Continuing


~James 1:25-26 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

During this time of the early New Testament Church, it seems to me that there were “religious” people in the midst of the Christians and James was pointing out the differences. What were these differences between the “religious” and the born-again believer?  James states that the believer will:

  • Look to the Word of God which gives salvation and frees us from the bonds of sin – the perfect law can only be made perfect by Jesus Christ and His work on the cross!
  • Continue in the faith
  • Not be one who will forget what he hears the preacher say but will take it with him
  • Apply what he has learned and will use it – he will “do the work” … not work to get saved but work after salvation for the cause of Christ.  Christ, Himself, said: ~John 4:34  Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
  • Be blessed in his work – When a believer has joy and peace, everything he does for the cause of Christ is blessed by God.
  • Hold his tongue – will not be a backbiter, talebearer, one who speaks evil of others.  The fruit of the Spirit cannot produce this type of heart.  The heart that is submitted to the Spirit’s guidance will be the total opposite.

Continuing in the faith is not easy, is it teen girl?  No one said it would be.  Christ warned you that the world would hate what the Christian has to say. Do those you come in contact with hate what you say or do you try to please them with sweet words when it comes to getting saved?

~Matthew 10:25  It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

Don’t be discouraged – continue in the faith – do the work that the Lord would have you to do with the gifts that His Spirit has given to you. Everyone, including you teen girl, has a gift and has a responsibility to spread the news about Jesus.  The Holy Spirit has given to you specific gifts that, when used with the right motives (to glorify Jesus Christ), will produce much for the Kingdom!  You can reach other teens – those who would not listen to an adult.

The “religious” only serve in vain according to today’s verses.  They are doing all the things they have been taught to do but their heart is not in their religion.

~Matthew 15:8-9  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.   But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

It would be awful to “think” you’re doing all the right things in your religion only to find out at the time of judgment that your beliefs have been in vain! You do not need to worry yourself because your faith has been based on the work of Jesus Christ and that work is perfect and eternal. However, you need to busy yourself with working for the Kingdom by telling others how to be born again – encouraging those in need of a kind word – giving to and helping those in need – exhorting your Christian friend to live righteously. Your work is far from over and won’t be until the Master calls you home! What a day that will be!!!:-)

Two Masters


~Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.

Before salvation, I can honestly say that my thoughts and my desires did not focus on God.  My life was spent doing what I wanted to do.  I did what felt good.  I went to church every Sunday but did not live the life that I claimed to hold high on Sundays.  I was a religious die hard, however, rooted in my upbringing, and clinging to doctrines taught as a child by my parents and my priest.  I defended a “faith” and never confirmed whether or not it was based on God’s own Word, the Scriptures.  I was trying to serve two masters – my religion and my flesh (sin), which were both being controlled by the devil. The Word says that anyone who is in a religion that is based on what I can do to enter Heaven and not on the fact that Christ did everything for us, is serving another master.

Christ’s words in Luke 16 help us to understand that one cannot mix “religion” and the world.  You must have one or the other otherwise you will not have true joy, teen girl.  It is our nature to love the one and pay less attention to the other.  Trying to be religious will always be a battle.  The flesh will continue to win because we have a sin nature and it is natural for us to desire sin.  Jesus said:

~John 8:42-44  Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.    Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.   Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

When you know the Truth, teen girl, the truth will guide you and will keep you.  Every man is a liar according to God’s Word:

~Romans 3:4a  God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar;

Why believe a man when one knows man is a liar?  Why base where you will spend eternity on what someone says rather than God’s Word?  It stands to reason that you would want to know the truth from the source that cannot lie, wouldn’t you?  The Word says that God does not lie as He is not a man:

~Numbers 23:19  God is not a man, that he should lie;

His Word is perfect and does not contain lies.  Therefore, you can trust God’s Word to lead you in the right direction.  His truths will set you free through salvation in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone.

~John 8:31-32  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Jesus provides not only salvation but He sets us free from the bondage of Satan or religion.  We are no longer serving two masters but now possess the Holy Spirit and are now able to say that we know the Father.  We are now children of God and have a relationship with the Father as a child has with his own earthly father.

Repentance


Stack of wood
~Ephesians 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

Repentance is something that is necessary for salvation and after salvation. My encounters with most teenagers has revealed to me that this has not been taught so well in their families or in their churches. Have you been taught, teen girl? As you look at this beautiful photograph, meditate on your sin in comparison to each one of these pieces of wood in the wood pile. There are lessons to be taught:-)

  1. First, this wood is no longer living, but dead. Sin kills us and separates us from a right relationship with God. To the unsaved, it means eternal life in the Lake of Fire. To the believer, it means the days ahead will be filled with chastisement and “spankings” from the Lord. The believer’s punishment for sin has already been placed on by the Lord Jesus Christ by His death on the cross. Therefore, your chastisement and spanking will be here on earth, not for eternity, teen girl.
  2. Secondly, it takes quite a few logs to make a wood pile. Sin never sits by itself when you do not repent. It leads to other sins – one by one they begin to form a pile, a barrier, if you will. Your fellowship with the Father is no longer open. There is a barrier, a wall in between you and God. It is not a barrier that the Father has built but one that you are responsible for building.
  3. Lastly, the wood pile can come down but you have to bring it down for yourself. Repentance restores your fellowship by tearing down the barrier between you and your Heavenly Father. You can once again see Him and experience His healing hand in your spirit.

Christ tore down the barriers between God and man by sacrificing Himself for us! Once we accept His saving grace, we become children of the King – eternally His. However, this does not mean that we will never sin again. We most assuredly will! But we know we have forgiveness. When we truly repent, we acknowledge our sin (each one of those logs in the wood pile) and we change directions. The path we had been following was not working for us because we managed to create a massive wood pile! Changing heart and direction and pushing forward with the light of God’s Word and His Holy Spirit to guide us, is the by product of repentance.

Repentance is a grace, and must have its daily operation, as well as other graces. A true penitent must go on from faith to faith, from strength to strength; he must never stand still or turn back. True repentance is a continued spring, where the waters of godly sorrow are always flowing. ‘My sin is ever before me’.
Thomas Brooks

It’s Simple!


101_1435~1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

God has written all that we need for salvation within the pages of His Holy Word. It is THE source for every part of your life, teen girl. When Christ was in the world and being tempted by the devil, He said:

~Luke 4:4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.

God, Himself, instructed you to turn to His Word when you are under attack – undergoing temptations, trials, etc. Jesus, Himself, used this method and He would know exactly what His child needs. If Christ needed it, then you need it!

There are people who get caught up in philosophy and love to get into discussions on religion to show off their “knowledge.” These same people also like to complicate the Scriptures. The Bible is a guide and will lead people down the path to Jesus Christ. But philosophers love to make it complicated so people will look at them in awe as though they are the only ones who can understand Bible matters. Then you have those who try to combine science and philosophy to distract the lost with palm reading, ghost hunting, vampires, etc. These are smokescreens and distractions which lead the lost into more darkness. The Word of God sheds light and opens your eyes, teen girl. God’s Word will protect you from the devil’s lies and deceptions.

“We are not called to proclaim philosophy and metaphysics, but the simple gospel.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Reason or Faith?


~Matthew 15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were called hypocrites because they allowed their Jewish traditions to supersede God’s commandments. They added law after law that even they could not keep – they added extra burdens on the people which were not intended by God. They got to the point where their “reasoning” took over and their hearts took a back seat.

Today’s “religions” are no better. They quote great philosophical texts as the basis of their belief system, however, they have strayed from the Word of God. If Christ said the Pharisees were transgressing God’s Word by their traditions, how much more the religious leaders today? We have all the Scriptures to use as our guide and teacher yet religious leaders insist on following their church fathers rather than Christ. Are you following your parents “religion,” teen girl? Or do you know what God’s Word has to say about being saved and how to live?

There will come a day when we shall all be judged according to the Word of God. Were we born again of the Spirit according to John 3:3-6? Or were we busy reasoning spiritual matters out by someone’s interpretation of the Bible? It is uour own responsibility to search out the things of God, not someone else’s. Your parents won’t be able to get you into Heaven, teen girl. No one will stand by you at the Judgment Day to take your side, unless you are truly born again.

~Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Truly born again – just what does that mean? It means that you made a conscious decision to repent from your sins and accept Jesus Christ’s death on the cross as payment for the penalty for your sins. No one else can pay that penalty but you or Christ. It is your decision. When one is truly born again, she has a desire to change for the better.

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

She has a desire to serve the Risen Saviour. However, the one who “claims” she is born again but only did so as lip service, does not have this desire. Her desire remains with the world and she desires to continue sinning. I’ve often wondered how many professing Christians are out there desiring to sin or not caring whether they sin or not. This is not being truly born again.

~Matthew 22:13-14 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.

There is nothing wrong in doing moral inventory on your life. We all should. This keeps us close to the Saviour’s side, if we are truly born again. But for those who have not changed spiritually, moral inventory is the Holy Spirit’s way of convicting you. He desires to draw you to salvation. Don’t be as the Pharisees trying to live religion through reason. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill your heart and yield to His calling.

“I would rather go to heaven doubting all the way, than be lost through self-confidence.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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Conversations


~Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Teen girl, your conversation should be different than the conversation of your unsaved friends and classmates. How can you know exactly what is meant by this verse?  God’s Word is quite detailed and Paul has given so much to go on.

Here are some examples of worldly speech and what the Word of God says about it:

  • Loud and boisterous – calling attention to yourself
  • Interfering in another’s business

~1 Thessalonians 4:11a Study to be quiet, and to do your own business

  • Stories based on details that have not been confirmed or verified

~Titus 2:8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

  • Liars

~Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

  • Filthy language

~Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

  • Language filled with anger and malice/revenge
  • Words that cut another person down

~Colossians 3:8  But who ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Where’s your mouth these days, teen girl? Are you guilty of having this type of speech? As you do moral inventory of your Christian walk, strive to follow Paul’s exhortations.

Relationship


~Matthew 10:24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.

I love this verse! It shows two aspects of our relationship with Christ:

    1. Disciple and master
    2. Servant and Lord

The definition of the word “disciple” means pupil and the word “master” means teacher. It’s an easy comparison for someone in school:-)  Christ is your teacher and through His Word He teaches all you need to know to serve Him.  Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1) and, therefore, has all authority to teach you.

The second relationship is servant and lord.  The word “servant” means bond slave and “lord” means supreme ruler!  If you’ve seen movies about slavery, you already know that no servant ignores his master’s commands.  No servant goes against what his master has told him to do.  A servant does not belong to himself but he belongs to his master.

The born-again believer, that means you teen girl, should obey the Lord without question.  The Word of God, your Master’s words, clearly outlines what He expects of you and as His servant, you must obey.

The world laughs at the Bible and anything that relates to it.  The world laughs at true Christianity and tries to make a mockery of anything holy.  Christians are depicted as lunatics and the world has great joy in making fun at Christ’s expense.  How very sad!  But Christ shall have the last word. Stay strong, teen girl! Stay alert and read/study your Bible so that you can be prepared to have an answer when people ask you about your faith. Jesus is coming soon!

~Revelation 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.