Tag Archives: lost

The “It” Factor

A message text for Sunday, July 31, 2016 from Melvin Gaines:

I have been actively involved in ministry now for over twenty-five years.  This is just a personal observation, but in that time, I have seen the actions and behaviors of many who profess to know Jesus Christ as personal Savior.  I witnessed people who serve with dedication and with the desire to truly see people come to Christ.

You have to get your hands a little dirty to see the first fruits of the power of the Holy Spirit working according to God’s will, which is for every person to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ:

1 Timothy 2:3-4 HCSB

This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

God desires for everyone He created to be saved.  Not everyone will experience His salvation, but that does not change His will.  You are to live an abundant life for Jesus Christ to help people see the love of Christ, and have the desire to recognize the need for salvation in Christ.

I’ve seen many hardworking people that have found a way to tap into their talents and skills to serve Jesus Christ.  They are on the front lines with their words and actions declaring the gospel message.  They are concerned about the people who do not know Jesus Christ.  They are making themselves available to seek the lost.

Yet, there are many, many more people that I have observed who profess belief in Jesus Christ but are absent from many church activities, such as neighborhood outreach, visitations, or even the customary church gatherings (except for those when free food is being served!).  They may have even seen those that are working in the trenches for Christ, but they are not compelled to get involved.  It has nothing to do with how busy a person’s life is, for even the busiest people still have the desire to jump in somewhere—wherever they are—and work for the Kingdom from time to time.

While it would be wrong to question the motivation of these people, or even give consideration to the authenticity of their faith, it is my conclusion that these people, who can readily watch others working for the gospel, just don’t get it.

They just don’t get it.  They just don’t get “It.”

What is the “It” that they don’t get?

For this discussion, “It” refers to a believer’s progression within their relationship with Jesus Christ—a progression where service is not seen as a duty or as an act of drudgery.  It is when a believer equates service with the love for other people as a reflection of Jesus Christ.  This progression is something that not every believer will attain, or even realize is possible.  It requires a devotion to Jesus Christ that must continue throughout the life of a believer.

When you become a believer, it is done with the immediate acknowledgment of the need for Jesus Christ as a personal Lord and Savior.  It is done with humility, repentance and with the sincere desire for a new life trajectory.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Your new life in Christ now begins, and in the same way a child grows into adolescence, your relationship with Jesus Christ consists of a series of growth spurts.  It is now an ongoing training and life experience progression where you develop a heart of flesh—a sincere concern—for the fate of the lost.  Only Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit, can orchestrate such a change.

Why do we need more believers who really “get it”?  It is because of the millions of people throughout the world that are lost.  There are many who are lost because they do not know Jesus Christ as Savior, and the tragedy of this is that many don’t even know that they are lost.  They are in spiritual darkness because of sinful behavior and willful disobedience.  Ravi Zacharias noted in his podcast, The Lostness of Men, “the worst effect of sin is the enslaved spirit” (Zacharias, 2008).  Sinful behavior gives the sinner the illusion that he is free to do whatever he pleases; in fact, he is merely a slave of sin.  When it comes to the heart of the unbeliever, it is a heart of stone that prefers conforming to the world instead of seeking Jesus Christ.  Because of this, Zacharias noted that “man is condemned eternally without Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-10) as “sin is not just an act—it is an attitude” (Zacharias, 2008). The failure of the lost to acknowledge Christ as Savior results in dire consequences.  There is eternal condemnation and separation without Christ (Zacharias, 2008).

People who are lost need to see the love of Christ as often as possible.  More believers need to see the importance of this.  All of the world’s confusion and unrest today reflects the importance of believers possessing the “It” Factor as being more important than ever before.

The “It” Factor is what needs to be present in the life of a believer in order to effectively proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit is the One who enables this progression to participate in Christ’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

A. B. Simpson refers to this progression as sanctification (Simpson, 1890). Sanctification is the growth of one’s relationship with Jesus Christ that promotes behavioral and relational change in the life of a believer. Jesus is the source of our sanctification (Simpson, 1890). It begins with the desire of a believer to separate from sin.  Simpson noted “the sanctified Christian is separated from sin, from an evil world, even from his own self, and from anything that would be a separating cause between him and Christ in the new life” (Simpson, p. 14, 1890).

Along with separation from sin, there must be a dedication to God and a conformity to the likeness and will of God (Simpson, 1890), which are the critical growth spurts that every believer is to experience as one yields to the Holy Spirit.  Simpson noted, “A sanctified Christian is submissive and obedient. He desires the Divine will above everything else in life as kinder and wiser for him than anything else can be. He is conscious that he misses something if he misses it. He knows it will promote his highest good far more than his own will, crying instinctively, ‘Thy will be done'” (Simpson, p. 14-15, 1890).

It is this progression within sanctification that reflects God’s love to everyone that the believer comes into contact with, especially those who are lost.  It is God’s love, and His desire to fellowship with believers, that turns hearts of stone into hearts of flesh—a greater propensity for humility and obedience in a consistent practice of godliness before others:

Ezekiel 36:25-28 HCSB

I will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances.  Then you will live in the land that I gave your fathers; you will be My people, and I will be your God.

In order for people without Christ to be compelled to leave their lost state of being, they need to see the love of God as often as possible.  This is the “It” factor.

It is not a given that a believer grasps this sanctification—the “It” Factor.  Simpson noted, “Many people make a mistake about some of these steps. Some of them are clinging to a little of their old goodness and therefore meet with failures. Others stumble at the second step.  They do not see that Jesus is their complete Sanctifier.  And many cannot take the third step and make a complete surrender of everything to Him.  Multitudes fail even when they have taken these steps in not being able to believe that Jesus receives them” (Simpson, p. 17, 1890).  The flesh, reminders of the past life, or confusion from life’s distractions, can keep a person from making progress.  Satan and his followers desire to wreck the relationship of a believer in Jesus Christ, and only reliance upon God’s strength through the Holy Spirit can overcome them:

Ephesians 6:10-13 HCSB

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.  For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.  This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.

The believer who is still trying to “get it” must see the urgency and importance in the progressive development in a relationship with Jesus Christ.  In order to develop that heart of flesh, he must be willing to—and strive to—learn more about Jesus Christ.  He must do the following:

  1. Investigate the Bible. Read the bible daily, and not just read it, but dig deeply into its meaning.    Knowing Jesus means knowing His Word as much as possible.  A believer should not only make a plan to read, but also use study references and commentaries to provoke and compel thought to create a greater understanding of who Jesus Christ is.  A habit of daily Scripture reading is a process of growing to appreciate God’s way of communicating, instructing and teaching a believer.
  1. Meditate on His Word. For a fruitful relationship with Jesus Christ, a believer must communicate with God through active prayer and meditation (Psalm 1:1-3).  The practice of meditation is a way to close any gaps of communication between the Holy Spirit and the believer, and to promote greater instruction and knowledge of the character of Christ.
  1. Act on His Word through obedience. The Spirit compels the person who is faithful to Jesus Christ to go and reflect the love of Christ to everyone the person interacts with each and every day.  A believer who is closely following Jesus Christ impacts the world around him with the presence of Christ in everyday life!
  1. Grow each day in sanctification. The Holy Spirit enables the believer with the capability to progress over time to learn more about Jesus and resist those things that can hamper his relationship with Him (2 Peter 3:18).
  1. Endure each day through any hardship or difficulty as you glorify God. It is through endurance that one develops the character of Christ (Romans 5:3-5).

James 1:2-4 HCSB

Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

Perhaps you picked up on the fact that the five points of progression and development in your relationship with Jesus Christ make up the acronym IMAGE.  It is fitting that you live out this IMAGE in Christ, for it is His desire for you, as His creation in His image (Genesis 1:26-27):

  • To live a life for Him that becomes more fulfilling and fruitful as you are sanctified in His presence.
  • He desires for you to experience the fulfillment of the love of Christ and share it with others through your powerful words and your actions!
  • This results in a mutual effort, with you and the power of the Holy Spirit, to show the love of Christ to anyone and everyone that you come into contact with!
  • It is the culmination of your obedience to the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ!

The strong believer in Jesus Christ truly gets “It.” He is willing to live openly for Jesus Christ and is compelled to reach the lost because Jesus wants the very same thing—to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).  A believer who is still learning about what it means to live a life of totality for Jesus Christ will soon get “It” as long as he seeks the Lord Jesus Christ with all of his heart.

There is a great need for people to join Christ in the Great Commission to seek and reach the lost.  There is a lot at stake, and it is for all eternity:

Matthew 9:35-38 HCSB

Then Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness.  When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few.  Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.

If you don’t get it, and you don’t get “It,” I pray that you do, and that you do it very soon.  The body of Christ needs your help to reach the lost.

 

References

Holman Christian Standard Bible (2009). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.

Zacharias, R. (2008, June 22). The Lostness of Man [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/let-my-people-think/listen/

Simpson, A. (1890). The Fourfold Gospel. Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications.

 

Developing your IMAGE:

 

Investigate God’s Word

Meditate on His Word

Act and apply His Word

Grow in Jesus Christ

Endure the hardships that will certainly come

 

Copyright © Melvin Gaines

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What is the Role of Today’s Church?

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
Does the church stand behind what it teaches? Does it hold to the authority of Scripture? If the church is to remain relevant, it must continue to focus on the importance of Jesus Christ in its ministry.

The church is the continuation of Jesus’ ministry. It is a ministry that serves its people. The Holy Spirit gives direction for those who are serving in the church. The church must also recognize that change and evolution of society and its values. With that, the teaching of Scripture does not change with society. Sin is still sin as it always was, and is to be recognized as such. The church must stand firm in God’s Word.

When society is troubled, the church is also troubled out of concern for its people. The church must deal with the troubles in society.

Nehemiah 2:17
So I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins and its gates have been burned down. Come, let’s rebuild Jerusalem’s wall, so that we will no longer be a disgrace.”

Do you see the trouble that we are in with people who are fleeing from the church? Do you see how men are not taking responsibilities for their children and families? Do you see how fornication affects our society? Do you understand that God will provide for anyone who is willing to serve?

Some people will refuse to serve because they refuse to see the troubles in society…even in our own homes. There is less safety and security all around but you need to acknowledge those who set out not to do good but to do evil. There is calamity everywhere, but it can’t be ignored. Unfortunately, some people do not care if they live in their sin and in its disgrace. The persons in the church need to develop a heart of love and concern for those in society who are in sin and out of fellowship. Do you weep for others because God’s Word is not being followed? We cry because of the danger and hardship that people put themselves into because of their sin.

Psalm 119:136
My eyes pour out streams of tears
because people do not follow Your instruction.

Nehemiah 2:3
…and replied to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should I not be sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”

Ezekiel 9:4
“Pass throughout the city of Jerusalem,” the Lord said to him, “and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the detestable practices committed in it.”

The church is to be actively involved in all areas of life where there is a need for service.

The people of the church must look at the problems of society and seek what needs to be accomplished.

The church needs to train the people to do the work to provide solutions to the problems.

Look at the work of Jesus Christ to understand what the work of the church is. Jesus came to be about His Father’s business, just as the people of the church are to do. For example, Jesus took on the troubles of Zacchaeus.

Luke 19:7-10
7 All who saw it began to complain, “He’s gone to lodge with a sinful man!”

8 But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, I’ll give half of my possessions to the poor, Lord! And if I have extorted anything from anyone, I’ll pay back four times as much!”

9 “Today salvation has come to this house,” Jesus told him, “because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.”

The difference between those who are lost and those who are saved is often the troubles of the world are a negative influence in the non-believers life. Sin always brings about troubles in life. God is always seeking those who have troubles in their life. The people in trouble are always seeking solutions to their problems, but they may not readily understand that it is Christ who is the answer to their problems. They must see the people of the church willing to serve and help those in trouble and have a heart to save a dying world. It is a lifelong commitment.

Mark 10:45
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life —a ransom for many.”

The model for the church is found here:

1 Peter 2:21
For you were called to this,
because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example,
so that you should follow in His steps.

Jesus mingled with the people, as the people of the church are to interact with people in the world. There is a lesson in listening to the Lord and a blessing when you are obedient and trust in Him:

Luke 5:1-11
As the crowd was pressing in on Jesus to hear God’s word, He was standing by Lake Gennesaret. 2 He saw two boats at the edge of the lake; the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the land. Then He sat down and was teaching the crowds from the boat.

4 When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”

5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing! But at Your word, I’ll let down the nets.”

6 When they did this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets began to tear. 7 So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them; they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, because I’m a sinful man, Lord!” 9 For he and all those with him were amazed at the catch of fish they took, 10 and so were James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were Simon’s partners.

“Don’t be afraid,” Jesus told Simon. “From now on you will be catching people!” 11 Then they brought the boats to land, left everything, and followed Him.

We are to interact with people who are not healthy. We are to seek those who are in need of guidance and who want to be helped.

Luke 5:27-32
27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” 28 So, leaving everything behind, he got up and began to follow Him.

29 Then Levi hosted a grand banquet for Him at his house. Now there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others who were guests with them. 30 But the Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to His disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

31 Jesus replied to them, “The healthy don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

We are to meet the needs of the people where they are. It requires trusting in God to go beyond your own human reasoning to accomplish this. It takes faith and trusting in Him.

Luke 9:11-17
11 When the crowds found out, they followed Him. He welcomed them, spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and cured those who needed healing.

12 Late in the day, the Twelve approached and said to Him, “Send the crowd away, so they can go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find food and lodging, because we are in a deserted place here.”

13 “You give them something to eat,” He told them.

“We have no more than five loaves and two fish,” they said, “unless we go and buy food for all these people.” 14 (For about 5,000 men were there.)

Then He told His disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about 50 each.” 15 They did so, and had them all sit down. 16 Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them. He kept giving them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 Everyone ate and was filled. Then they picked up 12 baskets of leftover pieces.

The people of the church must have the will and desire to do what God would have them to do, and by trusting in Him, it will be accomplished.


The Church is a Corporate Witness to The World

Today’s message summary from Pastor Gus Brown:
The church witnesses corporately to the world. It is to build up, minister, and encourage one another in Jesus Christ. The world observes what the body of Christ does in its ministry and should be drawn to Christ through its actions.

Acts 4:13-16
13 When they observed the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14 And since they saw the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in response. 15 After they had ordered them to leave the Sanhedrin, they conferred among themselves, 16 saying, “What should we do with these men? For an obvious sign, evident to all who live in Jerusalem, has been done through them, and we cannot deny it!

Acts 2:46
Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple complex, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with a joyful and humble attitude.

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.

Ephesians 4:16
From Him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.

Romans 14:19
So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another.

God wants the people of the church to actively minister to the world, and to build up one another. We are to proclaim that God can change lives. When the church acts, the evidence of what has been accomplished is present for everyone to see, whether or not you believe in Jesus Christ.

The church has a tremendous responsibility to minister to the world. A church fails to lead and be a witness by deliberately becoming a secular organization–by not praying and looking to the Lord and by removing the teaching of God’s Word (the Bible).

There has to sincere prayer and God’s Word is to be taught in order for the church to act in accordance to God’s will.

Jeremiah 9:23-26
23 This is what the LORD says:
The wise man must not boast in his wisdom;
the strong man must not boast in his strength;
the wealthy man must not boast in his wealth.
24 But the one who boasts should boast in this,
that he understands and knows Me—
that I am Yahweh, showing faithful love,
justice, and righteousness on the earth,
for I delight in these things.
This is the LORD’s declaration.

25 “The days are coming”—the LORD’s declaration—“when I will punish all the circumcised yet uncircumcised: 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, the Ammonites, Moab, and all the inhabitants of the desert who clip the hair on their temples. All these nations are uncircumcised, and the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.”

John 5:39-40

39 You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. 40 And you are not willing to come to Me so that you may have life.

Romans 2:21-22
21 you then, who teach another, don’t you teach yourself? You who preach, “You must not steal”—do you steal? 22 You who say, “You must not commit adultery”—do you commit adultery? You who detest idols, do you rob their temples?

1 Corinthians 3:3
…because you are still fleshly. For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not fleshly and living like unbelievers?

A church cannot be an effective witness to the world when it is in isolation from the world and withdraws from it.

John 17:15
I am not praying
that You take them out of the world
but that You protect them from the evil one.

Mark 2:15-17
15 While He was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also guests with Jesus and His disciples, because there were many who were following Him. 16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked His disciples, “Why does He eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 When Jesus heard this, He told them, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Acts 10:25, 34-35
25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, fell at his feet, and worshiped him.

34 Then Peter began to speak: “Now I really understand that God doesn’t show favoritism, 35 but in every nation the person who fears Him and does righteousness is acceptable to Him.

A church is an effective witness for the world when it engages the world in “holy worldliness.” God wants us to be Christlike as we live in the world, even though we are not of the world.

John 20:21
Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

1 Peter 2:12
Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation.

Luke 5:27-32
27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and He said to him, “Follow Me!” 28 So, leaving everything behind, he got up and began to follow Him.
Dining with Sinners

29 Then Levi hosted a grand banquet for Him at his house. Now there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others who were guests with them. 30 But the Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to His disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
31 Jesus replied to them, “The healthy don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”


Searching For Truth

Do you recall the last time that you were searching around for your car keys?  Was it just the other day that you were hunting around for your cell phone because you could not find where you had last put it down?  Maybe it was your wallet, where you keep your driver’s license.  Don’t leave home without it!  For those times you misplaced your glasses, you really struggled finding them because your eyesight is the reason you had to get glasses in the first place!

All of us have lost something that we need to find as soon as possible in order to be able to continue with our day, or even just feel better because what you thought was lost was not really lost at all.  The process of searching for something can be a very casual search, or a frantic search where you are flipping seat cushions and bed covers, or something in between.

While none of us looks forward to searching for a lost item, we should relish looking for those things that reveal truth in the midst of a very confusing world.  The search for truth can be relatively straightforward, for example, it occurs to you while you are looking for your keys that you left them in your coat pocket, and while your keys are not yet located, you know where to go to find them.  Some searches for truth for some of us are not as simple.  There are still others where the search for truth is hampered by constraints of the world.  Their search is one of futility because they do not know where to go or which way to turn next.  The search process is now fraught with disappointment and despair.  The search for truth can be as simple as the search when you absolutely know where to look, or it can be utterly mystifying and confusing.

A search requires effort on your part.  Searching for truth requires effort, as well.  Jesus certainly knew that there would be many people today seeking the truth about Him or the truth about salvation and what it means to trust in Him as your personal Savior.  With all of this, He provides us with some guidelines as we search for truth in this world.  Let’s “search” the Scriptures in seeking his advice.

Matthew 7:7-8

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

The search for truth has some basic components that are within the search process.  The first of these is relatively straightforward…to ask for information.  We must be prepared to ask questions in order to receive answers that will guide us into truth.  In the process of asking questions, we should always challenge ourselves to make sure that we are in the proper learning environment.  All of us would agree that we would want the best possible environment for our children when it comes to education.  We would not want to settle for anything less than a quality education for them.  If that is the case, then why would you settle for a church that is short on teaching ability and that does not provide that same quality for you?  You make the distinction and determination that you are in the best learning environment in church by asking questions.  Once you hear the answers, now you can note them and test their veracity as you are challenged to do according to God’s Word:

Acts 17:10-12

As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas off to Beroea. On arrival, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 The people here were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, since they welcomed the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Consequently, many of them believed, including a number of the prominent Greek women as well as men.

Asking questions during bible studies or Sunday school classes will most certainly confirm, with the proper scriptural fact checking, whether or not you are in the proper environment for seeking God’s truth in His Word.  The Spirit guides us into truth if we are paying attention to Him.  Jesus promises that when we ask, we will receive the answers that we need through the Spirit.

John 16:13

“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth.  For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak whatever He hears.  He will also declare to you what is to come.”

Jesus also advises us to seek what we are looking for, and there will come a point where what we are looking for will be found.  Notice that Jesus does not immediately proclaim that you are to seek Him directly, but what you will find is that the more you actually search through the Scriptures, the likelihood is that you will come to the same conclusion:

John 5:39

You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me.

This verse points to the fact that while you may be studying scripture and asking questions, it is important to note that you could be looking directly at Jesus Christ and missing the important message that He is trying to communicate.  Matthew Henry’s commentary of this verse is that even though the Jews were scholars and believed that they had everything they needed because they had God’s Word in their hands, they still neglected God’s true message and had lost their love for God.  Many may believe they are very religious, and yet they sadly do not love or even know Jesus in a relational way.

It is important to not only seek, but to keep seeking—to continue to look for the truth.  It may take several attempts before you make the discovery, but the key to all of this is persistence.  Persistence requires a desire to get to a place in your search where you are completely satisfied with the results.  In order to get to that point, you must keep seeking…keep looking for answers.  The answers come from Scripture, and as we seek the truth, we should have the desire to seek it even more.

Psalm 1:1-3

How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path of sinners, or join a group of mockers! 2 Instead, his delight is in the LORD’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

The search for truth requires asking for information, seeking answers to your questions, and another act of persistence, knocking.  The act of knocking, specifically in Matthew 7 on a door, is to create a sound that brings attention to the one who is creating the noise.  To knock on the door is to alert someone on the other side that you wish to obtain entry to a place that you cannot readily access without the door being opened for you.  Logically, if you could open the door and enter the room, there is no need to knock.

Why the reference of knocking and the door will be opened?  This is also an example of persistence and also endurance.  The door being knocked on is considered to be an obstacle.  The obstacle can be perceived as a small thing, or it can be a very great trial.  Of the commentaries that you may review in looking at this verse, there are references to the combination of prayer to God, persistence, and endurance with the act of knocking on the door.  You continue to knock on the door until it is opened.  Let’s look at the parallel verse, which gives a more detailed example of this:

Luke 11:5-9

5 He also said to them: “Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I don’t have anything to offer him.’ 7 Then he will answer from inside and say, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children and I have gone to bed. I can’t get up to give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he won’t get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence, he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9 “So I say to you, keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

The opening of the door allows you to enter into a place of rest and security in the Lord.  An open door after persistent knocking brings on a sense of relief and satisfaction.  If you notice closely in the verse that the Lord promises that He will open the door…not that he might open it or could open it…He will open the door.  This is a promise that He gives to each of us who remain persistent in seeking Him, endure hardships to fellowship with Him, and look for ways to understand Him in the best way possible.

Notice that this is exactly what Jesus Christ wants you to do in your efforts to seek Him.  To keep asking questions, to keep seeking understanding, to continue to pray in earnest through your hardships until the time He responds to you.  Seeking the truth means that you are doing much more than just learning about Jesus Christ—you are learning that the actions of asking, seeking, and knocking mean that you are seeking a living Christ…the Messiah…the God who knows all about you while you are continually learning more about Him, learning how to love Him as He already loved you.

Romans 5:8

But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!

John 3:16

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

1 John 4:9-10

God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (sacrifice) for our sins.

Seeking truth is all about seeking Jesus.  We are to never cease from seeking Him, for the more we learn about Jesus Christ, the more wisdom, knowledge, and understanding that we will receive from Him through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Proverbs 9:10

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.


Copyright © Melvin Gaines.


Sunday School Today: What Really Matters To God

In the book of Luke in chapter 15, Jesus heard the complaints of the scribes and the Pharisees when He took the time to speak to and fellowship with the known sinners of the town and the tax collectors. “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them! (v. 2)” In response to their comments, Jesus wanted to make it very clear that, unlike the religious leaders of the day, He does not play favorites over those who follow the Lord and those who do not. The three parables of lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son (the prodigal son) show that it is God’s desire is for everyone–every human being that He created–to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:3-4). The three parables go beyond expressing God’s love and concern for the lost (those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ). God not only pursues the lost, but He also desires a loving relationship with believers that have fallen away from Him even though they know the truth. The parable of the prodigal son reflects a young man who was raised with the knowledge of who God was because, when things turned badly for himself, he immediately asked for God’s forgiveness and mercy (Luke 15:18-19). To ask for forgiveness while declaring yourself to be “no longer worthy to be called your son (v. 19)” implies that there was already a place of standing and fellowship within the family. God graciously forgives us once He sees a change of heart and a spirit of remorse when we ask for forgiveness. God is so loving and gracious that He gives us the peace that we seek almost immediately when our heart and mind turns from sin and focuses on Him. Yes, heaven rejoices for the return of the believer who had fallen away. A changed heart for Jesus means that, once again, God can use that individual for the Kingdom of God! That’s a good reason to celebrate, and it is reassuring to know that God loves us so much that He will seek us out until we finally acknowledge His presence.