For through him (Jesus) we (Jew and gentile) both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” Ephesians 2:18
We regain access to our Heavenly Father through Jesus coming to earth and becoming man so He could pay the debt for our rebellion. He died in our place so that we might have eternal life. I hope you realize the enormity of what Jesus has accomplished on your behalf. Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit to indwell every believer’s spirit.
“The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.”Proverbs 20:27
It is important to note from this Scripture that our spirit is the lamp of the Lord. Like any lamp, it requires oil, which for us is the Holy Spirit, to function correctly. When Adam and Eve sinned, death was the penalty. Spiritual death occurred immediately when the Holy Spirit departed their spirits, and physical death followed 900 years later. It was only after God’s first judgment of mankind (the worldwide flood of Noah’s day) that God limited man’s lifespan to 120 years.
Considering the enormous price Jesus paid in order for our Heavenly Father to restore our relationship with Him by sending the Holy Spirit to indwell every believer’s spirit to be our counselor, teacher, and comforter, surely we must treat Him with all the respect and honour He deserves.
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30
When non-Christians reject Jesus, it simply puts another nail in their coffin and brings them one step closer to judgment, punishment, and the second death in the Lake of Fire. The Lord would have saved their soul, but time and time again they refused to repent. In so doing, “they exchanged the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1:25).
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8
But Christians are equally guilty of sin because we too grieve the one Person who can enable us to believe the Gospel, love God, follow Christ, and serve others with godly compassion. Without the Holy Spirit, none of those things would be possible. We would be helpless and hopeless, lost, dazed, and confused. We would have no clue how to be forgiven of our sins or how to please the Lord.
Thankfully, “God made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:5). So now what? Well, one thing is very clear. We were not saved so that we could go on deliberately sinning against the Lord. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” Romans 6:1-2
Christians face a variety of temptations regarding the use of our bodies, the meditation of our hearts, and the words we choose to utter. Since the Holy Spirit lives within every believer, it is essential that we diligently seek to please the Spirit rather than give into the desires of our sinful nature.
For example, Scripture instructs us: “flee from sexual immorality”. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body”1 Corinthians 6:18-20
If you want to mess up everything in your walk with Christ, then engage in sexual immorality. Have sex outside of marriage. Fill your mind with sexual images and lustful thoughts. Give into temptation rather than resisting it. And commit the one sin that is against your own body, which is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Obviously, this is the opposite of what God calls us to do as followers of Christ.
Scripture also warns believers to be careful with the thoughts and attitudes that they choose to entertain. Paul wrote:
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” Ephesians 4:29-32
When we violate any of these instructions for holy living, we grieve the Holy Spirit. Our mind comes under attack and the joy of the Lord greatly diminishes in our heart. We lose our peace. We become impatient and self-centered. We hold grudges, and we speak poorly about others.
All of these attitudes and behaviors flow from our sinful nature, (Romans 7:18) and all of them grieve the Holy Spirit. He is always pure, perfect, and gentle. When we push Him away with our sins, our life of discipleship gets put on hold. We backslide, even if only for a matter of minutes until we confess our sins to God and turn away from them.
And of course, sometimes our sinful attitudes persist much longer than a few minutes. Is it any wonder that everyone who seeks to follow Christ finds our calling as believers so incredibly challenging? Sadly, some who begin the journey with Jesus do not fully repent of their sin and acknowledge Him as Lord. They invariably give up and once again pursue deliberate sin. Unbelief is the biggest sin because it prevents a person from being saved, redeemed, forgiven, born again, and justified. The Holy Spirit only indwells those who are trusting the Savior to forgive their sins, which in turn produces a heart that longs to do God’s will.
Everything gets messed up when non-Christians reject Christ, and when believers give in to sinful desires and temptation. So, what is the solution for followers of Christ?
“Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other so you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” Galatians 5:16-18
Grieving the Holy Spirit messes up everything, whereas confessing our sins to the Lord and seeking to do His will is the path to peace and righteous living. If you love God then you will be willing to be led by the Holy Spirit. So, are you a follower of Christ and have the Holy Spirit to guide your every step? If not, would you like to be? If you would then listen to this presentation by Ray Comfort.
Why should you be living eternally now? All believers will appear before the judgment seat of Christ and whilst our eternal destiny is safe what we have done will affect our rewards. For Christians that are raised in the first resurrection and are raptured with the living Saints, it is generally agreed that we will face the judgment seat of Christ during the time (Isaiah 34:8, Isaiah 61:2, Isaiah 63:4) we are in heaven before returning to earth with Jesus. If you disagree, keep in mind that these are not my words, but God’s. Jesus, speaking to both believers and unbelievers, said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37. Also, Paul said, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil”2 Corinthians 5:10
There are two different judgments in God’s Word: the judgment of faith, and the judgment of works. The judgment of faith relates to our eternal salvation, while the judgment of works relates to our eternal rewards.
For Christians, salvation took place in a moment in the past. It was free, it can’t be lost, it is the same for all Christians, and it is solely based on a faith that is ours by the grace of God alone. By contrast, future rewards are earned (by God’s grace), can be lost, differ among Christians, and are based on our efforts.
Salvation is about God’s work for us. Conversely, rewards are a matter of our work for God. When it comes to salvation, our work for God is no substitute for God’s work for us. God saves us because of Christ’s work, not ours. Likewise, when it comes to rewards, God rewards us for our work, not Christ’s. (Our good works are empowered by the Holy Spirit; nevertheless, we need to submit to Him so God refers to it as our work.)
Let me be sure this is perfectly clear. Christ paid the price for all of our sins, once and for all (Hebrews10:12-18). If we have trusted Him for that provision, we will not pay the eternal price, the second death. He has fully forgiven our sins, and we are completely secure in Christ’s love (Psalm 103:8-18; Romans 8:31-39). Our salvation is sure, and we will not undergo the judgment of condemnation (John 5:24; Romans 8:1).
But although the forgiveness of our sins has every bearing on our eternal destination, it has no automatic and effortless effect on our eternal rewards, apart from the fact that God’s sanctifying work comes out of our salvation, and therefore we should expect that the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives should lead us to do good works that God will reward. But we must choose to do the works He prompts us to do. Neither does it mean our choices have no consequences in eternity. Forgiven people can still lose their rewards or forfeit eternal positions of responsibility they could have had if they’d served Christ consistently and faithfully before death.
Trust in Christ, lean on Him, and draw upon Him for power, for apart from Him we can do nothing. But if we hope to receive a reward, we must still do the necessary work. As our forefathers put it, to wear the crown we must first bear the cross.
Just as there are eternal consequences to our faith, so there are eternal consequences to our works.
What we do with our resources—including our time, money, and possessions—will matter not just twenty minutes, twenty days, or twenty years from now. It will matter twenty trillion years from now.
Though Paul insists we are saved by faith, not works (Titus 3:5), he also clearly states that the choices we make and the things we do have eternal implications, and that we will each answer to God for the works we have done in this life:
If anyone builds on this foundation [Christ] using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)
Those believers who have been less faithful and obedient in their walk with Christ will not suffer loss of salvation! But they will suffer loss of the reward that would have been theirs had they been more Christ-centered and faithful in their service to Jesus.
What 1 Corinthians 3 says is so sobering that a temporary loss doesn’t seem likely. This loss of rewards appears permanent, for while we will all serve God in our resurrected bodies on His New Earth, there appears to be a finality to the fact that after death comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27). If there are any future judgments for our service to God on the New Earth, we are not told about them in Scripture. Of course, we should anticipate for our future service He will say to all of his children, “Well done!” And yet, despite Scripture’s silence on this, I think it’s very possible that God, who is by nature a rewarder (), may continue to reward His people for faithful service on the New Earth. That resonates with me, and I don’t see anything unbiblical about it. It fully fits His nature as a Father who takes joy in saying “Well done” to His devoted children.
Earning Our Full Reward
First Corinthians isn’t the only passage that speaks of losing reward. The apostle John wrote, “Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward” (2 John 1:8, ESV).
To win a full reward would be glorious, wouldn’t it? But surely all of us will regret some of our decisions on that day when we “suffer loss” or “lose what we have worked for.” Anticipating standing before the judgment seat of Christ should motivate us to follow Him wholeheartedly and generate in us a proper fear of God.
All of us will be full of joy in Heaven, but those who served Him faithfully, particularly in the midst of adversity, will have been made, by God’s grace, into larger vessels. They won’t be fuller of joy, but they will have a greater capacity, and their fullness will accordingly contain even more joy. (Hence the special place in Revelation given to the martyrs.) There won’t be envy or regret, because of our new natures, and all will be full of joy, yet there will be true continuity and eternal consequence so that what we do—not just what we believe—in this life affects the next.
Maybe one way to say it is that the “loss” of rewards is in some sense permanent, but the “suffering” of that loss will be temporary. God will do away with the suffering (Revelation 21:4), but that is after the judgment, after we give an account to the Lord. The suffering of regret will be there at the judgment (how could it not be?) before entrance to the eternal state, but then comes the learning and purifying and eternal rejoicing. Perhaps we’ll offer a short, entirely sincere, “I regret my lack of faith and faithfulness,” expressing this to our God who graciously forgives. Then, with that forever behind us, we move on to eternal joy.
But there will be no ongoing suffering, for all our regrets about our past will be overshadowed by God’s grace. Yet if there were no reckoning, no “suffering loss” then the 1 Corinthians 3 passage would be meaningless (which is exactly what most teaching on the subject reduces it to). Some will object that this is a sort of Protestant purgatory, just shorter in duration than languishing in the flames of Catholic purgatory. But the suffering is not in the eternal state, only in a temporal judgment, and judgment must involve the negative as well as positive or it too is meaningless. The biblical statements of “giving an account” and that include “works done in the body, whether good or evil” are unmistakable in that regard. (Doing the evil will clearly have taken away from the rewards that would have come from doing good.)
Consequences without Condemnation
Since all who know Jesus go to the intermediate Heaven immediately when we die, it appears that whenever this judgment happens, it will be after we get there. So, while God will one day wipe away every tear from our eyes (Revelation 21:4), it seems likely that when we must give an account for our lives, there will be, for a time, some regrets and tears and a sense of that loss Scripture speaks of.
I realize this is hard to grasp. I am just trying to be true to all God’s Word says, instead of choosing only parts of it. This may sound like a sort of condemnation and punishment, but we are assured this isn’t the case, for “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
Ephesians 1:7 says, “In him [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”. The Bible teaches not only forgiveness of our sins but also consequences for our choices. These consequences apply despite our forgiveness. Forgiveness means that God eliminates our eternal condemnation; we will not be ultimately punished for our sins, but there may be immediate consequences in this world due to our sins. Forgiven people can still contract AIDS, go to jail for drunk driving, or suffer the death penalty, for example. A murderer or drug dealer can be fully redeemed and forgiven, and may still spend the rest of his life in prison. He may lose his family as well as his freedom. After all, the thief on the cross remained there despite his confession of faith.
In Heaven, God appears to say that while all our sins will be forgiven and there will be no ongoing shame or regrets, nevertheless at the judgment seat an initial and temporary sense of shame, regret and sorrow seems likely, though one that will soon be swallowed up by eternal grace and joy.
Prepared for Good Works
One of the most often quoted passages in Scripture states, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
It’s a wonderful truth, but verse 10 immediately follows with more truth about works: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God has prepared a lifetime of good works and we will give an account to Him for whether or not we have done them.
Surely each of these passages and others like them implies that while we will be fully forgiven in Christ and be forever totally cleansed and purified by His redemptive work, we will nonetheless be held accountable for what we have and haven’t done in this life.
It seems reasonable we won’t be joyful at the very moment we have to give an account for our sins, the careless words we have spoken, and all the wood, hay, and straw of our lives that will be consumed in the fire, that could have instead been gold and silver and precious stones. And at the same time, we will find great pleasure in the rewards God has given us, and we will celebrate the rewards He gives to others.
But how does this all fit with the truth about the forgiveness of our sins? I think of the example of Charles Spurgeon, who didn’t try to reconcile every paradox or apparent contradiction in the Bible. Speaking of the truths of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility—which I also believe to be applicable to the truths of complete forgiveness and accountability at the judgment Spurgeon said this:
“These two truths, I do not believe, can ever be welded into one upon any human anvil, but one they shall bein eternity: they are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the mind that shall pursue them farthest, will never discover that they converge; but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring.“
Spurgeon also wrote, “Those who will only believe what they can reconcile will necessarily disbelieve much of divine revelation.” Our desire for logical consistency, as we understand it, can become our God. Then we, not Scripture and not God, become our own ultimate authority. We end up ignoring, rejecting or twisting Scripture that doesn’t fit our chosen theology.
On the contrary, our theology should reflect Scripture itself, and wherever Scripture teaches apparently contradictory ideas, our theology should embrace those same ideas, rather than resort to a consistency that rejects part of God’s revealed Word.
Certainly, any and all of our regrets about our past will be overshadowed by God’s grace, which is the good news of the Gospel. There is comfort in 1 Corinthians 4:5, which says God “will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.” God will apparently find something to reward “each one” for. This makes sense, for no one can truly be born again without having demonstrated some fruit for which God can reward us.
Let’s Live in Light of Eternity Now
All of this argues for cultivating an eternal perspective in which we seek to live each day in light of eternity—not out of dread, yet with the right kind of fear of God and heartfelt love that desires to please our Lord and Savior.
In his book When Christ Comes, Max Lucado writes, “You can be certain you won’t regret any sacrifice you made for the kingdom. The hours of service for Christ? You won’t regret them. The money you gave? You’d give it a thousand times over. The times you helped the poor and loved the lost? You’d do it again. . . . You’d change the diapers, fix the cars, prepare the lessons, repair the roofs. One look into the faces of the ones you love, and you’d do it all again.”
An eternal perspective isn’t something we have to wait until Heaven to have. So I’ve often given readers and listeners this advice: live now the way that you will one day wish you would have. Don’t postpone obedience, holiness, purity, drawing close to God, and serving others.
Five minutes after we die, we’ll know exactly how we should have lived—it will be too late to go back and change anything. God has given us His Word so we don’t have to wait until we die to know how we should have lived. There’s no second chance for the unbeliever—but also no second chance for the believer! Just as missionary C. T. Studd said, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”
You and I have one life on this fallen earth in which to follow Jesus and invest in Heaven. Let’s not miss the opportunity. God will one day take away all our sorrows, but why go into eternity with regrets? Here’s a prayer for us: May what will be most important to us five minutes after we die become most important to us now.
Let me add KNOW YOUR WHY:
To bring glory to God
To know God’s will for your life
God wants to use me to bring people into His Kingdom
Adapted from the article: “Will We Have Regrets at the Judgment Seat of Christ?” December 5, 2022 by Randy Alcorn http://www.patheos.com
Living Eternally Now is available o Amazon or from me direct: email@example.com
For Christians, all of life is the enterprise through which we glorify God and enjoy Him forever. The means by which we do that is simple: we must know who this God is and how we can enjoy Him forever. This is only derived from a robust understanding and application of Scripture and understanding the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Thus, when we are faced with whatever progressive ideals might creep in, the principle is one whereby we test all things according to Scripture empowered by the Holy Spirit.
I am convinced many within the broader church have been pressed into the mold of a system of thought the broader culture adopts (i.e. progressivism), and the foremost institution this has been accomplished through is education. Generations of children have come and gone through this institution, which with the adoption of evolution has rejected any involvement of God in science and now education, as a result, society is largely secular. God’s values have been jettisoned and the progressives now dominate our educational establishments and parliament.
How do we solve this dilemma? The answer is surprisingly simple but unflatteringly naïve to the world, and even many professing Christians. The Word of God must be re-established as the foundation for all of life. Everything else is subservient to it and must align with it. In other words, we live consistently to the message we proclaim, from the seemingly mundane choices we make in entertainment, to how we spend our money, raise and teach our children, and how we do church, which means getting back to church as outlined in the Book of Acts, house churches that make disciples, and more. Only then will we be salt and light in the world. Only then will the Holy Spirit truly lead believers and the fruit of the spirit will be evident in their lives: love, joy, peace patience, faith, gentleness, goodness, kindness, and self-control. The ministry gifts, all nine will be evident including miracles, words of knowledge, and discerning of spirits.
The Gospel will then be unstoppable. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14
The authentic Christian church is an agency of transformation. It is the embassy of the Kingdom of Heaven in the fallen world
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, to be reconciled to God. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2Corinthians 5:21-22
That Kingdom, said Jesus, is like leaven it permeates and transforms.
“The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” Matthew 13:33
In contrast to mere revolution, transformation works from “inward to outward” – from the Holy Spirit’s interaction with the human spirit outward through soul and body. What is inside is ultimately “worked out” (Philippians 2:12).
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-20
“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:31
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
“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.” Galatians 2:20
We need to living as ambassadors for Christ now in preparation for ruling and reigning with Jesus Christ in His coming Millennial Kingdom.
“They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.“ Revelation 20:4-6
When God called Abraham, he didn’t say, “You need to ascribe to these commandments, right principles, and correct beliefs.” Instead, God told Abraham, “Go from your country, your people, and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” How did Abraham respond?
“So Abram went, as the Lord had told him.”Genesis 12.4
He didn’t say a word. He got his feet moving.
When it came time for Jesus to assemble the men who would become His apostles and disciples, he didn’t command them to discern and discover all of the scriptural rules and laws to govern their conduct and learn what they should believe. No, Jesus called them and what was their response?
“Immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.” Matthew 4:22
They got their feet moving and so should we.
In the three short years that Jesus ministered on this earth, Jesus walked over 3000 miles. He was a man on the move. He was a man of imminency and intention.
Jesus took ordinary people, made by and in the image of, his Father, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, turned them into a community, a family, of fervent and dedicated apostles, disciples, and students, thereby launching the greatest social movement in human history.
By Jesus’ death and resurrection, He made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, to indwell the Spirit of every person who repents of their past rebellion against God and given their life to Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Submitting to baptism in water they have shown they have died to their old life and been born again by the Holy Spirit into a new life in Christ.
It is possible to be born again by the Holy Spirit and yet we quench His work in our lives thereby grieving Him.
The detailed message we are given of how Elijah heard from God is tremendously important.
“And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:11-12
How did Elijah respond to the “still small voice“? He “went out..”. He got his feet moving.
“And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out…” 1 Kings 19:13
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30
It is obvious from this Scripture that it is possible to grieve the Holy Spirit and we are told that we quench His work in our lives when we ignore His “still small voice“. I know in my own life that I often am distracted by worldly attractions and miss God’s best for me which means I miss the joy that we get from serving Him.
Prayer is the way we stay in touch with God, Human beings were made to be in fellowship with God. Adam and Eve’s disobedience severed the link but thank God He asked His Son, Jesus, to restore the link. What does God do for those that relate to Him in love? The Psalmist puts it well when he said,
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalms 16:11
If we are obedient and get our feet moving when He asks us to go, He will guide our steps.
“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him because we keep his commandments and do what pleases Him.” 1 John 3:21-22
If you invest in the right treasury (eternal, not temporal), adopt the right perspective, and serve the right Master you have nothing to worry about. In contrast, those who invest in the wrong treasury (temporal, not eternal), adopt a here-and-now perspective, and serve the wrong master (money, not God) have every reason to worry.
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”Romans 8:15
Since we cannot serve two masters, our fear of not having enough reveals our true master.
Jesus specifically tells us not to worry about life’s necessities—food, drink, and clothes. Then He says,
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” Matthew 6:33
According to our Lord, giving isn’t what leaves us short of material provision. Jesus promises to provide for givers in full measure.
“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38
How about this promise in Malachi?
“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.” Malachi 3:10
When we give away our treasures, we are seeking God’s Kingdom first. And therefore, “all these [material needs] will be added to” us.
Paul told the Philippians, “I have received everything in full, and I have an abundance. I am fully supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you provided—a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God”Philippians 4:18, CSB
Their financial gifts were gifts to God. Since they gave so generously to provide for him and his work, Paul was confident God would provide the same for them: “My God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, CSB). This is a familiar promise, but most people don’t realize that in context, it is specifically for givers who have stretched themselves to become sacrificial partners in Kingdom ministry. “For even in Thessalonica you sent gifts for my need several times” (v.16).
RANDY & NANCI ALCORN’S TESTIMONY
In some cases, God’s provision is obvious—we get an unexpected check in the mail or are given something we thought we’d have to buy. One time Nanci and I discovered an error we’d made in our bank balance, finding we had significantly more money than we realized.
In other cases, God’s provision is less obvious but equally generous. A washing machine that should have broken down a decade ago keeps working. A car with more than two hundred thousand miles runs for three years needing no repairs. A checking account that should have dried up long before the end of the month somehow makes it through. As God miraculously stretched the widow’s oil supply in Elisha’s day (2 Kings 4:1-7), and as He made the Israelites’ clothes and sandals last forty years in the wilderness (Deuteronomy 8:4), I’m convinced He sometimes graciously extends the life of things that would normally need replacement.
The God who fed a million-member family in the wilderness for forty years, fed five thousand with one boy’s lunch, and who is perfectly capable of turning water into wine and stones into bread, will not have any trouble providing whatever He knows you need.
Adapted from the article by Randy Alcorn, “If We Fear God, We Can Trust His Provision” August 8th, 2022 http://www.patheos.com
The popular TV show host offered a passionate call to fellow Christians to reach others with the Gospel.
“The devil doesn’t own the airwaves. … the Lord does,” Gifford said. “Everything belongs to God, and we need to reclaim them for His Kingdom.”
The entertainer, set to release a new film titled “The Way,” a one-night-only Fathom Event on Sept. 1, encouraged fellow Christians to create stellar content.
“We have got to stop putting out dreck (junk) and call it ‘Christian’ and expect it to be blessed,” Gifford said, calling believers to “excellence” when creating entertainment.
She believes her latest film fits that bill. “The Way” is a musically driven movie promising to bring the Bible to life “as you’ve never seen before,” with oratorios (narrations set to music) driving the experience.
The TV host spoke passionately about her love for the Lord and said she feels called to Christian storytelling, which she will pursue for the rest of her life after retiring in 2019 from daytime TV.
“I just know how to put myself in the hands of the Holy Spirit and get out of His way,” she said, explaining how past Bible-based projects led her to realize what God wants for her life. “I realized, ‘Oh my Gosh, this is what I’m supposed to do for the rest of my life.’”
Gifford added, “I’m supposed to take these unbelievably powerful, epic stories of people in the Bible and bring them to life in a brand new way that no one’s ever seen before.”
I love to hear stories from Christians that know they have heard from the Holy Spirit about what they need to be doing with their lives. Moreover, I, for one, look forward to seeing what the Lord produces through Kathie Lee Gifford in the years ahead.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 Can we say as Paul did, “to live is Christ“? We can only do it if we know the presence of the Holy Spirit within. When we have experienced His presence and leading. For me. speaking and especially singing in tongues confirms the presence of the Holy Spirit within my spirit. The more we experience His presence the less likely we are to quench His work in our lives and grieve Him. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30
What about suffering for Jesus Christ, even rejoicing in our suffering for Him? Once again we can only do this “because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.“
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.” Philippians 1:29
We will need to know the presence of the Holy Spirit and trust Him implicitly in the soon coming prophesied “end times” because Jesus warns us that there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world.
“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect,those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.” Matthew 24:21-25
Pretend actors-for-Jesus can quote Scripture, but their desires haven’t changed. They merely feel good that they now have religion, too. Their faith is not a central transforming reality; it’s an add-on to enhance their lives. They believe in a god made in their own image, not the true God of the Bible. They worship a cosmic genie who meets their needs and gives them what they want. They may call themselves servants of Christ. But in fact, they are masters, calling the shots, claiming what they want to claim and believing what they want to believe, and expecting God to come through for them. And when He doesn’t, they either blame Him for not being good or blame themselves and others for not having enough faith to get their way.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’Matthew 7:21-22
How different from the biblical description of us as slaves of Jesus Christ! Yes, the original word is best-translated slaves, not servants, and describes those who are sold out to His ownership and committed to doing whatever He calls them to do, including dying on His behalf should He so desire.
“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as slaves (servants) of God.” 1 Peter 2:16
We are also called children of the King, and there is a time when we will enjoy all the privileges of royalty. But now is not that time! Presently we experience some royal kingdom privileges, including constant and unhindered access to the One who sits on the throne. We can “come boldly before the throne of grace,” as Hebrews says. God’s Holy Spirit dwells within us. He has promised to provide what we need to serve Him (Matthew 6:25-32). But when it comes to enjoying all the material provisions living in the King’s mansion provides, we are not yet there.
We are still on foreign soil—hostile soil—where people are fighting against God’s kingdom. We are not just tourists or palace-dwellers; we are “strangers and exiles on the earth,” who are “seeking a homeland” (Hebrews 11:13-14), and longing for “a better country, that is, a heavenly one”.
“But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:16
God has prepared a heavenly Jerusalem which John saw coming down from heaven onto the new earth which the Saints will inhabit after the White Throne judgement.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” Revelation 21:1-3
What we need in our churches today are fewer actors and more sold-out followers of Jesus—converted people living lives centered on Jesus, the King of kings.
God is raising up leaders that are truly sold out to His purposes of making disciples. Find and connect with these leaders.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV).
“The Kingdom of God is not going to be advanced by our churches becoming filled with men but by men in our churches becoming filled with God.” —Duncan Campbell
Taken from another great article, Our Mission: Make More Disciples and Fewer Performers JULY 7, 2022 by RANDY ALCORN
This article has been extracted from an insightful article by Sarah Yardley entitled HOW TO COPE WITH THE FAILURE OF CHRISTIAN LEADERS. She is a Californian based in Cornwall, UK. She studied Theology at St. Mellitus College. Sadly she ignores the Holy Spirit’s role as our teacher, comforter, and counsellor. Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell our spirit and enable us to live the Christian life. For many of the leaders that have failed, one has to question: were they ever born again by the Holy Spirit? If they were they have certainly grieved Him and quenched His work in their lives.
Recently, it seems like we have seen an acceleration of sins exposed, hearts laid bare, and the broken places in the lives of our leaders revealed. What do we do when we find our heroes have fallen from their pedestals? I have found the following areas essential as I navigate moral failure.
Look to Jesus
Beyond the current headlines, I think of key leaders in scriptural and Christian history: Noah, Moses, Naomi, David, Martin Luther, Karl Barth, Bill Hybels, Bob Coy, Ravi Zacharias, myself… At some point, all will fall and all will fail. The only one in whom I have certain hope, trust, and expectation of faithfulness is Jesus. When my leaders fail, I fix my eyes on Him.
Seek truth and accountability
When I first experienced a period of watching leaders close to me fall into moral failure, I struggled with panic attacks, doubts, and anxiety. If they could fall, surely I would too. (I do, often). These questions can push us into pain and bitterness, or they can cause us to say: “But for the grace of God, there go I.” Choose friends in your life who will speak truthfully and honestly to places of failure, and ask for grace and help in growth.
Forgiveness is a key distinctive of the Christian faith. It reminds us that the faults and failures that once defined us can be redeemed at the cross of Christ. Actively choosing to forgive can be challenging and raw, but it frees us from carrying a weight that will cripple us. As Ray Hinton, wrongly imprisoned for years for a crime he did not commit, wrote: “If you want to be free, you have to forgive, and I want to be free.”
Process the pain
Leaders fail. Allow that to bring grief. Let it break your heart, stretch your soul, and make you weep. Don’t rush past the emotion that it can – and should – bring us when one who proclaimed the words of truth with life and power, who made doctrine dance, also allowed honesty to dance away as well. Read the Psalms. Lament. These are the wounds we received in the house of our friends, and our saviour is still binding them up.
Live in the light
I don’t publish every sin I wrestle with. I don’t feel the need to post every place I have battled pride, lust, gossip, fear, or offense. But they are many. And my close friends, leaders and, above all, Jesus are walking with me in these places. If we walk in his light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). Wherever possible, live in the light.
Pursue presence above platform (Seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance continually each day so that you will not grieve Him and quench His work in your life)
Everything in our lives is an invitation to intimacy with Christ. Every day, we choose to turn our hearts towards his love or towards our own pleasures. I see some of the moral failures in our Church today and wonder about the infinitesimally small, unseen choices that turned hearts towards pleasure and power. It’s easy to sit in the position of judgment towards others and forget how much our own souls long for immediate pleasure. In the presence of Jesus, we find a different, deeper, eternal joy. He continually invites me to choose his presence above any other platform.