Sunday, June 21, 2015, 6:57 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Who Believes?” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Thessalonians 4 (ESV). Walk the Talk (v. 1) Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. How are we supposed to walk? In what way will that be pleasing to God? First of all, to “walk” means to “conduct our lives.” This is speaking about how we conduct (live, operate) our lives day in and day out. Yet, this has to do not only with our behavior (actions), but also with our thinking and attitudes, and with the words which we speak. Sin usually begins in the mind and in the heart before it is ever acted out in our behaviors. Jesus said that whoever looks after a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. And, this applies to women lusting after men, too, and not just physically or sexually, but romantically, as well. This, also, is not just about what kinds of thoughts, attitudes, speech and actions we must rid ourselves of, but this is about what kinds of attitudes, speech, thoughts and actions we should “put on,” i.e. practice in our daily lives. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not just about his life, his death for our sins, his resurrection, his ascension back to the Father, our faith in Jesus Christ, his sending of the Holy Spirit to indwell his followers, the life of the church, and his coming again to receive us to himself for eternity. Jesus also did not die merely to give us an escape from hell and a promise of heaven when we die. And, Jesus did not die so we would feel the liberty to continue in willful sin against God, absent of guilt and true remorse. The Bible teaches us that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. This is how we should conduct (operate) our daily lives, as though this is really true of us, i.e. that we have died to sin and we do live to righteousness. We read in Romans 8 that if we walk (conduct our lives) according to our sinful flesh, we will die, but if, by the Spirit, we put to death the deeds of the flesh, and if we walk according to the Spirit, we will live. Jesus died that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us who walk not after the flesh, to please ourselves, but who walk according to (agreeing with) the Spirit. We are not saved (past), then live our lives how we want, and then we go to heaven when we die. The Bible teaches true faith as continuous faith, and that only he who “is believing” has eternal life. So, if you think you are saved just because you prayed some prayer at some time in your life to “receive Christ,” but you never walked the talk, then you better think again. Real faith is faith in action. We need to walk the talk! In this, God is pleased. Called to Holiness (vv. 2-8) For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. The will of God is our sanctification. What does that mean? “Sanctification” is basically the process of being made holy. “Holy” means to be set apart (different) from the world, because we are becoming like Christ (in his likeness). Again, this goes back to dying to sin and living to righteousness. It goes back to putting sin to death and living for God. It begins the moment we are born of the Spirit of God, but it continues until Jesus Christ returns to take us home, for this is when our salvation will be complete. We are continually in the process of being saved, being sanctified, being made holy and being conformed to the image (likeness) of Christ. This is what the Christian life should be about, not just getting saved, living for ourselves, and thinking we have heaven when we die just because we “prayed a prayer.” I am not saying that some of those prayers were not sincere, or that they did not result in genuine conversions, but what I am saying is that the Word of God teaches that we must die to sin and live to righteousness to have eternal life with God. So, what should this look like? And, why is it that if a Christian actually believes this, and if he or she walks in this manner, that in today’s Christian world, he or she is considered an “extremist,” or “abnormal,” or “strange” or maybe even “crazy”? This should not be the exception. This should be the norm for followers of Christ, to walk in the way of the Lord. First of all, we have to humble ourselves before Almighty God in turning from our sin, and in turning to walk in surrender and obedience to our Lord in all things. This is not speaking of living in sinless perfection, but this is talking about how we conduct our daily lives, and it is speaking about this process of being made holy and being conformed into the likeness of Christ. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he (or she) must deny self, take up his (or her) cross daily (die daily to sin and self), and follow (obey) him. He said that his sheep (his followers) know his voice, they listen to him, and they follow (obey) him. They are the ones who can’t be snatched out of his hands. If we say we have fellowship with God, and yet we continue to walk (in lifestyle) in darkness, then we are liars (See: 1 Jn. 1). Once we have humbled ourselves before God, turned from our sin, been born of the Spirit of God, been resurrected with Christ to new lives in Christ, then we begin this journey of walking the talk (the confession). I believe scripture teaches that it is possible for Christians to sin, but if we do, we should know that we have an advocate in Jesus Christ to the Father, and that Christ’s righteousness speaks in our defense so that we are not brought back under condemnation (See: 1 Jn. 2). Yet, I believe that repenting of sin is not something we do just once. We need to daily be purified from sin, and we need to own up to our sin and to be genuinely sorrowful over it, with a godly sorrow. We should grieve over our sin, in other words, and never be callous or nonchalant about sin. So, when we sin, we still come to God in humility, owning our sin, agreeing with God, turning from it, and thanking God for his wonderful forgiveness, and then we continue on in this walk of faith in the power of God. Love One Another (vv. 9-12) Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. I believe this passage of scripture is really “hitting home” with regard to the situations we are presently facing in the USA right now, and particularly in my state, South Carolina. Our government, in conjunction with the UN/N.W.O. “Beast,” has been in the process for some time now of going around the world creating havoc, blaming it on others, and then going in as “saviors” to the “rescue,” only not to rescue, but to consume, destroy, kill, confiscate, and take over the nations, peoples and sovereign governments in this world of ours. And, now it is happening in the USA. We can see it in these news stories about all these uprisings, riots, racial hate acts, bombings, and mass murders, et al, that have all of a sudden just popped up, just like they did in all those middle-eastern and north African nations throughout the globe in recent years. Do you think these things just happen? Most of these recent news stories of trouble in the USA are not independent of each other, and are not isolated incidents. This is a coordinated effort to take down our government, to pit us against one another, to divide us so they can conquer us, and to create such havoc in our nation that it will require a “solution” to solve the problem they created. Read those news stories from 2011 and on, in particular, about all these national uprisings, and read the language in these stories. The M.O. is the same. First they knock the squirrels out of the tree and then they come into “save” them, but not really to save, but to take over. Then read the stories in the news today and yesterday and listen to the rhetoric. They speak of hate crimes and of the need to create laws to combat such hate, and they speak of gun control, and of going against “extremists,” and of forced mental evaluations, and the like. First they create the problem, and then they come in with the solution, but the solution is to exercise more “Big Brother” control over this nation, and to silence all dissenters. So, don’t fall into their trap. Don’t get caught up in all this hate stuff. We are to love one another. I see so many Christians now fighting with one another over these things and it just breaks my heart. Don’t believe everything you see, hear and read. Test it all against the Word of Truth, and pray for wisdom and discernment to know the difference between truth and lies, and resist Satan and flee the temptation to get on this “hate” bandwagon. Love others as Jesus Christ loved us and gave his life up for us. Love your enemies, don’t hate them. Remember that God said that vengeance is his, and he will repay. We are not to get even. We are to love. Don’t let the media persuade you with their lies. Don’t be so quick to assign blame when you don’t really know the facts. Were you there? Did you see it happen? Why are people so quick to string people up on a pole and hang them or fry them? Look at what is happening to us! This is what they are counting on. Don’t let them get to you. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Who Believes? / An Original Work / October 3, 2013 Based off Isaiah 53 Gospel message, who believes? Jesus Christ died on a tree, Saving us from all our sin, So we might be cleansed within. Had no beauty found in Him, That we should desire Him. Man of sorrows, suffering; Crushed for our iniquities. Surely He has borne our griefs; From our sadness, brings relief. Bore the stripes; forsaken, He, So forgiven we might be. We, like sheep, have gone astray, Each of us turned his own way. Jesus calls, “Repent today; My commandments, now obey.” Jesus said, to come to him, We must die to all our sin. Crucified with Him, we live, Walking in His righteousness. Suff’ring servants, we will be, Taking His identity on us, When confessing Him As our Savior, Lord and King.