Archive for the ‘Maturing in Christ’ Category

miu-miu-disco-metallic-handbagWhat do I mean by this? I mean do you pop Jesus out whenever you need him and pop him back when you are finished. You see many people have Jesus as PART of their life opposed to Jesus being their WHOLE life. They consistently swear, get drunk, do those things that they ought not to, have no desire or hunger for the things of God. In a nutshell, they are displaying the fruits of the flesh and not the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5), but then something good happens in their life and they are the first ones to pop Jesus out of the handbag and thank God.

This is a stench in His nose because they are just paying lip service but their lives are consistently contrary to Gods word. So the question is, is Jesus your life and only part of your life? Is your ‘commitment’ to Christ limited to just an ackowledgemnt that he exists and that he supplies for you or have you totally surrendered your life to him and desire what he desires and hates what he hates which is sin.

I know Barack Obama but I bet if you asked him if he knew me, the answer would be no. In the same way, many people know and even acknowledge Jesus, believe that he died on the cross and rose on the third day but MANY of those very same people will hear Jesus say ‘ I never knew you’ when they stand before him to give an account (Matthew 7:23)

So how do you know that you will not be amongst that number. The bible makes it clear. Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith

2 Corinthians 13:5

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”
30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this:

      “ He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
      And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
       So He opened not His mouth.
       33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away,
      And who will declare His generation?
      For His life is taken from the earth.”

34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?

OK, this is something that I have been asking for some time. You have someone who professes to be a believer but for whatever reason, they decide that they don’t want to get baptized or if they do, it’s years down the line. So the question has to be asked, what hinders them from being baptized? I have to come to a few conclusions.

  1. They do not truly understand the gospel and have made a false profession but the church does not press this person to examine themself to see if they are really in the faith (I have already shared some of my worries here about those who have been baptised) 
  2. They have not counted the cost and so are not willing to deny themselves which again can be a sign of false conversion
  3. The church has not taken the time to teach the person (as per the above scripture) and so the person is ignorant of its importance
  4. The person really enjoys the church service and fellowship with other believers but that is as far as their ‘christianity’ goes
  5. The person said ‘the sinners prayer’ and thinks that is all is needed to get into heaven
  6. The church have made baptism an option of conversion instead of a commandment by Jesus

There may be more but these are the ones that I can think of off the top of my head. For those of you who say that they have made a profession of faith and have repented and put their trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation, may I encourage you to get baptised as soon as you can. Even though baptism is not necessary for salvation, it is, however a commandment from Jesus. The fact that you do not want to get baptised may (and I stress may) be a sign that you are not a true believer. John Piper explains baptism in a nutshell in the video below.

Click here for a very good article about ‘Baptism and Belief’

Now ask yourself ‘What is hindering me from being baptized?’

Paul Washer delivers a urgent appeal to the Christians and Churches in North America (and I believe in many other countries as well including the UK) that many have been believing a false gospel and have false assurance of their salvation. He lists 10 indictments against the modern Church system in America. This is a historical urgent message, tell others and spread the message. We need a reformation and revival of a biblical standard!

The indictments are as follows:

The first indictment: a practical denial of the sufficiency of Scripture

The second indictment: An ignorance of God.

The third indictment: A failure to address mans malady

The fourth indictment: An ignorance of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The fifth indictment: An ignorance of the doctrine of regeneration

The sixth indictment: An unbiblical gospel invitation.

The seventh indictment: Ignorance regarding the nature of the Church.

The eighth indictment: A lack of loving and compassionate Church discipline.

The ninth indictment: A silence on separation.

The tenth indictment: Psychology and sociology have replaced the Scriptures with regard to the family. 

 

If you cannot watch the video all in one go, click on the link below where you will find a link to download the mp3 version of the sermon

HT: Word and Verse and Young Calvinist

Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm

You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep. I have seen the damage done time and time again by people who once went to church, and still hanged out with their old friends only to find themselves pulled back into the world. Especially when you become a new believer, you can not hang out with the old friends like you used to and think you will not be affected.

Friendship

Before I became a Christian, I loved hanging out with my friends. We didnt go out robbing people or get drunk but we used to go out at the weekends and go to parties and clubs and generally have a good laugh. But when I became a Christian, my allegiance changed (which was quite hard admittedly) but I knew I had to be around like minded people who loved God and loved his word. I had to throw out all of my old records because at that time, I could not handle it because of the affect it had on me. Looking back now, this was definitely God changing me

Now I am not saying that you should never mingle with non christians or old friends but when they begin to have a negative affect on your spiritual life, then maybe its time to loosen the reins.

This is also so true with ministers of the gospel that hang around together. Of course there are exceptions and but generally you can have a good idea the where a pastor or minister stands theologically by the people that they have to speak at their meetings and conferences and the ministers that they ‘hang around’ with.

The best analogy I can give is if you are a sheep, you feel uncomfortable being in a pig pen and vice versa. If you are comfortable in a pig pen, then it is probably because you are a pig. Do you feel comfortable hanging around with people who constantly swear, get drunk etc. Then it maybe a good idea to examine yourself to see if you are truly saved.

So my advice is find wise people and be in their company as much as possible. It could literally save your life

2 Corinthians 13:5 says that we should

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

So how do you make sure that you are not disqualified? How do you make sure that you are not in that number of many church-going people who will say to God on Judgement Day

….Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then (he) will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’(Matthew 7:22-23)

How do you know you are saved?

Well first of all, you should be displaying (or starting to display) the fruit of the spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)

If you are continually displaying immorality, impurity, sensuality,idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness and carousing, then this is a good indication that you are not saved and as it says in Galatians 5:21, those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God

The books of 1 and 2 John also give you a list of things to look out for ‘so that you may know that you have eternal life.’ (1 John 5:13)

  • You will not walk in darkness. If you do, then you do not practice or live by the truth (1 John 1:6)
  • You will have fellowship with other christians (1 John 1:7)
  • You recognise your sinful nature (1 John 1:8,10)
  • You confess your sins (1 John 1:9)
  • You obey and keep his commandments (1 John 2:3,5 ,1 John 3:24, 1 John 5:2)
  • You will not hate your brother or sister but love them (1 John 2:9,11 , 1 John 3:10 and 1 John 4:7-8,12-13, 20-21, 2 John 1:5)
  • You will not love the world or the things of the world (1 John 2:15)
  • You will do the will of God (1 John 2:17)
  • You believe the divinity of Jesus Christ and that he has come in the flesh (1 John 2:22 and 1 John 4:2-4,15, 2 John 1:7)
  • Biblical truth will be abiding in you (1 John 2:24)
  • You understand the righteousnes of Christ (1 John 2:29)
  • You will be practicing righteousness (1 John 2:29)
  • You will not habitually practice sin (1 John 3:8,9, 1 John 5:18 )
  • You will have compassion for those in need (1 John 3:17)
  • You believe that Jesus is the Christ and is the Son of God (1 John 5:1)
  • You abide in the doctrine of Christ (2 John 1:9)

Now am I saying that if you are missing any of these then you are not saved? Of course not. It is not about perfection but about direction. You should be moving in the direction of doing the things above. This is called progressive sanctification where God is doing an inward work in you.

Other questions to ask yourself are:

  • Am I growing in holiness?
  • What is my relationship with sin?
  • Do I have a struggle with sin or do I justify it? (Read Romans 7:7-25). Struggling with sin is actually a good sign believe it or not
  • Do I hate it more and more or do I try and justify it?
  • Do I have a love for Gods word, the bible?
  • Do I hunger and thirst for righteousness?
  • Do I embrace biblical correction from someone else?
  • Do I have a concern for the lost?

If the answer to the majority of these questions is no, then I would seriously doubt your salvation and I would urge you to repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus Christ and in him alone. For more information click here. If you are a new christian and struggling in your daily walk, click here.

I will leave you with a video from Paul Washer on this topic

Selah!!

If you are anything you like me, you are probably more consistent with your bible study life then your prayer life (or vice versa). It is so easy to not make dedicated prayer a priority in our daily christian life and what normally happens is that God gets the left overs at the end of the day (if he gets anything at all). My friend once told me that urgency is the enemy of importance and what he meant by that is we often do things which we think is urgent e.g. housework at the expense of what is important i.e. spending time with God in prayer. Martha had the same problem

Luke 10:38-42

38Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.40But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”41But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;42but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Click here to listen to a message by John Piper that has helped me tremondously in changing my prayer life and making it consistent. I strongly recommend listening to it but if you want, you can read the transcript here

As a summary, let your prayer be

F – Free and Formed

A – Alone and Assembled

D – Desperate and Delighted

E – Explosive and Extended

S – Spontaneous and scheduled

And remember, your prayers will be answered in the way you asked…..or in a better way

This quiz is taken from A Little Leaven

It will show you the absurdity of the modern gospel that is proclaimed today

Hopefully it won’t be too hard because each question is multiple choice. To make the quiz a little easier I’ve also provided links for all of the answers so that you can get more information before you make your decision. Are you ready? Here we go.

PetercrucifiedQuestion 1

This is a painting depicting the crucifixion of the the Apostle Peter (click on the image to enlarge it). Church history tells us that he was martyred by the Emperor Nero in Rome. However, Peter didn’t feel worthy enough to experience the same death as our Lord and savior Jesus Christ so he was crucified upside down. It took several days for him to die.

Why was the Apostle Peter martyred?

A. Because he was caught preaching a sermon series on How to Have the Greatest Sex Ever?

B. Because he was teaching people how to love themselves?

C. Because he proclaimed forgiveness of sins and salvation alone through Jesus Christ?

(The correct answer is C. If you thought it was A or B, then you need to read your Bible more)

Beheadin
Question 2

The statue to the right depicts the beheading of the Apostle Paul (click on the image to enlarge it). He was also murdered by the Emperor Nero. Because he was a Roman citizen, Paul’s death was ‘easier’ than Peter’s. Paul was beheaded.

Why was the Apostle Paul martyred?

A. He stubbornly preached ‘Christ Crucified for Sinners‘. A message that is a stumbling block for Jews and foolishness for Greeks.

B. He was caught teaching people “How to Become a Better You” and was overheard sharing the 7 keys for improving your life everyday.

(The Answer is A. If you chose B then you are probably attending a heretical church)

Question 3

Watch the video posted below. It is one of the deleted scenes from the movie Gladiator. It depicts Christians being fed to the lions in the coliseum. After viewing the video answer the question below.

Why were these Christians put to death in the Coliseum?

A. Because they were teaching that God wants people to be rich and prosperous.

B. Because they were teaching the 10 Commandments of Health and Wellness.

C. Because they trusted in Christ for their salvation and the forgiveness of their sins.

(The correct answer is C. If you got this one wrong please send us an email and we will pray for you.)

Question 4 – (This is the toughest one. Be sure to read all the options before you answer.)

Africa_poverty_2This picture depicts a poverty stricken African child infected with the AIDS virus. He will be dead within the year.

Which message do you think he needs to hear the most?

A. Learn How to Have a Dream Family

B. The Gospel According to the Beatles.

C. How to discover his life’s purpose.

D. How to Live Your Best Life Now

E. Overcoming Dysfunctional Relationships

F. How to have an iLife.

G. That Jesus Christ died on the cross to atone for his sins and that he needs to repent and believe the gospel.

(The correct answer is G. If you got this one wrong then we REALLY need to talk. Have your Christian friends contact us and we’ll schedule an intervention for you.)

Have you noticed that none of the popular American sermon themes seem appropriate in these contexts. There is a reason for that. The reason is because too many pastors are not preaching sound doctrine. Instead, they are preaching messages that tickle the ears of the unsaved in order to attract a crowd.

Lets get back to the gospel

The video will speak for itself

Then ask yourself, what are you doing?

Selah!!

Before I say what I am going to say, let me make it clear from the start that I am in no way saying that the people that I am about to talk about are not sincere, nor am I saying that they are not saved. That is not the point of my topic but I think there is a bigger problem which needs to be addressed and that is the understanding of a new believer about salvation.

So what is my problem? The problem that I have is that whenever I listen to a tesimony before a baptism, I seldomly hear the person say that their reason for coming to Christ and getting baptised is because they recognise that they have sinned against God and that they have repented of their sins and put their trust in Jesus Christ alone recognising the work that Jesus did on the cross in paying the penalty for their sins (or words to that effect).

On the contrary what I do hear (and if I may say, on a regular basis) is something along these lines.

I was bought up in church when I was young and I knew about God and then when I got older and decided to do my own thing, then ‘fill in the blank’ happened in my life and then I realised that I needed to go back to church etc

Or

My friend invited me to church and it was very friendly and the people were very nice and I have never stopped coming since

Or

I gave my life to Jesus because my life was empty……

Or

Even though I enjoyed my life, I knew that there was a hole in my heart that only God could fill…..

Why is this? Could it be that we do not make it clear to them what the actual gospel is? Or is it that we have reduced God to a person who just helps us through life like a spare tyre?

One time I asked a few people why they came to Christ and they basically said the above statements. When I mentioned that they should have come to Christ because of their sins…well lets say that I was not the favorite person in the room and I got a backlash. Now of course people can grow in their faith and understand this later on but isnt this the basics of christianity? Shouldn’t they know this foundation upon which everything else is built. Even if it is not articulate, surely it should be mentioned somewhere but the fact of the matter is that I hardly hear it. Once a person truly understands the sacrifice that Jesus made by diverting the wrath that they should have received, you cannot but mention it.

I think that this is indicative of christianity on a whole where we omit the gospel out of so much these days that we are suprised when we come against a train wreck later on down the road. Lets get back to repentance and faith (Acts 20:21)

Below are the tracts that I pass out during the normal course of the day.

First of all there is the Million Pound Note tract:

millionpoundfinal2.jpg

These are great because they look realistically like a £10 note so are easy to pass out or leave on a train or bus. For information about the tract click here.

Then there is the ‘Are you a Good Person?‘ tract:

p11.jpg

This is excellent because it goes through what I would normally ask a person face to face and if for any reason, I do not have time, the tract does it for me. People like comics so are more likely to read it in this format. It also goes through the law for ‘by the law is the knowledge of sin’ (Romans 3:20). The gospel is very clear in this tract. To see the whole tract click here.

Then lastly there is the ‘It’s Your Life‘ tract

It’s your life

This is another excellent comic-book style tract which I love and makes people think about what will happen after they die. I give these out to black people as they are more likely to read it if the characters are the same colour as themselves. See an explanation here. To see the full contents of this tract , click here.

I am no big evangelist but just a simple born again believer who recognises the commission that Christ gave to ALL believers to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” Mark 16:15.

I try an incorporate it into my normal day when going to work, going to the shops etc. It is not always practical to speak to a person depending on the circumstance so giving out a tract is an ideal way to give someone the gospel in these situations and it only takes a second.

Many people have got saved through gospel tracts. Imagine, if you just gave out one tract a day, that would be 365 people that you would have reached with the gospel in a year and thats just one person doing it. If you cant do one a day, how about one a week? One a month? All I am trying to say is start somewhere.

Do not underestimate the power of the humble gospel tract.