Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus is Worthy

Mere Christianity?

Dr. James White often refers to what he calls the “mere Christianity” movement where people try to make Christianity as small as you can make it.  In the 2000 years of the Church, orthodoxy has been the standard for what is deemed as Christian.  I grant you that at times this has not always been clear and sometimes people made non-essentials as essentials of the gospel.  In our day, mere Christianity has come to simply believe that if you affirm Jesus, you are a Christian.

I have been following a blogger for some time who I have seen him drifting this way.  His view is that Jesus is what matters yet it seems to me that he does not care what people believe about Jesus so long as they say they love Jesus and desire to follow Him.  While this blogger seems to affirm that the Bible is the Word of God (though I’m not sure if he holds to inerrancy or infallibility), he often muddles the water by using the liberal “red letter Christian” mantras.  It is as if this blogger makes Jesus someone that we should merely copy (and by that I mean be a hippie and be focused on “peace and love man”).  This blogger even has been writing about how he has seen Jesus in a Muslim friend of his and how this Muslim has taught him more about Jesus than many Christians.

This is the mere Christianity movement.  There is no focus on the doctrine of Christ nor about His atonement.  There is little emphasis placed on His perfection for our salvation.  There is nothing said about His death, His resurrection, His ascension to the right hand of the Father where He lives to make intercession for the saints.  There is nothing said about His coming again in glory to judge the living and the dead.  In fact, mere Christianity makes Jesus just someone that we should copy and imitate to have a better life.  Jesus becomes nothing more than a “great teacher” along with other “great teachers.”  Jesus’ own declarations are ignored.

I don’t assume that someone is a Christian simply because they name the name of Jesus.  Jesus Himself said that many would come in His name (Matthew 24:4-5).  John the Beloved wrote that many antichrists had come (1 John 2:18).  Antichrists are false christs.  Paul the Apostle issued curses on those who preach a false gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).  Thus we can see that there are false christs and false gospels.

Not everyone who says Jesus is truly His (Matthew 7:21-23).  Jesus said that those who are His are those who hear His words and put them into practice, who build their lives on His teachings (Matthew 7:24-27).  A disciple of Jesus is one who abides in His teachings (John 8:31-32).  This means that the disciple not only reads the Word of God (and not merely the “red letters”) but they study it as well.  I study God’s Word to know God, to love Him more and to obey Him better all by His Spirit and His grace.

So many claim Christ but they don’t even know the first thing about Him.  They don’t know His Word.  They don’t read His Word.  They don’t study His Word.  They don’t care to study His Word nor do they truly care to know Him because Jesus doesn’t fit our views when we read and study Him.  The perfect Son of God is not like us in that He is absolutely perfect, holy, blameless, and His ways are beyond our ways.  We seek to imitate Him (1 Peter 2:21-24; 1 John 2:6) but we recognize that He alone is perfect.  He is perfect for our salvation (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Because He remains forever perfect, He now stands before the Father in our defense (Hebrews 7:22-25).  As we abide in Jesus through faith (Romans 5:1; 1 John 2:24-25), we find that He is faithful to wash our sins away (1 John 1:7, 9).

The mere Christianity movement wants to place Jesus among others.  Jesus is far above all others (Colossians 1:15-20).  Every knee will bow to His glory alone (Philippians 2:5-11).  This includes all false teachers, all false prophets, all false religions.  Jesus is not equal among others.  Jesus is God (John 1:1, 18; Romans 9:5) and He is to be worshiped as God.

The mere Christianity movement has to dethrone Jesus to make Him equal among others.  For example, the Muslim view of Jesus is not at all equal with the biblical view.  The Quran teaches that Jesus is not God, that He is not even the Son of God.  Yes Islam says that Jesus is the Messiah but they deny His divinity and the Quran condemns to hell those who would say that God is a man or has a son.  The Quran falsely believes that the doctrine of the Trinity includes Mary.  The Quran denies that Jesus died for our sins.  Most Muslims believe that Jesus didn’t even die on the cross but rather Allah made someone else to appear as Jesus on the cross such as Judas.  While Islam teaches that Jesus will return, they believe that He will return and set up an Islamic kingdom on the earth.  The Islamic confession of faith is focused on Mohammad and not on Jesus.

And yet mere Christianity says that since a Muslim claims to love Jesus (the Jesus of the Quran and not the Jesus of the Bible), then they are “saved.”  If a Muslim denies the Quran’s teaching on Jesus and embraces the biblical view of Jesus then I would submit that they are not a Muslim but a Christian.  Of course, true salvation requires faith and repentance in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38-39; 3:19-20; 17:30-31).

One final point.  The mere Christianity movement especially detests evangelism.  After all, the evangelist is preaching that Jesus alone saves (John 14:6; Acts 4:12) and He alone is our mediator before a holy God (1 Timothy 2:5-6).  The evangelist preaches that faith and repentance are necessary for eternal life (Luke 13:5; John 5:24-25; 6:29; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 5:13).  This goes against the mere Christian view that all religions are essentially good so long as they love Jesus.  It also goes against the postmodern mindset that there is no absolute truth since Jesus Himself claims to be the truth of God (John 14:6).  When religious people are confronted with their sins and with the truth of Jesus, they always strike back with a vengeance.  I have witnessed this myself. People don’t mind if you preach a peace and love Jesus but the moment you preach that a person must repent, they quickly turn on you.  People love Jesus but the Jesus they create in their own images but not the biblical Jesus.

I am often confronted by the biblical Jesus as I read.  I am confronted with my sins.  I am confronted with my lack of being like Jesus in all I do.  I am confronted with how wonderful Jesus truly is and the more that I study Him and the more that I seek Him, the more I find that I am not like Him, that He is God and worthy to be praised, and I will never truly grasp Him in this life.  Jesus is simply too wonderful, too mighty, too holy for me to perfectly understand but what I do know is this: He died for my sins (1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 3:18) and He is coming again in glory (2 Timothy 4:1).  I long to see Him and worship Him forever.  I will continue to preach the biblical Jesus and preach against the false christs of this world.

Looking For Ourselves or Christ in Scripture?

We live in a narcissistic age when everything is aimed at us.  Commercials are aimed at us.  Even religion is aimed at us.  The seeker movement and the new “vision casting” movement (along with the now dying emergent movement) is all aimed at us.  The church exist for us.  The church exist to please us.  The church is here to help us.  Even God Himself is being cast now as the One who exists to help us.  God wants our lives to be happy, joyful, fun, full of money and stuff.  We are told that if God had a refrigerator, we would be on it with our selfies.  God created the world for us.  God sent His Son for us.  God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives (or so we are told).

In the midst of this are preachers who preach to this age.  Like those in 2 Timothy 4:3, these teachers teach what this generation wants to hear: that we are special and unique and all.  The seeker churches now cater not just to the lost (unchurched – sorry about that) but now to the selfies folks as well.  The music is aimed to please.  The sermon will not be theological at all and will be so relevant because it is aimed at you.  The prayers will be short and sweet and to the point with their good friend God listening in.  You won’t hear words such as repentance, forsaking sin, holiness, intercession, seeking God, treasuring Christ, the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  You’ll just hear cool, hip preachers who tell story after story about what they do, what they are like, their stories, their humor.  After all, the preacher (while trying to be real to the folks) must also bear the burden of being part of the selfie generation.  So roll out the Nintendo’s and roll out the movie screens and get ready to watch the vision-casting leader promote themselves while trying to connect to the selfies in the crowd.

But what if Scripture is not about us?  What is Scripture is about Jesus instead?  Me just writing those words probably sends chills through the selfies.  The thought that Jesus should be the focus of God or the Bible is something we simply don’t want to hear.  We want to believe that the promises of God are for us.  We want to believe that the Bible is “God’s love letter to us.”  We want to believe that the Bible is written for us and about us.  So no wonder we have preachers preaching from 1 Samuel 17 and finding parallels between David’s fight with Goliath and our own fights with giants (depression, a move, a marriage, etc.).  We have preachers preaching that the resurrection of Jesus was not just about Jesus rising from the dead but our own resurrections as well such as the death of a dream, the death of relationship, or the death of our businesses.  God wants to raise them too just as He did Jesus!

What if all that is wrong?  What is the story of David and Goliath is about, well David?  What if the resurrection of Jesus is not about us per se but about Jesus rising from the dead to the glory of the Father?

Jesus makes a statement in John 5:39-40 that we don’t want to read but need to.  The text says:

39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

Notice that Jesus says the Scriptures reveal Him!  One can read the Bible (just as the Pharisees did whom Jesus was address in this text) and miss Jesus!  In this generation, selfie preachers focus on themselves with clever stories about themselves yet they (and their hearers) miss Jesus.  In reality, most seeker preachers these days are not even preaching the Bible anymore but instead are preaching their journey stories.  They are not even trying to pretend to be preaching the gospel.  Gone are the days of the 1990’s when seeker preachers at least mentioned Jesus and perhaps tried to teach a text of Scripture.  Now it just stories about the preacher and props to help the hearers connect with the story.

Yet Jesus said that Scripture is about Himself and not us.

In Luke 24:27 Jesus taught His disciples that Scripture was about Himself.  In Luke 24:44 Jesus even says words that the selfies would not want to hear: that the Scriptures are written about Himself.  John writes that when we read the Scriptures, they are written so that we might believe in Jesus (John 20:31).

So what about the promises?  2 Corinthians 1:20 says that they are about Jesus.  The focus of the Bible is on Jesus.  The focus of the Bible is not on us.

How should this effect our Bible reading?  It should make us focus on Christ and His glory.  When we read the Old Testament: look for Christ.  When we read the New Testament: look for Christ.  Christ is the glorious One.  Christ is the exalted One (Philippians 2:5-11).  Christ is our salvation (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).  Christ is the One who speaks to the Father in our defense (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1).  Christ is our everything!  In Christ is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3).

So many go to the Bible looking for themselves or even a theology.  I use to read the Bible looking for Arminianism or even passages against Calvinism.  Now I just want to know Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).  I don’t want to see this system or that.  I want to know Christ.  I want to love Him more and be closer to Him (Luke 14:25-35).  I want to be like Christ but I know this only comes through knowing Christ.  I do see myself as I draw closer to Christ and I see what selfies would not want to hear: that I am a sinner in need of this Savior (Romans 7:7).  The more I read and study of Jesus the more I see that He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10) and I am the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) so I know He came to save a wretch like me.  Oh I see myself as I read but it is not good (Romans 3:23).  Thankfully God is good and I see His goodness in the person and work of Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:15; 2:9-10).  That God loves this flea is amazing to me!  The lower I see myself going, the higher I see the glory of Christ Jesus!

This has amazing results.  Prayer is no longer about me.  Worship is no longer about me.  Evangelism is no longer about me or even the people I witness to.  Church is no longer about me.  Creation itself is no longer about me.  The Bible is not about me!  Everything is focused on One: the Lord Jesus Christ.  All of creation, everything in creation is focused on Christ and His glory!  I want to preach Christ (2 Corinthians 4:5).  I want others to join in and worship the only One who is worthy to be worshiped!  Christ is the highest philosophy.  Christ the greatest study of science.  Christ is the One who is adored in true art.  Christ is the greatest example of a Man.  Christ is God.  Christ is worthy to be praised and adored and worshiped.  I want to know Christ more.  Not me.

Short Thoughts on Pastor Worship

One of the reasons that Calvinism has become popular in our day probably has a lot to do with pastor worship above Bible study.  I am convinced that many of the “new” Calvinists (the so-called “young, restless, and Reformed”) are convinced of Calvinism not because they actually read Calvin or Arminius and not because they actually took the time to seriously consider Arminianism but because of pastor worship.  Calvinism has a bunch of “cool” pastors and this has caught the eye of the young.

The names of the pastors that Calvinists worship can be long.  John MacArthur.  John Piper.  RC Sproul.  James White.  Matt Chandler.  Mark Driscoll.  Tim Keller.  CJ Mahaney.  Joshua Harris.  Sam Storms.  Wayne Grudem.  Many of these men are godly men indeed and I am not attacking them.  I am attacking the worship of these men.  I often get asked to name top Arminian preachers and top Arminian theologians and we have had our John Wesley’s, our EM Bound’s, our Leonard Ravenhill’s, our Francis Asbury’s.  We have had our pastors that we elevated and we Arminians have been guilty of lifting up men as well.  Yet modern Arminianism doesn’t have the superstars that Calvinism currently has.  Perhaps that will change but for now, I am grateful that we don’t have superstar pastors.

Scripture does teach us to acknowledge godly men (see 1 Timothy 5:17; Hebrews 13:7). Biblical leaders are to be servants (Matthew 20:26-27; 1 Peter 5:1-4).  Biblical leaders are not to be superstars.

In Acts 3 Peter the Apostle could have focused the attention on himself after the Lord used him to do a great healing.  Yet Peter cries out in Acts 3:12-16:

12 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? 13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. 16 And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.

The focus was clearly to be on the Lord Jesus.

In 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 Paul the Apostle wrote:

5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

Who is Apollos?  Who is Paul?  In our day, they would be superstars.  Yet Paul clearly wants the focus to be on God alone.  After all, it is God alone who saves!

I could name many godly men who have spoken into my life.  Some of them are godly Calvinists.  Some of them are godly Arminians.  Yet in the end my focus must be on the Lord.  Flesh will let you down (Jeremiah 17:5).  The closer I have got over the years to other godly men the more I realize that we all need Christ.  Not one of us have arrived.  We all still struggle to be like Christ.  Some of us are further up the road than others and we should rejoice in that but our focus must be on Christ.  Christ must be our gospel.  Pastors and church leaders will never save one soul.  All of them are just like us: sinners redeemed by grace.

If Arminianism does see a future growth, I pray that it will be because we proclaim Christ.  In fact, I don’t even want to make Arminians.  I want to make disciples of Christ (Matthew 28:19).  Arminius needed Jesus just as Calvin did.  Our faith is in Jesus and not in the doctrines of Arminius.  It is saving faith in Jesus that saves (Romans 5:1) and not faith in Arminius.

For my Calvinist friends, I pray that same for you.  I pray that your faith is not in Calvin or Spurgeon or MacArthur but in Jesus alone.  Jesus saves sinners and not Calvinists or Arminians (Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Timothy 1:15).  Jesus redeems those who call upon His name (Romans 10:13) and not merely those who use the term Calvinist.

Our faith must not be in men for they will fail.  Our faith must be in Christ alone.  He alone is our mediator before a holy God (1 Timothy 2:5-6).  Christ alone is the one who is praying for me before the Father (Hebrews 7:25) and not Arminius.  When I die, it will not be the names of great church leaders who will rescue me from the wrath to come but the Lord Jesus (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  It is the name of Jesus that alone saves (Acts 4:12).

Let us all pray, both Arminians and Calvinists, for the name of Jesus and His gospel to be proclaimed.  Let us declare that Jesus alone and not Arminius or Calvin or Wesley or Augustine is our Savior.  In the end, every knee will bow to the Lordship of Jesus Christ (Psalm 110:1; Philippians 2:5-11).  I will bow my knee now.

Arminianism Didn’t Save Me!

I was saved in 1992.  If you had told me in 1992 that I was an Arminian, I would have asked what in the world was that.  If you had told me in 1992 that I was a follower of Arminius, I would have asked who in the world was he.  If you had asked me in 1992 about Calvinism or Arminianism or about even John Wesley, I would have looked at you curiously and asked what they were.  I had no clue about Arminianism when I was born again.  I had no clue about John Calvin or Martin Luther when the Lord was pleased to save me.  All I knew was that Jesus died for my sins, that He rose again, and that He was my Savior and Lord.  That was all I knew.  I didn’t know much theology and surely didn’t care about learning about Arminius in 1992.

In fact, I learned that I was an Arminian by reading a theology book that my youth pastor gave me in 1993.  As I read that book, I begin to read about the debate over doctrines such as eternal security, election, predestination, etc. and I came away believing in Arminianism though I still had no clue really what that was other than I didn’t believe in “once saved, always saved.”  My Arminianism took root while in college after debating with more students over eternal security.  I am no doubt an Arminian now but that took years to develop.

My point here is that Arminianism didn’t save me.  As my mama would say, “I ain’t saved by no man.”  Jesus alone is my salvation!  I was reading (and shouting a bit) this morning as I turned in my Bible from passage to passage regarding the precious blood of Jesus and His finished work.  I read Luke 19:10 and I know that is me, a sinner in need of a Savior.  I read 1 Timothy 1:15 and that is me, the foremost of sinners who needs His grace.  I read 1 Peter 1:18-19 and shouted at the wondrous thought that Jesus shed His blood for my forgiveness.  I read 1 John 1:9 and 1 John 2:1-2 and worshiped the Lord Jesus for obtaining the right (John 1:12-13) to be forgiven by His grace.  I read Titus 3:5-7 and rejoiced to know that I am saved not by my works but by His grace alone.  I read John 19:30 and blessed God for the truth that our salvation is finished in Christ.  I read Ephesians 1:7-10 and again shouted with joy at this truth, that Jesus’ blood brings me forgiveness.

And not one of those verses names Arminius or Calvin or Ravenhill or Washer as my salvation.  Jesus alone is my salvation.  Jesus alone prays for me before the Father (Hebrews 7:25).  The Father accepted the sacrifice of the Son and the Spirit drew me to salvation and He sealed me until the day of reception (Ephesians 1:13-14).  It wasn’t Arminianism that saved me.  It was Christ alone who saved me (Romans 1:16-17).  It wasn’t Arminianism that washed away my sins, it was the blood of the Lord Jesus (Romans 5:8-9).

Oh friends, don’t worship a theological system.  Worship the Son of God!  Make Jesus your passion.  Don’t exalt a man above the Lord Jesus.  Exalt the Lord Jesus and make His name great!  Jesus came to ransom us from our sins (Mark 10:45) and His blood can wash away all our sins.  Hebrews 9:14 is one of the greatest passages of Scripture.  It reads,

how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

The blood of Christ cleanses us completely.  Through the blood of Christ we are able to serve the living God.  Praise God the Father for this wonderful gift!

Let us look to Jesus alone for our salvation (Hebrews 12:1-2) and not to men.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/15/2013 at 11:25 AM

The Aim of the Disciple: Make Disciples of Christ

Jesus said that we were called to make disciples (Matthew 28:19).  He called us, saved us, transformed us – all this so that we would glorify His name in the earth and that we might be a light to draw others to Jesus Christ.

Sadly, some believe their job is to bring people to their point of view theologically.  In other words, their job is to convert disciples to their particular views whether it be Arminians converting Calvinists to Arminianism or Calvinists converting Arminians to Calvinism.  I know of two Calvinists in particular who see it their job to a) answer every Arminian out there on their Calvinistic theology and b) to convert as many people as possible to Calvinism.  These men are passionate about Calvinism.  They adore Calvin.  They adore all Calvinists.  Their passion is to teach others about Calvinism since, in their minds, Calvinism equals the gospel.  They spend hours on Twitter and Facebook and other social sites trying to answer their critics or spread their Calvinism.  Oh yes, they will occasionally praise God for something but in the end, it is Calvinism that is their passion and delight.

Why do they want to convert everyone to Calvinism?  As I stated, they believe that Calvinism is the pure gospel.  They believe that Calvinism along glorifies God and it alone is the true gospel of the Lord Jesus.  They believe that Jesus Himself was the first Calvinist and from Him came the Apostles and eventually Augustine and eventually Calvin and so forth to this day.  They believe that men such as Arminius or John Wesley are men who tried to pervert the true gospel.  They believe that all other systems outside of Calvinism hold to works-salvation.  You can assure them over and over again (as I have) that you hold to justification by faith and that you are kept by faith in Christ but they will in turn argue that your “faith” is a work and that you are not saved by God’s grace nor the gift of faith that He gives to His elect but you hold to salvation by works.  When you quote passages about God saving you by grace through faith such as Ephesians 2:8-9 or Titus 3:5-7, they again will say that you still hold to works salvation since you believe that God saves you because of your faith.  When you argue that your faith is not a work to be saved but is a humble confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior (Romans 4:5), they will again claim you hold to works salvation since you still deny that your faith is a gift from God that came after He regenerated you so that you could believe.  It is a never-ending cycle.  I had one of these two Calvinists tell me that I needed to repent even after I assured him that I was saved by grace alone through faith in Christ alone.  Yet since I am not a Calvinist, I am lost.

I pray that there are no Arminians like this nor that I am like this.  My passion is to preach the gospel of Christ and not Arminianism.  I want to see people saved.  If they become faithful disciples of Jesus and fellowship with Calvinists, so be it.  I only want to see souls saved.  I am not interested in spreading the fame of Arminius or Wesley.  I only want Jesus to be exalted.  I thank God for Arminius or Wesley but do not believe they have ever saved one sinner.  Jesus alone saves.

My heart here is to see us all, both Arminians and Calvinists and all in-between, preaching Christ and Him crucified.  I asked one of the above Calvinists if he was more concerned that I was an Arminian or a disciple of Jesus.  He answered, “A true disciple of Jesus will always be a Calvinist.”  I deplore such thinking.  I want people to be faithful followers of Christ and not a man.  Calvin was a sinner.  Augustine was a sinner.  Luther was a sinner.  Campbell was a sinner.  Ravenhill was a sinner.  Tozer was a sinner.  Only Jesus saves sinners.  I believe these men would tell us to look to Christ alone to be saved and not to flesh.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/10/2013 at 6:10 PM

Make Christ Wonderful In All That You Do

I am convinced that preaching of the gospel must focus in on Christ.  He must be the focal point, He must be the One that we are exalting.  Our preaching should not focus on ourselves or on the hearers but upon the Lord Jesus.  When we do this, we are truly exalting God and calling people to the very One (and the only One) who can save their souls.  Whether you are doing open air preaching, house church preaching, preaching in a traditional church, teaching a Sunday School class, teaching a small group Bible study, preaching in the prisons, discipleship, etc., we should focus upon Christ.  After all, Scripture elevates Him and exalts Him above all others (Colossians 1:15-20).

In 2 Corinthians 5:11-15 we read:

11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

Paul’s focus in these verses was upon Christ.  He wanted Jesus to be exalted (v.14).  That should be our focus as well (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).  Christ is to be our all in all (1 Corinthians 10:31).  Christ is to be the One that we lift up in calling people to repentance (John 12:32). Christ is to be our focus completely.  After all, He is our Master and Lord (Ephesians 6:9).

Make much about this Jesus.  When people hear you speak, they should focus on Jesus and walk away knowing that they heard about Jesus.  Focus on Him alone as the only One who can save us by His grace (John 14:6).  Jesus alone is worthy!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/28/2013 at 10:48 AM

The Testing of our Faith Produces Steadfastness

During the early days of the Pentecostal movement, whenever a person would get saved the Pentecostals would do three things to the new convert.  First, they would baptize the person as soon as possible.  That hour if possible.  Secondly, the Pentecostals would teach the person how to “pray through” or tarry in prayer until they know that they know that God has touched them and met their needs.  This kind of praying was loud, long, and was earnest (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  Third, they would take the new convert to the old hang out places whether a bar or a gym or a pool hall or a theater and they would tell them, “Now preach the gospel to your old friends and tell them what Jesus has done for you in saving you.”  This method was very effective at proving who was truly saved and who was still dead in their sins.  The truly converted would go to their old friends and preach the true gospel of repentance and faith in Jesus to them.  This would ensure that the old friends knew that the person was now a Christian and then it would also help the new Christian to grow as they were often persecuted for their faith in Jesus.

James 1:2-4 is a popular verse and rightly so.  Here James tells us that God Himself allows us to face trails in our salvation so that we learn to persevere or, as the ESV says, to have steadfastness.  Verse 4 says that we are to let steadfastness “have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  Steadfastness produces a passion for Jesus as we suffer through our trials and realize that He is better than anything this world has to offer us (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).  Our suffering is nothing in comparison to eternity with Jesus (Romans 8:18).  He is worth any amount of pain and loss so long as we continue to see that He is wonderful and worthy to be praised no matter what may come.

Trials help us to persevere.  I think that we should not shy away from our trials.  When our faith is tested, it is the opportunity for us to focus more and more on Jesus and see His beauty (Hebrews 12:1-2).  I love Hebrews 11:13-16 that describes the faith of Old Testament saints.  It is this kind of faith that Hebrews 11:13-16 is speaking of that keeps us focused on Jesus.  When we have this type of faith, this Hebrews 11:13-16 type of faith, absolutely nothing begins to hold our affections like the love of God given to us in Christ (Romans 5:8; 1 John 3:1-3).  When we face trials and we come out stronger in our faith, this is the work of steadfastness in our trials that James 1:2-4 is speaking of.  That steadfast, immovable faith that remains focused on Jesus and His cross (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Trails come in many ways.  Some face financial trails.  Some face marriage trials.  Some face disobedient children trials.  Some of us are persecuted for our faith in Christ.  Others suffer through diseases and the effects of the Fall in our world.  Trials will always be a part of life.  God has never promised that we would not face trials as disciples of Jesus.  Instead, He assures us that we will face trials but we can learn from our trails and remain focused on Jesus through our trails and God can use those trails for His own pleasure to exalt His name.  That is the chief aim of the disciple no matter what (Colossians 3:17).  We want Jesus exalted and us brought low (John 3:30).

No matter what you face today, allow the Lord to teach you through your trials.  Allow the Holy Spirit to help you to pray as you should (Romans 8:26-27).  None of us truly understands others trials.  All our trails are different but our God is faithful and He is always the same.  He led His people through the wilderness (Psalm 107:28).  He can do the same for you and I (Psalm 107:43).  None of us will ever cease to face trials but we can begin to learn from our testing of our faith.  As we are tested, our faith grows stronger as we trust in the Lord and not in our strength.  He becomes our focus.  He becomes our passion.  He becomes our all-in-all.

Be steadfast in the work of the Lord and remain focused on Jesus always (1 Corinthians 15:1-2; 2 Corinthians 1:24).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/13/2012 at 4:31 PM

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