Sunday, March 22, 2015

THE DAY OF DEATH


Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

This verse tells us that the wages of sin is death!  When sin is committed, when does death follow?    Is the apostle Paul writing about a physical death or a spiritual death? 

Genesis 2:15-17
15 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

When Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, did they die that day?  God said they would die in that day.   Did they die?  Yes, they did.  They died spiritually in that they were separated from God.  Separation from God is a spiritual death. 

Isaiah 59:1-3
1 Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.
 
Spiritual life can only be obtained by being in fellowship with God, having His favor and approval.  Are you dead or alive?  Are you living in sin; or, are you being obedient to the voice of God? 

Ecclesiastes 8:8
There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.

Life and death are in the hands of God.  Life is the reward for obedience  Death is the reward for disobedience.  By your own actions and attitudes, you choose life or death.    

John 5:24
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Much better is it to pass from death to life than to pass from life to death.  It is not God’s will that you be dead in your sins and trespasses.  It is His desire that you keep His commandments and live.

1 John 3:14
We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

Have you passed from death unto life?  The Word of God has given us instructions on how to obtain life.  We have life if we love God and others more than we love our own self satisfaction  This message is a simple message and easy to understand.  Your own selfish desires is what will blind you and keep you from obeying this message.  To have life you must surrender your will to God’s will.  You must walk in the light of truth and understanding which He gives to you. 

Revelation 14:13
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

When you die, will you die in the Lord or die in your sins?  If Jesus were to come back today, would you be ready to meet Him and give an account for the life you are living right now?  Have you repented of all your sins?  Have you been made a new creature in Christ Jesus?  Have all your old sins passed away and you are washed clean and holy in the sight of God?  Do you still have some favorite sins you are holding on to?  Do you really have faith to be delivered from all your sinful habits?  These are important questions which you need to answer with judgment day honesty. 

John 8:24                                                                                    
I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

Do you believe that Jesus is your Deliverer?  Do you think your addition is too strong for Jesus to break?  Do you think your illness is too severe for Jesus to heal?  Do you think your situation or relationship is beyond repair?   Can you have life if you do not have faith in Jesus Christ to help you with what you need? 

So, when does a person die in His sins?  Answer:  At the moment he commits sin in his heart.  At the moment the temptation of Satan becomes the desire of a man’s heart.  At the moment you let unbelief or disobedience take control of your heart.

Ezekiel 33:14-18
14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;
15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.
16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.
17 Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.
18 When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby.

Spiritual life and death are much more important that physical death.  

Romans 8:13
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

1 Corinthians 15:19-22
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Are you living after the flesh as did Adam; or, are you living in Christ by obedience to all His words?

Some people are dead while they live.  When the apostle Paul was giving instructions on how families should take care of the widows and those in their family who need help he made this statement: 

1 Timothy 5:6 “But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.”

Any man or woman who “liveth in pleasure,” i.e. who is living after the lust of the flesh, is dead in their sins while they are yet alive.   

In the day that you commit sin, you will die.

Are you dead or alive? 

Monday, March 16, 2015

FAITH FOR THE TRANSGRESSOR


Let us begin by defining these two words which are the subject of our study today:
 
FAITH:            complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
 
strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof; trust, belief, confidence, conviction

TRUST:          firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.

How much faith do you have in God?  Faith and trust are at an all time low in our world today.  I am sure that it has been this way with other nations and people at various times in history; however, it is worse in America today than it was in America 100 years ago.  There was a time in our recent past when agreements and deals were done with a handshake and a promise.  It is not so today.  People do not trust one another today.  Family members do not trust one another.  People in congregations do not trust one another.  Ministers do not trust one another. 

My concern is that people not only have lost their faith and trust in one another; but, they have also lost their faith in God.  They do not believe that God can and will control the conditions and relationships of their personal life.  Let me share with you an important example and area where people are not trusting God.   

When people repeatedly offend you and trespass against you, can you forgive them and leave it with God?  Can you trust God to intervene in the relationship and do what only He can do?  Consider what Jesus and the disciples said about this subject.

Luke 17:1-5
1Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

Jesus was teaching them how to respond to a person who offends you several times a day.  He told them when they offend seven times in a day, forgive them.  The disciples responded to this statement with the earnest request: “Lord, Increase our faith.”  Why did they ask for more faith when Jesus was talking about forgiveness?  Do you think that the tendency of most people is to take matters into their own hands rather than trusting God, having faith in God, to help that person see the error of his way?  

The disciples were asking faith to believe that they could be longsuffering and patient with offenders instead of taking matters into their own hands.  This takes love, grace, and faith.  The Holy Spirit may have you rebuke the offender and after they have repented, Jesus tells you to forgive them.  Regardless of how often they offend you.  If you keep doing it right by having faith that God will deal with their heart and soul, then the Holy Spirit will work on them and cause them to either change or come under strong condemnation.    

James 5:19-20
19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

In order to effectively work with a person who has erred from the truth, you must have faith that God will do that which you cannot do.  God will work with the transgressor in a way that far exceeds what you can do.  The Holy Spirit will work with a person to bring understanding and correction when you cannot seem to reach them.  You need an increase of faith to trust God to help both you and the transgressor.   Be merciful, be forgiving, be patient and be full of faith in God.  When the circumstances seem hopeless and you need a miracle, that is when God can receive the most glory because we recognize that it is beyond our ability. 

1 Samuel 13:5-14
5 And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude: and they came up, and pitched in Michmash, eastward from Beth-aven.
6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits.
7 And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.
8 And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.
9 And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.
10 And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.
11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;
12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.
13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.
14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.

What did Saul do wrong?

He did not have faith to wait on God.  Samuel was late and Saul had no patience because of the fear of his enemies.  He acted on the appearance of the circumstances instead of standing on the faith that God knew all about his circumstances and would deliver His people in due time. 

Saul offered a sacrifice which he did not have the authority or priestly position to do.

Instead of trusting and having faith in God, he did it his way.  How many times have you gotten weary waiting on God and decided it was time for you to do something?

2 Thessalonians 3:11-15
11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.
12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.
13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.
14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.  

What do you think verse 14 means?  If someone does not obey the instruction he has been given, what should we do?  Do we cut him off from our fellowship?  Would that be counting him as an enemy?  The word “company” in verse 14 is synonymous with fellowship.  It means to agree together and mix together in their conduct and doctrine.  We should express our disagreement with those who are in error without treating them as an enemy and cutting them off.  We ought to be able to have mercy and forgiveness.  We should have faith in God that He will work with that person to correct and instruct him in the right way. 

Galatians 6:6-10
6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

We will not reap souls for the Lord if we become weary in well doing.  If we do not trust God to help people learn the way of holiness, then we will not win souls for Christ.  “In due season” may take a while.  You will need to be patient and forgiving while you work with people who do not know the truth and do not do the truth.  As we work with sinners and carnal people, we will be opposed and offended by their words and conduct.  If they repent of their transgressions, forgive them.  Don’t give up.  Don’t get weary. 

2 Timothy 4:2-5
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full  proof of thy ministry.

Reprove with longsuffering.

Rebuke with longsuffering.

Exhort with longsuffering.

Preach and teach the doctrines of Jesus Christ with all longsuffering.  Don’t lose sight of the fact that you are not the only one speaking to the people.  The Holy Spirit is also working and He is patient, longsuffering and merciful.  Have faith in God.  Trust the Holy Spirit to speak to souls when you have run out of words.  Remember faith, hope and charity.  These virtues will help you be effective in your labors for the Lord. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

CONTENTION or CONTENTIOUS

What is contention?  Can a Christian be contentious and still be a Christian? 
Is there a difference between “contention” and “contentious”?
When contention comes, do you have to be an active participant by being contentious?

Romans 2:6-8
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,

The contentious attitude, which the apostle Paul speaks, is that which leads to strife and division.  To be contentious is to cause or be the cause of a heated argument, to vex or to provoke to strong anger.  To vex is to annoy to exasperation, to cause stress and agony.

There is too much contention in our world because there is so little of the true experience of salvation.  People who have the experience of full salvation, justification and sanctification, will not be contentious.  They will not cause strife which leads to division.  Sanctified people are peacemakers.  They love their enemies and they do good to them who cause hurt and offenses.  Sanctified people have the grace to exercise mercy and longsuffering which avoids unnecessary contention.  There will be contentions, but woe to that person who causes them. 

Matthew 18:4-7
4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

The word “offence” in verse 7 means to cause to stumble and fall.  If you are the cause of someone becoming discouraged and falling away from the truth, you are in great danger of God’s wrath.  If we will operate in love, we will not cause another person to stumble and fall.  If we are humble and innocent in our heart and attitude, even though we may make a mistake which causes someone to feel offended, the Holy Spirit will help them overcome our lack of knowledge and understanding.  The offended person will know that we did not intentionally mean to harm them.  This understanding will be sufficient to keep them from falling into sin because of our error. 

John 16:1
These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.
                                                                                                                             
Jesus explained His doctrine and commandments to His disciples so that they would understand and not be tripped up or stumble over His teachings.  Jesus cared about the disciples and in love He prepared them for what was to come as they stood with Him.  We have that same care one for another.  We do not want anyone to stumble over our words.  Therefore, we are very careful to explain ourselves.  We are patient with people so that they can have the time to understand what we mean. 

When someone trespasses against us, we should not become so offended that we would fall from grace.  As saints of God, we have enough knowledge to not let anything separate us from our God.  We must refuse to be offended and backslide. 

How often do mothers and fathers of small children repeat themselves so that the children can understand the instruction and counsel they were given?  We do not become contentious or argumentative with our children when they do not understand what we have said to them.  We love them so much we suffer long with them. 

Galatians 4:26
But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

If God is our Father; Jesus is our Elder Brother; the church is our Mother, then how do we treat our children whom we have begotten in love for the Lord Jesus Christ?

Paul said that Jerusalem (which is a type/symbol of the church) is the mother of us all, then new converts are brothers and sisters in the Kingdom of God.  Contention comes when people are walking after the flesh.  If walk in the Spirit, we will not do the works of the flesh. 

We will not be contentious. 
We will not cause strife and division.  
We will be at one another’s feet not their throats. 
We will be servants, not masters. 
We will be teachers, not judges. 
We will endeavor for unity and avoid strife and contention. 

The Sermon on the Mount which Jesus taught to the people gives us the formula to avoid becoming contentious.

Matthew 5:1-12
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  [seven times in a day??]
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Here is a list of seven beautiful attitudes. 
If you possess these attitudes, you will glorify God.
V3.      Be humble
V4.      Be sincerely concerned about the salvation and welfare of others
V5.      Be kind and tender
V6.      Be diligent in seeking for righteousness in your own life.
V7.      Be ready to forgive
V8.      Be free from all evil attitudes and conduct.
V9.      Be a peacemaker.
V10.    If you do these things you will be blessed.

Do you have the faith to rejoice and be exceeding glad when people transgress against you?  Do you have grace and faith that God will help you and the transgressor?  Can you be patient with those who offend you seven times in one day?  Full salvation will produce that kind and degree of faith and grace.  Do you believe it?  I have told you the truth.  When offenses and contention come against you, don’t be contentious.  Be a peacemaker.  Have faith in God and trust Him to work to help you and the one who is offensive. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

THE THREE TEMPTATIONS

The Bible teaches us that there are three categories or types of temptations.  We want to study various scriptures which identify these three ways which Satan uses to tempt the children of God to disobey God’s rules for living in this world. God has given us a standard of holiness which is founded upon “perfect love” and administered in righteousness, judgment and mercy.  Jesus became our example by living a sinless life and being subjected to these three types of temptations.  Because He overcame, He has provided divine grace to overcome every temptation and live a consistent, holy life.    

Matthew 4:1-12
1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, (#1)If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 And saith unto him, (#2)If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, (#3)All these things will I give thee, (#3)if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
 
Our companion scripture is found in 1 John 2:15-16
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, (#1)the lust of the flesh, and (#2)the lust of the eyes, and (#3)the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

(#1)      If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

(#1)      the lust of the flesh

The first temptation mentioned by both Matthew and John is the desire to satisfy the flesh.  God created us with five senses which have a natural need to be satisfied.  Taste, touch, smell, see and hear.  Hunger has been deemed by many experiences to be the strongest desire of the body.  When a person is seriously hungry, they want nothing else but food.  So, after Jesus had fasted 40 days, Satan came to Him to tempt Him to satisfy the desires of His flesh.  In most of Satan’s temptation, he always includes the element of doubt.  “If you are the Son of God” you will turn these stones into bread.  There was no question or doubt in the mind of Jesus that He was the Son of God.  Jesus was able to be tempted.  He could have listened to Satan’s implication that He really had no proof that He was the Son of God.  Satan tempted Jesus to give in to the hunger and prove that he was different from His other brothers by commanding these stones to become bread.  Jesus resisted and rebuked Satan by quoting and standing upon the Word.    

(#2)      If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

(#3)      the pride of life

The second temptation mentioned by Matthew is third in John’s statement.  Pride is always an element in every sin which is committed. Satan tempted Jesus to prove how valuable his physical life is to God by leaping from a high place and expecting God to send an angel to catch him so that he would suffer no injury.  You must not be so presumptuous that you would be willing to put yourself in danger with the expectation that God would deliver you from the danger.  Don’t tempt God with your pride of life, thinking yourself to be so important that you can prove it by some “dare-devil” act.    

(#3)      All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

(#2)      the lust of the eyes

Covetousness is found in the lust of the eyes to possess the things the eyes find pleasant and desirable.  This is different from the lust of the flesh.  The lust of the flesh wants to satisfy the desires of the flesh, i.e. the five senses.  The lust of the eyes is the desire to possess things you see that others have.  Example:  You see someone with a new car and you wish that you owned it so much that you would be willing to do wrong to have it. 
 
After Jesus prevailed over Satan, resisting all of Satan’s temptation. Satan left him for a season.  But, be sure Satan would return, for he does not give up easy. 

Luke 4:13
And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

After you have resisted and rebuked Satan, and he leaves for a season, don’t become proud and think that you have achieved some great thing.  God gave you the grace to overcome.  You did not do that by yourself. 

James 4:7
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

When Satan flees, don’t think you made him leave by yourself.  Watch out for pride.

1 Corinthians  10:13
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

The temptations and battles you face in life are common to man.  Others have been through similar, if not identical, situations.  Pride and being self-centered always takes advantage of the thought that you are different from others. 

1 John 2:15-17
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

The apostle John teaches us about the three sources of our temptations.  These are the same three categories of temptations which Jesus experienced and was victorious.    

·         The lust of the flesh.

·         The lust of the eyes.

·         The pride of life.

The Holy Spirit will help you recognize the thoughts which Satan puts into your mind in order to entice you to disobey God and yield to temptation.  The Holy Spirit will help you understand what is natural and what is evil.  Satan will try to convince you that what is evil is natural.  You need the Holy Spirit to effectively resist and overcome temptation.   

Galatians 5:13-26
13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

James 1:12-16
12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

Genesis 3:6
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

The Lust of the flesh; The Lust of the eyes; and, The pride of life.
These are the three categories of temptations which have their beginning in the Garden of Eden as Satan tempted Eve to disobey God. 

Your temptations will have the same nature as one of these three categories.
Learn to recognize these three areas of influence.
Your eternal life depends upon your resistance to these three classes of temptations. 

THE KNOWLEDGE OF SALVATION

We live in a world in which the majority of people are committing sin, disobeying God’s laws and walking in the darkness of religious deception.  The Bible tells us the reality of this fact:  there are more sinners who are separated from God because of their iniquity,  than there are obedient, children of God.  In other words, there are more lost sinners than there are saved saints of God.

The world is full of religion because God made us to be religious.  We will either choose to know and serve the one true God; or else, we will choose to worship some other god.  You can take Christ and God out of the home, the school and the government; but, you can not take religion out of men and women. 

In order to know the truth you must search for it and desire to know truth, more than any other thing in the world.  Do you know how to be saved and possess the true gift of salvation through Jesus Christ?  I hope that I can share some thoughts which will help you think about your relationship with God and the relationship other people have with God. 

Luke 1:76-79
76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

God has called and chosen and taught faithful men to preach the gospel and instruct men and women in how to live a holy life.  People who have not been taught by a holy teacher, who has been filled with the Holy Spirit, will not be able to properly teach others.   A sinner can not teach another sinner how to be a holy child of God.  Many people refuse to accept the knowledge of salvation.  They do not want to see the light which would dispel their darkness and deliver them from the shadow of death.  They like their sins and their false doctrine which excuses their rebellious conduct. 

Acts 4:10-12
10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

The gospel we teach today is the only gospel which will be approved by God.  All of the religions of the world, except Christianity, are unacceptable with God because they do not believe on Jesus Christ as the Only Begotten Son of God.  Also, there are many religious groups which call themselves Christian but they do not teach the way of holiness which is clearly taught by the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Spirit.  Many people in our world today want to believe that there are many religious ways to worship God and make it to heaven.  It is not so.  God has given very specific laws which govern our relationship with Him.  You must submit to God’s law or you will never get to heaven.  Hell waits for those who reject Jesus Christ and the life style of holiness.

Luke 19:8-10
8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.
10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Why did Jesus justify Zacchaeus that day?  Because Zacchaeus repented of his sins and was ready to make restitution for any wrong he had done to others.  Jesus saw that Zacchaeus had a broken and contrite heart.   Some people want to repent, but they do not want to make restitution to those whom they have defrauded or offended.  God will not justify any person who does not completely submit to His laws.

2 Timothy 3:14-17
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, throughly furnished unto all good works.

The doctrine we teach will make you wise unto salvation.  It will teach you how to walk perfectly before God and His people.  You will be fully equipped for all good works.  What will make you wise unto salvation?  The answer is in the Bible.

1 Corinthians 1:19-25
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

If you listen to me with your ears only and not your heart, what I say will probably sound like foolishness to you.  If you have a rebellious, carnal heart you will think your way is better and wiser than the Bible way.  Unless you will admit that you are a sinner, in need of salvation and spiritual help, you will not see the beauty of salvation. 

You can not put the knowledge of salvation in a closed mind.  If your heart is full of your own ways, how can anyone put the knowledge of salvation in your heart? 

Jeremiah 3:15
And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

It was the will of God to give the children of Israel pastors to teach them the knowledge of salvation and the understanding of the will of God for their daily lives.  But they refused time after time.  It is still the will of God to give people pastors who are able to teach and give knowledge of salvation.  Many people today are just like the rebellious Israelites, they will not listen to a true man of God who comes to teach them the way of salvation.  Each of us gets to choose how we will life in this life, but there will be certain consequences to the choice we make.

2 Corinthians 7:10-11
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

True salvation will affect your attitude in many ways.  You will become a new person with different values and desires.  After you have repented with godly sorrow, you will be very careful, take action to clear yourself with others whom you may have offended, be indignant toward the devil, fear being disobedient again, have a vehement desire for truth and against all evil, zealous of good works and taking revenge against the devil.