“I Can’t Help the Way I Am, I Was Born That Way. God Understands, Right?”

This is an all too common attitude voiced by Christians and non-Christians alike in an attempt to justify behavior they do not wish to address or correct. If the behavior we were born with were “understood”, that is to say acceptable, by God, we would have no need of a savior; God would simply accept us the way we are. However, this is clearly NOT the case. What does the Bible say about it?

1 Peter 1:14-16 (NASB)
14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Colossians 3:1-2, 5, 8-10, 12-15, 17 (NASB)
1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. …
5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. …
8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— …
12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. …
17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

God is holy and expects us to be holy. This is more than simply accepting His Son, Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Savior. It includes being conformed to Jesus’ image in the newness of life we have received from Him. We are a new creature. We are expected to “put off” the old habits and behaviors and “put on” the new habits and behaviors; honoring, glorifying, and giving thanks to Him. We may have been “born that way”; but, once we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we were “born again”. We are expected to live life His way (Romans 12:1-2). If we love Him, we will keep His commandments (2 John 6).

Running the Entire Race

Scripture

Illustration

When it was said to Diogenes, the Greek philosopher, “Thou art now an old man, rest from thy labors;” he answered, “If I have run long in the race, will it become me to slacken my pace when come near the end; should I not rather stretch forward?”

Hebrews 12:1 (NASB)
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Text

Philippians 3:13-14 (NASB)
13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Opening Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for your love, mercy, grace, and other blessings too numerous to count. Please bless the reading of your Word. I pray You have adequately prepared my to deliver your message as well as the hearts and minds of those You would have receive it. May the lessons learned bring us into a closer, more intimate relationship with You and assist us in bringing honor and glory to your name. Please forgive me of my sins. I pray these things in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Probing Question

How should Christians run the race?

Main Points

As Christians, if we are still breathing, we are still in the race.

Philippians 3:13a (NASB)
13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;…

Paul expressed to the Philippians that whatever blessings, graces, honors, and gifts he had already received from Jesus Christ; he still considered everything incomplete until his earthly work was done and he was called home, receiving his resurrected, glorified body.

So how should the race be run?

1. Christians Should Run the Race With Purpose

Philippians 3:13b (NASB)
13 … but one thing I do:…

Paul recognized his most important reason for existing, his sole purpose for being, was to honor and glorify Jesus Christ by fulfilling the will of God in his life.

Philippians 1:21a (NASB)
21 For to me, to live is Christ…

1 Corinthians 10:31 (NASB)
31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

What is God’s will for our lives? That’s a subject for many other sermons; but, to name just a couple:

  • God wills that all be saved.

1 Timothy 2:3b-4 (NASB)
3 … God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

  • God wills that the Gospel be given to all nations of the Earth.

Matthew 28:19-20a (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;…

2. Christians Should Run the Race With Focus (i.e., Without Distractions)

Philippians 3:13c (NASB)
13 … forgetting what lies behind…

Paul recognized his conduct was not regulated or influenced by others; only his Master, calling, work, and objective.

Looking back is sure to end in going back.

Luke 9:61-62 (NASB)
61 Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

While others might mistakenly think they had time to linger, Paul knew he did not. Time was of the essence, eternity was at hand, and everything was at stake. Peter confirms:

1 Peter 4:7 (NASB)
7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.

3. Christians Should Run the Race With Effort

Philippians 3:13d (NASB)
13 … and reaching forward to what lies ahead,

Paul recognized he was not only running for life; but, running for his life. The race required all the strength he could muster.

Illustration

The story is told of the big lumberjack who bought a brand new chainsaw and was told it could cut down at least 100 trees a day. But on the first day he only managed to cut down 25 trees. The next day he tried harder and finally cut down 33 trees. The third day he started early, worked late, and even cut his lunch break short, but he still managed to cut down only 48 trees.

He went back to the store and confronted the manager with his complaint. He told him of his efforts and of the results. The manager couldn’t quite understand what had gone wrong, so he asked to take a look. He grabbed the starter rope and pulled hard, and the motor started with a roar.

The lumberjack jumped back in alarm and yelled, “Hey, what’s that big noise?”

4. Christians Should Run the Race With Integrity

Philippians 3:14a (NASB)
14 I press on toward the goal…

In Paul’s day, there were white lines, in the stadium where the races were held, which stretched from the starting line to the goal, upon which the runners would focus; for if they ran either to the left or the right or ran beyond the line, they violated the rules and were not crowned victorious, even if they were the first to reach the goal.

Paul recognized how we run the race is just as important as our running it. In one of his letters to the Corinthians he comments:

1 Corinthians 9:27 (NASB)
27 but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

5. Christians Should Run the Race With Encouragement

Philippians 3:14b (NASB)
14 … for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Finally, Paul never lost sight of the rewards that awaited him for faithfully serving God. This provided encouragement for him regardless of any trial or tribulation he had to endure.

Conclusion

Paul knew that as long as he had breath, he was to be in service to Christ. His service would not be complete until Jesus’ return or until the Lord called him home. Therefore, he would serve the Lord with all his being and rejoice at such time the Lord considered his work complete and called him home.

Philippians 1:20-21 (NASB)
20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Make no mistake, we are running in a race.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NASB)
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Let us faithfully run it to completion to the honor and glory of God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Closing Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for your Word. May we meditate upon it and listen carefully as the Holy Spirit convicts us of those things in our life, which need attention. May You find us faithful and obedient to respond. May we sense the urgency in our Christian lives and run the race with a renewed sense purpose, focus, effort, integrity, and encouragement. We pray these things in the name of Christ Jesus, 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 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 expectations 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 filling out the Contact Form below.

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






“If God Is a Loving God, Why Would He Condemn Anyone to Hell?”

Although asked by some Christians, this question is typically asked by those who attempt to find salvation by some means other than Jesus Christ. This is especially true of those who believe they are living a moral life, treat others as they would have themselves treated, and having a sense of right and wrong, try to choose right as much as possible. The truth of the matter is that God, in fact, has never condemned anyone to Hell. God has done all He can do to keep people out of Hell. He offered His Son as a sacrifice in payment of our sin debt. However, He does not force that gift of salvation on anyone. Man is free to accept salvation through Jesus Christ, who promises to turn no one away (John 6:37), or to reject Him and the gift of His sacrifice. The sad truth is Hell’s occupants are there of their own choosing. What does the Bible say about it?

1 Timothy 2:3-6 (NASB)
3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

John 3:16-19 (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. 19 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.

 

“My Kids Are Too Young to Understand About God. They’ll Pick It Up When They’re Ready. Right?”

Wrong. Your kids are never too young to know about God. They are learning other things from you already. Why is it that so many people seem to think it is OK to put off teaching their children about God? Could it be the parents do not have a close relationship with God themselves to know how to teach their children about Him? It is never too early to begin… for them… or you. What does the Bible say about it?

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (NASB)
4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

Psalms 78:1-8 (NASB)
1 Listen, O my people, to my instruction; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, 3 Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. 4 We will not conceal them from their children, But tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. 5 For He established a testimony in Jacob And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers That they should teach them to their children, 6 That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children, 7 That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments, 8 And not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart And whose spirit was not faithful to God.

“Adonai, Allah, Budda, God, Jehova, Jesus, Muhammed, Yahweh; They’re All the Same, Right?”

No, they are not. While the Bible has many names for God, Adonai and Yahweh being but a couple, Allah, Budda, Muhammed, and others are not mentioned at all. One might say, “OK, so they are not mentioned, but are not these names simply another culture’s translation of the God in the Bible, just as Jehova is the English translation of the Hebrew and Adonai?” The answer is still no. These other names may be translations of other languages; but, they are not referring to the God of the Bible. One might still argue that Allah refers to the God of the Bible since the Islamic religion also recognizes Jesus; however, the Jesus they recognize was merely a prophet leading the way to another, more superior prophet, Muhammed, who is the High Priest pointing the way to Allah. Islam’s Jesus is not considered to be the Savior sent by God to redeem mankind. What does the Bible say about it?

Deuteronomy 6:4 (NASB)
4 “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!

Matthew 3:16-17 (NASB)
16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

John 14:6 (NASB)
6 Jesus said* to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

The LORD (Jehova) is God, there are no others. His Son is Jesus Christ in whom He is well pleased, not Muhammed. And finally, Jesus clearly states that no one comes to the Father (God), but by Him. Jesus is our Lord and Savior, sent by God, for our eternal redemption with God, no one else.

“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? 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.

Now That I’m a Christian, What Next?

If you have just prayed to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, praise the Lord! Please let us know! Please participate in our poll located at the top left column of the page and/or Contact Us.

Share with others what Jesus has done for you.

Romans 10:13-15 (NASB)
13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”

Begin to live for God.

Romans 12:1-2,9-18 (NASB)
1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. … 9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

Publicly profess your faith by being baptized.

Luke 3:21 (NASB)
21 Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened,

Romans 6:4 (NASB)
4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

Join a local Bible-believing, Bible-preaching church and get to know God better through prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with other Christians.

Romans 15:4-6 (NASB)
4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus Is Holy

God is absolutely and perfectly holy: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:3), therefore, He cannot commit or approve of evil.

James 1:13 (NASB)
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.

As God, Jesus embodied every element of God’s character. Colossians 2:9 says, “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” He was perfectly holy.

Hebrews 4:15 (NASB)
15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

God requires holiness of us as well. “You shall be holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

Jesus Is God

While Jesus was on earth, there was much confusion about who He was. Some thought He was a wise man or a great prophet. Others thought He was a lunatic. Still others could not decide or did not care. However, Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). That means, He claimed to be nothing less than God in human flesh.

Many people today do not understand that Jesus claimed to be God. They are content to think of Him as little more than a great moral teacher. But even His enemies understood His claims to deity. That is why they tried to stone Him to death (John 5:18; 10:33) and eventually had Him crucified (John 19:7).

C.S. Lewis observed, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 40-41).

If the biblical claims of Jesus are true, He is God!