2015 and You: What Is Your Personal Vision?

As we enter a whole new year, it is important that we Christians have a vision and purpose as to where we are heading this year in order to fulfil the purposes of God for our lives. Christianity is far more than simply attending Christian meetings. They should be a means to an end so that we are equipped to accomplish greater things in 2015 than we ever have before.

Rev. Rodney W. Francis
Rev. Rodney W. Francis

The following post is an article written by Rev. Rodney W. Francis, Founder and Director of The Gospel Faith Messenger, based in Paraparaumu, New Zealand. It is posted here with permission.

Bro. Rodney’s article inspired me. I pray it inspires you.

Bro. Chris

2015 and You: What Is Your Personal Vision?

As we enter a whole new year, it is important that we Christians have a vision and purpose as to where we are heading this year in order to fulfill the purposes of God for our lives. Christianity is far more than simply attending Christian meetings. They should be a means to an end so that we are equipped to accomplish greater things in 2015 than we ever have before. It is all about progressing on in the calling of God that is on our lives. Every Christian is called of God to fulfill a vision ~ His vision and purpose as to why we are here on this earth right now. Jesus Christ has saved us to be part of the Answer to a needy and troubled world. Christians are “witnesses unto Jesus” (Acts 1:8) so the world will know that Jesus loves them and died to save them ~ and that He has risen from the dead to demonstrate that the power of God and the Gospel is very different to every other belief system. To be effective witnesses of Jesus we have to have a personal relationship with Him and know His voice and what He has chosen us for. We cannot afford to function “by habit” but to be awake and alive in Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit to make a positive difference in a negative world. People of the world do not read their Bible ~ they read us the Christians! When we are inspired and motivated by a personal up-to-date vision of what we are called to be doing today, then they see that we are very different to most other people they meet. They will want to know why we are different. And your personal vision, inspired by the Holy Spirit, will lift you up out of negativity, despair and depression (of which far too many Christians seem to trapped in these days). Jesus comes into our lives to make a positive difference. At this time of the year it is good for us to do some self-evaluation/appraisal and ask ourselves some real questions:

  • What will your focus be this year?
  • Will it be more clearly defined than last year? Remember, it is God’s will that you live life to the full through Jesus Christ Who lives in you. With Him in your life you can be an overcomer every day.
  • What changes do you think are needed in order for you to accomplish your destiny in God in 2015 and beyond?
  • Do you need to have a heart-to-heart talk with another committed-to-the-will-of-God Christian so that you can be more clear in your thinking as to what your specific calling and giftings are?
  • You can achieve what He created you to achieve! “You can do all things through Christ Who strengthens you!” (Philippians 4:13)
  • Remember, there is no room for excuses when it comes to doing the will of God.

We all need to be encouraged, exhorted, inspired, challenged, even provoked at times to rise up more into that which God has purposed for us. The world situation is such that unless they hear, see and know a demonstration of the Living Jesus Christ, then they will continue to slide into a hopeless and lost eternity.

  • Jesus Christ has saved us to make a positive difference.
  • He has filled us with His Holy Spirit to make us effective witnesses of Him.

If the world does not see Jesus in us, then they don’t see Him at all! Be inspired to know who you are as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ! My heart for you is that 2015 (and beyond) will be the greatest and grandest times yet in your walk with God and in your service for Jesus Christ the Lord. To do this you will need to have a right and positive confession ~ based on the Word of God ~ that will cause you to rise above every obstacle, and to enable you to triumph in every situation. I pray that your life will not be hindered by the frustration of wanting to serve God and yet not knowing where you fit. So many Christians are disillusioned and frustrated because they are not being trained, equipped and released into their God-ordained calling.

  • Right now our generation needs every born-again, Holy Spirit-filled Christian believer to be living and occupied in the very centre of God’s will.
  • His heart for us is that we not only know God’s will for our life, but that we prove God’s will for our life by our living and walking in it (Romans 12:1-2)! Jesus said: “The labourers are few!” (see Matthew 9:35-38).
  • Does this not concern us?
  • We DO reap what we sow! (see Galatians 6:1-10).
  • We ARE the products of our believing, or our not believing!

The Holy Spirit, Who lives inside of every born-again, Holy Spirit-filled believer, is power for service (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8). Service, not simply an added blessing! We cannot experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit ~ which is power for service ~ and then simply sit in church or meetings as passive hearers only. That frustrates the Holy Spirit within us! And if He is frustrated within us, you can guarantee we will be frustrated more! Be where you are able to function in your giftings! So…

  • What obstacles are there in the way?
  • What decisions need to be made?
  • What excuses need to be deleted?
  • What is stopping you?
  • What changes need to be made?
  • What challenges need to be faced up to?
  • The call and will of God does not just “fall into our laps” ~ we have to pursue it with all our heart.

The fact is that unless we do something about desiring change, then nothing changes! To change means making some definite decisions that show God you are serious about wanting to change for the better. Whatever the time, date and year, YOU CAN cultivate YOUR faith in the Promises of God NOW and be the man or woman He says you can be, and what He has called you to be. It is not too late!

  • Say what God says about you today ~ it really does do wonders, increases your vision, opens up new dimensions to you, and gives opportunity to be a powerful witness for Jesus Christ.
  • Does your faith move mountains ~ or do mountains move your faith?

Be a mountain mover in 2015 and beyond! Be a mountain mover on the authority of God’s Word given to you through Jesus Christ and the revelation of the Holy Spirit! He will not fail you. Right now the doors of opportunity are open for those who will hear God’s voice, listen to what He says and are prepared to demonstrate to God by our faith actions that we do believe Him. Faith is an action that is inspired by vision. Faith is demonstrated by what we do with what God says. He is speaking today to His people.

“For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, ‘Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them’” (Mark 11:23-24, NKJV).

Other helpful Scriptures to consider: Isaiah 6 and 54; Acts 2; Hebrews 11

Rev. Rodney W. Francis
“The Gospel Faith Messenger” Ministry
PO Box 57, Paraparaumu 5254, New Zealand
Email gfm@gospel.org.nz

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Empowered to Witness

The Holy Spirit empowers Jesus’ disciples to supernaturally witness to others through: Communication, Boldness, Recall, Conviction, and Unity of Purpose.

Introduction

Pentecost (a.k.a., Feast of Weeks)

  • Celebrated 50 days after Passover
  • A festival of thanksgiving for the harvested crops
  • Some scholars believe the Feast of Pentecost was kept in remembrance of the giving of the Law upon Mt.Sinai (Exodus 19:1; Deuteronomy 16:12)
  • The Feast of Pentecost was held on the first day of the week: Sunday
  • It was celebrated as a Sabbath with
    • Rest from ordinary labors
    • Calling of a holy convocation
  • Jews of many nations gathered in Jerusalem for this festival

Scripture

Acts 2 (NASB)
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2  And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. 5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6  And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. 7  They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8  “And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 9 “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” 12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.” 14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 15 “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; 16  but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; 18  EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. 19 ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. 20 ‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. 21 ‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’ 22  “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24  “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. 25 “For David says of Him, ‘I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE; FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. 26 ‘THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE; 27 BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY. 28 ‘YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.’ 29  “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, 31  he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY . 32 “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. 34  “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, 35 UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET .”‘ 36  “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41  So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, may Your name be praised for eternity, procaimed to all of creation, for You are holy and worthy to be praised. We thank You for Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for Whom every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord. We also thank You for the Holy Spirit Who empowers us to be imitators of Christ and to spread His Gospel Message throughout all humanity. May it be done according to Your will for it is in Jesus’ name that we pray. Amen.

Probing Question

How does the Holy Spirit empower Jesus’ disciples to supernaturally witness to others?

Transitional Sentence

The Holy Spirit empowers Jesus’ disciples to supernaturally witness to others through…

Main Points

1. Communication

God confounded languages and scattered man because of his pride and arrogance.

Genesis 11:1-9 (NASB)
1  Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. 2 It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. 4 They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” 5 The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 The LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. 7 “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” 8  So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. 9  Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.

Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, God empowered the apostles to supernaturally communicate to all of the Jewish nations in their own languages.

Acts 2:1-11 (NASB)
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2  And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. 5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6  And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. 7  They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8  “And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 9 “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”

Today, the Holy Spirit empowers communication through

  • Desire
    Disciples learn new languages, if necessary, before going into the mission field
  • Utterance
     Disciples are inspired with what to say and when they need to say it
  • Understanding
    Hearers are supernaturally receptive and able to comprehend what they hear
    (
    NOTE: this does NOT guarantee submission/obedience to what is heard)

2. Boldness

Reasons disciples do not witness: Fear of…

  • Failure
  • Rejection
  • Persecution
  • Ridicule

In fact the hearer’s apparent rejection or lack of response to a disciple’s witness is not a failure on the disciple’s part. Disciples are commanded simply to be witnesses.

Matthew 28:19-20 (NASB)
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Acts 1:8 (NASB)
8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Disciples are not held responsible for the result; that is the hearer’s responsibility and hence their failure if they do not respond as God desires.

1 Samuel 8:7 (NASB)
7 The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.

2 Chronicles 36:16 (NASB)
16 but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy.

Proverbs 1:7 (NASB)
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

1 Thessalonians 4:8 (NASB)
8 So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.

To overcome persecution and ridicule, the Holy Spirit empowers disciples with boldness.

Acts 2:12-15 (NASB)
12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.” 14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 15 “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;

Rebuke: “it is only the third hour of the day”

  • 9:00am – hour of prayer
  • Prior to which Jews scarcely ever ate or drank (in preparation for prayer)
  • Custom was so common even the most intemperate Jews would not transgress it
  • Consequently, use of wine prior to 9:00am would be unthinkable by anyone

3. Recollection

The Holy Spirit brings understanding, discernment, and all things into remembrance which have been studied and/or experienced.

John 14:26 (NASB)
26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

Peter received authoritative understanding and recollection of

  • Joel – Joel 2:28-29
  • Events of the Resurrection
  • David – Psalm 16:8-11

Acts 2:16-36 (NASB)
16  but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; 18  EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. 19 ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. 20 ‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. 21 ‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’ 22  “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24  “But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. 25 “For David says of Him, ‘I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE; FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. 26 ‘THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE; 27 BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY. 28 ‘YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.’ 29  “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, 31  he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY . 32 “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. 34  “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, 35 UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET .”‘ 36  “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”

4. Conviction

At the same time that the Holy Spirit is working in Disciples to empower them for witnessing, He is working in the hearts of the lost, convicting them of their sins and their need for salvation.

  • David’s sins regarding Bathsheba when confronted by the prophet Nathan

Psalm 51:1-3 (NASB)
1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me.

  • The Scribes and Pharisees accuse a woman of adultery

John 8:1-9 (NASB)
1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought* a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4  they said* to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” 6 They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. 7 But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court.

And so it was with Peter’s first sermon.

Acts 2:37-41 (NASB)
37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” 41  So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

5. Unity of Purpose

Acts 2:42-47 (NASB)
42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

As His Disciples, saved by His grace, we are to be witnesses for Him, laboring to tell others, in both word and deed, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God’s gift of grace to us.

1 Corinthians 3:9 (NASB)
9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

2 Corinthians 6:1 (NASB)
1 And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain—

Conclusion

The Holy Spirit empowers Jesus’ disciples to supernaturally witness to others through…

  • Communication
  • Boldness
  • Recall
  • Conviction
  • Unity of Purpose

Saved:

  • Is your life a living witness which brings honor and glory to God by letting others know of your personal relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ?
  • Do you overlook or ignore the power of the Holy Spirit inside you?
    • Witnessing on your own power
    • Not witnessing at all

Lost:

  • How long will you continue to ignore the feelings of conviction in your heart?
  • How long do you think you have to make up your mind?

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit. We thank You that the same power, which rose Christ from the grave, is the same power which indwells us as Christians and convicts the lost of their need for salvation. May we remember to lean on the Holy Spirit and draw from His energy when performing those tassks You would have us to do, not the least of which is being a witness for You. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I benefit from this ministry and want to become a member and/or make a donation.

Praise the Lord. We are glad you find Saved by Grace edifying.

Action

  • If you would like to become a member, please click "Register" in the "Log In" section on the top right column of the page. Members are allowed to comment on posts and other comments and may also provide Feedback.

Malachi 3:10 (NASB)
10  "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.

  • If you benefit from this ministry and would like to support its efforts, projects, and missions, please consider making a tax deductible donation, of any amount. May God bless you for your generosity.




I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

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The Gift of the Holy Spirit

At Pentecost, Jesus’ promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit to His disciples was fulfilled.

Background

Pentecost

  • Also called the Feast of Weeks
  • Celebrated 50 days after Passover
  • A festival of thanksgiving for the harvested crops
  • Some scholars believe the Feast of Pentecost was kept in remembrance of the giving of the Law upon Mt.Sinai (Exodus 19:1; Deuteronomy 16:12)
  • The Feast of Pentecost was held on the first day of the week: Sunday
  • It was celebrated as a Sabbath with
    • Rest from ordinary labors
    • Calling of a holy convocation

Scripture

Acts 2:1-4 (NASB)
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2  And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

Opening Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, hear our prayer. As we study Your Word, please grant us discerment so that we may learn the conditions by which the gift of the Holy Spirit is given. Help us to prepare for and receive the Holy Spirit into our lives that we may begin walking in the truth of the Spirit. May all creation sing Your praises. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Probing Question

What are the conditions surrounding receipt of the gift of the Holy Spirit?

Transitional Sentence

The conditions surrounding receipt of the gift of the Holy Spirit are…

Main Points

1. Expect the Lord

Acts 2:1 (NASB)
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

Man has always been instructed to wait upon the LORD.

Isaiah 64:4 (NASB)
4  For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, Nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.

Psalm 25:5 (NASB)
5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.

Psalm 130:5-6 (NASB)
5 I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope. 6 My soul waits for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.

Before His ascension, Jesus had instructed His disciples to wait and pray.

Acts 1:4-5 (NASB)
4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

2. Recognize the Lord

Acts 2:2-3 (NASB)
2  And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.

God’s presence on Mt.Sinai (direct access limited to Moses and priests only at that time)

Exodus 19:16-25 (NASB)
16 So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. 19 When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder. 20 The LORD came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the LORD called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. 21 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, “Go down, warn the people, so that they do not break through to the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish. 22 “Also let the priests who come near to the LORD consecrate themselves, or else the LORD will break out against them.” 23 Moses said to the LORD, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for You warned us, saying, ‘Set bounds about the mountain and consecrate it.’ ” 24 Then the LORD said to him, “Go down and come up again, you and Aaron with you; but do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the LORD, or He will break forth upon them.” 25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.

Direct access to GOD is available to all of Jesus’ disciples now.

Mark 15:37-38 (NASB)
37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. 38  And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

Hebrews 10:19-25 (NASB)
19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

3. Submit to the Lord

Acts 2:4 (NASB)
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

John 14:26 (NASB)
26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

Romans 8:5-9,14 (NASB)
5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6  For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7  because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. … 14  For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Philippians 2:13 (NASB)
13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Conclusion

The conditions surrounding receipt of the gift of the Holy Spirit are…

  • Expect the Lord
  • Recognize the Lord
  • Submit to the Lord

Lost?

  • Holy Spirit visits you convicting you of your sin
  • Cycle of expectation, recognition, and conviction; hopefully resulting in conversion
    • Admit to God that you’re a sinner in need of salvation and repent
    • Believe Jesus Christ is God’s Son and accept His gift of salvation
    • Confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and submit to Him
  • Permanent gift of the Holy Spirit sealing your gift of salvation from the LORD

Saved?

  • Permanent presence of Holy Spirit provides spiritual guidance/direction
  • Cycle of expectation, recognition, and conviction; hopefully resulting in spiritual growth, witness, and service
  • Holy Spirit empowers for witness and service

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit who convicts us of our need for You, seals us till the day of redemption, and leads, guides, and directs us; bringing us ever closer to You and Your righteousness. May we always be expecting You, always recognize You when You are present, and submit to Your will for our lives. We pray this in the holy name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Gospel Invitation

Is the Holy Spirit stirring within your heart? Is He convicting you of the need to make changes in your life and/or calling you to take action? The Bible says:

James 4:17 (NASB)
17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

1 John 5:3 (NASB)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.

If the Holy Spirit is urging you to take action, it is important to respond with immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Please read the following sections that apply to your current situation and prayerfully consider the suggested course of actions.

I am lost. I need to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

John 3:16-18 (NASB)
16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Action

  • To learn more about Jesus and His gift of redemption, read God's Plan of Salvation. If you are already familiar with the Plan of Savation, skip forward to section How to Become a Christian.
  • If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I am saved; but, I have sin in my life that I need to confess and repent.

1 John 1:8-9 (NASB)
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Acts 3:19 (NASB)
19  "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially confess the sin in your life and your desire to repent. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

I am saved; but, I need to rededicate my life to the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Action

  • In your own words, pray a prayer similar to the following:

Heavenly Father, I have fallen short of Your glory and have failed to live up to Your expecttions for me. Please forgive me. Lord, I rededicate my life to You. Not my will; but, Your will be done. Thank You for being a God of second chances. Use me Lord. Shape me and mold me into the person You would have me to be. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

  • If you just rededicated your life to the Lord, please let us know by participating in our poll located on the top left column of the page and filling out the Contact Form below.

I benefit from this ministry and want to become a member and/or make a donation.

Praise the Lord. We are glad you find Saved by Grace edifying.

Action

  • If you would like to become a member, please click "Register" in the "Log In" section on the top right column of the page. Members are allowed to comment on posts and other comments and may also provide Feedback.

Malachi 3:10 (NASB)
10  "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.

  • If you benefit from this ministry and would like to support its efforts, projects, and missions, please consider making a tax deductible donation, of any amount. May God bless you for your generosity.




I need to discuss my situation confidentially.

James 5:16 (NASB)
16  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Action

  • Fill out the Contact Form below to confidentially discuss the situation in your life that is troubling you. The information you send will not be shared with anyone else. Your privacy will be protected.

Contact Form








 

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“Is It Possible for Me to Lose My Salvation?”

This question has troubled many Christians throughout history. In fact, many still struggle with it today. To make matters worse, many theologians are divided on the issue making it even more difficult for laymen to arrive at a definitive answer to the question since both sides have Scripture to support their viewpoint. Calvinists support a viewpoint in favor of the security of the believer while Armenians support a viewpoint in favor of apostasy (i.e., the possibility the believer can fall away).

This question has troubled many Christians throughout history. In fact, many still struggle with it today. To make matters worse, many theologians are divided on the issue making it even more difficult for laymen to arrive at a definitive answer to the question since both sides have Scripture to support their viewpoint. Calvinists support a viewpoint in favor of the security of the believer while Armenians support a viewpoint in favor of apostasy (i.e., the possibility the believer can fall away). So, what does the Bible say about it? We will examine the key biblical passages used to support each side and attempt to arrive at a conclusion.

John 10:27-30 (NASB)
27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 “I and the Father are one.”

In John 10:27-30, Calvinists claim that Jesus’ words constitute a powerful declaration of security. Verse 28 is especially emphatic, where the declaration that something will not happen in the future is made. Jesus is categorically excluding the slightest chance of apostasy by His sheep. This assertion is followed by statements that no one can snatch believers out of Jesus’ hand or out of the Father’s hand. This passage is a definite rejection of the idea that a true believer can fall away.

Hebrews 6:4-6 (NASB)
4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

Armenians argue that Hebrews 6:4-6 represents an equally emphatic case for their position. The passage seems clear enough. The description is apparently of genuinely saved persons who abandon the faith and thus lose their salvation. However, because of the complexity of the issue and the material in this passage, a number of interpretations have grown up:

  1. The writer has in mind genuinely saved persons who lose their salvation. He notes that once they lose their salvation, there is no way to regain it for it’s impossible to renew them to salvation. This point is ignored by many Armenians.
  2. The persons in view were never regenerate. They merely tasted of the truth and the life and were only exposed to the Word of God. They did not fully experience these heavenly gifts. They do in fact apostatize; but from the vicinity of spiritual truth, not from its center.
  3. The people in view are genuinely and permanently saved; they are not lost. Their salvation is real, the apostasy is hypothetical. In other words, the “if”-clause does not actually occur. The writer is merely describing what would be the case if the elect were to fall away (an impossibility).

Upon close examination, the second explanation is difficult to accept. The vividness of the description, and particularly the statement “[those who] were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,” argues forcefully against denying that the people in view are (at least for a time) regenerate. The choice must therefore be made between the first and third views.

Part of the difficulty stems from the ambiguity of the Greek word translated “if they fall away.” It is an adverbial participle which can denote cause, time, concession, and (significant to this discussion) condition. Thus, one legitimate translation would be “if they fall away”; but it could also be rendered “when they fall away” or “because they fall away.” The actual meaning must be determined based upon context, the key element of which can be found in verse 9:

Hebrews 6:9 (NASB)
9 But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.

This verse might be understood as implying that the people described in verses 4-6, unlike the people to whom Hebrews is addressed, were not really saved. However, as pointed out above (view 2) there is a major difficulty with this interpretation. The other possibility is that the people referred to in verses 4-6 and 9 are the same. They are genuinely saved people who could fall away. Verses 4-6 declare what their status would be if they did. Verse 9, however, is a statement that they shall not fall away. They could; but, they will not. Their persistence to the end is evidence of that truth. The writer of Hebrews knows that his readers will not fall away; he is convinced of better things regarding them, the things that accompany salvation. He speaks of their past work and love and exhorts them to continue earnestly in the same pursuits.

Hebrews 6:10-11 (NASB)
10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. 11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,

The full context of the passage would seem to indicate then that the writer has in view genuine believers who could fall away; but, will not.

We are now able to correlate John 10 and Hebrews 6. While Hebrews 6 indicates that genuine believers can fall away, John 10 indicates they will not. In other words, there is a logical possibility of apostasy; but it will not come to pass in the case of true believers. Although they could abandon their faith and consequently come to the fate described in Hebrews 6, the grace of God prevents them from apostatizing. God does this, not by making it impossible for believers to fall away, but by making it certain that they will not. The emphasis on can and will not is not inconsequential. It preserves the freedom of the individual. Believers are capable of repudiating their faith, but will freely choose not to.

What about the “examples” of others who have allegedly fallen away in the biblical texts? It must be questioned whether these individuals were in fact true believers to begin with. There is insufficient evidence to warrant the conclusion that they were true believers who fell away.

The practical implication of the understanding of the doctrine of perseverance is that believers can rest secure in the assurance that their salvation is permanent. Nothing can separate them from the love of God. Thus, they can rejoice in the prospect of eternal life.

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“It’s My Body, I Can Do Whatever I Want With It, Right?”

This is an all too common opinion voiced by too many people in the world; including unfortunately, many Christians. Invariably, it is used to justify some form of action or behavior, which is questionable. It is also used to dull or supress feelings of guilt when trying to convince oneself that if we are not hurting anyone else, what does it matter?

This is an all too common opinion voiced by too many people in the world; including unfortunately, many Christians. Invariably, it is used to justify some form of action or behavior, which is questionable. It is also used to dull or supress feelings of guilt when trying to convince oneself that if we are not hurting anyone else, what does it matter? So, what does the Bible say about it?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NASB)
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

God’s Word is clear: we are His. If the contemplated action or behavior does not bring honor and glory to God, then we should not do it; even when we are alone in the privacy of our own homes.

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