A Word from the WORD about Suffering

Zambian Pastor's Bible

Zambian Pastor’s Bible

A Word from the WORD:
Reading 1 Peter this morning the Lord reminded me that suffering against sin is the struggle of our lives, as a believer, that we MUST go through to attain the glory that is our inheritance with Christ when He appears.

The theme of this letter to believers scattered all over the world is to “embrace” suffering in view of the GLORY to follow, if we stand firm in the Faith.

Salvation from the wages of sin was gained through the suffering of Christ. Salvation is not a one point in time event, other than its beginning, for us. Salvation embraces all of life past, present and future. Our spirit was saved the movement we believe when the Holy Spirit was given to us. Our SOUL is being saved daily as we walk in the Spirit overcoming the world, flesh and devil. Our bodies will be saved in the first resurrection guaranteed by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Peter (and especially Paul) teaches us that our present suffering prepares us for future glory (Romans 8:28). That future glory is at the parousia, the Appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, when He returns to establish His Kingdom on Earth. IF we suffer against the world, flesh and devil now we will experience greater glory to the glory of God then. (This is the PRIZE.)

Peter closes the letter with his expressed purpose for writing (by the Holy Spirit). He wrote to encourage the scattered saints to stand firm in God’s Grace to suffer with Christ now for future glory with Christ when He returns. Praise the Lord

The GIFT, the PRIZE, and the Judgment Seat of Christ

Each One will Give an Account

Each One will Give an Account

As a believer in Jesus Christ I have eternal life, period. Praise the Lord. It is a free GIFT received by faith alone, not works. I did not earn it and I do not deserve it, but by God’s grace it is available to all who will believe in, trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. The faith formula is so simple that even a child can receive it. In fact, it is this kind of faith that does receive the gift of eternal life. There is no theological education required,  no promise of faithfulness on our part. BELIEVE in Christ and you will RECEIVE his Eternal Life freely, with no strings attached.

Jesus saves all who believe in Him, our past, our present and our future (body, soul and spirit). When I believe my spirit is “born again.” The Holy Spirit regenerates my dead spirit. I am now alive in Christ. As I live the Christian life and submit to the Holy Spirit I experience salvation from the Power of sin. He is saving my soul daily as I walk in newness of life. In the future, at the resurrection, my body will be saved. This is guaranteed by Christ’s down payment of the Holy Spirit. I will receive a new incorruptible body like the Lord Jesus’. Yes I will be saved completely, body, soul and spirit. What an incredible gift!

Once saved we are reminded NOT to sin. Paul asks rhetorically in Romans 6, “now that we are saved from eternal death should we keep on sinning since grace is all abounding?” The answer is, “Of course not!” But the problem is we DO sin (1 John 1:8). This is why most of the Scriptures were written, to exhort believers not to sin and the consequences of sinning against our heavenly Father, our crucified and risen Savior Jesus and the indwelling Holy Spirit.

The Apostle John tells us that he wrote his first epistles so that we would not sin, 1 John 2:1. The New Testament is replete with exhortations and challenges for us to remain faithful to Christ, to abide in Him, to hold to our confession of faith in Him and to persevere to the end. The reason for these exhortations is because there is a PRIZE to be won, an inheritance to be realized, and much that can be lost.

This Prize consists of glory and honor with Christ (Romans 8:17) and “reigning with Him” in the Millennial Kingdom (2 Timothy 2:12), called the “Sabbath Rest” in Hebrews 4:9-13. It can also include the receiving of “Crowns” for faithfulness. Most of all, it means hearing the Savior say, “Well done my good and faithful servant, enter into the JOY of the LORD.” The opposite of winning the PRIZE is to suffer shame and loss (1 John 2:28, 1 Corinthians 3:15) and being disqualified from the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

The GIFT is free and the PRIZE is earned. Both are attained by faith, The Gift by simple faith without works, and the PRIZE by persevering faith that works. (Compare Romans 4 and James 2)

The PRIZE will be determined/revealed at the Judgment Seat of Christ. ALL believers will appear before this BEMA Seat and it is here that we will be “recompensed, paid back, given our just wages” according to what we have done in our flesh, whether good (faith/obedience) or bad (without faith/disobedient). (1 Corinthians 3:10-17; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10; James 2:11,12)

Yes siree, little children, there is a Day of Judgment for all believers. Peter reminds us that “judgment begins in the house of the Lord.” God is just! He will not destroy the wicked for their sin and wink at our sin committed after we have been saved from the wrath of God by the Blood of Christ. He disciplines us while we are living this “Christian” life so that we should live holy, but if we do not respond and continue to rebel there is a final judgment for us as well, The Judgment Seat of Christ. “If we judge ourselves correctly (NOW), we will not be judged (for these things LATER). 1 Corinthians 11:31

SO, how do we prepare for the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is a serious matter and one that should consume our daily living. Our God is a “consuming fire.” It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. “And there is nothing hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”

  • BE SERIOUS about the Christian Life. Be a disciple maker. We are ambassadors of Christ and He is holding us accountable for our representation of Him, whether good or bad.
  • BE DILIGENT about living an obedient life. Obey the Scriptures. This is the will of God.
  • Have a CLEAR CONSCIENCE. HOW? 1. Submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21, Hebrews 13:17). 2. Avoid deliberate/willful sin (1 Thessalonians 5:22) 3. Confess sin as soon as you are convicted (1 John 1:9). 4. Make restitution if possible (Matthew 5:23, 24).
  • COVER your many unknown and unconfessed sin by being Christ-like in acts of mercy (Hosea 6:6) by being forgiving (Matthew 6:12-15), by being loving (1 Peter 4:7-8), by being merciful in judgment (Matthew 7:2) and by caring for others by meeting physical needs (Matthew 12:1-18, 2 Timothy 1:15-18) and their spiritual needs (Matthew 9:9-13, James 5:19-20).

I can’t speak for you, but I know that I will need a lot of “extra” mercy at the Judgment Seat of Christ. In my rebellion there are many sins I have not confessed and have subsequently forgotten them. Jesus will not forget. In my fleshly ignorance I have sinned and not even known it. I’ve said and done things that have injured others and I am oblivious. These will be revealed when I stand before the One with whom I have to do. I will need mercy. There will be NO excuses.

So, if I want mercy then I must be merciful now to others. I need to remember to be careful in my judgment of others now, because it is by this same standard that Jesus will hold me accountable on that great and terrible day.

The Bema Seat is where all believers will give an account for their faith and faithlessness, for obedience and disobedience. God is just. Our God is an Awesome God. If the righteous are scarcely saved, what will be the end of those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?

Get Ready Now because “Here comes the Judge!”

Here is some suggested reading for more study besides your careful study of the Scripture.
“Reign of the Servant Kings” and “Future Destiny, the Future Reign of the Servant Kings” both by Joseph Dillow
“The Judgment Seat of Christ” by Samuel L. Hoyt
“The Kingdom of God Visualized” by Ray Baughman (Abe Books)

I FAILED!

Walking The Christian Life

Walking The Christian Life

I’ve been a believer in Jesus Christ since I was 16 years old, over 44 years ago. The Bible clearly teaches everyone to BELIEVE in Jesus and BE SAVED and HAVE Eternal Life. That is truly GOOD NEWS. Jesus saved me from my sin when I believed in Him, that is, when I put my trust in Him. He has taken care of the enmity, the problem between God and me. Praise the Lord!

BUT soon after I believed in Jesus and was saved I again found myself sinning! NOW What? Am I lost again? Am I now going to hell again? Is God totally put out with me and casting me out?

These are the questions that go through the heart and mind of so many people who have put their trust in Christ for salvation, but then fail and fall into the same old sins. The devil loves this! One of his favorite schemes is to tempt the new believer into falling back into his old life style and then condemning the new believer to the point of despair. He will do everything he can to make you think you are lost and that there is no hope in coming back and getting right with God. “If you have failed once, you’ll fail again, so just give up!”

OH he is a “tricksie” foe. (Lou Ann and I watched the “Lord of the Rings” the other night. Again.)

Good News! The Bible Truth, the “full gospel,” the truth that will set you free is that you can not “lose” eternal life in Jesus Christ. This is what God says in His Word and what we will look at in the following few words.

Have you blown it since you have been saved? Here is some truth to help you.

IF you have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have been saved. What does this mean? The Bible says, “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be (are) saved” Acts 16:31. John 1:12 says, “all those who “received” Him (the Word), He gave them the right to be children of God, to all those who believe in His Name.” Believe and Receive. That is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Do you believe that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh who died for your sins appeasing God’s anger against you? My friend, you are saved and have received eternal life in Christ.

Eternal means never ending. It is life that can not stop. It can not be killed. It is not “Life until you blow it.” In is LIFE ETERNAL.

John 3:16, “For God so loved the “whole” world, that He gave (as a sacrifice for the whole world’s sin) His One and Only Son (Jesus), so that WHOEVER believes in Him (the Son Jesus)  will NOT perish (in eternal death), but HAVE (right now) eternal life.” Also see vs. 18.

Why is this Life in Jesus Eternal? It is eternal because Jesus is LIFE. He is God and in Him is LIFE (John 1:4). He is the Word who was in the beginning with God and is God (John 1:1). This is the Word that became flesh, Jesus Christ (John 1:14). God became one of us to give us HIS life.

Hebrews 7:24-25 tells us that Jesus is our eternal High Priest who lives forever, unlike the Levitical priest who died and had to be continually replaced. Jesus rose from the dead and is our High Priest forever because HE has an indestructible life and HE is able to save us who come to God through Him, because HE, Jesus, lives forever to intercede for us.” Jesus, who has been “perfected forever” makes us “perfect” forever (7:28/10:14).

If you believe in Jesus Christ you are not Lost because you are IN CHRIST.

In Christ you are chosen, adopted and accepted (Ephesians 1:3-6).
In Christ you can not be separated from the Love of God (Romans 8:38-39).
In Christ you have eternal life and you will never perish. NOTHING and NO ONE can snatch you from the hands of Jesus, who is God (John 10:28-29).
In Christ you have received the indwelling Holy Spirit who has been given to you as a down payment, a guarantee that Jesus will save you completely, spirit, soul and body (Ephesians 1:13, 14; 2 Corinthians 1:22).
In Christ you have been justified. You have been declared righteous by God because of the blood of Jesus shed for you! And you now have peace with God (Romans 3:22 – 26; 5:1).
In Christ there is no more curse (Galatians 3:13).

In Christ you are under a NEW Covenant (Hebrews 9). The Old Covenant has been done away with. Under the Old Covenant you were condemned to death because of your sin against God. Under the New Covenant by the blood of Jesus you are held accountable for the way you live but you are also guaranteed that you will always be a child of God. God will not reject you under the terms of the New Covenant because it has been made and sealed with a better priesthood (eternal), by better blood (Jesus’ blood vs. blood of animals), with better promises (God has sworn it with an Oath) and with a better ONE TIME Sacrifice (the body of the God-Man Jesus). see Hebrews 8, 9, 10

And it is because of this person, Jesus Christ that YOU Believer, child of God, can go on when you fail. Jesus was made like you, human, so that he could help you. He became your substitute and satisfied God’s righteous demand, death for sin.

Remember, you will sin because you are still in this old sinful body (that will be saved at the resurrection) and you are still in this world whose ruler is the devil. You are not suppose to sin, but if you do, remember that you have an ADVOCATE/Lawyer with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One (1 John 2:1-2). Confess your sin to Him and know that HE is faithful and righteous to forgive you of your sin and to cleanse you from the defilement of it to help you not sin again (1 John 1:9).

The Holy Spirit inspired John to write his Gospel to record some of the key signs Jesus performed to prove that He was the Coming King, The Son of God and if anyone would  believe in Him they could have eternal life (John 20:31). John also wrote his first letter to assure all of us who have believed in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that we HAVE eternal life right now and forever (1 John 5:12, 13).

AFTER WORD
Friends, I have written this short article because so many people who have trusted in Christ Jesus have given up living the life of a Christian because they have failed. We all fail and some of us pretty badly. BUT Believer in Jesus, HE does not fail. He can not fail. He will carry you through to eternal life. It is up to you whether you will experience His victory in this life’s journey or not. You have eternal life and you can have it more abundantly as  you continually yield to Him. You are more than a conqueror in Christ (Romans 8:37).

The need for this truth is why it is so important that each of us as believers in Jesus Christ, and those who desire to “follow” Him and be true disciples, true Christians, be careful to fellowship in a church that emphasizes the teaching and preaching of the Bible. Pastors must be men of the Word. Too often it becomes popular and easy to speak “the world” instead of the Word. Pastors, elders and teachers must be students of God’s Word. It takes hard work to feed and shepherd the flock of God that the Holy Spirit has made them overseers of. Encourage your pastor and teachers to preach and teach the Word. If you don’t ask God the Holy Spirit to help you find one that teaches you how to live according to the WORD in the power of the Holy Spirit and walk in newness of life, so that others may see Christ in you. You don’t need to hear how to be born again Sunday after Sunday. You need to learn how to walk now that you are born again.

Your fellow traveler,
Jeff Hawkins