Thursday, May 11, 2023

Pressing On Isn't Optional

Pressing On Isn't Optional 
by David Brenneman 

Been reading "Where Do We Go From Here?" by Dr. David Jeremiah.  Very much food for thought. As he quoted of the Bible account concerning Demas. He had been a fellow worker in the faith. By the writing to Timothy, he had deserted Paul having loved this world. 

"You must continue to cultivate your relationship with the Lord. Your walk with God is not static.  You are growing in Him or you are beginning to grow cold toward Him." Dr. David Jeremiah "Where Do We Go From Here?"

"To be clear, apostasy is not the same thing as atheism. By apostasy, I'm not referring to people in general who reject Christianity or deny the truth of the gospel.  Apostasy doesn't reflect the rise of atheism in and of itself, nor does it apply to everyone who chooses religious systems other than Christianity. Instead, the concept of falling away has a narrower focus.  It applies specifically to apparent Christians--to those who claim to follow Jesus, but then turn their backs on Him.  'An apostate is not one who was saved and then lost his or her salvation.  An apostate, though having claimed to be a believer, never was saved in the first place.'" Dr. David Jeremiah "Where Do We Go From Here?"

"But an apostate is well acquainted with the gospel. He or she knows more than enough to be saved and, yes, has even professed to follow Christ. But at some point they turn their backs on the Savior. Their commitment wasn't real, and their decision wasn't authentic. Those who are Christians in pretense are non-Christians in reality, and sooner or later reality wins." Dr. David Jeremiah "Where Do We Go From Here?"

Matthew 7 "Christians" Read this here: “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?  So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  So then, you will know them by their fruits.  Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; leave Me, you who practice lawlessness.’" Matthew 7:15-23 NASB

Andrew Murray "In commerce, in study, in war, it is so often said there is no safety but in advance.  To stand still is to go back.  To cease effort is to lose ground. To slacken the pace, before the goal is reached, is to lose the race. The only sure mark of our being true Christians, of our really loving Christ, is the deep longing and the steady effort to know more of Him. Tens of thousands have proved that to be content with being well is the first step on a backward course, that ends in losing all...Let us press on."

"Examine yourself, encourage yourself, and exercise yourself in the Lord. And most of all just keep going and growing. Don't stop! Don't look back! Just keep on walking with the Lord." is one more quote from the book.

There's lots of good good information here that points to the same Paul described it...we're in a race.  You don't stop along the way if you're intent on winning that race.  BE INTENT.  Be running as though to win the prize as Paul wrote it to others and also to you.  

We're always, always, always going to be tempted to sit on the park bench next to the road that the race is being ran on.  It's always going to be inviting.  But we're called to press on.  Keep advancing.  Keep on moving forward.  We're going to hear the voices that tell us that we earned a rest.  That we've done enough, it's time to coast a while.  Soon a while turns into years.  

We're also fooling ourselves if we think we need to 'just catch our breath for a moment'.  

The apostasy that Dr. Jeremiah is writing about is very much in our culture today.  It certainly is seen in the church splits happening.  It's being seen in those churches dying.  People embracing a world-view into the church rather than the church changing the world-view at large.  The proper translation of Matthew 16:18 isn't such that it reads that the gates of Hell will not overpower the Church, it's that the Church's ONSLAUGHT will overpower the gates of Hell.  The forward drive, the attack, the power of prayer united among the body of Christ will be that powerful if lived the way that the Spirit teaches.

What's interesting is how easy it is to think you've done enough.  Your sin nature wants you to believe you've done enough.  The world in which you live wants you to believe you've done enough.  In some cases the church you go to wants you to believe you've done enough.  

The Truth says, persist.  Keep on keeping on.  Press on.  Don't let up.  Don't let your guard down.

Another interesting fact that I had never considered until of late is a different way to look at the whole armor of God.  We get the full description in Ephesians 6.  However do you see what it was modeled after?  Do you see how the Roman soldier outfit is similar?   When engaged, the shield and sword are used in unison.  Shield comes up to block the blow, the sword is the next to flash in the next move.  They work together.  Shield of faith and the Sword of the Spirit.  Used together the bearer of this armor advances, the bearer does not retreat.  They press on, they persist until the battle is won.  

Churches should not reflect the social order of the day, Churches should reflect Christ. Churches are supposed to be different from the world.  Jesus had a dim view of the Jewish Leaders making His Father's House a place of business rather than a place of prayer. 

Indeed this is heavy stuff but in the same way it's not.  Be sure of your salvation.  We read in Romans 10 of what it means to be saved.   

"But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:8-13 NASB 

We are told to die to self and live for Christ.  To take up our own cross and follow Him.  Would this describe you?   If Dear Reader, please stop and please reconsider your life...and consider the consequences of a life ending without Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.  

We who are in Christ are not to be conformed to this world.  Our actions and behavior ought to be such that people see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven.  Persisting in prayer.  Persisting in learning more about Jesus.  Being in a real relationship with Jesus.  

"Not that I have already grasped it all or have already become perfect, but I press on if I may also take hold of that for which I was even taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:12-14 NASB

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