Friday, July 8, 2011

Have you ever wondered who DOESN'T go to Heaven?

In the first 3 verses of 1John chapter 1, John says almost the identical thing 3 times. Jesus spoke the Truth ALWAYS, there was never a time when any half truth or deception came out His mouth, yet there are a several times where He said, "I tell you the truth" or "truly I say to you".  The extra emphasis Jesus added to His Words when He did this comes to mind when I read these first 3 verses that seem to repeat.

Matthew 10:15  Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

Matthew 10:42  And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward."

Matthew 13:17  For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

Just as Jesus seemed to use the word "truly" to put emphasis on His point, John seems to do the same thing.  John hammers home the point that Jesus came here from His Heavenly home, John and the other disciples seen Him, heard Him, touched Him, and learned from Him:

1John 1:1-3a  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life-- 2  the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us-- 3  that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you...

Before we finish verse 3, first consider why John and the others desire to PROCLAIM what they have seen and heard:

1 John 3b so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

I have said this many times and it is worth repeating; people that have been truly saved have a strong (overwhelming) desire that others be saved.  People that share the Gospel, in whatever capacity God has them doing it, are not saved any more or any less when they share the Gospel.  They do it because they desire to be obedient to their King, knowing that God's desire is that all people be saved and have fellowship with Him.  When a person is saved and enters in to a relationship with God their joy is complete.  Does that mean everything is "roses" for the rest of their life?  Of course not; the 12 disciples and countless others have died because of their faith.  However, we are joyous because we have fellowship with God and we are Heaven bound, we don't need to get wrapped up in the cares of this world:

1John 1:4  And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

As you read the rest of 1 John chapter 1, reflect on the fact that "walking in darkness" means, "to practice sin".  To willingly and deliberately continue in a life of sin. Before we continue in 1 John let's take a look at what God says are some examples of practicing sin:

Romans 13:12-14  The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13  Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

1Corinthians 6:9-11  Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10  nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11  And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Isn't that powerful!  In 1Corinthians 6 Paul starts the list in verse 9 and leaves us thinking, "wow, I don't have a chance"....but then he says in verse 11, "and such WERE some of you".  Why is that so amazing?  Because it gives hope to a wretch like me...and to everyone.  God knows you are a wretch, but He wants to redeem you any way!  But He also wants you to repent.  Notice how Paul uses past tense, "as such WERE some of you"?

1Corinthians 15:34  Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

Galatians 5:19-21  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20  idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21  envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 5:1-8  Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3  But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4  Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5  For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7  Therefore do not become partners with them; 8  for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

There is no doubt that there are many parts of the Bible that are difficult to understand, however, the verses above are about as clear as it gets.  These verses outline what practicing sin looks like and gives the clear command to turn away from such things, that's what it means to repent.

I talked to a pastor once that liked to use silly terms like "carnal Christian" to justify the deliberate continuance in sin.  I think it is pretty clear from the verses here that there is no such thing as a "carnal Christian"  There is either a born-again believer that has been regenerated by The Spirit (just as promised, "he who is in Christ is a new creation"); and there is the fake Christian.  The fake Christian wants all the goodies that go along with eternal life, but they love their sin too much to surrender to Jesus and be born-again.  John addressed these people in verse 6:

1John 1:6  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

Take a look at the contrast of walking in the darkness in the very next verse:

1John 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Then John quickly addresses those that are amazingly good people; "by the world's standards":

1John 1:8-10  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

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