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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.