Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What we do in Church stays in Church: Wrong!

We've all heard the slogan "What you do in Vegas stays in Vegas".  Unfortunately, the way many people live this slogan seems to apply "What you do in church stays in church"!  We've all heard of "Sunday Christians"? That's the group of people to which I'm referring.  However,  most Christians have been at low points in their lives when they actually lived according to that slogan.  Why?

Salvation is a starting point!  It's a good one, but you're not finished. Oh, sure, you can squeak by and get into heaven, but is that God's will? Let's take a look.

Hezekiah 3:1 "And the Lord said, thou shalt spend five minutes and repententh to the Lord, thenceforth you've met my expectations."

Oh, you can't find that verse in the Bible, eh! ("Eh", for my Canadian friends). If it's not in there, then why do people live that way!  It's because of faith... at least the lack of it!

Matthew 14:31 "And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him (Peter), and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"

Faithful people put their faith in Jesus!  Why do we fail Jesus. We have little faith! That sounds as if I'm using circular reasoning, but "faith" is the key to "obedience". We may not say it aloud, or consciously be aware of thinking it, but we are constantly weighing "pleasure" vs. "obedience". We reason with ourselves "I'm missing out on this pleasure for nothing if God doesn't punish me for my sin." I bet you deny having such dysfunctional thinking? Surprise! Most of us think that way at times!

Colossians 2:5 "For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ."

If we have "stedfast faith"  we are unwavering in our belief! That's a mature Christian! That's a sanctified Christian.  (As a sidebar: Just because you believe in sanctfication doesn't make you a charismatic Christian). Sanctified are what Christians are called to be!

1 Corinthians 1:2 "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints..."

Saints are those who are "born again"... born of the Spirit. Anyone who is "saved" is called to be sanctified!  "What do I have to do to be sanctified?" It helps if you understand it!

Romans 15:16 "That I (Paul) should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost."

You must desire and allow the Holy Ghost to sanctify you! Sanctification means "to be set apart". Apart from what? The world! You are to be Christlike!

1 John 2:6 ESV "Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he (Jesus) walked. "

Galatians 2:20 ESV "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. "
Yes, we are to be like Jesus. He lives within us, but only if we are "born again"!  If you're having an disproportionate amount of problems living the Christian life, perhaps you need to revisit Christ!  Were you sincere when you dedicated your life to Jesus?  Are you sorry that you sin? Do you know that to love Jesus is to obey him? Was your faith strong, but now it has wavered? Do you need to repent?
Salvation is step 1! As a Christian you should want to please Jesus. No, you can't do it alone! The Holy Ghost is THE COMFORTER who remains in the world to aid you in your trials and temptations. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of God who remained here as Jesus ascended. He's "God With Us!"  You pray and read your Bible. God's Word will come alive as you read and apply it to your own life. A "Sunday Christian" is one who knows, but applies it only on Sundays!
A committed Christian is one who obligates himself to God. It takes perseverence and dedication!  A sanctified Christian still sins, but dedicates himself to avoid temptation. Sin will remain, but sinning will diminish!  Paul likens it to a race (He was an Olympiad fan).
1 Corinthians 9:24 "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain."
What are you obtaining? Eternal life. Yes, you run the race so that you can live forever. It's worth it, is it not? Eternal Life is the consummation of salvation. If you are sincere with Christ and keep the faith, the race is won!
You're running a race. A "race" implies that you have an opponent. Who might that be?
James 4:7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
You're racing against the devil. You may not recognize him or even see him, but if you're tempted to sin, that's the work of the devil. And how do you win the race? Just as James tells us. "Submit yourselves therefore to God"!  Submitting yourself to God means that you are God's servant. You are set apart to magnify, respect and glorify God in deed and thought. That, my friends, is sanctification!
Sanctification is a daily walk in faith. You're true to Jesus. It's not a Sunday venture, but a daily journey. That journey is one day at a time. You compete with the devil, but you do it with the "full armour of God". You've got a weapon that's the devil's kryptonite! You've got the Holy Ghost who places a spiritual lead plate in front of you, keeping the devil from beaming temptation at you!  No, you're not alone. God is with us!

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