Monday, June 29, 2009

If You Think You are Standing Firm

I think the Holy Spirit highlighted this from my reading today:

1 Corinthians 10 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.”b 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.
11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

There are many people in the world today who call themselves christians. These people have been taught that there is no way possible for them to fall yet the bible clearly insructs us that if we think we are standing firm, be careful that we do not fall. The children of Israel were people just like we are people. Times have changed but human nature NEVER changes. People still love, hate, feel envy or kindness, greed or compassion the way people have always done throughout the ages. What does that mean for you and me?

When we are told this about the people of Israel: They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.

Those people ate and drank from CHRIST just like todays "christians" do. And what happened to them? God was not pleased with most of them. Their lesson is a lesson for us. When we read the bible and we see warnings on top of warnings on top of warnings and we blow right through all of them thinking we are "standing firm" isn't that foolish? Should'nt we be trembling at the words of God? Should we not give serious consideration to the fact that MOST of them did not please the Lord and were slain in the desert? Yea, we should give these facts serious consideration now, right now, not tomorrow or next month some

We as humans are no different than they were and yet people strut around today thinking they are untouchable, and "standing firm" because some guy (pastor) told them a 5 second long teary eyed "decision" for Jesus means they already have both feet in heaven just waiting for their rear ends to follow. God was not pleased with most of them....hmmm most means the majority right? God was not pleased with the "many" of them which on the flip side means he was only pleased with a few of them. Does that jive with this?

Matt 7:13 Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

and this:

Matt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

We just keep coming back to the same places over and over again. Why is that? Part of the reason is because the Lord has laid it heavily on my heart now for years. The other part is the goal we should be aiming for. When you strive to achieve a goal, you keep your eyes on the prize right? Well what is the prize? Isn't it making it through the narrow gate that leads to life? Isn't that what this is all about? Is it wise to take your eyes off your goals if you really want to achieve them? Making it through the NARROW GATE is the goal and we are clearly told that only a few will make it. Should'nt that fact influence our thinking and planning when we are deciding on a moment to moment basis how to conduct ourselves?

I can tell you that during all the years (they were many) that I was "serviced" by churchianity, NEVER ONCE did ANYONE EVERRRRRRRR mention the fact that only a few would make it in. Did they think maybe that was unimportant information? If I tell you that you will be running a race next year and only a few will finish it don't you think that should influence how you train for the race? Apparently todays teachers and preachers don't think so. For them its good enough to tell everyone that in the first few steps they've already finished the race!

1 Cor 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Paul was concerned that even HE might be disqualified for the prize even after all the preaching he did to others. Are todays "christians" so much superior to Paul the apostle that they don't need to be "bothered" by such "trivialities?" Where are the preachers and teachers today who warn the people about the fact that even Paul ran the race with fear and trembling?

If you are "in Christ" today and you die "in Christ" I am confident you have made it through the narrow gate that leads to life. The issue is one of REMAINING "in Christ." At what point does a person slip out from under the protection of being "in Christ?" At the point that they are "cutoff" (John 15) -that's an obvious one but where exactly is the line you have to cross to be "in Christ" or "fall away?"

Hebrews 6:4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, becauseb to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Todays preachers tell you its impossible for you to fall away, the bible clearly tells you right there that it IS possible to fall away. Do you think Paul understood this when he tells us to be careful how we run the race? Do you think he understood something when he told us "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!"

Does this mean we can take no comfort in our God before we die? No, it means we need to rely on what the bible says not the lies, fabrications and false assurances of men.

Our God gave us assurances that do not require us to fabricate meanings out of thin air. Here's an assurance: Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.

What does that mean? It means that at any given moment you can look within yourself, get down on your knees and check the Spirit of God for resonance to determine if you are a child of God. Notice what Romans 8:16 does NOT say. It does not say "a 5 second teary eyed "decision" tells us we are children of God." That's what your pastors are saying, but NOT what the bible says so lets stop inventing doctrines out of thin air, or the pits of hell or wherever else men get these things and stand on what IS written in the bible. If the Spirit testifies with your spirit that you are a child of God then isn't that a BETTER assurance of your salvation than the empty words of your hired hand spiritual employees?

Do you want more comfort in your salvation? Here's more from the word of God (not man):

Hebrews 3:14
... For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end

See how easy that is? No false doctrines need to be invented, if you hold fast to the assurance you had at the beginning then you are a partaker of Christ and have nothing to worry about. You are reminded here as you are throughout the bible that your confidence must be held FIRM TO THE END. Do we really need to get out a dictionary and look up what "to the end" means? Do we need some guy who calls himself a "christian scholar" to tell us what "to the end" means? How hard is this? You wanna go to heaven? GREAT, hold fast your confidence in Christ FIRM TO THE END.

Why will so few be saved (Matt 7:14)? Because some guy will write a 1,000 page paper telling us why 20 clearly written words in the bible do not mean what they clearly say they mean and people will believe them. Apprarently people's faith in "scholars" or "pastors" or any other manmade title you might want to give them is greater than in the Word of God.

Stand firm then, be careful you don't fall. Hold your confidence that you had at the beginning all the way through to the end. Read the bible for yourself, ask the Lord to explain it to you...He did write the book. grace and peace