You’re Standing Firm? Be Careful!

IMG_20201221_161157_980Psalms 95:6-7 NIV

“Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.”

When I think of us worshipping our Lord, what always comes to mind is this:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Rom 12:1-2 NIV

Although having a time of devotions each day where we read our Bible and pray is part of worship, it is possible to read our Bible and pray and never worship the Lord. And, even though singing songs of worship and praise to the Lord is also part of worship, it is possible to sing and never worship God.

In other words, it is possible to go through the motions of worshipping God but not truly worship him. For, true worship of our Lord is to offer to him our bodies (our whole beings) as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, which is our true and proper worship of God.

For, when Jesus shed his blood on that cross for our redemption, he bought us back for God with his blood so that we would now be God’s possession, and so that we would now honor God with our bodies (with our lives). He is to be Lord (owner-master) of our lives, and we are to belong to him.

This means that he is the one driving, not us. He is the one at the wheel of our lives. He is the one directing us where we should go and warning us of where we should not go. He is the one in control, not us, so he is the one to “call the shots,” to decide our life course, not us.

Our lives are to be holy, which means to be set apart (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made into the likeness of Christ. We are not supposed to live like the ungodly who are not in relationship with Jesus. We are not supposed to live to please our sinful flesh, but to please God.

And we don’t please God just by being in relationship with him, if truly we are in relationship with him. We are to learn what pleases him and to do it, and we are to learn what displeases him, and to cease doing what is opposed to his will and his purpose for our lives.

The bottom line is really that faith in Jesus Christ means we, by the Spirit, die with Christ to sin, we are changed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and now by the Spirit we walk (in conduct, in practice) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God and not according to our flesh (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6).

Psalms 95:7-11 NIV

Today, if only you would hear his voice,
“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
For forty years I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they have not known my ways.’
So I declared on oath in my anger,
‘They shall never enter my rest.’”

There are many people today preaching and teaching that we can believe in Jesus and have heaven guaranteed us as our eternal destiny, but that it doesn’t have to impact how we live our daily lives. “Once you’re in, you’re in,” they say, “and it can’t be taken away.”

But that isn’t what Scripture teaches us, and I mean in the New Testament, and I mean the teachings of Paul, too. For, Paul taught that if we live according to the flesh, making sin our practice (habit), that we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God (Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6).

They also will tell you that since we are not saved by our works, but by God’s grace, which is a gift from God, not of works lest any of us should boast (Eph 2:8-9), that works are not to be a part of our Christian lives. But Paul did not teach that, as they project.

He taught that God, when his righteous judgment will be revealed, will render to each one according to his works: “to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury” (Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8).

He also taught that we are to be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” And he taught that we are God’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

And he taught that we are to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” And he taught that God’s grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives.”

[1 Co 15:58; Eph 2:10; Phil 2:12-13; Tit 2:11-14; 2 Co 9:8; Col 1:9-14]

Also, this passage of Scripture here in Psalms 95:7-11 is repeated for us Christians in the New Testament in Hebrews 3 and 4, and it is being applied to us, the church. Also, in 1 Corinthians 10 we read that these things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us.

We are not to set our hearts on evil as they did. We are not to be idolaters. We are not to commit sexual immorality. We are not to grumble against God. And we should not test the Lord our God thinking he will do nothing and that we can live however we want because we are “saved.”

So, if we think we are standing firm, we need to be careful that we don’t fall, out of pride. So, we are to flee idolatry. And we are to be careful that none of us has a sinful unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But we are to encourage (exhort) one another daily, so that none of us may be hardened by sin’s IMG_20201221_161157_980deceitfulness.

For, we have “come to share in Christ if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. As has just been said:

“’Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion.’”
(Hebrews 3:14-15; referencing Hebrews 3 and 4; 1 Corinthians 10)

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

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