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I Will Remain – a blog post

May 4, 2018

Have you ever been approached by someone of a different faith, who wanted to share their faith with you, and you didn’t know how to respond? If so, you are not alone. I’ve had such experiences myself, because I used to try and make it so complicated.

Now understand this, I’m not talking about different denominations within evangelical Christianity. That is a different conversation for a different day – the differences between denominations. I’m speaking of something outside that realm.

What I have discovered is this… if you will ask them who Jesus is, you will find out whether there is any common ground, and whether their beliefs are anchored in the Word of God. If they do not believe Jesus is Deity – i.e. God, it’s not anchored in the Word of God. If they don’t also believe Jesus was fully man, it’s not anchored in the Word of God. If they say “we worship the same God”, but they don’t embrace the truth about Jesus Christ, they are not worshipping the same God I am.

John warned in I John 2:18-23, that in the last days, antichrists would come. Of course, we know Revelation speaks of Antichrist, but this is not the same thing. The antichrists John speaks of are false teachers, those who have departed the fellowship, denied their true faith, and seek to deceive. Some are quite well-meaning, but they are deceived if they believe they are worshipping the one true God. In verse 23, John states it clearly, “No one who denies the Son has the Father; he who confesses the Son has the Father as well.”

In giving this warning, John also gives a charge to the church to remain.  Listen as I read verses 24-27 and you’ll hear John use the word remain five times.

I John 2:24-27, 24 What you have heard from the beginning is to remain in you. If what you have heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he himself made to us: eternal life.26 I have written these things to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, his anointing teaches you about all things and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in him.

In the verses leading up to verse 18, John spoke of being “set apart” for God’s purposes. Here, he refers to an anointing believers have received, which teaches us. Sometimes people are afraid of the word anointing because they don’t understand it, or they believe it is some separate filling of the Spirit after conversion, but that’s just not the case. The anointing is the filling of the Holy Spirit that every believer receives upon their confession of faith in Christ. We all have all of the Holy Spirit we will ever need.

The question is…does the Holy Spirit have all of us?

In order for the answer to that question to be yes, I urge you to follow John’s instruction and to remain in him. Let’s apply that to our lives today. Will you join me in these 3 declarations?

First of all, I will remain…in the Truth – I will remain loyal to God’s Word, I will submit to it, I will read it regularly, I will seek to have my understanding deepened and my obedience complete. I will remain focused less on the world and more on the Lord, and I will let the Holy Spirit have all of me.

Secondly, I will remain…in the family – one of the biggest obstacles the church faces is the breakdown of the family. Would you make this commitment with me? I will remain committed to my family and not cut and run when things get tough. I will put others’ needs above my own. I will not allow anything in my home (or smartphone) that compromises my witness or embarrasses my family.

The final challenge is this…I will remain…in the church – Hebrews 10 tells us to “not neglecting to gather together” in the last days. Church is not designed to be a cafeteria where we pick and choose how we get involved, but a family where everyone works together and uses their gifts and talents to edify the Lord through the body. I will remain a consistent attender, participator, tither, giver, and encourage others to do the same.

If you will remain in these ways, you won’t be susceptible to the influences of those of other faiths and beliefs who will try to persuade you to join them in turning away from the one true God. You will be stronger in your faith and you will be better prepared to face the storms of life.

As for me, I will remain – how about you?

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

 

From → Blog Posts, Podcasts

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