Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Hearken… TO DO Them – part 2

(Deuteronomy 4:1-14)

Deuteronomy 4:1 “Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.”

WE SERVE A MIGHTY AND LOVING GOD THAT CANNOT BE COMPARED TO ANYTHING. (4:7-8, verse 7For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?)- Rightly so, as verses 7-8 point out that what the Lord is doing with Israel is no small thing. What nation has ever had a god so close to his people as the Lord is to Israel? The Lord handpicked Israel in His graciousness. The Lord answers when they call. The Lord was so concerned about His peoples’ success that He came down on Mount Sinai to give them a law more perfect and righteous than any man-made system of morality and justice. Other nations create and choose their gods. Other gods don’t answer. Other gods have to be appeased with great sacrifices to prevent great wrath. What the Lord does with Israel is different and marvelous.

  • Moses now shows them the great opportunity they have been given by the Lord through obedience to His ways. If Israel will continue to keep His statutes while they live in the Promised Land, they will have exceedingly more wisdom and understanding than the nations around them. The world often looks at rules as something we keep to appease a higher authority. This limited view is especially foolish when it comes to God’s rules and statutes. Aligning our lives by His standards is the path to wisdom and keeps us from harmful decisions. This is no different than a parent who tells a child to not touch a hot iron. The rule isn’t there to appease Mom and Dad; it is meant to keep the child safe! It is the same with the law of the Lord.
  • Not only was this something great for Israel to appreciate, this is something for Christians to appreciate as well. The Lord’s treatment of Israel is mirrored in our relationship with Christ. We are also a chosen and holy nation (Ephesians 1:4; I Peter 2:9). The Lord has continued His theme of closeness to His people by sending his Son. Think about that. The Son of God came to Earth. The Son of God took His time to notice us and teach us how we ought to live. He gave His life for us. He listens when we pray. Nothing makes us deserving of such an intimate and loving treatment. As Moses says here, what people has ever existed that has a god this close? What nation has a god that cares so much about them as to give them such a righteous law and actually care about their wellbeing? The gods of the ancient times didn’t come close. The various things man worships today do not come close. Our Lord sustains us. The gods of today have to be sustained by us. Money runs out. Technology breaks. Television shows get cancelled. Our Lord pursues us and seeks our life. The things we worship today do not care about us. They suck our resources, time, and energy dry until we are completely empty. Our Lord answers prayer. What a magnificent Lord we have who desires to be so close to us and give us life! His rules and statutes are not cumbersome – life is found in them.
  • When the Lord’s closeness and righteous law better our lives, others that see this in our life will seek out the Lord as well. How else can the world know about the Lord’s great wisdom and understanding except by seeing it exhibited through his people? I Kings 10 tells us how the Queen of Sheba came to hear the wisdom Solomon had through the Lord. The text tells that she was so awestruck with his wisdom that she was breathless and overwhelmed. Notice I Kings 10:6–9, “And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.”
  • This passage is truly exciting. The fact that a woman who had never known the Lord came to know such a great testimony of Him because of the wisdom He gave Solomon should inspire us. We can cause the same reaction today. We can cause others who do not truly know the Lord to glorify the Lord because of the great wisdom He gives us, if we let Him by how we live out our life.
  • If we truly see that people are full of foolishness, one of the best ways we can instigate change is by passionately pursuing the Lord’s law and wisdom in our own hearts and the decisions we make. What a great opportunity we would have; but we must seek out to diligently live out and do the Word of God in our life in order to be that influence on others.

WE NEED TO BE DILIGENT STUDENTS OF THE WORD OF GOD (4:9 – Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;) – Romans 2 is a reminder of how greatly Israel ended up wrecking this opportunity. Romans 2:2324 says “Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.” Though Solomon’s wisdom was cause for praising the Lord, he was an exception in Israel. As opposed to causing the nations to praise the Lord, Israel’s hypocrisy and wickedness caused the nations to blaspheme Him. Though Moses just finished reminding Israel of their great opportunity for wisdom, the beginning of verse 6 says this opportunity only exists when they keep the Lord’s statutes. This stands as a grave warning to Israel and to us of the danger of forgetting to carefully obey the Lord.

  • If we are not diligent students of the Word of God we will eventually be a bad testimony of the Lord. We may cause others to backslide; we may even prevent others from getting saved by how we are living out our life. In order to not have this bad testimony we need to be diligently doing the Word of God with our life.
  • Just because the Lord cared for Israel so lovingly was not an excuse to not be careful to watch their souls with all diligence. We have great reason to rejoice because of the mercy and grace given us by the Lord, but that mercy is not a license for carelessness (Romans 6:1-2). Careful attention to the Lord’s statutes is laughed at and often ridiculed today. “Why are you so picky?” or “It’s all about rules to you.” May we never forget that we are saved by the mercy and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? We must also never forget that we are saved by faith and not by works. We must remember that we are involved in a very serious fight to keep our hearts pure. Now is not the time to let our guard down. We must be alert and cognizant of the condition of our souls. We must diligently be watching and praying about our obedience.

WE NEED TO NOT FORGET PAST TEACHINGS AND PAST EXPERIENCE’S WITH GOD. (4:10-13 verse 10 – Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.)– Keep past experiences and past teachings in mind, dwell on them from time to time and pass the knowledge of those experiences unto your children.

  • “And that they may teach their children.” The key to all of this is they not only practice these things themselves, but that they teach their children to do so as well. They were to continue to tell the story of the day the Lord met them on Sinai in flashes of lightning and thunder. They were to continue to teach them the fear of the Lord. This is the biggest thing missing from Christians today is a healthy fear of the Lord. Fear (reverential respect and awe) was the foundation of Israel’s relationship with the Lord, so Moses tells them to continue to spread that fear through their children. The reason why many young people are unafraid to rebelliously speak and act as they desire is because they have no fear. They do not fear their parents and they do not fear the Almighty God either. If you fear the Lord like you should, you will act in a respectful manner to your parents like you should. (Job 28:28 – And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.)
  • Certainly we must teach children and young people of the grace and mercy of the Lord, but if they have nothing to fear – what does grace and mercy save them from? It is impossible to appreciate the Lord’s love and mercy without having good biblical fear. People do not naturally fear the Lord. Fear is taught. It is taught in Bible stories like what happened at Sinai and Baal-peor. It is taught through a loving rod of correction. If the fear of God is not taught to children, then the fear of the Lord will stop.

IN CONCLUSION: God’s demands are made and they stand firm. His authority must not be challenged, and to reject it means eternal death. But the same God who demands perfection supplies the perfect solution. In Jesus Christ the Law of God is kept for us. In Christ, His righteous will be imputed to us. In Christ, the Law is fulfilled. Each stipulation, each aspect in ways we could never imagine perfecting, Christ did it for us. He suffered for our breaking of the Law; He credits to us His obedience. All we have to do to get started on our journey of doing the Word of God, to get started on our journey to the promised land of our life, is to accept by faith what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us and call on Him to be our Savior. (Romans 10:9,10 & 13 – That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.)

Hearken… TO DO Them – part 1

(Deuteronomy 4:1-14)

Deuteronomy 4:1 “Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.”

God in this passage demands our diligent attention to His Word and our diligence in doing His Word in our life. God wants us to be attentive to the reading, preaching, and teaching of His Word whenever it occurs. God is reminding us of His authority over us and our obligation as His children, if we are saved, to be living out and doing the Word of God with our life.

INTRODUCTION: “Hearken….to do them” – Moses having laid before the Israelites the law and teachings of the Lord for their nation, calls upon the whole assembly, in the most earnest and serious manner, to consider what influence these teachings and laws ought to have upon their conduct and practice. He tells them here, that doing the Word of God should render them punctually obedient to the laws of God, and very cautious and wary of offending Him, either by the addition to His Word by works, ceremonies, superstitious rites or the flat-out altering of His Word. Moses is teaching here that the absolute condition of their peaceful and happy enjoyment of their life lies in how they respond to, and live out the Word of God with their life. In our text, Moses emphasizes the importance of doing the law of the Lord that had already been poorly kept by this new generation.

WHY DO THEM? – “That ye may live” (4:1) – Jesus’ words serve as an appropriate consideration about doing the Word of God in our life.  John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” True love for our Lord listens to the grave warning given by Moses: to be careful! We must watch our souls with all diligence our entire lives. It is not a blind obedience. Moses is about to teach them. So why do them?

  • Because – Understanding is necessary if obedience is to be rendered. God’s authority is given in the context of education with a view to application, as God’s servant, Moses, will teach so that they may do. Just hearing the law is not sufficient. Hearing must be in order to do or live out our knowledge in actual practice in our life.
  • Because – Though culture may tell us to talk, dress, and conduct ourselves one way, hearts that truly love the Lord seek to influence the culture with His ways. We must not allow culture to overcome God’s Word in our hearts as it did with Israel! If we will take care to remember the fear of the Lord our entire lives, we will be further reminded of the importance of not growing slack.
  • Because – The Word of the Lord is not a burdensome thing to keep. His ways are full of life. When His statutes teach us His wisdom, it provides the opportunity for others to see and hear of the Lord’s wisdom. How merciful is our Lord to always grant forgiveness to those who are repentant. May we learn a greater passion for doing the statutes of our Lord. (Colossians 3:23 – And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;)

WE ARE COMMANDED NOT TO ALTER THE WORD OF GOD. “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it…” (4:2 – Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.)Why are we commanded not to change the Word of God?

  • Because – We need the pure and complete Word of God so we know how to live and worship God the right way.
  • Because – We can see what happens to those in the past that have not “hearken…. to do” the will and Word of God. (4:3)
  • Because – The Law of God is the ultimate Authority – and it is the ultimate source of our freedom. With law there is also to be order. The two go together. The structured authority entailed in the legal codes in our society is what attempts to gives us harmony and peace. There is a connection we often overlook between authority and freedom. It is the authority of the law of the land which prescribes and protects our freedom. For there to be freedom, there must be authority. The same holds true in our spiritual life, for there to be freedom from the bondage of sin there must be an authority acknowledged in our life and there must be laws and teachings (the Bible) that we live our life by.
  • Because – Our life depends on us obeying and doing the will of God with our life. In verse 3 Moses uses the incident at Baal Peor (Numbers 25:1-9) to illustrate from the Israelites own history that their very lives depended on obeying and doing the Word of God. Only those who hold fast the Word of God with their life will live the blessed filled life God has planned for them. (II Timothy 1:13 – Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.)

WE NEED TO CLEAVE UNTO THE LORD (4:4 – But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day.) – Those that rejected God’s authority were denied the freedom of the land. They died as slaves to their own unbelief. But despite their unbelief, God was still going to be faithful to His promise.

  • Central to our understanding of freedom, to living the lives God desires of us, to enjoying all the benefits of life, it is crucial that we hear, follow, and do the decrees and laws of God. God has not left us in the dark to determine how we are to live. We are not bound to an eternity of determining what is right and wrong. We are free from the pursuit of seeking God, for He has sought us and told us who He is and what He desires of us. His authority revealed in His law is our freedom.
  • How do you cleave unto the Lord? – By loving His Word, by doing His Word. The Word of God is our life as Christians, and obeying God’s Word keeps us in fellowship with Him. God’s people need to be careful about not becoming too friendly with the world; this can lead to loving the world, letting ourselves be molded by the standards and wickedness of the world. This kind of lifestyle lived out by a Christian invites the chastening of the Lord into their life. (Hebrews 10:30-31 – For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.)
  • We need to be cleavers to the Word of God and not leavers of the Word of God and its teachings.

WE NEED TO LIVE OUT THE KNOWLEDGE WE HAVE ABOUT GOD IN OUR LIFE AND DO IT. (4:5-6 – Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.) Why do we need to do this?

  • Because – we have been taught it and commanded to do so by God.
  • Because – it will help lead you to wisdom and understanding. (4:6a)
  • Because – living out and doing the Word of God will give you a good reputation to those around you.(4:6b)
  • Because – Time is short. There is an important reminder in these verses for us, with regard to the authority of God’s Law, with respect to those who have heard and are following God’s commands and those who are not.
  • Because – Of the twofold benefit that happens when we are obedient to God. Our obedience shows wisdom and understanding. When others see that, they see the character of God. Wisdom is found in conformity to God’s authority. We get the benefit of being seen to possess wisdom and understanding, and God gets the benefit of a good Christian testimony on display for others to see and for God to use as a tool to help bring others to Him.

CONCLUSION: Deuteronomy 4:14 “And the LORD commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.” We need to always be doing the will of God. We need to learn His Word, learn His teachings, learn His principles, and we need to keep all that we have learned and to do what we know.

Moses’ encouragement to Israel is to make sure they listen closely to the statutes and rules he commands them. They must remember to obey with exactness. This should not be confused with perfect law keeping. The entire reason the Mosaic sacrificial system was in place was to cover the sins of the people. Moses’ specific concern is seen in verse two. He does not want them to add to or take from the command of the Lord. Why is it so important that they keep the entire law in this way? Notice verse one. It is so they can continue to have life and take possession of the promised land. We too can take possession of the promised land God has planned for us. We, as the Lord instructed the Israelites to do, must do the Word of God in our life. We must live it out, keep it, know it and share it with others. Then by doing so we will open up our lives to see the promised life God has planned for His obedient children.

Obedient Faith

Posted: January 4, 2017 in Christian Life, Faith, Faithfulness, Work
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“But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:” – Romans 16:26

“A praying faith keeps the commandments of God and does those things which are well pleasing in His sight.” – E.M. Bounds

Faith is obedient. It does what is commanded, as did the nobleman who came to Jesus, whose son was very sick. Faith also acts. Like the man born blind, it goes and washes in the pool of Siloam when told to. Faith obeys instantly, and without question or doubt, like Peter casting the net where Jesus commanded. Faith takes the stone away from the grave of Lazarus promptly when told to do so. To do God’s will is essential to true faith and faith is essential to true obedience to God.

“Obedience helps faith, and faith, in turn, helps obedience” – E.M. Bounds

 

Faith filled Prayer

Posted: January 3, 2017 in Faith, Prayer, The Bible
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“The Faith which creates powerful praying is the faith which centers itself on a powerful person. Faith in Christ’s ability to do and to do greatly, is the faith which prays greatly.” – E.M. Bounds
“And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.” – Matthew 9:28-29
We need to have a lively faith in the almighty grace of Christ. We also need to have a fervent and incessant cry and prayer for the demonstration of His grace into our life. because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” – Luke 11:8b-10

“In Everything Give Thanks”!

Interesting illustration to this post. On our way to church this morning my wife was stopping to pick up donuts for our class and she slipped and fell; injuring her foot pretty bad. So much so I had to take her back home. As I was driving her home I turned to her and said, maybe not the smartest thing to do, but I turned to her and said “you need to give thanks for hurting your foot this morning“. Thankfully my loving patient wife chuckled in her pain after I said it. Then when I got back to the church she became the illustration to the lesson.

I Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

For this reason is that all things work together for good to them that love God; therefore, every situation may be a subject of gratitude and thankfulness.  While you live for God, prosperity and adversity will be equally helpful to you. For this is the will of God, that you should be always happy; that you should ever be in the spirit of prayer; and that you should profit by every occurrence in life, and be continually grateful and obedient; for gratitude and obedience are inseparably connected. (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.)

It is God’s will that we rejoice always and that we are to pray without ceasing. It is also God’s will that in everything we are to give thanks. In every circumstance, in every situation, in every problem, in every trial, in every hurt foot, we are to give thanks. Not only are we to be thankful in everything, but also we are to be thankful for everything. (Ephesians 5:20 – Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;)

Matthew Poole speaking of this thought said “God still by fresh mercies gives fresh occasion for thanksgiving, and we must accordingly continue our thanksgiving through the whole course of our lives without weariness.”

THE NEED TO GIVE THANKS

Ingratitude displeases God. It is included among the sins that would be prevalent in “perilous times”. (II Timothy 3:1-5 – his know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.) The wrath of God will be revealed against those who are unthankful. (Romans 1:18-21 – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.)

We are to have the attitude of gratitude.We are to be thankful for what the Father has done for us. (Colossians 1:12-14 – Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:) We are to be abounding in thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:7 – Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.) Thankfulness ought to be part of the garment we put on. (Colossians 3:12-15 – Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.)Thankfulness should be a complement to our prayers. (Colossians 4:2 – Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; & I Timothy 2:1 – I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;)

Thankfulness is the key… To overcoming anxiety. (Philippians 4:6-7 – Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.) Thankfulness is the key to obtaining peace that surpasses all understanding. (Philippians 4:6-7) Thankfulness is the key to praying without ceasing and being able to always rejoice. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you) – When we give thanks in everything we will start praying without ceasing. When you pray without ceasing you will begin to rejoice always. Thankfulness is the key! If we desire to have a peace which passes all understanding and joy that is inexpressible (I Peter 1:8) then we need to develop the attitude of gratitude and be thankful in everything.

Commenting on thankfulness and peace Albert Barnes said “The peace which God gives. The peace here particularly referred to is that which is felt when we have no anxious care about the supply of our wants, and when we go confidently and commit everything into the hands of God.”

HOW TO BE THANKFUL IN EVERYTHING

Remember all things work for good… If we love God and have responded to His call. (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.) Loving God presumes obedience to His will. (I John 5:3 – For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.) Responding to His call presumes obeying the gospel. (II Thessalonians 2:13-14 – But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.)

We can therefore glory in problems, trials and tribulations. (Romans 5:3-5 – And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.) Knowing that it produces character. Knowing that character in turn produces hope.

We can therefore rejoice in persecution. (Matthew 5:10-12 – Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.) Knowing that the kingdom of heaven is ours. Knowing that our reward in heaven will be great.

We can therefore rejoice in trials. (James 1:2-3 – My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.) Knowing that trials produce patience. Knowing that patience produces perfection and completeness or maturity. We need to express thanks in every prayer. We are to include thanksgiving with our prayer requests. (Philippians 4:6 – Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.) Every time you pray for something, first thank God for something.

“Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.” – Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856-1922

We are to express thanks in prayer even when we are facing hard times. Daniel is a great example of this. (Daniel 6:7-11 – All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.) – Daniel made giving thanks a part of his daily prayers even when facing a life-threatening crisis, Daniel still gave thanks as always.

William Hendriksen has beautifully expressed the importance of giving thanks “When a person prays without giving thanks, he has clipped the wings of prayer, so that it cannot rise.” Ask yourself, do you want the full benefit of prayer in your life? Do you want the ability to rejoice always, in every circumstance? Then take the time to thank God in everything, and for everything (Ephesians 5:20) knowing all the while God can use it for your good (Romans 8:28). Do this and you will not only do what is God’s will for you, but you will become “more than conquerors” through the love of Christ and the love of God. (Romans 8:35-39 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.)

WHY BE BAPTIZED? (Acts 8:36-38)

Acts 8:37 – “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

INTRODUCTION: Christ gave the church doctrines and ordinances. Doctrines are beliefs and teachings. Ordinances are the things Christ said to observe. The only two ordinances are Baptism and the Lords Supper. (Acts 2:38, 41 – Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.)Baptism is only for believers. You must be saved to get baptized. (Acts 2:41 – Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.)  

So in this lesson, in order to answer the question “Why be baptized”, we are first going to answer several other questions. We are going to answer in this lesson the following questions then we will conclude with “Why be baptized”?

1.) What is baptism?

2.) What does baptism represent?

3.) What does baptism do?

4.) What does baptism not do?

5.) And then we will answer “Why be baptized?

FIRST, WHAT IS BAPTISM?  Baptism is the total immersion in water. Not just sprinkling, not just the pouring of water on someone’s head; but the total immersion in water.  Our great example, of Whom we are instructed in the Bible to emulate His example in all ways possible to us, was Himself fully immersed in water when He was baptized. (Matthew 3:14 – Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.) Jesus set the example for us; He was totally immersed in the Jordan River. The word “baptized” in Matthew 3:14 means to “immerse, submerge, to make fully wet” that does not sound like sprinkling or pouring to me.

Five things the Bible says about baptism with water by immersion:

  • They must go to water. (Acts 8:36 – They came unto a certain water.)
  • Requires much water. (John 3:23 – Because there was much water there.)
  • Must go down into the water. (Acts 8:38 – They went down into the water.)
  • Must baptize in water. (Matthew 3:6 – Were baptized of him in Jordan.)
  • Must come up and out. (Acts 8:39 – When they were come up out of the water.)

Also, the figures of speech used by the Apostle Paul in his writings align only with full immersion in water.  Baptism is referred to as being “buried with him” in Romans 6:4 and in Colossians 2:12. The testimony of early church also followed this teaching of Paul and the example given by our Savior in that they practiced baptism as total immersion in water by the believer.

SECOND, WHAT DOES BAPTISM REPRESENT? – It represents Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. As the water crosses our body it represents Christ’s death on the cross, His burial, and as we are coming out of water His resurrection. Sprinkling could not do this. (Romans 6:3-5 – Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:)

  • In Romans 6:3-5 notice the expressions – “baptized into Jesus Christ” and “buried with him by baptism”. Our soul and spirit is brought into His family through our salvation and trust in Him as our Savior. What a great word picture represented here and demonstrated outwardly by our physical baptism.
  • Baptism is our outward testimony of our inward assurance of our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior.
  • If the meaning of baptism could be boiled down to one word, that word would be identification. Baptism speaks primarily of a personal, public identification with Jesus
  • So what does baptism represent?
  • It represents how we have turned from the old life of sin to a new life in Christ.
  • It represents our public identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
  • It represents our openly joining the ranks of those who believe in Christ and in most cases joining in membership with a local assembly of believers.

THIRD, WHAT DOES BAPTISTM DO? BESIDES GET YOU WET? – When you are baptized, you are in fact visually preaching the gospel. As you stand in the water waiting to be baptized, you symbolize Jesus dying on the cross. As you are lowered into the water, you symbolize Jesus buried in the tomb. As you are raised from the water, you symbolize Jesus rising from the dead. (Romans 6:3-5)

  • And since you personally are being baptized, you are also saying symbolical way, “I died with Jesus Christ, I was buried with Him and now I am raised with Christ in newness of life.”
  • In short, in your baptism you are preaching a sermon without using any words at all. And your sermon in your baptism can be more effective with your friends than any sermon the pastor preaches on Sunday morning— it can be more effective because it comes directly from you.
  • The Greek word translated “baptize” is the verb baptizo. It’s primary meaning is “to immerse, submerge, to make fully wet” The secondary meaning is to “bring under the influence.” By being baptized publically you are, by your personal testimony in identifying in Christ, bringing all those that witness your baptism under the influence, at that moment, of Jesus Christ. Baptism is as important for you to do for yourself as it is for you to do to bring all those that witness it under the convicting influence of Christ.

FOURTH, WHAT DOES BAPTISM NOT DO? – The humbling of oneself that is needed in the act of repentance is not easy. Faith in an unseen God can also not be easy for some people. Submission to the teachings of Christ, the Bible and the working of the Holy Spirit within us goes against mans natural disposition. The transforming and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our life can also be uncomfortable and difficult.

Satan’s great lie he has planted in many hearts is salvation would be so much easier, inviting and enticing to our natural human hearts if it didn’t require humility, repentance and faith. If it could only be attained in some way by us, by some act we do; if salvation could only be the product of a onetime action on our part.

  • For those looking to bypass the difficulty and discomfort of salvation, I Peter 3:21 along with a select few other verses taken out of context and not fully interpreted correctly according to their setting in scripture or not interpreted correctly according to the meaning and verb usage and placement of the original language they were written in, and taken then out of the context of scripture as a whole can lead people who are willing to accept it to think that baptism saves you and not faith alone in Christ. (I Peter 3:20-21 – Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:)
  • What is taking place in these two verses is a comparison of Noah and his family in the ark in the great flood and believers being baptized in water. The water did not save Noah and his family. It was the act of faith Noah had when he built the ark, when he entered the ark and it had not ever even rained, when he trusted God and His plan to save him. That is what saved Noah, not the water. Just as what saves us is our repentance of our sin and faith by grace in Christ. The flood of water proved or demonstrated Noah’s salvation just as our baptism demonstrates and testifies of our salvation.

There are also many that view baptism as a necessary element—in addition to repentance and faith—that completes the work of salvation – these too are misguided and wrong in their belief. As a proof text they point to Acts 2:28 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” So what should we make of this verse? — Was Peter the first proponent of baptismal regeneration? And does that mean that no one is truly saved until they’ve been baptized?

  • John MacArthur offers the following commentary on this verse Baptismal regeneration] ignores the immediate context of the passage. As already noted, baptism would be a dramatic step for Peter’s hearers. By publicly identifying themselves as followers of Jesus of Nazareth, they risked becoming outcasts in their society (cf. John 9:22). Peter calls upon them to prove the genuineness of their repentance by submitting to public baptism. In much the same way, our Lord called upon the rich young ruler to prove the genuineness of his repentance by parting with his wealth (Luke 18:18-27). Surely, however, no one would argue from the latter passage that giving away one’s possessions is necessary for salvation. Salvation is not a matter of either water or economics. True repentance, however, will inevitably manifest itself in total submission to the Lord’s will.
  • By implying or assuming that baptism is a necessary step to our salvation they are not true to the facts or spirit of Scripture as a whole. All through the book of Acts, forgiveness is linked to repentance, not baptism (Acts 3:19 – Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; & 5:31). The Bible also records that some who were baptized were not saved (Acts 8:13, 21-23 – Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.), while still others were saved with no mention of them ever being baptized (Luke 7:37-50; Matthew 9:2; Luke 18:13-14). (Luke 23:39-43)
  • The account of the conversion of Cornelius and his friends very clearly shows the relationship of baptism to salvation. It was only after they were saved, as shown by their receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44-46), that they were baptized (Acts 10:47-48). It was because they had received the Spirit (and hence were saved) that Peter ordered them to be baptized (v. 47). That passage clearly shows that baptism follows salvation; it does not cause it.
  • So why do Peter’s words in Acts 2:38 seem to read as an endorsement of baptism being part of salvation? The confusion comes from understanding with our modern knowledge of the English language the way the Greek preposition eis is translated. While it is often translated “for the purpose of,” it can also mean “because of”—that is the sense it conveys in Matthew 12:41, as Jesus described how the people of Ninevah repented after hearing Jonah’s preaching. That’s the same sense it should be consider as in Acts 2:38—Peter exhorted the people to be baptized because of the forgiveness of their sins not for the forgiveness of their sins. The same Greek word is used in both verses and unless you dig a little deeper you might get a little confused; but even so that is why you interpret Scripture in light of other Scripture and in the immediate context it is found in. If that simple rule is followed no confusion or misunderstanding would result. (Matthew 12:41 – The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. & Acts 2:38 – Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.) – Same Greek word is boxed in each of the two preceding verses for comparison. Reread each verse and say “because of” instead of the boxed word and you will get the proper meaning of each.

So to be clear, baptism does not save you period, full stop. The order is clear. Repentance is for forgiveness. Baptism follows that forgiveness; it does not cause it, nor is it a necessary element to it (cf. Acts 8:12, 34-39;  10:34-48; 16:31-33). Baptism is the public sign or symbol of what has taken place on the inside. Baptism is a public testimony of our salvation and not part of our salvation. It is however an important step of obedience for all believers, and should closely follow our salvation. Salvation has nothing to do with any work or any act, such as baptism, that we could do. (Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.) – Baptism would be considered a work on our part if it was something we needed to do to get saved or considered a necessary element to that salvation.

  • The heresy and confusion over what baptism does or does not do, could be solved if one would use and apply the Golden Rule of Scripture interpretation as given to us by Dr. C.I. Scofield “Never use a doubtful or obscure passage to contradict a clear and positive one and never use a ‘if’ to contradict a ‘verily’”.

SO IN CONCLUSION, WHY BE BAPTIZED? – It should be one of the first acts of obedience by the new believer as commanded by Christ and taught in the Epistles.  The observance or nonobservance of ordinances has nothing to do with salvation. Once you are saved (trusted in Jesus to save you and take you to Heaven) you are always saved. (Hebrews 7:25 – Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.) “Uttermost” means – completely and permanently. Baptism is obedience to Christ. (Matthew 28:19-20 – Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.) Baptism is a public proclamation of putting off the old man (or old nature) and putting on Christ (new nature). (Galatians 3:27 – … baptized into Christ have put on Christ.)

Let’s review … why do we get baptized?  Jesus commands us to after we are saved. (Matthew 28:19-20). In order to be baptized we have to be saved first. (Acts 2:41, Acts 8:36-38)

So let’s review how do we get saved?  First you have to realize that God loves you. (John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.) Then you need to know that:

  • All people are sinners. (Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 3:18 – He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. )
  • Sins must be paid for. (Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.)
  • Christ paid for our sins. (Romans 5:8 – But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.)
  • We must ask by faith for Christ to save us. (Romans 10:13 – For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.)

There are no shortcuts or religious rituals that can achieve salvation—in fact, it’s not a product of human works at all, including baptism. God provides salvation because a sinner, by faith, accepts Jesus Christ into his heart as his own personal Savior. Salvation does not occur by means of any rite or work, including water baptism, salvation only occurs by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

BALAAM & GOD’S WILL

BALAAM AND GOD’S WILL In the book of Numbers we find the account of a mysterious soothsayer named Balaam had a reputation for having success in divination (receiving hidden knowledge, especially about the future) and incantation (the use of occult demonic power to grant blessing’s or curses) and he was willing to sell his services for all who could pay him his fee.

Request of the King – The Moabites and Midianites were very frightened when they saw the size and scope of the Israelite people encamped near them and heard all the stories about Israel’s military victories thus far. (Numbers 22:4 – And Moab said unto the elders of Midian, Now shall this company lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field. And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time.) – So King Balak looks to hire Balaam to place a curse on the people of God encamped near him to protect him from their supposed threat; at this point Balak did not realize that God had told Israel not to attack Moab because the Moabites were relatives of the Jews, descended through Lot, Abraham’s nephew. (Deuteronomy 2:9 – And the LORD said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession.)·

Balaam must have had a wide reputation of his abilities in successfully practicing the occult arts for a King to have searched him out in spite of the distance and the price. We all have a reputation. What is your reputation like? What are you know for?

King Balak was hoping to influence Balaam into cursing the children of Israel, and by such a curse protect him and his kingdom from their attack. He hoped to convince Balaam to help him by the impressive dignitaries he sent calling on him and the price he was willing to pay him for his services. This shows us a great weakness of character on Balaam’s part.  Balaam loved money and he was willing to do just about anything to get it. What about you? Is money or financial gain your God? (I Timothy 6:10 –    For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.)

Balak had Balaam figured right. Balaam was a hireling of the worst kind. Interested mainly in money. Balaam used deception to try to get his way around issues and problems to fulfill his ultimate goal of self enrichment. Balaam would use pious Godly sounding talk; all the while in his heart he was coveting material gain.·

Balaam was determined to do his own will and not God’s will. (Numbers 22:20 – And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.) – Notice what God said here “If the men come to call thee” then Balaam was to go. Now look at verse 21 what Balaam actually did “And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.” – He took it upon himself to get up and go. He did not do as the Lord instructed, he did not wait on the Lord, and he took the situation into his own hand and by his own wisdom determined it was in his own best monetary interests to not wait on the Lord but to act on his own. Now examine yourself. Are you more interested in God’s will or your own will?

Resistance of a donkey – God was angry at Balaam for defying His will and direction and allowing his love of money to be the controlling factor in his life. You may sometimes hear the phrase “dumb animals” – but in this case it was the human who was “dumb” and the animal was the smart and wise one. (Numbers 22:22 – And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.)·

His donkey saw something that Balaam did not and turned aside to save Balaam’s life. Balaam’s anger was kindled against the donkey and the Bible says he struck him over it. (Numbers 22:23 – And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.)·

Two more times the donkey sees the Angel of the Lord with his sword drawn and two more times the donkey does what it can to avoid him and saves Balaam’s life. Two more times Balaam gets enraged at the donkey because of it. One of the times by the donkey avoiding the angel, Balaam’s leg gets crushed, when the donkey swerved out of the way. (Numbers 22:24-27 – But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall: and he smote her again. And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.) Balaam was so angry with the donkey at this point, had he been armed he would have killed his faithful animal. The Apostle Peter called it madness. (II Peter 2:16 – But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.)· Sin in our life has a way of blinding us to other things in our life. Sin can keep us from seeing the efforts of others, motivated by their love for us, to keep us from harm or to keep us from harming ourselves as a result of that sin.

A unique conversation takes place. (Numbers 22:28-31 – And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay. Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.) So why wasn’t Balaam shocked when his donkey spoke to him? – Perhaps Satan had used Demons to speak to Balaam in the past through animals speaking to him.  In any case a person has reached a very low point in his life when God has to use an animal like a donkey to communicate His mind to him.

Revelation of an angel (Numbers 22:32-33 – And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me: And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.) – As God opened the Donkey’s mouth to speak to Balaam He now opens Balaam’s eyes so he too can see the Angel of the Lord standing there with his sword drawn. Balaam fell on his face when he saw the angel and the angel told him how is donkey saved his life.·

The angel warned Balaam that he was rushing headlong and recklessly onto the wrong path that would only lead to his destruction and ruin. Many people today are on a similar path in their life. If we see people on this path it is our responsibility to shout out a warning to them; because it is only the truth of God that can free them and save them from destruction and ruin. (John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. & John 8:32 – And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)·

I have sinned” – Just saying these words do not repentance make. Balaam said these words to the angel in Numbers 22:34 “And Balaam said unto the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again.” – Pharaoh, King Saul and Judas Iscariot all uttered the same words but did not truly repent and turn to God with their life. Pharaoh in Exodus 9:27 “I have sinned “, King Saul in I Samuel 15:24 “I have sinned” and Judas Iscariot in Matthew 27:4 “I have sinned” – but they did not repent, they did not accept God by faith. ·

MAKE SURE YOU ARE REALLY SAVED – Don’t be guilty of saying the right sounding words but not really meaning them in your heart. It is possible to acknowledge you are a sinner but not repent and turn from your sins and turn to God. We need to acknowledge the fact we are a sinner but true salvation is more than that; it is also a turning from our sin and a turning to God by faith in the saving power of Jesus blood. Salvation comes by trusting in the fact that the shed blood of Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and accepting His free gift of a payment in full on our behalf. Salvation is getting something for nothing; it is getting eternal life, that you can never lose, in exchange for nothing from us but our child like faith in Jesus. (Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. & Romans 10:9,10 & 13 – That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.) – If you have more questions about salvation please click on this link: KNOW FOR SURE YOU ARE ON YOU WAY TO HEAVEN

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THE DOCTRINE OF BALAAM & WORLDLY CHRISTIANS

Proverbs 10:30 “The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.”

The joy and hope only found in the Lord shall never leave the righteous. The righteous have a guaranteed hope in the Lord; we have a guaranteed inheritance. “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,” I Peter 1:4

The wicked on the other hand have certain and eternal ruin and destruction coming. II Thessalonians 1:9 “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”

Make sure you have accepted God’s free gift of salvation today. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

“ABOUND IN HOPE”

(Romans 15:7-14)

Romans 15:13 – “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

We can abound in hope because we have trust in a risen Savior. We can abound in hope because we have the Holy Ghost within us. We can abound in hope because we have a merciful and gracious God that will enable us to abound in the Hope only He can provide.

INTRODUCTION: Christians are to live a life abounding in Hope. Are you abounding in Hope right now? Do you have the hope of God living in you right now? Have you accepted the only source of this true hope as your personal Savior?

Notice in verse 13 “Now the God of Hope” – God is the foundation on which our hope is built; and He is the Builder of that hope. God is both the object of our hope and the Author of it.

Now man can have earthly hope of things to come. A child can hope to get a certain present, a young man can hope to get his driver’s license or a car; an adult can hope to get a nice house; but this kind of hope is man based, man centered, and man built. Hoping for all these things is not wrong necessarily; but Christians should also have a heavenly minded hope, this heavenly minded hope should be the predominant hope of our life. We should not worship at the altar of earthly things but we should be worshipping at the altar of the Author of our eternal hope – Christ Jesus! Psalm 39:7 says “And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.”

Is your hope in the Lord tonight? Or is it in your ability? Or is it in your plans? Or is it in your dreams? Or is your hope where it should be, in the Lord?

To help get a better understanding of what Biblical hope is and how we get it, how it is defined, how it is described in the Bible, how we develop it in our lives, how we demonstrate it, and how we act in out in our lives, I am going to ask a series of questions about hope and try to answer them as we go along.

 WHAT IS HOPE? – It is joy and peace and not sorrow and stress! (Proverbs 13:12 – Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.)

  • What is hope? – Hope is anticipating or trusting in something to come to pass that we can’t yet see. (Romans 8:23-25 – And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.)
  • What is hope? – It is something worth defending; it is something we should be prepared to defend. (I Peter 3:15 – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:)
  • What is hope? – Trusting in God to always work out for the good the events that transpire in our life. (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.)

HOW DO WE GET HOPE?

  • By believing patiently and without wavering in God. (Hebrews 6:11-12 – And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.)
  • By the Word of God. (Romans 15:4 – For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.)
  • By the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13b – …that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.)
  • By being a Christian. By making sure you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. (Romans 15:13a – Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,…) – You need to make sure you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith in order to have access to true Biblical peace and hope.

HOW IS HOPE DEFINEDThe Greek word translated as hope in Romans 15 is “el-pece” which means to anticipate with pleasure, an expectation either concrete or abstract, or a confident faith or expectation. It has the meaning of dealing with the unseen or the future.

  • Hope as found in the Scriptures is not just a wish for something but a strong confidence that is placed in God.
  • According to its proper Biblical meaning in is inseparable from faith. (I Peter 1:21 – Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.)

HOW IS HOPE DESCRIBED – what are some descriptions of true Biblical hope?

  • We have The Hope of Righteousness – Paul writes of the hope of righteousness in Galatians 5:5 “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”
  • The context of this verse involves justification. Galatians 5:4 says “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
  • Justified” and “Righteousness” in these verses come from the same root Greek word which means to render just or innocent, free and righteous.
  • Paul is talking about the hope of being made righteous or being made not guilty of sin.
  • This hope, spoken of here, is a strong desire and expectation of being declared guiltless before God. Amen!
  • We have The Hope of Revelation.
  • The revelation or the appearing of Jesus when He returns. (I Corinthians 1:7 – So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:)
  • The Hope of revelation in which we will receive praise, honor, glory and joy. (I Peter 1:7 & 13 – That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; & 4:13 – But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.)
  • The Hope of revelation whereby we too are revealed the sons of God. (Romans 8:19 – For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.)
  • This hope, spoken of here, is a strong desire and expectation of Jesus’ revealing and ours as well.
  • We have The Hope of Resurrection. (Acts 23:6 – But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. & Acts 24:15 – And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.) – You need to make sure you are part of the resurrection of the Just and not the unjust. You need to make your salvation sure if it is not.
  • The resurrection of our mortal bodies and the putting on immortality. (I Corinthians 15:42-44 – So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. & 50-54 – Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.)
  • The hope of resurrection is made possible by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:20-21 – For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.)
  • This hope, spoken of here, is a strong desire and expectation of being raised from the dead to eternal life!

HOW IS HOPE DEVELOPED – How do we develop our hope? How do we develop hope in our life?

  • We develop it Through Grace – it is God that loved us and gives us good hope by His grace. (II Thessalonians 2:16 – Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,)
  • We develop it Through the Word
  • The Old Testament provided hope. (Romans 15:4 – For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.)
  • The Gospel of Christ provides hope. (Colossians 1:5 – For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;)
  • The Apostles wrote that we might know the hope of God’s calling. (Ephesians 1:18 – The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,)
  • We develop it Through Experience – Experience involves tribulations. Experience involves trials, experience involve unpleasant circumstances, experience involves things not going the way we would like them to go, experience involves problems. (Romans 5:3-4 – And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:)
  • Experience can produce perseverance in the Christian and this can lead to confidence. (James 1:2-4 – My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.)
  • Our hope strengthens the longer we live for Christ.
  • We develop it Through the Spirit – We through the Spirit eagerly wait for our hope. (Galatians 5:5 – For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.)
  • Heavenly pointed hope does not disappoint. Because it is the consequence of God’s love poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:5 – And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.)
  • Because of this we can abound in hope. Our hope is strengthened by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Look at Romans 15:13 again “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

HOW IS HOPE DEMONSTRATED – How is hope demonstrated by the Christian? How is hope demonstrated in your life?

  • By Christians who are eagerly awaiting for the coming of Jesus. (I Corinthians 1:7 – So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:) – A vibrant hope is one with a strong desire for what is to come! – How is your hope level? – Is it strong or is it weak? – Are you looking forward to the coming of Christ?
  • By Christians who are patiently working for Christ. (I Thessalonians 1:3 – Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;) – A vibrant hope is one in which work is being done for Christ. – I ask again, how is your hope level? – Are you demonstrating a good hope level by your patient and consistent working for Christ?
  • By Christians who are rejoicing in their current state. (I Peter 4:13 – But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. & Philippians 4:11 -Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. ) – A vibrant hope is one filled with joy. – Again how is your hope level? – Do you rejoice in your circumstances whatever they are?

HOW IS HOPE ACTED OUT – How does a Christian act out the living Hope that is within us? (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)

  • We as Christians have hope and Paul exhorts us to act like we do. He says to not act as if we have no hope, but act out what we say we believe. Act out our hope in Heaven, act out our Hope in the resurrection, act out our hope of seeing loved ones again who have fallen asleep in Jesus. Act out our belief in God’s Word! And in so doing we will comfort those around us.
  • Act as if we have hope; because if you truly are a Christian you truly do have the greatest hope of hopes. You have a living hope. You have the hope of living eternally with Christ and all of your saved loves ones in heaven. – Now that is some Hope!!!
  • That is some hope we want to possess that is some hope we want to have and this is some hope we should be sharing with those around us.

IN CONCLUSION:

So what is the hope of a Christian? – It is the Desire and expectation of…

  • The righteousness found only in Christ
  • The revelation of Jesus and our glory with Him when He comes
  • The anticipation of spending eternity with Jesus and our loves ones in Heaven

So what is the hope of a Christian? – it is the Desire and expectation made possible by…

  • The grace of God
  • The Word of God
  • The experience of Christian service
  • The empowerment of the Holy Ghost

So what is the hope of a Christian? – It is the Desire and expectation manifested by…

  • Our eagerly waiting
  • Our patiently working
  • Our rejoicing all the while

So what is the hope of a Christian? – It is truly the helmet of our salvation. (I Thessalonians 5:8 – But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.)

Hope is the anchor of our soul. (Hebrews 6:19 – Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;) – For which we should praise God.

If you are born again in Christ you are a partaker of a lively hope, a living hope, and an eternal hope through the death and shed blood of Jesus Christ. (I Peter 1:3-7 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ;)

Are you a possessor of this true Biblical hope? – Have you ever admitted you are a sinner, in need of a Savior? Have you ever accepted the gift of salvation and eternal life from Jesus Christ? Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

If you have not accepted this gift of salvation why don’t you accept it today?

Are you abounding in hope?

If you need to renew your eager anticipation, if you need to refresh your hope in Christ why don’t you do that today?

If you need to ask God to give you peace and hope to face your current circumstances make sure and do that today too.

If you are feeling convicted because your life does not always demonstrate the hope you should have as a Christian why don’t you get that right today?

 

 

 

ETERNALLY SECURE? – You can know for Sure!

I Peter 1:4-5 – “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” – We, as the born again children of God, have an inheritance of eternal life that is eternally secured and guaranteed.

It is called an inheritance because it belongs to the children of God. Eternal life cannot be a gift to any but to those who have truly believed by faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior. Any other assurances of eternal life, by other religions or beliefs are false assurances. We need to understand and defend this doctrine of eternal security. It is foundational to our Christian belief. There are others who believe you can lose your salvation. But to believe this way requires you to take certain scriptures out of context and not fully study or investigate others, as Dr. C.I. Scofield said “Never use a doubtful or obscure passage to contradict a clear and positive one.” Other false religions around the world claim they can tell you where you will spend eternity if you do certain things or attain certain levels of their belief; but all of these other religions require works of man of some sort. Our Bible tells us it is not by anything man does but eternal life in heaven with Christ is a gift. (Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.)

SO WHAT IS SALVATION? (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.) Salvation is being saved. It is being born again. It is accepting the free gift of Christ paying the penalty of our sin so we can go to Heaven. It is calling on the name of the Lord and trusting him with your eternal soul.

Let’s take a look at the steps of salvation:

• First you need to recognize you are a sinner and that you have sinned. (Romans 3:10, 23 – As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;)

• Next you need to realize there is a penalty for sin. (Romans 6:23a – For the wages of sin is death ;)

• Third you need to acknowledge that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sin. (Romans 5:8 – But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. & John 19:30 – When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.)

• The fourth step is to know that salvation is a gift of God that He is waiting to give us. (Romans 6:23b – but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.)

• Finally and simply the Bible tells us we need to call upon the Lord to be saved and He will save us from our sins and eternity in hell and give us the gift of eternal life with Him in Heaven. (Romans 10:10 &13 – For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.)

LET’S TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT VERSES 4 & 5 OF I PETER CHAPTER 1 (I Peter :1:4-5 – To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.) – The verses are speaking about the elements and nature of our salvation in Christ.

Incorruptible” – means it cannot decay, it cannot be infiltrated with untruth, and it cannot be dissolved in any way. Because of this “incorruptibleness” it cannot be earthly in origin. It has to be Divine in origin because of its incorruptibleness.

Undefiled” – “Nothing impure can enter it; it not only has no principles or seeds of dissolution in itself, but it can never admit any; therefore its deterioration is impossible.” – Adam Clarks Commentary.

Fadeth not away” – It cannot fade, it cannot dim, it cannot lose its original strength, It cannot wither, it is eternal in nature and power.

Reserved in heaven” – Our salvation is reserved, set aside, preserved and kept safe and secure in heaven for us.

Who are kept” – Those who have accepted the free gift of salvation, their salvation is kept or defended in a fortress, secured to the utmost. “Who are kept” has the meaning of being kept in custody by watch and under military guard. True Disciples of Christ are under constant and watchful care of God who is guarding and keeping their salvation secure.

By the power of God” – This phrase tells us by what power our salvation is kept secure. It is kept secure by the mighty and miracle-working power of God. Nothing is more powerful than God and knowing our salvation is kept by the most supreme power there is, is pretty reassuring.

Ready to be revealed” – Or in other words prepared to be revealed. Our eternal security is prepared, preserved and protected. It is ready to be revealed to us as we pass through deaths door to life eternal with God.

IF YOU ARE BACKSLIDDEN (FALLEN AWAY FROM THE LORD) CAN YOU LOSE YOUR SALVATION? (Hosea 11:7 – And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him.) If you have fallen back into a sinful lifestyle are you still a child of God? Or, if you have lost the joy of your salvation do you still have that salvation? (Psalm 51:12 – Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.) The backslider may think he is not saved and he may act like he is not saved. (I Peter 1:4 – To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,). But thank God, no matter what the backslider may do or think that does not matter because once he is saved he is always saved. (Colossians 3:15a – And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,…. & I Peter 1:5 – Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.) It is not in our power or how we think that keeps us or makes us saved. We are “kept by the power of God” and knowing and trusting in that, we need to “let the peace of God rule in” our hearts.

If you are saved you are a child of God. Children can be disobedient, rebel and doubt their parents some times, but that does not mean they are no longer their parents children. Once we are saved God calls us His children. If God declares us His children nothing we could do could change that fact. (Luke 20:36Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.)

Bible examples of backslidden Christians who were still saved despite their sin:

• Lot did many terrible sins. He lived in a terrible wicked city, he offered up his own daughters to wicked, vile sin. Even though he did some terribly wicked things he was still saved. Why? – Because of what we just learned; our salvation is not dependent on us. Amen! (II Peter 2:8 – And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:) That word “just” in this verse means Lot was a saved man.

• Peter went as far as to deny Christ. Peter denied Christ three times, and the last time he denied him with an oath, but again Peter was still saved. Why? – Because our salvation is not based on our good behavior, but is based on our trust in the shed blood of Jesus to save us from our sins. (Luke 22:54-62)

• Moses was a murderer. He killed the Egyptian guard. Moses trusted the Lord for his salvation. Our salvation is not of ourselves, it is of God and God alone. (Hebrews 11:24,26 – By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.)

• David committed the terrible sin of adultery with Bathsheba; he then had Uriah the Hittite killed to cover up this sin but David was still saved. Why? – Because David trusted in the Messiah, the Christ for his salvation. He knew it had nothing to do with how good or bad he was but it had to do with faith in the saving power of Jesus blood. (Psalm 55:22 – Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.)

IS OUR SALVATION ETERNAL?(John 5:24 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.) If we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ we have eternal life. Not, we shall have it, indicating a future tense, not if we are good we will get it, but if we trust on Jesus shed blood for our salvation we have (present tense) eternal life. (John 3:36 – He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.)

If we trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior He gives us eternal life. He won’t take it back. We shall never perish – we shall never lose our salvation. (John 10:29-30And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.)This verse says our salvation is kept safe in Gods hand and that no man is able to “pluck” us out of God’s hand. We can be totally confident in God’s ability to keep our salvation secure. There is nothing we could do or any other man could do to cause us to lose our salvation.

God gave His only son to pay our sin debt for us. It is paid in full already. We can’t lose our salvation if God’s son has already paid it in full as He said he did on the cross. (John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.) The Bible tells us that we have the “righteousness of God” imputed in us, imparted to us by Christ’s death on the cross. If we have the “righteousness of God” how is that not enough to satisfy God? God would have to declare himself not righteous enough to be in Heaven if that were so. (II Corinthians 5:21 – For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.)There was an atonement made on our behalf. It was made by Christ through his shed blood. Jesus made himself a substitute for me. He has paid my sin debt on my behalf. (Leviticus 17:11 – For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.)In other words every Born-Again Christian is credited with Christ’s righteousness. Through the blood that He shed on the cross to pay the penalty of our sin for us.If we have trusted in that shed blood and been credited with the atonement made on our behalf there is no way that we could lose our salvation.

IN CONCLUSION: No scripture says you can lose your salvation, if it is not pulled out of its proper context of the Bible. We are supposed to use scripture to help interpret scripture. One of my favorite quotes is by Dr. C.I. Scofield he said “Never use a doubtful or obscure passage to contradict a clear and positive one, and never use and (if) to contradict a (verily)” The Bible tells us that Jesus offered one sacrifice for sin for forever and then He sat down on the right hand of God. The work of the blood sacrifice for the sins of man is done. Jesus paid for all sin of all mankind for all time: past, present and future. To say we could lose our salvation would be to say to Christ “you have to die on the cross again because the first time just was not good enough.” (Hebrews 10:12 – But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God ;)

For us to be able to lose our salvation Jesus would have to be a liar. For on the cross he said “It is finished” which also means paid in full. So if Jesus on the cross said our sin debt was paid in full, and then we lost our salvation. That would mean our sin debt was not paid in full and that Jesus is a liar. Jesus is not a liar. He said in John 14:6 – “….I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” So we can’t lose are salvation. The Bible says our salvation is “sealed with the holy spirit” in Ephesians 1:13. If God seals our salvation how could that seal be broken? The Bible says in Hebrews 5:9 that Jesus is the “author of eternal salvation”. Not salvation till you sin too much. Jesus is the “author of eternal salvation”! Isaiah 45:17 says we have an “everlasting salvation”. Hebrews 7:25 says we are saved “to the uttermost”. That phrase means permanently and completely. We can’t lose something that is already permanent and completed.

We as true born again believers can rest assured in the fact we have an eternally secure salvation that is based in the finished works of the Son of God; which makes it eternally secure. If our salvation was based on anything else it would be a false salvation. Other groups or religions may try to say you can lose your salvation or add works to your salvation but this kind of belief is simply unbiblical and is saying that what Jesus did for us was not good enough and we need to help Him finish the job, God forbid! Rest assured the finished work of securing our eternal salvation was completely done by our Almighty Savior, Jesus Christ the Son of God!