Work and keep for our salvation

A. Stories

There lived a father that had 3 sons. One day, his 3 sons are going to go to school. The father gave them 3 houses and 3 keys. A, the first son, took it. B took it too. But C, he didn’t even care about that key. He ignored and didn’t take the key.

After the school, the 3 boys went to home. But because C didn’t take the key, he couldn’t enter his new house.
And in the middle of A and B’s journey, B lost his key, and he searched for it for a long, long time, but he didn’t even found it.
But A didn’t lost his key. He kept and guarded his key, because he know, the key is the only way to enter his new house, and without it, he would lost forever.

So A, B, C, met their father. The father proudly let A enter his new house. But to B and C, the father was angry at them, for losing and not taking the key. He threw out them from their new houses. They was not able to enter those house forever.

B. Reflection and meaning

The father was our Lord God. The 3 sons were humans with 3 different types. The key (it was the same key, but copied to 3) was salvation that God gave through Jesus Christ. So this is the types of humans:

A: Humans that accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, and work hard to keep their key, their salvation. Note that the key is from the father, but A only work hard to KEEP the key, not to OBTAIN the key.

B: Humans that accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior in the beginning, but then missed the key. They lost it, because they just didn’t care about it, just “do as you want to do”, not guarding and not keeping the key. In other words, apostasy.

C: Humans that didn’t know or didn’t accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior.

So from the story it’s really clear that we must work hard to maintain our salvation. No such things as OSAS, no such things as hypergrace. In fact, in one of Jesus’ parables, He stated the one who received the seed on the path, on the stones, in the thorns. It means that they received Him as their Savior, but then apostate.

And Apostle Paul made it clear again with this verse:

* Philippians 2:12
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but so much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Look at the bold words. WORK OUT your own salvation with fear and trembling. So it’s clear, we must do the works of God to keep our salvation, not just keep silence. Just look what happened to those who kept silence in Matthew 25:31-46

הַלְּלוּיָהּ – Halelu-Yah!

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Drink the Living Water

A. Stories

  • There was a man, with bleeding disease. His friend tell him to go to his hospital, but he only answered, “No, I’m fine, no need to”. His friend had asked him so many times, but he just refused it. Then, it comes, he died, because of blood lost.
  • A man runs, really long, than he got tired. His friend offered him water, the first he reject it, but then because he became more and more weak, he accept it. Then, his strength recovered.

B. Explanation

  • Story 1: The man is people in this world. The hospital’s owner is God. When people sick, God offer salvation, through Jesus Christ, – Jesus is the treatment, blood transfusion, infusion, etc. – when he rejects it, he must be die.
  • Story 2: The runner is people in this world. The man who offered water is God. The water is Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit. When we are in spiritual dryness, God offer us Jesus Christ, so that we might receiver the Holy Spirit, so our spiritual dryness will be healed. When we reject, our condition get worse, but when we accept, we were recovered, healed.

C. Bible Verses

  1. * John 4:10
    KJV, Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
    Textus Receptus, απεκριθη ιησους και ειπεν αυτη ει ηδεις την δωρεαν του θεου και τις εστιν ο λεγων σοι δος μοι πιειν συ αν ητησας αυτον και εδωκεν αν σοι υδωρ ζων
    Translit, apekrithê iêsous kai eipen autê ei êdeis tên dôrean tou theou kai tis estin ho legôn soi dos moi piein su an êtêsas auton kai edôken an soi hudôr zôn
  2. * John 4:14
    KJV, But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
    Textus Receptus, ος δ αν πιη εκ του υδατος ου εγω δωσω αυτω ου μη διψηση εις τον αιωνα αλλα το υδωρ ο δωσω αυτω γενησεται εν αυτω πηγη υδατος αλλομενου εις ζωην αιωνιον
    Translit, hos d an piê ek tou hudatos ou egô dôsô autô ou mê dipsêsê eis ton aiôna alla to hudôr ho dôsô autô genêsetai en autô pêgê hudatos allomenou eis zôên aiônion

And many others….

D. Reflection

We, as human, surely experience spiritual dryness. In that condition, the Devil will tempt us. This is our weak point: spiritual dryness. So, in order to resist the temptation of the Devil, we must recover our spirit, restore our spirit, by drinking the water of life. When we are strong, the Devil is weak. So come to Jesus, and drink His holy water.
הַלְלוּ־יָהּ – HALELU-YAH

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Love with real action, not just words

Jesus’ greatest commandments is love, the first is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and the second is to love one another. And why He commanded us to love because He Himself is love. So as Christ’s followers we must love too.

  • 1 John 3:18, “My little children, let us love not in word and speech, but in action and truth.”

If we confess to the other, “I love you”, it is true? Maybe true, maybe not. But if he confessed, “I love you”, and he protects his neighbors, but then he just use him for his profit, that’s not love also, but hypocrisy. And, if someone gave some of his money to the poor, just so that he may be honored and praised by men, it is hypocrisy.

What is true love? True love is from God. True love is the love of Christ. There are 4 words for love in Greek: Αγαπη – Agapê, Στοργη – Storgê, Φιλια – Philia, and Ερως – Erôs. The love of God is the first: Αγαπη – Agapê.

Now let us analyze that 4 words more deeply.

  1. The first, Αγαπη – Agapê, is the love of God, which is self-sacrificing love. This the highest type of love. This type of love can be seen in this verse:
    • John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

    It is also the type of love Paul spoke about in 1 Corinthians 13, “the love chapter”. So, in other words, this love is not selfish, but prioritize the other’s importance than his own. This is why this type is the highest type of love.

  2. The second, Στοργη – Storgê, is the type of affection love, like between parents and children, humans and pets, etc. This type of love is “to understand each other”.
  3. The third, Φιλια – Philia, is friendship. This love is between we and our friends, but this type of love can cause enmity, because this type is partial.
  4. The last, Ερως – Erôs, is the sexual love. Husband and wife have this type of love. This type of love is used to do reproduction. But this type of love can harm and cause danger. And it also can lead to adultery and fornication.

In order to have the true love, not hypocrisy, we must have the love of Christ. Or, in other words, do anything for the glory of God, don’t do self-glorify. Like Paul said:

  • 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Therefore, whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.”

And if we glorify and love God, we will also love the others, not just in words, but in real action. And we must love the others with Αγαπη – Agapê love.

The difference between Αγαπη – Agapê and the others is, Αγαπη – Agapê is the type of unconditional love, whether he is our enemy, whether he is our friend, we love him. But the three others, they are partial. Στοργη – Storgê is known for “do not know, do not love”. This type only loves those we have known. And Φιλια – Philia can cause enmity with the others, and Ερως – Erôs also can lead to fornication and hatred.

So let us pray that God will change our heart to loving heart, with the Αγαπη – Agapê love, that care for each other, prioritize other’s importance and requirements. And let us do this, not only in sayings, but in real action, with Christ’s help. Remember, that faith without works is dead, and so, confessing love without practicing love is dead. Hallelujah! Amen.

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Grace and peace

The live of true Christians can be seen by their live that produce the fruit of the Spirit. From Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control. This can be divided into 3 groups. The first: love, joy, peace. This speaks about our relation with God. The second: patience, gentleness, goodness. This speaks about our relation with our neighbors. The third: faithfulness, meekness, self-control. This speaks about our relation with the others and ourselves.

The meaning of peace is a situation where we feel peace, safe, no wars, no fighting, etc. God gave us peace in our hearts as His children. But often, peace became missing from our hearts. The main cause for this is sin (Isaiah 32:17). Guilt and feeling sinful will make us not peaceful and we must quickly repent so that peace come back.

The other cause is Satan and evil spirits, they will tormented our thoughts with bad and negative thoughts, so our hearts will be negative too, and will make us lose the peace God has given.

  • John 14:15-31, “If you love Me, keep My commandments. I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, that He may be with you forever: the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, for it does not see Him, neither does it know Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you fatherless. I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see Me no more. But you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father. And I will love him and will reveal Myself to him.” Then Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will reveal Yourself to us, but not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If a man loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words. The word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. I have spoken these things to you while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and am returning to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. Now I have told you before it happens so that, when it happens, you may believe. After this I will not speak much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over Me. But I do as the Father has commanded Me so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.”

We get peace when we live in Jesus. Jesus is the one who gives us peace. So if we live in Jesus, we must love Him more than anyone else, and must keep His commandments. Only by that way, we will get peace because we live in Jesus and He gives us peace.

We get peace also because He gave us grace. Grace is something that we are not worthy to receive. Grace is because of God’s love. One of His greatest grace is giving us salvation because of Christ’s sacrifice for us.

True peace we get when we are reconciled with God with Jesus Christ, so that we can be reconciled to our neighbors and ourselves. Before His death, He spoke about peace, and after His resurrection, He spoke about peace again. His peace is different than the world. His peace is peace because of love.

We can get peace if we keep these 2 commandments: to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Peace because of love is the best peace, the peace in its highest quality.

We as Christians had been sealed with the Holy Spirit. So we don’t have to be worried about anything. Stable peace will not be affected by any problems, troubles, fear, feeling no other ways, etc. Those feelings declares that we have no peace. But like Paul said, “All things I can carried over with Him who gave me strength”. We must have faith in Him, so He will remove our fears, problems, etc. Amen.

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Remain persistent in Christ

A. Stories.

1. There was a kid and a father lived in a house near garden. Once upon a day, the father asked his boy, “Son, can you help me? I have a pierced basket. I put the bucket there. Can you fill that bucket with the water that brought with that pierced basket?” The son answered, “Yes, I can”. The basket was dirty because it is used for charcoal.
So the son come to the pool and take up some water, then walked to the bucket’s place. But because the basket was pierced, the water spill. He tried again until 5×, but it still the same. Then he asked to his father, “I have tried 5×, but the water spill”. The father said, “Of course. You walked. Try to run. Maybe you can fill the bucket”.
So the son come again to the pool and take up some water again, then ran to the bucket’s place. It still the same, although he ran. He protested to his father. But his father said, “Look at this basket. It was dirty, but now it is clean, because he water you bring keep cleaning the basket”.
2. A worker needs to build a building. He had some materials. When he started to build the building, he formed some materials that not fit. Bent steel he formed became flat steel. Sharp steel he formed became blunt steel, etc.

B. Explanation and reflection
From no. 1: the father is God, the son is us. The basket is our heart, the bucket is our will and the pool is God’s Word. When the first God asked us to do something, we obeyed. God “mocked” us and commanded us to fulfill our desire, by using His Word. We fail, and we surely fail. We protested to Him, and He said to try harder. We tried harder but still fail. We protested. But God then revealed that if we persistent trying with His Word, His Word will cleanse our hearts.
From no. 2: the worker is God, the materials are us. When God wanted to build us into a better characters, He formed some materials. Being formed with love is not always soft. But maybe really hard and painful. A sharp steel formed into a blunt steel is really painful. And to form a bent steel into a flat steel is painful too.

So the conclusion from these stories: we must be persistent and faithful to Him. We must believe, that He is forming us into better characters. Maybe we felt the pain, the hard ways, but we must believe God’s way to form us is the best. And if we conquered the temptations, and not escape, we become better, and pleased God. And the reward for that is eternal life. Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.

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Celebrate God that sanctifies

Holy is from the word Hebrew קָדוֹשׁ – QADOSH and the Greek ἅγος – HAGIOS. Holy has a meaning “separate”, which is separate from all types of evil, separate from all things that are not pleasing God. We know this verse:

  • John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

From this verse, we know God loved His creation — which are us, humans — and then, He gave His only begotten Son — Jesus –, is the real act of His confession of His love, and then, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life, has a meaning, that the form of His love produce a result that who believes will have eternal life, and who doesn’t believe will go to everlasting punishment.

Holiness is really important in Christian life. How not, for God is holy, so all things that are related to Him must be holy. To be holy must to be separate from all types from evil, which we can’t do that, but with Christ we were made holy by Him.

  • Hebrews 9:11-28, “But Christ, when He came as a High Priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies so that the flesh is purified, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? For this reason He is the Mediator of a new covenant, since a death has occurred for the redemption of the sins that were committed under the first covenant, so that those who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where there is a will, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a will has force after men are dead, since it has no force at all while the testator lives. So not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when Moses had taught every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God has commanded you to keep.” Likewise he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of worship with blood. And according to the law almost everything must be cleansed with blood; without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. It was therefore necessary that the replicas of heavenly things be cleansed with these sacrifices, but that the heavenly things themselves be cleansed with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter holy places made with hands, which are patterned after the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. Nor did He enter to offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. For then He would have had to suffer repeatedly since the world was created, but now He has appeared once at the end of the ages to put away sin by sacrificing Himself. As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this comes the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to save those who eagerly wait for Him.”

From the Hebrews epistle there are 3 truths that is related with God that sanctifies:

  1. Verse 11-14 ⇒ the incredible effect of Christ’s sacrifice
    The writer of Hebrews declared that Christ’s blood exceeds the sacrifices that all that time the Jews did with animals. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice is more incredible and efficient in solving the relationship between humans and God,
  2. Verse 15-22 ⇒ Christ’s sacrifice is the valid one from God
    Again the writer compared between sanctification that the Jews did in Old Testament’s time, with what Jesus did to sanctify us. The sacrifices the Jews did are valid, but Christ’s sacrifice is more valid. And had been established by God that Jesus is the one who sanctifies us.
  3. Verse 23-28 ⇒ Christ’s sacrifice is only once and complete
    Sacrificial system in Old Testament’s worship was done with animals, and that sacrificial system was endless. Because that sacrificial system couldn’t really bring men to holy condition before God. It is only “down payment” for our sins, not really removed it. Jesus didn’t need to be sacrificed many times for to settle up sin problem.

Because of Christ’s sacrifice we become sons of God and we get the status holy. And we can be separated from all types of evil that is not pleasing God with the Holy Spirit’s help and with Christ’s righteousness. This world and all of its pleasures are not pleasing God. Because of that, Romans 12:1-2 affirmed so we are not similar and not conformed to this world.

By realizing that our status as holy people and responsible to that status with real act from our minds that change according to the will of God and reflected from our sayings and works as holy people.

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Seek Jesus the Liberator

To live this life on earth, with many imperfections and many limitations must be not delightful. But maybe sorrowful. If can choose how, maybe people asked God, “I want this, I want that, without limitations, without imperfections, I want this, etc.”

  • Mark 10:46-52, “Then they came to Jericho. And as He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat along the way begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many ordered him to keep silent. But he cried out even more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. So they called the blind man, saying, “Be of good comfort. Rise, He is calling you.” Throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. Jesus answered him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabbi, that I might receive my sight.” Jesus said to him, “Go your way. Your faith has made you well.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the way.”

Maybe, for Bartimaeus, his hopes and his life vanished. Nothing exciting to be proud even the slightest of his existence. The Bible doesn’t say since what age he suffered blindness. It can be, he was blind when he was a kid, or maybe from his birth. If it was right, maybe he can angry to God. Interestingly, he didn’t angry at God. He could not depend all of his need to his parents. He didn’t being lazy and idle, he decided, although his conditions hard, he beg.

He chose to go out of home, seek and tried to supply his needs. The most interesting part of Bartimaeus is, when he meet Jesus, he cried, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” He collected his power to cry so that Jesus heared that. Although the people around him tried to stop him, his cry became louder. We can imagine a beggar, that maybe not yet eat, his cry must be very draining his energy.

Bartimaeus’ cry was not in vain. That cry was heared by Jesus. His cry changed everything. Maybe his thought, his steps maybe hindered by many people, but his cry not. And it was right, Jesus heared and stopped His steps, and cared for him. Jesus asked what is his needs and his desire, and he told, so that he might received his sight.

Learn from Bartimaeus, that is persistent, that had a heart that seek Jesus the Savior and Liberator. Remember Jesus’ sayings,

  • Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who seeks finds, and everyone who knocks, the door will be opened”.

So Jesus taught us to persistent in prayer and keep asking in faith, and seek Jesus our Liberator that will give us liberty from sin. Just have faith in Him and He will heal us. Amen!

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