A Christian is made by God. Salvation is not something that you can work your way into – you must be “born again” if you want to enter into and see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3, 7). You are “born again” by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior (John 1:12-13), by putting yourself in His hands, surrendering to Him, giving Him your life. At that point of surrender – and it is unconditional surrender – God acts. The Bible says:
Titus 3:4-7 (KJV) But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
We are not saved by our works, but by His Work. Christ died for us, and rose again for us, so that He could bring us into harmony with God. When we realize that we are sinners and surrender to the Savior God Himself brings the “washing of regeneration” – making us born again. God gives us of Himself “the renewing of the Holy Ghost”. A Christian is indwelt by God the Holy Spirit. The Spirit guides us in all truth, and enables the believer to understand the things of God (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13). The Bible declares:
Romans 8:5-9 (KJV) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Every believer is indwelt by the Spirit of God. The Spirit is given to guide us into truth. The Truth the Spirit guides us in is the Word of God. God’s Word, His Bible, is His directive to us who are His children. The Bible says:
2 Timothy 3:13-17 (KJV) But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
There is no Christian growth where the Word of God is not heeded. Jesus told His followers “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). He said “Why do you call Me Lord and not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). God’s Word is life. Jesus Christ is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). The Christian is to follow the Christ. The Great Commission is to teach others to “do all things whatsoever Christ has commanded us” (Matthew 28:20). We as Christians are to do His Word, to obey our Lord, and to follow Christ.
What else has God given the Christian? He has given us each other. He has given us the Church. The Church is a body of believers gathered together, each using their own gifts and talents to further the cause of Christianity. The Spirit of God is given to each believer with the intent that we work together (1 Corinthians 12:7). Like the human body, each member in the Body of Christ the Church has a unique purpose and a unique function. The Bible says:
1 Corinthians 12:8-12 (KJV) For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
When the Church works together every member is blessed. When the Church doesn’t work together, not only is harmony disrupted – but every Christian in the Body suffers.
What hurts a Church? The same thing that hurts the Christian.
Christians do not grow when they will not read and DO what the Scripture says. Christians do not grow when they will not listen to the preaching of the Word and apply that Word to their lives. Some believers refuse to do so because they are attracted to power. They want to be in charge. They want to be the center of the universe. The truth is, God is in charge. He is the center of the universe. His Word is Light, and His Word is right. I’ve heard Christians justify disobedience to the preached and taught Word by saying “Oh, anybody can twist the Scripture to say whatever they want it to say”. I suppose that is true. However, you who are Christians are indwelt by God the Holy Spirit. If you hear His Word and let Him guide you, He cannot be deceived. There is no justification for a Christian grabbing power and rejecting God given authority in the Church. We are reminded in the Scripture:
Hebrews 13:7 (KJV) Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
Hebrews 13:17 (KJV) Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
It is not beneficial as a Christian to reject your God given pastors and teachers. “They watch for your souls, as they that must give account”. If they err, go to them and tell them where you think they have erred. I myself am careful in the handling of God’s Word, taking the warning:
Revelation 22:18-19 (KJV) For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
very seriously. If I am wrong, I want to be shown where I am wrong. Every Godly Pastor and Teacher feels the same way. Do not reject the Word because you feel it is wrong. Reject it if it is my word and not God’s Word, and show me the same.
Salvation is by Grace, but growth in salvation is be perseverance.
Those who reject God’s Word will not grow as Christians. Those who reject Godly authority – hopping from Church to Church – will not grow as Christians.
It is so sad that – with all the freedom and all the access that Christians in America have to the Bible and the Church – that so many will not use the blessing. Some join a Church like they go to a store. They look for a “good deal” and, quickly using the resources at hand, move on to another “bargain”. There are Christians – professing Christians anyway – who if they were to die tomorrow no one would know who to call to perform their funeral. There are Christians who have hopped from Church to Church so much that they are on three or four Church “rolls”. When you get sick, who will visit you? When your child gets ready to marry, who will perform the ceremony? When you die, who will comfort your relatives?
Listen, dear ones. Christ gave His all for you and for me. He died and rose again for our blessing. We bless Him when we do what He says. We bless ourselves when we do what He says.
If you are a Church Hopper – stop it! Settle down, and follow Christ where you are. There will never be a perfect Church while you’re a member of it. If that hurts, it should. We are all sinners, saved by Grace. Quit hopping, quit shopping, and start serving Jesus where you are – IF you are a Christian.
If you are a Power Monger – stop it! Christ is in control. It is His Word that brings life. We follow Him, not our whims. Anything with more than one head is a freak, and there are too many freaky Churches out there. Follow Christ. Support your Pastor. Listen to your teachers. Stop trying to be in charge, and let God be God.
If you are a Christian – persevere! Keep going. Keep going to Church. Keep listening to the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. Keep reading your Bible. Keep doing the right thing. I thank my God daily for the Philippian Christian who strives to serve the Lord. You are a blessing. The Corinthian Christian makes my head hurt and my hands shake, but the Philippian Christian is the greatest blessing. You will never grow unless you persevere. Bloom where you are planted. Serve as Christ has commanded. Help yourself – your Church – and your Pastor. Persevere!