Im not sure how many if any at all have heard this "cliche" which is circulating and doing the rounds and becoming quite popular as of late? to the which my own wife has been using it quite a bit lately in her own speech and vocabulory.
( to be left of centre )
Having said that it got me to thinking how we as proffessing Christians can quite easily end up in this "left of centre" circumstance ... if we are not vigilant - and sober minded in Christ!!
We are exhorted to Run this christian race, and to fight the good fight of faith, and to FINISH our COURSE. Are we not brethren (NO)?
The book of HEBREWS STATES ~~ we are made PARTAKERS of Christ, (if) we hold the beginning of our confidence STEDFAST unto the END!
Hmmmmm. What then happens to the advocates of the false security message of "once saved - you are forever saved? ... after reading that one passage alone ~~ it so highlights the personal responsibilty of the believer. Oh God indeed does preserve - but as we persevere!!
Crossing over now brethren to a little epistle written about roughly 90 A.D and that from the pen of the beloved Apostle John: we read similiar words " look to YOURSELVES, that we LOSE not those things which we have WROUGHT , but that WE RECIEVE a FULL REWARD. Emphasis on the words (full reward)
And again over in 3 John we find similiar wording: We read this - after A bad example that was set by a man named "Diotrephes" -- John exhorts "Beloved FOLLOW NOT THAT WHICH IS EVIL, but that which is GOOD"!
And finally on this same vein was not Joshua COMMANDED BY THE LORD these words " Turn NOT from this book of the law which Moses my servant gave you -- neither turn to the right of it, nor to the LEFT of it! THAT YOU MIGHT PROSPER, NO MATTER WHERESOEVER YOU MIGHT GO ( MY EMPHASIS )
SO THEN HAVING SAID ALL THIS THUS FAR AS A FOUNDATION TO WHAT IS TO COME -- We need to get stay centred on the centrality of the cross. And hold to the Doctrine of Christ!
As there are many things that come our way to distract and to turn from truth. And To vie and compete for our attention and for our time! Jesus Gave the example of why those who hear the word "fell away" in the (parable of the sower) and it is of note that the third hearer - appeared also to be traveling quite well, well until these things happened?
~~ The cares of this life
~~ The deceitfulness of riches
~~ And the LUSTS of other things entered in
These things then stifled and stymied the Word of God, and he became unfruitful - and so eventually fell away!
Again if they fall away -- what has happened to the (once saved -- forever saved) thinking camps out there ... in Christendom? that propagate this notion upon us?
But moving on and away from that - and staying on topic ~~ as i began to think upon the this race we are TOLD to run (1 corinth 9:24) i began to realize how that only i can get myself across the "LINE"! and no one can do that for me. I am responsible for myself! And whilst others can encourage, and exhort me, and admonish me etc. At the end of the day ... it is up to me to fight, and to run, to endure until the end, and to remain stedfast -- and to finish my flight, and my journey.
Sermons, tapes, and books may be a tool of help GRANTED - and they might very well be that -- but be that as it may - and that said - nothing replaces your own walk with God - and the study of his Word - and the personal manitainenance of intercessory prayer. !!!
If Jesus himself could not "stand" or "get by" with-out maintaing prayer contact with the Father -- then it would be most presumptious of us indeed (brethren) to think we can get by without prayer. Or to think everything will be alright and cosher - in a blah-say type of mood or that of ... being INDIFFERENT.
Recently brethren i encountered a situation where i had become aware of some things that were not quite right in the life of a good Christian friend of mine, WHO IS also a personal client from my own business that i own and run. And well the short of the story is brethren -- some things in this person's life are not quite as they should be. And well things have crept in - such as the reading of fiction novels, bad choices in music listening, looking at things we shouldn't look at - and the playing of cards and of card games etc etc. Now im not judging this person in that sense of judging! Only to say and highlight to you and to us - that whilst some of these things might appear relatively (harmless) or even (innocent). (end quote) they are nonetheless both interfering and distracting, and occupy our time "FOR CHRIST" ... when we summoned by God to "redeem the time" ( Eph 5 )
NOW All things are lawful to me - but all things edify not. All things are permissable to me, but all things are not "EXPEDIENT". All things are lawful to me, but i will not come (UNDER) the power of any. (IOW) In other words anthing that is not conducive to a spiritually healthy Christian enviroment (or) may weaken my resolve against sin and my walk with God -- then it is better for me to avoided such things ( with-out being legalistic as such ) but for "our sakes" brethren we should -- avoid them!
But the dilemna for me was this - do you say anything to that person? do you reprove and gently admonish them, do you bring correction to such an one? or do you simply leave it? and just pray for them? :-(
Anyway moving away from that even - i thought to myself isn't this what Paul and many others laboured so much for - and that is too really (instill in us) - how that we must take up this spiritual fight for ourself! and if we allow OTHER things to come, or to CREEP IN AND INTERFERE WITH THE WORK OF sanctification -- then who is to blame?
Do we blame our pastors?
Do we blame our mentors? (those who discipled us)
Do we blame our Christian friends?
John told the elder lady in 2nd John that she should HOLD to the THINGS that she and her children - had recieved!
That to me suggests the (Onus) or the personal responsibilty lay with her! Now for those who might find fault with the post - i am not addressing the grace of God factor or the need for fellowship to find encouragement (or) the need for one to edify oneself. The point of the message today is ... at the end of the day you must "aim up" - you must stay gaurded and focused -- you must run this race of endurance that is set before you, you must yield yourself up to God, and obey from the heart, that form of doctrine delivered us - from the Apostles!
You are responsible to make sure you have built upon ROCK ... and not the SAND !!
IF ANY MAN'S WORK "ABIDE" WHICH HE HATH BUILT UPON ... HE SHALL RECIEVE A (REWARD)
CONVERSELY SO HOWEVER
IF ANY MAN'S WORK SHALL BE ( "BURNED" ) HE SHALL SUFFER LOSS!!
HENCE PETER SAID " We must be diligent to make our calling - and OUR election sure "
You have to (SURE UP) thOse things you have recieved, you must look to yourself, you must purify yourself ... even as he is pure, you must not faint and be weary in your mind, you must be BEWARE lest: YE ALSO being led away WITH the ERROR of the wicked fall from your OWN stedfastness!
TO FINISH: Let us remember the words of Paul at Corinth " Know ye not? -- that they which run in a race run all? but only "ONE" recieveth the prize? .... SO RUN THAT YE MAY OBTAIN!!
HAVE A GREAT DAY IN THE SAVIOUR,
CHRIST JESUS THE LORD!
AND OUR SOON COMING KING (AMEN)