, no one has to keep telling them to read the Bible. No one has to remind them, for the Spirit inside them needs God’s Word to grow. It is the same regarding being hungry for food. Does someone have to remind you to eat? No. Your stomach tells you, stop what you are doing and eat—I’m hungry. And if you resist, your stomach may give you hunger pains to prompt you to go and eat. So it is with God’s Word, IF God’s Spirit is inside you.
If no Spirit is present, one may ask how can this be? There may be some unrepentant sin or perhaps something in the Bible they refuse to believe or obey. It may be the condition of their heart. Their heart may be a wayside heart, so they pretend to follow Jesus as many clergy do, and most people are deceived by them.
If the Spirit dwells within a believer, but is not fed with God’s Word, the Spirit in them can’t grow. The person’s faith begins to shrivel, and eventually the Holy Spirit can be expected to run out; and he will die spiritually-ref Mt 9:17.
Is there hope for such a person? There is always hope, until they die.
The heart is the key. A “5 chapter a day” Christian is a “5 chapter a day” Christian.
A “10 chapter a day” Christian is a “10 chapter a day” Christian.
A student of God’s Word that spends 3000 hours a year studying and allowing God’s Word to work in him, should become a greatly changed person, fit for the Master’s use.
A person that studies, studies, and studies, but does not continually repent as he sees the error of his ways and the evil in his heart, is like a tire spinning in the mud. He goes no where spiritually. He may be a 20 year Christian, but he has never progressed out of the first grade. He is caught in the mud. And that is exactly where most Christians are today.
God is saying to you personally: 2 Tim 2:15-STUDY TO SHEW THYSELF APPROVED UNTO GOD,
A WORKMAN THAT NEEDETH NOT TO BE ASHAMED,
RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH.
If you are one of those few in this very deceived generation that may have a spiritually-minded minister, I suggest that you be thankful for your minister, because many Christians all over the world do not have such a minister. Put on humility, put on brokenness. Begin seeking God with all your heart. Put off your carnal, worldly, “I know it all” attitude. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.
According to Jesus, there was no one greater than John the Baptist among those born of women -Mt 11:11.
So what was his attitude? Was he a know it all? Was he prideful? Have you not read what John the Baptist said of himself?
Mk 1:7; Lk 3:16-John said: THERE COMETH ONE MIGHTIER THAN I AFTER ME,
THE LATCHET OF WHOSE SHOES I AM NOT WORTHY TO STOOP DOWN AND UNLOOSE.
Jn 3:30-HE MUST INCREASE, BUT I MUST DECREASE.
In modern terminology, he said, “I am not worthy to untie His shoe laces.”
This is a far cry from what many ministers preach today and how they act. It is a far cry from how most act that claim they are saved.
Me, myself and I are your greatest enemies in growing spiritually. “Me” needs to die. “Myself” needs to deny himelf, and “I” must be crucified with Christ.
Do you want to draw closer to Jesus, even if it means you must give up things you do not want to give up?
Do you really want more understanding of God’s Word?
Then deny yourself even more. Die to yourself even more. Humble yourself even more.
Do you want to reign over yourself as most do? Then expect Jesus to pull away and let you do it.
Do you want to reign over others? Then expect Jesus to pull away and let you do it.
Do you want people to look up to you? Then expect Jesus to pull away and let you do it.
Are you as Simon that bewitched people?-ref Acts 8:9. People had regard toward him. Is that the way you want people to be around you? Then expect Jesus to pull away and let you do it.
If you will not let Jesus (His Word) reign over you and change you, you shall surely perish.
Are you a mocker? You had better read Jude 18,19 and repent.
Are you a fault finder? You need to repent.
Are you an accuser? You need to repent.
Do you have a meek and quiet spirit? It is God’s will that you do. For it is written, 1 Pe 3:4-BUT LET IT BE THE HIDDEN MAN OF THE HEART, IN THAT WHICH IS NOT CORRUPTIBLE, EVEN THE ORNAMENT OF A MEEK AND QUIET SPIRIT, WHICH IS IN THE SIGHT OF GOD OF GREAT PRICE.
Some are very resistant to letting anyone be over them, even in the Lord. Because they think they know best (which is pride), they refuse to humble themselves.
So then one of two things happens. They either perish or continue to be a first grade Christian. Then when they die, they perish, or when the church is caught up, they are left behind as many are saying LORD, LORD, OPEN TO US. And Jesus shall say, I NEVER KNEW YOU-Mt 7:23.
Many want to go to heaven, but they just will not humble themselves and let God change their ungodly attitude. No matter how much good preaching they hear, no matter how much they read the Bible, they just refuse to change, so they do not grow. They just will not humble themselves and follow and obey God’s Word. They just will not do it.
By your correct understanding of God’s Word,
and through a humble, broken and pure heart,
and through the Spirit of God, come the fruits of the Spirit of God.
Hell is filled with people given to hatred, violence, and every evil thought possible, for when a person dies, the way they are is sealed. That is part of their punishment, it is not just being beaten with stripes, and then into the fire for ever and ever. Those stripes along with their burning tongue shall torment them forever and ever.
Are these the kind of people you want to dwell with for eternity?
Do you want to dwell with people that will be crying and gnashing their teeth in eternal torment, screaming for ever and ever, because of their pain and burning, even as you will be also?
Yes, I want you to be very afraid, so much that you will allow God to change you before it is too late; for without that change, you are without hope.
Think about it. Would you rather have 100,000 dollars now, and hell later; or nothing now, but God’s unlimited supply later with joy and peace?
Regretfully, the fool will choose the $100,000 now,
but the wise man will choose wisely for eternity.
It is your choice.
Will you forsake all now to follow Jesus?
In doing so, you are not really forsaking anything, because you are going to get in return—far more than you could ever imagine; and what you receive will last forever. Oh, if you could only understand this. The penalty for sin is death, but sin can be forgiven through repentance and putting your life into the hands of Christ, the Author and Finisher of your faith-ref Heb 12:2.
Nearly everyone on earth would choose the $100,000 now. Only a few will choose God’s way. From this time forth, you can never say you didn’t know these things, because God’s Word has just told you.
FOR WHAT IS A MAN PROFITED IF HE GAIN THE WHOLE WORLD, BUT LOSE HIS OWN SOUL-ref Mt 16:26.
Don’t be as the rich young merchant that refused to give up what he had in exchange for eternal life and rewards beyond description.
You cannot have what you want in this life and also have eternal life, unless what you want is Jesus, and Jesus alone.. Surrender your life totally to Jesus now, and let Him begin to transform you into His image.
Don’t resist God’s call, friend, because if you do, you will forever regret that decision more than you can possibly imagine, as you are tormented day and night, forever and ever. All of the signs foretold in the Bible indicate the Rapture of the church is very close. The things you don’t want to give up now will not last much longer, because the end of this age is nearing, and the terrifying Tribulation period is almost at hand.
A person that does not abide in the calling God gave him, but abides in a calling of his own making, believing it is God’s calling, is dead even while he lives. But his own blindness blinds him from understanding such a basic Biblical truth. John’s Gospel reveals that even God’s Word cannot penetrate the hard, calloused heart of a stiffnecked person.
It would be a horrible thing, if you did not pay attention to what was preached this day.
It would be a very foolish thing, if you take what you have heard this day and let it go in one ear and out the other. Fear God, depart from evil, forsake all, and follow Jesus.
Of all the people reading or hearing this message, perhaps a few will say in their heart, “I need to change. I need to die to myself. I need to humble myself, as both Jesus and John the Baptist did.”
If you have heard or read this message, but have not been pricked in your heart or have not been convicted of your worldliness in some way—then something may be very wrong in your heart-ref Acts 2:37; Jn 8:9.
Have you not read in Phil 2:5-8-LET THIS MIND (or thoughts) BE IN YOU, WHICH WAS ALSO IN CHRIST JESUS: YOUR ATTITUDE SHOULD BE THE SAME AS THAT OF CHRIST JESUS (NIV)?
JESUS CHRIST,…MADE HIMSELF OF NO REPUTATION (or made Himself nothing) AND TOOK UPON HIM THE FORM OF A SERVANT (or taking the very nature of a servant), AND WAS MADE IN THE LIKENESS OF MEN: AND BEING FOUND IN FASHION (or in appearance) AS A MAN, HE HUMBLED HIMSELF, AND BECAME OBEDIENT UNTO DEATH, EVEN THE DEATH OF THE CROSS. JESUS CHRIST…HUMBLED HIMSELF.
Deut 11:26-28-BEHOLD, I SET BEFORE YOU THIS DAY A BLESSING AND A CURSE; A BLESSING, IF YE OBEY THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD YOUR GOD, WHICH I COMMAND YOU THIS DAY: AND A CURSE, IF YE WILL NOT OBEY THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE LORD YOUR GOD.
Jer 21:8-AND UNTO THIS PEOPLE THOU SHALT SAY, THUS SAITH THE LORD; BEHOLD, I SET BEFORE YOU THE WAY OF LIFE, AND THE WAY OF DEATH.
Deut 30:19-I CALL HEAVEN AND EARTH TO RECORD THIS DAY AGAINST YOU, THAT I HAVE SET BEFORE YOU LIFE AND DEATH, BLESSING AND CURSING: THEREFORE CHOOSE LIFE, THAT BOTH THOU AND THY SEED MAY LIVE.
Rev 22:17-AND THE SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE SAY, COME. AND LET HIM THAT HEARETH SAY, COME. AND LET HIM THAT IS ATHIRST COME. AND WHOSOEVER WILL, LET HIM TAKE THE WATER OF LIFE FREELY.