Salvation - Salvation General


19/07/2006
My friend is not a Christian and she posed a couple of questions. She’s wondering where God is when you need Him. And I asked her what she specifically meant by that. She said that her mother died when she was 19 and “If God is love, why would something like that happen when someone like Saddam Hussein may have been killing many people, he still lives.” And what are some areas that you can get to know who God is better?

Those are great questions. To your friend, I extend my compassion and my sympathy to her for the loss of her mother when she was a child. I think every one of us has lost somebody close to us at a critical age in our lives. I was 15 when one of my best friends committed suicide and I didn’t know God or Jesus at the time. And all I knew at the time was, “Wow. He had everything going for him. He had one of the greatest girlfriends in the school. He was a catcher on the baseball team. He was handsome. He was smart. He had all the friends that one could have. And I had none of that. And he killed himself.” And I thought to myself the same thing that your friend is wondering: “Where is God when you need Him? And what is going to keep me from doing the same thing?”

And so, the answer to the question is, God is one prayer away for every one of us. All that we have to do, all your friend has to do is say, “Jesus, if you’re really there, as they say you are, come and rescue me from my depression. Come and rescue me from my confusion. Come and show yourself and reveal yourself.” The Bible says that “if you call upon Him, He will answer,” in Jeremiah 33:3. The Bible says, “All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, delivered, rescued,” Romans 10:12. And you can look throughout the Bible. You know how some people say, “We’re just a phone call away.” Well, God is just one prayer away.

It says in Hebrews chapter 11, “For all who come to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Now, He’s not going to reveal Himself to a casual inquirer that doesn’t really have sincerity in their heart and doesn’t really care whether He reveals Himself to them or not. But those who diligently seek Him, Hebrews 11:5,6 says that if you will cry out to Him, if you will call out to Him, if you will seek Him and ask Him to show Himself and reveal Himself to you, He absolutely will. He will; He will; He will.

You tell your friend that she is loved. God does love her. There is a devil in the world that tries to snuff out our families, our relatives, our loved ones. God is not the taker of life; God is the giver of life. John 10:10 says, “the thief, the devil, comes to steal, kill and destroy. But Jesus has come that we would have life and have it in abundance.” These are some of the things that I would say to her. These are some of the things that I would say to anybody in that situation.

We’ll never know the answer to everything until we get to heaven. But, we can know this, that God is a prayer away. Just the name of Jesus coming off of her lips will draw Him to her. The Bible says in James 4:4, “draw near to Me and I will draw near to you.” The apostle Paul also said in Acts chapter 9, “Who are you Lord?” And the Lord revealed Himself to the Apostle Paul before he was an apostle, before he was a Christian. If she’ll just call out to Him, cry out to Him, He will answer. He is not far. He is one prayer away. God will be with you. He will never leave you or forsake you when you call upon Him.

You can’t get to know Him “better” if you don’t even think He’s there. First start by calling out to Him and go to those Scriptures that we just went over and those will cause her to know him better. When you know Jesus, you know God. Read the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. When you read about Jesus Christ, you’re reading about God Himself. When you see Jesus in the Bible, you’re seeing God himself. There are those that are living right now, that they are not born again, that feel like God is nowhere to be found, but if they will call upon Him right now, the Bible says He will answer. The Bible says, “Call out to Him while He is near, cry out to Him while He can be found.” When your heart is moving you, when your heart is stirring you, when you know He’s out there, but you just don’t know what to do, that’s the time to call upon Him.

Maybe you know you need to be saved, you know you need to be a Christian, you know you need to make Jesus your Lord and savior, you know you need to have the assurance of salvation. I want you to pray with me right now. John 3:3 says you must be born again. When you receive Jesus as your Lord and savior, you will be born again. When you believe He died for your sins and rose from the dead and let Him be your Lord, you will be saved and you will be born again. And if you call on Him, He is near right now. Call on Him and He will answer.

Pray this prayer out loud. “Heavenly Father, I invite Jesus Christ into my life as my Lord and savior. I believe Jesus died for my sins and rose from the dead. I call upon you, Lord, while you may be found. I draw near to you and I thank you that you will draw near to me now through the blood of Jesus. I ask you to be my Lord and my savior in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Now, if you prayed that prayer, I congratulate you. I welcome you into the family of God. Don’t ever wonder if you’re saved now. But call our prayer line so that we can pray with you, so that we can talk some more with you and so we can help you grow in your Christian life. Our prayer line is 847-645-9700. We all need salvation. We’re either going to heaven or hell. With Jesus, we’re going to heaven; without Him, we’re going to hell.


Salvation - Salvation General


19/07/2006
Can a person be saved, but still live a sinful life? Could someone be saved, but be living with their boyfriend, or making choices that clearly go against God's Word, but they still believe that Jesus died on the cross for them?

Well, instead of asking the question “can someone be saved and still be living with their boyfriend?” The better question is “Can someone be living with their boyfriend and still be saved?” In other words, if you’re living with your boyfriend, can God still save you? And the answer is yes. If you’re living with your boyfriend, you’re not married, can God still save you? The answer is yes. If you’re smoking dope, if you’re selling drugs, can God still save you? That’s the whole point. God saves us from disaster. He saves us from tragedy. He saves us in the midst of sin. The Bible says, While we were still sinners, Jesus Christ died for the ungodly. So, the answer to the question is “Yes, of course. He will save you while you’re living with your boyfriend. He can save you while you’re doing drugs. He can save you while you’re cheating or lying or stealing.

But the question needs to go on to say that once you realize that He’s saved you and if once you’ve come to the knowledge of salvation and you still wand to sin and you still desire to do the wrong thing and you still desire to live like the devil and still desire to live the same lifestyle that you’ve lived in the past, then I would question whether you’ve truly received Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior. Because the Bible says that once you receive Him, there is a witness inside of you. “To as many as receive Him,” the Bible says, “to them He gave the right, the power to become sons of God.” And to those that receive Him, there is a witness inside every one of us, there is a desire inside of every one of us to serve the Lord once we’re born again, once we’re saved.

If your desire hasn’t changed since you’ve been saved, then I would question whether you really got saved. Your actions aren’t going to change overnight, but your desires will change right away. You will have a new desire. I remember when I got saved; I didn’t want to sin anymore. I did. I kept sinning. But I didn’t want to. I wanted to be free because I truly realized that Jesus had come into my life and had saved me. So, I think the real issue is only God knows your heart and if you got saved and you’re still living with your boyfriend or you’re still doing something that you know is wrong and there’s no desire inside of you to repent, there’s no desire inside of you to change, there’s no desire inside of you to get help, there’s no desire inside of you to flee from that sin, then we need to really take a look at whether you truly bear the fruit of Christianity, whether you truly have been born again. Because when you’re born again, there’s a new desire. Not that you’ll change overnight, but there’s a new desire to serve God.


Salvation - Salvation General


19/07/2006
How are we born again? Are we filled with the Holy Spirit when we become born again? If I repeat a prayer after the minister, does that mean that I am born again?

First of all, just repeating a prayer after the minister doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re born again. But if your heart has moved you to repeat that prayer and that Minister has shared the gospel with you and you understood that Jesus is Lord, that He died for your sins and rose from the dead. If you understood that He rose from the dead, that He died for your sins and you receive Him as your Lord, then you are born again that instant. Yes, by praying the prayer with the minister, you can get born again. But again that’s if you believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead.

You don’t need to pray with a minister to get born again. God doesn’t require that you pray with anybody to be born again. All that He requires is Romans 10:9, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. That’s what it means to be born again. When you receive Jesus as your Lord and savior, God supernaturally takes the old heart out of you and gives you a brand new heart.

And are you filled with the Holy Spirit when you get born again? Yes, The Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you when you are born again. But there’s a difference between when the Holy Spirit coming to live inside of you and you being baptized in the Holy Spirit. That’s a different experience after you get born again. It doesn’t save you, but what saves you is making Jesus Christ the Lord of your life. And for more information on being baptized in the Holy Spirit, you can go to our website at www.changinglives.org or you can call our prayer line at 847-645-9700 and we’ll be happy to talk to you more about being baptized in the Holy Spirit.


Salvation - Salvation General


13/04/2006
The Scripture in Revelation where it says “if you’re lukewarm, I will spew you out of my mouth,”. What does it mean to spew you out of His mouth and how does that relate to salvation and being saved by grace?

In Revelation chapter 3, Jesus said, “I know your works, I know your deeds. You’re neither hot nor cold. I would that you were hot or cold, but because you’re lukewarm, I will spew you out of My mouth.” That means that you are vomited. You are not digested in the body and you are not an active part of the body of Christ, you are not an effective part of the body of Christ.

It has nothing to do with your salvation. It has to do with the rewards that you’re going to get when you stand before God. We’re going to be rewarded for our deeds. We’re going to be rewarded for how we served the Lord, what we did with His gifts and talents that He gave us, what we did with His Word. We’re going to be rewarded or we’re going to lose our rewards based on what we do with the Word of God. So, that’s what He’s referring to. It’s not our salvation that He’s referring to because our salvation is only through the blood of Jesus Christ, putting our faith in the blood of Jesus Christ.

When He says that He’s going to spew us out of His mouth, that means that He’s not going to take us in to the innermost being, the inner sanctuary, the inner place of His desire in His heart. And we’re going to miss out on God’s purpose for our lives. We’re going to miss out on God’s best for our lives. And I don’t want to miss out.

So, you’ve got to stay on fire for God. You’ve got to keep that fire burning. And when it dies down, you’ve got to go and fan the flame by getting into the Word, by praying, by being accountable to some other believers and by fellowshipping with the Lord and really spending time with Him. That’s what really keeps the fire alive.


Salvation - Salvation General


13/04/2006
What do you have to do to be saved?

I believe the answer is in Romans 10:9, 10 that says, “If we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead, we shall be saved.” That is Christianity in a nutshell. Jesus as the Lord of our lives, our faith in Him dying for our sins and rising from the dead. And that is what saves a man. Faith in the blood sacrifice and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the only thing that saves a person and all else is unnecessary for salvation.

When Peter was asked in Acts and he said, “repent and be baptized and your sins will be washed away and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” That hasn’t ended. By all means, we should repent, be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. However, we cannot repent until we are saved because repentance doesn’t save a person. Repentance is a response to salvation, not an entryway into salvation. The entryway, the thing that takes us beyond the veil into the presence of God is the blood of Jesus Christ. And if turning from sin, which is what repentance is, would save a man, then people could be saved before Jesus came to the earth.

But what saves a man is him putting his faith in the blood of Jesus Christ which empowers a man or a woman to truly be able to repent. The gift of repentance comes when we put our faith in the blood of Jesus Christ and that’s when we’re able to turn from our sin. We can’t turn from sin that we’re not washed from first. We have to be cleansed from it and the power of it broken through faith in the blood of Jesus and then we can turn from that sin.

When you read in Acts 2:38 about “Be baptized…” The word is for the “remission” of your sins, not for the cleansing of your sins. And the word “remission” is actually the word “to divorce” or “to separate.” Like when cancer is remitted from a person’s body that means it’s leaving their body. So baptism is where the remission of sins takes place or the divorce from your sinful past is removed from you. That sinful nature or that sinful body is circumcised according to Colossians 2:12. Acts 2:38 is absolutely essential in the Christian life for the life that we’re going to live on this earth. We need the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to be baptized, we need to repent. But repentance and baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit are all gifts that are given after you put your faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. It could be immediately after; it could be a month after.

I know that when I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and as my savior in 1981 at the Bible study that I went to, based on receiving Him as my savior and believing that He had forgiven me of my sins that day, that day I didn’t turn from all my sins, but I was still saved because I had received Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior according to John 3:16, according to Romans 10:9, 10. Now having received Him as my Lord and savior, He, living inside of me, gave me the power to turn from my sin and gave me a distaste for my sin after I had received His love and received His forgiveness. So, please understand that repentance is essential, but it is a fruit of being saved, not the root to being saved.


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