Over the past few days, I have had a heavy heart for some of those that I love.. friends and family. I have been broken and burdened over so many, so deeply. They are often on my heart but sometimes I just seem to feel that burden greater. I think these are times when the Holy Spirit prompts us to be in great prayer for those we know who are lost. I fear that there may be some of you who read this who just close this out. 'Ahh.. another post about God.' I pray that you will hang in with this one. R helped me with it and I truly feel that the Holy Spirit is in this. (It's long, I know.. but worth it)
Satan has deceived them and filled them full of lies. My prayer has been that the Holy Spirit would remove the blinders that he, the father of all lies (John 8:44), has placed over their eyes and the eyes of their heart. Oh that the glorious truth of the Holy God would be revealed to them.
Not, only does Satan deceive, but our very own heart can be deceptive. It is sinful and wicked.
Jeremiah 17:9 ~ “ The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
What I'm saying here is that so many of those who I love believe a lie. They believe that they are in right standing with God, yet they are not. I think that the reason for this is that they are holding on to false assurances in regard to their eternity.
The Bible says....
Matthew 7:16-20 ~ "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them."
I want you to understand that I am not being 'judgemental' in the way that most would use the term. In fact most who accuse Christians of being judgemental do not fully understand what the Word of God even says about the subject. I am simply assessing their lifestyle, their fruit (as mentioned above). Is this not what Nathan did with King David? I long for them to be reconciled and restored unto God through confession and repentance (Gal. 6:1).
Instead of going how we feel or even what we believe why don't we use the Scripture to help us see if we are in fact in right standing with God. Is that important to you, that you be in right standing with God? If so, please stick with me through this. I am praying for you.
If God's Word is absolute truth, then why not use it as our assurance. I might add that these that I love dearly do profess to believe in God's Word and would profess to know Christ as well. But I want to also note that even the demons believe and tremble (James 2:19 ~ You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!). I just wanted to add that because some may believe that I'm talking about those who are openly, publicly living in complete rebellion. While in actuality they are living in rebellion against God, they don't see it as such. It is not as obvious as some, but the gravity of the outcome of their lifestyle is the same. Don't take my word for it, take His.
1 John is an amazing book to read concerning our relationship with Christ. I often share it with those who I have shared the gospel with at the pregnancy center. It offers us many 'tests' to look at concerning our Christianity. And in fact, does the Bible not say to 'examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith (2 Corin. 13:5)"? 1 John 5:13 gives us the reason why John actually wrote this book. He says: "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God." So let's take a look at a few of these verses.
1 John 1:6 "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth."
A true Christian will walk in His light. Does your life contradict scripture? Or does it line up with scripture?
1 John 1:8-10 ~ " If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us."
A true Christian will be broken over his sin and will be lead to confession. Does your sin grieve you? Does it move you to repentance? The Bible says in Matthew 5:4, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Do you mourn over your sin or does it even bother you at all?
1 John 2:3-5 ~ "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him."
A true Christian strives to keep (perfect tense, meaning continually) God's commandments. Are God's commandments a burden to keep? In Matthew 11:3o, Jesus says that his "yoke is easy' and his 'burden is light'. A true Christian will desire to keep all of God's law and it will break their heart when they fail.
1 John 2:6 ~ "He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked."
A true Christian strives to walk like Christ, like our heavenly Father. Are we mimicking Christ in our daily lives? Or do we just like to mimic Him at Church... or around the Christians that we know?
1 John 2:9-11 ~ "He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes."
Who are your friends? Is is a common occurrence in your life to discuss the things of God? Does the Word of God just flow freely from your mouth. Is He present in your conversations? Matthew 12:43b says, "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." A true Christian cannot talk enough about their Savior and Lord. It's impossible to keep silent about Him.
1 John 2:15-17 ~ "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever."
Do you love the things of this world? And no, I do not mean creation. What kind of music do you listen to, what kind of movies do you watch, what kind of television shows do you watch? Most of every kind of secular entertainment is disgraceful to God. Does that bother you, or do you just let it slide? What you watch, listen to and do are exactly what you love. As a child of God we should be watching, listening to and doing things that glorify God.. the Bible says that when we receive Christ, we become new creatures in Him (2 Corin. 5:17). Is that true of you?
1 John 2:19 ~ "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us."
Are you continuing in the faith, have you continued in the faith? It is scary to me to hear someone who professes Christianity but then also talks about a huge 'break' from church/Christian lifestyle in their past. God promises to continue the work that He starts in us. He doesn't start it.. then stop it for a few years.. then start it again.. and so on. God would be an unfit Father if he just left us to stay in our sin. Now, we won't be perfect, of course. But we will daily strive to follow Him. A true Christian will not stay in rebellion. Have you ever said, "You don't have to go to church to be a Christian." While that statement is true, church attendance is evidence of salvation. Christians want to fellowship with other believers. The Bible also tells us to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Heb. 10:25). Or maybe your church attendance is slack... "I'll go when it fits my schedule". How can one person miss church and it not really bother them much and then another miss and it destroy them? Simple: One is saved, the other lost.
1 John 2:22-23 ~ "Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also."
A true Christian embraces all of God and His law. Do you or have you created a god to suit your own beliefs. I believe this to be very true of many I know. The god they 'serve' is not the God of the Bible! The God of the Bible doesn't overlook sin. He is holy and righteous. Many people want to make Jesus Savior, so that He will save them from eternal hell. But they don't want to make Him Lord. He cannot be one without the other. He is both and He must be both in your life. Dr. Adrian Rogers said it this way, "If Jesus is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all."
1 John 2:29 ~ "If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him."
A true Christian practices righteousness. Does this statement reflect your lifestyle? We are called to be set apart, to live holy and righteous lives. Seriously think about these things. Is your life pure? Is it holy? Do you life differently, drastically differently, than the world.. or do you just blend in? Part of living righteously is hungering for His Word. Do you hunger to be in His word? Do you desire to hear from Him? Or is a pretty email with scripture or a one paragraph devotion enough for you? A child of God will love His word.
1 John 3:3 ~ "And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure."
A true believer hopes and longs for the day of Christs return. Oh, let it be soon. A true Christian will purify himself daily in hope of His return. Are you busy with His work? Or are you just busy? There is a huge difference in the actions of those waiting on Christ's return than those who aren't.
I know that there is a lot of information in these verses and in the near future I plan on posting individually about each verse in more depth. For those of us who do have that 'hope of Him', I pray that these verses are an encouragement to you. These can be very key verses in sharing your faith. And for those who do not have that hope my prayer, as I said above, is that the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth. I often pray:
Lord, remove the blinders from their eyes. Reveal the truth of your Son. Reveal the truth of your Holy Word. Reveal to them the sin that keeps them from knowing You. Do a work in their life like only You can. I pray, Lord, for their soul to be saved. And in all things I give You glory!