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  • The matter of disqualification can be both contentious and revelatory. This article attempts to leverage the latter as a means (and hope) of mitigating the former.
  • Essential to the matter of disqualification is the recognition that salvation is a process; and faith is a function of the heart.
  • In spiritual matters, separating complex things into their component parts, as a method for understanding the whole, simply does not work as we would like. It is impossible to understand the principles of grace, faith and works apart from one another.
  • Our faith does not save us any more than our works. Only God’s grace can do that. Effectual faith – also a gift of God; perfected by the grace of works – appropriates the grace that saves.
  • Eventually, judgment will come. Those caught with their talent buried in the ground, their branch without fruit, or any other of the disqualifying conditions, will be rejected.
  • “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Jesus Christ (Luke 13:24)

Introduction

A Storm is ComingAs a follow-up to The Peril of Disqualification, I would like to address a couple of objections that have been raised about our being disqualified from our salvation. In part three, I will flesh out a few of the more significant disqualifying conditions.

Recognizing salvation as a process is an essential context for understanding what follows. Therefore, I encourage you to take a moment and read the foundation article on that subject. You will discover that which comes to those that endure to the end (Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13).

A second essential matter is the vessel and instrument, so to speak, of faith in a born again person. It is with the heart that man believes (Mark 11:23; Romans 10:10). Most in the church would agree that belief is more than mental assent to the truth of Scripture.

However, I fear many have been emotionally charmed by the notion of salvation – even wondering at the beauty of it – without appropriating its birth in their heart. A helpful analogy is that of the man that admires the painting of a wondrous landscape, without ever traveling to experience its grandeur in person. Read the rest of this entry »

A Storm is Coming

I am convinced that most every sane person would want to know that they are – if only potentially – in peril. Therefore, I am offering the following for your consideration.

I encourage you to judge this seriously; not just, “Do I believe it?” but, “What am I to do with it?”

I am afraid that many will dismiss this altogether: that “believers” are in peril of disqualification. It is much easier to accept the notion that God would not allow such a thing. However, that is not what the Scriptures tell us.

Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. Romans 11:22

It is difficult to consider both the goodness and severity of God, when His severity has not been adequately explained. Church leaders are hesitant to teach the severity of God when the guy down the street has a more palatable message.

The problem, of course, is the truth doesn’t change with the lack of its teaching. There are conditions that will result in our being cut off; or, as Paul warns the Corinthians, “disqualified”.

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. 1Corinthians 9:27

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 2Corinthians 13:5

Paul took the steps necessary to ensure he would not become disqualified; and he encouraged the same for those under his care. That is my heart for all that will read this article – that you would prayerfully consider the referenced passages. Allow the Holy Spirit to teach, and possibly convict, you. Read the rest of this entry »

Business Man with TabletThis may be the most frustrating of The Foundations for me to write. It is frustrating because its truth is so obvious, and yet we are so obvious in our ignorance of its truth. I am not writing these articles to judge anyone, but it is hard – very hard – not to wonder why so many church leaders choose to ignore their responsibility in helping prospective converts count the cost of following Jesus.

We do not lack for instruction on the subject. The Cost of Discipleship, by Dietrich Bonhoefffer, has been with us since 1959. Before and since then, many have been encouraged to write and speak on the subject (apparently, I am another one). The truth is, the Bible says it clear enough that other writings are not necessary; if we would only believe, live and share what God has to say on the subject. Read the rest of this entry »

Christ on the Throne 2In America, we have grown up with the philosophies of a “democratic republic”. It has been a great political experiment. Regrettably, it has created a cultural mindset that makes it difficult to live in a healthy relationship with God.

In God’s kingdom, there is no “of the people, by the people, for the people”. The King has the only and final vote. He is the one that determines and executes mercy and justice. Our rights are what He determines them to be.

For the rebellious, this is an unacceptable situation. And that is exactly what got us into this mess. The first sin was not disobedience, it was outright rebellion. Before Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they decided that they should determine what was best for themselves. They decided that they would become the captains of their ship. They mutinied, and all was lost (for a time).

Then God sent Jesus Christ to the earth. Why would He do such a thing? Why would He subject His Son to the humiliation, persecution and pain? What was His primary mission?

Most in the Western church have been taught to believe that He was sent to save mankind from hell. We call it, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ” – the good news of man’s salvation.

Man’s salvation is good news; but it is not the gospel that Jesus came to preach.

Now when it was day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving them; but He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.” Luke 4:42-43

Notice that Jesus was not sent to preach the gospel of man’s salvation. The salvation of man is the smaller part of God’s eternal plan; something of a necessary sidetrack. First, there is the kingdom.

Now is a good time to remind ourselves that His story is more about Him than it is about us. Believe it or not, God had a much bigger mission for His Son: The plan to take back the throne of mankind’s heart; to take back His kingdom. Read the rest of this entry »

DSC_0731Imagine yourself standing on the top of a hill overlooking a beautiful pastoral scene. In the distance you hear the sounds of sheep, cows, ducks, and people. People? That’s right – lots of people; and it sounds like they are all coming your way.

Where could all these people be coming from and where are they going? Drawing closer to the edge of the top of your hill, you see a broad road at its base; and you realize that this road curves around the hill, towards you, from somewhere out of your eyesight. The people – many people – are coming down that road.

Moving to your right (to see where the road goes), you notice that it ends abruptly at a precipitous cliff; and a fall into destruction. Immediately your heart goes out to the folk on the road. Hurrying back around the edge of your hill, you see them; and you begin to yell a warning, “Don’t take that broad road! Find another way! It leads to your destruction!” With all your heart and strength you cry out to the people that are heading to their destruction. Read the rest of this entry »

A GiftIf you are a Christian with a sphere of influence, then you have been commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ to make disciples. This has been true for over 2000 years, but it has never been more important than it is today. Chaos and lawlessness are increasing at an accelerating pace. The days are swiftly approaching when the church will need a foundation in the truth that is deeper than the truth our teachers left with us.

In God’s providence, this chaos can actually be a good thing. America became a superpower after the chaos of WWII. Persecution dispersed Christians from Israel in the 1st Century, spreading the gospel to the entire known world. Persecution continues to be a catalyst for the gospel of the Kingdom in many parts of the world. By God’s mercy, the chaos of our day will turn many from their idols.  But to whom will they turn?

They will turn to the Christian Leaders that have armed themselves with the truth that will make men free – saving them from the deception of our day, to the way, truth and life of Jesus Christ. God has given us a way for this. Be encouraged to search it out… and share the whole truth with others. Read the rest of this entry »

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