Are you Spiritually Dead or Alive…

Rev 3:1 ““And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”

“Are you Spiritually Dead!”

In the book of Revelation or Apocalypse our Lord first tells us about 7 Churches in the first 3 chapters.  God is talking about those professing to be Christians. Remember as you read this that in the Bible the Church refers to the people and not a specific denomination.

I would like us to focus on one of those churches today. That is the church of Sardis mentioned in Chapter 3:1-6. The first 4 Churches mentioned had some level of commendation from God and had rebuke and challenge for what they needed to change to please God. Sardis is the only church with no commendation. They appeared to be religious to the world around them but God told them they were spiritually dead. So, what does it mean to be spiritually dead?  First you must be ‘born again’ to be spiritually alive and to be a member of Jesus Church. If you are depending on the Church you belong to you may be in trouble because no denomination is ever mentioned in scripture as being the only one and true church. So hopefully in your past at some time you have recognized you are a sinner in need of a Saviour and you have asked Jesus to save you from the eternal penalty for those sins. So, how can we know if we are spiritually dead or alive?

Let’s look at 8 questions or ways to evaluate our lives to make sure we are not spiritually dead.

  1. Do I have a lack of willingness to receive correction?
    1. Proverbs 3:11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction
    2. Where to find correction. II Tim 3:16,17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work”
  2. You boast, ‘I only listen to God and not to men!’
    1. II Pet 5:5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
    2. We are to obey the spiritual leaders of our churches and those in government who provide direction that does not contradict scripture.
      1. Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
      2. Heb 13:17 “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”
    3. Are you inclined to watch others and point out their mistakes?
      1. Fault finding is not a fruit of the Spirit but a demon spirit. It is the same spirit that satan had.
        1. Isa 14:12-14 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
      2. The following are examples of ‘born again’ believers who made the mistake of focusing on others vs. their ministry for Jesus but to their credit corrected the problem.
        1. John 21:21, 22 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
        2. Luke 10:40-42 “But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
      3. Do you feel you are appointed to fix other people?
        1. You are not God’s Sherriff.
        2. Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you shall not be Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”
      4. Do you feel you are closer to God than other people? Pharisees feel that way and their lives reflect it.
        1. Luke 18:10-14 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men–extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
        2. Satan had the same issue. Isa 14:14 “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
      5. Do you demand recognition for what you do for the Kingdom of God?
        1. See question #5 verses about the Pharisees. They demanded the same.
        2. Knowledge of who God is does not alone set us on the right spiritual coarse. Romans 1:21 “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
        3. Our purpose in life should be to; I Cor 6:20 “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
      6. Is your prayer life mechanical or do you really feel that you are communicating with and listening to God?
        1. God wants our heart relationship with Him and it is not based on the quantity of our prayers. Mat 6:7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
      7. Do I have a critical spirit when I see the workings of the Holy Spirit? If you are not sure be careful not to condemn another brother or sister. It may be the Holy Spirit at work!
        1. Nicodemus was a Pharisee who sought out Jesus. He did not condemn the work of Jesus and Holy Spirit because it did not line up with his spiritual thinking and religious teachings. Read John chapter 3.
        2. No Holy Spirit in our lives equals…. Romans 8:9 “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”

So, how did your life stack up? Honesty is vital if we are to change. And if we are honest there is not a one of us who does not need to improve on one of those points.

If you are a ‘born again’ believer and some of these questions challenged you there remains hope from our Lord.

Rev 3:11-13 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ‘

An autopsy of the Sardis church suggests they were not killed by outside sources. They chose the way they went as do we. Outside sources or our worlds values are opposite God’s values for the most part but it is our choice as to which one we will follow and so was it for Sardis.

Joshua 24:14,15 “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

God’s directive and our choice!

Heb 12:2 “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

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CHRISTians look Strange to our World…Why is that…

In our world today if you are a true Christian you will be seen as a strange bird and even viewed as hateful and narrow minded. First we must understand that the worlds definition of a Christian and God’s definition as recorded in His word the Bible differ greatly.

The world sees a Christian as anyone attending a church with the name of Jesus in its teachings. Many do not proclaim the whole word of God. The bible says a Christian does not involve the denomination you attend. Check it out for yourself by doing a word search of the Bible and you find not one of the denominations of the world. God’s definition is anyone from any country or race who is ‘born again’. For help in understanding what it means to be ‘born again’ check out the following;

  • The Gospel of John where Jesus tells a religious leader what it means
  • Ephians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Galatians 2:16-21 where God tells us how many of our good deeds are requird to ‘born again’. Just of few of God’s thoughts on our lives and our deeds needed to be ‘born again’.
  • So, why are CHRISTians seen as strange to this world?
    • Rom 1:21-23 “…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”
    • John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
  • What is the ministry of Biblical Christainity while on this earth?
    • Matt 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.”
    • Matt 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
      • Salt seasons and points out sin. Darkness does not like to be exposed.
    • We are to be different understanding the vast majority of our world will choose the ways of the world in an attempt to restore the broken relationship with God that sin causes;
    • Matt 7:13-14 “”Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
  • Our world will consider Christians ‘Strange’ if we point out sin for what it is and do not do the same.
    • 2 Tim 3:12 “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
    • Prov 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of ”

So, do not feel bad this morning if our world hates or persecutes you when you stand up for Jesus and His truths. It very well may mean you are a true ‘born again’ disciple of Jesus and suffering because of it. Be of good courage because;

Romans 5:3 “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;”

James 4:14 “…whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

Then comes eternity……

John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also”

HE IS RISEN……..

Keep your Fork, the Best is yet to come…

I Tim 6:12 “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called…

Keep Your Fork – the Best is yet to come…
There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal
illness and had been given three months to live. So, as
she was getting her things “in order”, she contacted her
pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain
aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs
she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would
like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.
The woman also requested to be buried with her favorite
Bible.

Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to
leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very
important to her.

”There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly.
” What’s that?” came the pastor’s reply.
” This is very important,” the woman continued . . .
”I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”

The pastor stood looking at the woman, not knowing
quite what to say . . .

”That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the woman asked.
”Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,”
said the pastor.

The woman explained. “In all my years of attending
church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember
that when the dishes of the main course were being
cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say,
’keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I
knew that something better was coming . . . like
velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie.
Something wonderful, and with substance!

”So, I just want people to see me there in that casket
with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder
’What’s with the fork?’ Then I want you to tell them:
’Keep your fork. The best is yet to come!’”

The pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he
hugged the woman goodbye. He knew this would be one
of the last times he would see her before her death.

But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of
heaven than he did. She KNEW that something better was
coming. At the funeral people were walking by the
woman’s casket and they saw the pretty dress she was
wearing and her favorite Bible and the fork placed in
her right hand.

Over and over the pastor heard the question “What’s with
the fork?” And over and over he smiled. During his
message, the pastor told the people of the conversation
he had with the woman shortly before she died. He also
told them about the fork and about what it symbolized
to her.

The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking
about the fork and he told them that they probably would
not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right.
So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it
remind you oh so gently, that the best is yet to come . . .!

Rev 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. Of anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

Who is the Author of the Bible…

Author of Scripture

Is the Gospel of John a book of John’s words and wisdom and is John the author? Is the book of Romans a book of Paul’s words and wisdom? The same question applies to the other books of scripture. The thoughts, words and wisdom in scripture are from whom is the question.

Are the scriptures actually the word, thoughts and philosophies of God and not the books of men? If they are the words of God and not men we then have the ONLY source of truth we will ever need to find truth!!  One of my bibles has the words that Jesus spoke outlined in red. There is a danger in thinking that only those words are God’s words. I remember a 6th grader saying to me during an AWANA night that those red letters means that God is speaking. God inspired and protects the words in black print also.

I don’t know about you but the scripture takes on a much more important place in my life when just Who is speaking to me is recognized as God!!!!!

II Tim 3:16,117 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness so that the man of God may be made perfect
thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

II Peter 3:18 “Knowing this first that no prophesy of scripture is of any private interpretation, for the prophesy came not in old times by the will of men, but holy men of God spoke, as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

Isa 55:10,11 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth and make it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

Who’s writings and counsel do you turn to?

Psalm 1:1-4 “Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in the law does he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth it’s fruit in it’s season, and whatever he does shall prosper.”

While we are on the topic of scriptures Author and the importance it plays in our lives listen and heed the following.

Rev 22:18-20 “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”

Lifetime Employment and Blessings…

Lifetime Employment.

After we are ‘born again’ the joy of serving becomes our life’s purpose. Or should I say that our Savior Jesus desires it to be our life’s purpose. That obedience thing can be tough with the flesh (our desires) helping us to find reasons not to serve our Savior. The thing we forget is that a life of peace and joy are dependent on an attitude of service for our Lord. And for you retirees like me fortunately there is no mandatory retirement age for us. Just continued blessings to be stored up to for Jesus’ glory. Jesus as with all good things gave us the example to follow.

Mat 20:28″Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. “

So, have you been ‘born again’ and are you an active employee?

John 3:3 “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.”

Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”

If you are in need of either, there is no time like the present.

II Cor 6:2 ” For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

Romans 6:16 “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? “

Romans 12:1,2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

 If you are not sure of your ‘born again’ relationship with Jesus drop me a note and we can talk about how to be…

The Great “I Am”…

The Great “I Am”

Here is the question for this morning. Who or Whom in your life is the Great “I Am”? When it comes down to it there are only two choices. It is either self or God. First and foremost, we must decide to be honest with ourselves. Our actions of the day typically are the great indicators of who or Who I have chosen to serve today. Did I start the day with prayer and some form of devotion? Is my goal today to broaden my worth or to assist others? Those type of questions will reveal what my answer to our first question is. Of course, once again, it requires I be brutally honest with myself.

Jesus offers us eternal reward, happiness, fulfillment and all the treasures that this world and self cannot. It will help us make the correct choice if we reflect on Who Jesus is. In God’s scriptures Jesus is given titles such as; The Word, Lamb of God, Son of God, Truth, Bread of Life, Resurrection, Vine and of course ‘I Am’. The name of Jesus and His titles affirm His preexistence and deity. The beauty being that He desires a relationship with us again that our sin broke. Listen to Jesus words recorded in the Gospel of John and His offer to us. Then you make the choice;

  • John 6:35 “And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst”
  • John 8:12 “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
  • John 10:7 “Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep'”
  • John 10:11-14 ” I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.”
  • John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”
  • John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
  • John 14:1,2 ” “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit”

Peer pressure and the expectations and controls of the society around us can influence our choices. That having been said we must remember that it remains our choice. We can never blame anyone or anything for the choices we make.

I Cor 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Joshua is a great example of making choices that are dramatically different than the society and peers who surrounded him. Out of a couple of million people of his generation who God rescued from Egypt he was one of only two who made the choice to serve God and could enter the promised land. Yes, I said two out of a couple of million. Wow, what a great example for us. So, what was his choice? Joshua choose to serve the great ‘I AM’. I am sure for Joshua it would have been easier to go with the flow and the crowd but he knew that is not what God wanted from his life. Listen to the stand he took and be assured you can do the same. Even when everyone around you objects!

Joshua 24:15 “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites (your country, state, city, etc.), in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Who or Whom in your life is the Great “I Am” this morning? Put your check mark on one or the other.

_____ Jesus

_____ Self

We Live in Perilous Times…

We Live in Perilous Times!

Jesus said He would return a second time so we can count on it. He first came as a Lamb to be sacrificed for our sins. He will come again as a Lion to put an end to sin and satan.

The only question is, when will He return?

As with all events that affect our lives the word of God holds the answers.

Listen to some of the clues signaling that Jesus return is drawing near.

Some signs of the 2nd coming of Jesus!!

II Tim 3:1-3 “But know this that in the last days perilous times will
come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than
lovers of God.”

Sounds a whole lot like the age we live in.

Mat 24:4-8 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Take heed that no man lead you astray. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ; and shall lead many astray. And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you be not troubled: for these things must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places. But all these things are the beginning of travail’.”

Don’t be afraid of the signs but also don’t be unaware of them!

Psalm 40:31 “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the
nations I will be exalted in the earth.”

So where is Jesus now?

John 14:2-3 “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

The question to ask yourself and to ask those around us is.

Have you been ‘Born Again’ so that Jesus is preparing that place for you?

What was your answer? If you are not sure of your eternal destiny then the 2nd coming of Jesus either brings fear or it seems foolish to you. After all, things seem to be as they were thousands of years ago. Or are they? Those that see or think of it as being foolish most likely are not saved (born again). Our reason for being on this earth is to give the gospel to those in that condition. To do so you must first be ‘born again’.

I Cor 2:14 “Now the natural (unsaved) man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged”

John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”