Archive for October, 2015

Are You on the Right Side?

October 31, 2015

As far as I can remember, people have chosen sides. In adolescent squabbles, sides are chosen. Football pundits choose whom they think will be the National or Super Bowl Champion. Right now as the World Series is taking place, people have chosen sides. Many have chosen the Royals or Mets because of where they live or some connection with the team. There are a variety of reasons that people choose sides. Some choose sides out of allegiance. Others choose sides based on what benefits them. There are those who choose sides based on who is thought to be right. Most of us would agree that foundation and basis of the decision should be Are You on the Right Side?

By virtue of Are You on the Right Side?, the presupposition is that there is a right and wrong side. With the rise situational ethics and attacks on absolutes, many debate whether matters are that black and white. Shades of gray have become popular for many reasons. Nevertheless, one never wants to end up on the negative when answering Are You on the Right Side? 

From the winner of 3 on 3 basketball game to a fencing tournament, groups of people quibble of many trivial issues that have little to no significance beyond the moment. If answering Are You on the Right Side? is that important in trivial matters, how much more should we give attention to matters that have an eternal significance? We should give it our first priority. Contrary to many beliefs, the bible teaches that there is an eternal condition that all humans will experience. The bible teaches that man will either experience Eternal Punishment or Eternal Life.

Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV)

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

There you have it in black and white, not gray. Jesus says that man “will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Therefore, it is all the more important that you correctly answer Are You on the Right Side?  Who gets eternal punishment and who gets eternal life? In the passage, Jesus says, “32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” He draws an analogy of a shepherd separating sheep from goats. In the bible, sheep are identified as those who follow Jesus as Savior and Lord. It is not more directly stated than in the tenth chapter of John where Jesus says,”John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheepJohn 10:14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”

Sheep are those who know Jesus. This is far more than an intellectual awareness, but it is one where you follow Jesus as sheep would follow a shepherd. Sheep do as the shepherd commands or directs. Are Jesus’ commands and direction falling on deaf ears with you? If so, you have chosen the wrong side. By not choosing Jesus, you have answered the question of Are You on the Right Side? In John 14:6, Jesus further clarified this matter when one was asking if he was on the right side. To that, “Jesus answered, “I am(H) the way(I) and the truth(J) and the life.(K) No one comes to the Father except through me.”

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Are You Cain or Abel?

October 30, 2015

In Genesis 4, we have the account of the first human murder. Adam and Eve’s son Abel was killed by his brother. This is a far cry from the command of Jesus to love one another (Jn 13:34, 35; 15:12; 1Jn 4:7, 11, 21; 2Jn 5) Furthermore, it is a far cry from God’s character which John also illuminated when he said, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5). Those notions do not deviate from what God told Cain in Genesis 4.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

This is exactly what I needed this morning. I was angry with my wife over something really stupid. She is off on Fridays. Because I got home late last night, I went straight to bed. Unfortunately, my sleep did not survive. I woke up shortly after one and could not go back to sleep. After begging God to let me go back to sleep, I did, but I woke up after 5:30 which is two the three hours later than I normally do. I was behind. As I get up, she is already in the shower washing her hair. I am mad because I can’t shower to get ready. I allowed that anger to fester. The Spirit of God was speaking to me telling me that I cannot allow my self to go down this road. Thoughts of not really communicating had already invaded my mind and was beginning to subdue my will regarding the matter. Like we studied in church on Wednesday (Psalm 77), my perspective was off until I went into the sanctuary. For me today, that was having my devotion from 1 John 3. As I began to read, it was clear that I had to let go of my anger. For that was the sin that was crouching at my door. It desired to have me, but God called out to me to master it.

1 John 3

11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.

Was I loving my wife who is my best friend? NO! I was not. God, through the Spirit, reminded me of His command and challenged me by saying Are You Cain or Abel? In doing so, God was asking me if my actions were righteous or unrighteous. Unrighteous motives, like Cain, are an unacceptable offering to God. He has commanded anyone who professes to follow Jesus to “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’ (Romans 12:1b-2)

I am not sure about you, but I know that I cannot argue with the Word of God. It rightly judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)  Are You Cain or Abel? Decide, with the help of the Holy Spirit, today that you will not be one who is unrighteous and unacceptable to God. He has given us the option today to be pleasing or displeasing to Him. Let us love one another as He commanded.

I am no longer angry. I am free in the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hallelujah.

How Do You Know Who Are The Children of God?

October 28, 2015

As a child, I was often told by my mother not to embarrass her in public by acting in ways she had condemned. Trust me, I knew exactly what she was talking about. She consistently told us what not to do and what to do. It was lucid. Some of her famous words are “if you embarrass me, I am going to embarrass you. If it is in the store, you will get yours in the store…” NOTE: Someone would have called DFACS on her today, but I am better by it because I most often chose show over tell.

In many ways, children are a reflection of their parents. I plead the 5th on some things in my kids lives. As most of you have read, I have worked in varying capacities in schools over the past twenty plus years. When a student was acting up, I remember one administrator telling me “if you see a child acting a fool at school, 90% you will see a parent acting a fool at home.” In that case, the parent did come to school acting a fool. While that is not true in all situations, most children act like their parents in some way or another.

In relation to God, this should be true too. In fact, the Apostle John answered How Do You Know Who Are The Children of God? based on that premise.

1 John 3

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil,because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

There it is right in the Word of God. There it is straight out of the bible. One’s actions reveal who one belongs. John says, “Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.” What is right? In this and every other context, the preeminent position on right is what God says in His Word. Today or in the past, it has not been popular to define what is right in the context of what God has declared. There are many who even deny God’s existence, so in their minds, the standard of right and wrong does not begin with God. Listen to what Romans 1 says about the matter of who determines right or wrong.

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

God has made plain general right and wrong to the most sophisticated and undeveloped society. Nevertheless, How Do You Know Who Are The Children of God? John tells us by one’s behavior – “Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child” Clearly, John knows that there has been only one perfect one – Jesus. He is not talking about perfection. John is talking about an ever-increasing obedience to the Word of God. One who claims to follow Jesus cannot continue to sin with the same sin with the same frequency or intensity. Why? Because God’s seed remains in Him.

Just as earthly children take on attributes/characteristics of their earthly parents, those born again take on the attributes, specifically here righteousness, of their heavenly Father. John had already established the provision for one halting the practice of habitual sinning in 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Paul tells us in Romans 8 that there are two mindsets: 1. set on the desires of the flesh; 2 set on the desires of the Spirit. Paul goes on to tell us “… if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness” Clearly the audience of this letter are ones who are identified as having Christ because they are called children of God. 

It is through that same Spirit of God that men and women are enabled to say not to ungodliness. It is through the Spirit working in their lives to obedience to Christ that is the distinguishing mark for the follower of Jesus. Furthermore, it is the Spirit manifesting the character/attributes of Christ in us that enables one to answer the question of How Do You Know Who Are The Children of God? We know it by their behavior, their actions even their love for their brother and sister.

How are your actions? Do they align with God’s actions? Is your mind set on what God’s Spirit is set upon? Evaluate yourself to answer the question How Do You Know Who Are The Children of God?

The Romans Road

October 27, 2015

In the post Have You Been Led Astray?, an analogy of feral and stray cats was drawn. It was designed to reveal a spiritual truth or reality. In spiritual terms, the feral cat is a person who has never interacted with Christ in terms of Him being Savior and Lord. He has no dependence on God. On the other hand, the stray cat is one who was engaged with Christ, whether as a follower or as one who investigated closely, but has left or lost his pursuit of Christ.

When one has gotten of the path, the only thing to get him/her headed in the right direction is to get back on the path or road that leads to the desired destination. God espouses a road that draws human heart, mind and soul to Him. The road that leads to life and peace through grace and mercy. God is merciful and gracious to man, but man cannot know God fully except through Christ.

How then does one come to know Christ? The Romans Road is an illustration that has been used for years to point people to salvation through Christ Jesus. While not overly filled with the spiritual truths, it is what is essential for one to understand that Jesus is the only Son of God who was born of a virgin, suffered, died, descended, raised, ascended and seated at the right hand of the Father where He intercedes for us. If you don’t know Jesus today, follow theThe Romans Road to salvation.

The Romans Road

  1. Romans 3:10 – As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;
  2. Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
  3. Romans 5:12 – Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—
  4. Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  5. Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  6. Romans 10:9-10If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
  7. Romans 10:13 – or, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Map the Romans Road in your Bible.

Have You Been Led Astray?

October 26, 2015

For the animal or cat lover, knowing the difference between a feral and stray cat is second nature. For those who are not in the “know”, I want to share the primary difference. A feral cat is one that has never had contact with humans or it has been so long ago that the cat’s approach to interacting with humans is a forgotten memory. A stray cat is a cat that has been socialized by humans but has left or lost its home as well as daily human interaction. Stray cats are also referred to as Alley Cats.

What does feral or stray cats have to do with God? As I often say, the natural world has a spiritual parallel or at least an analogy can be drawn to reveal a spiritual truth or reality. In spiritual terms, the feral cat is a person who has never interacted with Christ in terms of Him being Savior and Lord. He has no dependence on God. On the other hand, the stray cat is one who was engaged with Christ, whether as a follower or as one who investigated closely, but has left or lost his pursuit of Christ.

I doubt that John was thinking of feral or stray cats when he wrote our text today,1 John 3. Jesus often drew analogies to communicate a spiritual truth. There are many who inquire of Christ that stray that is to deviate from the direct course, leave the proper place, or go beyond the proper limits, especially without a fixed course or purpose. The notion of a stray cat compared to a Christian being led astray is the impetus to the question Have You Been Led Astray?

Dictionary.com defines astray as being led out of the right way; off the correct or known road, path, or route. Who or what has led you away from God? We should be at least aware of the plan for those pursuing Christ to be led astray. Have You Been Led Astray? This is what John posed in our text today. Let’s go there. 

1 John 3

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin,because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

John was acutely aware of the attacks on the follower of Christ’s mind. For those theologians, we know John was talking about antinomianism. For all others, John was proving that followers of Christ observe “The Law” i.e. Commandments and other directives via text by simply saying “The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.” John was reminding the believer of the truth we see in Hebrews 2 where the writer states “14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” The primary point is that Christ, by His incarnation, death and resurrection, absolved satan’s power of the follower of Christ. As Titus 2 tells us, the grace of God through Christ Jesus “teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,”

Since we have power to say no to sin through Christ Jesus, the true follower of Christ will not continue on in sin. Does that mean he/she will be perfect? No; however, there will be an ever-increasing obedience to Christ and victory over sins he/she struggles with on a daily basis. If we have such power, how is that John asked Have You Been Led Astray? There are certain habits that the believer must be continually engaged in order not to be led astray.

The Holy Spirit
Of the Holy Spirit, Jesus told us in John 14 that 26… the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

The Word of God
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105
How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
    let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:9-11 ESV

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8

The Fellowship of the Believer
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread.. Acts 2:42
13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

Have You Been Led Astray? For the follower of Christ to answer that question in the negative, he/she must not stray from the practices of surrendering to following the Holy Spirit, not fail to memorize, meditate, and study the Word of God, and not forsake meeting with fellow followers of Christ to encourage one another in our journey.  If you are not actively involved in those activities along with praying, you are subject to being led astray. Watch yourself and your life closely.

Do You Know Your Bride or Groom?

October 23, 2015

In this world, the world will present to you what it considers the path to take. How do we know what is right or wrong? It is for us to determine what is right or wrong? Is it for us to determine whether to turn right or left? When one is informed about a subject, we all would agree that person is in a better position to make the right and appropriate decision. Nevertheless, that will not prevent the world or those in the world from presenting us the direction to take.

I have a prime example from yesterday. It was my wife’s birthday. During the prior week, I had asked her what she wanted for her birthday; what she wanted to do? Knowing my wife, I knew that answer was not going to be provided that day. I know she needed time to think about it. It is not because she does know what she wants. it is because she does not have a long laundry list of things she desires. Can I get an Amen! One thing she stated was that she might want for the family to eat together.

As we drew nearer to her birthday, she still had not decided where. While at work, I shared with few colleagues that it the twenty-second was my wife’s birthday, so I might leave a little early with my kids to go eat. In an effort to be supportive, a colleague told me she would take care of a duty I was performing, so I could leave a few minutes as school dismissed. I was appreciative, but I told her I’d finish the day out. Earlier, the same colleague asked if I got my wife flowers for her birthday. I said no. There was a look of disapproval. I told her my wife really did not value flowers like that. My colleague said, “I am just trying to help you out.” I retorted, “I know my wife after twenty-five years of relating to her”.

I know my bride, so I know she would not have wanted me to spend money on flowers for her birthday or really any other day that the world tends to tell us is important i.e. anniversary and valentines.  I know my bride well enough to know what I am to do or not to do. The world does not know my wife, so I should not give heed to its ideas of what is right or wrong for my bride.

The Apostle John painted a similar comparison with man and the Triune God long before I was born. The bible teaches that Jesus is the groom and the church is HIs bride. The church being defined as those who have trusted in Jesus as Lord and Savior thus becoming a child of God. In I John 3, John draws the picture of children knowing their parent, their Father. Listen to the Word of God.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. I John 3:1-10 

Look at the word know in know in the text. It is clear that knowing Christ allows us know God. It is because of that knowing that John tells us “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.” This message is to the children of God not the children of the devil. Just as I should not follow blindly the suggestions of others for my wife, I, as a child of God, should not follow the suggestions of anyone other than my Father. My Father will tell me to do righteous things. My Father will tell me to refrain from sinning and not make excuses to continue sinning by saying I am human. The Father tells us that if anyone continues to sin that one is not a child of God. 

Where are you today? Do you know God as Father through faith in Christ Jesus? Do you know Jesus as Groom and you as His Bride? Have you been led astray by following one who does not know God? John answers all of those questions in verses 9 and 10 above. Use the Word and let the Spirit of God judge your thoughts and actions. Then, you will know the truth.

The Lavish Life

October 20, 2015

This morning, I asked my wife if we came into millions would she continue to work. As the number of millions grew, her response changed. Growing up, I used to watch this show called The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. It was presented as The Lavish Life. Lavish is defined as something bestowed, or occurring in profusion i.e. great amounts. Man has a penchant to equate The Lavish Life with money.

On behalf of the Father, the Apostle John reiterated what exactly is The Lavish Life. Bestow or lavish in the Greek is the word didōmi (dē’-dō-mē) which Vines conveys as “to give,” is rendered “bestow” in 1Jo 3:1, the implied idea being that of giving freely. It is to give one something, to his advantage, of one’s own accord.

i John 3:1

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. NIV

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. (NKJV)

What did God give us on His own accord? Everything, His all, His Son. John the Baptist said it best “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Why did I say everything? The Word of God tells us exactly that. 2 Corinthians 1:20-21 says, “20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

John tells us that we are called the children of God. That is reflected in 2 Corinthians. A child has access to all that his/her parent has. God, as our Father, has no limitations; thus, we are richly blessed. The blessing is not primarily of worldly riches but of eternal riches. I am not able to list all of the blessings God has given that sums up The Lavish Life, but I want to give us a list, so we can reflect and rejoice in The Lavish Life.

Salvation
Grace
Mercy
Peace with God and of God
Forgiveness
Power
Assurance
Righteousness
Holiness
Purity
Wisdom
Knowledge
Understanding
The Lord make his face shine on you
God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus
Successful plans
Has plans for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future
Takes refuge in him
God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God
Direction
Listens to us and answers us

While not exhaustive, it is full of blessings. Do you see The Lavish Life differently today. Search God’s Word for a promise that attends to your present pressing need. Watch how lavishly He has loved you.

How to be Confident and Unashamed Before Jesus’ 2nd Coming

October 19, 2015

How to be Confident and Unashamed Before Jesus’ 2nd Coming? For those of us who believe in Jesus’ first coming (His incarnation i.e. John 1), we should be looking forward to His second coming. From scripture, we know Jesus’ first coming was to bring salvation to mankind. His second coming is to declare God’s judgment on those who did not believe in Him as Savior and Lord. The day of The Lord or God will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat (2 Peter 3:12). It will also culminate the salvation of those who trusted in Jesus (1 Peter 1:5).

Despite that, followers of Jesus are warned of faulty living/work. 1 Corinthians 3:15 tells us “If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames” It is this concern about living our lives on a foundation other than Christ. Our thoughts, words and actions must be motivated and directed by adherence to God’s Word and plan to use us as salt and light. We have been saved to be involved in God’s ministry of reconciliation through which He works in us to draw people unto Himself.

Jesus Himself tells us to remain or abide in him. Now in our text today, 1 John 2:24-29, we see that same expectation being delivered.

24 As for you, 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. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.

26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

28 And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.

29 If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

Continue is the same as remain or abide. John is telling the believers that our confidence and boasting will be the work (i.e. faith in working to reconcile people to God as well as responding to God) of God on the day that Jesus returns. Listen to how Paul expresses the same notion in 2 Corinthians 1. “12 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. 13 For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, 14 as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.” That answers the question of How to be Confident and Unashamed Before Jesus’ 2nd Coming?

We know from 1 Corinthians 3:15 that if our work is burned up we will be ashamed as we stand before Christ with nothing to offer Him as a form of worship and praise. This is why John says to “continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.” Again, we see How to be Confident and Unashamed Before Jesus’ 2nd Coming?

Consider the following text in efforts to cement your response in answering How to be Confident and Unashamed Before Jesus’ 2nd Coming? First, we know that it is really not us who keeps ourselves. It is God which is why Jesus says and John reiterates the importance of remaining, abiding or continuing on in Christ Jesus.

1 Corinthians 1:8
He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Thessalonians 2:19
19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 20 Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

2 Corinthians 1:14

They never found any thing in them unbecoming an honest man. This they had acknowledged in part already, and he doubted not but they would still do so to the end, that is, that they would never have any good reason to think or say otherwise of him, but that he was an honest man. And so there would be mutual rejoicing in one another. We are your rejoicing, even as you also are ours in the day of the LordJesus. Note, It is happy when ministers and people do rejoice in each other here; and this joy will be complete in that day when the great Shepherd of the sheep shall appear.  Matthew Henry

Ephesians 3:12
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

How to be Confident and Unashamed Before Jesus’ 2nd Coming? Abide or remain in Jesus.

The Antichrist

October 13, 2015

I must admit that I have to study up to accurately communicate with you about The Antichrist. Regardless of our penchant to dismiss things in the Word of God that gobble our comprehension, we must take it seriously. As such, I am devoting myself to study the notion of The Antichrist much more. Nevertheless, for the followers of Christ, our places in the everlasting kingdom of God are secure. In I John 2, this is the point John was making to the followers of Christ. The “truth” as John refers is Jesus. They are attributed of knowing the truth i.e. Jesus. Jesus himself “27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”John 10  No one means no one. Our place in the kingdom of God is not secured by our might, power or wisdom, but by the Spirit of the living God. “21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.2 Corinthians 1:21-23 

John says, The Antichrist is “whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son”. The Antichrist is anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ i.e. the Messiah, Savior. We know that The Antichrist is truly satan. The spirit of satan operates and influences all other so called “antichrists”. I am not wise enough or strong enough to fight and defeat satan. None of us are. This is John’s point. We have Christ see to it that what you have heard remains in you. “f it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.”

While we may not understand all of the intricacies of The Antichrist, John made it plain to us. Simply follow Jesus to the end, if we do, we will obtain what was promised – eternal life.

I John 2

18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son.23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

24 As for you, 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. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.

Below is Daniel 7 which is another text that gives insight into the development of the antichrist; however, one will need great insight from God to discern it from the text below. Remember, God made it simple for us. We are commanded to follow Jesus and to stand firm in Christ, but we are indwelled and empowered by the Holy Spirit to do so; therefore, let us stand firm in Christ to the praise of His glory. Hallelujah!!!

Daniel 7

 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying in bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.

Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.

“The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it.

“And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’

“After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.

“After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.

“While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.

“As I looked,

“thrones were set in place,
    and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
    the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
    and its wheels were all ablaze.
10 A river of fire was flowing,
    coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
    ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
    and the books were opened.

11 “Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire.12 (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)

13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, comingwith the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

15 “I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. 16 I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this.

“So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things: 17 ‘The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth. 18 But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’

19 “Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. 20 I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. 21 As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.

23 “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.

26 “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyedforever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’

28 “This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”

Revelation 13:18

18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.

October 8, 2015

The Anointing of a believer is frequently misconstrued. Some in Christendom present some anointing as different or more special than others. According to the New Testament, all believers are anointed by God through the Holy Spirit, and no one’s teaching is above scrutiny, but must be tested in light of Scripture. No one’s talents or abilities are above another as any endowment for the promotion of the Kingdom of God is a gift from the Holy Spirit who serves to promote God not any believer.

The Greek word for anoint is chrîsma (khris’-mah) which was an unguent or smearing, i.e. (figuratively) the special endowment (“chrism”) of the Holy Spirit. The purpose in believers having “an anointing from the Holy One” indicates that this anointing renders them holy, separating them to God. The bible teaches that the gift of the Holy Spirit is the all-efficient means of enabling believers to possess a knowledge of the truth. This should not be confused with another Greek word for anoint, aleiphō (ä-lā’-fō), used to convey “an anointing” of any kind, whether of physical refreshment after washing, for example in the Old Testament of Ruth 3:32Samuel 12:20; Daniel 10:3; Micah 6:15; in the New Testament, Matthew 6:17; Luke 7:38, 46;John 11:2; 12:3; or of the sick, Mark 6:13; James 5:14; or a dead body, Mark 16:1The Anointing referred to of believers is solely of the Holy Spirit who does give gifts as He sees fit.

In 1 John 2, John presents the anointing of believer as a means to discern false teaching that believers are confronted. John lays the foundation for this in John 10:27 where he quotes Jesus who said “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” How does the believer know the voice of God? 1 Corinthians 2:11 tells us “11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” Therefore, anyone who knows the thoughts of God must have the Spirit of God in them.

18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

24 As for you, 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. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.

26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

We see chrîsma translated as anointing in verse 20 and 27. In verse 26, John reveals the purpose behind his writing connecting it with the anointing in verse 27. “I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.” John knows the purpose and role of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had him write about the role of the Holy Spirit in the believers life in John 14-16. In chapter 15, John reveals Jesus’ Word to the believer to”remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit;( apart from me you can do nothing…This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

The Anointing is solely for the Father’s glory. When we begin to present any gift or talent given to use to promote ourselves, we become idolators defaming God and putting ourselves at odds with God. We also render ourselves fruitless to God. While we may maintain the gift, talent or ability, we are not fruitful for God because we are seeking our glory rather than His. Let’s be mindful of John’s admonishment about The Anointing-“24 As for you, 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. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.

Know the truth and walk in it.