Heaven , Hell, and Politics

Heaven, Hell, Politics, and Personal Stories plus any topic of interest that creates news and heightens intelligent dialogue between readers – this blog is for you!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Faith to Faith

God promises us victory and new life after one becomes born again. Why does this victory and new life seem so hard in today’s modern world? Where are the blessings of God? Have you ever felt like this – Your faith becoming disheartened? Don't know what to do?

The next series of posts in the Comments Section looks into these matters helping restore, strengthen, as well as challenge us to move forward from Faith to Faith and Glory to Glory. These postings are from edited sermon transcripts from my travels over the course of the year so that you can find help from Christ Jesus in time of need.

Please Note: I had to stop posting for a while as my blog was hit hard by spam as well as delayed by recent travel and speaking engagements. I am still in process of cleaning out the spam. Thank you for the emails regarding this.

Also, I will continue the writings on the Old Testament Concept of God which show how the Trinity is indeed thoroughly soaked within the language of the Old Testament as posted in the March 2009 Archive per many of your request!

Due to unsolicited spam, if you would like to comment and post, please join, so I can clear you to comment or send me an email at: BryanMelvin1@aol.com

Also visit my website as well: afterhoursministries.com

God Bless!

Be sure to enter the Comments Section and find help and encouragement in time of need – stretch and expand your Faith Today

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Blogger B. W. Melvin said...

A Challenge

John 21

After spending time with Christ, seeing all the miracles, healings, learning from the Word, being charged with the great commission what do the disciples do (John 21:3)?

Went back fishing. They caught nothing all night. Are we not like they? Going back fishing in our old ways, catching nothing, asking what is with this Christianity thing?

We, as Christians, pray and do things. We may have had some great encounters with the Lord in diverse ways but when Sunday’s gone, the meeting over, what do we do? Go back fishing in our old ways. Is this all there is? Are I not supposed to be living the victorious life?

In the text, Jesus appears again, a third time, and confronts them all through Peter. He desired for them to mount out with wings as eagles not stay fishing in what they deem as comfortable.

Jesus calls out to them from the shore to let down their nets on the right side of the boat. Sometimes the Lord has to shake us up. How? By watching us cast our nets on the wrong side of the boat and not the right. We grow discourage at what we thought would bring us life at our old familiar fishing hole but instead find our faith wavering – is this all there is to this Christianity thing?

How long and what will it take for us to learn to cast our nets on the right side of the boat? Growing discouraged in you faith? Cast your net on the right side of the boat. How?

In John 21:15 Jesus asks a question and in this question an interesting word is used that is translated in most English text as the English word “these.” It is from a Greek plural word that means “these (sorts of things).”

Jesus asks, “Simon Son of Jonah, do you Love (Agape) me more than these (sorts of things)?”

Who was Jonah but another who ran from the Lord seeking to go fishing in the lifestyle where he was most used to. Are you like Jonah? Running from the Lord?

Jesus was saying – “Peter and all, do you Love (Agape) me more than these (sorts of things) going back fishing – that old comfortable lifestyle you all are so used too? Tired – weary of it yet. You ain’t catching anything are you?”

Peter responds – “Yes Lord – you know I love (Phileo) you.”

Now there are two Greek words used to translate into love in this text. This is important so we must briefly look at these two words as in the English text we have only one word for love.

First word is Agape love. This is the highest from of love that contains within its meanings: steadfast enduring love, a loyal love that gives all to the beloved, etc, a sacrificial love because one’s love is loyal, steadfast, enduring…

Next is Phileo which is the kind of Love is the form of human love. It has a wide array of meanings ranging from feeling affection for, brotherly love, love between comrades who have gone through the same events and bonded. It also can mean the Human love that says, a brotherly (sisterly) love that is earned – reciprocated between people (I feel affection and bond because you gave me so I return the love…)

Listen to Jesus again

Jesus asks, “Simon Son of Jonah, do you Love (Agape - love - steadfastly, loyally, sacrificing all for) me more than these (sorts of things) going back fishing – that old comfortable lifestyle you all are so used too?”

I think, we like Peter would answer: “Yes Lord – you know I (Phileo), feel fond for you at Church, in the prayer closet, on Sundays, at the meetings, etc, love you like a brother because of what you have done for me and the blessings you give, etc… love you. You even gave me a few free lunches – of course I love you”

And Jesus asks a second time...

Continued in next post below:

Sunday, 22 November, 2009  
Blogger B. W. Melvin said...

Continued from post Above:

And Jesus asks a second time: "Simon Son of Jonah, do you Love (Agape - love me with steadfastly, loyally, sacrificing all for) me more than these (sorts of things) going back fishing – that old comfortable lifestyle you all are so used too and more than even all the blessing and experiences, free lunches I have given - is that what you love is based on?”

Peter answers the same – “I Phileo love you Lord. After all, look what you give us – free food and good fellowship, filled our nets, you are like a brother to us and to me…”

Now comes the third question: "Simon Son of Jonah, do you Love (Phileo) me because of the free lunches, good fellowship, how I make you feel, are you satisfied fishing back in your old lifestyle and way of doing things - is that what your love is based on?”

Peter’s heart was cut – grieved because Jesus asked him if he only loved him due to the fond feelings of affections, blessing he received, that Peter loved his works more than Christ, loved fishing in ‘those’ old ways of life one was used too more than Christ.

Peter and the disciples finally got what Jesus was getting at. It took time; three years to be exact. Even a third time after his resurrection to correct by grace the three denials Peter made while the disciples hid.

Peter’s answer should become ours: “You know all things, that I Love (the love that makes one remain loyal, steadfast to You (Christ) no matter the trials and storms, a love that sacrifices all (These sorts of things, my old nature) for the one loved so much that I lay down my life for you more than these sort of things that have me bound.”

Yep, we can live and go back fishing in the old life we always known. Jesus will keep asking us questions until we hear realizing what sorts of things keep us from feeding the Sheep. That is grace – his stead fast love toward you.

How many times will Jesus be asking you? Three – years – days months? How long will it take until you realize you are casting your net on the wrong side of the boat for things that never can satisfy with life?

Are you running back to the old lifestyle after Sunday? Are these sorts of things only causing you to drag an empty net and life around? Discouraged, feel defeated causing you to return to seek solace in an unholy thing? Do you Love Christ more than these sorts of things?

So as Christians – unlike atheists and non-believers – we have Christ asking us questions, challenging us to move beyond ‘these sorts of things’ we always do that enslave us in diverse and misleading ways. His grace calls to us from the far shore, “Have any food?

What you have been doing satisfying you or draining you on empty? The Lord promises life and that in abundance. That life is with him for only he can satisfy the ache in your heart. But we love other things more than he. That is the truth.

Jesus said – “you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free”

Peter and the disciples were learning truth that day. We love going back fishing in our old ways. We love how the Lord makes us feel good on Sunday, gives us experiences, fellowships with us from time to time but do we love the Lord?

Love the Lord with that agape love that remains loyal, steadfast, enduring all things so much that you will sacrifice – these sorts of things you always go back fishing too?

How is…

Conclusion Posted Below:

Sunday, 22 November, 2009  
Blogger B. W. Melvin said...

Conclusion from above postings below:

How is the Lord challenging you?

“Simon Son / daughter of Jonah, do you - with that steadfastly loyally sacrificing love - agape me more than these (sorts of things) going back fishing – that old comfortable lifestyle you are so used too?”

The Lord keeps asking? Stop running like Jonah and answer him. It may take years but finally we may answer like Peter and realize that we owe Christ our very lives. He who loses his life will find it in Christ. Be lost in his Agape love that is always loyal, enduring steadfast, sacrificing for you – never letting you go.

From this we can feed and tend his sheep with our lives by dispensing the bread of life (who is Christ) by how we live and conduct ourselves. By how our lives have been transformed from loving these sorts of things into be that reflection of the character, and nature of Christ.

If you want to remaining fishing – go ahead and trapped you’ll be. However know this, Jesus will keep asking…

Haunting - Love me more than these ...

Sunday, 22 November, 2009  
Blogger B. W. Melvin said...

I hope you were challenged by the last three postings transcribed from one of my sermon messages and I pray that the Lord will help you grow closer to him through these messages. If you do not know the Lord, or have doubts, may you find your answers within these Posts.

The next Four Posts also contain another transcribed message in this continued series shared during my travels. Due to the constraints of Blogger space, I have edited this version as well. Both messages were about 33 to 40 minutes long when spoken and so for Posting, I left out illustrations and examples in order to conserve time and space. They should take about 5 minutes or less to read apiece .

Again it is in humble prayer that I ask the Lord to use these messages to help you grow stronger and develop a more deeper walk with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Please Continue Below:

Saturday, 05 December, 2009  
Blogger B. W. Melvin said...

Post 1 of 4

Are you a disciple who marvels or one who follows?

Text: John 6:66-68 (Reading)

Here we see many of Christ disciples leaving Jesus to walk no more after him. In the next few verses the twelve that remained were those that followed yet, one, Judas, would betray Christ later on.

Why did so many leave Christ? Did they really believe or was their belief based upon marveling after Jesus rather than believing? What does it really mean to believe Christ?

To Believe Christ involves more than intellectual assent to creeds or facts. There is a difference between living faith and stagnate faith.

Jesus came to radically alter our very lives, not leave us standing still. Jesus said in John 8:12, "Jesus spoke to them, again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life..." NKJV

He says to follow, not stand still…

Has your walk of faith skidded to a halt? Not living in victory over those sins that bind you? Feel left out and wondering where Jesus is? Are you still living in darkness and not life? Wondering - What happened to the joy of my salvation?

Often, we stand still while Christ walks onward. We feel alone and abandoned but hold on, it is time we stop standing still and catch back up to Christ. The Lord test the righteous for a purpose – to cleanse our hearts with new longing to walk with Him by living faith - not dead faith.

…Look at John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” ESV

Simply believing in Christ makes one saved; yet, Jesus did not come just to offer free fire insurance! He came to alter our very lives. Salvation may come by believing but how did you first believe? A tree is known by its fruit. Are you stagnate or moving onward with Christ?

John 8:12, "Then Jesus spoke to them, again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life..." NKJV

Yes, Jesus came to radically change our lives. How can good news remain good news if you are left as you are – in darkness?

Part and parcel of believing in…

Continued Below

Saturday, 05 December, 2009  
Blogger B. W. Melvin said...

Post 2 of 4

Part and parcel of believing in Christ is movement, not stagnation, active believing, not a static marveling kind of belief. Just think about being born of God’s Spirit and that now He resides inside of you!

In John 6:66 we read from the text that many disciples just walked away. We find out who these people were from John chapter 4 and 5. They were the Free Lunch Gospel Crowd always seeking signs, etc.

They only wanted a free lunch and be entertained by the Lord’s doings. Their belief was of the kind that Marvels at all Christ promises and gives, yet, they remain in darkness – always seeking to be filled but never satisfied. They loved darkness more than light.

For them, being a disciple of Christ served as an excuse for remaining as they are, unchanged, untouched, unaltered.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:21- 23: “Many in that day will say – “Lord-Lord have we not done many things in your name, (hey, we are your disciples! such say)” – and the Lord said to them – “depart from me fore I never knew you…” (Paraphrased for emphasis)

Psalms 73:27 holds the same truth as John 6:66-68

Truth: There are Disciples who truly believe in Christ and then there are those that only marvel at the thought of believing but never take the step into believing. Tragically a person can be a disciple but not believe. They marvel after the promises, blessings, things Christ offers but they never follow the word.

These are those not known by Christ (Matthew 7:21-23 and compare with John 6:27).

This goes to show you how a person can delude themselves into thinking they are a disciple, a Christian, saved but they have never even met the first criterion. (John 6:47, Luke 9:23-26).

Do you feel like you are one of those? How can you be? You have not walked away because you are here, hearing this (Reading) You may have stopped and stood still for awhile, but now it’s time to catch back up to the Lord and like Peter say: “Lord where shall we go – you have the words of eternal life!

Often, in Churchanity – we are given just half a gospel and told that is all there is: fire insurance. This does not do when times of trials and hardship come. When sin knocks at our door, we end up opening it and let it all enter in. Our lives become stagnate-misery while we ponder: Oh woe is me, where is the overcoming life Jesus spoke about? How come I cannot overcome these besetting issues with repeating sins?

John 8:51 says: "Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word he shall never see death." NKJV

Yet we feel like our Christian walk is death! Where’s the life! Flesh wars against the spirit and the flesh is winning! Oh woe is me!

There is more to the gospel than fire insurance – Jesus came to alter our very lives! Sadly, in many places, we do not teach new believers that Christ came to alter our very lives.

At least, we tell them of the truth about saving grace! They believe but are not told what to expect in this Christianity thing – Christ changing them. Part and parcel of believing in Christ for your salvation is the fact Christ will never let you go – he’s gonna change you – like it or not!

Salvation contains in its…

Continued Below

Saturday, 05 December, 2009  
Blogger B. W. Melvin said...

Post 3 of 4

Salvation contains in its meaning: being delivered, set free, rescued, brought too a safe haven.

Jesus did more than just offer free fire insurance. He sanctifies – sets you and I apart unto him – changing us – cleaning us up. Removing the residue of sin from our hearts, challenging us, motivating us onward to new heights! New Heights means you will have to climb…

You know, it is easier on the body walk up a hill rather than down?

Climb out of the darkness that enslaving sin.

He provokes us, calls to us, to keep in his word. Believing is following him – that my friend in God – is how one believes…

Believe is a verb – an action word for Faith. It moves, it follows, it seeks, it partakes of the word.

It is the kind of believing that Christ is more than able to keep you saved, delivered, set free, healed, rescued, all during this mortal life and beyond!

Was that you when you first believed?

Didn't you know that there are things that accompany salvation? - being delivered, set free, healed, rescued, find’n that safe haven and rest - as you follow Christ while daily feasting upon his word?

John 8:12, "Then Jesus spoke to them, again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life" NKJV

Jesus says so himself - He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life"

Does this light of life seem to be slipping away from you? Can’t find that victory? Do you think you blew it and walked away like one of those marveling disciples?

Hate to tell you – you are not!

How do I know – you are here in the audience (or reading this) and Christ through this message is provoking you – challenging - motivating you to climb – not remain where you are in your privet valley of darkness.

Do you know you were bought at a price and you are not your own? Or that after you become born again that the Holy Spirit made his home inside you?

Did anyone tell you the Holy Spirit will be taking out the garbage, remodeling his new home, throwing out the clutter of the house of your heart? Setting you apart as a habitation for God to shine life through to those in darkness so that you now have purpose for living?

When you first believed in Christ didn’t anyone tell you the Lord will be doing a remodeling job on you?

Tear out a wall here and over there knock out a wall so a window can shine destroying the darkness in the deep recesses of your soul?

Titus 2: 11-12 says: “for the…

Continued Below

Saturday, 05 December, 2009  
Blogger B. W. Melvin said...

Post 4 of 4

Titus 2: 11-12 says: “for the Grace of God that brings salvation (rescue, deliverance, freedom, healing, peace, rest) has appeared to all men, teaching us to deny (say No to sin in the NIV) ungodliness and worldly lust, that we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present age” NKJV

God grace teaches us to, as the NIV translates, say No to sin. Did you not know or were ever taught that you can now say No to sin? Temptations? Those things that are defeating you?

He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world the bible tells us!

Why don’t you start following Christ and doing the word and say NO to those things of darkness holding you down? That is what it means to believe…live like one! Turn your back on the deceiver.

It is by God’s Grace we can say NO to sin and live free from bondage. If a person does not want too – that is between them and God alone. But Jesus came to set the captives free as he stated in John 8.

The Apostles all wrote and challenged and provoked people to new heights with Christ – why cannot we? Why do we settle for less – half the gospel?

I make no bones about teaching people that they can be free from sin – one sin at a time – that they can say NO to Sin and can Live free because they first believed!

My God, who’s Spirit did Christ give within us? Do we have power or not over the things that enslave us? Can we, given the time of learning imposed upon us by the Holy Ghost, shed our sins – one sin at a time or not?

We all have sin in our lives and Christ is at work in us – cleaning us up and teaching us many diverse things in an omni-personal way to each individual believer in Christ preparing and shaping into our lives a new character and nature in us.

I am not teaching sinless perfectionism or that works keep you saved here. But I am declaring Good News - you can be set free of sin one sin at a time. You do not have to always live in darkness.

The Spirit can a will win against the flesh – it is as easy as saying NO.

God’s Grace teaches us as the Lord remodels our house, how? The 1 John 1:8-9 way.

Yes, you’ll stumble and fail from time to time but Grace will lead you home. You’ll get so tired of failing that you’ll get it through your head to start saying NO to that darkness!

That YOU do LOVE Jesus more than these sorts of things!

We learn through our short falls, stumble, mistakes that it is easier on the body to walk uphill to bask in the light rather the tumble downhill into the dark caverns below.

We confess or sins to the Lord and he cleanses us – remodels us – shapes us.

You can say NO to Sin and if you fail – confess – that is how Grace teaches us to say NO! Soon you’ll say No to darkness and find the free salvation from the Lord!

How can The Lord leave you unsanctified after you first believe if he lives as part of us now? The Lord inside us removes our darkness so we can learn to live according to his life giving light.

John 7:37-38, “Jesus stood up and cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." ESV

Amazing! What constitutes living water just believe Christ but remain as you are comfortable in your darkness, or believing in Christ knowing that He is leading with you following him out of your darkness?

As we began – there are two kinds of disciples: those that stand back away from following Christ and Those that follow Him because they believe. Which are you? Now is the time to stand up and believe in Christ…

John 8:36, "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed..." NKJV

Saturday, 05 December, 2009  
Blogger B. W. Melvin said...

Note to Reader: Does our preaching, teaching, awake one into freedom or teach freedom as an option? Are we making disciples who only have a marveling belief saying, “Christ saved me so I can remain as I are!” Or disciples that shout, “Christ – changed my life! Its true - you can truly be free indeed!”

Saturday, 05 December, 2009  

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