Good morning. I pray this finds each of you cool on this hot summer day, feeling well and enjoying all the blessings God continues to pour out on us. It is the time of year when many churches are planning to have, or are having spring revivals. I ask you to keep them in your prayers. Our church is participating in a “cluster” revival this week that combines several denominations and we covet your prayers as well.
This weeks topic is "Open Eyes". Why is it, that so often we refuse to see things that are right in front of our face? It's like, if we keep our eyes closed, and pretend something is not there, or going on, then maybe it isn't. Well, just because we don't acknowledge something, doesn't make it more or less real.
Let's take a look at what the scripture says. Matthew 7:13-20 says, "13 "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 "So then, you will know them by their fruits. 1 John 3:4-10 says, "4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. 7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
The Bible tells us how to recognize those who really are God's. The world's response to Christians calling things black and white is "you're judging me". In Matthew 7:20 we are told, "So then, you will know them by their fruits". We don't have to guess, or as some say, "judge". The Bible tells us we will know them by the good, God's good, or the bad, the world's way. 1 John 3:10 makes this clear, "By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother". 1 John 3:4 says, "sin is lawlessness. Lawlessness is used here in its broadest sense--defection from any of God's standards.
Verse 6 of 1 John 3 helps us to understand that the lifestyle of the believer who keeps God's commands (abides) will be obedience, not sin. The lifestyle of the one who keeps on sinning demonstrates that he does not know God. Verse 8 says, "practices", one who continually practices, sins as a regular way of life. In verse 9 we should understand that God's people cannot sin habitually. Habitual actions indicate one's character, and if God's seed abides in us, this nature prevents the Christian from habitually sinning.
In no way am I inferring that a Christian is perfect, or that his actions will be without wrong doing. What I am saying, and what God's word is telling us is, that many claim to be children of God and choose to continually practice sin, (committing the same sins over and over) proving that they really don't know God and His seed does not abide in them. Those who have accepted the gift of salvation and have a genuine relationship with God, will learn from their sins and grow and overcome and have victory and be able to stand and face other sins in their lives. We will grow, learn and know these things if, we have open eyes.
Until next time, please pray for each other and me, as I continue to pray for you.
Love in CHRIST,
Bethel Baptist Church