What if I don’t feel saved?

Jesus saving Peter from drowning

By S. Michael Houdmann, Supporter of Got Questions Ministries

This is an all-too-common question among Christians. Many people doubt their salvation because of feelings or the lack of them. The Bible has much to say about salvation, but nothing to say about “feeling saved.” Salvation is a process by which the sinner is delivered from “wrath,” that is, from God’s judgment against sin (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9). Specifically, it was Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection that achieved our salvation (Romans 5:10; Ephesians 1:7).

Our part in the salvation process is that we are saved by faith. First, we must hear the gospel-the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection (Ephesians 1:13). Then, we must believe-fully trust the Lord Jesus (Romans 1:16) and His sacrifice alone. We have no confidence in works of the flesh to achieve salvation. This faith-which is a gift from God, not something we produce on our own (Ephesians 2:8-9)-involves repentance, a changing of mind about sin and Christ (Acts 3:19), and calling on the name of the Lord (Romans 10:9-10, 13). Salvation results in a changed life as we begin to live as the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

We live in a feeling-oriented society and, sadly, that has spilled over into the church. But feelings are unreliable. Emotions are untrustworthy. They ebb and flow like the tides of the sea that bring in all kinds of seaweed and debris and deposit them on the shore, then go back out, eroding the ground we stand on and washing it out to sea. Such is the state of those whose emotions rule their lives. The simplest circumstances-a headache, a cloudy day, a word thoughtlessly spoken by a friend-can erode our confidence and send us “out to sea” in a fit of despair. Doubt and discouragement, particularly about the Christian life, are the inevitable result of trying to interpret our feelings as though they were truth. They are not.

But the Christian who is forewarned and well armed is a person not governed by feelings but by the truth he knows. He does not rely on his feelings to prove anything to him. Relying on feelings is precisely the error most people make in life. They are so introspective that they become preoccupied with themselves, constantly analyzing their own feelings. They will continually question their relationship with God. “Do I really love God?” “Does He really love me?” “Am I good enough?” What we need to do is stop thinking about ourselves and focusing on our feelings and instead redirect our focus to God and the truth we know about Him from His Word.

When we are controlled by subjective feelings centered on ourselves rather than by objective truth centered on God, we live in a constant state of defeat. Objective truth centers on the great doctrines of the faith and their relevance to life: the sovereignty of God, the high priestly intercession of Christ, the promise of the Holy Spirit, and the hope of eternal glory. Understanding these great truths, centering our thoughts on them, and rehearsing them in our minds will enable us to reason from truth in all of life’s trials, and our faith will be strong and vital. Reasoning from what we feel about ourselves-rather than what we know about God-is the sure path to spiritual defeat. The Christian life is one of death to self and rising to “walk in the newness of life” (Romans 6:4), and that new life is characterized by thoughts about Him who saved us, not thoughts about the feelings of the dead flesh that has been crucified with Christ. When we are continually thinking about ourselves and our feelings, we are essentially obsessing about a corpse, full of rottenness and death.

God promised to save us if we come to Him in faith. He never promised that we would feel saved.

See http://www.gotquestions.org/feel-saved.html

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Why did God command Abraham to sacrifice Isaac?

By S Michael Houdmann, Got Questions Ministries.

Abraham had obeyed God many times in his walk with Him, but no test could have been more severe than the one in Genesis 22. God commanded, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:2a).

This was an astounding command because Isaac was the son of promise. God had promised several times that from Abraham’s own body would come a nation as multitudinous as the stars in heaven (Genesis 12:2-3; 15:4-5). Later, Abraham was specifically told that the promise would be through Isaac (Genesis 21:12).

How did Abraham respond to God’s command to sacrifice Isaac? With immediate obedience; early the next morning, Abraham started on his journey with two servants, a donkey and his beloved son Isaac, with firewood for the offering. His unquestioning obedience to God’s confusing command gave God the glory He deserves and is an example to us of how to glorify God. When we obey as Abraham did, trusting that God’s plan is best, we exalt His attributes and praise Him. Abraham’s obedience in the face of this crushing command extolled God’s sovereign love, His trustworthiness, and His goodness, and it provided an example for us to follow. His faith in the God he had come to know and love placed Abraham in the pantheon of faithful heroes in Hebrews 11.

Abraham’s faith was such that, even if he had sacrificed Isaac, he believed the Lord would keep His word and raise Isaac from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19). God uses Abraham’s faith as an example of the type of faith required for salvation. Genesis 15:6 says, “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” This truth is the basis of the Christian faith, as reiterated in Romans 4:3 and James 2:23. The righteousness that was credited to Abraham is the same righteousness credited to us when we receive by faith the sacrifice God provided for our sins-Jesus Christ. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The Old Testament story of Abraham is the basis of the New Testament teaching of the atonement, the sacrificial offering of the Lord Jesus on the cross for the sin of mankind. Jesus said, many centuries later, “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56). The following are some of the parallels between the two biblical accounts:

  • “Take your son, your only son, Isaac” (v. 2); “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…” (John 3:16).
  • “Go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there…” (v. 2); it is believed that this area is where the city of Jerusalem was built many years later, where Jesus was crucified outside its city walls (Hebrews 13:12).
  • “Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering” (v. 2); “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3).
  • “Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac” (v. 6); Jesus, “carrying his own cross. . .” (John 19:17).
  • “But where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (v. 7); John said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
  • Isaac, the son, acted in obedience to his father in becoming the sacrifice (v. 9); Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39).
  • Resurrection – Isaac (figuratively) and Jesus in reality: “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death” (Hebrews 11:17-19); Jesus “was buried, and . . . was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:4).

See http://www.gotquestions.org/Abraham-Isaac.html

New Evidence from Underground radio interview

Are the stories of the Bible history, or mythology? The science of archaeology can help to provide the answer. On January 30, 2016, Kevin Conover of the Educate for Life radio program interviewed Dr. Scott Stripling and Dr. Bryant Wood of Associates for Bible Research (ABR).

Sermon on John 6:32-59, the Bread of Life

This sermon was delivered by Pastor Chris Duke on 16/10/2016. This article is from notes I made so is not completely in keeping with what Pastor Chris said though I’ve tried to be as accurate as possible.

There’s only one thing better than the smell of freshly baked bread and that’s eating fresh bread. There’s a multitude of different breads that one can purchase – over 200 different types on Wikipedia. Bread has been a significant part of our lives for centuries.

In the gospels, Jesus fed the multitudes. He then makes a controversial statement in verses 32, 33 and 48 of John 6:

32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

48 I am that bread of life.

He uses the name of God, Yahweh, in the first of seven “I am’s” where He takes God’s name. In other passages Jesus tells us:

Jesus is saying it is I, and I alone, from who you can receive eternal life.

We shall next look at the divine provision of the bread, following this up with human appropriation of the bread. Concerning divine provision, remember how Jesus responded to Satan’s temptation in the wilderness? He said, “Man shall not live by bread alone” (Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4). In other words, He is saying, I am your soul food.

Jesus affirms again and again the existence of a pre-incarnate person. How did John begin his gospel – the Word was co-existent and self existent with God eternally (see John 1:14 and John 3:13):

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14)

13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
(John 3:13)

According to verse 46 in today’s passage, the only one who has given us a message from heaven is Jesus:

46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
(John 6:46)

John 8:42 cements this fact as Jesus declares that God sent Him:

42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
(john 8:42)

He then existed in the presence of God for all eternity. Jesus isn’t a created being who came into existence like you and I. Verse 32 to 33 of today’s passage make it clear that there was a divine purpose in the bread of life:

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.
(John 6:32-33)

Jesus tells us that His Father sends the bread of life. Verse 38 confirms this:

38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

There was a divine purpose in the Father sending the Son then. In verses 37 to 40 we start to see God’s plan, of redemption.

37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
(John 6:37-40)

There is a plan to complete the glorification of those the Father draws. We see divine election at work here, Christ keeps them and raises them up at the last day. Christ even quotes Isaiah 54:13 in John 6:45:

45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
(John 6:45)

13 And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord;
and great shall be the peace of thy children.
(Isaiah 54:13)

The Father, then, is the true teacher and instructor of the heart and mind of the person being saved.

So why do we want this bread? What does this bread do for us? Verse 33 in today’s passage reads:

33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

In the original Greek, the word “life” that is used means spiritual life. The following passages are instructive, showing that Jesus’ true followers receive the bread of life, for eternal life, and will live forever:

35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
(John 6:35)

40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
(John 6:40)

51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
(John 6:51)

So we come to rest in real union with Christ. As it is written in Galatians 2:20, we are one in Christ:

20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

This union is not just when you die but you can be united in Christ now. No-one can break this union. Our salvation is dependent on our union in Christ. Being a Christian isn’t just following the teachings of a man, it’s having His life in you.

So what’s our responsibility in this divine transaction? We are commanded to appropriate the bread of life. In verse 34 of today’s passage, the Jews said, “Lord, evermore give us this bread.” They wanted bread that would satisfy their physical hunger, yet in verse 35 Jesus plainly declares that He is their spiritual sustenance.

Our responsibilities are as follows:

  1. Come to Jesus. Verse 37 clarifies this for us.
  2. None of us knows who is chosen so the message of the gospel is to be preached far and wide.
  3. Look at me, gaze at me carefully and thoughtfully and see who I am. Receive His words.
  4. We are held accountable to come, to see, to believe.

Verse 53 of today’s passage reminds us that we have no life unless we appropriate the Word of God for ourselves:

53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
(John 6:53)

The word “blood” is used, reminding us of His death. You can never be saved unless you believe in His sacrificial death. Jesus is the lamb of God, who came as an atoning sacrifice, who satisfied the wrath of God. Eating is a response to hunger from a heart that’s empty (this is the work of the Holy Spirit as He starts to draw us to faith in Christ). If you eat the bread of life you will live forever. What bread are you going to eat from now on? Jesus is the bread of life. Amen.

He made me this offer…

A beautiful post from VW Woods that I am sharing for your edification and comfort as well as mine. God bless you.

vwoods1212

God: covers us with comfort….

Matthew 11:8-29  (KJV) “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls”.

AN invitation to give up what is taking the living breathing life out of our bodies is one that many of us grasp and apply to our lives for deliverance sake. In our lives today, the stress level and the oppression factor also is something we all deal with: Jesus gave us an offer.

He has invited us to come to unto Him; cast our cares upon Him: all invitation to align our lives, our bodies, our souls and everything that pertain to us, into His care.

His promise is that our cares and struggles becomes His and there…

View original post 10 more words

Wisdom Wednesday

Beholding Him Ministries

colossians-3-16

Blessings today! It is Wisdom Wednesday and it is a great day to not look at the Israelites but look at myself through the Spirit and the Word. Just how grateful am I?
The Lord has led me to the following Scriptures and quotes to help me see the me He knows.
You might want to join in this exercise with me. 🙂

gratitude-1 Gratitude 1

gratitude-2 Gratitude 2

“This is the day that the Lord has made;let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

gratitude-3 Gratitude 3

gratitude-4 Gratitude 4

David’s Prayer of Gratitude: “Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?” 2 Samuel 7:18

gratitude-6 Gratitude 5

gratitude-7 Gratitude 6

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all…

View original post 132 more words

Sermon on Mark 8:1-13 – Seeing is Believing

This sermon was delivered by Pastor Chris Duke on 02/10/2016. This article is from notes I made so is not completely in keeping with what Pastor Chris said though I’ve tried to be as accurate as possible.

Today’s passage is Mark 8:1-13, which reads as follows:

8 In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, 2 I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: 3 and if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. 4 And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? 5 And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. 6 And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. 7 And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. 8 So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. 9 And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

10 And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. 11 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. 13 And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side.

Jesus and His disciples came to Capernaum. As well as being a fishing village, this was an area where the Romans collected taxes from those travelling through that region. And immediately we see the Pharisees come to question Jesus, to test Him.

With the phrase “seeing is believing”, the title of today’s sermon, a high degree of skepticism is implied. Many people who say this and yet see a genuine miracle would still doubt it and find reasons to continue in their unbelief. All the miracles that Jesus had performed, including the feeding of the four thousand that we saw in today’s passage, should have highlighted that Jesus was divine, the Son of God. Yet man’s condition is such that he is often in spiritual blindness, living with no light at all upon the things of God. This is certainly true of all religions apart from Christianity, none can give you spiritual light. Jesus promised in John 8:12:

…I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Jesus performed many miracles yet the Pharisees still gave Him a hard time, choosing to walk on in darkness. Matthew 16 parallels today’s scripture reading, stating that the Sadducees were present too, this being the Lord’s final conflict with them. Up until this point, Jesus had always given invitations to both groups to believe in Him. He was to do this no more in the gospels, becoming instead Israel’s rejected leader. In fact we see that the Pharisees were foolish enough to want to kill Him.

What of Jesus’ disciples? Those who were following Him knew that they were making a break with their religion, and with their religious leaders. They were following Jesus because He is the Christ, the Messiah. He had dispelled their darkness and was continuing to do so day by day and even beyond the Cross when He rose again.

Yet now we see Jesus face to face with those who hated Him, those whose major sin was hypocrisy. If you remember Mark 7, Jesus left Galilee and went to Tyre and Sidon, which were Gentile cities. He then went to Decapolis (so named because it consisted of ten cities), which was a Gentile area also. By this Jesus showed His disciples that the gospel was for all mankind, not just the Jewish people.

In Decapolis Jesus fed 4,000 men plus women and children. Then in the tenth verse of today’s passage we see Him enter Jewish territory again. And then in verse 11, the Pharisees were on the attack against Him. They hated the Light, with His message of repentance, faith and grace. What they loved instead was religious ceremony and trying (unsuccessfully) to redeem themselves. In Mark 3:22 they even accused Jesus of being demon possessed:

22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.

They gave no credit at all to Jesus for the miracles they saw Him performing.

Verses 11 to 13 of today’s passage highlight three characteristics of people who are spiritually blind:

  1. They are comfortable with others who are also blind, even if those are enemies to them. They hate the truth, and thereby hate Christianity. All false religions are like this.
  2. They are consigned to deeper blindness.
  3. They are condemned to terminal blindness.

In today’s passage the Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign. It’s important to realise that in doing so they were not asking for a miracle but a sign from heaven that would give Godly authority to His message. They believed demons could perform earthly miracles but only God could do heavenly ones (remember the magicians with Pharaoh in Exodus 7-9?). They wanted Jesus to perform acts such as stopping the sun, eclipsing the moon, or starting and stopping a storm. They did this to tempt Him. And yet we know they had seen enough already to believe in Him, as per Nicodemus’s testimony in John 3:2:

2 the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

These people were no different from Pharaoh back in Exodus. He saw miracles too yet hardened his heart, until eventually the Lord passed judgement and hardened it for him:

But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.
(Exodus 8:15)

And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.
(Exodus 8:32)

And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
(Exodus 9:34)

And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:
(Exodus 10:1)

And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.
(Exodus 11:10)

The more light was shone on Pharaoh, the deeper his spiritual darkness became. Unbelief always finds a way to reject the truth and in verse 12 of today’s passage we see Jesus recognising this with anguish:

And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.

Jesus’ sighing is described as deep and compounded. His heart was breaking over their spiritual blindness. This isn’t the only time we see the Lord grieving. In Luke 19 and John 11 He wept over the fate of Jerusalem, who had rejected Him as Messiah, and over the grave of Lazarus, when He saw the power of sin leading to physical death. He laments those who reject Him due to wilful ignorance, as is highlighted so aptly in Deuteronomy:

And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
(Deuteronomy 32:20)

In today’s passage, Jesus is strongly resolute: no more signs are to be given. He essentially says, “May I die if I do.” His judgement on the Pharisees is pronounced in other passages such as Matthew 15:14 and Matthew 16:4:

Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

So one more sign would be given, the sign of Jonah. We know the story of Jonah. He was three days in the belly of a large fish, a whale, then was released from it.

What happens when Jesus is raised again? Matthew 28:11-15 shows the religious leaders’ reaction:

11 Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. 12 And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, 13 saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. 14 And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. 15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.

So they bribed the soldiers to lie about the resurrection. The Pharisees and Sadducees were at this stage in fixed darkness spiritually, they were still denying the Lord’s rising even after it had happened. Mark 8:13 gives the Lord’s preceding judgement, where He simply left them to their hardheartedness and error:

13 And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side.

The latter part of Romans 1 speaks of God’s wrath in giving people up to sinful desires:

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
(Romans 1:28-32)

This is a warning for us. When the gospel is preached, we should give our full attention to it. We should feel privileged to hear God’s good news and respond to it. There are the blind who never see the truth: our prayer is for our loved ones, neighbours and friends to be lead out of darkness into His glorious light:

http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0001/0001_01.asp

God bless you all.