Philippians 4:1 ESV
Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
Because there are so many liars and deceivers, not just in the world, and not just within our government, but even within the gatherings of the church, it is particularly imperative that we, who still hold fast to the tenets of the Christian faith and practice, that we continue to stand firm in our faith, and that we not waver one iota, but that we keep on living (practicing) and preaching the truth.
Especially here in America, so many are being deceived. So many are being led astray. So many are being convinced that they can live in mediocrity and still have the hope of forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life in heaven with God. They are convinced that their faith does not have to impact their lifestyles, for it is something merely set aside for Sundays and for religious holidays, and it is more form than it is actual practice.
So, they are content with being neither on fire for the Lord nor entirely dismissive of Jesus Christ and his teachings. And, that is because they have been trained from early on that being religious, and doing good deeds, and following religious customs will get them into heaven. Or, they are being told that their sins no longer matter to God once they have “believed” in Jesus. So, they have no fear of hell or of separation from God.
And, I am continually amazed that so many people who have knowledge of the scriptures, and who even have been taught the truth, at one time or another, that they still hold on to this idea that everyone, pretty much, ends up in heaven one day, no matter how they lived their lives, or even if they acknowledged Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.
For, they get this idea that if you are basically good, or if you make some profession of faith in Jesus, that it secures you heaven as your eternal destiny, regardless of submission to Christ as Lord of one’s life.
Philippians 4:4-7 ESV
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So, what is this “reasonableness” that we must let be known to everyone? I believe it has to do with us reasoning with people, urging them to give their hearts to the Lord Jesus in surrender to him. It has to do with us reasoning with them, too, with regard to the teachings of scripture on the subject of our eternal salvation, that they not just accept what has been taught them, but that they look into the scriptures and that they see what they truly say.
For, there are many people within the gatherings of the church who have a totally wrong concept of our eternal salvation from sin and of our eternal life with God in heaven once we leave this earth. And, that is because they are relying on other humans, usually their pastors, to teach them the truth of what the scriptures teach.
But, not everyone is teaching the truth. Not everyone is expounding the scriptures in context, and truly looking to what they say rather than cherry picking the ones they like that support their own personal theology. Many are, instead, teaching scriptures out of context, while ignoring the vast majority of teachings in scripture on what it means to truly believe in Jesus, and to be saved from our sins, and to have eternal life with God.
So, we are to reason with people, with regard to the whole counsel of God, that they study all the scriptures regarding our salvation and eternal life with God, and that they read them in context, and that they interpret them, too, within the context that they are written. And, also that they take all these scriptures, as a whole, in order to truly understand what it means to believe in Jesus and to be saved from our sins and to have eternal life with God.
For, way too many false teachings are the result of taking scriptures out of context and making them to say whatever fits with our own personal theology or with our own choice of lifestyle. And, this is dangerous!
And, the reason this is so dangerous, in particular, is that many who are not being judicious about rightly handling the Word of Truth are leading many people astray, perhaps even with good intentions, but by doing so, they are leading them straight to hell while promising them that heaven awaits them. Thus, many are going to come before God one day and hear, “Depart from me, I never knew you,” when they believed they were “good to go.”
Yet, it takes courage to tell this to people, because we risk their rejection of us. We even risk that they will try to crucify us, or make an example of us, or that they will try to convince others that they should not listen to us.
Yet, we must not be afraid of what humans may do to us, or of what they will think about us. What we need to be concerned about is getting out the truth so that many will be saved from their sins, in truth, and so that they will truly have the hope of heaven when they one day die. For, their peace with God and their eternity has to be more important to us than our own reputations.
Philippians 4:8-9 ESV
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Basically, true faith in Jesus Christ results in genuine change of heart, mind, thinking, attitude and behaviors. It doesn’t mean we are instantly perfect, or that we will never sin again, but it means we have been transformed of the Spirit of God from death to life, from darkness (sin) to light (righteousness) and from the power of Satan to God so that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 26:18; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
True belief in Jesus is also God-given and God-persuaded. And, if gifted to us by God, and if divinely persuaded by God, then this faith results in submission to Christ as our Lord, because it is of God. Thus, true faith in Jesus Christ results in us dying with him to sin and us living with him to righteousness. Now we no longer walk (in lifestyle) according to the ways of our sinful flesh, but we, now empowered by the Spirit of God, conduct our lives according to (in agreement with) the Spirit (Eph. 2:8-10; Rom. 8:1-17; Tit. 2:11-14; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).
Now that we are in Christ Jesus, in relationship with him, by faith in him, our desire is for him. Thus, we should want to set our minds on things of eternal consequence rather than focus our minds on what is worldly. The truth, thus, should be important to us. We should be people who speak the truth and who do not tell people lies in order to make them feel good.
Also, our minds should be set on what is pure. We should not be like the world, but we are to be conformed to the likeness of Christ, and to become likeminded with him. Thus, as followers of Jesus, we shouldn’t be willfully taking into our minds what is impure, evil, wicked and immoral. We should not take pleasure in these things, nor should we allow ourselves to be entertained by them. So, we need to cut out of our lives all that is impure so that we can focus our minds and hearts on what is pure, i.e. on what is unpolluted by the world, and on what is wholesome, innocent and moral.
These things we should now make our practice. We should practice what is honest, pure, moral, upright, godly, holy and righteous, and we should cease to practice what is fleshly, immoral, dishonest, corrupt, wicked and vile. For, scripture teaches us if we make sin our practice, that we don’t have eternal life with God in heaven, but we have a fearful expectation of judgment (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).
So, we need to be in prayer about these matters. We need to seek God’s face concerning the truth of what his Word teaches, in context, and then we need to follow that truth. We also need to pray for others to see the light of the truth of God’s Word and to believe and follow the truth, so that they can be saved from their sins and have eternal life with God in heaven.
And, we need to pray for one another to be steadfast in our faith, without wavering, and to have the courage necessary to share the truth of the gospel so that many will come to know Jesus, and will be delivered out of their bondage to sin, and so that they may live righteously before God and have that true hope of heaven as their eternal home.
Pray, Pray, Pray
An Original Work / September 6, 2012
Based off Various Scriptures
Pray that eyes may enlightened be,
So they may know Christ.
Pray that they may Him better know,
Strengthened by His pow’r.
Pray that they may grasp
How wide and long
And high and deep
Is Christ’s love.
Pray that they may be filled
To the fullness of God’s love.
Pray with thanksgiving.
Pray for an open door for me,
So I may share Christ.
Pray when the gospel is proclaimed –
Shared with clarity.
Pray words are given me so
I declare the gospel fearlessly.
I pray for you to be active
Sharing your faith, too.
We oft not know for what to pray,
So we ask for help.
The Spirit intercedes for us –
Words cannot express.
Just keep on praying for the saints
With all kinds of requests to God.
Pray they may have faith to
Please their God in ev’ry way.
Pray with joyfulness.
Sunday, May 5, 2019