The impression of God in this new age is that His only character is love. He loves everyone, accepts everything and has made a home in Heaven for all of us. We’re led to believe that if we are a real Christian then we, too, will love everyone and accept everyone as equally loved by God; after all, God is our Heavenly Father and we are all His creation. We’re told that the real “god” doesn’t’ hate Continue reading
Most Christians know that our sins were nailed to the cross with Jesus on that dark day many years ago. But do they realize the full impact of what actually happened that day? The destiny of mankind was forever changed as Jesus rose from the Cross to be King. Continue reading
There are many contentious issues debated in our world today that seem to divide even the Christians. Many believers will voice their opinion in secret or amongst themselves, but they won’t take a public stand for what is right. They don’t realize that they are part of the problem Continue reading
It’s amazing how many people – including those who proclaim to be Christians – will totally ignore the Lord and not give Him praise and thanks for anything, but then when they want something or need help they decide to pray and actually expect Him to bless them. Few of them get a positive response from God and so they just go back to the world for help. It seems to them as if God doesn’t answer prayers.
Most people have no idea who God is, and they have little reverence or fear of Him and so think that He is THEIR servant to call upon when needed. The very concept of this is absolute foolishness and anyone who looks to God in this way not only doesn’t know Him, but is walking on a very dangerous path that leads to His wrath.
God is the creator of everything living (Genesis 1:1-31) and verses 26-28 says that He made us in His image. He has personally made each and every one of us.
“Thy hands have made me and fashioned me.” … Psalm 119:73
God loves us, and He placed our ancestors, Adam and Eve, in the perfect garden and then walked with them every day. He had a relationship with them – not as a ghost that hovers around taunting them, but as a real live Father who loves His children. But then when sin entered Adam, God could no longer be there because He is Holy and His presence would physically burn up anything around that had sin in it – including Adam and Eve. He loved them so much that He exiled them out of His presence and into the uninhabited world where they were unfortunately ruled by the devil. God would not leave them there, though, and so promised that He would send a Savior who would take away their sins – the sins that separated them from Him. And God kept His Word and He came to earth Himself in the person of Jesus, and died on the cross and took all the sins of mankind to hell so we could once again walk with Him.
The world is made up of two kinds of people: those who accept the salvation that Jesus gave on the cross and those who don’t. The ones who accept Jesus as the promised Messiah, the Savior, come to God with a heart of repentance and ask Him to wash away their sins. Then they turn away from the world and serve God with a whole heart; they study the Bible, pray for others and praise His name, giving Him glory for everything that He has done. As they grow in Him, the relationship between them and God grows and they realize that they can trust Him with their lives.
The ones who don’t know God have no idea who He is and only respond in prayer because that’s what you do when you need help. But they don’t know Him. They don’t know anything about Him and have no right thinking that He would answer their prayers. When God looks at sinners who do not have the blood of Jesus covering them, who have not repented and do not have remission for their sins, He sees one thing – and that is sin.
What does the Bible say about sin? Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death.” And for those whose sins have been forgiven it says, “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
People who carry their sins and don’t repent will not receive the blessings of God no matter how much they supposedly pray. Their prayers will not be answered because they do not know Him and sin stands between them and Him.
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” … 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
You can’t receive an inheritance from someone you don’t know. For example, there may be a wealthy man in my city, but when he dies I won’t be in his will because I don’t know him and he doesn’t know me. I am not part of his family and he is not obligated to leave me anything – and I have no right to expect that he would. It’s the same with God. If we are not in His family then we cannot expect to receive the inheritance of eternal life with Jesus in Heaven, or of a relationship with Him on earth. We cannot expect that He would hear or answer our prayers.
But when we know Him, we can trust Him because He hears and answers our prayers.
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” … 1 Peter 3:12
If we truly want God to answer our prayers then we need to know Him. He died for everyone, but only those who accept His salvation and turn away from evil to serve Him with a whole heart will be part of His family, and will have their prayers answered.
It’s not lip service; it’s not just acknowledging the cross. Even Satan knows about the cross, but He is the enemy of God and anyone who does not accept Jesus as their Savior belongs to the devil (James 4:4). Salvation means loving God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength, and loving people with the same passion that He loves us. God is our Heavenly Father, our Savior, our Lord and our King and there is nothing that the world can throw at us that Jesus won’t help us through, and that’s because we accept His love and His salvation and we belong to Him.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” … Psalm 23
There are a lot of very nice people in the world who would not hesitate to help someone if they needed help or give them money or things if they needed it. Their actions are definitely driven by love, but that alone does NOT make them a Christian. Works by itself will NOT get you into Heaven.
People in general have a very poor understanding of what being a Christian means. Webster’s dictionary defines “Christian” as “one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ”. And the Bible discusses this very belief in great detail.
To be a Christian, we must be followers of Christ, and to follow Christ we have to know Him, accept Him and love Him. After all, how can we follow a person that we don’t know or haven’t seen? John 3:1-5 Jesus explains how we can belong to the Kingdom of God.
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
So what does it mean to be born again? How does that happen? Jesus said in Romans 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
Why do we need to be saved? And saved from what? To appreciate what salvation means, we need to go back in history and learn why Jesus had to come and die on the cross in the first place.
When God made Adam and Eve, He placed them in the Garden of Eden, a land that was perfect in every way and that even in our most exaggerated thoughts we wouldn’t be able to imagine the beauty of it. It says in Genesis 3:8 that God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening, and He enjoyed their fellowship. It must have been absolutely awesome to have God come into their back yard and talk and laugh with them every day – but then, they were made without sin and so the garden was holy ground and God was able to go there.
God gave Adam one rule in Genesis 2:9 and that was to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil or else he would die. Adam had no intention of disobeying God because he loved Him, but Eve was tempted by the devil (Genesis 3:1-6) that came to her in the form of a serpent. She was convinced that they would become as smart as God and so she ate the fruit. It was delicious and she didn’t die so she decided to share this with Adam. Unfortunately, Adam took his eyes off of God and put them onto his wife and ate of the fruit.
Their eyes were opened and they knew what good and evil were. Eve may have been deceived because God didn’t tell her directly, but Adam sinned because he disobeyed God. It’s interesting to note that instead of repenting and pleading with God, he blamed Eve (Genesis 3:12). “It’s all her fault, she made me do it”, and this is an attitude that has been carried down throughout history; mankind has not ceased to blame someone else for what they did.
God was more hurt than angry with them because sin had entered the Garden, His holy ground, and He could no longer visit with His children, and He had to cast Adam and Eve out of the garden. But when He did this He also promised them that He would send someone to redeem them back to Himself; to beat the devil at his own game.
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” … Genesis 3:15
Now Adam faced the consequences of his actions and he and Eve were devastated to have to live in a desolate world without God, but what horrified them even more was that the ruler of the lost world was Satan. Adam had sold his birthright to the devil whose very presence kept him from the only Father he knew, so they clung on to the promise and prayed for the redeemer to come and save their children. And so every child ever born from the very first conceived child, being Able, right down to the last baby that will ever be born on earth, is born in sin and without the presence of God. There is no possibility of a single one of us ever getting back to God on our own. He removed His Spirit and there is only ONE way to get it back.
Jesus! And so the people throughout the generations waited and looked for His coming.
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” … Luke 2: 8-11
Jesus was sent to the cross because Satan knew who Jesus was and thought that if he could persuade the Pharisees to kill Him, then everything would be fine, God’s attempt to regain the world would fail and he would continue to rule the earth forever. The Pharisees also knew that Jesus was God’s Son and they were filled with evil and foolishly thought that if they killed Him on the cross then they wouldn’t have to give up their religious positions and wealth.
What none of them realized is that no one can kill God. Jesus’ human body died on the cross, and because He was without sin He would have risen directly to Heaven at that point. However, that isn’t why He came. He came to take away the sin that we carried – the sin that caused us to be separated from God – and He took that sin upon Himself so that when He died, that sin would drive Him directly to hell. But hell couldn’t hold Him, and so He dropped off the sin and then rose again.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” … John 3:16
When we realize the magnitude of this action by Jesus, and we believe it and receive this truth in our heart, then we receive our salvation. We are saved. We are Christians. We are no longer separated from God. We are given His Spirit and we can walk with God just like Adam did. We are one with God again. Now when we pray God not only hears our prayers, but He answers them. He blesses us. He helps us. He teaches us. He walks with us. He is our Father and our friend.
Christians adopt the heart and mind of Christ so that we want to help others, share with others and encourage others to know Him. We do everything to the glory of God and for the furtherance of the ministry of Jesus. We are not perfect; we are forgiven. Although God will become our purpose for living and the reason for our being, we’ll still fall short and do things wrong or not do things we should. (Romans 3:23) But we can come before God and say sorry and He hears us and smiles at us. He doesn’t have to toss us away like He did with Adam because His Spirit is in us. We are His children and nothing can separate us from Him.
So, good works may be a nice thing to do to help others and share some positive attitude, but they will NOT make us a Christian and they will NOT get us into Heaven. Only a personal relationship with Jesus will make us a Christian, and the good works that we do then are done in love so that others can see the love that God has for us.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” … John 10:27
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The lifestyle of Christians has been a hot topic for years. Many believe that “real Christians” should swear a secret oath of poverty and shouldn’t own any kind of material possessions so that they can stay pure before God. Others believe that the Lord wants us to prosper and have an abundance of material possessions. While both of these scenarios are opposite in concept, the idea of getting rich can be appealing and can lead to a downfall because greed and love don’t mix.
Why is choosing to live in poverty wrong? Because Jesus died on the cross so that we could live. John 10:10 says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” God wants us to enjoy life and to not have to suffer from lack or from want.
God loves us so much that He has told us repeatedly in the Bible that He wants us to be blessed and to have the things we need and want. Matthew 21:22 tells us to ask in prayer believing and we would receive it. He says in Philippians 4:6 that we should let our requests be made known to God.
In Psalm 37:4 He says that He’ll give us the desires of our heart. God told David in Samuel 12:8 that if he wanted more than what God had given him, he just needed to ask. Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it will be given to you”. Deuteronomy 28:13 says that the Lord will make us the head and not the tail, the lenders and not the borrowers. Psalm 1:3 says that if we follow Him we will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water and whatever we do will prosper us.
God wants us to prosper and be in good health because He loves us. We are His children and He doesn’t want to see us going without the necessities – and even some luxuries – in life. He does NOT want our sacrifice; He wants our obedience. And just looking at it from our own point of view, what kind of witness would any of us be if we were proclaiming the goodness of the Lord and His healing power and His love for us if we are living in a state of poverty? Of not having anything to show for the work of our hands? Of not representing the Kingdom of God in its entirety? Who would want to become a Christian if it meant living a pathetically impoverish life?
The opposite of this is greed and it bears its own sorrows. We can’t show others our love for God, or even more, His love for us, if we are focused on our own material gain. Matthew 6:33 tells us to first seek God’s Kingdom, to learn about Him, to become part of Him and to share the same love for people as Him and then He will bless us with all the things that we need or want in life. He tells us NOT to seek after riches as our reason to know Him, but to want to know Him and make Him our reason for living and then these riches will come to us.
It all comes down to LOVE. Who do we love? If we love God, we will want to know Him, worship Him, praise Him and LOVE Him, and as we come to know Him we’ll realize that He supplies all of our needs according to His riches in glory – Philippians 4:19.
Greed for material possessions becomes our idol and God says that we are not to have another idol before Him because it becomes our obsession and what we will sacrifice things for and be happy. Greed becomes our love and 1 Timothy 6:10 says that our love of money – which includes material possessions – is the root of all evil.
So, as Christians we need to find a balance and we do that by seeking God first and letting our riches be His blessings to us because whatever God gives us, no man can take away, but what we give ourselves we will lose because they are not blessed by God. Greed is an attitude of self-righteousness and it has no place in the life of a Christian. Matthew 6:33 says that we are to seek after HIS righteousness.
The perfect example of love is what Jesus did for us. He was rich in Heaven. He left His thrown and all the luxuries of Heaven so that He could come to earth to be born in a cold and dirty barn, so that He could preach for three and a half years without even having a “den” to sleep in, and so that He could give up His life as a sacrifice for us.
Greed cannot exist in us if we truly love Jesus because we would have His spirit in us, and we would have His love for others and we would be willing to share what we do have. Riches would not be our reason for living, but rather, they would be a blessing from God to make us happy because He loves to give us the desires of our heart when our heart is pure before Him.
“Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” … Psalm 37:4