Testings and Trials

Testings and trials do not build faith.  “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:12).  Testings and trials reveal our faith or the lack thereof.

How Do I Stay Saved?

Whether you are a babe in Christ or have been saved for several years, it is important to be reminded that just as you were not saved (delivered from God’s judgment) by works (doing good things or even righteous things), you are also not kept by works.

God paid the sin debt of the world by the offering of His Son who died in our place and rose from the dead.  He grants forgiveness and eternal life to all who believe on His Son as their only hope of salvation.

The very nature of eternal life suggests that there is nothing that we can add to it. Eternal life is life that never ends.  If it could or did end, it wouldn’t be eternal.  The very fact that eternal life is a gift from God excludes any thought that we could earn it or help pay for it.  Salvation is of the Lord. 

In Galatians 3:3 the apostle Paul questioned the Galatians; “Are ye so foolish?  Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”   We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), now we must live by faith (Habbakuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, & Hebrews 10:38 ).

Remember works are symptoms not causes.  Works are evidence of an existing condition.  Faith is “a firm persuasion, a conviction based upon the hearing of the word of God”.  If we are persuaded or convicted that God’s word is true, then that faith produces action or works that reflect the truth of His word.

James says that “Faith without works is dead”.  If you have faith in Christ, there will be works.  Works that follow faith give evidence of spiritual life.  Works that come as a result of being saved are those works that give evidence of walking in God’s will and obeying His word.

Note:  This may surprise you but community service, holding multiple positions in the church and being the pastor of a “super” church will not qualify as works stemming from walking in God’s will, if the motive for doing so is wrong or if priorities are incorrect.

Many a man has built a great ministry to serve God, only to lose his family due to physical and spiritual neglect.  Many a man has given himself to be a bright light in the community, only to have a home that is hell on earth.  

The point is that all of the things folks consider to be good works have no merit for salvation, nor do they count for anything in keeping one saved.  

It is Jesus Christ that saves and it is He who keeps us saved.  

The Lord said in John 10:26-29, “But ye believe not, because ye are not my sheep, as I said unto you.  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life: and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.  I and my Father are one.”

Salvation results in a relationship with God through his Son, Jesus Christ.  God forgives us and grants eternal life when we accept His provision for our sin.  Jesus Christ is that gift.  To know Him is life eternal.  

If you can lose your salvation, it isn’t eternal and it didn’t come from Jesus Christ.

FIELD OF HONOR

  • SILENTLY THEY STAND ALL BRIGHT AND GLEAMING,

SENTRIES IN ROWS, ALL STRAIGHT, NONE LEANING,

EACH GUARDING A TOMB, SO STILL….UN-BREATHING.

THE BEST WE CAN DO WITH SILENT WEEPING…..

HONOR OUR DEAD WITH REVERENT KEEPING.

  • FLAGS FLYING HIGH, THEY FOLLOWED IN SEEKING,

TO PROTECT OUR NATION, OF PRICE NONE THINKING,

EACH GIVING HIS LIFE, HIS BLOOD…….UNBLINKING,

THE BEST WE CAN DO WITH SILENT WEEPING,…..

REMEMBER OUR DEAD WITH GRATEFUL KEEPING.

  • GUNS BURSTING LOUD, WE FIRE IN SALUTING,

SERVICEMAN ALL, BOTH DEAD AND LIVING!

THE FREEDOMS WE OWN, THEY BOUGHT… BY GIVING!

THE BEST WE CAN DO WITH SILENT WEEPING,….

THANK THEM ALL, FOR OUR SAFE KEEPING.

                                                                                                     Monty McCoy

 

 

Give Me Thine Heart

Jay Adams has defined the heart as the whole inward life lived before and known only by God and the individual.  Jeremiah the prophet wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?”

I remember that as a youngster, teenager, and professing Christian, my mother would often remind and admonish me to be involved in the right kind of activities or outward actions for the Lord’s sake.  I would often respond, “Well, the Lord knows my heart.” And know my heart He did,…….it was deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.

I have long since become a Christian and as a believer my heart is now the dwelling place of Christ by faith (Ephesians 3:17).  That fact however, does not guarantee that my heart will not stray from my Saviour who lives there.  I must keep my heart.

“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.  Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.  Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:20-23

The challenge for the believer is the keeping of the heart.  My outward service to the Lord will be powerless and meaningless if my heart is not kept.  “My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments.”  Proverbs 3:1

How do I keep my heart?  By obeying God and hiding His word in my heart.  He has provided the resource (His Word) to keep my heart.  I must act by faith on that resource.  

“Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11

What are you hiding in your heart?

 

Thinking Out Loud #5

Has your belief changed your life?

Do you believe in Jesus Christ as your only hope of salvation?

“Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

“But as many as received him (Jesus Christ), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name;” John 1:12

“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Il Corinthians 5:17

A Free Gift

 “For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2:8&9.

God has paid our sin penalty for us and offers that payment to us as a free gift.  The same verse that tells us the penalty of our sin is death, also tells us that God’s provision for our sin penalty is a free gift.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”   Romans 6:23.

  • Does this mean that everyone is automatically going to heaven?

Suppose that I went down to a local car dealership and purchased a new vehicle, paid in full, in your name.  To have that car all you would need to do is go to the dealership, identify yourself, claim the vehicle, and drive it away.  

Suppose that instead you went around telling everyone that you had a new car, but you never went to the dealership and claimed it. You would never benefit from my benevolence.  

In like manner you will never benefit from God’s gift until you receive God’s Son,  Jesus Christ,  as your own personal Saviour.

  • Salvation is a free gift that is freely given when two conditions are met.  These conditions are faith (rightly placed) and repentance.  

Using an epoxy putty to fix a leak in a galvanized pipe requires the use of two parts.  One part is the hardener and the other the activator.  One is no good without the other.  If just one part is used to patch the pipe, the repair will fail.  It may look good until turning the water back on, but the leak will still be there.  In order for the epoxy patch to work, equal parts of both the activator and the hardener must be mixed together thoroughly and applied.  

In order to receive salvation one must come to God with both faith (rightly placed) and repentance.  One without the other will not do.  

  • Faith rightly placed is believing in Christ alone; his death, burial and resurrection, as one’s only hope of salvation.  According to W.E. Vine, faith is a firm persuasion or conviction based upon hearing; “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:17.  The Philippian jailer in Acts 16:30 cried out; “Sirs!  What must I do to be saved?”   The apostle Paul replied; “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved…” To believe is to be persuaded of, to place confidence in, to depend on, to rely on or to trust. 

“Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved”  Acts 4:12.

  • Repentance is changing the mind.  It is agreeing with God against self.  Repentance is admitting to God one’s sinful condition and need for a Saviour.  It is changing one’s mind about God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and submitting unto Him.

“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith which we preach;”

“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.” 

“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  

“For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.”  

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:8-13.

Will you meet God’s conditions and receive His Son Jesus Christ as your only hope of salvation?

Is there evidence of God’s power in our lives?

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,”

“Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,”

“Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God;”

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

II Timothy 3:1-5

The Romans Road

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:”

“There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.”

“They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

Romans 3:10-12

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;”

Romans 3:23

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin: and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”

Romans 5:12

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Romans 6:23

“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some  would even dare to die.”  

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:7&8

“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith which we preach;”
“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.” 
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  
“For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” 
“For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.”  
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Romans 10:8-13.

 

Follow-up For Husbands – A Sequel to “For Christian Wives”

If your wife is further along spiritually than you, you are probably wondering how you can be a spiritual leader to her under such conditions.  First of all don’t be discouraged.  You don’t have to have a college degree to be a spiritual leader.  What God requires, He also delivers.  Here are some observations that may be helpful.

  • Husbands need to lead biblically.  Christ is the shepherd.  He doesn’t herd the sheep from behind.  Herding from behind scares the sheep and they will scatter.  Jesus leads the sheep which means He is out front and the sheep are following Him. They follow Him because they know Him and He knows them.

Leading biblically is about relationships.  Does your wife know you love her?  Is she secure in your love for her or does she have reason to doubt?  Does she know that aside from your relationship with God that she and the children are the most important priorities you have?  

Are you making an effort to love her as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it?  Are you loving her as you love your own body and as you love yourself?  This love in action is servant leadership. It is the result of biblical submission which is a characteristic of being controlled by the Holy Spirit.  See Ephesians 5:18 – 6:9.

  • Are you a stranger to your children?  Do you know them?  The Lord said “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me.”  Sheep will not follow a stranger.  To know one’s children is to be involved in their lives.  It will be difficult to lead your children if you are not there.
  • It will be difficult to lead them if you believe it is the wife’s responsibility to raise the children.  Parenting is a team effort. To be a team member one must be present and conscious of what is happening in the home.  
  • The true shepherd gives his life for the sheep.

A memory that I often recall with great emotion is triggered by a picture that was taken during the county fair when all four of our children were showing cattle.  It was a silhouette of myself and our children leaning on show sticks and facing each other just outside a holding corral.  

All four of our kids were facing me and listening as I talked with them.  Although I was most likely not giving spiritual instruction at the time, that picture reminds me of Deuteronomy 6:6 & 7 where God instructs fathers as follows:

“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down and when thou risest up.”

Spiritual leadership can be as simple as being interested in the things of God and as profound as having a devotion to Christ and His word that shows up in one’s own life first.  

Spiritual leadership should involve taking the initiative.  Taking the initiative begins with priorities.  What is most important in my own life?  It should be my personal relationship with God followed by my relationship with my wife and my children.  Is there evidence that these are my priorities?  

  • Do not demand that the family be spiritual.  They can no more produce spirituality by demand than anyone can increase height by taking thought.  Spiritual life and it’s evidence is from God.  
  • Do not be discouraged if there is no spiritual evidence in the life a child.   Be glad you are not being deceived by outward conformity.  A gentle reminder to a rebellious child should be “the way of the transgressor is hard”.
  • Parents should pray for their children as Job did for his. 
  • Parents should live out their own relationship with God in front of their children.  It should not be acting, it should be genuine.
  • A wise man once observed that although God has a multitude of children,  there are some who may not be presently living for Him.  Does that make God a bad parent?