HOLINESS OF THE HEART, AND FORSAKING THE WORLD

As a Christian, we are told from God’s word not to love the world, nor the things that are in the world. I John 2:15 says, ” Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him. What is the “world” and what is being worldly? I John further says, “For everything in the world, the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has .does-comes not from the Father, but from the world.” As Christians what makes us different from the”world”? Is it because we don’t drink or smoke or gamble? Or maybe it’s because we dress a certain way or don’t dress a certain way. Worldliness is this and more. The presence or lack of these things in a person’s life doesn’t necessarily make them a Christian; and it may or may not mean they have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
People who abstain from these vices may have disciplined themselves that way, but that doesn’t mean they know Jesus Christ. Matthew 6:19,20,21 says “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,…, For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Being worldy and being holy are like the opposite sides of each other; but they both contend with the condition of the heart. And the condition being in the heart of what your heart truly values. Someone once said that eventually you will be where your heart is.. this can be said of a man who is married, but his heart is with another woman. So worldliness has more to do with where your heart is rather than whether you drink, or smoke, or wear flashy clothes. This is not to say that a Christian shouldn’t be careful to maintain a modest lifestyle, but it isn’t the lifestyle that makes us holy; it is more of where our heart is.
If your heart lies in pleasing God, then eventually that is where you will be; with God. If your heart is in the world, and values what the world has to offer more than what God has for those who love him; your fate will be that of those who worship things that pass away and rot, and thieves break in and steal.
Even though money is high on the list of possessions in the world, the word of God tells us not to love money: I Timothy 6:10 says ” For the love of money is the root of all evil. Some people, eager for money , have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” This is a true statement; people have lost their children, their spouses, and even their very souls in pursuit of something that can only rot and lose its value over time.
Judas, the disciple who hung himself, had a worldly view of life; he was looking for Jesus to establish his kingdom on earth, and when he didn’t, he betrayed his Lord and Savior. Jesus will someday rule over the earth, but the timing of that will be when God says it is to happen; not man.
The book of Colossians 3:1-4 says, ” If ye have been risen with Christ, set your affections on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.Set your mind on things above,not earthly things, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Let me give just one more scripture as to why we are to focus on things in heaven and not things in the earth. II Corinthians 4:18 says, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Another reason we are to focus on the eternal is because as I John 2:17 says, The world passes away and the lusts thereof, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

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KEEPING THE FAITH, FROM BEGINNING TO END

As a youngster in Sunday School, the superintendent would consistently ask the question, “what is faith?”
He gave an answer that to me as a child had no meaning. Over the years the definition remained with me, but until I came to know Jesus personally, it was just words.
As believers in Jesus Christ, our faith has a beginning and an end. Once a person’s faith has been destroyed, their salvation can go right along with it. God said that the just shall live by faith. Which essentially means we live by principles that we can not see, hear or even feel. Our faith in Jesus rests on someone we have never seen, but believe that he exist. The Bible says in I Peter 1:8 that ” Though you have not seen him, you love him.” I Peter also says that the end of our faith is the salvation of our souls.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” True faith consist of believing you already have something even though you have no physical proof of it. In the book of Hebrews it states that we understand the world was framed by the word of God; for we believe that God spoke the world into existence out of nothing. Faith in what God has said has nothing to do with what you see, it is what you believe.
As Christians, we look forward to eternal life, but we also believe is’s already ours; and that the only thing that stands between us possessing eternal life is the passage of time.
Faith is active. There will be times as a believer we will have to act upon what we believe. Prayer is an exercise of our faith in God: for when we pray believe that Jesus Christ will answer our prayer according to his will. It is useless to pray if we don’t believe that Jesus hears us or if we have a negative attitude toward prayer. We must believe the things which we ask in prayer as though they are already done.
Many times there are obstacles to exercising our faith. The man who was crippled and bed-ridden had friends who were supportive of his desire to walk. If this man had friends who opposed him, it would have been harder for him to get what he wanted from God. These friends were so supportive that they were willing to open the roof to the house and lower him in so that he could touch Jesus.(Luke 5:20) They could have been the kind of “friends” who said, “oh well you have been crippled all your life, why do you care now?”
One can not even be saved without faith; for it says in Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must first believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
If you walk with Christ long enough your faith will be tested. Before our Lord was crucified, he told Peter, the Apostle, “Satan desires to have you that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not: and when you are converted, strengthen your brothers.” The Lord knew that Peter’s faith was going to be greatly tried, but his prayer for him delivered him from what Satan had designed for him. How wonderful to know that God himself had prayed for you! No one knows how precious their faith is until it is tested and almost destroyed by a situation, a disappointment, an individual, a life-shattering event. Paul spoke of some teachers and preachers that caused people’s faith to be shipwrecked or ruined; how? through false teaching. (I Timothy 1:19,II Timothy 2:18)
Hebrews 12:2 says we are to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. If Jesus began it, he can finish it. The Apostle Paul told Timothy in one of his last letters, ” I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord , the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (II Timothy 4:7,8)