Monday, January 11, 2016

Work on Your Salvation and Don't Blame Others for Your Sins

“So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12 HCSB).

Rapture Vision as a Reminder from the Lord to Remain Focused

Vision Given to Jaydeen on January 8, 2016

"I had a vision from the Lord this morning. Charis and I were sitting in a room talking with two other people when, suddenly, an Angel of God entered the room and said with urgency in his voice, “You must read your Bibles faithfully and pray, for the Lord is coming quick!”. In shock, and with eyes wide opened and our hearts beating very fast, we took out our Bibles and started reading. Very shortly after, the rapture took place and it seemed that people knew the rapture was taking place. I then saw countless people coming from every direction and running into our yard with their Bibles, begging to be allowed in, but some mighty Angels chased them out of the yard. I then heard the voice of the Lord saying, “These people want to be part of the rapture but some are very wicked” (Matthew 25:1-13). This was the end of vision."

Brief explanation: this vision is a simple reminder that the Word of God is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our pathway to Heaven (Psalm 119:105). We are told ‘QUICK’ as in ‘pronto’, and not ‘SOON’. Shouldn’t we respond as anxiously as the girls in the vision, who represent the five wise virgins? As for those waiting at the door, the Lord is telling us that those people do have the Bible but they did not trim their attitudes, faith and lifestyles, and that is why they were fund with no oil or spiritual energy to be allowed in. With all due respect, our Bibles are of no use when we fail to read them and take care of our way of life in Christ. Therefore, this vision like all the others we have shared on this blog, is a wake-up call to remain spiritually awake and alert, always prepared for the Lord's coming (1 Thessalonians 5:6). Even if the Lord should tarry, we have no business snoozing or drowsing off.

Working on Your Salvation

From our heading Scripture, we are directly encouraged by the Lord to own our salvation and be responsible for building on it and maintaining it. In other words, our salvation must be like a treasure that we never want to lose (Matthew 13:44). This treasure should be so captivating that our joy would be naturally renewed daily at the thought of having such a priceless gift. If this is our attitude, then serving the Lord would not be a burden or a joyless experience but a purpose greater than life (Matthew 13:45; Psalm 63:3). Brethren, the Lord is teaching us through these verses that the Kingdom of Heaven is a dwelling in God’s Presence where His love abides, and it is so fulfilling, guilt-free and unimaginably comforting and secure (Revelation 21:3-4). Is this not a hope we should give our lives for? (Matthew 16:25).

The Lord reminded me this week about two things people often do naturally daily without failing that is complaining and offering excuses. He told me in an audible voice during prayer that if we live by complaints and excuses, we will never experience His peace, since we are building from the wrong foundation and such an attitude is not rooted in humility (Philippians 2:5-11; 14). What we can learn from our Lord Jesus Christ is that He embraced and conquered all the dictates of His trying circumstances with absolute humility (Hebrews 12:2). As it was, in accepting the challenge of His earthly journey, the Lord said in daring courage and submission: “Here I am, I have come to do your will” (Hebrews 10:9). In contrast, most of us often respond to life's demanding circumstances with fear instead of faith, which leads us to complaining and giving excuses.

Honestly, if we are taking our relationship with the Lord seriously, no one should actually remind us to read our Bibles, pray and live a witnessing lifestyle. Having been personally trained by the Lord in an acceptably godly way of living, I share with you so that your excuses will not be considered as rebellion as both Adam and Eve found out when they disobeyed God’s command not to eat the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:6; 17). As an encouragement, in following wrong counsel or yielding to temptation, what we should consider is the motive of our decision: is it for the benefit of pleasure or for the benefit of obeying the Lord? A brother once shared with me that each day the Lord gives him serves as an opportunity for him to seek the will of God for his life. He said that he opens himself up daily to hear and obey every guidance coming from the Lord through his conscience which is set alight by the Holy Spirit. I know this brother personally, and his life is uncompromisingly Christ-like, and he confided to me though that he has ‘scars’ of past sins hunting him, but his present purpose is to fight and overcome the cravings of sin (Philippians 3:13-14).

Blaming our Sins on Others

When God asked Adam why he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he comfortably blamed Eve and in return Eve blamed the serpent (Genesis 3:12-13). However, God judged each one in accordance with sin they committed (Genesis 3:14-19). This reminds me of an incident involving a brother in our ministry about 3 years ago who sinned in an outburst of anger and swearing. In a strong rebuke to the brother, the Lord said that he should not blame others for his sins. While apologizing, the brother attributed his behavior to someone who had played a role in his upbringing, and this was not pleasing to the Lord. No matter the influence of our previous circumstances, the responsibility is ours to do the right thing, take responsibility and own up to the consequences of our actions (Genesis 2:17).

While it is true that we may not have had control over our upbringing, the moment we know what is expected of us (reach the age of accountability), it becomes our responsibility to act and behave acceptably. Therefore, every temptation, which is has the intention to lead us into disobedience has a forbidding command (Colossians 3:5-10). As we have seen in the account of the fall of man, no one escaped God’s judgement, and the Bible reminds us that “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12 KJV). This Scripture declares that our actions will be weighed against our knowledge of the wrongs we committed and not necessarily the influence of external things or opinions of others. The command to act and behave justly is from God and opinions and influences must be weighed against the authority of God’s Word (1 Corinthians 4:6).

How We Conquer: Keeping Our Salvation Exciting

In the articles we have shared, the Lord has been teaching us how to remain in Him through repentance and obedience to Him. In order to keep our salvation experience exciting, and maintain purpose and joy in our journey with the Lord, here are some things we can do. This is by no means an exhaustive list! As you seek the Lord in prayer, He will teach you and show you how to please Him.
  • Study the Word daily to learn what God requires of us (Joshua 1:8).
  • Continue to examine ourselves in God’s presence. The Holy Spirit is faithful to convict us of our sins that we may repent and not grieve Him (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
  • Pray without ceasing. We’ve been called pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
  • Praise and Worship – Worshiping the Lord in Spirit and in truth is a great way to enjoy God’s presence while being delivered of wrong attitudes and allowing the Lord to restore the joy of knowing Him. God’s will for us is to rejoice always and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16; 18).
  • Witness – Sharing the gospel is a great way to stay excited in the Lord. Even if you go by yourself to leave tracts on cars in parking lot witnessing or share at the market while you shop, be assured that the Holy Spirit is with you and giving you the power to share (Acts 1:8). You may encourage others who will be very grateful, or meet other brethren who will encourage you in your walk. For example, while witnessing, one of our ministry members met a brother who is reading his Bible for the 29th time. He’s read it once every year since he was born again and has memorized quite a number of Scriptures, which was heart-warming. He didn’t just rudely brush her off saying “No, thank you. I’m saved and reading my Bible for the 29th time” as some Christians do, but he was welcoming, encouraging, and kind. You may also get a sad and memorable rejection, but still finish the day with joy after having been counted worthy to suffer for the Lord’s precious name (Acts 5:41). If we share in the Lord’s sufferings, we will also share in His glory (Romans 8:17).
  • Fast. You may find yourself distracted and more excited about doing other things such as chatting via social media, watching news, work, school, etc. more than having fellowship with God. We have found fasting (including fasting from media) to be beneficial in drawing us closer to the Lord (Matthew 6:33; James 4:8).
  • Pursue peace with all people and make every effort to be holy (Hebrews 12:14).
  • Maintain godly company. Remember that bad company corrupts good character and watch out for the enemy’s schemes in using others to influence you wrongly (Psalm 1:1-3).
  • Serve Others. Serving others is pleasing to God and His sheep are called to serve (1 Peter 4:10; Matthew 25:32-36). This also gives us joy and keeps us working on our salvation.
While every teaching of the Word of God contributes to our spiritual enlightenment, guidance and knowledge of God, the full Armor of God sums up our weapons of war, and we should add prayer and humility (Ephesians 6:13-18; Matthew 20:26-28). In God’s Presence, we must stand humble. If the Lord Jesus Christ who stands at the Father’s right hand, and being equal with God, showed such humility, what is expected of us sinful beings? (Philippians 2:5-11.)

In conclusion, please keep working on your salvation, "looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..." (Hebrews 12:2). We should not blame others but take responsibility for our actions, repenting, forgiving others and praying for forgiveness from the Lord, remembering that:
"Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31 NKJV).
If you would like to humble yourself by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior, please pray this Prayer of Sincere Repentance to get you started. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Blessed Love, in Christ

Brother Glenn and Preparing for the Kingdom Ministry Team.