BELIEVE AND OBEY, BOTH NECESSARY

There is no doubt Jesus accomplished all we need to be righteous before God our Father. Salvation is available for all those that repent of their sins and believe in Jesus as both our Saviour and Lord.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,” Romans 1:16

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.Romans 3:21-22

We are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” Romans 3:24

And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50

It is a done deal, however the following verses also indicate that Jesus calls us to action.

And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” Matthew 4:19-20

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.And he rose and followed him.

To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:59-60

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.Matthew 16:24

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:10

Jesus has put us in right standing with our Heavenly Father and made it possible for our Father to send the Holy Spirit to enable us to live the Christian life, to be our Counsellor, our Comforter and Teacher so the question now is are we truly obeying His call to follow Him and to do the good works He has prepared for us?

REPENTANCE THAT LEADS TO SALVATION

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you …” 2 Corinthians 7:10-11

To get into Christ’s Kingdom, you have to truly repent, truly dying to self so that you cannot go back to your old life. Paul talks about godly grief, being convicted by the Holy Spirit about your sin. Knowing how abhorrent sin is to God you will have “godly grief that leads to repentance“. You will also realise how good, how gracious and merciful God was to send His Son, Jesus, to pay the price for your sin of rebellion against Him and His values.

Once we have truly repented and accepted Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, God the Father sends the Holy Spirit to indwell our spirit. God’s Word tells us that our spirit is the lamp of the Lord and a lamp requires oil (Holy Spirit) to function as God intended. When Adam and Eve sinned the Holy Spirit departed their spirit, so they died spiritually immediately and their bodies died some 900 years later.

The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.” Proverbs 20:27

Without the Holy Spirit we cannot live the Christian life. He is the one that brings about the sanctification process, making you Christ like. He is the one that produces the fruit of the Spirit in your life; love, joy, peace patience, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, kindness and self control. He is also one that provides the gifts of the Spirit for ministry; words of knowledge, words of wisdom, prophecy, faith, healings, miracles, discerning of spirits, speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues. You are not saved unless the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit are evident in your life.

Sadly, there are many people sitting in the pews of churches that have not experienced “godly grief that produces a repentance that leads to salvation“. The “end times” parable of the Ten Virgins tells us that half of them that are waiting for the bridegroom (Jesus) to return do not have oil for their lamps and Jesus tells them to depart from me I do not know you. This parable reveals that half the people in the “end times” church that think they are Christians and are waiting for Him to return are not saved and will be on earth when the wrath of God is poured out with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements.

For Christians this should be a wake up call, we have a mission field in our churches people who need to experience “godly grief that produces a repentance that leads to salvation.”

ARE WE WORKING OUT OUR SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING?

Paul tells us “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.” Philippian 12-13

“With fear and trembling” sounds daunting and certainly not pleasurable. In fact, is it even possible?

Working out your salvation is not possible if you have not accepted Christ as your Savior. But once you have, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you.

With His partnership you can “work out” your salvation. You can experience practically in your everyday life the unlimited resources of peace, joy, and hope that accompany the Holy Spirit’s presence inside of you.

Sadly, you have to question how many people in our churches today are born again and have received the Holy Spirit as their counsellor, teacher and comforter. It is only the Holy Spirit that produces the fruit of the spirit in our lives: love, joy, peace. patience, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, kindness and self control. It is only the Holy Spirit that provides the gifts of the spirit for ministry: word of knowledge, word of wisdom, prophecy, faith, healing, miracles, discerning of spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues.

The “fear and trembling” Paul is referring to is the attitude Christians are to have in pursuing this goal. We are to have a healthy fear of offending God through disobedience and an awe and respect for His majesty and holiness.

How we act right now as followers of Jesus will greatly impact our internal peace. Fear and trembling simply means, approach God with humility and ask him for His peace to be increased to a greater measure than the anxiety you are experiencing. Say to Him, “Lord, I humbly ask for your peace to be increased in me. I need it Lord to get through my day. Please help me Lord.”

And guess what? God will. God promises us in Philippians 2:13 that “He is at work in us both to will and to work for his good pleasure“. This is a promise.

Obedience triggers greater peace in our lives and greater peace triggers greater effectiveness for us as witnesses for Christ. Paul tells us in Philippians 2:15 that obedience brings blamelessness into our lives in the midst of a crooked and twisted world and this enables our light for Him to shine brighter.

We have to hold on to God’s Word, be in God’s Word, and apply God’s Word to our lives if we hope to maintain any sense of peace in this world. If we hold fast to God’s Word we are fixing our gaze on God by reading His Word and applying it to our lives regardless of our circumstances.

Much of this article was taken from a post by Pastor Kelly a Guest Contributor to http://www.patheos.com entitled Working Out Peace In Your Life In 2021

IRANIANS FINDING SALVATION IN JESUS CHRIST

Iran is facing a wave of internal turmoil and covert attacks that are undermining the radical regime’s nefarious plans. Even as the violence escalates, hope is rising among Iranian citizens who are finding salvation in Jesus Christ.

Whether it’s the exploding coronavirus, mysterious fires at nuclear and military facilities or protests, Iran’s ruling Islamic clerics are facing unprecedented challenges as the regime tries to maintain an iron grip on the nation.

All this comes against the backdrop of ongoing government protests and a remarkable revival that’s witnessing thousands of Muslims turning to Christianity in the midst of COVID-19.

That’s why we are calling this a pandemic of hope,” said Mike Ansari, who runs Mohabat TV, one of the most popular Christian satellite channels in Iran.

Ansari told CBN News that Mohabat TV is recording 10 times more online salvation’s than this time last year.

We are registering around 3,000 personal decisions by Iranian Muslims to leave Islam for Christianity during this revival,” Ansari said.

That’s 3,000 people each month who’ve decided to follow Jesus Christ since the pandemic began in March.

“People in Iran are just not happy the way their economy is going, the way the government is robbing them of their national resources and exporting Shia Islam to the neighboring countries, so they just don’t trust their government,” said Ansari.

The large number of people leaving Islam is causing a backlash against the church. Dozens of Christians have been arrested and imprisoned for responding to the gospel message since March.

“During these critical times for the regime, there’s a tendency, historically, for the regime to really crack down on religious communities like Christian converts, and we see that today,” Nader told CBN News.

Iran is one of the world’s most dangerous places for Christians. Yet, Christianity is growing faster in Iran than in any other country in the world.

“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