Gospel Adventist Ministries

"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." ~ 1 Cor 2:2

Month: October 2013

A Response to “The Crucified Life” (Part One) ~

A few days ago, I purchased a book from my local Christian bookstore written by A.W. Tozer. The title of the book was, “The Crucified Life: How To Live Out A Deeper Christian Experience.” Actually, it was more of an edited paraphrase of various sermons he had preached during his lifetime. The editor James Snyder did a great job at formatting the material into a book. I chose to read this book, because I heard many good things about A.W. Tozer. I was also intrigued by the first part of the title—the crucified Life.

I rarely agree with everything I read in a book, but I have learned over the years not to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. I found I can learn something from most everyone who proclaims the gospel of Jesus. After reading part one of the book (Chapters 1-4), there were a few things that stood out to me.

First is the concept that God saves us for obedience to His commands. Jesus didn’t die on the cross to allow us to live in the sins that crucified him. It is true that He forgives us and offers the assurance of salvation. It is equally true that He commands us to live a life that is directed by the Holy Spirit. This means that Christians will want to be obedient to Christ in all things. While it is legalism to insist all Christians must live up to a particular standard of righteousness to maintain salvation, it is biblical to insist on living a holy life.

Furthermore, it is not enough for people to simply know about God. We must have a personal relationship with Him. We might learn everything there is to know about the Bible, but knowledge is worthless if we don’t apply it to ourselves. This is what John Wesley taught when He proclaimed the need for the assurance of salvation. It is one thing to know Jesus died for the sins of humanity, but we need to have the assurance that Jesus died for our sins. If we don’t have the peace that comes with the gift of grace then we have yet to be born again by the Spirit of God.

Finally, many people don’t understand that it is not enough to belong to a church that teaches X, Y, and Z as biblical doctrine. Church membership will not save us. Each of us must stand before God as individuals. There will be no excuses allowed. We are all responsible to learn from the Holy Spirit as we develop a personal relationship with Him. We cannot believe something only because it is part of the fundamental doctrines of a particular church. We are ALL responsible for learning the Bible for ourselves. God will hold us personally accountable.

A.W. Tozer isn’t saying anything Christians have not known since the day of Pentecost. However, we need to be reminded daily of the need to develop our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Knowing about God will not save us. We must know that Christ lives in our hearts through faith in His atoning blood.

~Stephen Beagles

Halloween

Now that I am older, I dislike Halloween. When I was a kid, I thought it was fun to dress up crazy and get candy. But now I have no desire to put on a costume, and I can buy all the candy I want from the store.

I also know the true meaning behind Halloween. It is pagan Holy Day full of satanism, witchcraft, spiritualism, and new age crystal healing. Do people understand that they are flirting with dark forces that will destroy them?

I respect the rights of others who have different religious views, but I also reserve the right to say what I know to be the truth:

“But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.”

~Stephen Beagles

The Crucified Life

What does it mean to live a crucified life?

First, it means that we have died to our self-sufficiency and spiritual pride. We must rely completely on the merits of Jesus for salvation.

Second, it also means that we are called to do the right thing–no matter the personal cost or sacrifice to ourselves.

Jesus died to free us from the guilt and power of sin. The assurance of salvation transforms our attitude towards God, ourselves, and the world. We love because He loves us. He sacrificed His life for our salvation. We now live to honor and glorify Him in all things.

~Stephen Beagles

Protection

Heaven fill me with your glorious light
Lead me from the darkness of the night
Let the angels guide me on this way
Guard my heart from evil – Lord I pray.

~Stephen Beagles

Genuine Holiness

Genuine holiness is found in loving the God who first loved us. When we focus on the love of God in Jesus Christ, it is impossible for us not to be filled with the fruits of His spirit.

The Bible says, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:11 (NIV)

Our Master gives us this order, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12

Those who love Jesus will have the love of God poured into their hearts through the Holy Spirit: “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5

Let us be full of love for God and our fellow human beings.

~Stephen Beagles

Whether Proof

Whether in pleasure or pain,
Whether I’m happy or mad,
Whether in want or in gain,
Whether I’m glad or I’m sad,
I know I will endure!
For God’s promises are sure.

~Stephen Beagles

Security in Christ Jesus

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Acts 2:21, KJV

Growing up in the church, I don’t remember the exact time that I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and grant me eternal life. But I do remember how I felt when I first realized that I had the assurance of salvation–a love, joy, and peace came over me that I will never forget. I couldn’t understand why other people were not as excited when I told them the good news about righteousness by faith in Jesus.

But the reality is that false religion has always been the majority opinion in the world. The church has often neglected the grace of God in favor of a more human focus on keeping rules instead of fostering loving relationships with those who need to know that God loves them.

The early church knew the power of the Holy Spirit, because many could still hear the words spoken by Jesus: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:43-45, NIV).

It is true that God will judge the wicked, but true wickedness resides in self-righteous pride. Those who reject the free gift of salvation have doomed themselves to destruction if they do not admit their sinfulness and plead for God’s forgiveness. Genuine faith is the assurance that God’s promises are truth. Jesus offers the gift of eternal life to those who call out to God for the forgiveness of sins. Those who attempt to cover their sins with the fig leafs of this world, instead of the righteous covering of the spotless lamb of God, are under a curse.

If the word of God proclaims that whosoever calls upon the name of Jesus will be saved, we are to believe exactly what it says to be the truth. There is no such thing as holiness without the assurance of salvation in Jesus. There is no condition on salvation other than simple faith in the atoning blood of our Passover lamb.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” ~ 1 John 4:10, NIV

“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” ~ 1 john 5:13, NIV

~Stephen Beagles

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