“…Constantly…”

“Wherefore, my beloved ones, as you always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, carry to its ultimate conclusion [likeness to the Lord Jesus] your own salvation with a wholesome, serious caution and trembling, for God is the One who is constantly putting forth His energy in you, both in the form of your being desirous of and of your doing His good pleasure.”  (Paul writing to the Philippians in 2:13)

Amazing! Today. All day today.  Everyday. God is CONSTANTLY releasing  His energy into our lives — in our decisions, in our battles, in our relationships, in our work, in our ministry, in our idle time, in our busy time, in our trial, in our victory, in our suffering, in our joy, in our sickness, in our vigor, in everything — for the purpose of bringing OUR salvation to it’s ultimate conclusion:  more likeness to the Lord Jesus….NOW, not when we get to heaven, NOW, while we live on earth, NOW, while we can still make an eternal difference in our family, our friend’s lives, and lives of others. NOW, before I die and I am ashamed to stand before Him at the Judgement Seat of Christ. 

What an awesome God we serve. What provisions He has made for His children. How He is committed to His Purpose for you and me!

Enjoy walking with God today!

“Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, ….” (II Peter 2:14)

Carl

Two Things God Cannot Do

There is a place on our property where two wet weather creeks merge. From a vantage point you can view the water moccasins hunting prey. Once, I watched one tightly coiled up adjacent to where the water rippled over some debris and fell into the main channel. The snake laid in ambush for some poor victim, just as that ancient serpent Satan does today.

 Apostle Paul told us Satan walks around as a roaring lion seeking someone to devour in Ephesians 5:8. Paul also wrote the Corinthians (II Corinthians 2:11) about the schemes of the devil:

“But whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, in order that no advantage be take of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”

In the spirit of Paul’s statement about not being ignorant of Satan’s scheme, I want to share two things God can not do.

In Romans 8: 33 Paul wrote concerning the blessedness of the “chosen out ones”:

“Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies.”

The first thing God can not do is He can not ACCUSE you and JUSTIFY you at the same time.

In Romans 8:34 Paul continued:

“Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”

The second thing God (Christ) can not do is He can not CONDEMN us while He is always MAKING INTERCESSION for us.

Even God cannot do these two things: accuse while justifying and condemn while always making intercession for us. KNOWING THIS HELPS US DISCERN THE ATTACKS OF SATAN.

We know the human mind is a spiritual battlefield and is one portal through which Satan attacks us. Not all of our thoughts originate with us. That is why Apostle Paul said “…and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5)

In 2 Corinthians 11: 3 Paul says to the believers in Corinth the following about Satan’s schemes:

“But I am afraid lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” (NASB)

And how did the serpent spring his craftiness upon these believers MINDS? By using words and thoughts from the serpent and his servants. In the very next verse Paul says this:

“For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.” (NASB)

There is a tremendous amount of Truth that could be shared on the subject of spiritual warfare. But let it be sufficient for this post, to say that we need to be aware that accusing and condemning thoughts are not from God The Father or the Lord Jesus Christ, nor are thoughts that are contrary to what the Word of God (The Bible) teaches. If we read and study the Word of God (The Bible), we will begin to understand what the Lord Jesus would say and do and the same for God the Father. Then, when we have thoughts or reasoning that is questionable, we have a backdrop to hold it up against and evaluate if it is from the Holy Spirit, ourself or Satan. Doing this, we will not be deceived by another Jesus, another spirit, nor will we be deceived by a different gospel.

The Lord Jesus tells us in Revelation 3:19 how he deals with us:

“As for myself, as many as I am fond of, I reprove so as to bring out conviction and confession, and I discipline, correct, and guide.” (Wuest)

Reprove means “to criticize or correct (someone) usually in a gentle way.

Conviction means “the state of being convinced of error or compelled to admit the truth.

Confession means in this context “to confess our sins”.

He corrects us to convict us of our sin so we will agree with Him, that it is sin and repent of it so our fellowship with Him and The Father can be restored and we increase in personal holiness. The Lord goes on to say that He will “discipline, correct, and guide.” Hear what the Holy Spirit says in Hebrews 12:7-11 (Wuest Expanded Translation):

“And you have completely forgotten the exhortation which is of such a nature as to speak to you as to sons,…..stop making light of the Lord’s discipline, correction, and guidance. Stop fainting when you are being effectually rebuked by Him. For the one who the Lord loves, He disciplines, corrects, and guides, and He scourges every son whom He receives and cherishes. It is for the purpose of discipline, correction, and guidance that you are enduring. As those who by nature are sons is God dealing with you. For what son is there whom the Father does not discipline, correct, and guide? But if you are without discipline, correction, and guidance, of which all [sons] have been made partakers, it follows therefore that you are bastards and not sons.”    
“Furthermore, we have been having indeed fathers of our flesh as those who disciplined, corrected, and guided us, and we have been in the habit of giving them reverence. Shall we not much rather put ourselves in subject to the Father of spirits and live? For on the one hand, they disciplined, corrected, and guided us for a few days upon the basis of that which seemed good to them, but He disciplines, corrects, and guides us for our profit, to the end that we might partake of His holiness. In fact, all discipline, correction, and guidance for the time being does not seem to be joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields a return of peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been exercised by it.”
In conclusion, Satan is the one who accuses us and condemn us and not God the Father or Lord Jesus. The Father has justified us in Lord Jesus at a great cost and He, Lord Jesus, is interceding for us before the throne of God. Satan wants to bring us to depression, hopelessness and defeat, believing we are forsaken by God. Whereas, God wants us in fellowship with Him walking in the light and growing in personal holiness, forsaking sin. He reproves and disciplines because we are His children and He loves us. Bless His Wonderful Name. If God is for us, who can be against us?

Let Us Pay Close Attention to Ourselves for the Purpose of Holiness,

Carl

Real Evidence That You Love Lord Jesus

“…, that one is he who is loving me…”

Note: this post was accidentally published Wednesday morning around 5 a.m. and then promptly removed. I apologize if you have already read this or had problems with the link.

If you ask people if they love Jesus and what is the evidence of their love, you would get a variety of answers.  Some would say that they go to church frequently or are church members.  Others would say that they love their fellow man and do no harm to others; maybe some would say they fast certain things during the year or that they pray.  Some would say they go on pilgrimages to holy sites, give of their money or keep their denominational traditions.

In the Gospel of John, the Lord Jesus told us how He determines if we really love Him or we are just honoring Him with our words, but our hearts (who we really are) are far from Him.  Listen to what He said in John 14: 21 (Wuest Expanded Translation):

“He who has my commandments and habitually keeps them, that one is he who is loving me with a divine and self-sacrificial love.”

On this blog we have quoted the Apostle John in I John numerous times writing about habitually practicing righteousness.  John was at the last supper when Jesus said this. That is where he received this truth.

Lord Jesus goes on to describe what happens when we habitually keep His commandments:

“And he who is loving me thus, shall be loved with this same kind of love by my Father, and I shall love him with a divine and self-sacrifical love, and I shall disclose myself to him.” (22)

God the Father poured out this kind of love on the world (John 3:16) when He sent His Son to the cross to bear the guilt and penalty of our sins.  And He continues to do so when we are obedient to the gospel and are born again.

But there is more. His disciples thought that Jesus was about to “disclose” Himself as the conquering Messiah to the nation of Israel.  The mother of James and John had already approached Jesus about her two sons being seated in places of honor in His messianic court. So one of the disciples asked Him why He was going to disclose Himself to them and not the whole world. Here is His reply:

“Answered Jesus and said to him, If anyone as a habit of life loves me with a divine and self-sacrificial love, my word he will keep, and my Father will love him, and to him we shall come, and an abiding place with him we shall make for ourselves. He who is not habitually loving me with a divine and self-sacrificial love, my words he is not keeping.  And the word which you are hearing is not mine but belongs to Him who sent me, the Father.” (23-24)

Now this is very amazing! The God of the universe is going to come and abide in us. How does this happen?

“This things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. And the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my Name, that One will teach you all things and recall to your mind all things which I spoke to you.” (25-26)

In Acts 2: 38 the people cried out , “What shall we do”, after hearing the first gospel message.  Peter told the Passover crowd to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  These people were obedient to the gospel message and the Holy Spirit set them apart (i.e. sanctified them) to the Lord Jesus and they were sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (Ephesians 1).  In other words, the Lord Jesus and The Father came and made their abode with these converts through the Holy Spirit.  And God does the same for us when we are obedient to the gospel message.

This is what the Apostle John is telling us in I John 1: 3-4 when he writes:

“…what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. (NASB)

Amazing! We born again believers in Jesus Christ have the privilege of fellowshipping  with God Almighty today and everyday.   John goes on to tell us how our behavior affects this fellowship.  I John 1: 5-10 says the following:

“And it is the message which we have heard from Him and at present is ringing in our ears and we are bringing back tidings to you, that God as to His nature is light, and darkness in Him does not exist, not even one particle. If we say that things in common we are having with Him, and thus fellowship, and in the sphere of the aforementioned darkness are habitually ordering our behavior, we are lying, and we are not doing the truth.  But if within the sphere of the light we are habitually ordering our behavior as Himself is in the light, things in common  and thus fellowship we [the believer and God] are having with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son keeps continually cleansing us from every sin.”

“If we say that [indwelling ] sin we are not having, ourselves we are leading astray [nobody else], and the truth is not in us. If we continue to confess our sins, faithful is He and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from every unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned and are now in a state where we do not sin, a liar we are making Him, and His word is not in us.”  (Wuest Expanded Translation)

The reason John is telling us this he states next in I John 2: 1:

“My little children … these things I am writing to you in order that you may not commit an act of sin.  And if anyone commits an act of sin, One who pleads our cause we constantly have facing the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One. ” (Wuest Expanded Translation)

In closing, two things.

First, is there enough evidence in my life to convict me of really being in love with Jesus, per His definition, or am I a hypocrite like the people in Mark 7:6 to which the Lord said:

“And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.

In Luke 6:46 Jesus asked the question “And why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?

Secondly, the Apostle John is telling the born again believer that our indwelling sinful nature, though we are dead to it, has not been eradicated from our being.  Therefore, we will occasionally sin and, when we do, we need to confess that sin to maintain fellowship with our Father. (Notice I said fellowship and not relationship. Because of our faith in the work of Christ on the Cross, our relationship is secure with the Father.)

He not only immediately forgives us

but the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness, i.e. habitual sins of ignorance that we are walking in but are not aware of yet.  What a merciful God!!!

My friends, it all boils down to a simple question for everyone: Is Christ Lord of your life?

I hope you enjoy the fellowship with your heavenly Father and His Holy Son today.  Walk in the light as He is in the light.

Carl

 

Soul Purification: Malice

“And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

Today is the first post in a series called Soul Purification.  The purpose is to highlight certain sins that the Holy Spirit tells us to cleanse ourselves from.   If applicable, repent of the sinful behavior and purpose in your heart to forsake it by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Don’t get bogged down in self introspection. This is the sanctification component of our daily walk and nothing new.  Keep your eyes on the Lord and REJOICE in becoming more Christ like.

Our scriptural basis for this is in I John 3: 2-3 where the Holy Spirit through Apostle John says:

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.

And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (NASB)

“Him” in the scripture being the Lord Jesus and “when He appears” is  when He comes for the Church at the Rapture and the Judgement Seat of Christ takes place. We do the purifying. 

Why is this important?  The scripture (verses 4-8) goes on to say

“Everyone who habitually commits sin, also habitually commits lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.  And you know absolutely that that One was manifested in order that He might take away our sins; and sin in Him does not exist. Everyone who in Him is constantly abiding is not habitually sinning. Everyone who is constantly sinning has not with discernment seen Him, nor has he known Him, with the result that that condition is true of him at present. Little born-ones, stop allowing anyone to be leading you astray. The one who habitually does righteousness is righteous, just as that One is righteous. The one who is habitually committing sin is out of the devil as a source, because from the beginning the devil has been sinning. For this purpose there was manifested the Son of God, in order that He might bring to naught the works of the devil.”  (Wuest Expanded Translation)

And verse 10 wraps up the discussion by saying:

In this is apparent who are the born-ones of God and the born-ones of the devil. Everyone who is not habitually doing righteousness is not of God, also the one who is not habitually loving his brother [Christian] with a divine and self-sacrificial love.” 

In other words, born again believers are not to walk in habitual sin, governed by our indwelling sinful nature which we were freed from when we where spiritually baptized into Christ’s death, burial and resurrection by the Holy Spirit.

Some may say, “This sounds like salvation by works.” Let me assure you it is not.  The Lord,  in John 3 said unless you are born again, you can not “see” or “enter” the Kingdom of God. It is the born again process that frees you from the power of the indwelling sinful nature, gives you a new godly nature, and brings the Holy Spirit into your person and He supplies the desire and power to do God’s will.   The Apostle Paul explains all of this in Romans chapter 6 through 8. You can not walk habitually in righteousness unless you are born again or, as we say, saved.

If you have any questions about this, please contact me via this site or give me a call.

So let’s get started with our first sin:

Wickedness (Malice)

“Wherefore, having put away once for all every wickedness and every craftiness, and hypocrisies and envies, and all slanderings, as newborn infants do, intensely yearn for the unadulterated spiritual milk in order that by it you may be nourished and make progress in [your] salvation…” (I Peter 2: 1-2) (Wuest Expanded Translation)

Here Wuest uses the word “wickedness” and in the New American Standard Bible (NASB) the word “malice” is used. Vines Greek Dictionary says the Greek word means “badness in quality” and is the opposite of excellence.  In the New Testament it is translated “malice”, “maliciousness”, and “wickedness”.

In the English dictionary malice means ” the desire or intention to do evil, ill will”.  Synonyms would be “revenge, rancor (i.e. Bitterness or resentfulness, esp. when long standing), spite, cattiness (i.e. deliberately hurtful in one’s remarks, spiteful), vindictiveness, vengefulness, malignant (i.e. very evil)”, animus (i.e. a strong feeling of dislike or hatred), enmity (i.e. a very deep unfriendly feeling).” 

The source of this, like other sins, is man’s heart:

“And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness….”

The heart of man is defined in Vines Greek Dictionary:

“By easy transition the word came to stand for man’s entire mental and moral activity, both the rational and the emotional elements.  In other words, the heart is used figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life.  The Bible describes human depravity as in the ‘heart’ because sin is a principle which has its seat in the center of man’s inward life, and then “defiles’ the whole circuit of his actions,… On the other hand, Scripture regards the heart as the sphere of Divine influence.  The heart, as lying deep within, contains the hidden man, the real man. It represents the true character but conceals it. 

That is why Scripture says that if you want to really know what is in a person, listen to what is coming out of his mouth for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

In the Old Testament, there are several words that are translated “wickedness” but we will only say the following:

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia defines wickedness as follows:

“The state of being wicked; a mental disregard for justice, righteousness, truth, honor, virtue, evil in thought and life; depravity; sinfulness; criminality.” “Pride and vanity lead to it.”

Few examples of “wickedness” (malice) would be as follows:                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. The desire to hurt someone, either with words or physically .                                                                                                                                                                                                           2. Desire for revenge because someone did something to you or said something about you.                                                                                                                                                           3. Expressing ill will toward someone: “I hope he ends up in hell.”                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. Thinking or expressing hate to someone: “I hate your guts and always will.”                                                                                                                                                                                5. Of course, we can lump adultry, fornication, homosexuality, and other sins into this                                                                                                                                                                  6. Any desire to do evil or what is contrary to God’s Word.

In closing, habitual sin is progressive. Stay trapped in it long enough and you will call good, evil and evil, good and light, darkness and darkness, light.  As we go on in habitual sin our minds become more and more deceived. Remember, that pride and vanity lead to wickedness.  Humility is the opposite of pride and  brings  the essential grace of God.

It is God’s will that you and I not walk in wickedness and repenting of any wickedness He reveals to us is the first step to overcoming this sin. Listen to what He showed Paul so he could escape the clutchs of the old sinful nature and Paul share it with the church in Rome in Romans 6:11-14:

“Thus also be constantly counting upon the fact that on the one hand, you are dead ones with respect to the sinful nature , and on the other, that you are living ones with respect to God in Christ Jesus.  Stop therefore allowing the sinful nature to reign as king in your mortal body with a view to obeying it (the body) in its passionate cravings. Moreover, stop putting your members at the disposal of the sinful nature as weapons of unrighteousness, but by a once for all act and at once, put yourselves at the disposal of God as those who are actively alive out from among the dead, and your members as weapons of righteousness at the disposal of God, for (then) the sinful nature will not exercise lordship over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”  

As we do what these verses say and excersise our free will to say NO to sin, the Holy Spirit’s power will give us the victory over the temptation to sin. 

 May God bless you as you purpose to get wickedness out of your life and please the Lord.  Be encouraged and strengthen your heart with these precious promises from the Word of God.  May He perfect us in love (agape) for others; especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.  See I John 4: 11-12.

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”  (I Thessalonians 5: 23-24)

“Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness”  (II Timothy 2:19)

Carl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The World and Us

  1. I found this note while reading Luke 16: 13-15 the other day.  As born again believers, the Lord Jesus Christ is to be “Lord” of our lives.  The world system, which is controlled by Satan, is continually trying to impose its value system on us. In James 4:4 the Bible tells us that friendship with the world is hostility toward God. He compares it to a wife or husband having an affair thereby being an adulteress.  James goes on to say that he who wishes to be a friend of the world is an enemy of God.

Sometimes we are so entangled in the affairs of the world that we do not recognize it for what it is. The kingdom of the enemy of God.  May the Holy Spirit show us today if we are in an adulterous affair with some aspect of the world.

In closing, I share Luke 6:46 with you. The scripture that God used to rip the deception off our minds and show us we were lost and bound for hell. The Lord Jesus said “Why do you call me Lord Lord and do not do what I say?

Pay Close Attention To Yourself

Carl

Part II: “Pay Close Attention To Yourself…”

Why it is important to heed Apostle Paul’s advice to Timothy about conforming to godliness.

Dear Reader: Following is the conclusion to the previous blog entitled Part I: “Pay Close Attention To Yourself….”.  To read Part I please scroll down to the previous blog.  Thank you for your time.  Carl

In closing, three reasons as to why Paul’s admonishment to “Pay close attention to yourself…” is needed:

1. Personal Godliness is the believer’s responsibility.

This personal holiness is not vicarious. It cannot be transferred or imputed; in other words, the Lord Jesus cannot give you His personal holiness. It is an individual possession, built up, little by little, as the result of obedience to the Word of God and of following the example of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.

God the Father has given us His written word, a new nature and the Holy Spirit at salvation. He also broke the power of the indwelling sinful nature. The Holy Spirit will give us the desire and the power to do God’s will but we have to cooperate with Him. We do not need to ask Him to fall on us or come like a might wind because He is already in all born again people, Ephesians 1: 13-14.

2. Personal Godliness is the evidence that you have been born again and received a new nature.

The visible evidence of the new nature you received at salvation is obedience.

Psalm 81:15 states “Those who hate the Lord would pretend obedience to Him; and their time of punishment would be forever.” (Emphasis mine)

Do not confuse this with salvation by works. A person cannot escape the kingdom of
Satan and the hold of the fleshly, fallen nature unless he is born again by the Holy
Spirit.

The Apostle John says it as follows in I John 2: 4-6 and I John 3:10:

“The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”

“In this is apparent who are the born-ones of God and the born-ones of the devil. Everyone who is not habitually doing righteousness is not of God, also the one who is not habitually loving his brother [Christian] with a divine and self-sacrificial love.” (Wuest Expanded Translation)

When you measure yourself against John’s words, what does it say about your conduct?

3. The Judgement Seat of Christ is coming for all born again believers.

Concerning the Judgement-seat of Christ, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5: 10

“For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

Vine’s Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words says the following about the Judgement-seat of Christ:

“It is the divine tribunal before which all believers are hereafter to stand. The Father has given all judgement to The Lord Jesus. Here all believers are to be made manifest, that each may “receive the things done in (or through) the body”, according to what he has done, “whether it be good or bad.” There they will receive rewards for their faithfulness to the Lord. For all that has been contrary in their lives to His will they will suffer loss, I Cor. 3:15.”

“This judgement is separate from His premillennial, earthly throne, Matt.25:31, and the postmillennial “Great White Throne” in Rev 20-:11. The judgement seat of Christ will be a tribunal held “in His Parousia”, i.e. in His presence with His saints after His return to receive them to Himself.”

In my point of reference, this occurs after the Rapture of the church.

Paul gives us a glimpse into the judgement-seat in 1 Corinthian 3: 10 – 15 where he is dealing with a problem in Corinth, Greece and he states: no foundation can be laid in a believer’s life except Jesus Christ:

“…..but let each man be careful how he builds upon it.” “Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood , hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’ work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved yet so as through fire. “

One of the New Testament words translated “holiness” in the English translations is the Greek word hagiosune and denotes the quality of “holiness” in personal conduct. Paul used it in 2 Corinthians 7:1:

“….let us cleanse ourselves from all contamination which may defile the flesh [the human body] and the [human] spirit, progressively accomplishing holiness in the fear of God.” (Wuest Expanded Translation)

Notice who is to do the cleansing. Us. The believer.  We are cleansed by obeying His word.

I Thessalonians 3:12 -13 says:

“…and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all men, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.” (I Thessalonians 3:13).

Hogg and Vine’s Notes on Thessalonians throw much light on I Thessalonians 3:12-13 and the importance of personal holiness with their expanded Greek paraphrase:

“The Lord enable you more and more to spend your lives in the interest of others, in order that He may so establish you in Christian character now, that you may be vindicated from every charge that might possibly be brought against you at the Judgement-seat of Christ.” (Emphasis mine)

Notice in this scripture that it is through love for others that we increase in Christian godliness. It is hard to sin against someone when you “regard one another as more important than” yourself. In Philippians 2: 3-5 we are exhorted to “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.”

One day we will stand before the One who spilt his precious blood so we could have forgiveness of sin and be reconciled to God the Father saving us from the wrath of God which will come “dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” (II Thessalonians1:8) Let us do it with joy and not fear. Let our love for our brothers and sisters and all people increase. Let us be able to say with the Apostle John:

And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of Judgment [Judgement Seat of Christ] because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is not fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us.” I John 4:16-19

Dear Reader please be honest with yourself as I have had to be. Does the thought of the Judgement Seat of Christ fill you with dread and fear or do you rejoice at having your life reviewed? Are you being perfected in love? Are you anxious to see Him seated on His throne of glory or will we be like the people in Revelation 6 that cried out for the rocks to fall on them and hide them from the face of Him who sits on the throne.

I, the writer, have written this to record what the Holy Spirit was showing me for myself and to be a good steward. This is not written to bring condemnation to the believer but to exhort them to “…walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;…” (Colossians 1:10) My trust is in The Lord Jesus that He will bring it to pass in my and your life.

In conclusion, let us pay close attention to ourselves with a view to being pleasing to God who has blessed us so greatly. Let us fulfill our born again responsibility to grow in personal holiness and to be found without spot or blemish at the Judgement Seat of Christ. Let us cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He works in our life and we learn what is pleasing to God.

If repentance is needed, repent. Tell God you agree with Him concerning the issue and turn away from it. Ask Him to help you stay free from it. Remember, in Roman 6: 11 -14 Paul tells us how this walk of victory happens:

“Thus, also, as for you, you be constantly counting upon the fact that, on the one hand, you are those who have been separated from the sinful nature, and on the other, that you are living ones with respect to God in Christ Jesus.

Stop therefore allowing the sinful nature to reign as king in your mortal body with a view to obeying it [the body] in its passionate cravings.

Moreover, stop putting your members at the disposal of the sinful nature as weapons of unrighteousness,

But by a once-for-all act and at once, put yourselves at the disposal of God as those who are actively alive out of from among the dead, and put your members as weapons of righteousness at the disposal of God,

FOR [THEN] THE SINFUL NATURE WILL NOT EXERCISE LORDSHIP OVER YOU, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Wuest Expanded Translation) (Emphasis mine)

Let us put this into practice in our daily lives and our sinful nature will not exercise lordship over us. What a great plan of salvation God has given to the Church. Be encouraged saint!

Now may the God of peace himself consecrate you, every part of each one of you, to His worship and service, and may your spirit, and soul and body be preserved in their entirety blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who gives you the divine summons [into salvation], who also will do it.” (I Thessalonians 5:23-24 Wuest Expanded Translation)

Pay Close Attention to Yourself   

Carl

Part I : “Pay Close Attention To Yourself…”

Apostle Paul’s advice to Timothy concerning the born again person conforming to godliness.

In his first letter to Timothy, Paul tells him “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing…” (I Timothy 6:3) [Emphasis mine]

The Apostle Peter writing to believers stated the “doctrine conforming to godliness” as follows:

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the formers lusts, which were yours in your ignorance but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY FOR I AM HOLY.” And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (I Peter 1: 14-19)

In other words, after a person is born again, if he is properly instructed in the truth, they, with the help of the Holy Spirit, will begin to purify their souls of defilement (sin):

“And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (I John 3:3)

Over a period of time they will become more and more Christlike in their manner of living or conduct.

This process is known as progressive sanctification. Sanctification is the separation of the believer from evil things and ways. The Greek word from which sanctification comes from means “to make holy”. This sanctification is God’s will for the believer and His purpose in calling him by the gospel. It must be learned from God as He teaches it by His Word and it must be pursued by the believer, earnestly and undeviatingly, cooperating with the Holy Spirit who gives the desire and the power to accomplish it. The following scriptures witness to these truths:

I Thessalonians 4:3 says “This is the will of God, your sanctification…”

I Thessalonians 4:7 says “For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.

I Thessalonians 4:4 says “…that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor”

The Lord Jesus said in John 17:17 as He prayed for His followers “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth.”

Philippians 2:13 says “…for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

Some who claim to be born again take the teaching on the grace of God too far. They believe that willful sinning is okay after salvation because “it is all under grace”. That they can live in fornication, impurity, immorality or other habitual sin and still be in fellowship with the Holy Lord Jesus and the Holy Father God is in direct opposite to what the Word of God teaches. Concerning these believers, it is truly as Paul told Timothy in the opening verse, “….he is conceited and understands nothing;…”. The Apostle John warns the recipients of his letter known as II John to “Watch yourselves that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God;…” (II John 1:8-9)

Our brother, the Apostle Paul, told Timothy to “Pay close attention to yourself” (I Timothy 4:16a) and “….discipline (i.e. train) yourself for the purpose of godliness;…” (I Timothy 4:7b).

Concerning godliness and after exhorting Timothy to “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness…” Apostle Paul said “For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.” (I Timothy 4:10) The man who the Lord Jesus used to write a large portion of the New Testament and He sent to preach the gospel to the Gentiles (that is you and me) was daily laboring and striving to be godly in his conduct. He knew the struggle and the temptations that come our way and learned how to overcome them with the Holy Spirit’s help.

Paul advised Timothy to “Pay close attention to yourself…”. We would be wise to heed his advice to Timothy. Apostle Peter exhorts us:

“Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (I Peter1:13)

Let us keep sober in mind and spirit and not be drunk on the spirit of this world (Satan’s kingdom) where anything goes, no boundaries; as long as it makes me look good, meets my emotional needs, it is okay. Where, in a deceived state, I can act like a god (make my own rules) and walk in pride and arrogance toward God and His Word; be wise in my own eyes. Grieving the Holy Spirit by whom we were sealed for the day of redemption.

Instead, let us examine ourselves and see if there is any wicked way in us when compared with God’s Word and the Lord Jesus’ life. Not in a condemning way. “There istherefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. (Romans 8:1) If we find ourselves in sin or with unconfessed sin, let us repent (i.e. agree with what God says about it and turn from it) and purpose not to do it again. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous 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. (I John 1:9-10)

Paul’s experience birthed this advice: “Pay close attention to yourself…”
My thoughts.
My words.
My actions .
What I am listening to.
What I am watching.
What I am entertained by.
What I am laughing at (a type of approval).
The motives behind my actions.
Is there any malice, wrath, anger?
Am I speaking truth or a lie?
Am I slandering someone?
Am I acting as a judge?
Am I walking in Pride? (Pride always sees the faults in others)
Am I being jealous?
Am I a manslayer? (“Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer…” I John 3:15)

And we could go on and on with this list. Each of us has areas we need to bring into submission to the Word of God. And as we study God’s word, He will reveal sin we are not even aware of.

In closing, three reasons as to why Paul’s admonishment to “Pay close attention toyourself…” is needed:

This concludes Part I of this post.  Please return for Part II in the next post.  Thank you!