Today, Beloved, we look to the topic of remaining faithful to Jesus Christ
Our text for this study is found in the Book of Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 34:31 And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.
GOD IS OUR GOD!
Now, BECAUSE God is OUR God, Hes promised to KEEP US FROM FALLING!
20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
GOD IS ABLE!
God is ABLE!
TO KEEP YOU AND I FROM FALLING!
Now, we KNOW that Scripture teaches this, and we KNOW that this is TRUTH, that it is TRUE
.yet, HOW does the Lord keep you and I from falling?
THIS is the subject of our study today, Saint
God has given His Church Biblical PRINCIPLES to PRACTICE in order for His Keeping Power to be made manifest in our lives on a daily basis, and herein we LOOK to these Principles, and we PUT THEM INTO PRACTICE:
To experience Gods Keeping Power we MUST:
1- STAY IN THE WORD:
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The FIRST thing you and I must put into practice is the STUDY OF THE WORD!
To show ourselves APPROVED UNTO GOD!
Do you want to be APPROVED UNTO GOD?
STUDY THE SCRIPTURES!
Psalms 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
The Scriptures are the LIGHT IN WHICH GOD SPEAKS TO YOU AND I!
The Word will LIGHTEN OUR WAY and it will KEEP US FROM SIN!
Psalms 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
In order to keep from falling, we are to practice the Biblical principle of HIDING THE WORD IN OUR HEART!
Why? What does placing the Word of God in our hearts DO?
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
You see, Beloved, the Word discerns our heart!
We DONT KNOW whats in our own hearts, and as such, God has given to you and I His WORD!
The Word KEEPS US!
The Word PROTECTS US!
The Word COMFORTS US!
The Word MAINTAINS US!
The Bible, dear Child of God, is GOD SPEAKING TO YOU!
That said, PRAYER is YOU SPEAKING TO GOD!
2- PRAY WITHOUT CEASING:
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
First, we must HIDE THE WORD IN OUR HEART; second, we must:
1 Kings 8:28 Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day:
You see it?
GOD HEARS OUR PRAYERS!
Now, remember this:
Just as water washed down food, so PRAYER is the water that washes down the WORD!
The Word that you take into your heart is WASHED DOWN (NOT watered down!) through PRAYER!
PRAYER IS THE WATER THAT WASHES DOWN THE WORD!
The WORD is Gods access to YOU; PRAYER is YOUR access to GOD!
Many Believers pray and then get up and walk away, without ever stopping to LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF GOD, which is His Word!
Imagine you were to be married.
Now imagine that all you ever did was talk to your spouse without ever allowing your spouse to get a word in edgewise
Soon, your relationship would GO DOWNHILL!
If you never allowed your spouse to speak, but only spoke yourself and then got up and walked away each time, youd have to admit and concede that your relationship would only be ONE SIDED; YOUR side!
Your spouse would either bear with such a relationship
or, worse, LEAVE YOU!
God isnt so impatient as a human spouse, yet His heart must break each time His Children talk to Him and then simply walk on without hearing what HE, GOD ALMIGHTY, has to say!
The Lord desires FELLOWSHIP AND COMMUNION with you through PRAYER
3- MORITFY THE SIN NATURE:
Romans 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Saint in Christ, we are to MORTIFY the desires of our flesh!
What does this mean?
Simply put, this means that we are to KILL or PUT TO DEATH the deeds of our flesh
.meaning we must DENY our OWN fleshly lusts and desires which are at odds with the Righteousness of Jesus Christ as revealed in His Word.
HOWEVER, a cautionary note MUST be in place here, as the verse in Romans 8 tells us that we must mortify the sin nature THROUGH THE SPIRIRT!
You see, Mormons and Jehovahs Witnesses appear quite morally righteous on the OUTSIDE, yet, when one looks DEEPER into what these (and other!) cults teach concerning Jesus Christ, we know that they LACK the Spirit of God, thus showing that their appeared righteousness is but a mask for their true inner selves, which is death only!
You see, you and I may cut off all of the immoral lusts of our sin nature all we want, and yet WITHOUT cutting off our sin nature THROUGH THE SPIRIT, were no better than the Buddhist praying to an idol god of no value!
Because all of our efforts, no matter HOW GOOD they seem, if theyre done WITHOUT the Power of the Holy Spirit who resides in us, they are nothing more than a stench in the nostrils of a Holy God!
God isnt interested in having His Children do things WITHOUT the Power of His Spirit!
OUR righteousness is as FILTHY RAGS in the sight of God!
We see AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) groups all over the world and think, Wow! These people used to be drunks but now, because of their 12 step program, theyve STOPPED DRINKING and theyve BETTERED THEIR LIVES!
Do you believe GOD sees such sobriety as righteous or God-Honoring?
Not on your life!
In the view of sinful MAN such attempts at betterment may seem commendable, yet to GOD, in HIS Holiness and INCOMPARABLE Righteousness, such attempts are F-I-L-T-H-Y!
Someone once told me, in so many words, AA people were drunks on their way to hell; now theyre sober drunks on their way to hell.
No matter WHAT the New Years Resolution, without mortifying the deeds of the boy THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT, its vain!
If on desires to TRULY remain faithful to the Cross of Jesus Christ, then one must CUT OFF all of his or her fleshly desires THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT!
How CAN we do this through the Spirit?
A)- The WORD (see above)
B)- Prayer (see above)
Fasting goes along with prayer
.so we could say that prayer and fasting are part of the same package!
What takes place hen we PRAY AND FAST?
First, youre DENYING your most fundamental need: food!
Second, Youre NOT giving your body what it CRAVES: Food!
Thirdly, youre NOT allowing your DESIRE for food to OVERCOME YOU!
Prayer, when coupled with FASTING, is a POWERFUL WEAPON in the hands of God!
GOD HONORS THOS WHO HONOR HIM!
Now, watch this
Weve learned HOW to mortify the deeds of the body (Wor, prayer, fasting) and now we must ask:
WHAT are we to mortify SPECFICALLY?
5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
6 For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.
8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
Do you see it?
We are to mortify EVERYTHING in our lives which desires to do evil!
If we DO NOT mortify the deeds of the flesh, the deeds of the flesh will mortify US!
Beloved, let us, THROUGH THE SPIRIT, mortify, kill, put to death, bring to naught, destroy, the wickedness which is a part of each of us as fallen man; let is NURTURE the righteousness which has been GIVEN TO US as Children of God!
When one mortifies the deeds of the flesh and nurtures the righteousness of Christ, which is a FREE GIFT by the Grace of God, one will LIVE; if we DO NOT do this, we shall DIE!
4- WATCH YOUR FELLOWSHIP:
Lastly, we remain faithful to God by remaining faithful to our godly fellowship!
What do I mean?
Simply put, if one fellowships with those who are evil and wicked, then sooner than later one will BECOME evil and wicked.
Many would disagree, and yet such disagreement makes no difference, as the Scripture makes this truth clear and plain for all to read:
2 Corinthians 6:
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Do you see?
This is not a SUGGESTION, dear Child of God, but this is a COMMAND!
The first three words of verse 14 give us the FOUNDATION of the command:
This mean, Dont!.
If we DISobey this command of God, we simply wont last!
Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
We see AGAIN that we are not to fellowship with those who love and practice evil and wickedness!
Yes, we must tell them of Jesus!
Yes, we must love them to Christ!
No, we must NEVER involve ourselves INTIMATELY with those who are not saved and with those who CLAIM Jesus and yet do not LIVE for Jesus!
Now, HOW do we have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness?
Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
We are to CAST OFF all relationships and thoughts and imaginations and desires and gals and aims and PERSONS who are lovers of darkness!
Does this mean we treat people that are IN and LOVE and PRACTICE darkness as though they do not EXIST?
We tell them of their sin!
We tell them of the PENALTY of their sin!
We TELL THEM of Jesus Christ and how He PAID THE PRICE that they could not pay!
We CAST OFF the unfruitful works of darkness by waging spiritual war HEAD-ON!
This means we PREACH THE GOSPEL!
If youre spending time with ANYONE who doesnt know Jesus and you ARENT there to SPECIFICALLY preach the Gospel Message
then I ask: WHY are you there?!
Do you love sin and what it offers more than you do Jesus Christ?
Do you value the approval of MAN more than the Exultation of GOD?!
If you desire to REMAIN faithful to God then you MUST obey God!
Why serve Him if you wont serve Him FULLY?
Fellowship is POWERFUL!
Note again in 1 Corinthians 6 that God says IF you come out from among them THEN I will be your God.!
If YOU then HE!
God simply has the BEST in store for you!
God simply has the most WONDERFUL in store for you!
God SEES your heart!
God KNOWS what you need!
God will PROVIDE what you need!
Now, in conclusion, let us summarize the four basic building blocks to remaining faithful to Jesus Christ:
1- STAY IN THE WORD!
2- PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!
3- MORTIFY THE SIN NATURE!
4- WATCH YOUR FELLOWSHIP!
These four building blocks, if practiced, will GUARANTEE your continued faithfulnss to God!
Because, simply put, these are GODS building blocks to a successful relationship with Jesus Christ!
God has ALREADY done HIS part; now WE, through the Power of the Holy Spirit, must do OURS!
May the Lord cause you and I both to walk in this Old Path Way until we reach the Other Side!