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Monday, April 18, 2011

Six Things We Must Remember As Believers! Part 2

The second thing we must remember as believers is that we have passed from death to life!

1 John 3:14, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.”

Throughout the first epistle of John we find the words ‘we know’ or ‘you know’. This is not accidental, but was purposefully inspired by the Holy Spirit to awaken us to the great truth that our faith in Jesus produces certainty concerning the spiritual aspects of our lives in Christ.

We know! We don’t hope, we don’t guess, we don’t suppose, we don’t assume, we know that we have passed from death to life. One way in which John tells us that we know we have passed from death to life is that we love the brethren.

It is our duty to love the brethren, and love them enough to tell them the truth. Only when we stand on the truth of God’s Word, and present it faithfully do we truly love the brethren; only then can we know that we have passed from death to life. The house of God is being undermined from within because men don’t love the brethren enough to preach the gospel of Christ in its entirety. It is neither love nor compassion to coddle sin, it is neither love nor compassion to see an individual headed toward destruction and do nothing about it for fear of offending them. I have lost friendships, the ministry has lost supporters, I’ve been asked never to return to certain churches after I’ve spoken simply because I loved enough to speak the untainted truth. Is it easy? By no means! Do you get a knot in your stomach each time you have to speak a difficult truth to someone you love? Most definitively! No matter how uncomfortable however, no matter how uncharacteristic it might be of you to be confrontational, if you have passed from death to life, then you must love the brethren enough to speak the truth.

The third thing we must remember as believers is that all things work together for good to those who love God.

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

On the surface it sounds simple enough, but we must believe that something will work out for good even when we can’t understand it or see it with our physical eyes. There are certain things that happen in the world, there are certain things that happen within families in which we cannot see the good. No matter how we try to reason with our physical mind, no matter how much we try to see how it can possibly work together for good, at the present time we just can’t see it. Nevertheless, we must have the unshakable faith that it will.

The Word of God specifies that all things work together for good to those who love God. Not just a few things, not just some things, not even most things, but all things work together for good. As I said, there are certain things I just can’t explain in the present. How can the passing of a mother of eight or ten children work together for good? I do not know, but I have faith that it will because God’s Word says it will. If we perceive this present life with eyes of flesh, if we look at events, circumstances and tragedies through the prism of human understanding, we will inevitably gaze towards heaven and cry aloud ‘why God? Why?’ If however we are resolute in our faith that indeed although we might not understand it momentarily God does have a plan, and whether tomorrow, a week from now or a year from now that tragedy, that event or that circumstance will work together for good because we love God, then we will be at peace and rest in the knowledge that our heavenly Father will make a way where there seems to be no way.

The fourth thing we must remember as believers is that this is not our permanent home!

Hebrews 13:14, “For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.”

If only we would keep this truth at the forefront of our minds in perpetuity, it would save us much heartache and disappointment. We have no continuing city here; this is not our permanent home; we are just passing through, sort of like renting a motel room on the way to our final destination.

What puzzles me are the preachers and teachers that speak of the kingdom of God, that speak of the city to come, yet do all that is in their power to do to build kingdoms here on earth, clinging to this temporary home as though it was their permanent one. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge anyone who has a nice home, I don’t begrudge anyone who has nice furniture, but when the sum of our existence can be boiled down to getting bigger and more expensive stuff, then yes, there is a problem. We must remember that where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also. If we consider our treasure to be possessions, then our heart is tethered to the possessions and not to eternity with God.

We have no continuing city here, and as such we must consider that all the things we possess, whether they be homes, cars, or precious metals are only ours temporarily. If called upon to surrender these things for the cause of Christ, then our hearts must be so set on the heavenly things that we will neither hesitate nor murmur if and when such a time comes.

Never mind denying Christ in the face of persecution. I can say with certainty that many nominal and lukewarm Christians today would deny Christ if they were merely threatened with the loss of their homes or their livelihood.

We must be willing to forfeit the earthly things for the heavenly ones; we must be ready to give it all up for the cause of Christ, and remembering that we have no continuing city here, remembering that this is not our permanent home will make letting go a whole lot easier.

The fifth thing we must remember as believers is that we are living epistles of Christ!

2 Corinthians 3:2-3, “You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; You are manifestly an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.”

Not only are we epistles of Christ, we are known and read by all men. If only they remembered this truth, many who claim the name of Christ, and identify themselves as believers wouldn’t be doing the things they are doing. You are known and read by all men, live accordingly; you are known and read by all men, let them see Jesus in you; You are known and ready by all men, do not trifle with sin and the things of the world. There is much shame brought to the house of God because we forget what we ought to remember, and believe that all we really have to do is say we’re a Christian and it makes it so. We are manifestly epistles of Christ, this means that we are unmistakably and obviously epistles of Christ. By our speech, by our conduct, by our actions, by our very lives, those who know and read us shouldn’t have to guess or wonder if we are believers, they shouldn’t have to guess or wonder if we are Christians, they should know automatically, and without equivocation that we are children of the most High God, redeemed and reconciled unto Him by the blood of His Son.

If our actions do not differ from those of the world, if our conduct does not differ from that of the world, if our speech does not differ from that of the world, then how can we manifestly be epistles of Christ?

‘But that’s legalistic brother Mike, we can’t tell people how they’re supposed to live or how they’re supposed to conduct themselves! What about liberty in Christ?’

No, it’s not legalism it’s scripture, it’s the Bible, it’s the word of God and it is this Word that will judge us on that great and terrible day of the Lord. As far as liberty in Christ is concerned, we have the liberty to seek Him, to desire Him, to know Him, not to follow after the lusts of the flesh.

1 Peter 1:13-16, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘be holy, for I am holy.”

You can disagree with my opinion, you can disregard the things I say, it is a free country after all, for now anyway, but for the sake of your eternal soul I pray you do not disregard or dismiss the Word of God.

The sixth thing we must remember as believers is that we are the temple of God!

1 Corinthians 3:16-17, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”

Not only are we manifestly epistles of Christ, known and read by all men, but we are also the temple of God. Paul writes to the Corinthians and asks them a straightforward but somewhat rhetorical question: ‘Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the spirit of God dwells in you?’

Of course they knew that they were the temple of God, of course they knew that the spirit of God dwelt in them, but Paul felt the need to remind them that anyone who defiles the temple of God will also be destroyed by God.

I’ve heard the first verse of this passage quoted often enough in churches, as a way of pandering to people’s pride and as a way of bolstering their self-esteem, but very rarely have I heard the continuation of Paul’s train of thought quoted, wherein God will destroy those who defile His temple.

‘Yes, you are the temple of God; Yes the spirit of God dwells in you; look at the person next to you and say ‘I’m the temple of God!’ when you go home look in the mirror and say ‘the Spirit of God dwells inside me!’

All true, all good, but when you look to the person next to you, or when you look in the mirror why not remind yourself that since you are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells inside you if you defile the temple, God will destroy you?

‘But brother Mike that’s so harsh, that’s so unloving, that’s so unmerciful.’

Such responses are rooted in feelings, they are rooted in the emotions of the flesh, and they are only harsh and unloving and unmerciful, at least from some people’s perspective, if we actively defile the temple of God.

God is just, He is righteous and He is holy; these are the attributes we often forget to mention when declaring that God is love. Yes, God is all these things, and as such we must walk with wisdom, keep ourselves from idols, and conduct ourselves with holiness in every area of our lives.

As much as men would like to, there is no changing the Word of God, and knowing that He remains the same yesterday, today and forevermore, whenever the Holy Spirit brings to remembrance the things that Jesus said, whenever He convicts us of certain things in our lives may we be wise and prudent and submit to His will in all things.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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