But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
I PETER 1:15-16
Rise and Shine, There's Work to be Done
God did not save you so that you could just warm a pew bench on Sundays. Oh no, dear friend. He saved you to have intimacy with Him and to work with Him in the beauty of His holiness. When He said, "Be ye holy" it was not a request, it was a command. And God doesn't command us to do anything that He won't empower us to do.
Is your life counting for Jesus Christ? Is anybody impacted by your life? Have you led someone to Christ, or offered an encouraging word in the name of Jesus? Are you exercising your spiritual gifts? Is your lifestyle above reproach? How much time are you spending in front of the t.v. versus reading your Bible?
Read the Bible Everyday
This is the most important piece of advice I can give. When a person tells me that their walk is not going good, I know for a fact that they are not reading God's word. It is our spiritual bread. Without it, our Christian lives are barren. It is also the seed which we sow in other people as we tell them about Christ Jesus.
Isaiah 55:10-11, For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
The Bible can be a challenge to read because the devil and his minions will do their best to keep you from it. Why is the devil so concerned about the Bible? It is the only offensive weapon listed in the armour of God (see Ephesians 6:10-20) . The Word of God is powerful and it will change your life inside out. Read it everyday no matter what. It must be a part of your life. Forget about self-help books and pity-party meetings, tune into Jesus through the Bible and do what He says.
Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.You've Got to Be Serious About Jesus
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
Jesus was serious about you and His true disciples are serious about Him. He left His glory in heaven and was born as an infant in this cruel and wicked world. Herod tried to kill Him in His childhood, but it was not yet His time. After He had shared the good news of the kingdom and healed all manner of sickness and disease, He gave His life a ransom for many. Think about all the evil of this world--He suffered and died for all of it! Oh yes beloved, He was very serious about us and He expects us to be serious about Him.
Do you really believe that our God died for your sins and rose from the dead? If you do, then you CANNOT be satisfied living just any ol' kind of way. Dear friend, it's an impossibility because God lives inside of you. If you feel comfortable sinning and you name the name of Christ you need to--
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 Corinthians 13:5)What Kind of Fruit Do You Bear?
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Jesus talked about two different types of fruit in Matthew 7:16-27--good fruit and bad fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit any more than an apple tree can bring forth pears. If you are a true believer in Jesus Christ, your life should show forth good fruit. GOOD FRUIT, I.E. GOOD WORKS, DO NOT SAVE YOU, BELIEF IN JESUS CHRIST DOES. But good works are the external result of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Below, there are two types of lifestyles--Spirit-filled and flesh-filled. When you examine your everyday lifestyle, which category do you operate in?
If you call yourself a Christian, I sincerely hope that you are in the first category. If you are in the second category and you claim to be a Christian, here's some counsel from the Bible:
Galatians 6:7, Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
If you are NOT a Christian and you feel that you are in the first category, you are still on your way to hell because you don't have forgiveness for your sins. No amount of good works will get you into heaven. God will only accept those who accept His Son and He will reject all who reject Jesus.
John 3:36, He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Look at what God says about the good works of the natural man who tries to earn his way into heaven.
Isaiah 64:6, But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.Call to Holiness
Dear friend, where are you at today? Is your life a sweet-smelling savour in the nostrils of God or is it a pungent odor? If you are a Christian, your life should mirror the characteristics of God Himself. II Peter 1:4 says that you are to be partaker of the divine nature. That's incredible!
I oftentimes hear preachers and lay-people say, "I'm only a sinner saved by grace." After you are saved, God no longer calls you sinner. Look it up in the Bible--He calls you righteous. I hear people say, "If you're normal, you sin everyday." What a thing to say! When you read I John, the apostle admonishes us to sin not. If we do, we have an advocate with the Father, Christ Jesus.
Instead of being woe-begone about sin, we need to be avoiding and resisting it with all that we have. We need to seek out holiness. There ain't nothin' wrong with being holy. The world uses the phrase, "holier-than-thou" with contempt. I say, "Praise the Lord somebody is trying to live like Jesus!"
I was a big-time sinner when Jesus cleaned me up and made me brand new. When I look back, I know I lived the way I did, but I still have trouble understanding how I was so blind. The reading of God's word, the Bible, has continually washed my mind and given me a deadly weapon that Satan hates. I've been commanded to "cast down all imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God". And by God's grace and goodness, I will strive to do it until He calls me home to glory.
I see myself as a living miracle. I didn't grow up in a Christian home and my lifestyle was reprehensible, but God cleaned me up from the inside out. I have taken a 180 degree turn. Lord Jesus, Thou art good and worthy of all praise, honor and glory. He took the life of a world world-class sinner like me and made me a vessel fit for the Master's use. Thank you, Jesus!
I'm not unique, but the God that I serve is. He didn't save you to "chill out" and do what you want. "Ye are bought with a price" the Bible says. That price was the blood of Jesus Christ. He saved you to do good works in the furtherance of His kingdom.
Though you wouldn't know it based on the level of crime and lawlessness in America, most people in the U.S. claim to be Christians. I believe that many of these people have a false hope. Most people want to go to heaven, but they are unwilling to do it God's way. They won't make it in. Remember what Jesus said,
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven...God in You, the Hope of Glory
When a person gets saved, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost come to live inside of them. As a result, a Christian will bear Christ-like fruits. That's what Christ meant when He said that by their fruits shall ye know them. When you plant an apple seed, you get a tree that bears apples. When you plant Jesus Christ you get Christ-like fruits.
Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Conversely, when a person is not saved, they bear Satan's fruit e.g., addiction, pride, idol-worship (of money, academic credentials, television, nature etc.), lust of the flesh, humanism, bad language, etc.
Through Christ, we have been reconciled to God.
II Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.
If then, we have been reconciled unto God, we should be bringing forth God-like fruits:
II Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
The Bible says to "give diligence to make your calling and election sure" (II Peter 1:10) and to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (Phillipians 2:12) You say that you believe? That's good, but according to James 2:19 "the devils also believe and tremble." The question is, "Have you been born again?"
What Must I Do to Work the Works of God?
1. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ
John 6:28-29, Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
2. Read God's word, the Bible.
Joshua 1:8, This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
3. Do what God commands you to do.
James 1:22-25, But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
As a church worker and servant for Jesus Christ, a number of people have asked me for advice on problems, fears and other things like how to live. I try to answer based on the Word of God and many (perhaps most) are turned off by what the Bible says about purity and holiness. There's no shortcut to having a thriving relationship with God.
You've got to seek holiness to be near Him, for He will not fellowship with sin. I Timothy 4:7 says to exercise thyself unto godliness. The only way to do this is to:
- think about the Lord each moment of the day
One more thing you must do, learn what your spiritual gift is. The Bible says that every single believer has one because the Holy Ghost gives it to us. I'm not talking about natural ability, but a supernatural ability used for the edification of the body of Christ.
Examples of gifts include teaching, preaching, exhortation, and ministry (helping people). There are other gifts too--ask your preacher about them, or better yet, research the gifts for yourself in the Bible. Lord willing, I'll create a page about spiritual gifts and the characteristics of people who have certain gifts. [Postscript: page on spiritual gifts has been completed.]
The Conclusion of the Matter
...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.