The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Posts Tagged ‘doer of the word’

A Convenient Time

Posted by israeliteindeed on May 17, 2012

And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. Now as he [Paul] reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” (Acts 24:24-25)

Dear reader, has God ever sent to you a messenger who reasoned with you about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come? How did you respond?  Did you banish the message from your mind, hoping for a more convenient time to consider its fearful implications?

I wonder if a convenient time ever came for Felix? I think it likely that Felix died in his sins, though of course I don’t know for sure.

There is a stern warning in Scripture for those who hear the voice of God speaking to them:

…The Holy Spirit says:  “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’”  (Heb. 3:7-11)

If you hear His voice calling to you for obedience, but you harden your heart rather than repenting, you will receive the same penalty as did the rebellious Israelites that were barred from God’s rest.  This warning is for those who have never known the Lord and hear His voice calling them today, as well as for those who have known the Lord in the past but have gone astray in their hearts since then.

Acts 24:26-27 offers more insight into the heart of Felix, who feared at the word of the Lord, but did not repent:

Meanwhile he [Felix] also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him.  Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him.  But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.

Clearly, Felix desired money more than he desired the righteousness and self-control Paul spoke of!  He sent for Paul and spoke to him often, seemingly over the course of two whole years, due to a personal ambition to get Paul to pay his way out of prison.  When Felix was replaced in his duties by someone else, he left Paul in prison to do the Jews a favor. Many conversations with Paul had not brought his heart into submission to God, but instead hardened his heart. Imagine regular talks with the Apostle Paul!–But these talks had profited Felix nothing.  Neither will your church attendance, your Bible studies, your friendships with Christians, or your religious status if you do not submit to the Lord Jesus from your heart and obey His commands.

What is holding YOU back from obeying Jesus?

Is it–as with Felix–a desire for money? Remember Paul’s warning in I Tim. 6:10–The love the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  Remember the words of Jesus–What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt. 16:26)

Is it a desire to please your family?  Jesus said divisions would come in families because of Him (Luke 12:51-53), and anyone loving family more than Him is not worthy of Him (Matt. 10:34-37). The dead (those who refuse to repent and believe) must be left to bury the dead, and no one looking back after putting his hand to the plow is fit for the kingdom of God. Remember Lot’s Wife!

Is it that you still enjoy the pleasure of sin? Oh, sinner, remember the pleasures of sin only last for a season; sin’s wages are piling up to heaven and they are DEATH.  If you are still alive, it is because a space for repentance has been granted you by the mercy of God. As surely as the Flood came and carried away Noah’s neighbors, the wrath of God is coming on the disobedient.

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Cor. 6:2)
Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…(Heb. 3:7,8)

Tomorrow is not promised. Keep playing with sin, keep loving the world, keep seeking after earthly things all while hearing the word of the Lord, and that Word you hear will not help you.  If you wait for a convenient time to get right with God, you may never have the chance. Your sin may blind you and keep you bound until final destruction is determined for you.  Unless you obey, your hearing of the Word will only produce self-deception.  You will be like those who pleaded with the Lord, “We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.” But Jesus will answer, “I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.” (Luke 13:26-27)

The only wise time to get right with God is NOW and TODAY.

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Posted in Backslider, Judgment of God, Repentance | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Daily Walk at Home

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 22, 2011

Week after week, couples and families sit in their “Sunday best” in churches all across America. They seem like they have it all together. They listen politely to the preacher, act friendly toward each other, and keep their kids quiet enough.  Some even hold positions of leadership or are well-studied in theology and can win debates. But if walls could talk, they would tell us of the disconnect that exists between their public personae and who they really are in their daily walk.

Careless wives who disrespect their husbands by giving less than their best service in the home, or failing to manage household funds wisely.

Lazy husbands who embitter their wives by failing to come alongside them and help.

Peevish wives who nag their husbands and make them feel sorry for having come home from work.

Apathetic husbands who refuse to take their spiritual leadership mandate seriously.

Mothers or fathers who leave the child training to the “professionals”–or to video games and television–anything but truly embracing what it means to shepherd priceless souls into the arms of God, whatever the cost in dollars or headaches.

Families that allow the voices of the world to speak unrestrained into their lives via television and other media, but can’t understand why so much bad fruit is manifesting in their lives.  (Please see Feeding on Foolishness)

Parents whose personal goals come before the goal to raise the next generation in the ways of the Lord. Junior’s behavior goes uncorrected because mom or dad is absorbed in his or her work, social life, TV show, or ministry–yes, even ministry–for some ministries become excuses to focus on what is more pleasing to the flesh, to the neglect of first duties that are difficult for the flesh. It is sometimes easier to blog, run the nursery, give to missions, quote from the Bible, cry at the altar, pray wonderful prayers, give Biblical lectures, and prove false teachers are false; than it is to deal with a wife who is easily angered, a tired or demanding husband, a spoiled or neglected child who is out of control, or a teenager that can only be reached by the patient rebuilding of fallen bridges.

All kinds of  the “form of godliness” but no true power.  Please understand that I’m not saying every person who quotes from the Bible, sits in a pew, or proves false teachers false is a hypocrite. These are valid Christian duties, but practicing them does not exempt one from doing his Christian duty in the home. We must not deceive ourselves!  If we aren’t doers of the Word at home, then we can’t rightly call ourselves doers of the Word at all.

There are some who, in their own homes, allow their personal lusts to feed uninhibited, though they appear controlled in front of their Christian peers.  At home, their mouths spew venom and cursing, they are habitually unthankful  and unkind, but on Sunday morning they are whitewashed and silver-tongued.  At home, they are impatient with others and think it a small thing to neglect sacred duty, but in church, they are loathe to have a hair out of place.  Does God accept this? Indeed not. If we cannot maintain a consistent pattern of holy living that includes care for spouse, carefully appropriated love and discipline for children, and personal self-control & integrity in all of our relationships at home, how spiritual are we really?

These are harsh words, but they are not coming from harshness of spirit, rather from a pained heart that has seen enough hypocrisy. Hypocrisy weakens faith in others, and we dare not take it lightly. When others catch on to the disunity between our profession and our daily walk, they automatically discount our words, however true they may be. And so I urge anyone who reads this to consider carefully just how deep your spiritual life goes. Has your relationship with Jesus and His church body transformed your life from the inside out, or are you thinly cloaking your dead men’s bones with whitewash?  Do you need to make any changes?

Someone who has alot of Bible knowledge or a reputation for being a fine Christian may have a hard time self-evaluating honestly. But remember, the Lord sees what others do not see. Having knowledge alone cannot save, and it can serve to puff up and deceive those who become careless. We must OBEY the truth. We must cry out to God for a pure HEART, out of which will flow the correct actions, not just a sanitized image for others to see.

 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (2 Cor. 13:5)

Are you producing the fruits of the Holy Spirit in your daily walk?–love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control?  Are you longsuffering toward your spouse? Is the law of kindness on your lips? Are you making your home a place of peace where the order and beauty of the Lord is obvious?  Are you faithfully executing the demands of the cross in whatever station you are in, no matter how difficult and thankless the work sometimes is? Are you gentle and deliberately self-controlled in your parenting? Do you love your children enough to put their training in godliness at the top of your list?  Do you love your family enough to weep before the Lord and beg for His wisdom so that tomorrow can be more fruitful than yesterday? He has promised forgiveness to those who repent, and wisdom to those who sincerely ask for it, in faith believing (James 1:5-6).   Let us be hypocrites no longer, but sincere disciples of Jesus walking in the true power of holiness every day.

God bless you.

Posted in Christian Life, Issues Unique to Women, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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