The Ultimate Fruit Audit Test – Take Your’s Now!

Answer the following questions and look up the associated verses to determine if you are a follower of Jesus or just a really big fan.

Who You Are
Audit #1: Is your character in keeping with the Fruit of the Spirit? Galatians 5:22-23
Audit #2: Do you Walk by the Spirit? Galatians 5:16-26
Audit #3: Do you Actively “Make Disciples”? Matthew 28:19
Audit #4: Do you Love God with all that you are? Matthew 22:38-38

God’s Law
Audit #5: Do You Crave the Word of God? 1 Peter 2:2-3. Romans 7:22, John 8:47, Matthew 5:6
Audit #6: Do You Keep His Commands? Exodus 20
Audit #7: Is God’s Law Written on Your Heart? Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 8:6-13
Audit #8: Do You Grow in Wisdom or just Knowledge?  James 1:15

Understanding Love
Audit #9: Do You Love Others? 1 John 4:7-12
Audit #10: Do You Love your Enemy? Matthew 5:43-48, 1 Corinthians 4:12
Audit #11: Do You Have a Love Affair with the World? 1 John 2:15-17, John 15:19
Audit #12: Are you politically correct when it comes to Jesus and your friends, family and coworkers? Matthew 10:32-33, 2 Corinthians 5:20

Tests and Discipline
Audit #13: Do you Have Chronic Sin? 1 John 3:6-10
Audit #14: Do You Get Disciplined by God? Hebrews 12:3-11
Audit #15: Do You Get Tested by God? James 1:2-3, 1 Peter 4:12-14
Audit #16: Are you instantly convicted when you sin? John 16:7-11
Audit #17: Do you get persecuted for your faith? 2 Timothy 3:12, John 15:18, 1 Peter 4:12-14, 1 Peter 3:14, Matthew 5:10
Audit #18: Are you hated by some people because of your faith? 1 John 3:13, Luke 6:22,

A Changed Life
Audit #19: Do You See a Changed Life? Ezekiel 36:25-26
Audit #20: Is Your Spiritual Life Different from Last Year? Are you growing? Colossians 1:9-10, 2 Peter 3:18
Audit #21: Do You Find Assurance or Conviction When You Read the Book of 1 John
Audit #22: Christian: Would a stranger or even a close friend or family member who is not a follower of Christ convict you of being a follower? 1 John 5:19, Colossians 4:5-6, 1 Corinthians 1:21-23

Theology ~ Am I Really a Christian? But I’ve Always Been a Christian!

Today is dedicated to some thought provoking sermons and Bible reading. Below are some great places to start. You might glance over them and think nothing of it, but even if you are a Christian, I encourage you to listen to a couple and definitely read God’s Word. You will either be fully reassured or convicted. There is no middle ground. I encourage you to read all of the book of 1 John. It is 5 short chapters. Again, you will either be convicted or reassured. Give yourself the gift of taking time out of your busy day to learn more about God and yourself today!

Am I Really a Christian?
Unchanged
But I’ve Always Been a Christian
Almost a Christian

 

1 JOHN 1

The Word of Life

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

Walking in the Light

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

 

1 JOHN 2

Christ Our Advocate

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

The New Commandment

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.

Do Not Love the World

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Warning Concerning Antichrists

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.

I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

Children of God

And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

 

1 JOHN 3

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

Love One Another

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 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. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

 

1 JOHN 4

Test the Spirits

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

God Is Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

 

1 JOHN 5

Overcoming the World

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Testimony Concerning the Son of God

This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

That You May Know

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.

We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

Book Club Discussion: “Can I Be Sure I’m Saved” by R.C. Sproul

Can I Be Sure I'm Saved by R.C. SproulStarting today we will be going through R.C. Sproul’s book “Can I Be Sure I’m Saved.” You can download a copy of the book for FREE at the below link. It is a very short read with only 5 chapters. We will be commenting and discussing one chapter per week for the next 5 weeks. Join the conversation. The official conversation is on our Facebook Fan Page, however you are welcome to comment on this post as well.

DOWNLOAD THE BOOK HERE!

JOIN THE CONVERSATION HERE!

Am I Going To Heaven?

Can you prove you are going to Heaven?

When you were born your parents were very aware of your growth. They had 100% proof that you were growing and alive. If you were not, you would be taken immediately to the doctor. We constantly search for evidence and proof of life. Why do we never, or hardly ever, search for proof of growth and life in our spiritual life? To have assurance in your own salvation is a huge thing. Can you know for sure if you are going to Heaven? The word “hope” in biblical terms does not just mean you hope you will be going to Heaven. The word “hope” as it was meant in its original meaning in the Bible means “confident assurance.” I think you would love to have “confident assurance” in the fact that you are going to Heaven. Paul tells us in his second letter to the Corinthians, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” – 2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV
If you’d like to examine yourself, take a look at our Fruits Audit Section to gain greater insight into your own salvation. Become an ambassador for Christ and share this post with your friends and family. This could be the single most important thing you do all day!

Blessings!

Daily Bible Reading ~ Isaiah 50-52 and 1 Thessalonians 1

DAILY BIBLE READING LINK FOR OCTOBER 13, 2013

Pastor’s Note

The editorial heading in our reading of Isaiah 50 aptly captures the contrast: “Israel’s Sin and the Servant’s Obedience.” May we be grateful to God that though his people are often unfaithful, he demonstrates his faithfulness in his merciful plan to provide for his own (cf. 2Tim.2:11-13). I trust we will be motivated and encouraged as we begin our reading of the heartening letter to the faithful church in Thessalonica.

– Pastor Mike Fabarez of Compass Bible Church and Focal Point Ministries

Isaiah 50-52

Israel’s Sin and the Servant’s Obedience

50:1 Thus says the Lord:
“Where is your mother’s certificate of divorce,
with which I sent her away?
Or which of my creditors is it
to whom I have sold you?
Behold, for your iniquities you were sold,
and for your transgressions your mother was sent away.
2 Why, when I came, was there no man;
why, when I called, was there no one to answer?
Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem?
Or have I no power to deliver?
Behold, by my rebuke I dry up the sea,
I make the rivers a desert;
their fish stink for lack of water
and die of thirst.
3 I clothe the heavens with blackness
and make sackcloth their covering.”

4 The Lord God has given me
the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
him who is weary.
Morning by morning he awakens;
he awakens my ear
to hear as those who are taught.
5 The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious;
I turned not backward.
6 I gave my back to those who strike,
and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;
I hid not my face
from disgrace and spitting.

7 But the Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like a flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame.
8 He who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who is my adversary?
Let him come near to me.
9 Behold, the Lord God helps me;
who will declare me guilty?
Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment;
the moth will eat them up.

10 Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the voice of his servant?
Let him who walks in darkness
and has no light
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on his God.
11 Behold, all you who kindle a fire,
who equip yourselves with burning torches!
Walk by the light of your fire,
and by the torches that you have kindled!
This you have from my hand:
you shall lie down in torment.

The Lord’s Comfort for Zion

51:1 “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,
you who seek the Lord:
look to the rock from which you were hewn,
and to the quarry from which you were dug.
2 Look to Abraham your father
and to Sarah who bore you;
for he was but one when I called him,
that I might bless him and multiply him.
3 For the Lord comforts Zion;
he comforts all her waste places
and makes her wilderness like Eden,
her desert like the garden of the Lord;
joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the voice of song.

4 “Give attention to me, my people,
and give ear to me, my nation;
for a law [1] will go out from me,
and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples.
5 My righteousness draws near,
my salvation has gone out,
and my arms will judge the peoples;
the coastlands hope for me,
and for my arm they wait.
6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
and look at the earth beneath;
for the heavens vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment,
and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; [2]
but my salvation will be forever,
and my righteousness will never be dismayed.

7 “Listen to me, you who know righteousness,
the people in whose heart is my law;
fear not the reproach of man,
nor be dismayed at their revilings.
8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment,
and the worm will eat them like wool;
but my righteousness will be forever,
and my salvation to all generations.”

9 Awake, awake, put on strength,
O arm of the Lord;
awake, as in days of old,
the generations of long ago.
Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces,
who pierced the dragon?
10 Was it not you who dried up the sea,
the waters of the great deep,
who made the depths of the sea a way
for the redeemed to pass over?
11 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

12 “I, I am he who comforts you;
who are you that you are afraid of man who dies,
of the son of man who is made like grass,
13 and have forgotten the Lord, your Maker,
who stretched out the heavens
and laid the foundations of the earth,
and you fear continually all the day
because of the wrath of the oppressor,
when he sets himself to destroy?
And where is the wrath of the oppressor?
14 He who is bowed down shall speedily be released;
he shall not die and go down to the pit,
neither shall his bread be lacking.
15 I am the Lord your God,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the Lord of hosts is his name.
16 And I have put my words in your mouth
and covered you in the shadow of my hand,
establishing [3] the heavens
and laying the foundations of the earth,
and saying to Zion, ‘You are my people.’”

17 Wake yourself, wake yourself,
stand up, O Jerusalem,
you who have drunk from the hand of the Lord
the cup of his wrath,
who have drunk to the dregs
the bowl, the cup of staggering.
18 There is none to guide her
among all the sons she has borne;
there is none to take her by the hand
among all the sons she has brought up.
19 These two things have happened to you—
who will console you?—
devastation and destruction, famine and sword;
who will comfort you? [4]
20 Your sons have fainted;
they lie at the head of every street
like an antelope in a net;
they are full of the wrath of the Lord,
the rebuke of your God.

21 Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted,
who are drunk, but not with wine:
22 Thus says your Lord, the Lord,
your God who pleads the cause of his people:
“Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering;
the bowl of my wrath you shall drink no more;
23 and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors,
who have said to you,
‘Bow down, that we may pass over’;
and you have made your back like the ground
and like the street for them to pass over.”

The Lord’s Coming Salvation

52:1 Awake, awake,
put on your strength, O Zion;
put on your beautiful garments,
O Jerusalem, the holy city;
for there shall no more come into you
the uncircumcised and the unclean.
2 Shake yourself from the dust and arise;
be seated, O Jerusalem;
loose the bonds from your neck,
O captive daughter of Zion.

3 For thus says the Lord: “You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money.” 4 For thus says the Lord God: “My people went down at the first into Egypt to sojourn there, and the Assyrian oppressed them for nothing. 5 Now therefore what have I here,” declares the Lord, “seeing that my people are taken away for nothing? Their rulers wail,” declares the Lord, “and continually all the day my name is despised. 6 Therefore my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here am I.”

7 How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
who publishes salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
8 The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice;
together they sing for joy;
for eye to eye they see
the return of the Lord to Zion.
9 Break forth together into singing,
you waste places of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people;
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.

11 Depart, depart, go out from there;
touch no unclean thing;
go out from the midst of her; purify yourselves,
you who bear the vessels of the Lord.
12 For you shall not go out in haste,
and you shall not go in flight,
for the Lord will go before you,
and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

He Was Wounded for Our Transgressions

13 Behold, my servant shall act wisely; [5]
he shall be high and lifted up,
and shall be exalted.
14 As many were astonished at you—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
15 so shall he sprinkle [6] many nations;
kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which has not been told them they see,
and that which they have not heard they understand.

1 Thessalonians 1

Greeting

1:1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace.

The Thessalonians’ Faith and Example

2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly [7] mentioning you in our prayers, 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we know, brothers [8] loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. (ESV)

Footnotes

[1] 51:4 Or for teaching; also verse 7
[2] 51:6 Or will die like gnats
[3] 51:16 Or planting
[4] 51:19 Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Masoretic Text how shall I comfort you
[5] 52:13 Or shall prosper
[6] 52:15 Or startle
[7] 1:2 Or without ceasing
[8] 1:4 Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to men or to both men and women who are siblings (brothers and sisters) in God’s family, the church

Friday Fruit Audit ~ Do you Love the World

starbucksWe live in a world where we sit in a Starbucks sipping a $4 latte and complain about how we lost a stock investment or that our kid’s tuition for private school is too high or that the price of gas is over $4 a gallon. But did you know that over half the population of the world lives on less than $2 a day? We are rich beyond what we could even understand rich to mean.

I sat in a bible study last year and listened to an Orange County housewife pour her heart out to the group that she was desperate for prayer because her family was in her words, “one paycheck away from being homeless.” I honestly did not know what to say. Really!? Did she even understand what that word meant? God forbid she cut back on her cable bill or cancel her smart phone internet service. But hey, let’s decide we are going to be homeless because we won’t be able to afford the $8,000 a month in household expenses. I wanted to vomit. But then realized this is how most people live. It is how I live. They don’t understand how anyone else lives on $100 a day let alone $2. How could they? All they know is this life they live. People want what they are used to.

Well, guess what? God has another idea for us. Take a look around. Take a look at your checking account. What do you spend your money on? If you gave me 10 minutes in your home and a quick peek at your checkbook for last month I bet I could tell you what is most important to you and your family. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not trying to judge you. I am only asking that you judge yourself.

I woke up one day and realized that I was obsessed. Obsessed with the things of this world. I had to have that bright orange Hermes Dogon wallet. I had to have that uber-cute triple set of Cartier tri-toned bangle bracelets. I had to have the most expensive Tod’s shoes. My car needed to be a luxury model. My hair had to be perfect all the time with the perfect highlights. Horror was the day that I stepped out of my house without makeup. I was indeed obsessed. My obsession was not really in the things themselves. Those are not the sin. It was how they made me feel. I felt better than everyone else when I wore my Hermes H belt. I felt better than others when they did not even know what the really high affluent brands were that I had on because I was “in the know” and they were not.

I was disgusting! I bought into the lure and the lie of this world. It blinded me to what was really important. Jesus. Jesus, only Jesus. How often have you heard a wealthy person say “Money is not the root of all evil, it’s the LOVE of money that is.” Money is a necessary tool and that is all it is. I am not saying you cannot be a Christian if you have a ton of cash. However, the Bible does have something to say about it.

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” – Mark 10:25

Let’s take a moment to dissect this verse a bit. Part of the issue with how we read the Bible today is that we do not place it in historical context. If we read that verse as we understand it today, that would mean it would be IMPOSSIBLE for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. Some claim that is not what Jesus meant at all. I have heard that there was a really small gate in Jerusalem that was extremely hard for camels to get through. Here is what Wikipedia says about it.

The “eye of the needle” has been claimed to be a gate in Jerusalem, which opened after the main gate was closed at night. A camel could only pass through this smaller gate if it was stooped and had its baggage removed. This story has been put forth since at least the 15th century, and possibly as far back as the 9th century. However, there is no evidence for the existence of such a gate. (emphasis added.)

Variations on this story include that of ancient inns having small entrances to thwart thieves, or a story of an old mountain pass known as the “eye of the needle”, so narrow that merchants would have to dismount from their camels and were thus more vulnerable to waiting brigands. There is no historical evidence for any of these, either. This also ignores the explanation given: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

I have looked all over the internet to find any proof at all that there is or was a gate in Jerusalem that was hard for a camel to pass through. There is none. The point to what Jesus was saying is that it IS impossible and if you keep reading you will see how it can be made possible for a wealthy person to get to Heaven.

And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:26-27

Did you catch that? They were exceedingly astonished. I was in another bible study the other night and brought up this point to another group of wealthy OC churchgoers. I thought I was going to get pitch-forked right out of my seat. One woman in front of me actually hit my leg in outrage while three others literally whipped around in their seats in horror and in disagreement. Take it up with God people. It is not my opinion. The Word of God is clear. Wealth makes us self-reliant, not God-reliant. Wealth gives us the ability to be distracted. With God ALL things are possible and I do know some extremely affluent people who are full fledged converts to Christ who follow him boldly. Oddly those people are few and they do massive and mighty works for God. They do not tithe to God. They tithe to themselves. They give 10% of what they make to themselves and give 90% back to God through church giving, church planting, and spreading the gospel throughout the world.

Can you take a really good look at your life? Can you find out if you love your life and the things in it just a bit more than God? Can you be honest with yourself? Your eternal salvation depends on it.

Below are some great Bible verses to help you digest this all a little bit more. My prayer is that you would test yourself to see if you are truly a Christian. It is a request from Paul in his second letter to the church in Corinth. “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” – 2 Corinthians 13:5

This is not for you to stumble my dear reader and wonder if you are saved every day. Jesus wants us to have assurance of our salvation and that assurance is possible. The point is to have that assurance through seeing that you are bearing good fruit. Check the other areas to audit yourself in the areas of fruit. It is a blessed thing to have confidence in your sanctification and salvation in The Lord!

Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. (Eph. 6:24)

Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com

 

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions-is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. – 1 John 2:15-17

If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. – John 15:19

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. – Matthew 6:24

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. – 1 Timothy 6:10

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5

but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. – Mark 4:19

Daily Bible Reading Thought of the Day Isaiah 12:2

Isaiah 12:2
“Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.”

Our humanity seems too often too close to the surface of our being. We are afraid when we should stand firm with confidence. We recoil when we should righteously correct. We shy away when we should be bold and share Jesus. To live is Christ, to die is gain. I can’t wait to see Jesus but until then I rejoice in the fact that I, sinful I, get the privilege to share Jesus.

God is Holy. God is Just. God is Love.

God is Holy, God is Just, and God is Love.

God is the Almighty Creator of this universe. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”Genesis 1:1 He is also the one who made us. “then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”Genesis 2:7 With this in mind, we must admit that He is ultimately in charge of us. He created us to have a relationship with him and it was perfect.

He is Holy, meaning he is set apart from anything or anyone on this planet. Because he is holy he desired for us to be holy too. “Since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.””1 Peter 1:16  In the Bible, Peter is referring to Leviticus, the 3rd book of the Old Testament. “For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.”Leviticus 11:44

Unfortunately, because we have a choice in how we respond to God, sin entered the world because people wanted to use their freedom in a selfish way (Genesis 3). They decided to do things their way rather than obey and follow God. Their choice in favor of sin rather than obedience to God caused them to be separated from God. We are now born into that sin and no longer have a perfect holy relationship with God.

God is also Just. By this he must be the perfect judge. He cannot merely overlook this sin because it goes against everything that he is. He requires justice and he promises that he will punish sin.  “For behold, the Lord will come in fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.”Isaiah 66:15

It is pretty clear in the book of Second Thessalonians too, “in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,”2 Thessalonians 1:8-9

The wages of sin is death and complete separation from God. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 6:23 I’ll say it again, we have no option other than complete separation from a holy God. “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”Isaiah 59:2  Your payment for your sin will be required and that is what Hell is. By the grace of God, however, he has provided a solution.

God is Love.  “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”1 John 4:8
He is the purest form of it. He came up with a perfect solution to the sin problem. A love so crushing that when you think about it, no human would do what he did. This loving good news is that he sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, God in living human form. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”Colossians 1:15, to pay, in-full, the price of your sin by becoming the ultimate sacrifice. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”John 3:16 Have you ever read the verses beyond John 3:16? I encourage you to do so right now. Click the above link to John 3:16 and find out what it says.

Did you know that Jesus died in the most brutal way possible, death by the Roman cross? You may be immune to what it means to die by the Roman cross. Not only was it meant to be the most humiliating but it also was the most painful and drawn-out death possible. But, get this, he did not deserve it because he was innocent of what they accused him of. He lived a life we could never live. A perfect life. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”2 Corinthians 5:21

He died a death that we fully deserved. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,”1 Peter 3:18 Yet he conquered that death by raising again from the dead to prove to the world that only through him could this debt be paid. “For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again,”1 Thessalonians 4:14

You still have a choice and it is up to God to move you and you to accept the free gift of grace he is so lovingly giving to you. “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” “Romans 10:9-13

Living a good life, being kind to others, doing good deeds, and giving to charity will not get you into Heaven, it is only by the grace of God. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”Ephesians 2:8-9 The only way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”John 14:6

You must turn from your sin and trust in Christ. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”1 John 1:9  It also states in Acts, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,” – Acts 3:19

Give your life completely to God and have faith in Him. “and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith”Philippians 3:9  Ask him to forgive you of your sins and ask God to take control of your life. “… you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,”1 Thessalonians 1:9  Thank the Lord that he is Holy, Just, and is Love.

Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)