Fifty years ago, as a young adult, I had a personal, saving encounter with Jesus Christ. He changed my life for all eternity, and I do not regret one minute of my decision to serve Him as my Lord and Savior.
Watch carefully to prevent religious rituals and dead, dry formulas from replacing a living, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He Himself said in John 17:3 that eternal life comes from knowing God the Father and Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter exhorted us to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Walk close to Him every day and each day you will get to “know Him better” (Ephesians 1:17).
Take time each day to read God’s Word, the Bible. As the apostle Paul said, the Word of God is powerful, and it's alive — not a dead letter. Jesus Himself said, “The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life” (John 6:63).
Unlike every other book ever written, the Bible is guaranteed to be “God-breathed,” it is “given by inspiration of God.” We can and must build our lives on it. Make every effort to be like the wise builders in Jesus’ parable (Matthew 7:24). They heard the Lord’s word and also put it into practice. And as the Lord provides you opportunity, share God’s Word with your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
The biblical baptism with the Holy Spirit is for all Christians in every century since Jesus’ first coming right up until today. It is a source of power from the Lord to make us effective witnesses for Jesus Christ throughout the earth.
Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke preached in Lagos in the year 2000. A crowd of 1,600,000 people attended the final night of the 6 days of meetings. During that week nearly 4 million new believers came to Jesus as their Savior. And it is estimated that about 250,000 were baptized in the Holy Spirit during the meetings. Perhaps some of you were there. As the apostle Peter said of the gift of the Spirit, “the promise is for you … for all who are far off.”
Jesus Christ is the One who baptizes us with the Holy Spirit, as spoken by John the Baptist in all four Gospels (for example, Matthew 3:11). Look to Jesus not only to save you from your sins, but to fill you with His Spirit to enable you to be a powerful witness to Him. And as Spirit-born and Spirit-filled believers, also give time to prayer, to worship, and to God’s Word.
You may be saying, “But how can I be truly holy?” The answer is in Galatians 5 (just above). First of all, “belong to Jesus Christ” through sincere repentance for sin and faith in Christ for your salvation (Acts 20:21). And secondly, now that you are a born-again Christian, “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Keep your eyes fixed on your blameless, perfectly holy Savior. And ask His Holy Spirit — who is in you as a Christian — to transform you each day more and more into the image of your Lord Jesus Christ.
God has created us as people who need other people. We are not complete if we choose to live in isolation. So God’s Word exhorts us to assemble together. Throughout the New Testament, this is done regularly by Christians who are active participants in a local church. In gathering together as a church, we can worship the Lord with other like-minded believers. We can hear the Word of God preached and taught. We can be blessed by the manifestation of the supernatural gifts of the Spirit. And we can be available to God to be used by Him to minister prayer, healing, encouragement, and more to others. So find and be part of a Jesus-centered, Bible-honoring church near you.
My pastor once accurately summarized the “Great Commission” of Mark and Matthew. “Win the lost and train the saved,” he said. Mark emphasized Jesus’ command to preach the saving gospel of Christ to the world and seeing the lost get saved. Matthew emphasized Christ’s command to make disciples and to teach them to obey the Lord’s Word. In sum: win the lost and train/teach the saved.
Very few people are like the apostle Paul and are gifted to do all that. But each one of us can find a place somewhere in Christ’s Great Commission. You may find your primary giftedness from the Lord is to share with others about His salvation. Others of you may find that your main giftedness from God is to help believers grow in their walk with the Lord. Neither one is “better” than the other. There is a place for each of us in the full spectrum of bringing the lost to Christ, then on to full Christian maturity. If you need help in finding your place in the Lord’s work, speak to a godly, Bible-honoring pastor for help.
God has put a sense of eternity into the heart of every human being. That is why over the course of human history, it’s very rare to find truly atheistic cultures. God has placed in mankind a sense of what was lost by the original fall into sin in the Garden of Eden. I personally believe that some of this “eternity in man’s heart” was present in those Greek men who approached Jesus’ disciple Philip and said, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus” (John 12:21). There is a whole world around us, filled with people who may or may not know the right words to express what is in their hearts. But what they are feeling is, “We would like to see Jesus!”
As Christians you have been blessed to come to know our wonderful Savior Jesus. My closing encouragement is this: live your life for Him with a view to eternity. Don’t let the world and its cares, riches, and temptations take away from your walk with Him. Love Him. Get to know Him better each day. And serve Him with all your heart. And the day will come when you will see Jesus’ face and hear His welcoming greeting: “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21).
If this message from my heart to yours has touched you, would you consider forwarding it to your family and friends. Thank you for joining with me in freely sharing the encouraging Word of the Lord.
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©2019, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons &
Bible Studies by
Pastor Jim Feeney, PhD