The Pastor\’s Pen

An Independent Baptist Preacher\’s Musings and Observations

Posts Tagged ‘believe’

Relationship vs. Fellowship

Posted by Pastor Szekely on August 25, 2008

I’d like to follow-up my It’s a RESCUE! post with this one because I’ve been perusing around other posts and reading the many people who truly believe that the salvation the Lord Jesus Christ had so FERVENTLY GIVEN and is so FREELY GAINED and is so FIRMLY GRIPPED upon His own…can be lost by THEIR actions [or lack thereof].

Forgive my presumption, but just from what I’m reading, I’m seeing that many people do not have a spiritual grasp on what the difference is between RELATIONSHIP and FELLOWSHIP…so here it goes, and may it be a help to you!

RELATIONSHIP

Due to the fact that every one of us have been born into this world, every one of us has a standing before God…and it’s not good:

Ephesians 2:1-3, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [vs2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: [vs3] Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

You see, every one of us had [or still has] a standing before God of “being dead in trespasses and sins”; “the children of disobedience”; and “by nature the children of wrath, even as others”.

But don’t stop there…listen to Ephesians 2:5-10!

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, [by grace ye are saved;] [vs6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [vs7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. [vs8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [vs9] Not of works, lest any man should boast. [vs10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

PRAISE GOD!!! By the Grace of God, and not by OUR OWN WORKS, can a person be saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ…delievered from their debt of sin they owe and from their destiny of Hell. [BTW: just thought of this…isn’t it odd that many who don’t believe salvation is forever believe that Hell is?]

Now when a person has partaken by faith the Lord’s salvation, that person is now born into the Family of God! Remember the conversation Jesus had with a Pharisee named Nicodemus in John 3? In that conversation, Jesus said this in verse 5: “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

“Born of water” – that’s a natural birth [what happens right before a woman delivers…her water breaks]; “Born of the Spirit” – of course, that’s a spiritual birth. BOTH BIRTHS bring a soul into a family…”born of water” brings a soul into an earthly family, and “born of the Spirit” brings a soul into a spiritual family, or “the Kingdom of God”!

FRIENDS, THIS SPIRITUAL BIRTH IS A RELATIONSHIP! After salvation, God has become your Spiritual Father and you’ve become His child: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” [Galatians 3:26]

Now that salvation has been established as a RELATIONSHIP, the question has to be asked: “Can a child of God cease in being a child of God“? That’s the thought and belief that’s on trial! Many I’ve been reading believe because of something they did or of something they will do, they will not be saved or have that RELATIONSHIP anymore with God.

KNOW THIS: Sadly, Christians have turned away from God before – the Apostle Peter is a great example. He DENIED his Lord three times, but he DID NOT lose salvation…because salvation is a RELATIONSHIP.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE: THE PRODIGAL SON. Jesus tells us in Luke 15:11-32 the prodigal son forsook his father, took his inheritance, and went and wasted away all that was his. He turned his back on his father, but what did his father do? He received him back – not to be his son again, but because he was his son. Even when his son was away from him, and for all intended purposes he was considered dead, that boy was STILL his father’s son. That boy broke his FELLOWSHIP with his father, but his RELATIONSHIP was always that of his son.

THINK ABOUT THIS: When our children disobey or do wrong, they are still our children – they will always be because they were “born into the family”…but when they disobey or do wrong, FELLOWSHIP has been broken because by their actions they’ve gone against what we said to do or not to do. FELLOWSHIP can be restored if the child receives the correction and love of those parents, just like with the prodigal son and his father…and JUST LIKE WITH THE HEAVENLY FATHER!

 

Is Grace greater than all our sin? Is God “God-enough” to not only save you, but keep you saved? When Jesus says in John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: [vs28] And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. [vs29] My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” – Do His Words, “they shall never perish, neither shall any man [that’s means even we ourselves can’t!] pluck them out of my hand‘”, mean what they say? How about vs29…a child of God is sealed by the Holy Spirit, seated in the Hand of Christ, and secured with Christ in the Father’s Hand…now I’d say that’s ETERNAL SECURITY!

 

So after all this…WHAT CAN YOU DO TO REMOVE THAT RELATIONSHIP?

 

ARE YOU STRONGER THAN GOD – CAN YOU AND YOUR ACTIONS PLUCK YOURSELF FROM GOD’S ALMIGHTY HAND? I trow not!

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If You’re Real

Posted by Pastor Szekely on March 15, 2008

This evening I listened to a young, college man earnestly and passionately give his salvation testimony to a bunch of young people – in our town’s public school gymnasium. Now, I do not want to sound critical on this, and I do want to say that this young man who gave his testimony sounded like he believed he was delivered from the penalty of sin through trusting in the shed Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But what got my attention was this statement he made when he was talking about coming to Christ, “Dear God, if You’re real, then please take control of my heart“. [I won’t get into the whole ‘praying-a-prayer’ issue here since this has been recently covered] Now maybe he was using the statement “if You’re real” for effect — or maybe, he made this statement because this is the way he believed when he came to Christ.

I was sitting there listening to all this, and the first thing that came to my mind was, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6.

Does anyone else have a problem with the statement, “If You’re real“, when used in context of a soul coming to salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ? Does anyone else see that phraseology like this could be a problem?

After some thought on this, many more verses can be quoted to show that if a soul will be saved, that soul must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for who HE IS and for what He said He could do. How can a person – and why would a person – even come to Christ for salvation if that person really wasn’t sure that the Bible is the Truth and that Jesus is real? Some may call it “fire insurance” where someone gets another to “pray a prayer” even though that praying recipient really isn’t sure he actually needs, wants, or believes in Jesus. [Oh, and by the way – I’ve heard of accounts from reputable brethren of this very thing happening with some zealous and ‘well-intending’ men on visitations]

Doesn’t a person have to believe that Jesus IS before that person can even get saved by Jesus? Now I know that may sound funny, and I’m not trying to be…but how can a guy trust in Christ to be saved by having the attitude, “God, if You’re real…“?

I’d love to hear your input on this! Do you share in my concern, or do you think I’m just looking at a statement too critically?

Posted in Ramblings | Tagged: , , , | 19 Comments »

Which Way Is It?

Posted by Pastor Szekely on March 6, 2008

Recently I’ve been perusing through many good Independent Baptist Church websites to read what they say about Bible salvation. What I’ve noticed is there are many sites which use as their standard to lead someone to Christ the text of “God’s Simple Plan of Salvation” from Lifegate, Inc. To read the full text, please click on the following logo:

Lifegate Logo

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this…but what I’ve found is actually confusing…and I admit, it’s confusing to me…but is this confusing to you? The following is a portion of the text from “God’s Simple Plan…” that, I believe, is contradicting – check it out [Note: comments I’ll make will be in blue]:

My friend, “God . . . commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). This repentance is a change of mind that agrees with God that one is a sinner, and also agrees with what Jesus did for us on the Cross.

In Acts 16:30-31, the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas: “ . . . ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved . . . .’” *I believe they rightly emphasized by bold text how someone is to be saved! In fact, they state this emphasis in the next paragraph…:

Simply believe on Him as the one who bore your sin, died in your place, was buried, and whom God resurrected. His resurrection powerfully assures that the believer can claim everlasting life when Jesus is received as Savior. *That’s good…simply believe! And to believe does not mean to only believe that Jesus existed or that He was a good example. Belief in Jesus Christ as Saviour is to realize that He died for you, and to trust in Him as YOUR Sacrifice and Substitute on the cross for to pay your sin-debt you owed before a Holy and Righteous God.

*SO FAR: I’m reading that Bible Salvation is not of any “works of righteousness which we have done”, but it is obtained or received by believing, trusting, having confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ and the work HE has done. In fact, the next verse that they quote is very powerful to reinforce this: But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).

*So from all this, I’m seeing that as a lost person, as I come from godly sorrow unto repentance which was stated in the full text version, I must trust, believe, put my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to deliver me, save me, from my sin-debt penalty before God. So why is there another way in the following?

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13). Whosoever includes you. Shall be saved means not maybe, nor can, but shall be saved. *Wait a minute…I just found out I must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved, but now I also must “call upon the name of the Lord” as well to be saved? Really? Didn’t they read Romans 10:14a, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?” The Bible is telling us that a person must have a saving belief FIRST before they can call on Him. [For further explanation on this, please click on my post, Sinner’s Prayer] Let’s read on…: 

Surely, you realize you are a sinner. Right now, wherever you are, repenting, lift your heart to God in prayer. [*Where does God ever tell anyone to do that? Here’s their answer to this:] In Luke 18:13, the sinner prayed: “God be merciful to me a sinner.” *Before we go on, can anyone prove or say that this publican was praying for salvation? Did he pray for salvation, or was this man who had come to the temple praying for mercy through forgiveness? Was the Pharisee praying for salvation? NO. The reason why I bring this up is for context. In Luke 18, the Lord is teaching on prayer. With this parable of the Pharisee and Publican, the Lord Jesus gave this parable “unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others” (vs9). God was teaching on Pride vs. Humility in prayer! This is the context! Jesus said in vs14, “for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” This was the outcome of the Lord’s teaching – not on “how to be saved”.

But what good men will do is ignore the many, many verses on “repent and believe” only for salvation, and they’ll take this one poor publican’s words, connect them with Romans 10:13 that they’ve taken out of context, and follow with this:

Just pray: “Oh God, I know I am a sinner. I believe Jesus was my substitute when He died on the Cross. I believe His shed blood, death, burial, and resurrection were for me. I now receive Him as my Savior. I thank You for the forgiveness of my sins, the gift of salvation and everlasting life, because of Your merciful grace. Amen.”

*I don’t know how many times I’ve talked with people who’ve doubted their salvation because they were fretting over, “Did I pray the right prayer” or “Did I say the right words“. SALVATION IS NOT IN THE PRAYER!!! A prayer is not like a magic incantation that makes you saved!!! ONLY JESUS SAVES!!! And the only way Jesus can save a soul is if that soul, after being brought through godly sorrow and repentance, believes on Him for who He is and for what He says He can do…He says He’s God the Son – that means no one can be saved if they believe Jesus Christ is a created being or a god; and He says that His Precious, Priceless, and Pure Blood that was shed can be THE PAYMENT, THE SATISFACTION for a person’s sin-debt before the Father. Salvation IS NOT in a prayer…in fact, they “change back” to the first [right] way in their next paragraph:

Just take God at His word and claim His salvation by faith. Believe, and you will be saved. No church, no lodge, no good works can save you. Remember, God does the saving. All of it! *Right on target! That’s good! No good works can save you – not even the good work of prayer! “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)

*Did you read 2 ways given to be saved? Is this contradicting or confusing to you? Which way is it – by believing or by praying? As I’ve said, many a good Independent Baptist Church websites and their church’s tracts use as their standard the “God’s Simple Plan of Salvation” text.

Why? Do we really believe this? Maybe there are those who never fully read the text. And maybe there are those who’ve read it, took the text’s word over THE WORD, and never really studied it out. PREACHERS: We are expected to expound, or to lay open the meaning of the Bible. Are you really sure the Bible says you must pray to be saved? Did the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8 pray to be saved? Did Saul of Tarsus pray to be saved between verses 5 and 6 of Acts 9? When the Philippian jailer and his family were converted in Acts 16, did they pray to be saved? [Not according to vs31 & 34!]

Pray to be saved / Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…

WHICH WAY IS IT?

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