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Background for today's posting: Personal Savior

Had a conversation with a Christian mentor on a walk the other day.

Relayed a situation to him, and he asked me to meditate and refrain from using the phrase:
"I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Personal Savior."
He said it was too much of a cliche'(Christian speak), would turn people off, hurt evangelism effort, etc.

Suggested in its place:
"I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and my God".

I thought about it and bridled a bit. I think this is a problem in evangelism. We are too intent on not being offensive, afraid of losing someone. 'my Lord' implies being his servant, 'my God' implies some kind of religious allegiance - but their is a gaping hole.

Cliches are cliches for a reason. PERSONAL is what it is all about. It is personal - He is in me and I in Him; He abides in me and I in Him, We are the temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells, etc.

This is not about coming to some intellectual decision and deciding to follow some path to God, it is about accepting God's offer of restoration and having the ultimate personal relationship. Being one with Christ. Trusting God enough to allow the Trinity to run our lives, to subject to His will - not from afar, but in you. Through having Christ as my "personal Savior" ,then He is "my God"-the reverse is not necassarily true.

I am going to stick with "Personal Savior". If it is said with honesty and love, then those that need to hear will hear, and those that don't won't. Salvation is of God - not what I say.


Jeremiah 4-6

Up to chapter 4 God has been saying - "there is a way back' - Return, repent, circumcise your heart, then I will restore.

There is long patience, repeated warnings, offers of restoration - and when all that is ignored, the only thing left is judgment.

It was true for the Amalekites, it was true for Israel , and it is and will be true for mankind.

Then Jeremiah through the Lord sees the destruction, and he is horrified and can only cry - BEWARE!

Jer 4:23 "I looked at the earth,
and it was formless and empty;
and at the heavens,
and their light was gone." NIV

"formless and empty" are the exact same words as in Genesis1. this is the reversal of the creation, yet...

Jer4:27 "This is what the LORD says:
"The whole land will be ruined,
though I will not destroy it completely."NIV

There will always be a remnant, a people that will be with the Lord.

So when all is ignored - the warnings, the prophecies, the offers of restoration - we have judgment. The Israelites experianced it here with Babylon (upcoming), and mankind will experiance it with Christ's Second Coming.

Jer5:29 "Should I not punish them for this?"
declares the LORD.
"Should I not avenge myself
on such a nation as this?"

God is immutable, He does not change. Why should mankind think that when they act in the same way as Israel does here - that God will not come to the point of judgment.

Jer5:31b
" But what will you do in the end?"

In death now, or in the Second Coming - what will you do, what will you say? I was raised to believe a certain way? I was pretty good? I did not have enough evidence to trust in Christ? Why weren't you more clear?

The point is - you should be saying nothing. You have nothing to say to the Creator of the Universe. You have NOTHING to bring to the table - the ONLY solution is to be covered in the blood of Christ,that you be seen through God's eyes as Jesus, and that will only happen if Jesus is your Personal Savior.

I know some will think I am off on my reasoning, that I am too literal, a fundamentalist, that mankind has to play a role in Salvation - 'that is what makes sense, or what I was taught, etc'.

My question to you is not new. Paschal formulated it a long time ago:

Regarding Salvation and a Personal Savior: The point is not - if I am right, but WHAT IF YOU are wrong?

The implications are eternal.


Jer 6-7

Jer 6:16 "This is what the LORD says:
"Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'

Two things:
1)AND WALK IN IT - Paul says in Rom7:18 "For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out." Without the Holy Spirit even believers cannot walk down the "good way".

But Israel is not even to that point:
2)"But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'"
They knew the right way - but rejected that path and God. Sadly there are many that have heard the gospel, and have rejected it - they refuse to walk down that way. They stay on their own path and "love it". Jer5:31b " and my people love it this way."

The BIG SHOCK I had in Jeremiah was in vs.16.
"So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you."

Do not pray? what about Paul - pray without ceasing? What about prayer and turning it over to God's will? Why stop praying?

Remember this is Josiah's time - the book had been found, the temple cleaned up, and Passover reinstituted. But it was all feigned - God knows their heart. Judah thought - ok - we clean up the temple, hear the Word, observe the rituals and God will be happy. But they never circumcise their hearts - they never turn to God (really).

So keep preaching, but they will not listen. Stop prayer.

[In Ray Stedman's view 'prayer delays judgment, and preaching hastens it.' Jeremiah saw the danger and destruction and was sad and upset - but he misses God's point.]
For elaboration on prayer and preaching here see below link.

"You see, judgment is not God's way of saying, "I'm through with you." It is not a mark of the abandonment of God; it is the last loving act of God to bring you back....That is what Jeremiah had to learn. He did not understand that this nation had reached the place where the only thing that would heal it, the only chance it had left, was the judgment of God -- the hurt and the pain of invasion, and the loss of its national place. God's love was insisting that that happen." - Ray Stedman
http://www.pbc.org/library/files/html/3203.html

Jeremiah obeyed God and continued to preach.

It will be the same at Second Coming. I believe the thrust of Tribulation period (judgment) is the last act of God to bring the remnant of Israel back to Him. To restore their relationship - fulfill the covenants with Israel - so God will be True to His Word.
[NOTE: Of course there will be non-Jews saved during this time, but the thrust and intent is for Israel - just like it was (originally) at Christ's First coming.]


Colossians1-2

It is interesting that the by Him,through Him, and for Him of the Creation is also the message of the Gospel.

By his death and ressurection we can be presented Holy in his sight.

Through Him all things are reconciled.

For Him - so we can be the Love gift of God to His Son - as it was originally intended.

Col2:6-7 "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." NIV

"Obey him, follow him, converse with him, draw upon his grace, lean on him, look to him for comfort. That is how to "continue to live in him." - Ray Stedman

"Rooted", "built" and "strengthened" are all passive participles meaning thes things have been done to you.

Rooted in Christ - those are deep roots! Built - increasing in faith, and strengthened - tested resulting in stronger faith.

2Col9-10 "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority." NIV

The false teachers are wrong. You do not need another divine person, other extraneous teachings - you are full in Christ. What more do you need?

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT POINT:
"you do not need anything more than you already have. You merely need to understand more of what you have received." - Ray Stedman

I stayed out of the sunday/saturday worship discussion a long ways back on the blog. Here is the clearest message I know in scripture to not be told when to worship in assembly. Although I firmly believe one day should be set aside, but what day does not matter.

Col2:16 "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day." NIV

All of this (coming from legalists) was but a pointer to Christ - a foreshadower. Once Christ came the reality is in Christ. The structures of all of the above as expressed are not relevant. The Greek verb tense is Present Active Imperative. It is a present and ongoing command by Paul, an Apostle by the will of the Lord.


Colossians

[note: in rooted, built, and strengthened in Col 2:6-7 - I forgot - we are to be overflowing in our thankfulness for this process.]

Rules for Holy Living

AAGH! I do not like this title for the chapter. It can get one into trouble if it becomes a checklist of do's and don'ts.

Look, Paul never makes exhaustive lists of "sin" when making a point. they are examples or representations of what he is talking about. Sin is sin, and if you are in the Word of God and indwelt by the Holy Spirit - you will know what is to be avoided or gotten rid of in your life.
[Note: of course the things listed are part of the "universe" of sin.]

Col3:14
"And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
Yes, the virtues are listed but I am pretty sure this is also not an exhaustive list. The important thing is that over all is "LOVE" - Gk. AGAPE.

The love that is rooted in the Word - with wisdom, knowledge, and discernment. A conscious willing love. If you strive towards that "love" you will be cloaked in ALL the virtues and will bind the "assembly" in unity.

I think in all Colossians these are the verses to meditate on:

Col3:15-17"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." NIV

Be in the word of Christ, be in Him, and be joyously thankful as you teach, admonish, or sing (again not exhaustive), but...

"whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it ALL in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (CAPS MINE)


Please remember the Amish community in your prayers as they have set an example for all, about what true forgiveness is!

Hi John,

Re your first comment: how do you do your evangelism effort, what is the context in which you use the declaration: "I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Personal Savior."?

Yesterday Paul warned us against rules based on human commands and human teachings (Col 2:20). Today my NIV has Chapter 3 of Colossians headed: "Rules for Holy Living". So here are rules that come, not from human teaching, but from God (according to the NIV editors). Maybe if we have reservations about 'rules' as a checklist for achieving perfection we could regard them as a guide. Anyway, at one level, Paul seems to be providing a list of "do's and don'ts". However, he describes it as more than a way of life, it is a way of being.

He provides a list of "don'ts" - sexual immorality, anger, lying, etc. - but they are far more than "don'ts" - we are to die to the lifestyle of which they were a part, we are to rid ourselves of them, they don't exist for us anymore.

And on the other hand we are exhorted to far more that just a list of "do's". We are to clothe ourselves with Christ's way of life, live as He lived at a deeper more integrated level than just a regular WWJD check. We are to become as Christ. We are to act in His Name. Nay, even more, with Him living in us, together, we become Him.

Is that overstating it?

Regarding Prov 24:27. I think you have to remember the times these people were living when this was written. If you didn't have a field to keep, you didn't eat. You could live for a while without shelter, but not without food. It's still great advice as you translated into modern terms - know where your income is coming from before purchasing a house.

Colossians chapter 3, “ In verses 12 through 14, “Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in
perfect unity.” WOW! THESE VERSES REALLY STOOD OUT TO ME. THEY MAKE YOU STEP BACK AND TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT YOURSELF AND HOW YOU ARE LIVING. I PRAY THAT GOD WILL GIVE ME THESE VIRTUES IN MY HEART. HAVE A BLESSED DAY! PEGGY

I, too, have been impressed by the actions of the Amish people in the face of the recent tragedy -- their quickness to offer forgiveness. Would we, as Christians, be able to do the same??? I could never follow their lifestyle, but it seems they have truly found a way to be "in the world, but not OF the world." They need our prayers, as this cannot be easy for them.

Jeremiah 8:8-9:26


How can you say, We are wise, and we have the written law of the Lord [and are learned in its language and teachings]? Behold, the truth is, the lying pen of the scribes has made of the law a falsehood (a mere code of ceremonial observances). [Mark 7:13.] The wise men shall be put to shame; they shall be dismayed and taken [captive]. Behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord, and what wisdom and broad, full intelligence is in them? (Jeremiah 8:8-9 AMP)

Because of the way I grew up, I rejected God and His Word for almost 20 years. I know about twisting the law and God’s Word to fit into a personal agenda and that is why I love what Mike is doing, getting people to read the Word of God for themselves. Yes, most of the time we may not understand but as we mature and continue reading God’s Word year after year, what we once could not comprehend becomes real and alive. Just like it takes maturity of mental ability to grasp Algebra and Quantum Physics, it will take years of studying and reading God’s Word to understand many things.

May we all strive for the day when we can stop depending on others, the mature and the Adults among us to spoon feed us as we sit at the table of spiritual food, and pick up our own knife and fork and feed ourselves, enjoying and savoring every single bite.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

Regarding: Background for today's posting: Personal Savior

John, those of us who are in intimate relationship with Christ will always be offensive to some - actually the Word of God's says we will be the stench of death to the lost. We cannot compromise the truth to keep from stepping on toes. The violent take heaven by force - remember it is always a battle between the Spirit & the flesh/world/satan. The flesh is never comfortable with the things/truth of the Spirit.

jan

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