The Necessity of Regeneration

 

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And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Ephesians 2:1, 5-8

“Who were dead – Not only diseased, but dead; absolutely void of all spiritual life; and as incapable of quickening yourselves, as persons literally dead. In trespasses and sins This text lays the axe to the very root of spiritual pride, and all glorying in ourselves. Only the power that makes a world can make a Christian. And when he is so created, the old things are passed away – Of their own accord, even as snow in spring. Behold – The present, visible, undeniable change! All things are become new – He has new life, new senses, new faculties, new affections, new appetites, new ideas and conceptions. His whole tenor of action and conversation is new, and he lives, as it were, in a new world. God, men, the whole creation, heaven, earth, and all therein, appear in a new light, and stand related to him in a new manner, since he was created anew in Christ Jesus.” –  John Wesley

{John 1: 10-13}

“Wherever God confers the dignity of children, he creates the nature and disposition of children. Men cannot do so when they adopt.” – Matthew Henry

1.We do not and cannot “birth ourselves” {John 1: 10-13}

Grace does not run in the blood.

“The Jews gloried much in their parentage, and the noble blood that ran in their veins: We are Abraham’s seed.”– Matthew Henry

It is not produced by the natural power of our own will.

Left to ourselves we would never seek after God.

{Psalm 14} “…let us lament the corruption of our own nature, and see what need we have of the grace of God; and, since that which is born of the flesh is flesh, let us not marvel that we are told we must be born again.” – Matthew Henry

{also Romans 3:9-19}

So the Bible tells us that the new birth is not “of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

And according to Gods diagnosis, man is in a hopeless state.

“If Jesus Christ were to stand on the platform to-night, what would many people do with him? “O!” say some, “we would make him a King.” I do not believe it. They would crucify him again, if they had the opportunity. If He were to come and say, “Here I am, I love you, will you be saved by Me?” not one of you would consent if you were left to your will.” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Again, “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” 

2.The new birth is of God.

It means to be born of God.

I Peter 1:3, 23

John 3:1-8

“The wind bloweth – According to its own nature, not thy will, and thou hearest the sound thereof – Thou art sure it doth blow, but canst not explain the particular manner of its acting. So is every one that is born of the Spirit – The fact is plain, the manner of His operations inexplicable.” – John Wesley

{John Wesley had a Masters degree from Oxford University yet he could not explain the operations of the Holy Spirit in regards to the new birth.}

The “new birth is owing to the word of God as the means and to the Spirit of God as the great and sole author. True believers are born of God” – Matthew Henry

1 John 5:1 “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God…”

{also 1John 3:9}

I believe Ezekiel 37 is a picture of preaching to men who are dead in their sins.

When we are told to preach the gospel to every creature we have been given an impossible task. Like Ezekiel’s prophecy we are preaching to the dead. We are preaching to dry bones.

“And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:” {vs.3-5}

“Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” {vs.9}

Just as a newborn baby could not have “birthed” itself neither can we spiritually birth ourselves.

We had nothing to do with our natural birth.

That is why I told our congregation recently;

“I can tell you how to be saved but I cannot tell you how to be born again.

Romans 10:9-10That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Jesus told Nicodemus, “Ye must be born again.”

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Are you Afraid of the Bible?

Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? Jeremiah 23:29 

I believe that many Christians are afraid of the Word of God. They are afraid that it might demolish their preconceived notions. It may well destroy their indoctrination. The Bible is THE authority. Men’s theories and opinions do not supersede the Word of God. I have been taught things over the years that were really just opinions bolstered by a few Bible verses {usually taken out of context} along with a good measure of name calling. I love all my bothers and sisters in Christ but I desire to be loyal to the Word of God. Peer pressure can affect adults too. Everyone wants to be liked. No one wants to be excluded. Christians can be just as cruel as the lost world when it comes to pressuring people to fit in. I too want to fit in…with God.

I want to please the Saviour who bought me.

Here are a couple relevant quotes from Spurgeon:

“My love of consistency with my own doctrinal views is not great enough to allow me knowingly to alter a single text of Scripture. I have great respect for orthodoxy, but my reverence for inspiration is far greater. I would sooner a hundred times over appear to be inconsistent with myself than be inconsistent with the word of God. I never thought it to be any very great crime to seem to be inconsistent with myself; for who am I that I should everlastingly be consistent? But I do think it a great crime to be so inconsistent with the word of God that I should want to lop away a bough or even a twig from so much as a single tree of the forest of Scripture.” {Salvation by Knowing the Truth}

“Men who are morbidly anxious to possess a self-consistent creed, a creed which will put together and form a square like a Chinese puzzle,–are very apt to narrow their souls. Those who will only believe what they can reconcile will necessarily disbelieve much of divine revelation.”

“With words of human wisdom, and speculations of their own invention, men disguise falsehood, and deceive many. Be it ours to give to the people what God gives to us. Be ye each of you as Micaiah, who declared, “As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.” {An All Around Ministry – Faith}

see also: Grammatical Gunpowder

 

 

 

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An Open Letter to Christmas Haters…

RoyalG_016_Pg36Romans 14:5  “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”

We live in a strange day. I have Christian’s friends who detest Christmas. Now when I was a kid the only folks we knew who didn’t celebrate Christmas were the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

I guess there were other folks around but until a few years ago I had never heard of them. It is no wonder the unsaved world has a hard time figuring Christians out. I am having a pretty hard time of it myself. Up until recently virtually no Baptists rejected the celebration of Christmas. This is a fairly new trend as far as “recent” Baptist history goes. {at least where I live}

I am going to make several lighthearted observations.

#1. I believe many Baptists  have recently rejected Christmas to show how “super-separated” they are. I am speaking mainly of the IFB {Independent Fundamental Baptist} folks.

The “hate Christmas” movement is also gaining popularity in the Sovereign grace and home-school movements.

Having been an IFB for many years I know how they think. I know what makes some of them tick.

Often times Christians try to outdo each other on separation.

Rejecting Christmas may pretty much be the ‘coup-de-grace’.

{I mean for all of their separation even the Amish and Mennonites celebrate Christmas}

It’s hard to be “more separated” than to reject Christmas.

Years ago I worked with a Christian man who detested Christmas. The company we worked for gave us a yearly Christmas bonus. I asked him since he didn’t believe in Christmas would it be all right if I had his bonus…He didn’t quite hate Christmas that much.

#2. I believe many modern day Christmas haters are from the “reformed” crowd. Now this crowd is hard for me to figure out also. Many of them promote all manner of questionable behavior but they hate the celebration of Christmas. They really aren’t too concerned with separation from the world.

For the most part they can indulge in a lot of what I would call questionable or worldly activities. The primary reason why these folks hate the celebration of Christmas is because they see they see Rome behind every Christmas tree. That nasty old Pope is behind it all. In their mind they are still “reforming”,  I guess.

They have studied their history and have unfortunately  found out that their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were all basically a bunch of pagan idol worshipers.

#3. I believe many today find the rejection of Christmas appealing because they are cheapskates. The reformed or fundamentalist view {or combination of the two} will work…“any port in a storm” { I am joking here…sort of}

#4 I cannot help but see PRIDE  at times. – “We don’t do that”

NOW…

I do need to make clear…

I have never worshiped a Christmas tree.

I have never told my kids that Santa Claus is real or brought them gifts.

I have never bowed down or worshiped a nativity scene.

But I must confess…

I have some wonderful memories with regards to Christmas

I enjoy being with my friends and family during the holidays.

I enjoy the good food.

I enjoy watching my family open gifts.

I enjoy looking at the lights.

I enjoy hearing the Christmas songs.

I enjoy watching It’s a Wonderful Life and Ebenezer Scrooge and The Grinch that Stole Christmas.

Last but not least,

I have a few questions for the “Christmas haters”

Did you enjoy Christmas when you were a kid?

Has celebrating Christmas tarnished you now that you are an adult?

Are you “scarred for life”?

Do you look back on your childhood holidays as “misspent years?”

How does your family feel about your decision to reject the celebration of Christmas?

Is your family hurt over your decision to reject the Christmas holiday?

How do you think your unsaved family thinks of your decision?

Do you think your children might be bitter about your decision not to celebrate Christmas when they get older?

Yeah, yeah, I know…the catholics, the pagans, the mass…

I have a suggestion.

You could keep the good things about Christmas and throw out the bad.

As for me…

I’m going to enjoy my family.

I’m going to give and receive gifts.

I’m going to drink some eggnog.

I’m going to eat some good food.

I am going to watch It’s a Wonderful Life and Ebenezer Scrooge and The Grinch that Stole Christmas.

I am going to think about the birth of Christ and how He came to earth save His people from their sins.

It would be a good time to be a Christian.

I guess you could say, “Bah Humbug!”

But I say,

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

 

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THE POWER OF PRAYER.

ShipsCo_028_Pg62_SandyHookByNightI found this missionary story in an old book I have {1918} I thought I would share it in The Christian Excavator – Brother Shawn

“Some years ago some Moravian missionaries sailed from London to the island of St. Thomas, where they were going to labour among the slaves, The name of the ship in which they sailed was the “Britannia.” At first the voyage was pleasant and prosperous; and in their hearts, as well as with their voices, the missionaries would often thank God for his goodness to them.

But one day a great danger threatened them. A pirate ship was distinguished far off, but bearing down towards them. Now pirates are at sea what robbers are on land, but even more terrible; because there is seldom any help near. They cruise about the seas in their light-built, swift-sailing vessels; seldom going on land, but making it their whole business to rob other ships. And on their ill-gotten spoils they live. Generally they murder as well as rob. Sometimes they lay a plank over the ship’s side, blindfold the eyes of the unfortunate crew and passengers, and compel them to walk thus along the plank, till, without knowing it, they reach the end; and then they fall into the sea, and are drowned. No wonder that the sight of a pirate-vessel was a very alarming one to the people in the “Britannia.”

It came on, nearer and nearer,—and what could those who saw it do, all alone there, in the wide ocean? Each did what he thought wisest and best. The captain judged it best to put the ship into a state of defence; so he arranged his men, and prepared to resist as well as he could. The sailors, whatever they thought best, had no choice but to obey the captain. But the missionaries thought it best to pray; and they went down into the cabin, and there, heedless of what was going on deck, they poured out their souls in earnest prayer to God; remembering, no doubt, His promises, and the words, “If God be for us, who can be against us ?”— Romans 8:31.

The pirate-ship approached till it came within gun-shot of the “Britannia”; and then from the cannon arranged along its deck, began to pour out a heavy fire. And there were grappling-irons on board, or strong sharp hooks fixed to long ropes, ready to throw into the “Britannia,” and hold her fast, while the pirates should board her, and do their work of destruction. It seemed that there was little chance of escape from such an enemy.” But the captain, whose heart was sinking at the fearful prospect before him, did not know what powerful helpers he had below, in the few peaceable missionaries, whose fervent prayers were then ascending through the noise of the fight, to heaven.

The moment the pirates tried to throw their grappling-irons across to the other ship, their own was tossed violently, and the men who held the ropes were thrown with force into the sea. Vexed by this disaster, the pirate-captain sent others, who shared the same fate. Seeing he could not succeed in this manner, he resolved to fire at the “Britannia”, till she sank with repeated blows. But this effort strangely failed also; for the balls missed their aim, and fell into the sea. The smoke of the frequent charges was very dense, and hung about the vessels for some minutes, hiding them from each other’s view. At last a sudden gust of wind cleared it away; and to the amazement of the pirate-captain, the “Britannia” was seen at a distance, with all her sails spread to the wind, speeding swiftly away from the attack! And they were forced in great anger to abandon their cruel purpose.

Thus wonderfully had God appeared, and saved the vessel, in answer to prayer. The missionaries’ prayers had been greatly honoured; but they were to have a further fruit still.

Five years afterwards, during which the missionaries had been diligently preaching the gospel at St. Thomas’s, they, and the other missionaries on the island, agreed to meet together to celebrate the anniversary of their deliverance from the pirates, and to thank God for his other mercies. As they sat together, word was brought that a stranger wished to speak to them. And at their permission, a tall man entered, with fine bold features and a pleasant expression of face. The missionaries wondered, and one asked, What was the stranger’s business with them?

“First answer me one question,” said he: “Are you the men who came to this island, five years ago, in the English ship Britannia?”

“We are,” replied the missionary who had spoken.

“And you were attacked upon the sea by pirates?”

“Exactly; but why ask these questions?”

“Because,” answered the stranger, “I am the captain who commanded the pirate vessel which attacked you.” Then the missionaries looked at one another in silent wonder, as their former enemy continued:—”The miraculous way in which your vessel escaped was the cause of my own salvation from the power of sin, through faith in Christ.”

It would be too long to tell you all his words; but you may imagine with what unspeakable joy the missionaries listened to his tale, as he went on to tell them how, in his vexation at their strange escape, he bad made inquiries of the captain of the Britannia, and learned that it was through the prayers of the Moravian missionaries of St. Thomas’s,—and how, not understanding how a vessel could be saved from pirates by prayer, he resolved to know the Moravian brothers. He sold his vessel, and in the United States of America one day visited a Moravian chapel, and heard a sermon from the words, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” He sought the preacher, and heard from him the way of salvation through Jesus Christ. “And thus,” he concluded, ” from a pirate-captain, I am become a poor sinner— justified by the grace and mercy of Christ; and my chief hope has been that I might some day be able to seek you, and relate to You my miraculous conversion. This joy is granted to me to-day.”

He ceased, and you may imagine the feelings of the missionaries. They were met to celebrate their deliverance from the pirates on that day five years ago, through prayer. And there stood before them the pirate-captain himself, not fierce now, but humble and pious,—who traced his own deliverance from the bondage of Satan, to the same prayer that rescued them from him!”

And they all knelt down together before God, and thanked him for his great mercies.”

 

 

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Revive Us Again

104_6378{This is the introduction to the sermon I preached this morning November 8, 2015}

“Lord, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob. Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.  Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger.  Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease. Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations?  Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? ”  Psalm 85:1-6

We are facing as Christians in this country some unbelievable wickedness.

There is no use hiding our heads in the sand and pretending that everything is okay.

It is not okay.

We are also losing our young people.

One survey said almost 90% of children raised in evangelical homes leave church at the age of [about] 18, never to return.

The older folks are dying off.

In Europe the churches are closing in records numbers and being replaced by mosques.

In 1961 there were seven mosques in England…now there are over 1700.

Overall, at least 10,000 churches have been closed in Britain since 1960, Another 4,000 churches are set to be closed by 2020, according to an organization that tracks religious trends in Britain.

By contrast, there are now more than 1,700 official mosques in Britain.  Many of those mosques are now meeting in abandoned Protestant and Catholic church buildings. Not counting those Muslims meeting in storefronts,warehouses etc. (1)

The churches here in America will soon face the same thing as in England and throughout Europe.

We as believers are also engaged in a battle for right and wrong.

The sodomites have declared war on true Christianity.

Our country, its judges and many of the highest leaders in our land are God-haters.

Even so-called, “church people” seem to have trouble knowing the difference between right and wrong.

They continually vote for baby murderers and those who have made it their goal to destroy this country.

They  {church people} condone all manner of immorality.

They shack up.

They curse and swear like drunken sailors.

They gamble.

They guzzle booze.

They tattoo and pierce themselves up like the heathen our missionaries encountered 100 years ago.

People today frequently watch nudity and all manner of vile TV and movies.

The average person today seems to have no idea what right and wrong is about.

If you stand up and speak out against all this wickedness you are looked upon as some kind of “nut job”.

These things that I am saying today are not new.

They are in all likelihood the things your parents and grandparents believed.

You see, they may not have had a college education but they knew the difference between a boy and a girl.

Even if they weren’t Christians…

They knew a male from a female.

Many of these people who are leaders in this country…judges, lawyers, legislators senators and all the way up to the top would have been placed in jail 60 or 70 years ago for their treasonous activities. {or at least placed in a rubber room.}

We have turned our back on God and He is judging this nation by giving us wicked, ungodly rulers.

What we need is God to revive this nation.

No sense worrying about the lost people when most church people are as wicked as anything coming or going.

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?  I Peter 4:17

“Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations?  Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? “

(1) Muslims Converting Empty European Churches into Mosques by Soeren Kern January 16, 2012

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That Ye May Know Part Two

RoyalG_023_Pg51“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” I John 5:13

“…There are also some true believers who reject assurance, or shrink from it as a doctrine fraught with danger. They consider it borders on presumption. They seem to think it a proper humility never to be confident, and to live in a certain degree of doubt. This is to be regretted, and does much harm. I frankly allow there are some presumptuous persons who profess to feel a confidence for which they have no Scriptural warrant. There always are some people who think well of themselves when God thinks ill, just as there are some who think ill of themselves when God thinks well. There always will be such. There never yet was a Scriptural truth without abuses and counterfeits. God’s election,-man’s impotence,-salvation by grace,-all are alike abused. There will be fanatics and enthusiasts as long as the world stands. But, for all this, assurance is a real, sober, and true thing; and God’s children must not let themselves be driven from the use of a truth, merely because it is abused” {J. C. Ryle 1816-1900}

I decided to write my first article on assurance regarding the fruit or the “test” of life. I mentioned these first not because of importance but because in the day in which we live these are the most neglected.

Another way, and surely the most important way, is by accepting and believing the Word of God. Unfortunately, this is the most emphasized teaching today and the others are woefully neglected. I am of the opinion that balance is needed on this matter.

A person who clings to John 10:27-30; {My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.} But yet lives and acts like the unsaved world has no reason or warrant to declare his or her assurance.

The passage does indeed say that Christ gives His sheep eternal life and it states that His sheep will never perish but it also says His sheep hear His voice and they follow Him. There is a balance.

A person who claims assurance but yet has no desire to follow Christ and no change of heart and lifestyle, is leaning on what I believe to be a false assurance.

The Word of God has many passages to comfort and assure His children. I would like to list just a few of them to encourage His sheep.

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37 {this verse is often misquoted, notice in the first part of the verse Jesus says, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me”}

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” John 6:47

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:29-39

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” II Timothy 1:12

I could list many more scriptures concerning the teaching of assurance but you get the idea. Assurance is an often misused and abused doctrine. But there is nothing like laying your head on your pillow at night and knowing you belong to Him.

Brother Shawn

{These are articles I published several years ago in printed form}

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That Ye May Know Part One

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” I John 5:13

This is probably one of the most misused verses in the Bible today. This verse is often used by “soulwinners” to “give assurance” to someone after “leading them to the Lord”. In another words, a person agrees to a list of facts from the Bible, repeats a prayer and then he or she is “given assurance” with the abovementioned verse.

There are several problems with this flimflam evangelism. As a matter of fact I would say there is not too much of a Biblical element in the whole scheme. I believe the plight of modern day fundamental Christianity can, for the most part, be traced back to our salesman like preaching and soul winning methods. {And we are in a plight in case you didn’t know. One fundamentalist leader said not long ago, “this is Fundamentalism’s finest hour” It may be “fundamentalisms” finest hour but true Biblical Christianity has certainly seen better days. He is just another typical “yes man” doing what yes men do, telling the emperor he is not naked}

We Baptist have been taught how to win “converts” without the Holy Ghost. Many of our churches are filled with people who are religious but lost. Scores of our churches are no different than the cults they rail against. They are made up of deceived people who have accepted another gospel and another Christ. The late missionary James Stewart said, “So great has been the perversion that many congregations are astounded when they hear the true Gospel of the lordship of Christ. They believe that we are preaching a new gospel.” They may have the name Baptist and carry a King James Bible but many of them have never been born again.

They have been “given assurance” by their pastor or their mother or by the date written in the front of their Bible. I fear that many professing Christians have assurance but it is often a false assurance. This is the reason that many of our churches are so worldly. {The reason many churches are going to the world for instructions is that worldlings must be entertained. In the words of Spurgeon you feed sheep but entertain goats} Many CINO’S {Christians In Name Only} do not have the Holy Ghost. Their spouse or parents or their preacher is the one who tries to keep them on the straight and narrow.

Regrettably, it has been found out the hard way that you cannot keep dogs and hogs from reverting back to their old ways. It is because they do not have a new nature. There is no struggle within. There may be a struggle with their preacher or their parents or maybe even their conscience but they only have one nature. They know nothing of the struggle that the Apostle Paul talks about in Romans chapter seven. They do not say with Paul “O wretched man that I am!” They know nothing of putting off the old man and his deeds and putting on the new man. They know nothing of a contrite heart or a repentant spirit.

I read an excellent illustration once. You can take a cat and throw it into a hog pen and that cat will do everything in its power to get out. A cat will not be happy in a hog pen. Its one desire will be to get out as soon as possible and once it is out it will concentrate on getting itself clean again. That is a cat’s nature. By the same token you can take a hog and give it a bath. You can scrub it and spray it with perfume and tie a pink ribbon around its neck. But if it gets near a hog pen its one desire will be to jump back in the mire and wallow in the filth. That is the nature of a hog. That is why God’s Word says; “But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” II Peter 2:22

Christians may “fall” into sin but like the cat they will not be comfortable there and they will eventually be looking for a way out and they will also be remorseful for the time they wasted there. You can’t make a cat behave like a hog nor can you make a hog behave like a cat. They are two different critters with two different natures and sooner or later their true nature will be revealed.

Many professing Christians are like the washed up hog. If their preacher or their parents or maybe their spouse can keep them in line they, like the hog, can put on a pretty good show for a long time. The reason many Independent Fundamental Baptist pastors are called dictators is because it takes a dictator to keep a pack of hogs from running back to the hog pen. They have to micromanage every area of their people’s lives. Many professing Christians do not have the Holy Ghost to convict them when they watch things they shouldn’t or when they say things that are wrong or are dishonest in their business dealings. But it is sad to say even though they may not have the Holy Spirit …many of them do have “assurance”

I am glad the Bible says we can know. The Apostle John wrote the Epistle of I John that we may know that we have eternal life. If you would like to have true Biblical assurance I suggest you begin by reading John’s epistle and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to your heart if you are truly saved. John’s epistle gives us many “things” or “tests”; I would like to list several of them.

A true Christian will walk in the light not in darkness. {I John1:5-7}

A true Christian will keep His commandments. {I John 2:3-4, 3:24, 5:2-3}

A true Christian will want to walk as Christ walked. {I John 2:6}

A true Christian will love the brethren. {I John 2:9-10, 3:10-16, 4:7, 11, 20-21}

A true Christian will not love the world nor the things in the world. {I John 2:15-17}

A true Christian will do {practice} righteousness. {I John 2:29,  3:7-10}

A true Christian will have a desire to be pure and holy. {I John 3:3}

A true Christian will not practice sin. {I John 3:5-10, 5:18}

A true Christian will confess that Jesus is the Son of God. {I John 4:15}

A true Christian will overcome the world. {I John 5:4-5}

A true Christian will have the witness of the Spirit. {I John 5:10}

 “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” I John 5:13

A true Christian will have some fruit.

The things listed below are not the fruit of the Spirit. Any unbeliever with some degree of self discipline could perform these things {and many often do}.

Carrying a King James Bible

Dressing a certain way

Not going to movies

Not using tobacco or alcohol

Homeschooling

Praying

Going to church three times a week

Getting rid of the TV

Soul winning

Keeping the Sabbath

Not listening to worldly music

I am certain these may be good standards to live by but they are not the fruit of the Spirit. As one man said many years ago, Trusting in religious duties is a sure way, though a cleaner way to hell.”

But the Word of God says;

“…The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”

One way assurance can be attained is by examining the fruit or “things” in our lives. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” James called these things or fruit, works. “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”

Do you see this fruit in your life?

Brother Shawn

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