What Now?

I’m saved! What more is necessary?

 

Why Don’t We Talk About It?

Christ Himself tells how important it is get the fundamentals of the Gospel down pat before we go off on tangents:

If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you [of] heavenly things?” (John 3:12John 3:12
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?  

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Without understanding and responding to the Gospel – the full and entire range of the Gospel – nothing else someone has accomplished will matter when they face the judgment of God. That includes whether or not we’ve mapped out his Future Plans accurately.

If you’re sitting there saying to yourself, “I think it’ll all balance out when I stand before Him,” then I beg of you to truly hear what God says of you, of your sin, and of your true state in His sight if you choose to stand before Him in anything other than the full covering of Christ.

 

But What Then?

So then. You’ve heard the Word, understood your position, cried out in your lack, repented of your sin, accepted the atoning work of Christ as full payment for your transgressions against God. Now you are the chosen, called, justified, sanctified and glorified. What more could one desire? What more could we lack when we have been given all things?

We’re not to stop there. Is there anything else we need to do to be acceptable in the sight of God? No. But this isn’t to earn our salvation or sanctification. That work is done. Yet God still wishes us to progress:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2Romans 12:1-2
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12 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  

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We are supposed to learn more of God:

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3John 17:3
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3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.  

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The word “know” there is “ginosko,” and we’ve seen it a lot. It’s not a head-knowledge. I’ve written about this before, and I’ll revisit it at length another time. The point is, it’s more about having a permanent lifetime relationship. You got married to Christ when you called on Him. His Father gave you to Him. (John 10:29John 10:29
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29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.  

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) That’s the reason you can boldly approach the throne of the Father with confidence. (Hebrews 4:16Hebrews 4:16
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16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.  

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But if you don’t know the Father in that respect, you cannot approach Him in that grace. You cannot count on what you’ve done. Your works, according to Him, are “iniquity” – a violation of the Law! This is why Jesus says:

…then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:
depart from me, ye that work iniquity
.” (Matthew 7:23Matthew 7:23
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23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  

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Paul himself wants us to grow in THAT knowledge. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Even in the early days, the church was faced with pew-warmers, happy to sit there learning nothing, knowing nothing… unregenerate. As a result, they had to have the basics delivered to them over and over and over again. They never got it! The writer of Hebrews would teach them this deeper knowledge of Christ, but they cannot hear it:

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing” (Hebrews 5:11Hebrews 5:11
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11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.  

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… and then he goes on to tell them they should be teaching by this point, not having to learn the fundamentals!

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God;” (Hebrews 5:12Hebrews 5:12
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12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.  

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It’s a strong warning. After he calls the readers “babes” in their state of knowledge, he cautions¬† in Hebrews 5:13Hebrews 5:13
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13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. is skillful: Gr. hath no experience  

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that they are:

unskilful (552, ‘apeiros’ :¬† “without experience“)

in the word (3056, ‘logos’ : “word,” also, “reason, the mental faculty of thinking“)

of righteousness (1343, ‘dikaiosyne’ : “the condition acceptable to God“)

 

Wow. What a slam. Imagine if your preacher got up this Sunday and said:

“None of you have any experience in thinking about what it means to be acceptable before God!”

Then he says in the final verse that their minds do not hold the ability to judge between good and evil. They can’t chew strong meat.

Why not? Lack of exercise!!!

…strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:14Hebrews 5:14
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14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. of full age: or, perfect use: or, an habit, or, perfection  

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Most of us have heard of the Armor of God as spelled out in Ephesians 6:10-20Ephesians 6:10-20
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10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. flesh...: Gr. blood and flesh spiritual...: or, wicked spirits high: or, heavenly 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. having...: or, having overcome all 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. in bonds: or, in a chain therein: or, thereof  

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, and we take comfort in the lesson, but we rarely apply it in full. (If you *haven’t* heard any preaching about this passage of Ephesians, then may I recommend the excellent sermons by Pastor Joseph LoSardo of Bread of Life Fellowship in NJ.)

It’s not enough to have the armor. You have to put it on. You have to practice fighting while you’re wearing it. Otherwise you’ll get winded, your shield will fall, your sword arm will drop from weakness, your feet will slip and you will be struck down.

You must practice! You must take up these doctrines and beat them around in your mind. Ask why they’re so. Find how they relate to God’s over-arching plan of Glorification. Attack yourself, if you can! Imagine the questions and pithy one-liners you might face if you find yourself at a party or gathering and it’s overheard that you’re a Christian – suddenly you’re being pelted by all manner of rude comments and challenges to defend your position. The battle is on! Can you stand?

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:152 Timothy 2:15
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15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  

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How Do We Exercise?

We see how in 1 Peter 3:151 Peter 3:15
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15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: fear: or, reverence  

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:

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

Let’s break that down!! We’ll start with the first part.

But (1161, ‘de’ : “moreover”)

sanctify (37, ‘hagiazo’ : “to separate from profane things and dedicate to God“)

the Lord (2962, ‘kyrios’ : “he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord“)

God (2316, ‘theos’ : “God“)

in (1722, ‘en’ : “in, by, with“)

hearts (2588, ‘kardia’ : “the heart, also; denotes the centre of all physical and spiritual life – the soul“)

So, part one:
Moreover, hold your master God apart and different from the world and the regular common things deep in your soul…

 

Now the next:

And (that’s 1161 again)

be ready (2092, ‘hetoimos’ : “prepare, make ready“)

always (104, ‘aei’ : “perpetually, incessantly“)

to (4314, ‘pros’ : “to the advantage of“)

give an answer (627, ‘apologia’ : “a verbal defense; a reasoned statement or argument“)

So, part two:
and prepare yourself incessantly to give yourself the advantage of a reasoned statement…

 

Moving along…

to every man (3956, ‘pas’ : “individually, each, all, the whole; collectively, some of all types“)

that asketh (154, ‘aiteo’ : “to ask, beg, call for, crave“)

you (5209, ‘hymas’ : “you“)

a reason (3056, ‘logos’ again: “word, a doctrine, a reckoning, a score, answer or explanation in reference to judgment“)

Part three:
to everyone who’s begging you to explain…

 

Next up::

of (4012, ‘peri’ : “about, because of“)

the hope (1680, ‘elpis’ : “expectation of evil, fear; also, expectation of good, hope“)

that is in (1722, ‘en’ again)

you (5213, ‘hymin’ again)

Part four:
about why you hold to an expectation of both fear and yet have good hope…

Finally:

with (3326, ‘meta’ : “with, after, behind“)

meekness (4240, ‘praytes’ : “mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit“)

and (2532, ‘kai’ : “and, also“)

fear (5401, ‘phobos’ : I’m going to go special into this one. Yes, it means “fear, dread, terror.” But it also means something else.)

and thus:
with a gentle spirit and dread.
To recap:

The way a Christian should exercise their minds, and the reason we do, is:

Moreover, hold your master God apart and different from the world
and from the regular common things deep in your soul,
and prepare yourself incessantly to give yourself the advantage of a reasoned statement,
to everyone who’s begging you to explain
about why you hold an expectation of fear and yet have good hope
with a gentle spirit and dread.

 

Does that make a bit more sense to you?

 

Dessert

Now for the fun part, the blow-your-mind part.

This is why I love doing studies. This is the thrill of discovery, of coming across some hidden truth that’s just laying there in plain sight. This is the treasure I would share with all my brothers and sisters. This is the thrill that Christ speaks of when He says:

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. ” (Matthew 13:44Matthew 13:44
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44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.  

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Okay. Ready?

In 1 Peter 3:151 Peter 3:15
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15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: fear: or, reverence  

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, the final word phobos does indeed mean “fear, dread, terror.”

It also means “reverence for one’s husband.”

We are the bride of Christ. He is your husband, the bridegroom. (Revelation 21:9Revelation 21:9
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9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.  

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We are to give a defense, an explanation, an appeal, because those who ask are seeking to understand (or undermine) our husband.

How would *you* react if someone came up to you and said of your spouse the things which they say about Christ?

What would you say if they said your spouse was unfaithful?

How would you respond if they said you were a sucker for believing your spouse said he would saving up to buy a house and start up the family as soon as he got back?

What would you do if, say, your spouse was off on deployment and everyone tried to convince you that your spouse never existed at all and you’re just deluding yourself?

Now do you see why that last line contains an injunction to respond gently and with a meek spirit?

And what do you think your man’s going to do when come ships back from overseas and comes face to face with those who said he was chasing skirt, or that he didn’t exist at all?

Do you think He’s going to care about how many times that guy brought coffee to the office?

I give you Mark 3:28-29Mark 3:28-29
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28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:  

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Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme,

But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.

 

Now do you see why words are important? Why we must delve deep into doctrines?

How much more confidence do you now have in your Heavenly Bridegroom?

How much more pity do we have for those who continue to reject Him, when we know their fate? When we were doomed to it ourselves, but for Christ and Christ alone?

 

A message from Paul to Timothy (and you)

2 Timothy 2:152 Timothy 2:15
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15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  

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says:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God…

… but even here, there is a lesson hidden in the words.

Study (4704, ‘spoudazo’ : “to hasten, make haste“)

to shew (3936, ‘paristemi’ : “to place beside, to stand beside, to present“)

thyself (4572, ‘seautou’ : “thyself, thee“)

approved (1384, ‘dokimos’ : “accepted, particularly of coins and money“)

more about ‘dokimos‘ :

“In the ancient world there was no banking system as we know it today, and no paper money. All money was made from metal, heated until liquid, poured into moulds and allowed to cool. When the coins were cooled, it was necessary to smooth off the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft, and of course many people shaved them closely. In one century, more than eighty laws were passed in Athens to stop the practice of whittling down the coins then in circulation. But some money-changers were men of integrity, who would accept no counterfeit money; they were men of honour who put only genuine, full-weight money into circulation. Such men were called dokimos, and this word is used here for the Christian as he is to be seen by the world.” (Donald Grey Barnhouse, Romans: God’s Glory, p. 18.)

 

A “dokimos” was a guy who wouldn’t cheat you, who you could count on getting the full value from.

unto God (2316: ‘theos’ : “God“)

So what Paul told Timothy was this:

“Make haste to present yourself as someone giving the full value of God.”

In today’s “church,” I see worship bands playing AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell” and “pastors” delivering messages telling newly-saved Christians they have no place among the group. This isn’t hyperbole, exaggeration or pointing out a rare instance amongst some isolated group somewhere.

This is happening at the largest, most popular, fastest-growing churches in the country.

Paul warned us of this:

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” (2 Timothy 4:32 Timothy 4:3
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3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  

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This is why it’s important.

This is why you should be in a study group that dives into the Word as if for lost treasure.

This is why you should flee any church that fails to teach fundamental basic doctrines.

Ask yourself if you’ve heard straightforward teaching from the pulpit on

  • election
  • total depravity
  • the perseverance of the saints
  • suffering
  • sanctification
  • conformity to the image of Christ

… or have you just had warm fuzzy feelgood social messages and a rollicking praise band concert instead? You’re not saved just because you had a fun time jamming out at church every Sunday.

Only God can turn goats into sheep. (John 10:27John 10:27
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27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  

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He does so by feeding them sheep food. (Romans 10:14Romans 10:14
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14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  

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It’s the pastor’s job to hand out sheep food. Not goat food. (John 21:17John 21:17
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17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.  

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If you’re eating goat food … flee!! (2 Corinthians 6:172 Corinthians 6:17
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17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,  

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Find yourself a church that preaches the fullness of the Gospel!