Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Really saved?


I was recently asked to speak on the topic –"Are you really saved?"

1st question – saved from what? In Bible terms it means to be saved from sin. Forgiven by God, freedom from bad habits and saved from Hell.

2nd question – can we be sure? Yes, as sure as the promises of God!

I found a good answer in the Bible section called 1 John. This was written after Jesus had returned to heaven. The purpose of the writing is stated:

"That you may know that you have eternal life"  1 John 5:13

Read on as I summarise the apostle's teaching.

Chapter 1: Jesus Christ was a real person, and to really know Him is to have eternal life.

Some people claim to walk in the light but continue with secret sins – living a lie – they are not saved. For those who step into the light, theirs sins are cleansed away by the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son.

Other people claim to have no sin. This contradicts God's conclusion – "All have sinned" (Romans 3.23)

God understood the damage and destiny of sinners, so He provided the solution. The Lord Jesus Christ who never sinned, became the propitiation, that is, the mercy-seat where God so holy could be reconciled to mankind, so unholy.

Anyone who comes to God through Him, will change from sinful behaviour to live like Jesus lived. This means to love instead of hate.

God's desire for believers is presented – forgiven, to know Him, to overcome evil, to know the Father, to know the Son, to be strong, with God's word abiding in them so as to overcome the evil one. – read 2:12-14.

Next John deals with our environment. The world we live in and the responses inside us tend to distract us from the Lord God. If a person is preoccupied with these things (good or bad), then the love of 'the Father is not in him'. The Lord Jesus made it clear that love for God must be first.

The writing changes to the person of Jesus. By the Holy Spirit we can know that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah promised in the Old Testament). He is the Son of God. (Son, not child). To deny this, John writes, is to be a liar!

Chapter three is about God's kind of love. God's plan is for all believers to be His children, to be like Jesus, to live pure lives, to live in love.

The warning is clear:

"Whoever makes a practice of sin is of the devil"

"Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer."

LOVE is then explained:

Love is much more real in action than in words.

Love is understood best by the action of the Lord Jesus – He laid down His life for unworthy ones like us.

Love is commanded as the motive of a Christian life.

"Anyone who does not love, does not know God"  4:8

Chapter four identifies Jesus to be a real man. The Gnostics had all sorts of antichrist ideas. The Spirit of truth is that Jesus was a real man, and the Son of God at the same time. To deny this is to make God a liar. God spoke from heaven when Jesus was baptised – "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased". (Matthew 3.17). God has given eternal life and this life is in His Son.

The Apostle John concludes his writings in chapter 5:18

1  A person born of God does not keep on sinning.

2  The world is directed by the evil one.

3   We know the Son of God has come.

4   The believer is IN Him, IN His Son Jesus Christ.

5  He is the true God and eternal life.

The final warning – "Dear children, keep away from anything that .might take God's place in your hearts."

Well we should respond:

"We love HIM because He first loved us"

Now read through 1 John for yourself and check if you are saved!

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Jesus - risen from the dead


The words of Jesus Christ, after He rose from the dead:

The words of the Lord Jesus we must accept or reject.

Luke 24:25  Jesus said "wasn't it clearly predicted by the prophets that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering His time of glory"

This statement makes the Old Testament part of the Bible so important. Previously I asked you to read Isaiah 53. Let me add to that Psalm 22, Zechariah 12:10. The Lord Jesus insisted that the sufferings were predicted, necessary and sufficient.

Luke 24:39  Jesus appears to the perplexed and frightened followers saying:

"Look at My hands, look at My feet, you can see that its really Me. Touch Me and make sure that I am not a ghost."

Sure He was acting with super spiritual power, but He insisted that He was the same person that they had know before and the same person that was  crucified on a Roman execution stake.

Luke 24:44 The Lord again reminds the disciples of the importance of His former predictions, and the prophecies of the Old Testament.

Luke 24: 46-49  These words of the Lord Jesus turn the events of the past into the purposes of the future. Please read them carefully:

"that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, that repentance  and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His Name to all Nations"

This forgiveness, needed by all humanity, is not now in law keeping or prayer or good deeds, but rather forgiveness for all who turn to God , believing in Jesus Christ the Lord.

Luke 24:49  Now He says something that only God can say:

"I will send the Holy Spirit, just as My Father promised."

Only God can put the Holy Spirit on a person, or in a person. And that is just what happened after Jesus returned to heaven. Acts chapter 2 records the special event that changed frightened fishermen into bold witnesses of Jesus Christ as Lord. They were so certain that they had see the Lord Jesus alive from the dead, that they were willing to die for it. And die for it they did.

This section gives the answer to the original question – was His death a mistake or a deliberate sacrifice – it was a deliberate sacrifice to enable repentance and the forgiveness of sins in His Name.

Monday, October 3, 2022

An event to change the world

 Risen from the Dead

Luke chapter 24 is a pivotal chapter in the Bible. I ask you to read it carefully three times. First, as an historical document.  Second, as a record of the words of Jesus Christ. Third, as the foundational teaching for Christian doctrine.

Questions we must consider:

1 Is the Bible accurate in stating that Jesus died and rose again?

2 Did Luke get the facts right, that  the man they ate with actually had the scars of crucifixion?

3   Is the record true that Jesus went , as a living man, up into heaven?

I will explain more next time.