Friday, January 24, 2014

How Personal is the Faith?


I know people who will say, if asked, that they are believers in Jesus Christ and they are headed for heaven. They believe in grace and they can give an acceptable form of the gospel and most go to some local church which falls well within the acceptable parameters of the evangelical community. They have been baptized and they have given money and time to support their church which also supports missions. They carry their Bibles to their church on Sundays and open it to the passages requested by their pastor and many even attend a Bible study class on Sunday mornings. There are multiplied millions of such people who live in America.

But there is something wrong. Very wrong. Like I have said I know many of these people. Most seem nice and are responsible American citizens. They keep up their house, they pay their bills, and they raise their children to be responsible and moral and even to become professing believers. They can and will converse with you about politics or the economy or sports or the weather or a number of topics. But if you look deeper than those kinds of superficial exchanges you will find that they have little if any genuine hunger for Christ and His kingdom.

They will gladly give you their opinion about Miley Cyrus or higher taxes or the current president, but rarely if ever will they, or can they, discuss what Jesus has ministered to them recently. If you speak of being broken before the Lord their expression reveals a combination of bewilderment and suspicion. They are uncomfortable hearing or discussing such sacred things, and that kind of sharing is done on a spiritual level about which they are completely unfamiliar. And if while sharing something deeply spiritual and personal you get a little choked up they are extremely uncomfortable since they have no common reference point with which to process such a display.

That requires a basic and fundamental question about the essence of the faith that claims to know and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. How personal is it and what does the word “personal” mean? Is the Christian faith something that can be acknowledged and embraced by nodding to a certain set of doctrines? And after acknowledging personally the veracity of those doctrines what should be the fruits of that confession? When I was confirmed in the Lutheran Church as a teenager we had to finish three years of catechism and then about 10 of us were confirmed as members of the church and we took our first communion. In effect we were publicly acknowledged as true believers in Jesus Christ. But many if not most of us were not. The year was 1969.

And how can I say I was not a true believer? Because after being born again in 1975 I had no doubt that I had been born again and had been lost before. And how could I be so sure of the difference? Well there are millions of believers who have similar testimonies. You see before 1975 I had no hunger for Christ and the things pertaining to His kingdom. I did not read the Bible, I did not pray, I did not discuss Jesus, I did not witness, I had no interest in missions, and in general nothing had really changed. I was a member of a church and that was the extent of my spiritual life. But is that what is a revelation of an authentic experience with the Risen Christ? Is that a legitimate testimony of being born again and walking in the Spirit?

We are faced with quite a spectacle in the acceptable community of the faith here in America. It has been birthed over many, many decades and other generations have seen this spectacle although this generation has not only seen it in great volume, but this spectacle has now been embraced by the evangelical community. There are many millions of people who have as much hunger for Christ as did I before 1975 and they also have been baptized and accepted or confirmed as true believers in Jesus Christ. I hope you can see the problem. I hope the problem is revealed to you in such a way it shakes your being. This is not just a problem…this is a shocking crisis.

And let us be honest with ourselves as well. We who can understand what I am saying and can see what has happened? We have become inoculated to this situation. What I mean is that we know and live with and even are related to some of these people I have described and we no longer have an urgency and passion in our prayers and dealings with them because we have allowed familiarity to strip us of what should be deep concern. And over the decades these kinds of professing believers who really express almost not hunger and thirst for Christ have been assimilated into the church and are treated as full blown believers whose faith is within acceptable parameters. And it is very difficult to remain active inside that kind of compromised culture and not be compromised ourselves. But if you step outside the safe and inoculated atmosphere of the institutional church you should be able to see more clearly what has happened and the dire circumstances that many church members may be walking in but who remain unaware and ambivalent to it all.

Am I suggesting I know who is a true believer and who is not? Of course not. But what I am saying that something is very wrong and the situation has many profound and tragic implications. And do we even care about these people anymore, or have we grown so accustomed to the pitiful state of the faith that they are allowed to walk among us without strong prayers or tearful overtures? And here is the ultimate implication. Is it possible that many millions of church members who are defined by my description will ultimately be revealed as being unregenerate? Are we willing to embrace their passive profession and let the chips fall where they may in eternity?

I have found so many of these same people who are aggressive in their judgments of unsaved people. They speak all kinds of harsh words about people based upon a miniscule knowledge of who they are and their circumstance. Just recently a man named Richard Sherman made a spectacular play to win the game and send his team to the Super Bowl. A few minutes later a reporter shoved a microphone in his face and Sherman went off about his prowess and his opponent’s lack of it. For about 40 seconds he was over the top. The reporter was a white woman and Sherman is black with long dreadlocks.

Well that short exchange sent off a firestorm among all kinds of people. Many were offended and outraged, and many came to his defense even though they thought he may have made an heat of the moment mistake. But here is my point. I have spoken to professing believers who witnessed that incident and some were outraged and judged Sherman harshly. They said he was way out of line and acted like a thug. Some black people receive the term thug as related to the “n” word. But still they were very visceral in their judgment of Sherman. But when I told them Sherman had apologized it did not dilute their judgment. When I told them that Sherman had come out of the deep ghetto it did not dilute their reaction. When I told them that Sherman received a scholarship to Stanford University and graduated with a 3.9 grade point average it meant nothing to them. When I asked them if they had watched any other interviews with Sherman some said they had not but that did not temper their feelings. He was a thug. And when I said he had made a mistake the reply was that he had made a BIG mistake. This is from professing believers.

I am astounded and taken aback by such indiscriminate condemnation and complete lack of mercy or redemption. But do you see how the natural man reacts when he is fortifying his religious brand? Morality is the mortar by which the fleshly man builds his religious house and the sins and failures of others often provide more bricks for additions to that house. And those bricks are cemented in by the mortar of that person’s own self serving view of his own morality and Biblical prism. And when that is the case then where is any spirituality? Where is the understanding, to say nothing of the passion, to represent the Person and teachings and Spirit of Jesus Christ?

There is a large segment of the evangelical community who see and understand Jesus through doctrinal and moral eyes and have no real understanding or revelation of what Jesus actually taught and how He lived and, yes, how and why He died. And if we take that painfully to its logical conclusion they see another Jesus. This is serious business and we must address it while striving sacrificially to remain broken and humble ourselves. There must not be any hubris as we open our eyes to what is happening in the Spirit. People’s souls are at stake and what we see and do must all be to glorify Jesus and not highlight any of us. In fact as we understand the vacuous nature of the church we should also examine ourselves. We still have far to go and we must beseech the Spirit to enlarge our hunger and thirst for Christ as well as our capacity to love and serve Him.
I will have been saved for forty years next year. And within that forty years there have been times when I was cold toward God. I knew it and of course so did He. But I could not be happy with that kind of life. I knew something was wrong and sometimes I extended that condition but I could never escape that conviction within regardless of how small I tried to make it. I had been with Christ intimately and in the sweetness of worship and obedience, but now He seemed very distant. He was still there but I wasn't. And yet there are people who can live their entire life like that but with seemingly no conviction at all. That is a profound inconsistency concerning a true believer.

So how personal does the faith have to be before it is the true faith? Deeply and profoundly and observably personal and it should lead all of into a humility which renders us broken and submitted before Him. Anything else is just religion wrapped in morality.


Anonymous said...

Very well said!

A relationship with Christ can't become personal or intimate without a willingness to be tested by Him. Multitudes know some detail about Christ but have as yet not submitted to Him wholeheartedly.

And multitudes are perishing because He isn't hallowed as Their Teacher, Savior and Lord.
Man needs to learn from Christ of his need to be purified. Without brokeness and contrition man can't truly follow Christ.

Spiritually lazy people don't cherish the words of Christ. Neither He or His words are preeminent in their life.

Those who treasure sinless Christ endeavor to share His words and thinking and delight in telling others about how He fulfilled His mission! Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Reine Gnade

Cherie c. said...

I have written before how as a believer and a follower of Christ I am undeservingly privy to much the Spirit wants to inform to anyone who would humble self and come to the Lord. This knowledge is both wonderful, because I do not deserve such entrance into the Spirit, but am grateful non the less, and frightful. Not frightful in a horror movie way, but in a sincere knowledge of truth. Truth that if we don't confess our sins, repent and received the Lord that we will live in torment FOREVER, if we can even fathom what forever is.

The Word says that fear is the beginning of knowledge. Most professing, not possessing Christians do not want to even think about the consequences of rejecting Christ. That is too negative a thought. No, it's not, they just don't want to be honest about who they really are. It is one excuse after another for why they think or believe this way. How do I know? Like I said many times, I was once them. But my Sabbath keeping sister is right on one thing that the Word says; if we go on ignoring (purposeful ignorance) God's truth about everything, we will hear Him say,"Depart from me, I never knew you." It is so ironic because she follows the very thing that keeps us from Grace. The Law.
I don't even want to think about that! But I have too. Why? Because I do not want to hear Him say that to me or to anyone for that matter. You cannot get any sadder or lower than to hear our Creator say those words to us. I would not wish that on my worst enemy.

I walk around each day on two double edged swords. One, trying to stay on that narrow path myself, two, having the burden of knowing what fate belies my friends, family, neighbors, and yes, MR. Sherman and Mr. Bieber. I feel the sting of tears now. DO NOT FEEL SORRY FOR ME. Although uncomfortable, I need to feel that sting! It is the only indicator that the Spirit is in me right now and that correction, and rebuke is keeping me in the Faith. I cannot even think of brothers and sisters in error without coming to tears. Think of the loss they will suffer before the Judgment Seat of Christ. I will also suffer loss. You cannot be in the faith and not know that we, ourselves will suffer loss. Why? Because we are still in the flesh, and sometimes we let sentimentality and other fleshly emotions make us worship things and people and even ourselves over the Lord. And that is a reality. But the loss can be minimized if we accept the discomfort, the ridicule the scorn the isolation, the disdain, the mockery. I am no great shake. I find it hard some days to even look at myself in the mirror, but when I think of the loss, not of any reward, but the loss of my Savior and God, I find it hard to breathe. I get a panic! Don't you?

My mission field is my husband and sons for now. My heart breaks for them, they absolutely hate to see me crying because they know why and they hate it. I am barely getting into heaven by the hem of the Jesus' garment, if that. The Gospel is our only hope, there is no other. And the battle is growing more intense with each passing day. Staying strong takes MUCH Prayer, much prayer.

i know Pastor Rick of what you are writing about and it breaks my heart. Tearing me up inside. And I am dreadfully weak and old and horrible and broken I can hardly speak or write. And a few want me to seek counseling. Why? Because they are uncomfortable that the tears and the panic are for them! They do not want to accept the truth. If they are not placating you they are angry with you. They would rather you care about some mishap in their life they complain about than their eternal future.

Cherie c. said...

My son Jeff, it is so sad I can hardly write it....he says that Jesus was a nice man who walked the earth in antiquity. That He is _ _ _ the son of God (fill in the blank, I cannot write it). That when he dies, he will just cease to exist. That we all came from nothing and the list goes on. My son the Astrophysicist. That Quantum Physics can prove how things that now suddenly came into existence. He was brought up on the Christian church. Yes, the American one. And the secular institutions we call halls of higher learning, sealed his coffin in disbelief. Any Christian, so called Christian University is APOSTATE. Embracing all the world has to give and maligning the Word of God as truth. It is my fault and nothing anyone can say will change that fact. If I had been who I am now perhaps things would be different. Perhaps my sons would love the Lord and want to seek Him with as much passion as they seek the latest sports news.

Cory, he was going to be a pastor. This really cause pain in my heart. He was going to preach the truth of the Gospel, but they killed that too. And all I can do is plead before the Lord.

Cherie c. said...

People tell me God doesn't change His mind because He sees the beginning from the end. That may have some truth to it, but His Word says this too:

Jonah 3
3 And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying,

2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.

3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey.

4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:

8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.

9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

See God can change His mind if we pray. Yes, He has seen the beginning from the end, and He even allows us a brief glimpse. But the details, and His Greatness is yet to be fully revealed. My only Hope is the Lord. How can you, follower of Jesus, not weep and feel a burden for those who profess and do not possess, and the lost of this world? How can you take the knowledge given to you by the Spirit of God and now feel the awesome and incredible power, and yet not have any fear? How believer, can you just read His Word and kneel before Him and not feel His presence and humble self. I cannot explain why I do as I do, especially knowing what I know, but when I allow myself, yep, all me, to not be in prayer and the Word, there is a profound sense of conviction that weighs heavy that sleep is impossible. And one thing we know for sure as told in the Word of God, the Holy Spirit so does bring to your remembrance the Word of God in every circumstance, and for this particular one, this post brings to mind is:
2 Peter 2:21
For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

Pastor asks "How Personal is the Faith"? I ask, and of myself too, how knowing what you are privy too, not have a personal faith? How do you get through each day knowing what you know and it not affect you? How, knowing what you know not be in prayer and in the Word? How, at this point in time, can we focus so much on the temporal, yes Sherman's rant is temporal, and not see the dying walking the street and entering into buildings with steeples? How can we let a day go by that we are not weeping for the sorrow we see each day and sometimes that sorrow comes in the form of someone laughing. The urgency of this fallen world is no laughing matter. True Joy is from the Lord and that is rare these days. My joy is only in the Lord as my heart grows with Love for Him even in despair.

How is the question of the day. What is your answer?

your sister in Christ Jesus

Anonymous said...

Dear Cherie panic isn't something God wants you to do. Recall that God's love is calming! You will find strength in stillness of soul and spirit.

Recall Psalm 46:10 which says, Be still and know that I am God. God's will for Christians is to be anxious for nothing. Anxiety or panic harms man. When you find yourself tending towards getting in a panic reject it as ungodly emotions, thinking and wrong behavior before God.

God loves you!

Anonymous said...

God's will for man is to turn from his evil way. As we desire to hallow and reverence Christ God enables man to make progress in this testing challenge of turning from our evil way.

Reine Gnade

Mr Jaybee said...

Very convicting Rick!

Anonymous said...

Excellent Post Rick!!

Philippians (Amplified) - Progressively Becoming More Intimate With Him

For my determined purpose is that I may know Him (that I may "progressively" become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him), perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly, and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection which it exerts over believers...

And that I may be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law’s demands but possessing that genuine righteousness which comes through faith in Christ , the truly right standing with God, which comes from God by saving faith.

Paul prays for us believers - And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, (1) how wide, (2) how long, (3) how high, and (4) how deep "His love is". May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

Progressive understanding of Who God Is (Agape Love), not the Law, will mold us, shape us and cause us to imitate who God is when dealing with others...Jesus Christ is the "expressed image of God"...He is our example...He didn't come to condemn, He came to save...

Our walk must be a "one on one" with the creator..."A closer walk with thee" will not come by corporate gatherings, but by a personal ongoing relationship through prayer and a deep desire to be changed by His Word, not a hearer only, but a doer...

As far as Seahawk Cornerback Richard Sherman being caught up in the moment? In comparison, anyone in Church that is touched by the Holy Spirit and acts up (out of the box) should be lead to the door...

Julie Wilton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

For almost 30 years I believed I was born again and on my way to Heaven. We attended a Methodist church and my husband led me to the altar and the pastor had us recite the sinners prayer and we were told we were saved. I attended church 2 or 3 times a week and I read my Bible all the time. Threw out all our secular music, and the tv, got involved with prison ministry for many of those years. Outwardly I looked righteous but inwardly I was as filthy as could be. Lustful fantasies consumed me and I committed adultery for years all the while believing if I died, I was going to be with Jesus. I ended up divorcing my husband and getting remarried.

A little over 5 years ago I started having heart problems. My heart was messing up every few beats and at night when I would go to bed and I would be so at peace that it seemed just fine to me if I died during the night. I knew where I was going.

One night I was online and came across a sermon on the marks of a true believer. I read it and read it again and knew immediately that something was wrong with my so called conversion. I had never even acknowledged I was a sinner before and had never repented. All my righteousness had been external. No inward change had occurred in me. I was shocked! This sermon caused me to get on my knees and repent. There has been a huge difference in me since that night. I hunger and thirst after Christ and His righteousness. I long to walk in purity before Him, pleasing Him in all things. He consumes me now.

What frightens me, Rick, is how many right now are just like I was? How many are walking around deceiving themselves? I have lost quite a few family members that I know were just like me. They said a prayer and were told they were saved. This is worse than being an unbeliever. To think you're going to Heaven and then find out you deceived yourself all along. What if my heart issues would have killed me? I can hardly bring myself to think these thoughts. I fear that most sitting in the churches are just like I was. And if it wasn't for His mercy, I would still be deceived and on my way to Hell.

We cant keep quiet about this. We must warn others before it is too late for them.

Anonymous said...

Lovers of God, God's will for us is to desire to obey His moral laws. A husband, for example, who commits adultery shows his disdain for God's commandment not to commit adultery.
God the Law giver and God the Rescuer and God the Teacher are inseparble.

He doesn't write His moral laws on tablets of stone any more but on the tablets of our heart. Let's desire to trust and obey His precious word!

God loves you!


Rick Frueh said...

"We can't keep quiet about this."

Yes, amen.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous, it is wonderful to read that your interest in God is growing yet a very important question is: are we saved?

Man is easily deceived. For example I thought I had done all those things you mentioned but was still unsaved. Afterall, salvation is what God does.

One thing I do know is that Christ will ask us if we love Him? If you love Him with your whole heart, mind, soul and strength your future looks promising!

God bless you!


Rick Frueh said...

It is true that salvation is the work of the Spirit, however we must also play a part. Calvinism is a theology which teaches that God save who he wants and the others cannot ever be saved. It also suggests that a sinner can never seek God. Both of those are untrue and make man just a passive robot who is just waiting to be zapped without his knowledge or desire, or if that sinner has not be chosen by God then he was created for hell. That theology is unscriptural and I have seen it create much doctrinal self righteousness in believers.

Shannon said...

Very good Rick

Before one is born again he is going his own way, living life according to how we want and believe is right for own flesh faith.
Only when we are born again of His Spirit are we living life from and under the direction of His faith in us.
He has given us new life. We are not walking by sight any longer but by His faith. He is the Author and Finisher of His faith and has placed His faith through His Spirit within those He has bought and paid for with His precious blood, redeeming us from the bondage of the slave block of sin.
This is the person who has responded to the convicting Light of the Holy Spirit of God to have their sins exposed and the burden removed once and for all.

Annette said...

Excelent post; very revealing.

Please correct me if this is a completely unsound observation: "Why does the man-made redemption system/or lack thereof, not even compare to the redemptive nature of God, our Father, through our Savior Jesus Christ?"

Have not all, and I mean all of us. bragged and boasted at one time or another, of the glorious wonders of ourselves, whether point blank or hideously hidden under the guise of false humility? If we search the sin nature of our own hearts, we would all have to honestly admit and commit to a "yes," for we are all guilty of sin in one way or another. It is so luxuriously easy to get caught up in a moment of victorious glory and ignore our LORD, His precious Name not even crossing the intersections of our mind. Who can boast against such carnal tendencies? Not I, for in my sinful nature, I too, at times, have forgotten that it is only by God's merciful grace that I still have breath to move on.

All of us can "get caught up in the moment......"

Psalm 86:1-5
"Bow down Your ear, O LORD, hear me; For I am poor and needy. Preserve my life, for I am holy. You are my God; Save your servant who trusts in You! Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I cry to You all day long. Rejoice the soul of your servant, For to You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. For You, LORD, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all who call upon You.

Oh thank-you LORD for your Word in showing us who we really are, and our desperate need for more of You, precious Savior.

Kelli Baker said...

Thank you anonymous who posted at 8:49 for your testimony

This is why we are to:
2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

Three pieces of text set down the principles for faith. Remember that either the Bible teaches that you have to come up with the faith or that God gives us the faith. (if you read Hebrews 11 with the understanding that all those sited lived “by faith” because God gave them the faith in the first place all this will fit together)
1. “Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] (our is in italics) lit. THE faith...” Jesus authors it and brings it to it’s completion so look to Jesus. ( it is Jesus who finishes, man does not take over)
2. Galatians 5:22-26 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness,
faith...” the word for “fruit” is singular, it is all the listed elements that make up the one fruit, and all the
elements come from out of the Spirit as a source not man as a source. Galatians 5:26 “Let us not be desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another”. We are not to envy or provoke because it is God’s ability, not man’s ability, it is not out of man but from out of God as a source who is providing these elements of the one fruit.
4. 1 Corinthians 12:1,7,9 Now concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not have you ignorant. “gifts” is
in italics, it is not in Greek text. Lit. Now concerning “things of the Spirit”... This whole chapter is an expression of what God’s Spirit does and remember that this letter is written to a carnal church being very fleshy all the while thinking that they are spiritual. Paul is emphasizing the “charisma” lit. expressions of God’s grace through God’s Spirit. (charis = God’s favor, charisma is that favor expressed) Therefore we cannot boast about our spirituality because spirituality is produced by the Spirit of God. Verse 7 reads that God gives. Verse 9 reads ...dividing to every man severally as He wills

Cherie c said...

When I said panic it was used to show the urgency I feel for the truth of the Gospel to be preached to those in error, deceived and the lost. Not panic on the sense that I'm hysterical. Why is the point being muted because the subject is uncomfortable. It should be uncomfortable! If the Word is not convicting you, you had better examine yourself to see if you're still in the faith. I do most often because I do not consider myself perfect in anything. That will come one day when we will ALL see Him as He is. I just hope He finds me worthy to be in His Kingdom. Calvinism robbes people of hope. The elect spoken of in His Word has to do with the Apostles and those in the early church when read in Context.

Anonymous said...

Romans 9:14-18
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

Everything pertaining to salvation is a gift of God. All the glory goes to Him.

God bless you!

Reine Gnade

Anonymous said...

What did Jesus say? He said, you will know them by their fruit. If we are ashamed of Him then we are not honoring Him. Dear readers, are you ashamed of sharing the Gospel of Christ in public settings? If "Yes" you don't know the true Christ intimately. If "Yes" God's word to you is study the Bible more diligently.

Josef Sefton

Shannon said...

This is a great example of God, in all His Sovereignty drawing us to repentance.
Anonymous 8:49 PM had been doing what all/most of us do...attempt to enter into Christ's presence on our own religious practices of SELF-righteous merit.
He humbles us to respond to His Spirit convicting us of our sin. He draws us to Himself to repentance for remission of sin.
He is Gracious to bring the gospel to the one whose heart (soil) is conditioned to receive the gospel (seed)
The study of the Parable of the Sower comes to mind.
Thank you

Anonymous said...

I wonder if many of us are at ease in our Christianity because we are so involved in politics, specifically the conservative defines Christianity for many because I find myself continually at odds with brothers and sisters that are deeply involved, the way we treat others and the way we view the lost and so forth...

Conservative Does Not Mean "Christianity"...

I just watched a well known anchor woman (conservative) with her own show on "fox news" tell the American public on Bill O'reilly's show that it's ok to watch "xxx pornography", then jokes about it...just don't do it around children...

Point...being a conservative doesn't necessarily mean you are advancing Christianity... let politics do their thing and let the kingdom of God do its thing...

It's ok to watch porn, just make sure you vote against anything that hast to deal with "gay rights"???...see the confusion?...

Politics means politics, Christianity means Christianity...I'm not coming down on fox news at all, just saying the news media, politics and so forth do not speak for the kingdom of God...The bible speaks for the kingdom of God...

Be careful of what so easily besets us in the world we live...

Rick Frueh said...

The compromise of the faith with conservative politics is massive.

Cherie c. said...

Humility is necessary to stay in the Faith.

This Lord's Day I wanted to share what Peter said about our Personal Faith. I was reading it this morning and it brought such joy and encouragement. It is just the joy and encouragement we need dear brothers and sisters in Christ. Pastor Rick if you would, please post this. As a learning part of this comment, please take notice of what Peter says about foreknowledge and foreordained and who it applies too. Verse 2 applies to the Body of Christ and verses 19 and 20 apply to the Lord. Verse 21 rounds this out. Praise God for His Great Word!

your sister in Christ Jesus,

1 Peter 1

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

3 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,

4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

7 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:

8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

13 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;

14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

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.

22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Shannon said...

Thank you, Cherie for bringing up the subject of the "elect", as we know our discussions/comments can lead elsewhere. This is part of our growing...
Who are people placing their hope in? Systems? Men such as John Calvin? Jacob Arminius? or Jesus Christ?

Cherie mentions at 2:43 PM:

"Calvinism robs people of hope. The elect spoken of in His Word has to do with the Apostles and those in the early church when read in Context."

Scripture identifies for us who are the "elect". This is not speaking of the Church.:

ISA 45:3-4 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.

ISA 65:8-9 Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all. And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.

MATT 24:16-31
Matthew was writing his letter to the JEWS, to prove Jesus Christ as the Messiah they had all been watching/waiting for.

1 PET 1:1,2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Peter wrote his letters to the specific group of people, those "elect" of the Diaspora.
As we note from these verses, the adjective "elect" identifies a people group...Israel/Jews. Being one of the "elect" does not guarantee salvation, as we know from
Romans 2:28,29 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

As Rick's topic is "faith", the Church, not the professing church has His faith, as the Church is born again of His seed.

Rick Frueh said...

The elect are those who believe in Jesus Christ and are born again. They are elect according to God's foreknowledge, but they are not elect according to God's exclusive choice. We are all given a free will and the elect are those who exercise their free will and believe on Christ.

Cherie c. said...

I only wanted to share the joy of reading the Word of God and using it for encouragement and I still get blasted. I appreciate your "correction" Shannon, but somehow I am not able to read the Word any other way except how the Spirit helps me to understand it.

Abraham was righteous because he believed God. No where does it say Abraham had the Holy Spirit. He was unregenerate, but because he believed God, he was both righteous and a friend of God.

And we are righteous only through another which is Jesus Christ, but we must believe Him and on Him. It is Jesus' Spirit that dwells in us that God can see as righteous. Faith, we have to have a little for God to give the increase. See the parable of the seed. Then God gives the increase through the power of His Spirit. That is where revelation comes from. I am no scholar, but the Word of God is clear.

1 Corinthians 3:6
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

1 Corinthians 3:7
So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

So we have some measure of knowledge of the Lord without which we would not even be able to know,even though many deny, that there is a Creator.

Romans 4:13
For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
Israel lived by the law and still does today.

Hebrews 7:2
To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
James 2:23
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

God knows the end from the beginning, and that means He foreordained only one person, that is Jesus Christ. He foreknew those who are His, and according to Scripture, the last Gentile has yet to be saved and we don't know who that is. So by faith we continue on until He appears. The elect who were foreknown by God.

Everyone seems to forget what salvation really is. Is isn't just forgiveness of sin. It is the removal of the Wrath of God that we rightly deserve. A true born again believer cannot in his heart say I'm special because God saved me but not you. I could not sleep at night knowing that I was saved but my son isn't and he has no hope because God didn't choose him, or the neighbor for that matter. Who am I to think that? Nobody, and I do not think that for one minute. As long as we are in the age of Grace I have hope that as many people as I open my mouth to about the Lord will have the opportunity to repent and be saved, not by my mouth, but by my life and my countenance and my repeating the Gospel. I am a nobody in a world full of so called big shots of the faith (so called modern day Apostles, Prophets etc.) what utter nonsense and an insult to God.
The Elect of God came, spoke for God and wrote the Word and are now in Heaven with God. We, who are disciples of Christ continue in our time today, at the end of time and on the precipice of eternity.

I wanted to share joy this morning, but as usual instead of joy we argue bible context and wrangle with doubtful disputations that do nothing but divide the Body of Christ. I love you Shannon, but I was only hoping to share a joyful moment with you dear sister, not debate. I am sorry if you saw my post as a provocation for debate instead of a gift that I was hoping to share. Perhaps another day we can debate these doubtful disputations, but today, just today, could be just please share our common Faith with joy in our Lord?

your sister in Christ Jesus,

Anonymous said...

I agree with Rick's teaching that the elect are those who believe in Jesus Christ and are born again.

Cherie, Abraham believed on the eternal Word of God. He wasn't unregenerate but a child of God!

Josef Sefton

Anonymous said...

Pornography is a stronghold of Satan. If someone promotes pornography their thinking is not only unclean but dishonors God. God's word to man is to resist pornography and as we do God's gracious love will come to our assistance. If we put up no resistance Satan's hold on our thinking will increase. Pornography is impure and that is something deceived people must acknowledge dishonors God.

Cherie c said...


Cherie c said...

(Sigh). Abraham did not have God's written Word. He spoke with God through the person Jesus, but Abraham was as sinful as you and me. Only through his faith (belief) in and on God was he accounted righteous because of his belief and obedience. Peace.

Anonymous said...

Abraham didn't know the name Jesus but He did know the eternal Word of God. He had a personal relationship with the eternal Word of God whom Christians today are privileged to know is Lord Jesus.

May God bless you and your family in 2014 with more interest in the words of
Lord Jesus.