I think it can be an overwhelming thing to be a believer in today’s world. There are many denominations and traditions of Christianity, and each shouts that “Jesus is the Way, but we’re the way to Him”.
Lets be encouraged in the simplicity of faith, and have unyielding confidence that God will shield us from the disruptions of those who would scatter the faith. Jesus has saved us – let us go to Him, and trust Him. the Spirit will guide us and teach us into Life. We can be confident in this!
The Facts of Following Christ – simple and clear
There is so much depth and richness involved in our walks, but that which unifies us are these two things. So being clear about it can only serve to strengthen fellowships local and abroad.
1. My relationship with God: with the Father, in the Son, by the Spirit
Totally aware of my salvation by grace, knowing that nothing can ever share the Throne with my God. This means turning from all the things that I had enthroned, in surrender to One I will never fully know or understand in this life. It means trusting Jesus when He told Paul “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is perfected in weakness.” The bottom line is trusting God by following His Son, Jesus – actively pursuing Him and living for Him.
* acting on the truth as the Spirit pours it into my life, both within me and from without, and a
* prayerful relationship, wherein I’m a blessed servant of the Highest King.
That which informs and focuses my part as a servant, is
2. The Bible.
I understand that the OT is a record of the events of the law and the prophets. I understand that the NT is a report, on this new life – how Jesus is the Holy One, the Messiah, Who is the Light and the Life that came into the world to save us from death and give us that true life which never fades.
He accomplished this by living a sinless life and teaching the new Way. Then, He died on a cross that those who believe in Him are forgiven their sins. This is because sin demands death – so when He died, the demand for the sins of the world are met upon that cross rather than in us.
But! Rising from death on the third day, He now lives forevermore. By His Resurrection – by His Life – He gives us new, true Life. After He rose to the right hand of the Father, the apostles began the work of spreading the good news. Letters that they wrote to the fledgling churches reflect the unveiling of the fullness of the new covenant, by the Spirit through them.
As clear as that is for most of us, Scripture is also clear that we have to be on guard.
1 Timothy 4:1-2 (HCSB)
“Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared.”
Seared conscience means that they weren’t in submission to God in the first place, and eventually it boiled up within them to take action. Could have been some that someone offended them, or that some part of Christian living requires surrendering something they don’t want to surrender. Whatever the case, such persons felt uncomfortable with surrender and Scripture as it stands, and were deceived to alter the faith to make a religion more comfortable for themselves.
The Light has to shine , or none of it is gonna work.
Obviously, we don’t want to be part of those groups, and we certainly don’t want to start them! The problem starts with not putting God first.
I think there is a little outside help that would really benefit us here. Because of my past, I’m a member of NA. One of the first things they told me is set priorities: you must be straight with God first and foremost. If you’re not, you can’t do anything else. So you have to learn how to live that way.
How can I care for others, if I’m a wreck? How can I accomplish anything in this life, without my Savior? I can’t.
However, if each of us are solely devoted to God first, then by our faith in Christ (just as Paul wrote), we will be able to live with and love others in such a way that is sustainable and shows the world the power of Christ’s Love.
Discernment Among the Divisions
The fundamental, Christological core is quite clear in Scripture. A majority of Christendom is in agreement on the Person of Christ and the salvation He afforded us.
Divisions arise from those things which we cannot fully understand in Scripture. Such issues ought to be a source of humility and surrender, surrendering to God first and knowing that since we are not His equal, we won’t understand everything about everything! But often, they are a source of division. People are weak by nature, and persons with seared consciences manipulate confusion or misunderstanding for a variety of reasons. Often, its the temptation of power and greed that cause men to twist words and verses to accomplish selfish ambitions.
If we have submitted to Scripture, because we have first intimately submitted to God, then deep camaraderie is going to happen – fellowship and brotherhood is going to happen.
But if we haven’t truly submitted to Scripture, because we haven’t truly submitted to God, then deeper rifts are going to happen – such aberrations are what scatter the faith.
We can then trust, that it will not be hard to know the tree by its fruit in this situation. That tree which is filled with the Love of Christ, and in submission to Scripture, is steadfast in the truth God has given. That tree which is marked by subversive and petty human divisiveness, and spreads that as opposed to the gospel of hope, scatters the faith and misleads many.
Jesus said it would be better for a man to have a huge bolder tied to his neck and drowned in the sea, than to cause one of His dear ones to stumble.
The Strength of our Faith, Hope, and Love
Our God will protect us – if we depend solely on Him, He won’t let us be mislead. Faith is simple, so that man cannot boast, and the glory for God is all in all. God bless, and may we all be blessed with discernment and a hope that endures.
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