The Door and the Good Shepherd

September 23, 2019 at 3:10 pm | Posted in John | 2 Comments
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John 10 focuses on the imagery of shepherding – literal shepherding, involving shepherds, sheep, and sheepfolds.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

John 10:1

Back then sheep were brought into an enclosed area at the end of each day. They could be inspected for injuries or illness or parasites. They could be counted. This area kept them safe at night, from wolves and from thieves.

But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

John 10:2-3

The porter would only allow true shepherds into the sheepfold, but, even once inside, the shepherd would call his own sheep out from the other shepherds’ sheep, and his own sheep would recognize his voice. They would not follow another shepherd.

And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

John 10:4-5

This was a parable that Jesus taught, keeping in mind that He had just healed a man who was subsequently kicked out of the Temple by his former religious “shepherds.”

This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

John 10:6-9

This is the third of seven widely recognized “I AM” statement in John. Previously He had said, “I AM the Bread of Life” and “I AM the Light of the World.” Now He told them “I AM the Door.” He is the way by which His true sheep leave whatever worldly shepherd or system has been pretending to care for them and come to Him as their true Shepherd. He then leads them into a new “sheepfold,” His Church, and continues to lead them “in and out,” as He leads them into church to be nourished and equipped to serve, and to be cared for when they are sick or hurt, then leads them back out to serve Him in the world. They learn to recognize His voice and follow Him wherever He leads. He is the only “door” by which His sheep can get into Heaven.

The fourth “I AM” statement follows right after the third:

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

John 10:11

Jesus is the ultimate paragon for what it means to truly be a shepherd. Unlike an earthly shepherd, He not only cared for, protected, nourished, cleaned, and faced danger for, His sheep, but He lay down His life for His sheep. He is a Shepherd that can not be truly emulated, but, just as the Old Testament prophecies foretold the necessity of the water-spirit birth, and the meeting of God and man in a greater Tabernacle/Temple, and the need for bread that did not merely sustain, but gave eternal life, and the need for living water that did not merely quench thirst, but became a well springing up into eternal life, so the evil shepherds of God’s people are contrasted with a “good” and great Shepherd who is WORTHY to be emulated by all who would care for God’s people spiritually.

And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.

Ezekiel 34:1-16

Did Jesus Claim to be God?

September 25, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Posted in John, Q&A | 7 Comments
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Question: I am having trouble understanding how Christians can believe in one God, and still believe that Jesus is God. It seems like Jesus never actually said, “I am God,” and if I worship Jesus and the Holy Spirit wouldn’t I be committing idolatry by making them equal with God the Father?

Answer: Jesus did claim to be God, and proved that He is God by rising from the dead. Jesus said:

I and my Father are one.

John 10:30

Jesus was claiming to be God when He said this because that is what “one” means. God is one in essence, but is three in “person.” This does not violate any law of logic because “person” and “essence” are not the same category. You are judging God by human standards, but He is infinite, and we are finite, so we would not expect Him to be limited in the ways that we are. He is free to take humanity unto Himself while still remaining fully divine, and this in fact is what He did so that He could identify with human beings in our suffering because He loves us even though we have sinned against Him.

The Bible does not record Jesus saying “I am God” in those exact words, because God was never bound to express Himself in terms just to satisfy our objections. When Jesus said the words “I AM” (at least seven times in the Gospel of John), that was clearly a claim to be God, because “I AM” was the name by which God revealed Himself to Moses in the Old Testament. Furthermore, look at the evidence: (1) Jesus said that those who had seen Him had seen God (John 14:9). Jesus is equated with the Creator of the universe (John 1:1-14; Colossians 1:16-17). Jesus said He existed before Abraham (John 8:58). The Bible calls Him God manifest in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16). He claimed to be equal with God, and only God can be equal with Himself (John 5:18). He forgave sins, and only God can forgive sins (Mark 2:5-7).

You may or may not like these particular expressions that Jesus used to claim that He was God, but His enemies obviously understood what He was saying. They did not arrest Jesus and sentence Him to death simply for being a prophet (John 10:30-33). They wanted to kill Him because He claimed to be God.

The Danger of Slandering God

March 30, 2016 at 10:49 am | Posted in Hebrews | 7 Comments
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Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Hebrews 10:19

Entering into the “holiest” is the ultimate in “drawing near” to God. Under the New Covenant, and its superior Sacrifice, we are allowed to come this close to God. “Drawing nigh” creates the image of pulling up forcefully and quickly and suddenly stopping – of getting as close as possible without becoming that to which we are drawing near. As Christians, we spend time preparing to draw near to God, and, even in our preparations, we are already “near,” but, as the shadows of the Old Covenant are fulfilled in the New, the sprinkling of the blood of animals becomes the sprinkling of our hearts from an evil conscience.

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Hebrews 10:22

The washing in the laver becomes the washing of our bodies with obedience to the Word. We are motivated to try to keep ourselves clean (holy) in preparation for entering His presence, and abiding in His presence every minute of every day.

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

Hebrews 10:23

If he said we could do it – if He PROMISED – then we CAN.

The next verses exhort us not to forsake some things: do not forsake considering each other; do not forsake provoking each other; do not forsake assembling with each other. That’s one reason why it’s so important to attend a local church. Three things that help us to abide in God’s presence are His Word, His Spirit, and His Body, the local church. If you forsake any one of these three, you are on a dangerous path, and are placing yourself at the mercy of one of your three enemies:

1. The devil, who we fight with the Word.
2. The flesh, which is fought against in the power of the Holy Ghost.
3. The world, which we fight against with the local church.

This brings us to the fourth admonition in Hebrews:

1. Don’t slip.
2. Don’t be suspicious.
3. Don’t be stunted.
4. Don’t slander.

Slandering God is slandering His Word. It is living as though what He has said will not come to pass. It is living as if disobedience will produce no consequences.

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

Hebrews 10:26

The Old Covenant provided no sacrifices for deliberate and willful sins.

He that despised Moses’s law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

Hebrews 10:28

The punishment was execution.

Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Hebrews 10:29

Who is more accountable? The lost person who slanders God? Or the saved person, who knows the truth about God, yet slanders Him anyway? Even forgiven sins have consequences.

We are saved through faith, and the victorious Christian must also LIVE by faith.

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Hebrews 10:38-39

The opposite of drawing near is drawing back. “Perdition” in Verse 39 is not eternal punishment or damnation, but it is a serious and severe punishment. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. He’s a living and a loving God. A saved person will never fall out of the hands of God – nothing shall pluck them out (John 10:28-29) – but a believer who slanders God by repeated willful deliberate patterns of sin – by drawing back farther and farther – WILL be dealt with by God.

Are You Feeling Sheepish?

June 6, 2012 at 10:03 am | Posted in Selected Psalms | 7 Comments
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Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4 (emphasis added)

Christians are like sheep, and the Lord is like our shepherd. His presence is comforting to us, but sheep must stay close to the shepherd. We must stay close to the Lord in the green pastures (times of freedom) and especially in the dark valleys (times of caution). Sheep can be preyed upon by wolves and lions. Wolves and lions do not fear sheep. They fear the shepherd. Stay close to the Shepherd at all times.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Psalm 23:5 (emphasis added)

In the presence of our Lord we are not only safe, but we may be bold – even when our enemies are also present. The dual presence of our Protector and our enemies is not cause for fear because our Protector is far stronger.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Psalm 23:5 (emphasis added)

Our Shepherd sanctifies us. He cleanses us, because, like sheep, we have a tendency to get very dirty. In Bible times, shepherds applied oil to their sheep to help keep insects and pests away.

It is somewhat embarrassing for us as human beings to see ourselves compared to helpless and unintelligent animals like sheep so often in Scripture, but we share many sheep-like characteristics:
-Sheep need reassuring. We need to be constantly reminding ourselves of God’s promises.
-Sheep get sick. We tend to get sick spiritually, finding ourselves repeating our mistakes, discouraged, unfocused.
-Sheep often need help from their shepherd when giving birth to their offspring. We are powerless to evangelize and disciple new believers without our Shepherd’s help.
-Sheep get tired and have to be made to lie down (Psalm 23:2). Our Shepherd often has to forcibly take away our distractions and place us into a place where we can be still, rest, and meditate on spiritual things.
-Sheep are responsive to their shepherd’s voice. We are guided, directed, and instructed by the Word of our Shepherd.

To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

John 10:3-5

Sheep do not see well.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4 (emphasis added)

A staff, as well as a rod, is needed. The shepherd’s “rod” is what we would think of as a “cudgel” or a “club.” The staff has a hook on the end. The rod is for clubbing attackers and the crook is for guiding, and for rescuing from dangerous places. In Bible times sheep would also pass under the staff each night for examination by the shepherd. We need to remember to ask the Lord to search our hearts each and every day.

Shepherding is hard work. It’s more than just lying around in a pasture playing a flute and writing poetry.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Psalm 23:5 (emphasis added)

It sounds like the Psalmist is changing his metaphor here. Why would sheep need a “table?” But the “table” might be a table rock – a safe, firm, flat place where the Shepherd can thoroughly examine the condition of the flock.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Psalm 23:5 (emphasis added)

Shepherds had large containers (or “cups”) for the sheep to drink from each night in the sheep-fold.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalm 23:6 (emphasis added)

The Hebrew word translated as “follow” is radaph, which can mean “to pursue or chase after.” What a thrilling thought! If you are truly a Christian, God’s goodness and mercy will “hunt you down” all the days of your life!

Salvation Is Not Like Shongaloo

December 29, 2011 at 10:54 am | Posted in John, Salvation, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Eternal salvation is a life-changing experience. It is dramatic. It is miraculous. It is a real, personal, one-on-one encounter with Jesus Christ the Lord, the Almighty Son of the Living God, the Prince of Glory, the Creator of Heaven and Earth.

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

John 10:9

Therefore, the statement, “I think I’m saved, but I’m not really sure,” is suspicious. Salvation results in a complete change in our ontology – the essence of who we are.

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

Ezekiel 36:26-27

The Lord Jesus compared the event of salvation to the physical birth of a baby.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:3

Therefore, if the answer to the question, “When were you born again?” is, “I don’t really know, I’ve just always been ‘born again,’” there is again reason for suspicion. If someone is asked, “When were you born?” in the natural sense, his response is more likely to be, “October 14, 1980,” than, “I’ve always been born,” or, “I was born over a period of weeks while I read a book about humanity, and contemplated whether I wanted to be born.”

The Bible states that salvation results in a fundamental change in our attitude about sin.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

II Corinthians 5:17

Knowing this, if a person who claims to be saved never experiences conviction and repentance concerning sin in his or her life, there is cause for suspicion.

I grew up near a town in northwest Louisiana called Shongaloo. I once heard someone say that, when you drive through Shongaloo, if you blink you’ll miss it. Salvation is not dependent upon a “feeling,” because it is a factual event. It is not dependent upon behavior because we are saved by grace through faith, not of works. However, it is so magnificent that, if your belief is that it somehow happened to you and you missed it, then it is time for you to stop the speeding car of your life, open your eyes wide, stare deep into the Bible, and call upon the Lord with all sincerity to reveal to you the truth about yourself.

The Bookends of Faith (Part 1)

November 15, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Posted in Exodus, John, The Bookends of Faith | 31 Comments
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The Bookends of Faith in the Deity of Jesus Christ: The first and last of the seven “I AM” statements in the Book of John

Here are the seven “I AM” statements in the Book of John:

1. I AM the Bread of Life (6:35)

2. I AM the Light of the World (8:12)

3. I AM the Door (10:9)

4. I AM the Good Shepherd (10:11)

5. I AM the Resurrection, and the Life (11:25)

6. I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life (14:6)

7. I AM the True Vine (15:1)

I AM the Bread of Life and I AM the True Vine: these two principles are the “bookends of faith” in the deity of Christ.

For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

John 6:38

The Bread of Life came down from Heaven. Only God could come down from Heaven.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

John 15:4

The True Vine provides life to the branches, and, because the branches are “in” the Vine, they are secure. Only God can give and preserve life.

The two words that John 6:35 and 15:1 have in common are “I AM.”

And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Exodus 3:13-14

God told Moses, “I AM THAT I AM.” God is unexplainable. God is unending (eternal and infinite – unending and unbeginning). God is uncommon (truly unique). In John Chapter 6 Jesus had performed a miracle. He had made five loaves into enough bread to feed a whole multitude. Many were grateful for this miracle, but few were grateful because of what it taught or what it pronounced: It pronounced that Jesus was God.

Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

John 6:26

Most were grateful because of what it provided.

The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

John 6:41-42

Jewish rabbis taught that the Messiah would duplicate the miracle of the manna, but Jesus didn’t call down bread from Heaven – He was the Bread from Heaven. The manna was a type and Christ was the reality, but like every “type” that Christ fulfilled, He not only fulfilled it, He also turned out to be a “better-than” the type.

Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

John 6:49

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

John 6:51

How Jesus was like the manna:

1. The manna was a mystery. It’s name meant “what is it.”

And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the LORD hath given you to eat.

Exodus 16:15

Jesus seemed mysterious to those who saw Him.

But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

John 6:36

2. The manna came when it was dark.

And they gathered it every morning, every man according to his eating: and when the sun waxed hot, it melted.

Exodus 16:21

Jesus came into a (spiritually) dark world.

3. The manna was small and round.

And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.

Exodus 16:14

Jesus was not physically significant or socially “important.” Like a round object, which has no beginning and no end, Jesus, being God, is eternal.

4. The manna was white and sweet.

And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.

Exodus 16:31

White represents purity and sinlessness – Jesus was pure inside and out. Although the manna was sweet, Jesus is even sweeter.

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

Psalm 34:8

5. Manna was given to a rebellious people.

And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

Exodus 16:3

Jesus came to seek and save rebellious sinners.

The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.

John 6:41

6. The manna had to be either picked up (received) or trampled.

Jesus must be received or rejected (despised.) Make no mistake, when you reject Christ, you are doing far worse than stepping on Him.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isaiah 53:3

Jesus was treated as utterly vile and was completely forsaken by men. He experienced the kinds of feelings associated with rejection that make you physically sick.

7. Manna sustained life. Jesus gave life – eternal life.

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

John 6:35

Next time, we will ask, “Are you more grateful for what the I AM proves or for what it provides?”

Discipleship Lesson 2: Everlasting Security

October 29, 2010 at 9:25 am | Posted in Discipleship Lessons, Eternity, John | 16 Comments
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I. Will God or someone else take away the salvation He has given me?

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:12-13

We must never base our beliefs on this subject on our experience or the experience of another person. We must let the Bible speak for itself. Consider the testimony of Jesus Himself:

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

John 6:37 (Emphasis added.)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

John 10:27-29 (Emphasis added.)

II. Can I lose it on my own?

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

If we had to do anything to keep it, we would lose it easily.

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Galatians 3:10

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

James 2:10

But we do not “keep” the salvation that God gives us. Christ keeps it.

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

II Timothy 1:12 (Emphasis added.)

If we could get it – or keep it – ourselves, then Christ died in vain.

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Galatians 2:21

III. Can some other power or condition take away from me the salvation given by the Lord?

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

According to John 1:12-13, when God saved you, He became your Father, and you became His child. Your biological father can never not be your biological father. Likewise, once you are made a child of God, your Heavenly Father can never not be your Father.

There is almost always a record made of physical birth, but there is always a record made of Spiritual birth.

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

I John 5:11-13 (Emphasis added.)

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 1:13 (Emphasis added.)

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:30 (Emphasis added.)

Ephesians 4:30 would have been a perfect place to say that if you grieve the Holy Spirit, He will leave you, but instead it says right there that He seals you unto the day of redemption.

We are not saved by feelings, and feelings do not affect the objective truth of the Word of God.

For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

I John 3:20

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Titus 1:2

And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

I John 2:25

IV. Questions

A. Does I John 5:13 teach us that God wants us to be secure or insecure about salvation? Secure.

B. Does I John 3:20 teach that we can trust our own hearts and feelings about whether we are saved? No.

C. Find three Bible Verses that promise that God cannot lie.

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Titus 1:2

That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

Hebrews 6:18

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Numbers 23:19

V. Memory Verses

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

I John 2:25

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

I John 5:13

Next time: Discipleship Lesson Three – Baptism

Warning Sign #2: A Fixation on “Abundance”

April 30, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Posted in John, When Good Preachers Go Bad | 9 Comments
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The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

John 10:10

For many preachers the word “abundantly” in the verse above is a good “shoutin’ word.” However, beware the real cause for the shouting. This verse speaks of abundant life, not abundant material possessions. As a child of God, you have an inheritance of eternal life with God the Father through Jesus Christ. You have absolutely no right, however, to a big screen television, the latest high tech gadgets, a trendy motorcycle, or a fancy state-of-the art modernized church auditorium. When a Good Preacher Going Bad starts fixating on “abundance” as the world defines abundance, he is only a short step from telling you that if you want to “live in increase” you had better start giving more money.

The Legend of the Unsaved Christian

February 1, 2010 at 10:01 am | Posted in Eternity, John | 7 Comments
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“Urban legends” are sort of modern day fairy tales. They are stories that have been told and re-told, but can never be confirmed as actually happening. “I know someone who told me about his brother’s old roommate, and you would not believe what happened to him.” This is usually the sort of third- or fourth-hand pedigree that signals the onset of an urban legend about to be told.

There is even a sort of Christian urban legend. I hear it fairly often when I speak about the doctrine of eternal security. “I just know a Christian can lose his salvation,” someone will tell me, “because my cousin’s uncle’s great aunt’s stepfather was saved when he was nine, and he grew up to be an alcoholic and a big jerk, and he even killed a guy one time.”

This sort of experiential tale might make for an interesting story, but it carries no weight whatsoever when held up to inerrant Scripture.

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.

John 10:28-30

So, what do we do with the person who claims to be a Christian, but lives like a devil? I don’t know about you, but I would hope for the opportunity to give him the Gospel message. There are two possibilities. One, this person is a child of God, saved by grace through faith, and is under the chastening hand of His loving and omniscient Father, Who knows things we can never know – including whether someone is really saved or not. Two, this person is only a “professing Christian,” and has never really been saved to begin with.

The true Christian’s job is not to help other Christians figure out who’s really saved and who’s not, and it is certainly not to help God figure out who really belongs to Him, and who doesn’t.

Whether the person who claims the name of Christ but lives in egregious sin is a prodigal son or a false professor, the proverb of the pigs and the dogs is no urban legend.

For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

II Peter 2:20-22

The One Question You MUST NOT Get Wrong

July 31, 2009 at 8:47 am | Posted in John, Mark, Salvation | 1 Comment
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As you go through life, you will be right about some things, and, because no one is perfect, you will also be wrong about a great many things. However, you must make sure that you are NOT wrong about this one thing in particular: Who do you say that Jesus is?

This is the question that Jesus asked His disciples (Mark 8:29). Some think He was a teacher; some think He was a prophet; some think He was a lunatic. However, Jesus Himself said that He was God in human flesh (John 10:30). Because Jesus Christ was Who He claimed to be, He is the One you must know in order to escape eternal damnation, and to receive eternal life.

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