Archive for the ‘Conviction’ Category

Congratulations! You have made a life-changing decision! Perhaps you are asking, “Now what? How do I begin my journey with God?” The Six steps mentioned below will give you direction from the Bible.

1. Make sure you understand salvation.

1 John 5:13 tells us, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

God wants us to understand salvation. God wants us to have the confidence of knowing for sure that we are saved. Briefly, let’s go over the key points of salvation:

  • We have all sinned. Our sinful nature means we are separated from our Holy Righteous Creator God. (Romans 3:23).
  • Because of our sin, God has declared us “guilty” and the punishment for our sin is eternal separation from God in Hell. (Romans 6:23).
  • Because God loved us, He sent His only son Jesus to die upon the cross to pay the penalty for our sins (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus died in our place, taking the punishment that we deserved. His resurrection proved that Jesus’ death was sufficient to pay for our sins.
  • God grants forgiveness and salvation to all those who place their faith in Jesus – trusting His death as the payment for our sins. Faith means that we have opened our heart to believe that which is unseen, yet we know in our hearts is true. (John 3:16; Romans 5:1; Romans 8:1).

Jesus-Salvation-in-No-One-ElseThis is the message of salvation! If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are saved! You have entered into a Covenant with God sealed with the blood of Jesus His Son. God will not break His Covenant. All of your sins are forgiven, and God promises to never leave you or forsake you (Romans 8:38-39; Matthew 28:20). Remember, your salvation is secure in Jesus Christ (John 10:28-29). If you are trusting in Jesus alone as your Savior, you can have confidence that you will spend eternity with God in heaven! Salvation is entirely because of what Jesus did for you. It is a totally free gift. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

There is nothing that you can do to make you good enough or worthy enough to enter into heaven. You are “saved” ONLY by what Jesus Christ did for you on the cross. When your heart is opened to believe in Jesus as your personal Savior, you are born again and the proof of you being a new creation, a child of God, is the seal of the Holy Spirit who now lives within you.

And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

2. Find a good Church that teaches the Bible.

churchDon’t think of the church as a building. The church is the people. It is very important that believers in Jesus Christ fellowship with one another. That is one of the primary purposes of the church. Now that you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, we strongly encourage you to find a Bible-believing church in your area and speak to the pastor. Let him know about your new faith in Jesus Christ.

A second purpose of the church is to teach the Bible. You can learn how to apply God’s instructions to your life. Understanding the Bible is key to living a successful and powerful Christian life. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

A third purpose of the church is worship. Worship is thanking God for all He has done! God has saved us. God loves us. God provides for us. God guides and directs us. How could we not thank Him? God is holy, righteous, loving, merciful, and full of grace. Revelation 4:11 declares, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”word

3. Set Aside Time each day to focus on God.

prayerintimacyIt is very important for us to spend time each day focusing on God. Some people call this a “quiet time.” Others call it “devotions,” because it is a time when we devote ourselves to God. Some prefer to set aside time in the mornings, while others prefer the evenings. It does not matter what you call this time or when you do it. What matters is that you regularly spend time with God. What events make up our time with God?

(a) Prayer. Prayer is simply talking to God. Talk to God about your concerns and problems. Ask God to give you wisdom and guidance. Ask God to provide for your needs. Tell God how much you love Him and how much you appreciate all He does for you. That is what prayer is all about.

(b) Bible Reading. In addition to being taught the Bible in church, Sunday School, and/or Bible studies – you need to be reading the Bible for yourself. A good place to start is with the Book of John. John presents the majesty and beauty of Jesus in the flesh. In John you will discover the Love of Jesus for His disciples.

The Bible contains everything you need to know in order to live a successful Christian life. It contains God’s guidance for how to make wise decisions, how to know God’s will, how to minister to others, and how to grow spiritually. The Bible is God’s Word to us. The Bible is essentially God’s instruction manual for how to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to Him and satisfying to us. You have a new Teacher living within you – the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to teach you as you read the Bible.

4. Develop Relationships with people who can help you spiritually.

friendswalking1 Corinthians 15:33 tells us, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” The Bible is full of warnings about the influence “bad” people can have on us. Spending time with those who engage in sinful activities will cause us to be tempted by those activities. The character of those we are around will “rub off” on us. That is why it is so important to surround ourselves with other people who love the Lord and are committed to Him.

Try to find a friend or two, perhaps from your church, who can help you and encourage you (Hebrews 3:13; 10:24). Ask your friends to keep you accountable in regard to your quiet time, your activities, and your walk with God. Ask if you can do the same for them. This does not mean you have to give up all your friends who do not know the Lord Jesus as their Savior. Continue to be their friend and love them. Simply let them know that Jesus has changed your life and you cannot do all the same things you used to do. Ask God to give you opportunities to share Jesus with your friends.

5. Be Baptized.

baptism pictures death burialMany people have a misunderstanding of baptism. The word “baptize” means to immerse in water. Baptism is the Biblical way of publicly proclaiming your new faith in Christ and your commitment to follow Him. The action of being immersed in the water illustrates being buried with Christ. The action of coming out of the water pictures Christ’s resurrection. Being baptized is identifying yourself with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4). Baptism also makes you a part of a local church, and assures you of the watch care of a group of believers who will have your best interests at heart.

Baptism is not what saves you. Baptism does not wash away your sins. Baptism is simply a step of obedience, a public proclamation of your faith in Christ alone for salvation. Baptism is important because it is a step of obedience – publicly declaring faith in Christ and your commitment to Him. If you are ready to be baptized, you should speak with one of the Pastors at the church you attend.

6. Allow Christ’s Holy Spirit to Control Your Life.

Realize you can chose how you will live your Christian Life. These two diagrams illustrate in a simple way the struggle we will have to allow Jesus to lead our life, or to follow our own ways:Christ-Directed-versus-Self

In order to live a Christ-Directed Life you need to be filled (controlled) by the Holy Spirit. We must realize that this is what God designed us for when we are “Born Again”.

1. God Has Provided For Us an Abundant and Fruitful Christian Life

  • Jesus said, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10).John10_10
  • “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
  • “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22, 23).
  • “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
  • The Spiritual (Holy Spirit Controlled) Man – Some spiritual traits which result from trusting God:Holy-Spirit-Directed-Life

    The degree to which these traits are manifested in the life depends upon the extent to which the Christian trusts the Lord with every detail of his life, and upon his maturity in Christ. One who is only beginning to understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit should not be discouraged if he is not as fruitful as more mature Christians who have known and experienced this truth for a longer period.

    • Why is it that most Christians are not experiencing the abundant life?

    2. Christians who follow the Flesh Cannot Experience the Abundant and Fruitful Christian Life

    The self-directed man trusts in his own efforts to live the Christian life: He is either uninformed about, or has forgotten, God’s love, forgiveness, and power (Romans 5:8-10; Hebrews 10:1-25;1 John 1; 1 John 2:1-3; 2 Peter 1:9; Acts 1:8).

    • He has an up-and-down spiritual experience.
    • He cannot understand himself – he wants to do what is right, but cannot.
    • He fails to draw upon the power of the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life. (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Romans 7:15-24; 8:7; Galatians 5:16-18)

    The Fleshly (Self-Directed) Man – Some or all of the following traits may characterize the Christian who does not fully trust God:Self-Directed-Life

    The third truth gives us the only solution to this problem…

    3. Jesus Promised the Abundant and Fruitful Life as the Result of Being Filled (Directed and Empowered) by the Holy Spirit

    The Spirit-filled life is the Christ-directed life by which Christ lives His life in and through us in the power of the Holy Spirit

    • One becomes a Christian through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, according to John 3:1-8. From the moment of spiritual birth, the Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit at all times (John 1:12; Colossians 2:9, 10; John 14:16, 17). Though all Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, not all Christians are filled (directed and empowered) by the Holy Spirit.
    • The Holy Spirit is the source of the overflowing life (John 7:37-39).
    • The Holy Spirit came to glorify Christ (John 16:1-15). When one is filled with the Holy Spirit, he is a true disciple of Christ.
    • In His last command before His ascension, Christ promised the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to be witnesses for Him (Acts 1:1-9).

    How, then, can one be filled with the Holy Spirit?

    4. We are Filled by the Holy Spirit by Faith

    Then We Can Experience the Abundant and Fruitful Life Which Christ Promised to Each Christian.

    holy_spirit1Please remember that this does not mean your life will always be great. The Holy Spirit will take you through times of testing and tribulation, just as He did Jesus, but always with the goal of producing the Character of Jesus Christ in your life. Faith holds on when things are darkest. But whatever God takes you through, He will never abandon you there. He will bring you through the valley and you will find increased faith and strength of character that is more precious than the purest gold.

    You can experience the filling of the Holy Spirit right now if you:

    • Sincerely desire to be directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 5:6; John 7:37-39).
    • Confess your sins. By faith thank God that He has forgiven all of your sins – past, present and future – because Christ died for you (Colossians 2:13-15; 1 John 1; 2:1-3; Hebrews 10:1-17).
    • Present every area of your life to God (Romans 12:1-2)myjobmyrelationshipsmyfinances
    • By faith claim the fullness of the Holy Spirit, according to:

    1. His Command – Be filled with the Spirit. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

    2. His Promise – He will always answer when we pray according to His will. “And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14, 15).

    Faith is expressed through believing prayer:

    We are filled with the Holy Spirit by faith alone. Sincere prayer is one way of expressing your faith. The following is a suggested prayer:

    “Dear Father, I need You. I acknowledge that I have been directing my own life and that, as a result, I have sinned against You. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I now thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit.”

    worshipBeing Filled and Controlled by the Holy Spirit is not a one-time event like being Born Again (Becoming a Christian). It is a daily, moment by moment walk with the Holy One who lives within you.


    God-Asks-Hard-QuestionsToday I want to open the Word of God and answer Four Hard Questions that I believe God wants us to ask ourselves.

    1. How Do We Deny Jesus Christ?
    2. How Do We Become Vessels of Honor?
    3. How Do We become Ensnared by the Devil?
    4. How Do We Worship a god of our own making?

    The answers that we discover are essential in answering the overall question facing us this morning – Do We Need a Revival?DO We Need a Revival

    When asked about which Book of the Bible most Christians would like to know more about, the answer is usually the Book of Revelation. We all have a natural curiosity about what will happen during the last days.

    • “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?”
    • For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:7-13

    Jesus said this of the last days-many will fall away, there will be betrayal and hatred between brothers. There will be false prophets that lead many supposed brothers astray. Lawlessness will increase, and the love of many will wax cold. Peter described the last days in this way: knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3:3-4

    In the last days people will scoff at God and His Word, they will cause many to doubt the coming of Jesus Christ. They will present a god that is without power and without the ability to keep his word. In other words, man will fashion a god who is non-threatening and merely to be used as a security blanket for the old and the weak. Before you get all curious about the Last Days, and about God’s Judgment, I want you the heed the Lord’s reaction when some other curious people wanted to know what a recent happening meant.

    There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:1-3

    (What Jesus Meant) “These men are not signal examples of divine vengeance, as ye suppose; but every impenitent sinner — ye yourselves, except ye repent — shall be like monuments of the judgment of Heaven, and in a more awful sense.Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

    Jesus wants us to realize that each of us is only a heart beat away from being a monument to the judgment of God. Either a Monument to God’s Grace, or a monument that will burn for all eternity in the bowels of hell.

    Jesus said no matter what happens, consider your own heart. Make sure you have repented. See if there is a need for repentance. In the fine print Jesus says “Never take your salvation for granted!” I believe in eternal security. But I would never never assume that God owes me anything. I am nothing without Jesus Christ. Any boldness I have is solely because I am hid in Jesus Christ. But one thing Jesus wants us to know-our hearts are evil and so deceptive. We can be fooled so easily into thinking we are OK, even better than most of the folk around us simply because we prayed some prayer 20 or 30 years ago. Well if that prayer of salvation did so much for you why haven’t you told someone about it? If what you did was so life transforming, why are you afraid to tell even your good friend or a sister about what Jesus did for your life?

    If President Obama was coming to your house to discuss health care with you and a few select friends, you would not hesitate to start calling so and so. Well, Jesus is coming very soon and you are afraid to tell those you love about it!

    I’m afraid that too many of us are trusting in what we once did instead of repenting daily of our cold, careless hearts. There is a judgment coming for ALL mankind and we are just curios lookie Lou’s wanting to figure out who the antichrist is. If you want to know who the antichrist is, try looking around you. John says that there are many antichrists among us, in fact they begin as Christians sitting with you at church:

    • Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 1 John 2:18-19

    Who is an Antichrist?

    antichrist obamaAnyone who denies Jesus Christ as Lord of their life. Continue with John:

    • But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 1 John 2:20-22

    What does it mean to deny? It doesn’t mean to reject, as those who reject the free gift of salvation. It means to refuse, such as Moses in Heb. 11:24 – “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter”. It also means not to know or recognize someone such as in Matt 10:33 “But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.  If you are a born again Christian, and yet continue to hide Jesus from your friends, from your loved ones, you’ve got to do some soul searching – because the Scriptures seem to say that you have the spirit of antichrist.

    If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:12-13

    reviveRevive comes from the Latin word revivere – to live again. In order to live again you had to be alive at one point, but now you are comatose or in a drunken stupor of some sort. A verse we will look about in a minute is 2 Timothy 2:26 “and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil” May come to their senses comes from a Greek word meaning “To awake out of a drunken sleep and become sober”CWSD. If we need reviving it means we are not dead, and need to become alive. How can we be dead if we have been born again. But if we need reviving, it is because we have allowed this world or the devil to get us in a spiritual state that our eyes are clouded and our head is foggy because we are in a drunken stupor. We need to come to our senses, we need to awake out of our drunken sleep. Once we wake up and clear our minds and hearts long enough to see, we must look long and hard and Holy God. We must look long and hard at His Holy Word. And then we must look long and hard at our love for Jesus, and then we must be honest before God and weep and mourn.

    revelation of JohnI’m not a believer in being slain in the spirit, but would to God that some of us might get slain in the spirit like John did when he saw the real Jesus! We need to see the real Jesus, the one who will judge us for every word we speak. We need to see the real Jesus, the one who one day will reveal that He knew all along what you did to Him – whether you have neglected his bread of life, neglected His water of Life, denied Him before your friends, failed to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, give water to the thirsty.

    Revelation of HellMy greatest fear is not being eaten alive by rats or falling headlong into a pit of venomous snakes…my greatest fear is that one day I’ll look through the crystal portal of heaven (Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. Revelation 4:6 ) and look into hell and see some of you screaming in agony for all eternity. Why didn’t you take being a Christian more seriously. Why did you not realize that being born again is a changed life, not just some tears you shed because you prayed an emotional prayer. If you are born again there will be a continual desire for this Word. There will be a continual thirst for Jesus. Just as you can’t go for many days without food and water, you will not be able to go many days with nourishment from Jesus. Even in my most backslidden state I was aware of God pounding, pounding, pounding on my stubborn heart.

    Some of you act like Jesus is no big deal. If Jesus is not a big deal to you, how can you even for a moment really think that Jesus lives in you? How can you even for a minute tolerate such a cold hard heart and even believe that the Holy Spirit tolerates it too?

    Question #1: How Do We Deny Jesus Christ?

    How Do We Deny ChristWhen we neglect him, when we forget him, when we act as if we don’t know him, when we refuse Him to be Lord over our life, our heart, our mind, our soul, our possessions, our marriage, our worship. Ask yourself this morning – How am I denying Jesus Christ in my life?

    Continue reading in 2 Timothy 2 at verse 19

    2 Tim 2:19 – But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

    Understand first of all, Paul is speaking of Christians.

    He says that God knows who are His. We can not judge who a Christian is. Only God knows. But Paul does say that those who name the name of the Lord will depart from iniquity. Now iniquity is the adikos, that which ought not to be, that which is wrong. It is the opposite of díkē, that which is right and fit, hence unrighteousness.

    One who takes the Name of Jesus upon their heart will stop doing that which ought not to be, that which is wrong!

    Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:19-26

    From our text we see the following: In any church there are vessels of gold and silver and vessels of wood and clay.

    “Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable”

    Now from the text you can’t say that only the vessels of gold and silver are born again. But I believe you can say that true Christians can be ensnared by the devil.

    QUESTION #2 How Do We Become Vessels of Honor?

    How Do We Become Vessels of HonorThere are things a Christian must do in order to become a vessel of Gold and Silver.

    • Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.

    1. You must cleanse yourself from that which brings dishonor in your life.

    • DISHONORABLE – Speech – attitudes –  disobedience –  thoughts –  actions

    2. You must be ready and willing for good works

    • Whatever you Say Boss!
    • For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (2 Tim says honorable vessels are prepared for every good work).
    • Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Matthew 25:31-46

    3. Flee Fleshly Desires

    • Run away from, escape from their destruction, – Pride, lust, speech, thoughts

    4. Engage in an INTENTIONAL Pursuit of the Character of Jesus Christ.

    • righteousness, faith, love, peace, and do it with others of like pure (undivided) heart. No Two-Faced Christians allowed in your life.

    5. Avoid Controversies and Quarrels.

    • And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:20-26

    6. Realize You are a Slave of Jesus Christ.

    • You have no will of your own

    • Obey the Commands of Your Master

    7. Realize Your Life Can Be Used to Rescue Christian’s From the Snare of the Devil

    QUESTION #3 How Do We become Ensnared by the Devil?

    How are We Ensnared by the DevilIt begins when we deny Jesus Lordship over some area of our life. It can be music, what we look at, what we read, what we say, but we usually know when we resit Jesus in that area. The Satan starts to work. He loves to capture Christians with wrong thinking, wrong attitudes, wrong beliefs. He loves it when Christians start quarreling over things which get us off course, get us away from our passion for Jesus. If your life is going to be used to rescue people caught up in the snare of the devil, you must:

    1. Not Argue
    2. Be Kind
    3. Be able to explain the Word
    4. Be patient with those who treat you wrong.
    5. Desire such to repent and allow God to show them His truth, that they may sober up and escape the snare of the devil, even after being captured to do his will.

    The next few verses reveal what happens to this great house, the church, when we do not cleanse ourselves from that which is dishonorable. Paul is describing what will be apparent not among the unbelievers, (although if this is in the church you can bet it is in the world) but among those in the great house!

    2 Timothy 3:1-5 – Dishonorable Christians Who Close Their Eyes to God

    This know also, that in the last days

    perilousViolent, fierce. Used of demoniacs, wild, difficult (maniac of Gadara), hard to bear, distressing, referring to the times

    times – kairos – a period of opportunity

    shall comewill set in

    2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves phílautosSelf-centered or selfish. The primary concern that things be easy and pleasant for oneself.

    Covetous – philargyros: “loving money” in Luke 16:14 (Pharisees were lovers of money)

    boasters (James 4:16-you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.)

    proud – hyperēphanos: “showing oneself above others”, always used in the evil sense of “arrogant, disdainful, haughty;” Jas. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5; (God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble)

    blasphemers – blásphēmos; from bláx stupid, and phémē, rumor. To be abusive, reviling, destroying one’s good name (a slanderer, blasphemer in respect to men)

    For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: Mark 7:21-22

    disobedient to parentsapeithés; Unwilling to be persuaded, unbelieving

    unthankfulacháristos; (literally without favor or kindness). Unthankful, ungrateful (Unthankful people are without grace from God)

    unholy Ἁνοσιος unholy, synonym is Βέβηλος profane. that which is trodden”. What is permitted to be trodden by people at large is unhallowed, profane. Esau is called βέβηλος in Hebrews 12:16, as one who did not regard his birthright as sacred, but as something to be sold in order to supply a common need.—Vincent’s

    3 Without natural affectionWithout family love (see Rom. 1:31).

    trucebreakers áspondos; (without offering) The absolutely irreconcilable person who, being at war, refuses to lay aside his enmity or to listen to terms of reconciliation (refusing to enter into treaty, irreconcilable). Implacable, in a state of war.

    false accusersdiábolos; from diabállō, to accuse. One who falsely accuses and divides people without any reason. He is an accuser, a slanderer (1 Tim. 3:11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.); (Titus 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things)

    incontinentakratés; (literally without strength). Unable to govern one’s appetites.

    Fierceanémeros; Not mild, ungentle, fierce, savage. Sometimes merciless.

    despisers of those that are good aphilágathos; Unfriendly, hostile, a person who may have pity but does not necessarily do anything to relieve the suffering of another through self-denial. Hostile to good men.

    4 Traitors – betrayers – Acts 7:52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered.

    Heady – means “falling forwards”; reckless, headstrong in the pursuit of a bad end under the influence of passion. Only here and Acts 19:36 -“Since then these are undeniable facts, you ought to keep calm and to do nothing rash.”(When the silversmiths in Ephesus were wanting to kill Paul)

    high-minded tuphóō; To swell or inflate with pride. In the pass. tuphóomai, to be lifted up with pride

    • (he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 1 Timothy 6:4)

    lovers of pleasuresphilēdonos: “loving pleasure” (hēdonē, “pleasure”)

    more than lovers of Godphilótheos; from phílos, a friend or loving, and Theós, God.

    5 Having a form Here, the mere outward semblance, as distinguished from the essential reality. Outward shape without the reality.

    of godlinesseusébeia;—Devotion, piety toward God. Although eusébeia in the NT is translated “godliness” (2 Tim. 3:5; Titus 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:3), the word “God” is not in it. Only in 1 Tim. 2:10 is it theosébeia, where the word Theós, God, occurs as a prefix instead of , good or well.

    but denying – to deny, decline, reject, give up (Matt. 10:33; 2 Tim. 2:12, 13)

    the powerdúnamis; Power, especially achieving power. All the words derived from the stem dúna– have the meaning of being able, capable.

    thereof: from such

    turn away – to turn away from, avoid, shun

    (These are the dishonorable vessels we are to cleanse our lives of) These verses describe people a whole lot like the people mentioned in Romans 1:

    • And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32

    We all know Romans 1 is speaking about infidels and reprobates (haters of God), so doesn’t 1 Tim 3:1-5 speak about the same people? No. In the total context, Paul is speaking of those in the great house who have allowed themselves to be dishonorable.  He is not talking about vicious Gentile unbelievers. These are not the Roman Gladiators who martyred Christians. These are not the Catholics of the Spanish Inquisition who tortured and murdered anyone who practiced any religion or belief outside of Catholic practice. This is not even talking about the Radical Muslims who will murder and burn any Christians whom they even hear make fun of the Qur’an. No, Paul is talking about you and me, Bible toting, church going, tithe paying Christians. But we have allowed ourselves to become dishonorable, and even get captured by the devil to do his bidding. It is possible for Christians to be deceived into thinking they are Christians. It is even possible for people who believe they are Christians to lead others astray.

    Let’s read 2 Tim 3:1-5 again, from the Phillips translation:

    But you must realize that in the last days the times will be full of danger. Men will become utterly self-centered, greedy for money, full of big words. They will be proud and contemptuous, without any regard for what their parents taught them. They will be utterly lacking in gratitude, purity and normal human affections. They will be men of unscrupulous speech and have no control of themselves. They will be passionate and unprincipled, treacherous, self-willed and conceited, loving all the time what gives them pleasure instead of loving God. They will maintain a facade of “religion”, but their conduct will deny its validity. You must keep clear of people like this. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 Phillips

    These people may look like good Southern Baptists on the outside. They have the Bible, they may tithe, they may say God Bless You, They may use all the churchy words, but it is just a disguise. They are wearing a mask, even a full body mask, that is empty and devoid of the true power of Godliness-Jesus Christ!!
    Just look closely at how they behave when they get home from church. Look at how they behave when they go to work, go out with friends. Look at how they talk about others, look at how they treat their wife or their husband. Look at how they treat the disadvantaged, the homeless, the poor, the destitute. Look at how tightly they hold on to their possessions, their money. Look at how greedy they really are.

    • I know most of you are going “WHEW”, that doesn’t apply to me. But remember the words of Jesus, “unless you repent”. It is dangerous to think we are alright, that we are OK, that we are safe.

    QUESTION #4: How DO We Worship a god (idol) of Our Own Making?

    How do we worship gods of our own makingThe truth is that at any point in our life we can get tripped up by the devil. These attitudes that are condemned by Paul in 2 Tim 3 can slowly creep into our lives. The danger is to accept being a common vessel. The danger is thinking that you are OK the way you are. You have made a little god for yourself, one who is not too holy, not too demanding, and not too judging. After all, my little god loves me and fogives me.  When we think this way, we are excusing our sin, we are trampling under foot that which is Holy.  We are not seeing Holy Jehovah God, but a clever looking god of our own making.

    The essence of idolatry is to get for your self.

    • Colossians 3:5 “Therefore, put to death (mortify, kill) your members which are here on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Covetousness is idolatry because it puts self-interest and things in the place of God. So a Christian who is covetousness can often be disguised as a servant that serves only for the praise or for what they think they will get from their god. But their religion, their service is all self-based.
    • Col 3:5 says we are to “KILL” our self-centeredness, our selfish wants, our selfish pleasures. A person who is born again is radically transformed, with all your focus shifted away from you and placed squarely upon God! Anytime you excuse or allow sin or selfishness or self-indulgence in your life, you are worshiping an idol god of your own making.When you excuse sin in your life, when you continue to accept wrong behavior and wrong attitudes, not only are you worshiping at the altar of idolatry, but you should check your heart out, for perhaps the devil has captured your thinking and is using you for his will, and perhaps has deceived you into believing you are a Christian.

    Anytime you are walking in your own strength, seeking your own interests, you are worshiping at the altar of idolatry.

    But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me (FORSAKEN – to NEGLECT to depart, to abandon, and to loose. —TWOT) the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:4-13

    • The truth is, that if we forsake the Lord, if you neglect or depart from the Lord God, if you refuse God as being the Lord of your life and your possessions, God will refuse, neglect and yes forsake you.
    • In Malachi 3:8, God told his people that they were robbing God because they were neglecting the tithe. Because they were neglecting the tithe, God said they were cursed with a curse. What was that curse, it was the devils access to their goods. If they would God’s rightful place in their lives and show it with tithes, God said He would rebuke the devourer.
    • The application is simple: when you worship at the altar of idolatry, you are forsaking God and are opening yourself up to the snare of the devil. Don’t presume upon God’s Protection and Blessing when you are an idolater.

    The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded, and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 2 Chronicles 15:1-2

    When you make you own little god that pleases the way you want to live your life, you are being like the Laodiceans:

    “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Revelation 3:15-19

    Now I don’t know what it means for Jesus to spit me out of is mouth, but I do not want to find out.

    Are you lukewarm to the things of God? Do you think your walk with God is OK? What god are you walking with? The little idol god of your own making, or the Holy Righteous Almighty Creator of this universe? Jesus says if you are lukewarm that you are wretched, poor naked and blind. You need to have your eyes anointed so that you can see!

    Holy Spirit You Can't Come in HereAre there secret rooms in your life that are shut off from God’s Holy Spirit? Are there rooms where the Holy Spirit has been barricaded? Is there a room cluttered with unclean pictures? Are there any skeletons hanging in your closets? Can you invite the Holy Ghost to walk down the corridors of your thought life? Can you invite him in to see the hatred in your heart toward others. Can you invite Him to listen in as you speak evil of others?

    There are three people living in each of us:

    • the one we think we are,

    • the one other people think we are, and

    • the one God knows we are.

    Unless we are desperate to enter into the Victory of Christ’s Righteousness, we are so easy on ourselves and so hard on others. Self loves self. Too often we hide ourselves from ourselves lest the sight of ourselves should sicken ourselves.

    Let us invite the searching eye of God to locate this corrupted, stinking self in us. Let it be torn from us and be “crucified with Him, that henceforth we should no longer serve sin (Rom 6:6) It does no good to call sin by another name. You can criticize someone for having a devilish temper, but say that yours is only righteous indignation. You can criticize someone for blatant gossip, but excuse you negative comments as “prayer concerns.” You can excuse your not speaking to a brother or sister or father or mother because of their “ungodly influence and lifestyle” yet God sees your Judging heart and says your are guilty of ungodly pride and an unforgiving heart.

    The Holy Spirit will neither spare us nor cheat us if we will expose ourselves to His infallible scrutiny.

    Restore My SightAnd Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” Mark 10:51 He had once seen, but now he was blind.  Some of us had once seen the Lord, but our eyes are blind. We once walked with the Lord, but now we lie in a ditch on the side of the road moaning in a drunken stupor, too blind to see the devil has captured our minds our hearts, our souls, and he has stolen our heart from loving Jesus, he has stolen our hands from serving Jesus, he has stolen our eyes from looking at Jesus, he has stolen our strength from leading others to Jesus.

    woe is meLet us pray that God will revive us from our drunken stupor of selfishness, carnal living and give us SIGHT AGAIN-upward, inward, and outward.

    • Then like Isaiah, as we look upward, we will see the Lord in all His Holiness.
    • As we look inward, we will see ourselves and our need for cleansing and power.
    • As we look outward, we will see a world perishing and in need of a Savior.

    Revival will come only when we throw off the drunkenness of Satan and this world or whatever else we have filled our heart with, and then we desire sight to see the Lord! Right now, close your eyes and imagine you are before God Himself. Not God as you hope He is, but God as His Word Reveals. Listen as He searches your heart with these probing questions:

    1. Have you denied Jesus as Lord in any area of your life?
    2. Have you done what Scripture commands to become a vessel of Honor/ Or have you trodden under that which is Holy and made it common, dirty, even profane as Esau did with his birthright?
    3. Have you in any way allowed wrong actions and attitudes to ensnare you in the devil’s plan?
    4. Have you been worshipping a god of your own making, one who accepts your sinful ways, one who excuses your apathy, your hardness, your selfishness?

    If Jesus were to ask you what you desire, would it be selfish things or would you say, Lord restore my sight that I might see you as you really are?

    I couldn’t preach a normal sermon on Acts 14. This one little chapter had weighed on my soul since my early days after I had given my life to Jesus Christ in 1974. I could not grasp the depth of the drive that possessed the Apostle Paul in his service of Jesus. While preparing to preach on this chapter last week, I once again asked God for insight into how Paul was able to be stoned nearly to death one day, and then get up and walk 60 or so miles the next just so he could preach. I thought that perhaps it had been a miracle healing (even though Luke, a Doctor, does not describe it as such), or maybe they used little rocks. But this was a real stoning, and they thought he was really dead. How do I Know?….Years later Paul writes to the Lystrans who were in the area of Galatia, “From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus”. Galatians 6:17 Paul had REAL scars from a REAL stoning. Then Paul wrote the Corinthians, and referred to being stoned and “exposed to death again and again” (2 Corinthians 11:23, 25). Even near the end of his life, Paul would recall the abuse he suffered in these Galatian towns. In writing to Timothy, Paul wanted Timothy to remember the “persecutions, sufferings — what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them”

    He told Timothy to continue in those things which you have learned, knowing from whom you learned them. (2 Timothy 3:11,14).

    What could possibly have kept DRIVING Paul ON?

    Paul kept following Jesus even when he faced such hardships and physical pain and suffering. What was his power, his drive?

    • Was it his stubborn persistence in preaching the gospel?
    • Was it his guilt over the persecution of Christians?
    • Was it his natural “never say die” attitude that kept him going.
    • Was it a secret supply of energizer batteries?

    None of these could have got Paul up that next morning and head off to preach in Derbe. What could possibly keep you and me following Jesus even when we are faced with hardships and pain and physical suffering. God told me that His Servant Paul was possessed of something that both cost Him dearly but at the same time provided that Power he needed to KEEP on Pressing toward the Mark. Paul was a Man of Convictions!

    When the editors of Biography Magazine asked Caroline Rhea, “What historical figure would you like to be?” She replied, “I’ve always admired Joan of Arc, so I’d say her—but without the burning at the stake thing.” —Biography, October 2001, p. 30

    When I read her statement, I immediately understood what she meant, I mean, who wouldn’t like to be a person of conviction characterized by strength and determination like Joan of Arc, and conversely, who wants to be burned at the stake? The only problem with that thinking is that it ignores the fact that people of conviction often have to pay the ultimate price. Paul was beaten, stoned and left for dead. Daniel had to spend the night with the lions. Church history says that 10 of the 11 remaining apostles died martyr’s deaths and everyone knows that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Convictions often lead to sufferings. And great people are often called upon to make the ultimate price.

    Paul was a man of unshakeable Convictions in the Reality of Jesus Christ, that He was Risen and Alive, that He is Lord of the Universe and that Paul’s life now belonged to Him! That Conviction framed and directed everything Paul did. Tribulation, Torture, Stoning, Beatings did nothing to take that conviction away. Paul was DRIVEN by His Convictions.

    Paul Gives Testimony to His Convictions

    In Acts 22 Paul addressed an assembly of Jews in Jerusalem; “At once I regained my sight and looked up to him. ‘The God of our fathers,’ he went on, ‘has chosen you to know his will, to see the righteous one, to hear words from his own lips, so that you may become his witness before all men of what you have seen and heard. And now what are you waiting for? Get up and be baptised! Be clean from your sins as you call on his name.’” Acts 22: (Phillips NT)

    When Paul spoke before King Agrippa, he said the following in Acts 26:11: “the Lord said to me, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. Now get up and stand on your feet for I have shown myself to you for a reason – you are chosen to be my servant and a witness to what you have seen of me today, and of other visions of myself which I will give you. I will keep you safe from both your own people and from the Gentiles to whom I now send you. I send you to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God himself, so that they may know forgiveness of their sins and take their place with all those who are made holy by their faith in me.’ After that, King Agrippa, I could not disobey the heavenly vision. “

    Paul’s belief’s in Jesus Christ were non-negotiable, non-shakable, non-stoppable. He would never stop believing that Jesus was His Lord, and that Jesus required His service, no matter how many times you beat him, stoned him, or tortured him.

    Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. 1If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:10-13

    The Conviction of Richard Wurmbrand:

    Tortured for His Convictions in Christ

    Tortured for His Convictions in Christ

    Over 4,000 priests, pastors, and ministers from all denominations gathered in the Soviet Union and elected Joseph Stalin as their honorary president. One by one the Conferees went to the podium and declared that Christianity and communism were fundamentally the same. They could “get along.” One young woman could not bear what she was hearing and begged her husband to go forward and “wash the shame off” the face of Jesus. Her husband, Richard Wurmbrand protested, “If I speak against the communists, you will no longer have a husband.” His wife replied, “I do not wish to have a coward for a husband.” Pastor Wurmbrand went to the podium and spoke of loyalty only to Jesus Christ. He said Christianity could not “co-exist” with any entity that opposed the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus. Wurmbrand paid dearly for his stand. He spent years in Communist jails, being beaten and abused. Wurmbrand went on to write books about his experience, and to found the organization Voice of the Martyrs. His message encourages many today. Christians are not to hate those who oppose them. We are to stand against deception, and advocate love and truth. Believers in Jesus need to seek peace, but never trade it for compromise.—Have we shamed the face of Jesus? Voice of the Martyrs, December 2001. Submitted by Jim Sandell

    They Said “Yes!” To God

    • What if Martin Luther ignored his soul’s conviction that there was something radically wrong with the sale of indulgences? Would there have been a Reformation? Thankfully, Luther said “yes” to God and fought until he had a church doctrine he could make peace with. It was then that he could preach salvation by grace and by grace alone in Christ Jesus. And it was then that he could write down all the inspiration that was within him—400 books and pamphlets and 125 hymns worth.
    • What if John Wesley had not said “yes” to God on the night of May 24, 1738, when his heart was strangely warmed in a meeting on Aldersgate Street? What if he gave up when the churches closed their doors to him and what if he wasn’t inspired to preach to thousands outside those churches in open-air meeting after meeting—40,000 sermons in all? The Methodist societies he formed grew into the churches throughout America and England that many worship in today.
    • What if William Ashley (“Billy”) Sunday had told God he could make more money playing professional baseball? Instead he said “yes” and five years later went to work with the YMCA in Chicago and from there launched out on his own as a full-time Presbyterian evangelist. From city to city he preached with passion and an unforgettable style—his love for God and his conviction for eternal life with Christ inspired an estimated 300,000 sinners to say…”yes”…to Jesus Christ.

    Pastors and Preachers of the 21st Century no longer speak of Convictions. We have a new generation of believer’s who will fall away from Christ when they are truly tested.

    Jonas Yoder versus the State of Wisconsin

    Jonas Yoder versus the State of Wisconsin

    In the late 1960s, there was a landmark case which shook the entire United States. The story was about the man by the name of “Jonas Yoder” an Amish farmer who defied the State and refused to send his daughter to school (beyond the eighth grade) based on his religious convictions. The case eventually went up to the Supreme court in 1972. As a last resort, Yoder appealed using the First Amendment to protect his religious convictions. As such, the State had to determine if Yoder really believed in what he believed in.[ref: Yoder vs Wisconsin]

    The Supreme Court ruled that only a person’s convictions are protected by the First Amendment while one’s religious preference are not. A conviction is rooted in the conscience and cannot be changed without changing that which essentially defines the person.

    For those who claim to hold religious beliefs, the Court laid down two fundamental principles:

    1. One cannot hold a belief unless one can somehow describe that belief
    2. Beliefs must be individually and personally held.

    From these two general principles, the Court then established that beliefs can only fall into one of two categories – either a preference or conviction. A preference can be a strong belief, even one you hold with great intensity and strength. There are FOUR characteristics: (1)You can even go into full time service in the name of that belief. (2) You can give all your wealth to it. (3) You can even be energetic in proselytizing other people to that belief.(4) You even want to teach it to your children. The court said that it is still only a preference, and is not protected under the first amendment. The reason it may only be a preference, is that under certain pressures and circumstances, they will change.

    The court applied the following tests:

    1. Peer Pressure
    2. Family Pressure
    3. Fear of Lawsuit
    4. Jail
    5. Pressure of Death

    What then creates a conviction?

    Preference vs Conviction defined by the Supreme Court

    Preference vs Conviction defined by the Supreme Court

    The court said only one thing. A Conviction is a belief that will never change, because a man believes that his God requires it of him. A belief that is God ordered is a CONVICTION. It is a matter of believing with all of your heart that God requires something of you. The court said “When you believed that your God has required something of you, you will withstand all of the tests they have spoken about.” The court said the first thing would be for you to decide, is your belief a CONVICTION or is it a PREFERENCE? Is it belief that you hold that is God ordered because PREFERENCES are simply not protected by the constitution.

    Convictions Defined by Supreme Court

    Convictions Defined by Supreme Court

    A Conviction:

    • Must not Change
    • Must be Purposed (even if you are the only one)
    • Must be Consistent and Must be seen in your daily living

    It is not something you accidentally come across, but something you purpose in your heart as a fabric of your belief system.

    Dr. Bob Jones used to say I have never seen a man made by a crisis, the crisis just exposes the man for what he already is and that is exactly what the court is looking at. The court said your CONVICTIONS will be `purposed.’

    If is required of you that people stand with you before you will stand your beliefs are PREFERENCES and not CONVICTIONS.

    Our lives can only be built on convictions and not preferences. God is more interested in your character than your comfort. A person of character and principles does not buckle under pressure or crisis. Instead the crisis exposes his inner self and reveal who he actually is.

    Then the Court said how do we know whether you have those conviction or not?

    And then they came up with a test. This CONVICTION, they say, will always show up in a person’s lifestyle. They said “What is on the inside of a man is always going to show on the outside of a man.” And if that is true, and we teach that it is true, they say “What we need to do is look at what is on the outside and recognize that it is there because of what is on the inside.”

    And the court said you do not have the right to say you have a CONVICTION unless we can somehow see you live that CONVICTION with some element of consistency.

    The court says the opposite of CONVICTION is SIN. And you must stand for that or else it is not a conviction. We really have nothing to take exception to because that is consistent with our beliefs.

    Convictions are Non-Negotiable

    Convictions are Non-Negotiable

    Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego set the example of living by your convictions.They stood alone against a King and an entire nation, because their CONVICTIONS were non-negotiable.

    What the three Hebrew children were telling the king is “This matter of our faith is non-negotiable.” The court said if you can discuss the negotiation of your faith, your faith is a matter of PREFERENCE and not CONVICTION.

    Which are Convictions and which are preferences:

    1. I have a conviction that I should try to overcome a drinking problem (Preference-a conviction must be seen in your daily living)
    2. I have a conviction that a man should lead his family, but in some situations this may change. (A preference, a conviction must not change.)
    3. I have a conviction that some of the television programs I watch are harmful for my children. A preference. A conviction must be consistent. If the programs are harmful for children, they are harmful for adults)
    4. I have a conviction that I should not pay taxes to programs which violate God’s Word. (An unscriptural conviction. Jesus paid taxes to the very government that put Him to death. God commands us to pay our taxes)

    Ten Modern Day Convictions the Church Should embrace.

    1. The Bible is the inspired Word of God and is the final authority for my life.
    2. My purpose in life is to seek God with my whole heart and to build my goals around His priorities.
    3. My body is the living temple of God and must not be defiled by the lusts of the world.
    4. My church must teach the foundational truths of the Bible and reinforce my basic convictions.
    5. My children and grandchildren belong to God, and it is my responsibility to teach them Scriptural principles, Godly character, and basic convictions.
    6. My activities must never weaken the Scriptural convictions of another Christian.
    7. My marriage is a life-long commitment to God and to my marriage partner.
    8. My money is a trust from God and must be earned and managed according to Scriptural principles.
    9. My words must be in harmony with God’s Word, especially when reproving and restoring a Christian brother.
    10. My affections must be set on things above, not on things in the earth.

    Convictions Cost but Look at the Power They Produce:

    Rev Dr John Scudder

    Rev Dr John Scudder

    Perhaps the most famous missionary family to India is the Scudder family, of whom Dr. John Scudder was the first (progenitor.) Dr. John Scudder’s missionary call came in the following way: He was a successful physician in New York. One night he was watching beside the bed of a dying child. He sat there until the child was dead and, as he rose from his seat, his eyes were attracted to a little chart which had dots on it, each dot representing a doctor in India. The chart revealed in a ghastly way how few physicians there were among the three hundred and fifty millions in India, and how many thousands were dying in that land of poverty and ignorance. Beneath the chart was the question, “Who will go to help?” The question formed in his mind, “Why shouldn’t I respond?”

    Dr. Scudder went home and spoke to his wife about it. Since she was a lovely Christian woman, she responded in the words of Ruth, “Where thou goest I will go and where thou lodgest I will lodge, and thy God shall be my God.” (Ruth 1:16) Next he spoke to his father about it. His father flew into a rage and said, “Why, John, have you lost your senses? Where did you get this nonsense?” The upshot of the angry interview was the statement of the son, “Well, father, I’m sorry to have offended you. Let’s drop the subject.” But a week later the conviction was so strong within him that he ought to go to India to help the poor in the name of Jesus that he spoke to his father again and said, “Father, I’m going to India.” His father replied, “Never mention that subject to me again,” and that ended the interview. Possibly a month had passed, and this time the son was obliged to announce to his father his decision to go to India. Then the unexpected blow fell. The father sternly declared, “The day you go to India I disown you as my son.” It was a heavy cross to carry, but the son went to India and faithfully wrote a letter every month to his father in New York. Every letter, when it came, went into the wastebasket unopened. The father remained unreconciled. As might be expected, the mother rescued the letters from the wastebasket, sometimes reading them aloud. It is not recorded that the father stopped his ears. Dr. Scudder did such a great work in India and was so much sought after on his furloughs in America, that at long last his father awakened to the discovery that his son was living a great life and was reconciled. But think what finally happened from this Christlike consecration. Nine children of that first Dr. John Scudder gave their lives to missionary service in India, and grandchildren still are giving. The Scudders who came from that one young man’s consecration have given more than 1,000 years of missionary service.

    Preachers we need to preach the Power of Convictions, regardless of the Cost!