Let me ask all of you... If you had the same experience I had when you came to know Christ?!
I had many people talking to me about…"Accepting Christ as my Savior"... For a long time! But once I DID actually believe and trust Jesus as my Savior...
I DIDN'T have...Many of those same people...To lead, disciple, or teach me about what I was to do next! Or stress to me…Just how utterly life-altering this decision was to be...By drastically changing everything about...How I viewed life, thought about myself and others!
It was kind of like, "Whew! He's safe!... Now let's focus on the next one!"
The "lucky ones" sometimes get the training of..."Now go read your Bible... Start in the Book of John!"
It's not that people don't care at all!! Some just feel that once you are saved, God will show you the way...And others don't feel they have the knowledge or maturity...And still others... Just aren't able to commit to the time and effort!
It is one of our greatest callings and honor...
To grow others up in Christ! To show them how to discover more of God! To show them their worth, love AND calling... From the Father!
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV)
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
The Great Commission Given to us by Jesus Christ Himself...Just before Physically Leaving this Earth... After His Resurrection...Does NOT tell us to, "Go, and make believers!" What does it say? LISTEN CLOSELY!
Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven & on earth. 19 Go therefore & make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;
The Greek word for disciple here is: Matheteuo (math-ayt-yoo'-o). Meaning: To make/train in discipleship, pass, instruct, help someone progressively learn.
Jesus said it was our Commission (Get that?)…To… "Teach them to observe all things He Commanded!" Paul took this discipleship so seriously... That he considered his personal convert... TIMOTHY...To be his literal Child/Son spiritually! Taking on responsibility for him...As a parent does a new born child!
1 Timothy 1:1-2 (NKJV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, 2 To Timothy, a true son in the faith:
One of the greatest dangers to new Christians...And the biggest reasons many fall away…In frustration or disbelief...Is because they are left to FLOUNDER in immaturity! Trusting wolves in sheep's clothing... In a corrupt world! Dividing Truth improperly...Embracing warped ideas and promises...
Learning self-help and prosperity... Rather than love and servitude...And then falling away again... In frustration and disappointment! When they see the folly in what they have learned and tried! Often... Never truly experiencing Christ... Or His Will!
We will spend the weeks to come... As a Church...Starting at the beginning...
And walking through the most foundational understandings...Of what it means to really know Christ...And how it is to change our lives inside and out!
Most of us... Will probably get a new, and fuller understanding ourselves...As to what our Relationship with Christ... And our new lives...Should be all about... After Salvation! All of us... Will hopefully receive a basic format...With which to use from now on...To disciple others whom Jesus may use US…To bring into His Kingdom!
Let's apply ourselves fully... To learning, living and teaching...What we are about to walk through in the weeks to come!
Salvation: The Kingdom NOW!
Let's start at DAY ONE...When any serious NEW convert will go home...And ask themselves these questions:
"What did I just do?.. “Was it the right thing?”
"What now?.. Where do I go from here?"
"OK God, where are You?"...
"Why am I not feeling different?"
Let's try to give solid, Scriptural Answers...For WHAT they just did... And exactly what it MEANS in their lives! HOW WE SEE THE BEGINNING… SHAPES EVERYTHING!!
Most of us have a very limited...And very SHALLOW understanding of Salvation!! Most believe that...In the beginning God created Heaven, hell, and earth...And that we live here on earth... As a prelude... A proving ground... For where we will go later...And God lives somewhere out there in Heaven...
And somewhere in a lost underworld... There is Hell...And as we live out our days here on earth...Our good deeds need to outweigh our bad... So we can make it to the Kingdom of God when we die...Or that we accept Christ, and His Gift of Forgiveness...Which pays our way into the Kingdom when we die...This is all fine and good...Except that it is NOT BIBLICALLY COMPLETE OR ACCURATE!
Even many Christians may be saying at this point..."But that's exactly what I DO believe!" Listen closely and you will understand… GOD'S HEART AND TRUTH!
In the beginning... God created the Heavens and the Earth... STOP! He had NOT created a "Hell" for US...Because EARTH was a perfect place... Of perfect fellowship...And Heaven was NOT Heaven because it was a Wonderful Place...
BUT... Because God was There... HE... MADE IT HEAVEN!
Earth WAS A PART of God's Kingdom in the Beginning...Because He walked HERE with US...And He called it all VERY GOOD!
When WE decided we wanted our own way over God...And followed Satan's leading into chaos & hatred in this world...Over fellowship and love with our Creator...God's Presence and His Kingdom…Were SEPARATED from Earth...
By OUR CHOICE... WE WANTED OUR OWN WAY... HE GAVE IT!
Satan took dominion... This became his kingdom...Not just physically... But spiritually, in our HEARTS... The Kingdom of God was gone... By our choice!
WE brought the true essence of "Hell" here to our world...The hatred of... And absence of God… IN OUR SOULS! THEN... The Hell which was created for Satan and his demons was expanded... To make room for those who had joined them!
Satan did this because he wanted total authority and rule over God...And since he could not defeat God...He tried to hurt God… By robbing Him…Of the love and fellowship of those God loved so dearly... He tried to use God's own Holiness against Him…By making us unworthy to remain in God's Kingdom ourselves!
God had to have Justice and Truth... Evil had to be punished...Or He would not be a God of Real Love! Would you let someone go free and unpunished...
After brutally torturing and killing your loved one?
HE COULD NOT BEAR DESTROYING ALL OF US... WHOM HE HAD ALREADY SEEN... IN TIMES YET TO COME...THAT WOULD BE LOST FROM HIM FOREVER!
LISTEN CLOSELY: JESUS DIDN'T COME TO JUDGE US AND DESTROY US...BUT TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE TO TAKE THE JUDGMENT AWAY!
John 3:17 (HCSB)
For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
He had to let us live out the life we had chosen over HIM...It was what WE had become... What WE had chosen! HE COULD MAKE A WAY…To save us from our separation from HIM!
A Crazy Idea... That would Cost HIM Everything...But it was the ONLY WAY...
That He could take away our sins... But not destroy the sinner! So He decided to take the weight and consequences…Of the entire world's sin onto His own Life...AND GET THIS…To Live WITH US... In the MESS and PAIN we created...Because He didn't want us to suffer through our pain alone!!
He Chose to DIE…Horrifically for all we had done wrong...AS ONE OF US... PERFECT AND SINLESS... BUT DYING ANYWAY! Setting us FREE... Giving us HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS... FOR OUR GUILT!
He DID NOT simply PARDON our sins!!They had to be PAID FOR in punishment! He took our name... And our crimes against Him...Literally, physically, emotionally and spiritually...All of the Wrath, Pain, Guilt, Shame,
Suffering...And separation from God...That should have been ours!
EXPERIENCED BY HIM... IN DEATH & SHAME ON OUR BEHALF!! And Gave us HIS NAME... In place of our own! BREAKING SATAN’S HOLD on us! NOT… To simply restore our PLACE in His Kingdom...BUT TO RESTORE HIS KINGDOM IN OUR HEARTS!!!
Luke 17:20-21 (NKJV)
20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you."
THE GOAL WAS NOT JUST TO BUY US A TICKET TO A BETTER PLACE...
GOD DIDN'T CARE ABOUT THE PLACE... HE COULD MAKE ANOTHER!
THE GOAL WAS TO CHANGE OUR DARK HEARTS...THAT HAD CREATED THIS HELL ON EARTH IN THE FIRST PLACE!
TO RESTORE OUR CHANCE FOR FELLOWSHIP…WITH HIM NOW...MAKE US A PART OF THE KINGDOM... NOW! TO PLACE IN US ONCE AGAIN...
THE SELFLESS LOVE AND BEAUTY HE HAD CREATED US FOR! Everyone that comes to know Christ... And invites Him into their lives...Brings a part of the Kingdom here to earth... NOW!
Colossians 1:12-14 (HCSB)
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. 14 We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him.
Until the end of this Age...When Christ comes to Restore all things...And REUNITES ALL this earth… With the Kingdom of Heaven...And DWELL once again with men!
The Change Which Has Occurred!
NOW… WITH THIS TRUE PICTURE...Of what it means to Accept Christ as your New Savior and King...How should it change your life from this point? How should you SEE LIFE… And live differently? What is your purpose in Him?
Here is the BIG PICTURE of your NEW PLACE in the KINGDOM!
ONE: Jesus didn't just DIE to Forgive sins...He DIED to make you His Deserving Beloved! (Thru His Sacrifice) Because of the incredible WORTH He has in YOU! SIN was in the way...And so... He did whatever it took...To remove that sin which kept you FROM HIM!
TWO: He Took YOUR NAME to the GRAVE with HIM! The OLD YOU died in punishment WITH HIM! Because the OLD YOU could not have acceptance & LIFE! To ACCEPT His Gift... To Accept Him as your Savior and King...Means the OLD YOU... The old ways of thinking & living for yourself and this life...THAT MADE HIS KINGDOM A LITERAL HELL ON EARTH...HAVE TO DIE WITH HIM...
Romans 6:4 (HCSB)
Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life.
He Wants you to be REBORN... Risen from that dead life...WITH HIM... LITERALLY AS A DIFFERENT PERSON! With His Spirit... Giving you the heart and the mentality...Of someone who NOW lives IN the Kingdom of God!NOT… In the ways of this world which took us away from Him!
NOT because He Wants you to ACT BETTER... Or just look righteous...
Because He Wants to RESTORE you…To what you were MEANT to be!Something far from this world we know and live in now!
He Wants you to see Him... See other people... See this Life...In a completely different way now! He Wants you to learn the awesomeness of selfless, real love! Because it was your old ways of thinking...That hurt others... Turned from Him...And destroyed His Kingdom!
He Wants you to see the MESS the world is in...And TRUST that His Way of Loving is BEST...And CHOOSE His Love... His Way... Over your old life...That was so horribly... He DIED to take it away from you!
He Wants YOU to see YOU... As He Made you to be...Separate and free from every…Mistake, horrid thought, and failure... That you have ever made! It is ALL TAKEN AWAY...And you can be with Him... Clean, unashamed, and totally LOVED...Just as you are... With NOTHING to DO in order to WIN His Love!
Knowing there is NOTHING in your life...No success... No skill... No education... No accomplishment...That will make Him love you more or less than someone else...He Simply Wants your Crazy Love and Devotion...In return... For HIS Crazy Love and Devotion!
THREE: If He places that much Love and Worth on YOU...Then... In your NEW LIFE with Him...He Wants you to have that NEW WORTH AND LOVE...For EVERYONE around you as He Does! Whether they are nice and kind...Or the lowest of dirt bags!
Because in His Eyes... We are all EQUAL IN VALUE and LOVED! THAT ALONE... Will change everything about your life! If you seriously, deeply recognize this Truth! The people of this world are NOT your enemy...They are your brothers... Lost as you once were...Acting in the sin that is natural… In this world! Satan is our enemy!
FOUR: BUT GRASP THIS BIG PICTURE OF SALVATION...AND IT WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD...AND EVERYTHING YOU HAVE THOUGHT...ABOUT WHY YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED AND MADE NEW!
LISTEN WITH EXTREME ATTENTION!If Satan has completely corrupted God's Kingdom...Turned us from God... And in doing so... Destined us ALL for Punishment and Destruction! If He has brought…Selfishness, hatred, lust, murder, rape, torture, racism...And changed the course of billions of ETERNAL LIVES!
WE NOW SEE THE TRUTH OF THIS WORLD...IN IT'S PAIN... AND IT'S COMING DESTRUCTION...And we realize this life is NOT just about
Acceptance, money, pleasure...Or anything else we value in this temporary and condemned world...But instead... Will soon be passing into a lost memory anyway!
MORE THAN ALL OF THIS...IF WE SEE THE WORTH AND LOVE HE HAS...
FOR EVERY LOST, REBELLIOUS SOUL LIVING HERE! WE NOW JOIN HIM IN SHARING THAT LOVE AND WORTH...Through His Power that Lives inside of the NEW US!
WHAT DO YOU THINK… OUR BIGGEST... SOLE PURPOSE MIGHT BE?
As Saved Citizens of the God's Kingdom...Walking in the middle of the wreckage and pain...Caused by It's FALL!
With the Love of God for His PEOPLE...And the Truth of what is about to happen to it all in Judgment?! As Our King Works Sacrificially and Feverishly to SAVE IT?
We were NOT just Saved to get to Heaven one day! We were NOT just Saved to receive the benefits! Prosperity, healing, comfort, blessings...These are wonderful things... But have NOTHING to do with the Greater Purpose!
Our CALLING... As Saved Children of God... Standing in the middle of a LOST and BROKEN world...Is to show them the Truth we have found...
To show them the WORTH and LOVE we now know...That God places on THEM as well!
Even if they hate us while we are doing it...As they hated HIM! Because they are deceived and broken!
Our CALLING... Is to experience our great Love & Worth in Christ...
And in THAT CONFIDENCE of who we now are... IN HIM! To CHOOSE to place ourselves underneath others...In servitude to those…Who don't appreciate or understand Truth!
It is to see how much Christ Sacrificed for our Love...And to commit ourselves to that same Sacrifice…For HIS LOVE...It is NOT... To LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE NOW...IT IS A CALLING TO JOIN THE WAR AND SACRIFICE!
It's a calling to DO your BEST WORK now! Jesus NEVER Promised an EASIER LIFE...Jesus actually Promised a Harder Life... Of Persecution... Troubles... And maybe even Death…
Matthew 10:34, 38-39 (NKJV)
34 "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword... 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
But He Promised more joy and rest in the MIDDLE of it...Than we could ever have in this life...
Matthew 11:29 (ESV)
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
HOW can that be?! BECAUSE WE WILL KNOW HIM... WALK WITH HIM IN THE MIDDLE OF IT...AND HAVE THE PEACE OF KNOWING...WE SERVE HIS PURPOSES OF LOVE... IN OUR GREATEST CALLING ON EARTH!
IF YOU COME TO A FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST...AND YOU JUST WANT THAT FAITH...TO BENEFIT YOU IN LIFE...BUT... NOT CHANGE YOU IN LIFE AND PURPOSE...YOU HAVE NOT COME TO A FAITH IN HIM AT ALL!
HE ALONE IS WORTHY OF OUR LOVE AND SACRIFICE!SO IF YOU MEANT IT...PICK UP YOUR SWORD... AND HOLD THE LINE!
THERE IS MUCH WORK TO BE DONE...WITH... AND FOR... OUR KING!
Galatians 2:20 (HCSB)
...and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (YOU WERE NOT SAVED FOR YOUR OWN BENEFIT ALONE!)
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