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Amen and amen!!

Oh that we would realize the nature and extent of the work entrusted to us as a people! We are to proclaim to the world the wonderful truths which Christ had entrusted to them and to us. The events of His life, His death and resurrection, the prophecies that pointed to these events, the sacredness of the law of God, the mysteries of the plan of salvation, the power of Jesus for the remission of sins.

And, Jim, you are so right. We need the Holy Spirit in order to do this. Without an entire surrender to Jesus, we shall not be able to do the work given to us. We have delayed the soon coming of Jesus.

   The Holy Spirit is the breath of spiritual life in the soul. The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ. It imbues the receiver with the attributes of Christ. Only those who are thus taught of God, those who possess the inward working of the Spirit, and in whose life the Christ-life is manifested, are to stand as representative men, to minister in behalf of the church.

Church News / Re: Michigan Camp-meeting Begins Friday
« Last post by JimB on Today at 07:47:51 AM »
This afternoon at 4:30 edt is the Soul Winning Festival. You'll be encouraged to hear the testimonies given there.
The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--84--"Peace Be Unto You"
« Last post by JimB on Today at 07:03:01 AM »
I like your thought pastor Sean. He gives us peace and then work to do. But he doesn't stop there. He also gives us the ability to do the work He calls anyone to.

But the Spirit was now given for a special purpose. Before the disciples could fulfill their official duties in connection with the church, Christ breathed His Spirit upon them. He was committing to them a most sacred trust, and He desired to impress them with the fact that without the Holy Spirit this work could not be accomplished. 

He calls and entrusts us but He also enable us to follow Him and do His bidding. Without the Spirit we can do nothing. And if we recognize that we are lacking the Spirit, He desires to give us the Spirit more than we desire to give nice gifts to our friends and family. We have a very very generous Lord.
I love how Jesus reveals Himself to us in His peace! His presence kindles our faith and gives us joy and success in the greatness of the work before us!

The disciples began to realize the nature and extent of their work. They were to proclaim to the world the wonderful truths which Christ had entrusted to them. The events of His life, His death and resurrection, the prophecies that pointed to these events, the sacredness of the law of God, the mysteries of the plan of salvation, the power of Jesus for the remission of sins,--to all these things they were witnesses, and they were to make them known to the world. They were to proclaim the gospel of peace and salvation through repentance and the power of the Saviour.   
Thursday June 29

Conflict Within the Church

Of course, nothing human is perfect, and it wasn’t long before trouble began within the early community of faith.

For starters, not everyone was pleased with the entry of Gentile believers into the early church. The disagreement was not over the concept of a Gentile mission, but over the basis on which Gentiles should be allowed to join. Some felt that faith in Jesus alone was not sufficient as the defining mark of the Christian; faith, they argued, must be supplemented with circumcision and obedience to the law of Moses. To be a true Christian, they asserted, Gentiles needed to be circumcised. (We can, in Acts 10:1-11:18, see the extent of the division between Jews and Gentiles through Peter’s experience with Cornelius and the reaction that followed.)

The official visits from Jerusalem, which monitored Philip’s work among the Samaritans (Acts 8:14) and the work with Gentiles in Antioch (Acts 11:22), may suggest some concern about the inclusion of non-Jews in the Christian community. Yet, the reaction to Peter’s baptism of Cornelius, an uncircumcised Roman soldier, is a clear example of the disagreement that existed on the Gentile question among the earlier believers. The inclusion of an occasional Gentile such as Cornelius may have made some feel uncomfortable, but Paul’s intentional efforts to open wide the doors of the church for Gentiles on the basis of faith in Jesus alone resulted in deliberate attempts by some to undermine Paul’s ministry.

How did certain believers from Judea try to counteract Paul’s work with Gentile Christians in Antioch? Acts 15:1-5.

Although the Jerusalem Council, in Acts 15, ultimately sided with Paul on the issue of circumcision, the opposition to Paul’s ministry continued. About seven years later, during Paul’s final visit to Jerusalem, many were still suspicious about Paul’s gospel. In fact, when Paul visited the temple, he nearly lost his life when Jews from Asia cried out, “Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place” (Acts 21:28; see also 21:20, 21).

Put yourself in the position of these Jewish believers who were concerned about Paul’s teaching. Why do their concern and opposition make some sense? What can we learn from this about how our own preconceived ideas, as well as cultural (and even religious) notions, can lead us astray? How can we learn to protect ourselves from making the same kind of errors, no matter how well-intentioned we are?

Friday June 30

Further Thought: For the relationship between personal conversion and the church, read Ellen G. White, “Individual Independence”, pp. 430-434, in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3. For a helpful map of the early life of Paul and commentary on his conversion, see The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, pp. 226-234.

“Paul had formerly been known as a zealous defender of the Jewish religion and an untiring persecutor of the followers of Jesus. Courageous, independent, persevering, his talents and training would have enabled him to serve in almost any capacity. He could reason with extraordinary clearness, and by his withering sarcasm could place an opponent in no enviable light. And now the Jews saw this young man of unusual promise united with those whom he formerly persecuted, and fearlessly preaching in the name of Jesus.

“A general slain in battle is lost to his army, but his death gives no additional strength to the enemy. But when a man of prominence joins the opposing force, not only are his services lost, but those to whom he joins himself gain a decided advantage. Saul of Tarsus, on his way to Damascus, might easily have been struck dead by the Lord, and much strength would have been withdrawn from the persecuting power. But God in His providence not only spared Saul’s life, but converted him, thus transferring a champion from the side of the enemy to the side of Christ. An eloquent speaker and a severe critic, Paul, with his stern purpose and undaunted courage, possessed the very qualifications needed in the early church.” — Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 124.

Discussion Questions:

    What lesson can we learn from the fact that some of Paul’s harshest opponents were fellow Jews who believed in Jesus?

    How can you stand up for matters of religious principle and at the same time make sure that you are not fighting against God?

Summary: Saul’s encounter with the risen Jesus on the Damascus road was the defining moment in his life and in the history of the early church. God changed the one-time persecutor of the church and made him His chosen apostle to bring the gospel to the Gentile world. Paul’s inclusion of Gentiles in the church by faith alone, however, proved a difficult concept for some within the church to accept — a powerful example of how preconceptions and prejudice can hinder our mission.
Tuesday June 27

Saul in Damascus

During Saul’s encounter with Jesus, he was blinded and then instructed to go to the house of a man named Judas and to wait there for another man, Ananias. No doubt Saul’s physical blindness was a powerful reminder of the greater spiritual blindness that led him to persecute the followers of Jesus.

The appearance of Jesus to him on the Damascus road changed everything. Where Saul had thought he had been so right, he had been dead wrong. Rather than working for God, he had been working against Him. Saul entered Damascus a different man than the proud and zealous Pharisee who had left Jerusalem. Instead of eating and drinking, Saul spent his first three days in Damascus in fasting and prayer as he reflected on all that had happened.

Read Acts 9:10-14. Imagine what must have been going on in the mind of Ananias: not only was Saul, the persecutor, now a believer in Jesus, he was also Paul, God’s chosen apostle to take the gospel to the Gentile world (see Acts 26:16-18).

No wonder Ananias was a little confused. If the church in Jerusalem was hesitant to accept Paul some three years after his conversion (Acts 9:26-30), one can imagine what questions and concerns filled the hearts of the believers in Damascus only days after the event!

Notice, too, that Ananias was given a vision by the Lord telling him the surprising and unexpected news about Saul of Tarsus; anything less than a vision might not have convinced him that what he was told about Saul was true — that the enemy of the Jewish believers had now become one of them.

Saul had left Jerusalem with the authority and commission of the chief priests to root out the Christian faith (Acts 26:12); God had, however, a vastly different commission for Saul, one that rested on far greater authority. Saul was to take the gospel to the Gentile world, an idea that must have been even more shocking to Ananias and the other Jewish believers than was the conversion of Saul himself.

Where Saul had sought to curtail the spread of the Christian faith, now God would use him to spread it far beyond anything that Jewish believers ever would have imagined.

Read 1 Samuel 16:7, Matthew 7:1, and 1 Corinthians 4:5. What is the message of these texts in regard to why we must be careful in how we view the spiritual experience of other people? What mistakes have you made in your judgments about others, and what have you learned from those mistakes?

Wednesday June 28

The Gospel Goes to the Gentiles

Where was the first Gentile church established? What events caused the believers to go there? (Acts 11:19-21, 26). What does that remind you of from Old Testament times? (See Daniel 2.)

The persecution that broke out in Jerusalem after Stephen’s death caused a number of Jewish believers to flee three hundred miles north to Antioch. As capital of the Roman province of Syria, Antioch was second only to Rome and Alexandria in significance. Its population, estimated at five hundred thousand, was extremely cosmopolitan, making it an ideal location not only for a church with

large numbers of both Jews and Gentiles but as the starting base for the worldwide mission of the early church.

What occurred in Antioch that resulted in Barnabas’ visit to the city and his subsequent decision to invite Paul to join him in Antioch? What kind of picture is presented of the church there? (Acts 11:20-26).

Constructing a chronology of Paul’s life is difficult, but it appears that some five years passed between his post-conversion visit to Jerusalem (Acts 9:26-30) and the invitation by Barnabas to join him in Antioch. What was Paul doing all those years? It is hard to say for sure. But based on his comments in Galatians 1:21, he may have been preaching the gospel in the regions of Syria and Cilicia. Some have suggested that, perhaps, it was during this time that he was disinherited by his family (Phil. 3:8 ) and suffered a number of the hardships he describes in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28. The church in Antioch blossomed under the guidance of the Spirit. The description in Acts 13:1 indicates that the cosmopolitan nature of the city was soon reflected in the ethnic and cultural diversity of the church itself. (Barnabas was from Cyprus, Lucius from Cyrene, Paul from Cilicia, Simeon presumably from Africa, and consider all the Gentile converts, too.) The Spirit now sought to take the gospel to even more Gentiles by using Antioch as the base for more far-reaching missionary activities, beyond Syria and Judea.

Read again Acts 11:19-26. What can we learn from the church at Antioch, a very culturally and ethnically diverse church, that could help churches today emulate the good that existed there?
Lesson 1 June 24-30

Paul: Apostle to the Gentiles

Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Acts 6:9-15, 9:1-9, 1 Sam. 16:7, Matt. 7:1, Acts 11:19-21, 15:1-5.

Memory Text: “When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life’” (Acts 11:18, NKJV).

It’s not that hard to understand Saul of Tarsus (also known as the apostle Paul after his conversion), and why he did what he did. As a devout Jew who was taught all his life about the importance of the law and about the soon-coming political redemption of Israel, the idea of the long-awaited Messiah being ignominiously executed like the worst of criminals was just too much for him to tolerate.

No wonder, then, he was convinced that the followers of Jesus were being disloyal to the Torah and, thus, hindering God’s plan for Israel. Their claims that the crucified Jesus was the Messiah and that He had risen from the dead were, he believed, rank apostasy. There could be no tolerance for such nonsense or for anyone who refused to give up those notions. Saul was determined to be God’s agent to rid Israel of these beliefs. Hence, he first appears in the pages of Scripture as a violent persecutor of his fellow Jews, those who believed that Jesus was the Messiah.

God, however, had far different plans for Saul, plans that he never could have anticipated for himself: not only was this Jew going to preach Jesus as the Messiah, he was going to do it among the Gentiles!

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, July 1.

Sunday June 25

Persecutor of Christians

Saul of Tarsus first appears in Acts as one involved in the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:58) and then in connection with the more wide-scale persecution that broke out in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1-5). Peter, Stephen, Philip, and Paul play a significant role in the book of Acts because they were involved in events that led to the spread of the Christian faith beyond the Jewish world. Stephen is of particular significance because his preaching and martyrdom appear to have had a profound influence on Saul of Tarsus.

Stephen himself was a Greek-speaking Jew, and one of the original seven deacons (Acts 6:3-6). According to Acts, a group of Greek-speaking Jews who had come to live in Jerusalem (Acts 6:9) entered into a dispute with Stephen over the content of his preaching about Jesus. It is possible, maybe even likely, that Saul of Tarsus was involved in these debates.

Read Acts 6:9-15. What charges were brought against Stephen? What do these charges remind you of? (See also Matt. 26:59-61.)

The fierce hostility toward Stephen’s preaching appears to have resulted from two different things. On the one hand, Stephen drew the ire of his opponents by not placing primary importance on the Jewish law and the temple, which had become the focal point of Judaism and were treasured symbols of religious and national identity. But Stephen did more than merely downplay these two treasured icons; he vigorously proclaimed that Jesus, the crucified and risen Messiah, was the true center of the Jewish faith.

No wonder, then, that he angered the Pharisee Saul
(Phil. 3:3-6 ). The Pharisees were a Jewish religious group that followed Jewish laws very strictly. Saul saw that the great prophetic promises of God’s kingdom had not yet been fulfilled (Daniel 2, Zech. 8:23, Isaiah 40-55), and he probably believed it was his task to help God bring that day about — which could be done by cleansing Israel of religious corruption, including the idea that this Jesus was the Messiah.

Convinced he was right, Saul was willing to put those whom he thought wrong to death. While we need zeal and fervor for what we believe, how do we learn to temper our zeal with the realization that, at times, we just might be wrong?

Monday June 26

Saul’s Conversion

“And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads’ ” (Acts 9:5, NKJV).

Although Saul’s persecution of the early church begins rather inconspicuously (as he only holds the coats of Stephen’s executioners), it quickly intensifies (see Acts 8:1-3; 9:1, 2, 13, 14, 21; 22:3-5). Several of the words Luke uses to describe Saul paint a picture of a wild, ferocious beast or a pillaging soldier bent on the destruction of his opponent. The word translated “ravaging” in Acts 8:3 (ESV), for example, is used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament (Ps. 80:13) to describe the uncontrolled and destructive behavior of a wild boar. Saul’s crusade against the Christians was clearly not a half-hearted matter of convenience; it was a deliberate and sustained plan to exterminate the Christian faith.

Look at the three descriptions of Saul’s conversion (Acts 9:1-18, 22:6-21, and 26:12-19). What role did the grace of God have in this experience? In other words, how much did Saul deserve the goodness that the Lord showed toward him?

Saul’s conversion, from a human perspective, must have seemed impossible (hence the skepticism that many expressed when they first heard about it).

The only thing Saul deserved was punishment, but God extended grace to this fervent Jew instead. It is important to note, however, that Saul’s conversion did not happen in a vacuum, nor was it forced.

Saul was no atheist. He was a religious man, though gravely mistaken in his understanding of God. Jesus’ words to Saul, “ ‘ “It is hard for you to kick against the goads” ’ ” (Acts 26:14, ESV), indicate that the Spirit had been convicting Saul. In the ancient world, a “goad” was a stick with a sharp point used to prod oxen whenever they resisted plowing. Saul had resisted God’s prodding for some time, but finally on his way to Damascus, through a miraculous encounter with the risen Jesus, Saul chose to fight no longer.

Think back about your own conversion experience. Maybe it wasn’t as dramatic as Saul’s (most aren’t), but in what similar ways were you the recipient of God’s grace? Why is it important never to forget what we have been given in Christ?

Bible Study Guide - 3rd Quarter 2017

Martin Luther and Galatians

Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon

The Protestant world is getting ready to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, when Martin Luther — guided by the Holy Spirit — brought to millions crucial biblical truths that were long hidden under centuries of superstition and tradition. One could argue that out of the pages of Galatians (along with Romans) Protestantism itself was born half a millennium ago! It was while reading Galatians that Martin Luther first was touched with the glorious good news of righteousness by faith, the great truth that spawned the Protestant Reformation, which freed millions from centuries of theological and ecclesiastical error. What he read in this book changed Luther, and the world has never been the same again.

Seventh-day Adventists, many centuries after Luther, also are indebted to Galatians. Through the study of Galatians, E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones helped the Adventist Church in the 1880s and 90s rediscover the truth of righteousness by faith.

What is it about Galatians that has made it such a backbone of the Protestant Reformation? Why has it been able to touch the hearts of so many, such as Martin Luther? In a manner unlike any other book in the Bible, Galatians addresses a number of themes crucial to the Christian soul. It is in Galatians that Paul tackles issues such as freedom, the role of the law in salvation, our condition in Christ, and the nature of the Spirit-led life, as well as the age-old question, How can sinful humans be made right before a holy and just God? It was this question, perhaps more than any other, that spurred Martin Luther on the track he started and from which he never turned back.

Of course, other books, such as Romans, address some of these same questions, but Galatians is different. Not only is it more succinct, but its rich themes are written in a powerfully personal and impassioned pastoral tone that can’t help but touch hearts open to the Spirit of God, even today.

Although Paul’s letter speaks to us personally, our understanding can be strengthened if we are aware of the original historical situation that Paul, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, was addressing.

Many scholars believe that Galatians may be the earliest of Paul’s letters. It was written in A.D. 49, shortly after the famous Jerusalem Council (Acts 15). Therefore, the book may be the oldest Christian document known. As Acts and Galatians make clear, the early church found itself in a fierce battle over the nature of salvation, especially in the case of Gentiles. According to a group of Jewish believers, known as Judaizers, belief in Jesus alone was not good enough for Gentiles. Gentiles must also be circumcised and follow the laws of Moses (Acts 15:1). It is no surprise, then, that when Paul founded a church of Gentiles in Galatia, some of these Judaizers traveled there to “straighten things out.”

When word of this problem reached Paul, he reacted fervently. Recognizing that this false gospel of salvation by faith and works threatened to undermine the work of Christ, Paul wrote the Galatians an impassioned defense of the gospel. In the strongest of words, he identified this false teaching for what it really was — legalism, pure and simple.

This quarter’s Bible study guide invites us to journey with the apostle Paul as he pleads with the Galatians to remain true to Jesus. At the same time, it also gives us a chance to reflect on our own understanding of the truths that opened the way for Martin Luther’s ultimate break with Rome and the restoration of the biblical gospel.

Carl Cosaert, PhD, is a professor of biblical studies at Walla Walla University in College Place, Washington.
Friday June 23

Further Thought: Even amid the heavy theology, Peter’s letters put a strong emphasis on Christian life and how we should treat one another.

Yes, the Bible if full of deep spiritual truths. But, it is the simplicity of the gospel that we need to know today in the church. What is this? It is just what the author of our lesson says:

In other words, yes, we need to know the truth as it is in Jesus. But even more important, we need to live the truth, too. Early on, we get these grand words: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently.” (1 Pet. 1:22). Notice how he links the purifying of our souls with obedience to the truth. The truth changes us, making us into people who love one another fervently and with “a pure heart.” Obedience, purity of heart, and love-all three are related to one another. This is the ideal we should be striving for.

No, it is not an "ideal" we are to strive for. We are to  behold Jesus daily and be converted, then we will have a "pure heart" and "love one another" as Jesus loves us. "Obedience, purity of heart, and love" all come when we are in a converted state, partakers of God's divine nature, and filled with the Holy Spirit. Striving for obedience does not work unless we are first fully surrendered to Jesus, then we are promised we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear. We will love not only are fellow church members, but will love those who despitefully use us.

Can you imagine how different our lives and our churches would be were we to follow this charge? Think what it would do for the sense of church unity, if nothing else. “Brethren, will you carry the spirit of Christ with you as you return to your homes and churches? Will you put away unbelief and criticism? We are coming to a time when, more than ever before, we shall need to press together, to labor unitedly. In union there is strength. In discord and disunion there is only weakness.” - Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 2, pp. 373, 374.

Discussion Questions:

    In 2 Peter 3:12, the apostle wrote that we should be “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat” (NKJV). What does he mean that we should be “hastening” the day of God? How can we hasten the day of God, that is, the Second Coming?

What must happen before Jesus can return? Unless we know this, how can we hasten His soon coming?

    We say that nature is God’s “second book.” Unfortunately, as with God’s first book (the Bible), this second book can be misinterpreted, as well. For example, for many people the message of design and purpose has been expunged from nature, replaced by the Darwinian notion of random mutation and natural selection. The world, we are told, isn’t really designed; rather, it just looks that way to us. How, then, are we to read and interpret this second book in the right way? What are the limits of what the second book can teach us about God? What help can we get from the first book that can aid us in understanding the second one correctly? What happens when our interpretation of nature, the second book, contradicts our interpretation of the first one, the Bible? Where is the problem?

It is a revelation that the one doing such a thing does not place his trust in the Bible, but in those who falsely interpret the truth seen in nature. There are simple truths that even the unconverted who want to know truth can see in nature. "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:    Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen." Romans 1:20-25.

Sadly, we have some in God's church who have placed their wisdom above that given to us in Scripture. They lead many, especially the young astray.
Thursday June 22

The Primacy of Scripture

Read the following passages. What do they say about the Bible that could help us to understand today what its role should be in our lives and faith?

1 Pet. 1:10-12

2 Pet. 1:16-20

2 Pet. 3:2:  That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: 

2 Pet. 3:16

In his second letter, Peter confronts false teachers. He directs his readers to two sources of authority when he says, “That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour.” (2 Pet. 3:2). Today we have the same recourse to the words of “holy prophets”-that is, the Old Testament. The living apostles are no longer available to us, of course, but in a sense we have something better: their inspired testimony, as revealed in the New Testament. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John left us the definitive story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. In the Acts of the Apostles, we have been left accounts of the apostles’ activities. And indeed we can read the inspired words of the apostles themselves. Paul writes strongly about the authority of God’s Word (2 Tim. 3:16). Peter, then, is directing his readers to Scripture as the source of doctrinal and moral authority.

In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter warns his readers and listeners that even though Scripture is the source of truth, without careful attention to the message that the Holy Spirit would have us understand, the source of truth itself can be misunderstood, and this can lead to terrible consequences.

His words should be a good reminder to us now about basic principles for studying the Bible. We should read a passage of Scripture prayerfully. We should read it with regard to its contexts within the chapter, the book and the whole Bible itself. What was the author specifically talking about when he wrote? We should read it in light of the historical circumstances in which it was written. (In the case of 1 and 2 Peter, this would be the Roman Empire of the first century.) We should read it seeking spiritual insight and with the knowledge that the salvation brought about by the sacrificial death of Christ is the center of the biblical message (1 Pet. 1:10-12). Finally, we should read it in the context of our own lives. What truth does God wish us to receive? How can we apply the Written Word to our own lives in a way that will make a positive contribution to the kingdom of God?

Very good points to consider. All may get something from Scripture if they are looking for truth. But, spiritual things are spiritually discerned. So, if we want to understand more than some very basics, we must be converted. We must have a new "spiritual" heart and mind. We must be born of the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, and manifesting the fruits of the Spirit. Then we shall more fully understand the truth revealed in the Bible.

Today, Jesus speaks a special message to His church. It remains in a Laodicean condition. All who are so labeled, believe they are rich and increased with goods, but in fact Jesus says they are "miserable, wretched, and poor, and blind, and naked." Rev 3:17. It is not easy to discern even this truth when one is blind and thinks he is in a saved condition. Has Satan had a hand in deceiving God's people today as he did Israel of Old? Yes, he has. He knows that if he deceives on this truth, he is well able to damage God's work through His church.

False teachers are convincing many they are just fine when they sin a known sin. Well....maybe not just fine, but in a saved state. That is good enough to keep many from fleeing to Jesus for power to overcome the sin in their lives. Many believe Jesus stands in their place even though they have not given the whole heart to Christ. In order to have salvation, we must love God with the whole heart, not a part of it. "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." Matt. 22:37,38. If we do not surrender the whole heart, then we remain dead in our sins and apart from God. And when we surrender the whole heart, the Holy Spirit takes possession of it and cleanses it from all sin. "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John 1:7. If we have not His Spirit, we are none if His. "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Romans 8:9. 
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