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Archive for April, 2010

Renewed.  That’s how I feel today.  I don’t know how…actually I am really (physically) worn out.  Why?  Because I’ve been preaching in a Revival in Yadkin County at one of the sweetest and nicest churches you’ll ever want to meet.  Bethel Baptist Church in Yadkinville, NC pastored by Brother Jesse Miles.  What a church.  They graciously invited me to come and share Sunday night through last night.  Yes…I’m worn out physically…getting home each night around 10:30 or 11:00 after working all day…but, boy…I’m renewed!  And so are they (so they told me)! 

It’s hard to explain about renewal in Christ.  It’s something you have to experience I guess.  But, refreshing comes from being in the presence of the Lord.  I know the folks at Bethel were a blessing and a refreshment to me.  What a gracious group of people!  I’ve never been told, “We love you and appreciate you Pastor Kevin” so much in my life.  Thank you Bethel and Pastor Jesse and Ms. Belinda for being so hospitable and kind. 

With this said…only the folks at Bethel could speak to the subject if they were “revived” in Christ over the last four nights…but, this preacher was…I can assure you of that.  You know the amazing thing about the Word of God is that it can step on your toes and lift your soul at the same time!  Only the Word of God can do that on this earth!!  There truly is power in the Word of God and it is indeed as sharp as a two-edged sword and pierces the heart, soul and mind.  Praise His Holy Name!!

What struck me the most were the families that came to the altar last night to do “business” with the Lord.  Daddies were praying over their families and grandma’s and grandpa’s were doing the same.  Teenagers (we call them Young Adults at our church) were hugging their parents and their siblings!  What a blessing!!  I sincerely believe as the Word was preached the Holy Spirit penetrated hearts.  You know it’s wonderful how we can hear the Word…even Scripture we’ve heard all of our lives and see new insight from it.   I closed last night with the meaning of Proverbs 22:6…the promise that is given to us if we raise our children in the way they should go.

I call it the Proverbs 22:6 myth.Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  What I’ve learned over the last few years is the fact that Proverbs 22:6 teaches that IF we train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from that training.  In other words, there is NO gap in the commitment at all.  If we train our children in the way they should go, literally even when they are old, they will still be following that path…the straight and narrow path of Christ.  Proverbs 22:6 is not a treatise for young people to go “sow their wild oats” and then one day return to the faith someday in the future.

On the contrary, it’s a promise that if we train them…and I mean truly train them as the writer of Hebrews admonishes us to discipline our sons and daughters, (Hebrews 12:7-11), then when they are old…they’ll still be following that training.  Prov. 22:6 is a promise and a guarantee that the training will stick.

Last night as I preached that message…I saw the relief on many people’s faces as they realized that we don’t have to “cross our fingers” and hope that our children and grandchildren make it into adulthood.  We are guaranteed by Proverbs 22:6 as a principle of Scripture that they WILL be following Christ even in their old age if we truly train them at home in the “disposable hours” of time we have at night from 7 to 10 pm.  The issue becomes what are we going to do with that “disposable time” we have at night…the only time we really have to truly train our children.  Why is this critical…because our children will get 26,000 of teaching in the schools that can’t be Christian because it’s not allowed.  They’ll get plenty of instruction in activities outside of school hours with sports and the like…so the only hope we have of importing Christ into their lives in a way that sticks is to follow the word of God as penned by Moses in Deut. 6:7.  Quite simply we must teach the commands when we sit down, lie down, walk along the way of life and when we rise in the morning.  We’d better be teaching Jesus and His ways every waking moment we have with our children or they’ll become part of the 92% of teenagers that walk away from their faith (if they were truly saved to start with) by their 20th birthday.

It’s a huge comfort to me and I believe the families at Bethel Baptist Church to know that as we re-prioritize our lives and diligently spend the time training our children and not abdicating that training to the schools, teachers, coaches and churches that we’ll see grounded and solid believers in Christ from the time they are taught as child until the grave.  Oh, that I, as a parent,  will orchestrate my days to give the time to training and teaching my children in the ways of Christ and that that training and admonition will be more important than my work, hobbies, buddies and pursuit of material possessions.  If this is the case then we truly can say with the Apostle John in 3 John 4, ”I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”

Bethel…please know that you made a “forever” impression on me and I can only pray that some of the things the Lord gave me to share with you this week will impact you and your sweet families for the glory of Jesus Christ and His kingdom.  Boy, do I feel renewed!  Refreshed!!  Yes…revived!!

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Do you struggle to discipline in your home in an appropriate way?  Discipline is indeed a tough subject…literally.  Discipline is hard…it’s not fun and it’s painful in literal and figurative senses. Take a look at this passage…

 Hebrews 12:7-12

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Discipline produces a harvest of righteousness and peace the Bible says.  Peace…isn’t that something sorely lacking in a lot of homes?  Why?  Because often…there is a lack of discipline…plain and simple.  It’s just easier to “go along to get along.”

Take a look at the words of the wisest man who ever lived (next to Christ of course), Solomon.  See the admonitions to discipline in Proverbs:

 Discipline from the Proverbs:

  1. Proverbs 10:17 He who heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
  2. Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.
  3. Proverbs 13:1 A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.
  4. Proverbs 13:18 He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.
  5. Proverbs 13:24 He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
  6. Proverbs 15:10 Stern discipline awaits him who leaves the path; he who hates correction will die.
  7. Proverbs 15:32 He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.
  8. Proverbs 16:20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.
  9. Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death.
  10. Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.
  11. Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
  12. Proverbs 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.
  13. Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.
  14. Proverbs 23:26 My son, giver me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways.
  15. Proverbs 29:15 The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.
  16. Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.
  17. Proverbs 30:17 The eye that mocks a father, that scorns obedience to a mother, will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley, will be eaten by the vultures.

So, we see we are to discipline…but how can you tell if disobedience and a lack of discipline are prevalent in your home?  See if you can answer these questions honestly about your children or grandchildren.  If you find yourself answering “yes” to a lot of these…then, you’ve probably got a problem.  So, let’s see!

  • Your child can’t say, “NO” to himself
  • They are self-absorbed
  • When they sin, they habitually deny responsibility…nothing is ever their fault
  • They blame others or you if something doesn’t go right for them
  • They resent work, chores or responsibility and are lazy and tend to run from “work” around the house
  • They roll their eyes, huff, puff and sigh when asked to do simple things
  • Taking “initiative” is a foreign concept to them…they have to be asked to do anything
  • They act ungrateful for the food, clothes and shelter they’ve been provided
  • They complain, whine and moan about things constantly and get visibly angry if they don’t get their way
  • They’re preoccupied with fun, excitement, entertainment and self-gratification and are frequently bored

Does this describe your home to some degree?  Well…let me tell you…my house “ain’t” perfect either!  We constantly have to work hard to make sure we are using the Scriptures to teach. Because we must remember that:

#1 Our child were born sinful even though he/she may be cute as a button

#2 Sin is bound in the heart of a child (so this is a lifetime battle to train and admonish)

#3 Sin is not a laughing matter

Here are some key thoughts to consider:

  • All behaviors are linked to a particular attitude of the heart.  We must ask questions (questions to find out what is going on in the heart.)
  • The Bible is our primary tool to teach and train our children in righteousness.  (Eph. 4:22-24)
  • It really is important for children to know they are sinners against God, not you.  Later, when salvation comes into play…knowing this will make all the difference in them understanding their need for a Savior.  It is true that some children don’t know they are sinners!
  • If a child is disobedient in how they speak or react…”role play” the right response with them so they’ll know what the correct response really is.  If you don’t…they’ll get exasperated and perhaps not understand how they should respond in a Christ-like way.
  • Never reward sinful behavior—whining, manipulation, etc.
  • Stay away from “worldly methods” to attain obedience…stay away from these:
  • Bribing, threatening, appealing to their emotions, manipulating their environment (moving things around), reasoning (you don’t have to explain everything to them)
  • Don’t wait until your teapot boils!  Don’t let discipline go until you get angry.  That only teaches your child to act in anger when they get angry or frustrated.

So, we know that we should discipline and do so appropriately therefore:

  • How many times should you have to ask for something to be done?  Once.
  • Should you have to count?  No.  That’s silly.
  • When should you expect obedience?

*Immediately (not later or in a few minutes, they must do it right away)

*Completely (not partially, if they don’t pick up all their dirty clothes for instance…then it’s not complete obedience)

*Dutifully (with a good attitude…if they huff and puff and roll their eyes, that’s not dutifully)

“It is right that children should obey their parents and no further question need be asked, no further reason for obeying need be sought.” J.R. Miller

I’m convinced as our children’s parents (the word “parent” in Latin –in loco dei-means “in the place of God”), we’re not called to be their best buddy, friend or pal.  It doesn’t mean that we want them to NOT like us; it just means that God has not called us to run a popularity contest.  So how do we regain control if we’ve let discipline slip in the home?

How to regain control of obedience if you’ve lost it

  • You must expect your children to obey your word…no questions asked.  (Explain after the obedience comes…just like with God!)
  • Speak a command one time, calmly and clearly.  Don’t threaten.  If “bucked,” follow through with discipline.  (But don’t discipline in anger.) Be consistent!
  • Don’t allow the child to argue with you.  You are not trying to “persuade” your child to obey, you are “expecting” your child to obey.
  • Again, take off the “Camp Counselor” badge (trying to be your child’s buddy or pal)…be their parent.

 

I’m convinced there are really only three types of parents?  See which category you fall into:

#1 Permissive–Doing everything for the child.  You want to be their friend.  But what you’ve become is the child’s slave and they run the house.  You are constantly snow plowing your child’s road for them.  You do everything for them and you are afraid to tell them no.  You are running a Holiday Inn instead of a home.  In essence, “the inmates are running the asylum.”

Permissive Parents allow “child-run” homes and will be heard saying things like:

  • I can’t make that for dinner at our house, the kids just won’t eat it.
  • I prepare meals in two batches—one for my husband and me and one for the kids.
  • We can’t have that family over to the house, their children are so much younger than ours that ours wouldn’t enjoy them.
  • We can’t go there, the kids would get bored.
  • We can’t take our kids into the church service, they’d never last.
  • We won’t be able to go, our little Princess just doesn’t do well in those situations.
  • We’ll probably be changing teachers or possibly schools because our little Bobby doesn’t enjoy Mrs. So & So.
  • Junior refuses to…
  • Susie just won’t put up with…
  • I don’t want her to hate me…
  • You bribe with treats and TV…

It’s been said that whatever we, as parents, allow in moderation our children will take to excess!

#2 Authoritarian—You as a parent are always right and you “Lord” over the child with an iron fist and run the home like a dictator.  There is fear and worry as the parent barks out orders.  The child never feels secure in this environment and internalizes fear and doubt.  Children in this environment stay in the cocoon and some can even become bitter, angry and violent in later years.

#3 Authoritative and Responsive—this is the parent that finds that middle ground and has realistic expectations based on the child’s age, temperament and maturity.  This is the parent that loves the child unconditionally, but has expectations of them nonetheless.  They are responsive to disobedience without reacting in anger and hostility.  There are consequences for disobedience that are fair and expressed ahead of time.  The discipline is consistent and loving.  There are no entitlements in the home and there are no Holiday Inns.  This parent knows the secret about what all children want and it’s this:  All children, by and large, want to please their parents and they want their parent’s respect.  Short and sweet, they want us and want us to be proud of them.

Discipline. Is it fun?  No, not really.  But peace….oh yes…that intangible commodity that can’t be bought…oh yes…wonderful peace…that’s what we’re after…peace that is brought by a righteous lifestyle that is trained by discipline.  May God help us as we obey His Word.

 10Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  Hebrews 12:10-12

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Anyone that knows me has heard me quote this statistic:

“92% of Christian young people will drop out of church and totally abandon their faith by their 20th birthday.”  (George Barna Research, 2004).

That statistic has jolted me for the last 6 years.  Why is this happening?  Why are we losing our children, even though they are growing up in “Christian” homes?  Well, one of the primary reasons is because of the pagan culture we live in today.  We live in a culture that is in total opposition to what the Bible teaches about life and living.  What does the Bible say about raising children in a way that we will not lose them?  I’m glad you asked!

Deuteronomy 6:4-15

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

10 When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

13 Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.

So, what does the 92% failure rate mean for America and Christians in this country?

  • The United States Birthrate is 1.9 children per family.
  • That means we aren’t having enough children to replace ourselves.  (Obviously, we need to be at a 2 to 2 ratio.
  • Yet, 92% of “Christian teens” are dropping out of church by their 20th birthday.
  • So, today it takes 43 Baptists to reach just 1 Unbeliever!
  • At current rate, there will only be 250,000 Southern Baptists by the year 2100 versus our current 16 million members.

These statistics are astounding aren’t they?  So, what do we do?  We must look to the Word of God!  That may sound simplistic…but, God’s Word always has the answers.  I believe the passage we read shows us five things that we must understand if we don’t want to lose our children.

#1 We must worship God without rivals

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Deut. 6:4

What are rivals today?  Well, I’ll give you what I think the number one rival is.  Now this is strictly my opinion and I guess since it’s my blog…that’s what we’ll go with…ha!  I sincerely believe the number one rival of God in our children’s lives (and ours too for that matter), is too many activities…i.e., sports, classes of all kinds, running every night of the week, etc.  Now please understand I have nothing against any of these things…especially sports.  I love sports and I love activities, but there must be a limit or we will never be home.  Can I tell you where all my trophies are (and I was pretty good at basketball)?  There all in the Wilkes County Landfill.  I’ve learned that for most of us…when we were kids and we win trophies at 12, that most of the time by the age of 40 they end up in the basement or attic or the landfill.

When we are never with our kids except for running them to and fro from this thing to that…then guess who is raising our kids?  Not us!  It’s the teachers, coaches, etc.  Is this ok?  Perhaps, you might say…”They are good people.”  But, guess who’s responsibility it is to raise our children?  Parents…principally Dads.  More on that in a minute.

Have you ever wondered why there are so few leagues that play “just” on Saturdays?  Because there is not a demand for it.  Christians, by and large won’t stand up and ask for one and say, “Hey, my child isn’t going to play ball or dance or cheer or whatever on Sundays.”  If enough stood up…we’d see a change.

#2 We must build homes on God’s Love

5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Deut. 6:4-6

Love is a decision.  It is a decision of the will…a choice we make, however, it is not void of emotion or feeling…men, nor is it led by just emotion and feelings, ladies.  You’ve heard the man that says, I don’t need to tell her I love her, once at the altar was good enough, if I change my mind, I’ll let her know.  While that may be funny…it’s certainly the wrong philosophy!

What emotion does your children see you exhibit toward the Lord?  I tell you, I try to make my kids blush at least once per week as I love and dote on my wife in front of them.  Nothing out of place or wrong here…just hugs and kisses that make them say, “Aw daddy!”  But, they love it.  They feel secure when they see that I show love and affection for their mother and it models it for their future marriages.  By the way, where do you think children learn to love God?  From us!!!  If we get mad and walk out on each other, then it teaches the kids that God made do the same to them.

#3 Teach them diligently (Impress it on them)

7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Deut. 6:7

We’ve started what’s called ROP (Rite of Passage).  Learn more at www.dkevinbrown.wordpress.com.  We’re excited that we’ve instituted this Scriptural program in the church I help pastor.  Why do we need ROP?  Well, when does a young person become an adult?  Well, we don’t seem to know.  So, we, the church want to help.  But, it’s not the churches job to do the work of raising everyone’s child.  The Bible tells us that parents are responsible for raising the children…not the schools, coaches, teachers or, again, the churches.

But, it goes deeper than that.  We say it’s the parents’ job to raise the children, but do you know who Moses was talking to specifically here?  He’s using the masculine singular in this passage in Deut. 6?  And that means the Lord is principally talking the Fathers and tells the Fathers it’s their responsibility to lead.  You say this is Old Testament.

Well, Ephesians 6:1-4 tells us something very important…particularly look at verse 4.

1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Who’s the direction given to?  The Fathers!  Do you see that?  It’s the Father’s job to lead out in the training and instruction of the Lord!  Boy have we missed that in our culture!  Please hear my heart.  It’s not the church’s job to disciple your children.  Anything the Bible tells you to do that I, as a Pastor or the church, does for you, in essence, serves to cripple you and impair you from doing your job.  I or other pastors are simply crippling you and ultimately, (speaking for myself), I’m being disobedient to the Word.

Have you ever thought about this?  What we make our children crave, love and desire is more important and has more impact on their lives than what we make them learn?  You may need to read that again.  What do your children crave and desire?  If it’s not God and the things of God, then you have a priority problem in your home.

# 4 Mark your home as God’s territory

8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.  Deut. 6:8-9

I encourage people to place verses of Scripture on their bathroom mirrors, the walls of their houses in frames, etc.  Even make smells in your house mean something.  Pictures on the walls should depict your home as marked territory of God.  As believers in Christ we should say, “I’m not going to have anything in my house that doesn’t point to Jesus and show that we are His children.”  Make it a goal to touch all the senses of your children in your home.  We have lasagna quite often on Sunday’s for lunch, because it cooks in the oven while we’re gone and the children associate the smell of Lasagna now with the Lord’s Day.  Isn’t that neat?

Another example is my old Bible that has duct tape on it because I’ve worn the cover off and my children grab for it first during devotion time because they think it’s neat.  That old Bible has “marked” their minds that Daddy loves the Word of God…which I sincerely do!

#5 Keep your prosperity in check

10 When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 13 Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.  Deut. 6:10-15

This is simple.  Our children don’t want things…they want you!  Did you see what happened?  The people got all the stuff and they forgot God.  It’s happened in America too.  By the way, you’ve seen the poster that says, “He has the most toys in the end wins.”  Well the truth is, “He who has the most toys in the end still dies!”

As another side note, (this is for the ladies who may be reading this), it’s ok to want to and have the desire to spend your time raising your family.  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  This used to never be questioned.  75 years ago…when this nation had a lot less…all the mommies stayed home and took care of their families.  Now look at what we have?  We’ve gotten “wealthy” and prosperous with our two-income families (trying to have it all) and look at the moral decay of our nation.  Now, don’t misquote me and say that just because women have gone en masse into the workforce over the last 75 years that is the reason why the country is sliding into moral decay.  But, I promise you…isn’t hasn’t helped.  It is God’s ultimate and first purpose for women to be able to manage and care for the home as the first priority.  Titus tells us so.

3Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.  Titus 2:3-5

By the way, it’s ok to come home from work at quitting time too, dads!  One of our biggest problems is that we’re like hamsters running on a wheel.  We are all running around crazy and are worn out and tired and beat to death.  I just read a statistic last week that said kids, when asked what they wanted most from their parents, wanted them to not be so stressed out and tired all the time.  That’s pretty amazing.  Of all the things they could have wanted and that’s what crept to number one.

One last thing…do you know what else the study revealed.  It was simply…this:  If you were to ask your child if they could trade more of Dad and Mom in the home for more house, more vacations, more stuff, more gadgets and trinkets (those are my words for what was said to be “material possessions”), what do you think the kids would say they wanted?  They said, “No.  I’d take more mom and dad.”  Don’t believe this is true?  Just ask them.  They want you!  I promise.

So, how do we make sure we don’t lose our kids to the world?  We must:  #1 Worship God without rivals, #2 Build our homes on God’s love, #3 Teach them diligently, #4 Mark you home as God’s territory and #5 Keep your prosperity in check.  I’d add one last thing…pray, pray, and pray some more…for all you are worth!  We’re in the battle of a lifetime for our children.  Let’s not lose them!  The statistics are stacked against!  But, we can do all things through Christ and we’re more than conquerors…but, we better prioritize our lives if we want to have our kids in the 8% that remain faithful and serve Christ.

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Conversion Confusion

One of the things that worries me greatly today is the simple fact that so many people who are living a life in total opposition to Christ and His teachings, still claim to be “saved” or “born again.”  It’s epidemic.  I never cease to be amazed at the audacity so many have to live a lifestyle that includes foul language, drinking, partying, lying and selfishness; yet when asked if they are a Christian, they wholeheartedly say, “Yes.”  Why?  Because they prayed a prayer. 

You say, “Wait a minute!  You have to pray a prayer to be saved!”  Yes, that’s correct.  But for so many, that’s all they’ve ever done.  They just said some words.  Yet, their life gives no indication or evidence (Jesus calls it fruit) that they are indeed a true follower of Christ.  All they are is a “believer.”  Just a believer.  Yet, even Satan and his demons fear and tremble at the name of Jesus. 

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  Most people just want Jesus as “Hell Insurance.”  They just want Him to keep them out of Hell.  But, they have no desire to make Him the Lord (boss) of their life.  The problem with this is quite simply that Jesus is not in the insurance business.  He’s in the heart occupying business.  I’ll say that again…  Jesus is in the “heart-changing” and “heart-occupying” business.  He wants the heart.

Do you know why?  Because when He gets your heart…He gets your life…and when He gets your life…then, you will call Him “Lord.”  Is He your Lord?  If He’s not your Lord…then I can tell you on the grounds of Scripture…He’s not your Savior.  You can’t have Him as Savior, if you’ve not made Him Lord.  Have you ever made Jesus the Boss of your life?  If you have, then He’s Savior.  We need to understand that if He’s not Lord…He isn’t Savior.  Let me be very clear, in order for Jesus to be Savior…you must make Him Lord. 

For some, I know when you read the last few sentences you may say, “Well, that seems a little harsh to me.”  Oh really?  Was Jesus to die on the cross for our sins so we cold say that He’s our Savior and still live any way we choose?  That would be like crucifying Him all over again.  It’s to mock His name to take His name as Savior only and then live like there is no God at all.

Now how many of you reading this blog post know of people like this?  They claim to be a “Christian,” yet their lives prove and show absolutely otherwise.  Take a look at the words of the Apostle John in his first letter.  As you do, be reminded that John was so committed to Christ that he risked his life and came to the cross where Jesus was crucified.  (Talk about making Him Lord!  Amazing!) 

1 John 1:3-7

3We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4We write this to make our joy complete.  5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But 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, purifies us from all sin.  1 John 1:3-7

What did John tell us?  He said if you claim to be a follower of Jesus and yet you are walking in darkness, you are a liar.  Read it again if you don’t believe me.  That’s what verse six says.  John is even more bold in chapter 2…

1 John 2:4-6

4The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.  1 John 2:4-6

Are you walking as Jesus walked?  Are you obeying His Word?  Are you saying you know HIm, but you are not living for Him?  If this is you…then, you need to really take an honest appraisal of your life.  Do you sincerely have Christ as your Lord?  Please know, as you are thinking about this, that whatever you can’t get enough of is your god.  What is it that you can’t get enough?  That will give you your answer.  Now does this mean that you want sin as a Christian and there won’t be days that Christ is not first in our lives?  Of course not.  We all sin and make mistakes and sin and yes, don’t alway put Jesus first.  But here’s the truth.  You should not stay in sin.  I’m not a believer in being a “backslider” for months on end.  Yes, I said months…not years. 

Look again at John’s words…

I John 2:18-19

 18Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.  1 John 2:18-19

If you aren’t living for Christ, and you have walked away or “not remained,” or you know someone like this; then it’s possible you never belonged to Jesus in the first place.  Is that you?  Is there fruit or evidence in your life that you know Him?

Jesus said that on the Day of Judgment there will be many that claim to know Him.  Look at His words from the Apostle Matthew:

Matthew 7:18-23

18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. 21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’  Matthew 718-23

My prayer is that those of you who are reading this will make your “election and calling” sure.  Simply email me if you aren’t sure or would like to discuss it.  I’ll be glad to help.   My email is:  kevin@mpbc.ws

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