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Deceptively close to heaven.

Did you know a person can believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and still not be saved? Many people have been belief and had preached into them these Biblical truths: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved" as quoted fromActs 16:31, or from Christ's own words in John 3:16, "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life", as well as other Scriptures that say salvation comes by "faith (belief) alone" and it's not as a result of works as clearly explained in Ephesians 2:8-9. These statements are absolutely true! It is only by faith we are saved, and only by belief that God redeems us and adopts us into his eternal family as heirs with Christ! We cannot earn any of it.

So what am I saying? I am here to tell you that some of the most hideous heresies come from taking Bible passages out of context of the whole counsel of God as given by the Holy Spirit inspired Word. While is it true Jesus and Paul and all the new testament writers spoke much about the fact that God saves those who "believe", we must absolutely know, teach and preach how God defines belief! Jesus and the Apostles all wrote much about what this faith is. It's not enough to bark out one line Bible quotes like these 3 verses above if we do not very clearly define Biblical Faith as Scriptures define it.

All sorts of well meaning people have "Faith", but are lost and still in their sins.  We love to make pretty signs and symbols that say "Believe" or "Have Faith" or talk about the 1st Corinthians 13 concluding statement of the greatest attributes to possess as Faith, Hope and Love!

But we must be very diligent and very careful to not let these words stand alone and be defined by every person's whims! They are useless and meaningless left on their own. We cannot and MUST not assume other people know what the heck we are talking about when we say, "Just have Faith"!

There are two types of Faith according to Christ. One type that deceives and one type that saves. Jesus made it clear many times what saving faith really is, and what kind of love is good, and what type of hope is ultimately beneficial and of lasting value.

You see you can have faith in God for the wrong things. You may hope in the wrong things and you may have love for the wrong things. It's not enough to say Faith- Hope- Love and sing Kumbaya and let's all get along.

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Jesus came to bear a CROSS, and so too must YOU, if he is to be YOUR master.  Many people are just "fans", but few are the "followers". Here is the difference in people who believe and are not saved and those who believe and are saved. True Biblical faith is repentant faith. True faith is humble faith. True faith is obedient faith. It's not perfect faith, we all stumble, and God is gracious, but real saving faith costs us greatly.  Matter of fact, it costs you your entire life. Jesus said, If anyone wants to come after me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. (Mark 8:34)

Here again Jesus is telling us clearly that you can believe and do all sorts of great things, but be as lost as any sinner in hell! Listen closely to his words. 

“Not all those who say ‘You are our Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven. The only people who will enter the kingdom of heaven are those who do what my Father in heaven wants. On the last day many people will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, we spoke for you, and through you we forced out demons and did many miracles'. Then I will tell them clearly, ‘Get away from me, you who do evil. I never knew you'. “Everyone who hears my words and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. It rained hard, the floods came, and the winds blew and hit that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on rock. Everyone who hears my words and does not obey them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. It rained hard, the floods came, and the winds blew and hit that house, and it fell with a big crash.”   -Matthew 7:21-27 NCV. Hearing is a form of belief here, but effective belief is that which compels us to obey.

"Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them." Jhn 14:21. ('Has' is the belief and 'keeps' is the obey)

Conclusion is this: Jesus is telling us that by faith we alone are saved; yes this is true, but faith has feet; it follows and obeys him.

A quick nutshell Gospel message and way to more accurately quote John 3:16 in Biblical context is like this: define belief biblically by adding obediently for clarification. "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes (has obedient faith) in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life."

When you first have faith, real faith, it comes by Holy Spirit new birth, then this same Spirit God leads you into dying to self and living for Jesus.  If this is not your life experience; If your love for Jesus is not a compelling drive to sacrifice your life for him and seek out ways to better serve him, you too may be an idol lover, and your love may well be in vain. Many lost Hindus love Jesus and have shrines dedicated to him in their homes and pray to him also.

Examine your hearts and your lives. Don't be fooled by 'out of context' Bible passages that get you close to heaven, but never really knowing the this living God that demands you bear your cross, just as he bore his.

You don't have to be among those who hear, "Depart from me, I never knew you!"

Repentance and obedience is in order for us today and tomorrow. Just as you received Christ Jesus as LORD, so walk in him... Those who 'know' him, who received him in repentant humble obedient faith must go daily in this attitude.  Teach others likewise and preach a complete Gospel message, lest you lead others deceptively close to heaven, but never helping them enter in.

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LGBT people who repent can have the forgiveness of God.

AMNESTY! AMNESTY! God's loving offer of amnesty through Jesus Christ the Son is available to all. No matter how "minor" or "horrible" a sinner you are! All sin will banish you from the holiness of God forever and make you face his eternal wrath. God patiently waits to allows people to come to see his love and truth. Homosexuality is clearly one of the most hideous sins listed in the Word of God.  But as always has been and always will be, the Gospel of Jesus Christ begins with REPENTANCE. Jesus Christ preached, "Repent and Believe the Good News" (Mk 1:15) This means we must agree with God what is sin and turn from it. Once we agree and turn to Christ from the sin, Jesus Saves. Only then.I am not here to gay bash, I love all people from all races, but I refuse to condone any sin as acceptable before man or God... but to clarify in the most loving way possible the truth so you too can be FREE and no longer a slave to sin!   All behaviors are controllable, you are not an animal, but made in the image of God. God will provide the way for those who really seek him. You cannot both have God and your sins. The two are opposites. You cannot redefine what is sin and what is not sin, try as you may, that too is sin. All throughout God's teachings sodomy is called sin and one that the Israelites were even told to punish with the death penalty in the old testament Levitical law. New testament teachings are likewise revealing that it is a perversion of God-given sexuality between husband and wife male and female.  All sex outside of this God ordained marriage covenant is sinful and a perversion and likewise is an offense to the holiness of God. Yes all sex outside of marriage is a perversion of God also. It is sin. So is uncontrolled lust of the mind.

The LBGT community of homosexuals must repent from the sins of sodomy just like I had to repent from the sins of being a womanizer with sexual lusts and perversions in order to find peace with God.  I was born with the natural desire to lust, and to commit all sorts of wickedness! But being born with that desire does not make it good or right!  So please do not try to excuse your sin by saying you were born that way. Serial killers say the same thing, claiming it is just the way they are!

This is true of every human being because like the prophet and king David spoke under Holy Spirit inspiration, in Psalm 51:5, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” and as Scripture declares,  "There is no one righteous, not even one" (Rom 3:10) And we all will die and face God on judgment day to give account of our actions and lives. No one person escapes or will have their friends to cheer them on in their old tired excuses. For is is appointed unto man once to die and after that Judgement. (Heb 9:27)

There is no room for pride and smugness on anyone's part here!  If you are human you are likewise a sinner in need of repentance and salvation.  We all are but by the grace of God one moment away from judgment and hell if we have not chosen to submit to God and follow Christ. Christ followers are not sin free, but saved by grace and struggling to overcome their sin natures  because they have chosen to agree with God what is right and good and to follow him... ( no matter what your vice may be).  God wants to free us from the power of our sin nature and he can do that with anything he calls sin, even homosexuality or wanton lust of the mind by "straight" people. Jesus came to set us free and in him we gain exactly that. But you must choose to accept him on God's terms, not your own.

repentance

To clarify, Repentance, or turning from a sin does not mean you do not struggle with it and fight the temptations to do it, nor that you will be perfect in keeping from it always, but it means you in your heart  and actions agree God is right and that you must follow him and not your own fleshly urges. God then gives the power to overcome and leave the life of sin. But power from God comes through his Holy Spirit to those who repent and receive Christ as "Lord God", Master of your life.... not as some good luck life insurance genie who magically waves a wand over your sins and allows you to keep on sinning.

Salvation comes through really accepting Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, believing that his bloody death on the cross was payment for your sins before God's holy righteous requirement and that his resurrection from death to bodily alive to the throne of God was evidence of new life and power available to you. Jesus says we must agree with God, turn from our sins and follow him. If you are willing and say " Yes Lord Jesus" then you will be set free by this truth also.

Jesus said "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:36)

If you stop fighting God and surrender to Christ you can find real rest and peace. Come to Jesus. Find life.

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Why the massive suffering?

Are people who suffer catastrophes worse sinners than you or I who have it easy? Jesus answered this saying..  "No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” -Luke 13:5 ESV

You see but by the grace of God, there go we. No one is good. There is no one who continually does good and never sins as holy God had revealed to us. He has numbered our days and has sworn his Spirit will not strive with corrupted flesh forever. (Gen 6:3)

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Would you have answered this Question like Jesus did? He sees life from an entirely different perspective than most humans do; from the eternality of our souls, not from a narrow few earthly  years view.

Pastor John Piper put it this way. "Now ponder for a moment what you would have answered at this point. What does your theology of suffering and sin call for in the face of this kind of tragedy? What Jesus said was this. He said, "No, their sin was not extraordinarily horrible. It was ordinarily horrible, just like yours. And if you don't repent, you too will experience a horrible end, all of you." In other words instead of saying that they are no more sinful than we are and being amazed at their death, he says that we are just as sinful as they are and should get ready to die like they did. What Jesus teaches, then, is that all of us are extremely sinful. We are so sinful that calamities and disasters should not shock us as though something unwarranted were coming upon innocent human beings. There are no innocent human beings. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). "There is none righteous, no not one" (Romans 3:10). And what should amaze us in our sin is "not" that some are taken in calamity, but that we are spared and given another day to repent. The really amazing thing in this universe is not that guilty sinners perish, but that God is so slow to anger that you and I can sit here this morning and have one more chance to repent."

I agree what is amazing is not that people die in disasters, but that we all do not. We we see such horrific things let us have compassion on our fellow man and do what we can to help and demonstrate love, because but by the graceful patience of God for us, we too should face calamity, and someday will. You will die in this body.  But more importantly, let this put a sense of urgency in our hearts to reach more people with the Gospel message of peace with God through repentance and faith in Christ. Because all human souls are immortal and will either have true life in Christ and resurrection, or perish in hell forever once our time here comes to an end.     Do you really believe this? Then do something about it. Change everything and make this your passion. Follow Jesus Christ and lead others to faith in him. He was dead serious.

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Questions to ponder and comments from James 4:1-10

Do I ask God for my needs, or do I just fight it out of life myself?Do my prayers go unanswered? Do I ask God with correct motives, for his glory, or for my own pleasures? Am I really loyal to God? Do I realize the world is against God and is his enemy? Do I remember that being a friend and lover of the world is being an enemy of God? Do I dare ask God for things while still loving the world, and really expect him to bless my prayers; really? Do I think God's Word wasn't serious when it said, "The Spirit that God made to live in us wants us for himself alone?"

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It's time we examine our lives and come near to God in Christ Jesus. Change our laughing into crying, our happiness into sadness, humble ourselves in repentance in the Lord's presence. Then He will lift us up and give us life and honor. This is how we begin to see the power of God in our lives and our prayers get answered.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. - Ps 37:4 In delighting in him, our desires become God's desires.

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The Constancy of God

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. -Heb 13:8 Here we see that Christ never Changes, speaking of his eternal qualities, certainly at some point the Son was without human form and the point of immaculate conception joined with human form, so we can see that some form of change occurred. So what is it the Hebrews passage is referring to? His attributes.  Hebrews is using a description of him only used of Yahweh (Jehovah) God. God's divine attributes never changes. God alone never changes and remains the same forever. This is how he describes himself. Even his name "I Am" implies this. He said "I am the LORD,  I do not change" in Malachi 3:6

Jesus being God the Son, is also called eternally unchanging, of course speaking of his divine attributes, since the Father, Son and Spirit are One God, all the same essence. I dislike inconsistency , I suppose because consistency is something about God that is so beautiful to me, and my hope is built on it. I myself have to work on being more consistently. So I am preaching much to myself here. Something we humans would do well to learn from God and to emulate, is his nature of consistent covenant love. We love to soak in the love of God and be it's benefactors, but God does not give us life and his deep love so that we keep it to ourselves. No, his Spirit is seen as a river of water; the water of life that is "flowing" from the throne, the very presence of God and reaching out to each one of us.

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We are designed to be Holy Spirit living reservoirs, to allow other people to drink of Jesus Christ.  This is what Jesus offered the woman at the well, and all who come to him. Now a dead stagnant lake has no outlet of what comes into it. But a living vibrant lake flows fresh water in and out. We must wisely learn to commit, out of love for God and others, to give and serve others like God does, as a covenant of love, that does not fail when the other party fails to keep up their expected part. True love is not just acting out of emotions and "flighty", but steadfastly gives. Emotional love is selfish, really to meet ones own feelings, but covenant love does what is right and keeps on giving with or without the fickle feelings. Let us be people of commitment to God and others faithfully month by month, day by day, serving like God serves us with consistency.  I see so many flighty inconsistent Christians wanting to serve God out of sporadic emotions and have little to no unchanging consistency. God is consistent and unchanging. Let us be like your heavenly Father, and make wise loving covenants to serve and do so consistently .  This changes lives here for eternity, as your reservoir of Holy Spirit living becomes pure as what God flows into you is consistently flowing life into others who need living water of God. The dead sea has nearly no life, because nothing is flowing out. Don't be like that, but Be alive for God. Have many outlets consistently flowing for his Spirit.   This is holy and pleasing to God, this is living faithfully.

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