Archive for August, 2015

Daily Devotion: When the Holy Spirit Groans in Prayer

 

Daily Devotion: When the Holy Spirit Groans in Prayer

Message by Wil Pounds

The indwelling Spirit of God works in us in pray to cry out “Abba,” “Father, Daddy.” He helps us to endure sufferings so that we may patiently look forward to the final redemption of our bodies when we will see Jesus “with glory that is burst upon us” at His coming.

We are commanded in the Scriptures to “pray continually” (1 Thess. 5:17). When we pray we are petitioning the sovereign Creator of the universe and speaking to Him personally as we present our adoration, confessions, thanksgivings, and supplications to Him. He patiently listens to us and responds to us consistently out of His infinite wisdom.

Since that is true why is it so hard to pray? Why is prayer a problem even for mature Christians? The apostle Paul says it is because of “our weakness.” Phillips translates Romans 8:26, “The Spirit of God not only maintains this hope within us, but helps us in our present limitations.” The wonderful thing is His intercessions for the saints are always in harmony with God’s will. He comes to our aid in our infirmities.

Paul does not say the Holy Spirit removes our “weaknesses,” but that He “helps” us. We live our whole Christian life in conditions of humility and weaknesses. The Holy Spirit comes along side as our Helper and gives us wisdom and strength. He helps those who cannot help themselves.

What is the problem? We do not know what we should ask God. What is His sovereign will for us, our family, our ministry, etc.? We often do not know what we need, nor do we know what is best for us.

Every Christian experiences these weaknesses and it is this that makes prayer difficult. Have you not experienced on numerous occasions how difficult it is to stop and pray in your busy schedule, and then when you are in His presence in prayer it is so sweet and wonderful you do not want to stop? Your spirit refuses to leave the sacred place. The Holy Spirit helps us in the weaknesses. He “intercedes” for us with groans that words cannot express” (v. 26). The all-powerful Holy Spirit is our Helper. He comes to our aid for access to the Father (Eph. 2:18).

The apostle Paul uses the word sunantilambanetai that denotes a person coming alongside another to take part of a heavy load to help him bear it.

Jesus had the same idea in mind when He called the Holy Spirit Parakletos, “one who is called alongside of another” to help in time of need. The Holy Spirit comes along side to help us in our weakness. How hopeless we are, yet He bears our burdens. The emphasis Paul is making is this is a divine work, not half-divine and half-human.

We do not know what to pray for in the midst of our suffering the heavy load so He gets up under it with us and bears it along. He identifies with us in our weakness.

We do not know how or what to pray for in those difficult moments of suffering, but He does because He knows us intimately and He knows perfectly the will of God, and our weaknesses. Prayer covers every aspect of our need, and our weakness is made clear by our not knowing what to pray for now. We so often do not have the whole picture. We see only the hurt, pain, suffering, etc. The Holy Spirit comes to our help and makes intercession.

In fact, we have two divine intercessors: Jesus Christ is at the right hand of the Father in heaven interceding on our behalf (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 1 Jn. 2:1), and the Holy Spirit in our hearts is also interceding (Jn. 14:16, 17). The Holy Spirit intercedes with groanings which cannot be uttered that ascend to the throne of grace.

The Spirit Himself “intercedes,” pleads on our behalf. It is a beautiful word picturing the rescue by someone who “happens on” a person who is in trouble and “in his behalf” pleads with “sighs that baffle words.”

God the Father searches the heart (v. 27; 1 Chron. 28:9; Ps. 139:1, 23; Jer. 17:10; 1 Cor. 4:5; Heb. 4:13). The mind of the Spirit Himself makes interpretation for the saints according to the will of God. The person who makes the intercession is a member of the Trinity. We do not know what the will of God is, but He does.

What are these “groanings”? These inarticulate groans do not escape the omniscient ears of God. They are perfectly intelligent to Him and always according to His perfect will. They are initiated by the Holy Spirit and borne to the presence of the Father. Because they are the intercessions of the Holy Spirit, they are acceptable to the Father.

The God “who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit” and answers according to God’s will. Since His way is perfect we are always assured of His very best for us. “We do not know what we ought to pray for,” but the Holy Spirit always knows, and God the Father will always answer His prayer.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: Forgiveness According to the Riches of God’s Grace

Daily Devotion: Forgiveness According to the Riches of God’s Grace

Message by Wil Pounds

Forgiveness According to the Riches of God’s Grace
The greatest peace and joy in all the world is knowing all my sins have been forgiven according to the riches of God’s free grace in Jesus Christ. We are trophies of His grace both now and throughout eternity.

There is nothing like the free, full, sovereign, unconditional, eternal grace of God that deals with all our sins. The apostle sang “the praise of the glory of God’s grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:6-7).

There is no boundary to God’s omniscience. There is no limit to His understanding, or of His grace. Just as He has knowledge of all our sins, so does His infinite grace comprehend all our sins.

How can a holy and just God forgive us of all our sins in one all encompassing declaration of acquittal? It is because the believing sinner is blood-bought. “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.” The apostle John wrote, “To Him who loves us, and [once and for all] released us from our sins by His blood” (Revelation 1:5).

“When God forgives He draws the mark through every sin which the believer ever has committed, or ever will commit,” observed C. H. Spurgeon. “However many, however heinous, your sins may have been the moment you believe, they are every one of them blotted out. In the Book of God there is not a single sin against any man in this place whose trust is in Christ, not a single one, not even the shadow of one, not a spot, or the remnant of a sin remaining; all is gone . . . and when God’s love covers the big sins it covers the little ones, and they are all gone at once! When God forgives, He not only forgives all, but once for all. . . . By one sacrifice there is a full remission of all sin that ever was against a believer, or that ever will be against him . . . not a single sin shall ever stand against you, nor shall you ever be punished for a single sin; for every sin is forgiven, fully forgiven, so that not even part of the punishment shall be executed against you” (Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon, vol. Vii, pp. 72-73).

Our redemption is full and complete through Christ’s blood. The moment the sinner believes his pardon is at once received. All of your sins are forgiven and gone forever! All that God requires is for you to cast yourself, simply on the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. “He that believes on the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved.”

You are saved the moment you believe. The believer is no more in the sight of God received as a sinner because Jesus Christ was punished for him. The believing sinner is accepted in the beloved because he is wrapped about by the righteousness of Christ.

How much grace do you consume each day? How much of God’s grace do you require? An infinite amount! The LORD God supplies the need of every saint every day of our lives out of His unlimited riches of grace, and His well never runs out. His unbounded grace covers every believer throughout time and eternity.

Moreover, God has clothed us in the seamless robes of His righteousness. Jesus Christ spent His life weaving my robe of righteousness. Our robe is divine, complete and made clean by His own blood. God clothes His children in the most expensive clothes by means of the riches of His grace.

There is no greater peace than knowing and enjoying the fact that our sins are forgiven now. In His grace we enjoy access into the presence of a holy God. We are invited to come to Him anytime and on all occasions. We have no fear of hell because God has atoned for all our sins in the blood of Jesus. But not only do we enjoy His presence now, we anticipate the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for us any moment.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotional: Waiting On The Lord

 

Daily Devotional: Waiting On The Lord

Message by Wil Pounds

Waiting on the Lord
God works for those who love Him and wait upon Him. When we make ourselves available to Him, we are marveled by the things He does in and through us.

The apostle Paul saw that great truth put into practice in His life and ministry. “But just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

The apostle is quoting Isaiah 64:4. God is at work all about us. What do you see Him doing today in your community, the school you attend, your family, and in your life?

When God is at work, it is so magnificent that you can see it only as the Holy Spirit makes it known. It is so obvious that only God can do it. God’s works are so wonderful that they can be understood only by the interpretation of the Holy Spirit.

God prepares marvelous things for those who are occupied with Him. He does this for those who wait on Him because they love Him. How tragic when we try to do His work without Him. “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Are you patiently waiting for Him to invite you to come and join Him in what He is doing? Until then He is busy working within us preparing us for that work. Are you adjusting your attitudes, thinking, and behavior to the truth you know concerning Him and His relationship with you? When we wait upon the Lord, we are busy putting our life in order making sure we are in a right relationship with Him. In proportion as we love Him, we are waiting on Him. It means we will love Him as we have never loved Him before.

Waiting on God is not laziness or indifference. Waiting means I am ready to obey His command. Waiting on Him means I have so ordered the command center of my life that nothing will conflict with the will of God when He speaks or directs. Waiting means the Christian is alert, listening, dressed, and ready to obey His Master. We wait while God works. One of the areas where He works is deep within us. It takes time for Him to teach us patience in waiting. He has made us to become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).

He is busy at work. What is He doing? “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:4-8).

God cannot and will not invite us to join Him in what He is doing until He has us ready. Terrible things happen when we run ahead of Him to do His work. Our works, without His working, falls to the ground prematurely and rots!

God is busy preparing something for those who love Him and wait upon Him that eyes have never seen and ear has not heard, things that have never entered into the hearts or imaginations which only the Spirit of God can do.

Are you patiently waiting upon Him? When His call comes, we can only stand back and say, “I saw God do it!”

Are you willing to wait until He speaks? Are you making yourself available to Him? God works with, in, and through those who wait on Him. Are you available? That is all He asks of you and me right now.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: Secure Shelter in the Storms of Life

Secure Shelter in the Storms of Life

Message by Wil Pounds

Daily Devotion: Secure Shelter in the Storms of Life

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).

The Psalmist invites us to abide in the Father’s shadow where we see only the face of the Almighty. The veil of the temple was torn in two making it possible for every believer to go into the presence of the LORD God anytime he desires. In deed, as the Psalmist said we can abide in His presence all the time.

The “shelter of the Almighty” implies His holy presence. In the “shadow of the Almighty” we find strength to live a holy life.

Has the Most High become your dwelling presence? The believer finds refuge and a secure place in the strong fortress of Yahweh. The LORD is “My refuge and my fortress, My God in whom I trust” (v. 2). Whoever trusts in the Most High finds security and protection in God’s holy presence.

Two interesting titles of God are found in verses one and two. The infinite power and sovereign rule of God are expressed in “the Most High” and “the Almighty.” We worship “the Most High” God. Elyôn suggests the exaltedness and overwhelming majesty of God, signifying the supremacy of the deity. This divine name reflects the ideas of omnipotence (Ps 18:13; Lam. 3:38), universality (Ps 83:18), and constancy (Ps 21:7). He is the place of protection and shelter for Israel (Ps 9:2; 91:1, 9), and for her king (Ps 21:7). Elyôn seems to have a special concern for Zion (Ps 46:4; 87:5) even though He is Lord of all heaven and earth. Psalm 73:11 tells us it is impossible to hide from the all-knowing God.

The LORD appeared to Abraham when he was ninety-nine years old and revealed Himself by the great name El Shaddai saying, “I am the Almighty God. Obey Me and always do what is right” (Genesis 17:1). The Almighty is all-powerful. As El Shaddai God manifested himself to the patriarchs (Ex 6:3) Abraham (Gen 17:1; to Isaac, Gen 28:3), and to Jacob (Gen 35:11, 43:14; 48:3). The context for most of these references is the covenant, and the responsibility for obedience and faithfulness on the part of the patriarch and the promise of progeny by God. It is not to the hills that these men of faith looked for confidence, but to the Lord of these hills, the Lord of the mountain (Ps 121:1–2).

In addition, the images “shelter” and “the shadow” suggest a secure hiding place from the storms of life. We have a secure refuge in His hiding place. We have safety in the presence of the LORD.

How often we ago looking for security and safety in that which offers only a false security. The LORD God removes our false securities one by one until we trust in Him alone.

Is He your hiding place? Have you learned how to find refuge in trusting in the abiding presence of the most powerful God?

The all-powerful God is our eternal refuge. The Almighty God is our protection.

The “secure place” is in the presence of the Most Holy One in the Most Holy Place, and it is where He covers us with His “wings.” There He guards us and gives us victory over the enemy, answers our prayers, and strengthens us and satisfies our hearts.

The Psalmist in 27:5 said, “In times of trouble He will shelter me; He will keep me safe in His Temple and make me secure on a high rock.” In 32:7, David testified, “You are my hiding place; You will save me from trouble; You do surround me with songs of deliverance.” As we claim the promises in God’s Word we can also declare, “You are my defender and protector; I put my hope in your promise” (19:14). He is our refuge and shelter in a secure hiding place.

Have you learned to hide as a baby chicken does under the mother hen’s wing? The LORD “will cover you with His wings, you will be safe in His care; His faithfulness will protect and defend you” (91:4).

Have you learned to trust in God’s great providence for the believer? It will be amazing in heaven when the Lord pulls us aside and says, “You remember when . . . . I was there. I protected and watched over you during those events.” He is our refuge in time of trouble. He is our refuge, fortress and security.

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (KJV).

Have you learned how to abide in the secret place of the Almighty? He teaches us in secret how to abide. The highest privilege we have as Christians is to commune with God. Walking with God is the source of our strength. The intimate walk with Christ involves pulling down every proud obstacle that raises up against the knowledge of God. In our thought life, “we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

The difference between success and failure in the Christian life and service is going into God’s secret place and then coming out from His presence to serve. Jesus set the example for the servants when He spent the whole night in prayer before He called His disciples (Luke 6:12-13).

The shadow of the Almighty is over the saint who dwells in the secret place of the Most High. Encourage your faith in the omnipotence of God. Since God is for you who can possibly be against you? God has the answer for our needs. Insignificant means are sufficient for Him. “The LORD will provide” has been the testimony of faithful believers down through history.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotional: Christ Our Refuge

Christ Our Refuge

Message by Wil Pounds

Daily Devotional: Christ Our Refuge

The Bible is very clear in its declaration that individuals who are not “in Christ” are lost and under condemnation. If you are not “in Christ Jesus” you have not escaped the condemnation and the wrath of God.

The apostle John wrote, “He who believes in Him [Jesus] is not judged” (John 3:18a). Paul wrote “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). John goes on to say, “he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (v. 18b). The person who does not believe is already condemned and that condemnation of unbelievers is now in the present time.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24). “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).

The sole basis of this justification and declaration of “no condemnation” is the assurance found in the words “in Christ Jesus.” We were all condemned in Adam, but in the second Adam there is no condemnation.

Christians do sin and fail to bring glory to God, and we do suffer the natural consequences of our sins. However, we do not suffer condemnation because Christ was condemned in our stead.

The legalist tries desperately to please God by obeying the law in his own strength, however it is impossible. On the other hand, the Christian who is under the control of the Holy Spirit experiences the sanctifying work of the Spirit in his daily life.

By an act of simple dependence upon Jesus Christ the believer realizes his position in Christ. “By nature I am in myself, and in sin and I am, therefore, condemned; but when the grace of God awakens me up to know my ruined state, then I fly to Christ. I trust alone in His blood and righteousness, and He becomes to me the cleft of the rock, whereas I hide myself from the storm of vengeance justly due to me for my many offences. The Lord Jesus is typified by the city of refuge,” writes C. H. Spurgeon.

Is your righteousness one which you have worked out yourself, or is the righteousness of Christ imputed to you? Do you look for salvation by self, or for salvation by Christ? “If you can truly say, ‘I hide in Christ,’ then this text warbles sweeter music than ever fell from angel’s lips.” “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Spurgeon added, “Inasmuch as you have believed in Him, you are in Him.”

The promise holds true because the believer is “in Him who can never be condemned. . . If you are in Christ, there is for that very reason no condemnation to you.”

Christ fulfilled the law for you, and since you believed on Him you are justified in Him. “By Christ’s righteous life and substitutionary death, justification has come upon all who are in Him.”

“We are accepted in the beloved,” says the apostle Paul. “By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”

“Will the Lord condemn those whom He has made righteous?” Will He condemn those for whom He has covered with His own perfect righteousness?”

God has placed the believer in a living vital union in Christ. We have been made one with Christ through a living relationship.

Since we died in Christ and rose with Him, how then shall we be put to death again for the sin for which we have already died in Him? We who are in Christ are justified because Christ is justified by His rising from the dead, and by His taking the position of honor and glory at the right hand of God. “He is our representative and we are one with Him, and what He is that we are. Our union is inseparable, and therefore our condemnation is impossible.”

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

 

Daily Devotional: Search Me, O God

Daily Devotional: Search Me, O God

Message by Wil Pounds

Search Me, O God

What shall be our response to the LORD God who knows everything about us all the time? How should we respond to His abiding presence that never leaves us? Because He is all-powerful, how then should we live our lives? Knowing that God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent should make us want to please Him in everything we do.

The Psalmist David did not want to be influenced by evil persons. He did not love the sinner’s life-style. “O that You would slay the wicked, O God; Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed. For they speak against You wickedly, And Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies” (Psalm 139:19-22).

Those are strong words. Do I want to be done with sin? What sins would I ask God to kill in my life? What spiritual enemies in my life need to go? Do you have some intimate friends you need to give up for your spiritual good? Are you willing to give up those relationships that make you and open target for temptation to do evil? That was David’s attitude in verses 19-22.

Moreover, David went a step further and prayed that God would enable him to continue to grow in righteousness. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:23-24).

David used the word “search” meaning to explore, dig, probe, examine, and investigate.

Jeremiah was told, “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds” (Jeremiah 17:10).

He searches and He knows the secrets of our hearts (Ps. 44:21). “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

David pleads for God to search him out and lead him in “the everlasting way” (v.24).

We have so many blind spots that we need the diligent probing of the Holy Spirit in our minds and hearts. We need Him to search “and know my heart,” “know my anxious thoughts,” and reveal what is the cause of pain to God. See if there is any hurtful way in me.”

How do I cause the Holy Spirit to grieve? “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:29-32).

The context tells us how we cause pain to our Lord. Bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice must be put away and replaced with kindness toward one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other just as God in Christ also has forgiven you (Eph. 4:31-32).

The greatest encouragement for the believer in Christ Jesus is to enter into the presence of an all-seeing, all-knowing God who knows us intimately. Because we have been justified by grace though faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and the Holy Spirit indwells us, we can stand in His light and be examined by His holy presence. We can allow Him to examine our thoughts, attitudes and heart’s desires and then “bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).

David models this desire for us. There is willingness to put away anything which is grievous to God and to His Spirit and to be led in the way everlasting. When we find sin in our hearts there is a spiritual bar of soap that cleanses of every sin (1 John 1:8-9).

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

 

Daily devotion: How to Discern Cults and Sects

Message by Wil Pounds

Daily devotion: How to Discern Cults and Sects
H. A. Ironside used to say, “Where there is light there are bugs!”

He was referring to the cults and sects that take a truth and go to the extreme or form their own exclusive groups.

The apostle John wrote, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). We are not to believe every spirit-controlled teacher! However, we know the Spirit of God is illuminating the teacher when they “confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh,” “and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God, and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (vv. 2-3).

I am convinced that the greatest need we have in our day is the gift of discernment. Many cults and sects claim to be biblically based Christian organizations. They will even use the historic Biblical Christian language, and even call themselves “the Church of Jesus Christ,” or “the Church of Christ,” but deny or redefine essential Christian doctrines to fit their eccentric teachings.

John said, “stop believing” because some of his readers were clearly carried away by the spirit of error. The spiritually gullible fall victims of the latest religious fads.

On Abide in Christ we clearly state that we believe in the great evangelical, Biblical convictions, and teachings of historic Christianity.

Cults and sects all teach that their religious group is the only one proclaiming the true message of salvation today. All other Christians are corrupt and their “inspired” leader is equal to Jesus Christ in authority. These groups claim to be the only correct church in the world, and salvation can be found only by being a member of their organization or following their teachings.

They usually have their founder or living “prophet, seer and revelator” who has received direct revelation from God as opposed to historic Biblical revelation that ended with the writing of the last book in the Bible, the Book of Revelation about A.D. 85. Every true born again Christian needs to question any group that claims they possess new and inspired written scriptures that supplements or supersedes the true inspired and inerrant Word of God permanently recorded in the Bible.

When you come in contact with these false teachers of the antichrist ask some hard questions and demand that you get the right answers before you join up. The apostle John said to put them to the “acid test of truth as a metallurgist does his metals.”

1. Do you rely upon the Bible alone for your doctrine and practice? What is your source of authority? Do you add some other books or human authority that equals or supersedes the authority of the Old and New Testament? Do you claim to possess new and inspired direct revelation from God that is just as authoritative as the Bible? Do you depend upon a certain person to interpret the Bible for you?

2. Does the group accept the basic historic teaching of Biblical Christianity? What do they teach about the Triune God, the person and work of Jesus Christ (especially His deity, incarnation, and atoning substitutionary death for the sinner)? Ask for their specific teaching about the person and work of Jesus Christ. How do you know if it is of the Spirit of God? “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.”

3. What do you teach regarding salvation? What would you say if you died today and stood before the Lord God and He asked you, “Why should I let you into My heaven”? Listen carefully to the response. Does the group teach salvation by grace of God alone through faith in Jesus Christ alone? Do they add or detract anything from, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved”? Do they teach justification by faith alone? Do they add the requirement that you be baptized by one of their clergy in their church or temple? Do they add good works, church membership, tithing, etc. as a requirement for salvation? How can salvation be by God’s grace alone if baptism in their church is necessary for salvation? By their teaching it is no longer of God’s grace, but by the works of “obedience.” Do they teach that salvation depends on membership in their particular organization?

4. What is the attitude of their group toward other Bible-believing Christians? Do they permit their followers to fellowship with other Christians? Do they consider themselves exclusive and think that only they have the true and correct teaching and authority of God? Do they suppress or respect other Bible-believing Christians regardless of the nametag they wear such as: Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Assemblies, Independent, Bible, etc.? Is the group teaching, “I or we alone are all right and everyone else is wrong? Only we have the truth, and we are the only people God uses.”

Learn to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” They are so deceptive they even use the glorious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to accomplish their evil and destroy God’s eternal purpose.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: Do you have a Sense of God’s Presence?

 

Daily Devotion: Do you have a Sense of God’s Presence?

Message by Wil Pounds

Do you have a Sense of
God’s Presence?

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith . . .” (Ephesians 3:17).

A good friend asked me, “Do you fell you are adequately experiencing the presence and power of the Holy Spirit?” That is a probing question every Christian should pause and consider.

I firmly believe that every born again believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but not every believer is yielded to His control. Our experience of His divine presence depends upon our yielding to Him moment by moment. If the Holy Spirit is to have a larger part of our lives we must make a deliberate choice and allow Him to take control.

The Spirit wants to fill our lives so that Christ may settle down and make Himself feel completely at home as a permanent resident in our hearts (Eph. 3:17). Our prayer should be that Christ would settle down, even now, in our hearts and take control as the rightful owner.

Imagine what it would be like to experience the “fullness of God” (v. 19). Paul was praying that we may be filled up to or unto all the fullness that is in God Himself. That will not take place until we stand complete and perfect in the likeness of Christ at His coming, but it can be our prayer and vision now. Paul was praying that we would be filled and filled and filled and filled forever, as God out of His infinite resources increasingly pours Himself into His redeemed people.

David Brainerd wrote in his diary April 21, 1742, “O My sweet Savior! Who have I but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.” Then he added, “If I had a thousand lives, my soul would gladly have laid them all down at once, to have been with Christ. My soul never enjoyed so much of heaven before; it was the most refined and most spiritual season of communion with God I ever yet felt.”

Oh, for a mature, intimate love relationship with Christ. The Holy Spirit always points us to Him and in that a felt presence and power that is wholly beyond man.

It is from that inner resource of “the riches of His glory” that we are “strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man so that Christ may dwell in your hearts and through faith. . .” (3:16-17).

The filling and control of our lives by the Holy Spirit is not automatic. We are baptized once when we believed on Christ as our savior, but filled many times. It is a deliberate choice we make each day. This empowering presence of the Holy Spirit within us enables us to live an abundant spiritual life.

“Do you feel you are adequately experiencing the presence and power of the Holy Spirit?” Why did you respond that way?

When He is in control, our minds are set on the things above (Rom. 8:5).

Do you have a richer, fuller desire to know the Lord Jesus Christ and fellowship with Him? That is the work of the Holy Spirit in your heart.

Who is in control of your life? Have you made a conscious deliberate choice to let the Holy Spirit be in charge of your life? Is He a dynamic, shaping, controlling presence in your life today? How can He become an ever-present reality in your daily life?

Will you make a conscious decision to let Jesus Christ rule your life from this day onward? From that moment on begin each day with a solemn commitment to let Him take control of your life through out the day.

“Lord Jesus I give this day to you. I make myself available to you to live Your life in and through me. Take these hands and feet, this tongue and these eyes, and let them express a heart full of Thee. Here, come live in and through me this day. I yield myself to You.”

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: Parable of the Sower

Daily Devotion: Parable of the Sower

Message by Wil Pounds

Parable of the Sower

The parable of the sower sheds great light on what happens in churches when individuals make public decisions to follow Jesus Christ and then drop out of sight. Our situation is not much different than in Jesus’ day when the masses of people had rejected Him (Matthew 11:16-24). They could not understand the deeper things about the kingdom of God. However, the disciples responded to His teaching and believed on Him.

It is at that point in His ministry that Jesus began to teach using parables, which are earthy stories with heavenly meanings. Jesus deliberately chose to withhold further truth about Himself and the kingdom from the masses. When the crowds heard the parables, it seemed to them little more than an interesting but pointless story that taught no profound spiritual truth.

On the other hand, the disciples heard Jesus teaching the parables and their powers of spiritual perception developed and Jesus’ teachings on the kingdom became clearer to them.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus explained that the seed is the gospel of the kingdom, and the soil is the human heart (Matthew 13:3-23). “The kingdom of heaven” comes with the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the planting of His Word in the heart of the listeners. The “seed” is God’s Word, and the “soil” represents different kinds of hearers and the response of their hearts to the Word (Romans 10:17; Matt. 13:9; Mark 4:24; Luke 8:18).

The parable tells us that there are some listeners whose hearts are hard as a stone. They will not hear. Their hearts are like a packed down road. “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road” (Matthew 13:19). Sin hardens the heart until it is like concrete.

Jesus came preaching God’s sovereign rule in the minds and hearts of men, and they refused to listen to His message and surrender their wills to Him. They do not want God being the boss of their lives.

God says that if we are willing, He will remove from our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh. “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances” (Ezekiel 36:27).

What is the condition of my heart? Is it as hard as a rock, or is it soft and pliable as tissue? How tragic when we persist in our stubborn rejection of God’s offerings of grace.

Jesus also said that some hearts are shallow like soil where, “The seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away” (Matthew 13:20-21).

These shallow hearts are attracted by the excitement and emotions. They make a profession of faith publicly, but almost as suddenly as they professed they quickly become apostate. They were never born spiritually. No spiritual regeneration has taken place in their hearts. Just joining the church or being baptized does not make you born again.

There are other listeners who are choked to death by worries of the world (vv. 7, 22). “Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out” (Matthew 13:7).

“And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22).

Materialism and humanism is our secular lifestyle, and it chokes us to spiritual death. This kind of spiritual death does not rush upon a person suddenly but gradually. Spiritual weeds grow slowly, but they in time strangle the budding spiritual life that is there. When the Holy Spirit speaks, there is always the reply, “Some other day, some other time; don’t bother me now.” The life of spiritual ease takes over and “the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful. And according to the world philosophy, “The person with the most toys wins,” but he dies spiritually. So “What shall it profit a man if he gains the world but looses His soul?”

Stony, shallow, strangled, or spiritual—which describes the soil of your heart?

“And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty” (Matthew 13:8). What made the difference? Jesus said, “good ground” (v.23). It is the “good ground” that “hears the Word and understands it” and “bears fruit” (v.23). These are the ones who are born again.

Just as important as the soil is the fruit. Am I bearing kingdom fruit? (Cf. Matt. 7:16; Rom. 6:22; Gal. 5:22-23; Col. 1:10; Rom. 1:13). When there is saving faith in the heart there will always be fruit in the life.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: From Doubt to Faith

Message by Wil Pounds

Daily Devotion: From Doubt to Faith

Would you consider it a compliment if someone called you a “doubting Thomas”?

Doubting is a vital ingredient in all mature critical thinking. No one really respects a gullible person. The mature person weighs the facts and draws his conclusions based upon solid information.

Christ drew even closer to His disciples when they found it hard to believe. He did not push them away, or give up on them; He gave them space to think, ponder and meditate on the reality of spiritual truths.

His disciple Thomas doubted the witness of his fellow disciples when they sought him out and told him that Jesus was risen from the dead. Jesus did not jump in with a quick revelation. He let Thomas sweat it out for eight days (John 20:24-29).

“And after eight days. . . Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in their midst, and said, ‘Peace be with you.’” (v. 26).

God deals with us in our doubts the same way He did with Thomas. When we acknowledge our doubts, Christ reaches out to us, and as we yield to His presence He reveals more and more of Himself to us.

Don’t run from your doubts or deny them. Acknowledge them to God and ask Him for wisdom to understand things that are beyond our reason.

Our doubts become the means of experiencing the reality of Christ more profoundly. He reaches out to us in our unique needs. To Thomas He says, “Reach here your finger, and see My hands; reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing” (v. 27).

It is not a matter of psyching ourselves up. It is our response to His wisdom, insight and intimate presence with us.

There is a lot of psychological babble and nonsense in religious circles. You need to doubt a lot of things you read and hear. Get into God’s Word and listen to His voice and see the truth through His eyes, and think His thoughts.

The response of Thomas was, “My Lord, and my God!” (v. 28). That is the only legitimate response when we submit to His truth. Thomas declared Jesus to be Jehovah, LORD, Master, Sovereign! Jesus Christ is my personal God. He is my Lord and my God! Thomas in that moment of truth came to a personal, intimate relationship with God in Christ.

What question of doubt would you ask Christ today? What is the one thing you stumble over? Go ahead and ask Him right now. Be patient and listen to His response with divine wisdom.

Perhaps there have been some changes in circumstances in your life that have caused you to doubt God’s faithfulness. Can you trust Him with these? Are you humble enough to allow Him to answer them in His own time and accept His answer when He gives it? Are you humble enough to respond, “My Lord and my God”?

Your situation is not hopeless. He gave you a mind as well as a heart. He will provide what you need if you will allow Him.

The Lord Jesus revealed Himself to Thomas. What finally got through to Thomas was the presence of Jesus Christ, identified by His wounds in His hands, feet and side.

It is this same love of Jesus that changes our hearts. The truth of God’s love in Christ changes our lives. The death of Christ continually proves the truth of the gospel. C. H. Spurgeon said, “Incarnate Deity, the notion of God that lived, and bled, and died in human form, instead of guilty man is itself its own best witness.”

Ask God for the evidence. God is more interested in revealing Himself to you than you are in seeking Him. Jesus always comes down to our level and reveals Himself to us. He moves us from doubt to trust. The simple truth is if we do believe in Christ, it is because He has always been there before hand leading us to Himself.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: Who Will Bring Charge Against God’s Chosen?

 

Message by Wil Pounds

Daily Devotion: Who Will Bring Charge Against God’s Chosen?

“Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?” (Romans 8:33)

This is one of the most important questions a person can ask. It is important that we get God’s answer to this “unanswerable question.”

Since God has justified us, no charge can be brought against those whom God has chosen. The reason is because the Supreme Judge of the universe has acquitted the believing sinner, and He has also clothed him with the very righteousness of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).

“Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, and who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us” (Romans 8:33-34).

Our sin was placed on Jesus Christ, and punished in His death on the cross. But God not only imputes our sin to His Son, but He takes the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ and imputes it to the believer.

When God justifies the believing sinner He makes a judicial declaration to effect that He does more than pardon or forgive or sins; He now regards us as just and righteous and holy in His sight.

God not only imputes my sin to His Son, He also takes His righteousness and imputes it to me (2 Cor. 5:21).

Therefore, God’s answer to the unanswerable question is, “No one can lay any charge against me because I am clothed in this righteousness.” “It is God who justifies.”

The wonderful thing is that God is the Supreme Judge and the Supreme Court of the universe. He is the highest authority. No one can override Him. No one can appeal to a higher judge. His word is final.

Therefore, “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?” God is the one who justifies, and the person who is in Christ need never fear condemnation now or forever. No slick attorney, including Satan, can overthrow His decision to acquit and justify the believing sinner.

The basis by which the Supreme Judge makes that decision is the finished atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Jesus died for our sins. The payment was paid in full. The wages of sin is death.” Jesus died our death, and the righteousness in which the believing sinner stands on the Day of Judgment is the righteousness of Jesus Christ that is imputed to him.

Our salvation depends upon the work of Jesus Christ alone. We can bring no works of righteousness to God because we are depraved sinners.

If the blood of Jesus Christ does not cover your sins, you are already condemned. But if you are under the blood of Jesus, you are clothed in His righteousness, and “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).

We are pardoned because of the atoning death of Jesus Christ. Have you put your trust in His death alone to save you and cloth you in His perfect righteousness?

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

 

 

Daily Devotion: How Do You Know When You Are Spirit-filled?

Daily Devotion: How Do You Know When You Are Spirit-filled?

Message By Wil Pounds

How do You know when
You are Spirit-filled?

The supreme mission of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Jesus Christ. He glorifies the Son by unfolding clearly the meaning of His person and atoning work.

The work of the Spirit is Christocentric. He will glorify Christ and will never draw attention to Himself. He always declares the work of Christ.

The work of the Holy Spirit is always to glorify Christ. Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit comes, “He shall glorify Me” (John 16:14). When the Spirit came upon the 120 in the upper room at Pentecost they immediately began to proclaim, not the Holy Spirit, but Jesus Christ is Lord. And they never ceased doing that.

How do you know when you are filled with the Spirit? You will be glorifying Jesus Christ in your everyday life and work. You are filled and under the control of the Spirit when Christ is Lord of your life. There is no greater joy than honoring Him every moment, every hour of the day.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit to exalt Jesus Christ in the life of every born again believer. If your life is not bringing glory to Christ then you need to ask the hard questions: Am I a true Christian? Have I been converted? Is He Lord of my life? When you become a new creation in Christ Jesus the Holy Spirit immediately begins to recreate in your life the image of the glorified Savior. It is impossible to know Christ as your Savior and not to some extent reflect His character in your life.

The Holy Spirit communicates and shares with us the presence and power of the exalted Christ so that He is demonstrated in us as the Lord of glory. Jesus said, “He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you” (v. 14). The Holy Spirit is the person who takes the things of Christ and manifests them to us and through us to the Father’s glory.

This is evident in the life of every Christian, not just an elite few special people. In every true believer the glory of Christ should be seen because the Holy Spirit glorifies the Son of God in the weakness of the human flesh. The Spirit will make Christ apparent and glorious in us. We are a new creation in Christ Jesus.

The one sole objective in the work of the Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ. Whenever the Spirit is at work there will be evidence that Jesus Christ is being glorified. How do you know you are filled with the Spirit? You will see evidence in your life of Christ being reproduced. We see that proof most clearly in the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Christ will be exalted in your attitude, behavior, thinking, and manner of life. That is because of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to exalt Christ in and through us.

Jesus Christ has been exalted to the highest place in heaven. God “highly exalted Him, and gave Him a name above every name” (Phil. 2:9). In the places where you often frequent is Jesus Christ exalted above every other name? Does your presence there bring honor and glory to Him alone? Does what you believe about God and your religion place the same emphasis the New Testament does on Jesus Christ? Do you in any way dilute the glory ascribed to Christ? Do you share His glory with some other religious leader or teacher?

The Holy Spirit always glorifies Christ. If I am Spirit-filled my life and teaching will always seek to glorify the Son of God. Is Jesus Christ being crowned with many crowns in my life? Is He glorified in the way I spend my time, where I go on the Internet, my pursuit of pleasure, the people with whom I associate, the movies I watch, the desires of my heart, the things I long for in my quiet moments, etc.? Are these under the control of the Spirit? Is Christ being made Lord of my life? It is the work of the Holy Spirit to bring every area of our lives under His control, and make it very plain when we are glorifying Jesus Christ. He also convicts us when it is clear we are not Christ-centered. He reproves us when we are tarnishing His glory.

How long does the Holy Spirit have to convict you of anything sinful before you repent? Do you immediately confess it to God and turn from it? Have you gotten into the habit of asking God to forgive, but not turning from the sin? That attitude will paralyze you spiritually. The Holy Spirit will keep coming back to that area of your life and working until you submit it to the lordship of Jesus Christ because that is one of the ways He can get the glory in your life.

Is the image of Jesus Christ clearly seen in your life? Is what you say and do glorifying the Son of God? Give the Spirit freedom in your life to probe deeply and empower you to change what needs to be changed.

How does the Holy Spirit glorify Christ? Jesus said, “He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you” (v. 14). The Holy Spirit exalts the Son of God as He reveals Him in all His fullness to men. The Spirit receives the truth, and fullness of Christ, and imparts it to the believer. God the Father is glorified in the Son and the Son is glorified in the Father. When I am Spirit-filled I am glorifying my Lord and Savior. God is glorified when I glorify the Son. The words and deeds of Jesus were the Father’s on words and deeds. In making the Son known, the Holy Spirit is at the same time making known the Father who is revealed in the Son.

Our greatest occupation as believers is with Jesus Christ and our personal and increasing knowledge of Him. The more we grow in that personal relationship with Him the more we are strengthened and shaped into His likeness. The greatest of all God’s work is the new creation of believers in the likeness of Christ.

How do we know when we are filled with the Spirit? We are under His control when we are glorifying Christ in our everyday life and work.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Daily Devotion: How can a Christian be Lost Again?

 

Daily Devotion:  How can a Christian be Lost Again?

Message By Wil Pounds

Can a person once saved ever be lost again?

Our question relates only to the person who is saved in the true Biblical sense.

Eternal life is the gift of God. If one has it, he has it for eternity.

The true child of God has received eternal life and is already a citizen of heaven. From the moment he is saved, he is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and by Christ. He has been regenerated and sealed by the Spirit. He is a new creature by the recreative power of God.

At the heart of the question is the eternal purpose of God. In the eternal past the believer was in the thought and purpose of God. The born again believer was “chosen in Him before the foundation of the earth.” God the Father elects the believer. He is chosen in Christ (Eph. 1:4).

The apostle Paul wrote, “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).

God’s goal is that we be “holy and without blame before Him.” We are the trophies of God’s grace for all eternity. Even now, He “raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus ” (Eph. 2:6). That is not something off in the distant future. It is true of the believer in Christ now.

In the eternity to come God will demonstrate “the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).

Is God fully capable of accomplishing His eternal purpose? Is He baffled and uncertain as to His goals for redeemed humanity?

The apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

God never starts a project that He cannot finish. He began His project with the believer way back in the beginning in eternity past and He will complete it when He presents us complete in Christ at His second coming. Does God’s ability to accomplish His goal in the believer depend upon human abilities or does it depend upon God’s creative and sustaining power? He is able and willing to do for His child that which He purposed long ago in eternity past. God will do “what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Eph. 1:19a). He will accomplish it “in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:19b-20). That does not sound like it depends on frail human beings to accomplish. Our eternal destiny and security depends on God’s saving grace and power.

On our part we can claim the promise of God in 2 Timothy 1:12, “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” This promise is true because of what Jesus said in John 10:27-29. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

The omnipotent Father secures the flock of Jesus by His mighty power and protection. No power created in heaven or earth is capable of removing the believer out of the hand of God. No one can ever snatch His sheep out of His hand. No one is ever strong enough to snatch any of Jesus’ flock from the Father’s hand. What He has promised He is able to perform.

God has His sheep and He knows who they are. They will hear His voice and respond to His will. God the Father elects and in the time and place of His choosing the Holy Spirit has His messenger who proclaims the saving Word of God and the sinner hears that God loves Him and Jesus died for his sins. The response of the person elected is to receive the gift of eternal life by trusting in Christ as his Savior. When he believes on Christ he becomes God’s child and sheep in His flock. It is then that he learns that He was “chosen in Christ before the foundation of the earth” (Eph. 1:4).

The child of God is secure in Jesus’ hand and the Father’s hand. “They shall never perish” (Jn. 3:16; 6:39; 17:12; 18:9). The Good Shepherd protects His sheep throughout eternity. Jesus is talking about true believers, not professors of Christianity. Jesus did not promise eternal security to anyone other than His true sheep. It is a loving, living, and lasting relationship between the Shepherd and His sheep.

God is infinite in power to keep the believer for eternity. Again Paul testified, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).

Such a promise should cause us to break forth with the great doxology: “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” (Jude 24).

“They will indeed, not ever perish” (Jn. 10:28). Such security does not depend upon the ability of frail sheep.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

Dailly Devotion: Five Golden Links in Salvation

 

Daily Devotion: Five Golden Links in Salvation

Message by Wil Pounds

Five Golden Links in Salvation

God is at work in all the many detailed circumstances of our lives to accomplish His eternal purpose.

How much does God love us? Just let me count the many ways. Here are five to begin our quest. “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).

That is what God does for us out of His infinite love and grace. God foreknew. God predestined. God called. God justified. God glorified. God saves!

How does God cause all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose? The chain of divine action demonstrates how He accomplishes this “good.” What is this good purpose of God? God is saving a body of people who will be made like Jesus Christ.

He is not making us like gods as the cults purpose. We will not become divine and go off and populate a planet. That nonsense is strange to the Bible.

God’s eternal purpose of redemption is that He will have a people who are loving, full of joy, peace, holiness, wisdom, patience, kindness, goodness, compassion, faithfulness, mercy, grace, etc.

God selects, predestinates, calls, justifies, and glorifies a people who will be like His Son.

The apostle Paul tells us how God does it. He “foreknew” us unto salvation. The Lord never foreordains anyone to be lost in the Scriptures. Those who are saved through faith in Jesus Christ were known ahead of time and chosen unto God (Hos. 13:5; Amos 3:2; Matt. 7:23; Jn. 10:14; Rom. 11:2; 1 Cor. 8:3; Gal. 4:9; 2 Tim. 2:19). It is a divine knowledge. The salvation of every believer is known and determined in the mind of God before its actual accomplishment in time and place.

God foreknows people, and He has a purpose in saving certain people. This is the first link in the chain.

Robert Haldane said, “God foreknows what will be, by determining what shall be.” God knows all things because He is omniscient. God “sets His special love upon” a person or “elects” a person to salvation.

How much does God love us? From this passage of Scripture we can declare so much that He has elected us to salvation and will keep us in that salvation. God set His love and saving grace upon a select group of people to be like His Son Jesus Christ.

The longer I am a Christian the more I realize that my salvation is all of God, and not of man. Even my faith is of God, and the result of His working in us. He creates in us the faith that He demands (Jn. 3:3-8; 6:44, 45, 65; Eph. 2:8; Phil. 1:29; 2 Pet. 1:2). Faith, regeneration, repentance are all intimately related to our salvation experience.

Since God is the author of my salvation it is accomplished with infinite wisdom.

Robert Haldane says in salvation “man acts no part, but is passive, and all is done by God. He is elected and predestined and called and justified and glorified by God. . . . Could anything be more consolatory to those who love God, than to be in this manner assured that the great concern of their salvation is not left in their own keeping? . . . God has taken the whole upon Himself. He has undertaken for them. There is no room, then, for chance or change. He will perfect that which concerns them.”

Paul, therefore, gives us great assurance of God’s eternal purpose in our lives in spite of our present suffering.

God has foreseen everything that will take place in relation to our salvation.

Salvation has its origin in the eternal counsels of God. God elects a chosen people to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. Are you one of those chosen of God?

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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