Search This Blog

Friday, March 16, 2012

Overcome by Joy

 Luke 10:17-20 (NIV)
17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name." 18 He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

I have rejoiced over many things since becoming a Christian. I have rejoiced over people giving their hearts to Jesus. I have seen lives changed by His presence. I have seen people healed by His power. I have seen God supply a need at just the right moment. I have seen His love for His children in giving them direction for their lives. I have seen Him pull me out of difficult times and give me strength to endure other times. I have seen people released from the power of demons which have plagued their whole lives.

But none of these things are a greater cause for rejoicing than knowing my name is written in heaven.

I just finished the sermon I will be preaching Sunday. It is called, "Will I Lose My Salvation If I Lose My Faith?" The answer is a resounding NO! I cannot lose my salvation because

I will never be able to overpower the Son who remains faithful even if I am unfaithful.

2 Timothy 2:13 (NIV) 
13  if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

I will never be able to unseal what the Spirit has sealed for me.

 Ephesians 1:12-14 (NIV)
12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.

I will never be able to snatch myself out of the Father's hand.

 John 10:29 (NIV)
29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.

You see, I can't erase my name from the Lamb's Book of Life. My God holds onto me.

And I was overcome by joy all over again!

The next time I get down, I'm going to think about this again. Real joy ought to come out of what God is doing rather than what I can or can't do.


high-expressions said...

Although Ps Prentis, you did NOT entitle your entry, "Once saved, always saved", you are focused entirely on arguing for that, which I supposed was what you did for your sermon for your Sunday.

This is a base issue and is a contentious issue. Because it is base or core to the faith, it is very important how we put it, concerning if one could ever lose his salvation. It is a contentious issue that both sides can come up with "convincing verses" to support, leading to some to wonder if there are contradictions in Scripture.

I am NOT sure if I should dwell at length on this issue, here; probably, it is NOT a good idea. By that, it is NOT wrong to draw the conclusion that I have things to say for the stance expressed here. I am on an overall basis, still inclined to place myself on the camp of those who believe it is possible to lose one's salvation. I will ask a set of questions to get people thinking, and perhaps, reach their own standpoint; and also make 3 suggestions for all.

1. Is Man with free-will or NOT? What does it mean to be of free-willed?
2. Is NOT Adam and Eve God’s? What happened to Adam and Eve; they could be lost, nonetheless?
3. Were Adam and Eve snatched from God’s hand? If NOT, what is key in leading to the separation? Was it Satan powerful enough to snatch from God? Was God’s faithfulness being in question?
4. Is NOT Jesus has come to redeem? What is redemption? Has the Lord’s redemption changed that key applicable to Adam and Eve?
5. Has God turned Man into robot on conversion?
6. What does “follow” mean? If you do NOT follow, is it I am NOT faithful or NOT capable or NOT willing; or is it, it is your own doing?
7. You know it is imperative, but you don’t want; or it is forbidden, but you still want; is there necessarily an issue of God’s faithfulness?
8. You want to go astray, I come for you, but if you do NOT want to “return”, am I NOT faithful?
9. I am “ready” to forgive you, but you insist you do NOT need or want, my forgiveness, am I being unfaithful?
10. If you choose to mutiny, is it my fault if I do NOT protect you, or you get killed in the cross-fire?
11. Are there no references to “names can be erased” from the Book of the Lamb?
12. Do you know who God is (at least “enough” of Him)?
13. Do you honor Him at all?
14. Do you love Him at all?
15. What is your heart condition?
16. Where is it showing or how is it showing?
17. Are all men saved? What will differentiate you from all the unsaved men?
18. Is Heaven NOT meant only for those who accept God for who He is, and love Him?
19. What business do you have in Heaven if you neither accept God for who He is, nor love Him?
20. Is God’s fundamental way purely technicality, or substance, as well?

Suggestion No 1:
It is quite clear Scripture pointed to God looking at the heart of Man. We may fail time and time again, but what is our heart condition? Do you accept God for who He is? Do you love Him, nevertheless? Until you meet your Maker, where is it showing or how is it showing of your heart condition? Did David NOT sin, serious ones even? Yes. Was NOT David said by God to be the man after His own heart? Despite David’s failures, David accepted God, for who He is, and David loved God, and it showed, despite the lapses. Think of how your life is to be lived in relation to God.

Cont. on next page...

high-expressions said...

from preceding page

Suggestion No 2:
Understand the general mindset of one writing about a “product”. When there are various warnings; what are they (the warnings) saying as a whole? There is defect with the product? No. Then, what does it mean? It means the manufacturer or producer designed the product to serve a certain purpose, under a certain set of conditions. For example, it is NOT uncommon to read for an electrical kettle, “Fill the kettle with water, and place it on the “heater unit”, and switch on”. That is simply how you will boil water! But if you ignore the warning written elsewhere in manual or on the product itself, that there is a minimum and a maximum water level to be observed, the product, for you, may turn out to be disastrous! Warnings are explicit, one does NOT write them in, if they are NOT applicable. In other words, I am saying “reading scripture with scripture(s)”, is a must. I mean, on the surface, of course, there is nothing wrong whatsoever with, “Fill the kettle with water, and place it on the “heater unit”, and switch on”. Well, only the boundaries were specified elsewhere! When you take the “kaput” unit back to the manufacturer to complain, guess what the Maker will say, “But you are a sophisticated enough a user; and you ought to have read the manual that there are boundaries (for the water); furthermore, there are markings there on the product”. Think about it, it is NOT that unfair to use this electrical kettle as a metaphor for the product that Jesus is offering, and therefore, the Bible being the manual; in fact, the Bible is the manual for the product, “Man”; in other words, the manual has a section on how to get the product restored! I repeat: warnings are explicit, if they are NOT applicable; they would NOT be there! I end this suggestion with an example of a warning in Scripture:

Matt 6:15 – But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Is this a verse, Christians can ignore, without consequences?

Suggestion No 3:
Fear the Lord. NOT past-tense, NOT a once-off, but a present continuous tense. Fearing the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and fearing the Lord is so important that King David said in Ps 34, “I will teach you the fear of the Lord”. You must understand what the fear of the Lord in Scripture means. The answer is in Prov 8:13, (and in Ps 34, too). It is so fundamental, and it is the beginning. Heaven awaits those who fear the Lord, even as we say it awaits those who love the Lord, those who have given of their lives to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Lastly, I want to say that the truth of God is what it is, and NOT what we believe it is; if you have “formally” entered into salvation, if you live your life with the fear of the Lord and obeying God’s commandments out of love for Him, and when you failed in so doing, you would humble yourself before God in asking for forgiveness, you are in good standing, as your heart condition will testify favorably for you, regardless your belief that “Once saved is always saved”. My understanding for this is very simple: “One believed, without seeing, and another, only after seeing, but the {actual} fact is that both have believed. In other words, having entered into salvation, if you live and endeavor to live a life pleasing unto God, the mere belief or non-belief of “Once saved, always saved”, alone, may NOT derail you from your walk. However, it is still, only if you live and endeavor to live a life pleasing unto God.

But how can I be dead-sure if I will make it? I used to want know that, really, really want to know that (I have to know that, I must know that); but I no longer! I have since realised this: Isn’t that what faith is all about?!

“Hao, hao chore, jin liang chore”. That is Chinese, saying, “Faithfully do, effort to do your best”. And I add, “After that, leave the rest to God or rest in Him”. Scripture put it this way, it is called “H O P E”; not “facts”, not “happened”, not “fixed”, not “immutable”, but just “hope”.