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WHERE DO YOU STAND WITH CHRIST ?
If a kingdom (or house) is divided against itself, that kingdom (or house) cannot stand.
Mark 3:24,25. Luke 11:17
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
13: Is Christ divided?...
1 Cor. 1:10,13
Q: I sometimes wonder if God loves me. I have heard God is a loving God. If He is a loving God, why is there so much suffering and sorrow in this world?
A: In God's book called the Bible, God explains that our sins are the cause for all the suffering and sorrow (see: Genesis 3:16-19).
Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.
1 Jo 3:4
[ The violation of God's moral Laws and commandments, outside the mindfulness of Christ in your thoughts and deeds ]
For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law. [moral law]
1 Cr 15:56.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
( 2 Tim 3:16-17).
Whose law? God’s Moral Law: Subject to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Christians become "slaves of righteousness" (Rom. 6:16-22) as God activates His character of righteousness in our behavior by the dynamic of the life of the risen Lord Jesus. Not the Mosaic Ceremonial laws and customs, which all ended at The Cross and when Christ ascended into Heaven. Law by its very definition, requires behavioral action. Gal 3:10,5:3, Rom 2:14,25. In the Holy Bible, Christ outlines specific moral behavior, eliminating the guesswork from moral conduct, mandating Christian character and conduct . see>(1 John 2:3-6).
There can be no merging, no integrating of Law and Grace. Rom 3:19-31,Rom 7:4, Eph 2:4-5,Eph 2:8-10, Col 2:16-17, Heb 8:13, Rom 2:28,29,1 Cor 4:20, 2 Cor 5:17-20. It will be one or the other, and such will be evidenced either in "deeds of the flesh" ( Gal 5:19-21), Rom 1:18-32, Eph 4;14, Phil 3:18, Col 2:8, 1Jhn 2:15-16 or the "fruit of the Spirit” (Gal 5:22,23), Jhn 6:63,15:5, Eph 5:9-10, Mat 7:20, Col 1:10, Jhn 2:27.
Grace is the self-giving of Christ [God] to us, in which He both redeems and recreates us: God the judge legally imputes the benefits of Christ's righteousness to the Christian.
For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
However the Lord has more to say:
The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but He loves him that follows after righteousness.
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
Q: But I am not wicked. I am a decent, moral person. Surely the good I have done in my life far outweighs whatever bad I have done. How can these verses apply to me?
A: By God's standard of righteousness, even the most moral person is looked upon by God as a desperate sinner on his way to the Lake of Fire. The Bible teaches that no one is good enough in himself to go to Heaven. On the contrary, we are all sinners, and we are all guilty before God.
As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
If God puts no trust in His saints, and the heavens are not pure in his sight, how much less man, who is abominable and filthy, who drinks iniquity like water.
Q: If I am such a wicked person in God's sight, what will God do to me?
A: The Bible teaches that at the end of the world all the wicked will come under eternal punishment in a place called The Lake of Fire.
Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Rev 20:14-15. (also see: Rev 21:8, 20:10,19:20.)
Q: Oh, come on now! The Lake of Fire is not real, is it? Surely things are not that bad!
A: Indeed, The Lake of Fire is very real, and things are that bad for the individual who does not know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. The Bible makes many references to the lake of fire. The Bible says it is both eternal and consists of perpetual suffering!!!
The devil who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
. . . the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.
II Thessalonians 1:7-9
Q:That is terrible! Why would God create the lake of fire?
A: The lake of fire is terrible, and it exists because God created man to be accountable to God for his actions. God's perfect justice demands payment for sin.
For the wages of sin is death...
Romans 6:23. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.This is the second death. Rev. 20:14
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
II Corinthians 5:10
But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they will give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.
Q: Does that mean that at the end of the world everyone will be brought to life again to be judged and sent to the lake of fire?
A: Indeed it does; that is, unless there exists someone who could be our substitute in bearing the punishment of eternal damnation for our sins. That someone is God Himself, who came to earth as Jesus Christ to bear the wrath of God for all who believe in Him.
All of us like sheep have gone astray; Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD hath caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.
For I delivered unto you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.
I Corinthians 15:3-4
For He has made Him who knew no sin to be sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
II Corinthians 5:21
Q: Are you saying that if I trust in Christ as my substitute, as the One punished for my sins, then I will not have to worry about the lake of fire anymore?
A: Yes, this is so! If I have believed in Christ as my Savior, then it is as if I have already stood before the Judgment Throne of God. Christ as my substitute has paid for my sins. Christ frees the sinner from the condemnation of sin.
He that believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not believes in the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.
Q: But what does it mean to believe on Him? If I agree with all that the Bible says about Christ as Savior, then am I saved from going to the lake of fire?
A: Believing on Christ means a whole lot more than agreeing in my mind with the truths of the Bible. It means that I have come to trust the whole Bible, God's law book to me. It also means that I have an on-going earnest desire to be obedient to the commands of the Bible. Thus I find I am truly happy when I am living like God instructs me in the Bible.
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.
I John 2:3
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Q: Are you saying that there is no way to escape the lake of fire except through Jesus? What about other religions, including many that profess faith in Christ? Will their followers also go to the lake of fire?
A: Yes, indeed. They cannot escape the fact that God holds us accountable for our sins. God demands that we pay for our sins. Other religions cannot provide a substitute to bear the sins of their followers. Christ is the only one who is able to bear our guilt and save us. Therefore one must leave his religion and come to trust only the Bible.
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.
Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.
Q: Now I am desperate. I do not want to go to the lake of fire. What can I do to become saved?
A: There is nothing you can do to get yourself saved. The Bible tells us that only God can save you, "by Grace" ( Eph 2:8-10). God performs the mighty miracle of salvation by applying the Word of God (the Bible) to the hearts and lives of those He plans to save. The effect of this miracle of salvation on the saved persons life is that now you have a love for God and the Bible. You now are happiest when you are obeying God's Law book, the Bible. Thus if a person truly desires to become saved he should spend much time carefully reading or listening to the Bible.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
And a certain woman named Lydia... heard us (Paul who brought the Gospel to her) whose heart the Lord opened...
Q: You keep referring to the Bible. How important is the Bible?
A: The Bible is the most important book in the world because it is God's Law book to the human race. By reading or listening to the Bible a person is in a place where God can save them if that is God's will for that person. Additionally you will also learn many wonderful and awesome truths about God and His salvation plan. Effectively you are hearing the voice of God because God is the author of the Bible and therefore is speaking to you by His Words (The Bible).
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
Q: Can I pray that God might be merciful and save me?
A: Absolutely YES! God is very merciful. Therefore, the Bible tells us that we can and should pray to Him, begging and pleading for mercy, for salvation, admitting that we are sinners who deserve the wrath of God. This will not get us saved, but we will have the assurance that God knows of our intense desire to become saved.
But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying 'God be merciful to me, the sinner !'
For Godly Sorrow produces repentance to salvation, not to be regretted, but the sorrow of the world produces death.
2 Cor 7:10
Grace is that expression of Divine Love,which appears in the coming of Christ to deal with human sin and estrangement. Grace is what distinguishes Christianity from all man-made religions as the activity of God functions within humanity.
Q: Should I attend a church?
A: The Bible tells us that for almost 2000 years after Jesus died on the cross those who believe in Jesus, if possible, were to be members of a church. But now we learn from the Bible that God has sent a famine on all people’s wherever they may be. Scriptures show with today’s events and clues given us in the Bible, that the Church age has become severely corrupted, apostate, along with all ministries like the days of the Pharisees. (Matthew 24:15,16). Fact is...God commands in His Law book, the Bible, which the true believers are to use only the Bible as their authority. (CHRIST, the Bible alone, the true Gospel). The church is not a means of access to God, the church preaches Jesus so that you can have access to God. The pastor is not a means of access to God. People are not a means of access to God. JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD !!
However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with human hands; as the prophet says: 'HEAVEN IS MY THRONE, AND EARTH IS THE FOOTSTOOL OF MY FEET; WHAT KIND OF HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME?' says the Lord,
But if we walk in the light as HE is in the light, we have fellowship with one another...
1 Jo 1:7a
what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
1 Jo 1:3
This is because God's righteous Judgment is upon all people whereever they may be. God is preparing the world for Judgment Day, which is almost here.
"Behold, the days are coming come," declares the Lord GOD, "When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD. People will stagger from sea to sea, And from north even to the east; They will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, But they will not find it. In that day the beautiful virgins and the young men will faint from thirst."
We must remember we cannot be saved by a church ,by a Pastor, by a Priest, by water baptism or by the Communion Service. Only the Lord Jesus Christ who is God Himself can save us. The Bible teaches that at this present time (the end time generation) there is a great famine of the spiritual hearing of Gods word. All Gods elect belong to the eternal Church, which is the Body of Christ.
And all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.
1 Cor 10:4.
So Regarding the local churches, remember:
If a kingdom ( or House ) is divided against itself....
Mark 3:24-25, Luke 11:17
Test all things:...
1 Thes 5:21
For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
1 Cor 14:33
Q: Please tell me more how God saves people.
A: The Bible in John 11 gives an outstanding example showing that God alone does all the work of saving us. Christ brought to life a man named Lazarus who had been dead for four days. Jesus stood outside of the tomb of Lazarus and commanded "Lazarus come forth". Obviously, the stinking corpse within the tomb could not hear Him or obey Him. The Bible tells us that before we are saved we live for and serve spiritual darkness in agreement with the needs and interests of the flesh. Yet God commands us to seek God, to believe, to repent. However, just as it was impossible for the dead Lazarus to obey Jesus' command to come out of the tomb, it is impossible for a unsaved person to obey God's command to believe on Jesus for salvation.
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Yet Lazarus did hear Jesus' command and did come out of the tomb, a live person.
Q: How did that happen?
A: It meant that when Jesus commanded the dead Lazarus to come forth Jesus in His Spirit had to enter that tomb and gave that stinking corpse physical life, ears to hear, and a will and strength to obey the command of Christ. Likewise for those whom God plans to save as He commands us to believe, to repent, to become saved, He is speaking to spiritual corpses who of themselves could never become saved. Yet there are those who begin to believe on Jesus as Savior, who find that they are happiest when they do God's will. The evidence is in their life that somehow they had become saved. This can only happen because as God commanded them to believe, God also entered into their life and saved them. Because He saved them they found they had come to believe on Jesus. They found that sin had become very unpleasant to them. It was evident God had chosen them to become saved and as they heard the Gospel God did apply the Word of God to their lives and they did become saved.
If you are not saved, listen diligently to the Bible. Carefully and prayerfully read and read the Bible. It may be that you, too, will receive salvation as God through His Word, the Bible, calls you and applies the saving Grace of Jesus Christ to your heart.
NO MATTER HOW AWFULLY YOU HAVE LIVED OR HOW TERRIBLY YOU HAVE SINNED, IT IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE THAT BY GOD'S MERCY YOU, TOO, HAVE BEEN CHOSEN BY GOD TO BECOME SAVED BY GRACE.
Remember, however, that God does everything in His time. Therefore, you should patiently wait upon the Lord while you continue to learn from the Bible.
Remember! Gods inspired word was completed about 2000 years ago. Nothing is being added or taken away from the original inspired words, NOTHING! ( see>> Rev 22:18-19 and Galatians 1:8-9).
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
2 Tim 3:12.
But he who endures to the end shall be saved
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:8-9
It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times; you people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
Only the Grace of Jesus Christ can save you !
( see: Eph 2:8 )
* Amen * !