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.”

Advertisements

Jump into the Water…You must be ‘Born Again’

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.”

Jump into the water…You must be ‘Born Again’

A young man who had been raised as an atheist was training to be
an Olympic diver. The only religious influence in his life came from
his outspoken Christian friend. The young diver never really paid much
attention to his friend’s sermons, but he heard them often.

One night the diver went to the indoor pool at the college he
attended. The lights were all off, but as the pool had big skylights and
the moon was bright, there was plenty of light to practice by.

The young man climbed up to the highest diving board and as he
turned his back to the pool on the edge of the board and extended his
arms out, he saw his shadow on the wall. The shadow of his body, was in
the shape of a cross. Instead of diving, he knelt down and finally
asked God to save him from his sins and come into his life.

As the young man stood, a maintenance man walked in and turned
the lights on. The pool had been drained for repairs.

How faithful are you in telling your friends about the most
important Person in your life? Remember your witness will take place
through His strength and not yours. But it must start on our end with a
submissive heart.

Mat 4:19 “And He said to them, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

 Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

 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.”

 

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……..

What Church should I attend…

What Church should I attend…..

Most Religious organizations are man made. Did you know that none of the denominations you hear of today are ever mentioned by name in the Bible? The early CHRISTian Church is called “The Way” but the current major denominations you and I know of are not mentioned in scripture.

Having said that I do want to say that Jesus does mention His worldwide Church and the importance of placing yourself and your family under a doctrinally sound local church. The structure of the church is actually designed by God in the Bible. Sadly the reasons that many use to choose a local church have nothing or very little at best to do with sound doctrine from the Bible. Many times people choose a church based on the size of the congregation or newness of the church building or the programs it has available to every member of the family or where their family has traditionally attended. While those items offer value they are not the reason Jesus wants to place you and your family in a local church.

Doctrine very seldom receives much or enough value in the decision making process of where should I and my family fellowship. Nor does the decision take into account that maybe the reason a program is missing is because I have not yet started to serve using my spiritual gift(s). Maybe that church that is missing something is exactly where I am to be…………so that it is not lacking that ministry. What a change of thought in the decision making process. As God reminds us in Isaiah 55:8, His ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts so we dare not depend on what we think is best while not seeking God’s wisdom.

We are by nature a selfish people and it carries over into our decision making as to where we fellowship. What matters to Jesus is that the decision must be based on where He wants us to serve not where am I most comfortable. And of course that first means you must have Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

First and foremost in our local church selection process is what doctrine a church practices. The cornerstone of doctrine is “what must I do to be saved?”. False and manmade religions teach a doctrine of works plus Jesus for salvation. Check out  (Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”) on that one.  The name is Jesus. Many have the name of Jesus in their church but attach works such as Church Membership, Attendance, Giving, Baptism, etc to the Gospel to be saved or  ‘born again’ (John 3:3). While those are all good things and spoken of in the Bible none are ever added to the doctrine of salvation in the Bible. Attaching anything or any activity to Jesus sacrifice for our salvation means His death was not sufficient and as scripture says is, “another Jesus and another Gospel”. It is not of God.

Gal 2:21 “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

For where I will spend eternity is not about the church I attend but about who is my Lord and Savior.  Eternity with God and not satan comes down to what do I believe about Jesus and what He said. Jesus made one Church. To be a member you must…

John 3:3 “For truly I say unto you, unless a man is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

 John 14:6 “And Jesus said unto them, I am THE WAY, the truth and the life, no one can come to the Father, BUT BY ME.”

Our first requirement is to align with a local church that is professing the Gospel with sound doctrine and then to let the Holy Spirit use us with the spiritual gift(s) He has given us in that setting. Once again the local church must be doctrinally sound. We must use the correct motive for serving there and that motive is to serve Jesus.

Luke 22:26,27 “ But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.”

So, what is the doctrine of your church and more importantly what are you and your family trusting in and being taught? And is your focus on where you fellowship to be entertained or to serve? If you are not sure ask those leading your church one question and listen for the answer.

The question is; WHAT MUST I DO TO SPEND ETERNITY WITH JESUS.

The answer should be;

John 3:3 “For truly I say unto you, unless a man is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

 John 14:6 “And Jesus said unto them, I am THE WAY, the truth and the life, no one can come to the Father, BUT BY ME.”

NOTHING MORE AND NOTHING LESS!!!!!

Grandma and the Piece of Cake….

Romans 8:28a “And we know that all things work together for good…”

Sometimes, we wonder “What did I do to deserve this “or” Why did this happen to me?” Well, here is a good explanation!!!

Grandma and the Piece of Cake

A little boy is telling his Grandma how everything is going wrong.

School, family problems, severe health problems, etc. Meanwhile, Grandmas baking a cake.

She asks her grandson if he would like a snack, which, of course, he does.

“Here, have some cooking oil.”

“Yuck” says the boy.

“How about a couple raw eggs?”

“Gross, Grandma!”

“Would you like some flour then? Or maybe baking soda?”

“Grandma, those are all yucky!”

To which Grandma replies: “Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!

God works the same way for those who are His children and have trusted in His Son for their eternal destiny. As His Church and family we many times wonder why He would let us go through or why He would put us through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in His order, they always work for good! The requirement for us is to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful! And remember that our life is meant to bring glory to His name and not ours.

God loves you. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He’ll listen.

I care about you, and hope your day is a “piece of cake!”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

Also remember that the result of or the effects of sin were never designed by God. While God can use the effects of sin to teach us, He never sends sin our way.

James 1:13 “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.”

Gal 6:7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”

We all need Help…

1 Samuel 16:7a “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; …”

We all need Help…

One evening I was parked in front of the mall wiping off my car.
I had just come from the car wash and was waiting for my wife to get out
of work. Coming my way from across the parking lot was what society
would consider a bum. From the looks of him, he had no car, no home, no
clean clothes, and no money. There are times when you feel generous but
there are other times that you just don’t want to be bothered. This was
one of the “Don’t want to be bothered” times.

“I hope he doesn’t ask me for money,” I thought. He didn’t. He
came and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop and he didn’t look
like he could have enough money to even ride the bus. After a few
minutes he spoke. “That’s a very nice car,” he said. He was ragged but
had an air of dignity around him.

I said, “Thanks,” and continued wiping off my car.

He sat there quietly as I worked. The expected plea for money
never came. As the silence between us widened something inside said,
‘ask him if he needs any help.’ I was sure that he would say yes, but I
held true to the inner voice.

“Do you need any help?” I asked. He answered in three simple but
profound words that I shall never forget. We often look for wisdom in
great men and women. We expect it from those of higher learning and
accomplishments. I expected nothing but an outstretched grimy hand. He
spoke three words that shook me.

“Don’t we all?” he said.

I needed help. Maybe not for bus fare or a place to sleep, but I
needed help. I reached in my wallet and gave him not only enough for bus
fare but enough to get a warm meal and shelter for the day. Those three
little words still ring true. No matter how much you have, no matter how
much you have accomplished, you need help too. No matter how little you
have, no matter how loaded you are with problems, even without money or
a place to sleep, you can give help. Even if it’s just a compliment, you
can give that.

You never know when you may see someone that appears to have it
all. They are waiting on you to give them what they don’t have. A
different perspective on life, a glimpse at something beautiful, a
respite from daily chaos, that only you through a torn world can see.

Maybe the man was just a homeless stranger wandering the
streets. Maybe he was more than that. Maybe he was sent by a power that is great and wise to minister to a soul too comfortable in themselves.

Maybe God looked down, called an Angel, dressed him like a bum,
then said, “Go minister to that man cleaning the car, that man needs help.”

AND, “Don’t We All?”

1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Hebrews 13:2 “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Sin, does it still exist…

Sin, does it still exist!

Do you believe that sin is still alive and active today? A good way to tell is to ask yourself when is the last time you recognized a sinful habit in your life.

The ugly truth is that sin is as active as it has ever been and that makes release from its bondage a must if we are to have peace! Woe, did I say bondage?

Yes, that is what sin does to us whether a ‘born again’ believer or not it can control our lives.

Mal 3:6a “For I am the Lord, I do not change;

Our world has tried to avoid this topic starting with Adam and Eve who tried to run from God. The truth is that God and His truths do not change over time.

And we are never able to run from God. He is all knowing and everywhere all at once.

There can be no hiding from His eyes.

Sin today is the same as sin of the past and the wages of our sin is death both physical and spiritual.

Heb 2:14, 15 “… He Himself likewise shared in the same that through death He might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

Are you in bondage or in release? How about your family and/or friends?

The solution to the problem!

I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Take them to the Savior! There is no one else who can help and there is only One Who can be our Mediator with God the Father.

Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I Tim 2:5 “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”