None but one!

Last Sunday while here in Saskatoon I was stood up. I had scheduled some time at DQ to visit with and come to know a young man whom I had trained recently in evangelism and street witnessing. He was a “no show”. So, because I still had another later appointment and then a meeting before driving home, I simply sat and read a book. It was a good read. But, I could have had a tighter schedule and arrived back home by 10 p.m. instead of 12:30 a.m.

However, it got me to thinking. I do that once in a while. It’s good for me. Things are changing in the Church world. I have discipled and mentored numerous people over the 35 years of my ministry. It’s a joy to teach younger people what I know about the Kingdom and the King. It is a great honor to train them in the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, show them wonderful revelation truths in the Bible, take them overseas on mission trips. Just a serious joy and a calling upon my life and ministry from the Lord Himself.

But, after being stood up by this young man – who simply forgot that we had set and agreed upon this time together (indicating that he placed little value on this meeting and my time) I got to thinking. Yes, several thoughts in the same day. This could be contagious and dangerous.

During the previous week I had been stood up at least three times. Happens more frequently these days than I would care to admit to myself. People asking for time with me and then not showing up.

Another thought as I eventually drove home that night: I am doing almost all the initiating and contacting of the various young people I am discipling and mentoring (and I am older and busier than they are).

Question: Of the thirty men who have been prophetically called out by international prophetic voices as five-fold ministers and through prophetic words connected to me and my ministry for me to disciple and mentor – how many are hungry enough to pursue their calling, contact me, and even support my ministry financially in some way so that I would be less busy travelling and ministering so as to have time to be with them?

Answer: None but one!

Question: Why am I chasing them as if they have something to offer me? They should be initiating and contacting me and keeping appointments because I have something they need.

Decision: I’m here and available. Want help in understanding your calling, being equipped to do what the Lord has called you to do, and trained in the practicals of ministry – give me a call! No more chasing. No more doing all the contacting – this one-way relational street. Time for the young people to become active and responsible for their own development and callings. More than willing to help and pour my life into these young men but – it is time they stood up to the plate and got in the game. Hope they do! Doubt they will!

Had supper on Monday with one young man – professor at a Bible college – who has also had a number of prophetic words to connect with me and be mentored into his calling as an apostle. Great supper – terrific conversation. Good sharing of hearts. The relationship grew as we came to know each other better. Several follow-up emails about insights we had into our relationship. A breath of fresh air. At least there is one of the 30+ young men that I am not having to chase.

The Fight Continues

A Christian couple in the U.K. has been barred from serving as foster parents because they will not tell children that homosexuality is acceptable. Eunice and John Johns, who have four children of their own, have cared for 18 foster children over the past 12 years. The government council in Derby declared them unfit because of a British law that precludes from public service anyone who discriminates based on sexual orientation. John said he didn’t “understand why sexuality is an issue when we are talking about boys and girls under the age of 10.” Christianity Today, May, 2008, Page 17

John and Eunice are a Christian couple who believe the Word of God as found in the Christian Bible and, as believers, practice what they believe. They are not being accused of telling these children that homosexual behaviour in anti-biblical and ungodly. They are being accused of being unwilling to tell the children in their care that homosexual behaviour is acceptable and normal. They have not been found guilty of spreading ‘their faith’ and forcing their faith upon young minors, They have been found guilty of not being willing to spread the homosexual agenda that many in our society today believe to be valid and is seen as an alternative life style acceptable to the Lord.

Good for John and Eunice. They are willing, as Christian parents and foster parents, to stand up for the truth. And it is truth – not opinion. It has cost them something to take this stand – both financially and reputation-wise. They are being mildly persecuted for their faith just as Jesus said we would. They need our prayers.

Society is changing rapidly and not for the better. As Christians, we need to be standing up for what it is we believe and expect consequences. We need, first of all, to be sure of what it is we believe – the basics, the negotiables. Then we need to stand firm and not let government or society push us around.

But first, in many cases, the Christian needs to find out what the basic tenants of their faith really are – what truths are foundational to the faith they believe. They need to study them biblically and be able to defend them openly and publicly. They need to “count the cost” and then jump into the “values war” and “faith wars” that exist in each and every place that believers in the Lordship of Jesus Christ find themselves.

The time for doing nothing has ended.

If you build it – I won’t come

There seem to be three main models used to build churches today. They are: traditional, seeker, and emerging models. The tradional churches tend to be doctrinally and methodologically conservative; the seeker churches often are doctrinally conservative but methodologically flexible; the emerging churches apparently can be both doctrinally and methodologically flexible. I am troubled by all three.

I am troubled by all three because I believe God, in the New Testament, set out His way to design and build a church. And often the reason why our worship services are lifeless and not life-transforming is that we have designed and built our services around the needs, desires, and ‘approaches’ of man instead of upon the blueprint and design God has for His House and His People.

God plainly states that His Church will be “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as the chief Cornerstone.” (Ephesians 2:20). So, we need the ministry of more than the pastor, the teacher and the occasional traveling evangelist to built the church God’s way. We need apostles and prophets. And, we need them even before we need the other ministry and leadership gifts. Paul states “first apostles, then prophets, then teachers….” (1 Corinthians 12:28). It is time to build according to the pattern.

Yes, there are some traditional things that are good to hang on to. Jesus was not against tradition – simply against any tradition that took away a person’s ability to know and live the Word and relate personally and corporately to God. Jesus was not against being flexible and culturally relevant as He was very flexible – designing His teachings and examples for His current audience and thus was also culturally relevant. He was not, however, flexible on content of the doctrines or teachings that He shared. They were the Word of the Lord and thus not negotiable nor alterable. The early Church understood this as they gathered daily to listen to teachings from and based on the apostle’s doctrine (Acts 2:42).

Jesus was seeker friendly. If you were sincerely hungry for God and thirsting after righteousness – in other words, seeking after God – you would find a warm welcome from Jesus and you would be satisfied with what you heard and discovered. It was the hunger and thirst that made what Jesus taught and did acceptable and attractive – not the packaging that the activity came in. Seeker-sensitive churches could learn a great deal from the Lord on this one. Jesus said: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst….” (Matthew 5:6).

We need to let Jesus build His Church. He states:”I will build My Church…” (Matthew 16:18). We need to let Him build it according to His blueprint. His plans are set out in His Word. Listen carefully.

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16).

This is how the Church is to be built. He will draw those who are hungry and thirsting. The Church, if built properly, will have an adequate supply of spiritual food and drink to satisfy the hunger and thirst. People will be drawn to Jesus by the Father, convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit and born again and converted by the power of God. Then they wll be discipled by other more mature believers and trained to reach out to the lost (evangelism) thus continuing the process of winning the world one person at a time.

Overseeing this will be the five-fold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. They will supply the spiritual leadership, give direction and bring the teachings while guarding the content of those teachings. They will equip the believers to do the work of the ministry and not simply be paid to do the ministry themselves. They will be equippers who train and release the church to minister the love of God supernatually to others. Then the Church will become mature, sound in doctrine, and protected from all the flakes out there who are teaching contrary to God’s Word.

It is time to not spend so much time on the packaging – it is time to focus on the foundation and the flow as set out 2,000+ years ago. If we continue to build the Church in our own wisdom and according to the current cultural standards and life-style then His life-changing power will not be found in the corporate assemblies. But, if we build it according to His standands and His way then He will come in power and manifest Himself every time we gather together in His name.

A Cloud of Witnesses

There is a teaching within the born again, Spirit-filled Church going by the name of A Cloud of Witnesses. This teaching, it appears, is based on one verse in Hebrews 12:1. It is a heresy being taught by some fairly powerful ministries – several of them, regretfully, Canadian.

The teaching is simple. You can talk to those who were believes who have died and gone into Heaven. These can be Bible figures like Paul and Abraham or others who have died since the Canon of scripture was formed.

One main teacher of this heresy is Todd Bentley of Fresh Fire Ministries who is currently involved in what some are calling a “God-sent revival” in south Florida. Todd has gone on record (DVDs from a Rick Joyner prophetic conference at Moringstar Ministries as well as his own e-newsletter and web site) that he spoke at length to King David who appeared to him in his hotel room one night in Jerusalem. He has also had a lengthy conversation with Paul who spoke of Abraham dictating to him the book of Hebrews which he then wrote. Just two examples.

This heresy is directly connected to another false teaching based on Paul’s comment about knowing a man who “went into the third Heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2). This false teaching, made widely popular by Patrica King of Extreme Prophetic, teaches that at any time or place you can, at your own will, enter into the third heaven and receive revelation from the Lord.

Here’s the problem. Biblically, you cannot take one verse and base a theology on it. You cannot take one person’s experience – initiated by God – and then declare that this same experience is available to all believers at their own initiative.

If what Patrica King teaches about entering the third heaven whenever you want to is true then why don’t we march around our cities and see them crumble to the ground on the seventh day. It would be a great way to get people’s attention and maybe get them saved. If Joshua could do it – so can we. Well, of course not. But the same logic used in the third heaven teaching could be applied to the Jericho story and many others if we were being logical and consistent. Why pick on one experience and say that one is repeatable at our will and not apply the same priciple to other one-time happenings in the Bible?

You cannot go into the third heaven at will. You were not invited. Paul was. He did not initiate it, God did. And, it was for a specific purpose – to receive the revelation that he then wrote down and which now forms a major part of our New Testament scriptures. A ‘not to be repeated’ experience. Because God did not follow the experience with a “and you can do likewise” or a command that we all do so.

So, the way we receive these visits from King David, Paul the apostle, and other dead believers is not biblical. It is New Age and demonic from its very core. And, the revelations received from this “Cloud of Witnesses” are not of God and are heretical.

Question: What is the difference between talking to a dead saint and praying to the saints like Mary, St. Jude, and St. Christopher? If praying to the saints which the Roman Catholics and others do is talking to those who are dead and gone – and it is; then talking to someone from the “Cloud of Witnesses” is no different … you are communicating with the dead which is strickly forbidden in the scriptures.

Question: What is the difference between receiving revelation from a member of the “Cloud of Witnesses” and going to a seance and finding out information from Uncle Orville and Aunt Mary who died 20 years ago? They are the same thing.

It is sad that Christians today are so hungry for the spectacular that they are chasing anything that looks or smells like it may be exciting.

It is sad that believers are being deceived by these teachers and their ministry machines because they lack discernment and have such a poor understanding of scripture that they cannot discern true teachings from false teachings, true prophets and apostles from false ones (see my article on true and false prophets and apostles in the archieves of the main page on the web site under “Prophecies and more/articles re. Apostles”).

Why is it that the born again, Spirit-filled Church is so interested in and hungry for the very things that drove the Reformation and our removal from the established Church of that day?

Why are we now seeking after and embracing the very herecies that we fought so hard against in the days of the early reformers like Martin Luther?

This is a ploy of the Devil to keep the Spirit-filled believers from doing what they are called by God to do – witness to the lost around the world. It takes people away from “seeking and saving the lost”. (see my blog under “Evangelism and soul winning later today).

And, it is the Holy Spirit that was given to us to lead us into all thruth – not Paul, David, or some dead saint of recent times.

The Headlines Read…

“Top Evangelical quits church” – headline in the Saturday, April 26, 2008 Leader-Post in the city of Regina, Saskatchewan. The “top evangelical” is J.I. Packer, professor at Regent College in British Colombia, Canada and an Anglican / Episcopal priest. Now in his 80’s and still teaching – named one of the 25 most influential evangelicals on the globe – he has left the Anglican CHurch of Canada due to the Anglican Church’s trend towards “poisonous liberalism.” The split has come as a result of his now former bishop, Michael Ingram, “who in 2002 sanctioned a diocesan vote that eventually permitted the blessing of same-sex couples…”

Packer and a number of other clergy and parishes have left their respective dioceses and come under the covering of a non-geographic diocese headed by an archbishop from South America who is a believer in what the Bible teaches. Packer, like his new bishop, believes the “Bible is the absolute authority on divine truth, and that it clearly describes homosexuality as a grave sin.”

Two things struck me as interesting in the article. The first is the soft and gentle tones – maybe it’s political correctness. I quote James Packer: “an arguably heretical trend towards poisonous liberalism” and “He is a bishop who appears heretical”. Soft language. Let’s call a spade a spade. The Anglican Church of Canada has been liberal and getting even more liberal (and non-believing) for decades. It has ignored, then tolerated, then legislated, and now accepts homosexual priests and the homosexual lifestyle as a valid alternative way of life. They even teach this from their pulpits. It has been an active part of the Anglican Church of Canada for over 50 years and those who are gay have been pursuing an aggressive agenda which is now front and center.

But, let’s not fall over just the issue of homosexuality. Almost 30 years ago the writer, who was an Anglican priest and whose wife was ordained a deacon in the Anglican Church of Canada, left the Anglican Church due to a bishop (who then became an Archbishop and eventually then lead Archbishop of all Canada – the Primate) who bluntly stated that he did not believe the Bible, did not believe Adam and Eve were real people, did not believe in a literal Hell, nor a literal Devil, did not believe in the virgin birth and did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. Can’t get more heretical than that – and that was November of 1979. Why are we still walking on egg shells? The Anglican Church in Canada has been liberal for many years. Decades ago they became an apostate church and are now heretical. It’s plain and simple.

The second thing I found amazing in the article was the response from the other side. A Reverend Kevin Dixon who is seeking permission for his chruch to bless same-sex unions states that Packard’s use of the word heresy “stunts dialogue and honest intellectual exploration.” Gee, I would have thought it would have encouraged dialogue because it was honest, true, and straighforward. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, it is a duck. The Anglican Church is and has been for some years a Church that is teaching heresy. Ask the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lambeth Conference bishops who have sanctioned both the Anglican CHurch of Canada and the American Episcopal House of Bishops for their stand for homosexuality and their ordination of homosexual priests and consecrations of homosexual bishops. Why are we afraid to call a spade a spade.

Dixon goes on, in typical Anglican fashion to say, “(the word) heresy stunts dialogue and honest intellectual exploration”. The problem here is it is so-called honest intellectual exploration that has gotten the Anglican Church to where it is today – dying and losing members weekly. Their educational system for priests – from which I graduated with a Master’s degree in 1972 – was blantantly and openly liberal. The Anglican Church has been and is so open minded that when it bends over its brains fall out. There is nothing honest or intellectual in the way the liberals are researching and handling the issues that desperately need to be discussed and settled. This was fact 30 years ago and still is today. It is hard to be honest and intellectual when there is an agenda being pursued.

Then comes the icing on the cake. Ready for this. Dixon states “Packer is adopting a ‘literalistic’ reading of the Bible.” You just knew that old brick would be tossed at the believers. Packer is by far one of the most intellectual, honest, deep-thinking Christians on the face of the planet Earth. And to call him a “literalist” is simply unthinkable – and it would appear that Dixon’s brains actually did fall out when he last bent over.

The Anglican Church of Canada and the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. should be declared by someone as a “non-Church” because it’s leaders no longer believe the basic tenants of the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3) and don’t teach the truth from their pulpits. There are a few exceptions to that statement and they are currently leaving and seeking to come under the authority of believing bishops from other nations of the world. It has become a cancer on the true Church of Jesus Christ and is deceiving many people by their non-gospel.

Choice and Commitment

Many in churches today have made a choice. They have chosen to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. They have come to believe that He is the Son of God; that He came to earth fully God and fully man as Jesus of Nazareth; that His death on the cross paid the penalty for their sin so that they would no longer be judged according to their personal violations of God’s Moral Law (the 10 Commandments); That He has “saved” them from death and Hell.

They have made a choice. That choice is to accept Jesus as their Saviour. Not Mohammad, not Buddha, not Hari Chrisna but Jesus.

Good so far! But that’s as far as many go. And there is something very important that is missing.

When I married my wife almost 35 years ago I understood this very important element. I was making a choice. I chose to marry her and not someone else. No one twisted my arm to marry her. I chose to do so. And, then at the altar of the university chapel in which we were married I made a commitment to be with her until death took one of us home to Heaven. Old fashion, I know. But that is exactly what I did and I knew very well that marriage is a choice and then a commitment. Both of which I needed to make and hold to forever.

It’s like that when one is born again. Yes, there is a choice – you chose to accept God’s offer of forgiveness and a personal relationship with Him. But it takes more than that to be a true convert and to become a new creature in Christ, as Paul states we are. It takes commitment.

Commitment to a new way of thinking (repentance). Commitment to a new life-style. Commitment to the Church and the worship assembly of that local fellowship. Commitment to grow in the relationship with Jesus and other believers. Commitment to work at the one task that Jesus gave directly to His Church – to “seek and save the lost” by “going in to all the world”. Commitment to change and become more like Jesus each day. Commitment to follow Jesus no matter where that may take you. That is what is missing in the lives of many believers.

We don’t follow just when it is convenient. We don’t follow only when it is beneficial to us. We don’t follow only when we feel like it. We don’t follow only when we are well rested, not shopping, not watching Sunday baseball… We follow regardless. We make a commitment to follow regardless and to pay the cost of being a believer – whatever that may be today.

You chose to make Him your Saviour. Then you must make a commitment to follow regardless – to make Him Lord

Choice and commitment. Like love and marriage they go together and I don’t believe you can have one without the other. Saviour and Lord go together and one wonders if you can really have one without the other. This author does not think so. Thus, he is deeply concerned with the eternal fate of many who profess to be believers and really are simply false converts.

Coffee Shop Church?

So many times in my world I hear people justifying themselves – claiming that they don’t need to go to church, that they can seek God at home, or be spiritually fed from the electronic church.

How totally selfish. And we are supposet to be becoming self-less, thinking of others before ourselves and considering the many “one anothers” we find throughout the New Testament.

Church attendance is not merely about what you can get, but rather the cross-pollinating and the GIVING OUT of what the Lord has given you. Maintaining an idea that ‘I can be fed at home’ is nothing but pure ignorance and selfishness.

In the Book of Proverbs it states: “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desires.” Yup! Sounds like a lot of Christians that I know. We come to Church and in spite of the words we speak we still come with the attitude that “It is all about me, Jesus”. We even think this when one of the songs we might sing on any given Sunday is that great and anointed chorus “It’s all about You, Jesus”.

Just listen to the exit polls after a service. “Boy, that sermon was beyond me”; “the worship did nothing for me this morning”; “Don’t know who he was preaching at – but I got nothing out of his message this morning”.

We are suppose to come to church to give and not to get. Now, if during the exit polls Jesus were to say: “the worship did nothing for me this morning”. Then, something is wrong. It is suppose to be about Him – blessing and honouring Him. Sad but, in spite of the words we sing most people still focus on what’s in it for them and how did they benefit by gracing the pews on Sunday morning with their presence.

Much too self-centered and we are called to die to self and take up our cross daily. Was the service a blessing to Jesus? Did others benefit by listening to you share a testimony? Were you able to encourage an individual after the service? Did you have opportunity to share the gospel during the coffee hour with a visitor who attended?

It’s not about you or me. It’s about Him and them! So, having coffee on Sunday at your favourite coffee shop – and inviting another Christian to join you – is NOT church. Not by the wildest stretch of your imagination. Nor is what you are doing biblical. Let’s not reinvent and fiddle with something Jesus designed and is still the head of. Could be dangerous!

Come on believer – ‘forsake not the assembling of yourselves together” even if some assembly is required and batteries are not included.

Come on believers – plan your weekend around Sunday church. Go out to the movies on Friday night if you must. Then go to bed early on Saturday night so you are bring, fresh, and alert – ready to give – on Sunday morning.

It’s time we stood up for what the Bible sets forth as truth and stop recreating God, the church, and the Christian faith into something that allows us to justify non-biblical behaviour.

Remember the words of Paul to the church in Ephesus … “From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:16).

Can’t happen if you are constantly staying in bed or going shopping on Sunday morning and missing corporate worship.

Darryl and My Brother Darryl

Had supper last night with a man who is hungry for all of God. His current paradim is born again and a believer of the Bible. However, I have been used of God to bend that paradim a bit. I mentioned the gift of prophecy and tongues one night in a teaching situation he attends and the whole experience of being Baptized in the Holy Spirit. Used Acts 19:1-7 as my Scriptural reference point.

This has resulted in two great meals in two weeks. Great, not because the food was good (which it was) but because the conversations centered around Jesus. And, an opportunity to share, from the scriptures, about the supernatural side of our faith – and what is available after you are soundly saved.

Last night, part way through the conversation, this man’s son-in-law joined us. Let’s call them Darryl and Darryl. They actually did have the same first names.

What a great time we had discussing the Bible and looking at verses that specifically challenges believers to think outside the box and that allows God to come out of that same box and be bigger than they have let Him be in the past.

Verses like:
“The things that I do you shall do also…” (John 14:12)
“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you”
“Desire (covet) spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophecy”
(1 Corinthians 14:1)
“If I pray in another language, my spirit prays…” (1 Corinthians
“You may all prophesy” (1 Corinthians 14:31)

They are not against this second experience as found throughout the book of Acts – it is just that it is not part of their mind-set or their view of the Christian faith and the Church.

Didn’t need to push my views or opinions on them. It was a great, open and honest conversation simply looking at scriptures, talking about the bible verses, and asking and answering questions about this side of the faith that all three of us believe and share with others.

Taking them both copies of Jack Deere’s “Surprised by the Spirit of God” and his second one, “Surprised by the Voice of God” as Dr. Deere successfully made the journey from a dispensationalist to a Spirit-filled believer many years ago recording his search and discovery in these two great books.

More great suppers ahead.

False converts

We have many false converts sitting in our churches week after week. They are the tares among the wheat that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 13 (see yesterday’s blog).

How can you tell if a person is a true convert or a false convert? Look at the fruit in their lives – or the lack of it. If a person is truly born again and thus has had an encounter with the living God there will be change. Can’t be helped.

The Bible states that Jesus is the “same yesterday, today, and forever” and that God does not change. So, in this new relationship a person has with the Lord someone will be changing and it is us. Some changes may be immediate and dramatic – some slow and progressive. Be change is inevitable.

If you don’t see change / fruit then it is valid to ask if that person truly is born again.

But what are we specifically looking for? Well, 1 John talks about what it means to be born again and the signs of fruit that we can expect if a person is truly saved and walking in a relationship with the Lord.

I have grouped the many comments into 6 signs. I will list them … and maybe in the next few days I will unpack them. There is a book in the works on just this topic.

1> Obedience to His commands – 1 John 2:3, 1 John 3:24 and 1 John 5:2
This would include everything from assemblying as believers on Sunday, Bible reading and prayer, tithing and includes obeying the Great Commission (soul winning) and the Greatest Commandment (Matthew 28 and Matthew 23).

2> By the words we speak and the life we live – our neighbiurs and friends, people at work and play, should be able to notice a difference in us. Our life-style should confess that Jesus is Lord of our lives. 1 John 2:23 and 1 John 4:15

3> We should be confessing sin when it is found in our lives and practicing righteousness in our daily walk. 1 John 1:6-7, 1 John 1:8-10, 1 John 2:29, 1 John 3:6, 9, 1 John 5:18.

4> We will have a visible and practical love for other believers. 1 John 3:14, 1 John 4:12, 1 John 3:16-18, 1 John 4:19-21 just to mention a few.

5> Believes that Jesus is the Christ. 1 John 5:1, 1 John 3:23-25.

6> Overcomes the world by faith. 1 John 5:4, 1 John 2:15

That is why John writes in 1 John 5:13 “I’ve written this to those who believe in the Son of God so that they will know that they have eternal life.”

The Born Again Church has many who attend who hold to a born again religion but have not had a life-changing encounter with the living God and thus are false converts.

Godly Sorrow and Repentance

We have many false converts in the Church today. People who have said a Sinner’s Prayer or had a warm fuzzy during a service and so think that they are now Born Again and on their way to Heaven.

Jesus, in His first sermon, states: “Repent and believe, for the Kingdom…” (Mark 1:15) Here’s the key to salvation – repentance and trust. The Bible states that without repentance there is no salvation. So, a warm fuzzy feeling or repeating certin words after someone will not save a person’s soul from Hell.

A person needs to recognize that they have broken the Moral Law of a holy God (Romans 3:23). They have broken one or more of the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20). That sin is the transgression of the Law (1 John 3:4) and that this sin separates a person from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). Then they need to come to know deep in their heart that the punishment for that sin is death (Romans 6:23).That’s the bad news. But, God loves us so must that He sent His Son Jesus to pay the penalty for our sin – death on the cross. His death and the shedding of His blood paid the price or penalty for our sin. The book of Hebrews states that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22).

Then, as we come to realize what our sin has done and what it has cost God to redeem or purchase us back to Himself – with godly sorrow we will repent of our sins (2 Corinthians 7:8-10). We will change the way we think which results in a change of life-style. This is what “to repent” means. We ask the Lord to forgive us all of our sins and to come into our life and take over control so that we are “under new management” and really ‘under new ownership’. This brings about true conversion.

As I travel about from church to church preaching and ministering I see so many people who think they are okay with God. They have been taught that they are okay with God. Their have their “fire insurance” in hand. But, there is no fruit in their lives. They have not changed the way they think, talk, or act. They are the same ten years after their “salvation prayer” as they were before they ever said it. They apparently are not “rooted and grounded in [God’s] love” as Paul wrote we should be when truly converted. So, I am led to think – “no fruit – no root”.

1 John is a wonderful letter that outlines 6 major changes in a person’s life by which we can determine if they are truly saved or not. Six fruits we should be able to see and touch in a person’s life if they truly have had an encounter with the living God. It does one good to read through the 5 chapters of 1 John and examine your salvation. In fact, 2 Corinthians 13:5 tells us we should do just that. “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!”

Tomorrow I will list the 6 signs of being Born Again and comment on them a bit.