The Fading Glory Of Creation!

-Don’t Accept A Cheap Substitute!

When we refuse to give God the glory He alone deserves, we exchange the glory of an immortal Creator for the glory of created things! In other words, we accept cheap substitutes! When we could have gloried in an eternal, immortal, all-powerful Creator, we glory instead in the FADING glory of a creation that groans & dies under the weight of sin’s curse! James wrote:  “Let the rich man glory in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits” James 1:9-11.

-Beauty Queens & Hip Replacements!

That means that beauty queens grow old & decrepit. It means that sports stars grow old; and, get hip & knee replacements.  So, if you value anything more than God, you’ve exchanged the “imperishable” for the “perishable.” You’ve traded the diamond for that rotten peach that’s been in the back of your fridge for the last 3 months! You’ve traded gold for a rusty bolt! In Paul’s letter to the Church of Rome, he also says that when you dismiss or deny God’s glory that you exchange the truth of God for the lies of sexual perversions— “…God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie…” Romans 1:24-25.

-God’s Not The Kill Joy In The Sky!

Listen, God is NOT the big “sex KILL JOY” in the sky! He’s NOT a PRUDE! He created sex! Contrary to what some people seem to think, sex wasn’t our idea! God created sex; and, the reason He restricted sexual activity to a HUSBAND & a WIFE is because He loves us! His way is the BEST way for us! All sexual activity—outside that which is between a HUSBAND & a WIFE— will always result in painful, negative experiences! Humanity keeps ignoring God’s glory when it comes to sexual conduct; so, God delivers them over to sexual impurity, Paul says. And, our society is bent on degrading their bodies because they’ve believed all the lies of sexual perversions! There’s a really important principle here!

-Living With Regret!

You can glory in the lies of sin & get some momentary pleasure out of it; but, the pleasure is soon gone & what remains is regret! Or, you can glory in the truth of God; and, gain happiness & joy that does not fade in this life! A joy that actually carries over into eternity! You can live without regrets now! Give God the glory due His name! Redirect any praise— that might come your way— to Him! Humble yourself before him! Admit that you’re NOT a self-made man or woman! You’re made in the image of God for His Glory! If you’re a follower of Jesus, His Spirit indwells you; and, it is He who is making you into the image of Christ.  Everything you have— Yes! Everything— comes from Him! Don’t take any credit for your accomplishments! That’s what unbelievers do. Stand with the Apostle Paul: “As for me, I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ “ Galatians 6:14. Brag on the cross & Jesus’ work for our salvation!

 

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Can We Lose Our Salvation?

Can I Lose My Salvation?

As a 13-year old, new follower of Jesus, that was a question that haunted me! Was I strong enough to keep it? Or, was I capable of doing something to lose it? It’s a question that just won’t go away.

But, They Said The “Sinners Prayer”

Usually, someone is asking because they know a person who professed faith in Jesus Christ, only to leave it and go back to a life of sin. Surely they must have “lost” their salvation because they said the “Sinners Prayer”—a “prayer”, by the way, that I’ve never found in Scripture.

Jesus: “I Know Them!”

What I have read in Scripture, that addresses this concern, are the words of Jesus in John 10:27-29: “My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” Notice the intimacy? “I KNOW them!” Jesus says. There is a “personal” relationship!

Jesus: “I Never Knew Them”

By contrast, look at what Jesus said about another group of people: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, “Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ Then I will announce to them, I never knew you! Depart from Me” Matthew 7:21-23. To this group Jesus will say, “I NEVER knew you!” It’s possible, according to Jesus, to do all kinds of “churchy” things & to have never been saved! (See also 1 John 2:19; 2 Peter 2:22)

Where Is Our Security?

Look again at the John passage. Jesus describes a genuine believer—they hear His voice; they follow Him; He gives them eternal life; and, they’ll never perish! No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand! Do you hear what Jesus is saying? He’s saying that for someone to lose eternal life, they’d have to be more powerful than God to wrestle a soul away from Him! Bottom Line:  “The security of our salvation rests not in our power to stay saved; but, in God’s power to keep us saved

Speaking Of A Pseudo-Faith

Peter said: “It has happened to them according to the true proverb: A dog returns to its own vomit, and, a sow, after washing itself, wallows in the mud” 1 Peter 2:22 You can dress them up & show them at the county fair; but, bring them back to the farm & where do they go? The hog goes back to the slop & the dog eats his own vomit! Because that’s who they are! That’s their nature! Place an unbeliever in an environment of believers for a time & they may appear to be a believer! But, given the opportunity, they return to the slop & vomit of the world! Why? Because that’s who they are! That’s their nature!

To Judge Or Not To Judge

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What Does Jesus Say?

Jesus’ words, in Matthew 7, provide us the best answer to this much-debated topic.  And, what we find is this: rather than telling us NOT to judge,  Jesus is actually telling us HOW to judge! He begins, v.1,  with the words, “Do not judge…” Let’s suppose, at that point, that His disciples say, “Amen”; and, they interrupt His teaching time by getting up & saying, “We’ve heard all we need to hear on the subject of judging others! Thanks, Jesus! We’ll be going now! We’re going to spread your word—Jesus says, ‘Do Not Judge.’” That might sound a bit far fetched; but, that’s exactly what we do if we don’t listen to the rest of Jesus’ teaching about judging others! His message is altered if it’s not quoted or read in context with the rest of the passage. He uses the word “judge” twice in v.1; the 1st half & the 2nd half—it’s a teaching technique; a “parallel” for balance! “Don’t you judge, so that other’s won’t judge you” is literally what Jesus is saying.

The New Testament Meaning Of That Word “Judge”

That word “judge” has several N.T. uses. It can mean “to draw a conclusion from the outward appearance.” It can also mean “to show favor one over another” or favoritism. To judge can also mean “to condemn or to determine as guilty.” So, because Jesus uses “parallelism” here, what He’s really saying is this:  “Don’t draw a conclusion from the outward appearance” of others, so that others “won’t draw a conclusion from the outward appearance” about you; and, “don’t show favoritism against certain individuals”, so that others “won’t show favoritism against you”;  and, “don’t condemn or determine people are guilty”, so that “others won’t condemn or determine you are guilty.” See it? That’s how it unpacks; and, that’s the only way the “speck & log” illustration, in v.3-5, makes sense! If Jesus meant that we are never ever to judge, He would have taught His disciples NOT to remove the speck from the other persons’ eye, right? Leave it there! Don’t judge your brother over the speck in his eye! No! What He says is to judge “rightly”—judge yourself first so you can accurately judge another!

The Standard By Which We Judge

Because of our fallenness, most of our judging isn’t very righteous! We’re incapable of judging “rightly” in our spiritual brokenness! We need God, His Word & the indwelling Spirit to help us-we’re NOT the standard by which we judge! God alone is the perfect Judge! Only what He calls “sin” do we “judge” as sin! Nothing else! Imagine how beautiful the church would be if we quit judging on the basis of appearance; or, if we quit being harsh in our judgment; or, if we were quick to forgive; or, if we quit judging on the basis of our own self-righteousness & only judged sin as God judges it; or, if we stopped the liar or gossip in their tracks. “God, help us grow in this area so the world will see how beautiful the bride of Christ can be!“-Amen!Judge