Tag Archives: salvation

What do they think?

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Worship from the heart is more desirable to God than religiousity and excessive rule keeping. God desires our heart rather than empty practices that mostly serve simply to keep up the appearance of holiness in front of other people.

 

 

Personally, I have watched several of my friends come away from appearance-centered cultures and into the freedom that Jesus brings those who love Him with a sincere heart. It’s such a beautiful change to watch!
If we had to impress God and other people with our own holiness, we would all be in trouble! The only one we need to be good enough for is God our Father, and we only do that through the righteousness of Jesus.
Less worry about what other people think and more focus on pleasing and honoring God out of our love for Him brings joy to our lives. We all forget this from time to time – I know I sometimes do!

 

 

Let’s remind one another and remind ourselves through frequent reading of the Word that our primary focus is to love God through our obedience and through recognizing the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. Let us seek to deepen our relationship with Jesus and not spend the majority of our time anxious about how religious we appear to other people. Their opinion doesn’t matter in the long run.

In The Light

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My husband and I were talking about this concept before heading to church, then this passage was a part of the main sermon text today.

 
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” – 1 John 1:5-6

 
Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. Demons recognize Who Jesus is; the Devil himself quoted Scripture to Jesus. Quoting Scripture, whether in or out of context, doesn’t make you a Christian.

 
Being saved by grace through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and following Him with a sincere, albeit imperfect, heart makes you a Christian.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” – 1 John 1:7-9

Comfort & Gratitude

Luke 10:16,19-20 “The one who heard you hears Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me, and the one who rejects Me rejects Him Who sent Me. Behold, I have given you authority to treat on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

We can find comfort in the realization that when we share the truths of God’s Word, the response we receive is for or against God Himself, not for or against us. I know from personal experience that the truth of God’s Word and the commands therein are not particularly popular in this world. I’ve personally receive some very negative feedback and even insults for sharing truth publicly. I must remember that these responses are against God Himself – I’m just one of His mouthpieces here on earth. I should not take these insults personally, but rather stay focused on the truth of the Lord. It’s up to Him to change hearts – it’s not up to me.

We should be more thankful for our salvation than focused on our power over evil. Rather than gloat that we aren’t any longer prey to evil, we must humble ourselves in gratitude to Jesus for His sacrifice that allows us to be freed from the bondage of sin and evil. We should focus on what Christ has done, not so much on what He enables us to do, for without Him, we are powerless against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Let’s thank the Lord for His new mercies to us each and every day.

Confidence

What is confidence? My fellow musical fans may, as I did, think of Maria’s song in The Sound of Music – “I Have Confidence.” 

The official definitions of the word are these: “the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust,” the state of feeling certain about the truth of something,” and of course the one referenced in the song: “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.”

The fulfillment of the Word of God brings us confidence that 1) He had the power to save and 2) He does what He says.

We see in Ephesians 3:12 that “because of Christ and our faith in Him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.” “Such confidence we have brogue Christ before God.” (2 Coronthians 3:4)

When our hearts are right before God through Jesus Christ, we can have confidence in our salvation. “Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.” (1 John 3:21) It is because of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross that we sinners can come anywhere near our holy Creator. Let us boldly live in faith, reminded of the confidence with which we can approach God with our worship and prayer, because of Jesus.

Perfume & Hair

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Luke 7:36-50

“36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”

40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say amongh themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””

The religious leaders of the day did not show much honor to Jesus, even the honor that was custom in the culture at that time when you had a guest in your home! In contrast, this woman, a person from the street corner, recognized the greatness of Jesus and the darkness of her son. She as truly grieved for her sin, begged for His forgiveness through her humility, had faith that Jesus could forgive even the most vile sins, and honored Him as King with anointing.

Jesus tells us that she was forgiven of her sons because of her faith, but that the Pharisees who didn’t even honor Him with the most basic practices of respect, lacked the humility and faith needed in order to be forgiven of their sins.

Let us be more like the woman – recognizing God’s greatness and the magnitude of our sin, rather than only trying to appear religious to others. “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)

“Humble and Kind”

If you’re a fan of country music, you’ve probably heard Tim McGraw’s song “Humble and Kind.” If we look at Luke 6:37-42, we see Jesus telling His disciples to stay humble and kind towards their brothers.

Humility and kindness often involves forgiveness, and often isn’t easy. It’s usually easier to find other’s faults, rather than to do some serious self-introspection. God asks us to first look at ourselves and see how we measure up to His commandments before we examine the faults of those around us.

Our standing before God, i.e. our personal faith, is more important than worrying about what everyone around us is or isn’t doing to honor God. We should also remember the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, that makes us righteous, knowing that our salvation is “not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:9) This fact should make us truly humbled. Those who are humble should also be kind, since we at not any better than anyone else. Our good works do not attain our standing before God.

It is important, however, to kindly share the truth found in God’s Word. Sharing the truth is not a personal judgement – it’s telling how God judges righteously and does not tolerate sin.

Before listening to human preachers/teachers, we are commanded by God to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

The Bible says that we aren’t to judge using a standard we aren’t willing to uphold ourselves: “For in be same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:2)

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

Luke 5:33-39 “They said to him, ‘John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.’ Jesus answered, ‘Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.’ He told them this parable: ‘No one tears a piece out of a new garment to patch an old one. Otherwise, they will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better.’ '”

If you’re a church goer in the Western world, you may have noticed that communion is often referred to as “celebrating the Lord’s Supper.” When Jesus was present here on earth physically with His disciples, He wanted them to celebrate His life and His presence.
When He broke bread and passed around wine at the Last Supper, prior to His crucifixion, He commanded that His followers continue to do this after His death and resurrection, so as to celebrate His sacrifice for our sins. “…This is My body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19) “And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way, after supper He took the cup saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of Me.'” (1 Corinthians 11:24,25)

Rather than focus only on the weight and pain of our sin, we are to celebrate the sacrifice Jesus did on our behalf. – It is truly a joyous thought that He willingly gave His life and took the weight of all our sin on His shoulders, in order to fulfill the ultimate price of sin before Holy God, and conquer eternal death apart from the presence of God! “Amazing love, how can it be, that You my King would die for me!”

Rather than put on an outward show of works, thinking we can impress God, or wanting to impress others with our outward holiness, we should have joy in His presence, and celebrate His goodness. After all, there will be a big party/banquet in heaven one day, as we celebrate the Lord’s work in us for all eternity! “Then the angel said to me, ‘Write this: blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb!’ And he added, ‘These are the true words of God.'” (Revelation 19:9) “Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.” (Revelation 19:2) As a part of the worldwide church of our Savior, we who have a relationship with Christ are His bride. “…Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant bride, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:25-27) My friends, let us celebrate – come on!