You turned to God: 1 Thessalonians 1.9-10

“For people everywhere report how you welcomed us and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus our deliverer from the coming wrath.”

1 Thessalonians 1.9-10

Paul’s description of conversion included the hope of eternal salvation at Jesus’ coming. Serving and waiting are two important aspects of the Way. Serving is charged and motivated by the second coming. The waiting is defined by the living God who gave life to his Son and who will also give it to us.

A more important fact than present suffering at the hands of enemies is the coming wrath in the final judgment. What must we do to avoid the latter?

#conversion #God #VOTD

Adequate evidence

By Johnny O. Trail — Our family has a dog named Sadie.  It is a running joke in our family to regularly say, “Sadie is a dog.”  It is a statement of an obvious truth.  She looks like a dog, barks like a dog, eats like a dog, and acts like a dog.  She is a dog.

Lately, we have been reassessing this conclusion.  One of our sons has said, “Sadie is a goat.” Another child has said, “Sadie is a cat.”  Still, another son has stated, “I don’t really know what she is.” Of course, we do all of this in jest.  My children know the differences between a cat, a goat, and a dog. They also know what defines a dog as being a dog.

Suffice it to say, there is plenty of evidence to demonstrate that Sadie is a dog.  If enough evidence exists to prove something as being factual, then it must be accepted as the truth.  One cannot deny that our dog, Sadie, is a dog.  There is too much evidence to refute that fact.

The same principle is true in regards to scriptural considerations.  If there is enough evidence to demonstrate that something is being accurately and truthfully represented from God’s word, it must be accepted at fact and practiced as outline in the Bible.  That is, there are truths in God’s Holy Writ that are undeniable. Continue reading

#baptism, #conversion, #johnnyotrail

When one comes back to the truth, this happens …

Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him backlet him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20 NKJV)

What results from one returning to the truth out of error? No less than four things (according to the above verses); plus one I can’t keep from including:

  • a personal blessing
  • a reversal (a personal and honest acknowledgement) that leads to freedom from the trap of the particular error
  • salvation (deliverance) from the cost of the error (spiritual death)
  • the hiding (a veiling, or doing away with the knowledge) of a multitude of sins
  • a reason for the angels of Heaven to rejoice!

Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”” (Luke 15:10 NKJV)

#conversion, #james, #repentance

‘Slaves to righteousness’ Romans 6.19 VOTD

“(I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.) For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.”

Romans 6.19

Conversion defines our relationship to sin (separation) and to righteousness (decision to live right).

What is involved in presenting our members as slaves to righteousness?

#VOTD #righteousness #conversion

Wipe your internet presence clean with one click. And your sins with one dip

click-hereIt’s the real deal, supposedly. These folks will find all your accounts on the web, through a Google login, and wipe your internet presence clean. They don’t say if they’ll get you off Google as well. But it really tempts one, does it not?

There is a good side to the internet. At times, however, we don’t see it. We get bombarded by the bad side, and offers like the one made by the site above appeal to those who are tired of it all. Continue reading

#baptism, #conversion, #forgiveness, #obedience

Events and our reactions

anger

Our interpretation of events around us, and the language we use to describe them, determine our emotional reaction to them.

How we place ourselves in relation to those events colors our emotions. If we selfishly put ourselves in the center of all that happens, we will take the actions and comments of others personally. So we will feel anger, frustration, and resentment that events did not conform to our expectations. With self in the center, objectivity is lost.

Expressing such emotions will not defuse them, but will only cause them to root themselves more deeply in our soul. Thus, we reinforce our behavior of interpreting events through the lens of self.

Through our conversion to Jesus Christ, he becomes the center of our being and the lens through which we see all events. The sovereign control of God becomes our focus. So there is no one technique, nor a set of them, for a more healthy reinterpretation of events, but rather a transformation into a new man that looks at people and events from a new light.

And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised. So then from now on we acknowledge no one from an outward human point of view. Even though we have known Christ from such a human point of view, now we do not know him in that way any longer. So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away—look, what is new has come! 2 Cor 5.15-17

#conversion, #emotions, #reactions, #self

Fleshing out conversion

turn-signalWe hold half-formed ideas about many words. For some, conversion hides one of those nebulous meanings. Its basic meaning is turning or change.

Think of converting an automobile motor from gasoline into natural gas. In order to do what it could not before, some things have to be tinkered with. And what it did before, it does no longer. To convert it over is not a complicated process, but not anyone can do it.

Converting a soul from sin and self, from the world and the flesh, in order to know and serve God is not only a personal decision on the part of the person, but a job only the Creator can undertake. Continue reading

#conversion, #corollaries, #jesus-christ, #offering, #poetry, #renewal

Union with Christ

No relationship manages to meet all our needs and fulfill all our expectations. Only Christ completely satisfies. So why not seek union with him? http://gospel.randal.fastmail.fm/

QBT

#conversion, #relationships, #union-with-christ

She waited too late

A friend in Tennessee shared this story with me today.

My cousin passed away week before last. She never obeyed the gospel. She had been to church services as a young lady, watched the Jule Miller videos, knew what she needed to do. She was diagnosed with cancer and given a year to live. She did not do well with the chemo, had several complications and waited till she was not able to be immersed. She said, “I waited too late, I waited too late!”

If you have not turned to the Lord yet, do not wait until it is too late. You can do it today.

#conversion, #obedience, #real-life-story

Inconsistencies concerning the conviction and correction of a sinner and the Holy Spirit

There are some in the religious world, and perhaps even several within the church herself, who consistently claim that the Holy Spirit convicts the hearts of sinners through means outside of the word of God. Although I believe that most are sincere in their claim, I also believe the majority of those who are sincere are also inconsistent with their belief.

This inconsistency is seen when one person who has been convicted by the Holy Spirit via a “religious experience” attempts to inform another individual who has been convicted by the Holy Spirit via a differing “religious experience” resulting in a salvation, belief and testimony from a completely different process that their experience was wrong and then they attempt to use the word of God to prove it.

Do you see the inconsistency?

If conviction (salvation) for the sinner comes from a religious experience and not from the word of God alone, then what does it matter if one “religious experience” matches another? Who is to say that anyone’s “experience” is wrong whether we’re talking about Joseph Smith or Charles Russell or Ellen G. White or any TV preacher who calls on people to lay hands on the TV for their religious experience?

Furthermore, the inconsistency of the position is revealed through the very attempt made at correcting the inconsistent “religious experience” by using the consistency of the word of God.

If the word of God is going to be used as the guideline for correcting error, then the very word of God, by default, becomes the standard by which the conviction should have taken place to begin with. You cannot honestly say that a conviction can come by the Holy Spirit operating directly on someone outside of the word of God and then turn around and tell someone their experience of that “direct operation” was wrong because it does not align with what the Spirit teaches through the word – that’s inconsistent!

The truth of the matter is that when it comes to the conviction and correction (that leads to salvation) of the Holy Spirit upon the heart of a sinner, the work of Spirit is accomplished through the consistent guidance of His word and not through the inconsistent “religious experiences” that vary and contradict each other and the word of God itself.

But if your belief is that the direction operation of the Holy Spirit is indeed the mode of conviction and correction that God has chosen, then you would do well to stop saying that the “religious experiences” of others resulting from that direct operation is in error because if there is going to be no consistency then attempting to be consistent is very inconsistent within itself.

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:36-38)

#conversion, #conviction, #direct-operation-of-the-holy-spirit, #holy-spirit, #religious-experience

Bible Chart on Examples of Conversions

Here’s a good and basic chart describing what people did according to the scriptures to become a Christian during the first years of the gospel. Multiple lessons could be taught with it, one of which is that it’s good for people to compare what they have been taught in the religious world to what the Bible teaches when it comes to salvation and what must be done in our response to the invitation of the gospel of Jesus.Bible Chart - Examples of Conversion

#becoming-a-christian, #bible-chart, #bible-class, #bible-study, #christianity, #conversion, #religion, #salvation

Bible Chart: Changes Involved in Conversion

Here’s another Bible chart that I got in an email from a friend. It covers a very basic topic, but like the last chart, this one could be used to do several different things too. It would probably work best as a bulletin board with some tweaking on the layout. I hope you find it useful for something though:

Bible Chart - Changes Involved in Conversion

Related Article:

#becoming-a-christian, #bible-chart, #bible-class-material, #bible-study, #bulletin-board, #chart-lesson, #christianity, #conversion, #sermon-outline

The Joy of the Baptized

Joy exploded through my mind as I burst from immersion in the baptistry that evening. I submitted to Christ in baptism decades ago, but memory of that burst of joy remains clear. No one told me to expect that experience. I’ve noticed that many others seem extremely happy after baptism. Sometimes, their expression of joy even makes some people uncomfortable. However, converts in the book of Acts experienced joy also when they obeyed Christ in baptism.

An Ethiopian government official, returning from worshiping God in Jerusalem, read from the prophet Isaiah as his chariot bumped along the road to Gaza. He did not understand all that he read; however, a passerby joined him and explained how the difficult passages pointed to a man recently executed in Jerusalem, a man that the official’s passenger said had risen from the dead and was God’s Messiah. As the official listened, he learned that immersion in water was part of joining the Messiah’s cause. He noticed a body of water nearby. “Look, here is water,” he said, “what hinders me from being baptized?” After the chariot stopped, he and his passenger went down into the water and the passenger baptized him. Afterwards, the passenger left him, the official went on his way rejoicing (see Acts 8:36-39).

The official was not unique in his experience of post-conversion joy. A prison guard, awakened by an earthquake that he was sure had freed all his prisoners, learned from two of his prisoners (all had remained in the prison) about this same Messiah, Jesus. After cleansing his prisoners’ wounds, he too was baptized. Then “the jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God – he and his whole family” (Acts 16:34).

The Apostle Paul wrote to converts in Thessalonica and recalled, “You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit” (1Thessalonians 1:6). This passage makes clear that this joy would continue, but that it would not erase suffering. Christians would still encounter difficulties, some because they had confessed Jesus as Lord, but they would retain hope because of their newfound capacity for joy.

Galatians 5:22-25 identifies joy among the fruit of the Spirit that identifies those who keep in step with the Spirit because they remain faithful to Christ. Life as a disciple of Jesus may become difficult sometimes because we forget our baptism and the joy we felt as someone brought us up from the water, cleansed from guilt, forgiven of sin, and added by God to Christ’s church. Like the government official, the jailer, Paul and the Thessalonian Christians, remember your baptism. Imitate Christ and faithful Christians. As Paul wrote to another congregation in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. and the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-6).

#baptism, #conversion, #discipleship, #fruit-of-the-spirit, #gift-of-the-holy-spirit, #joy, #suffering

Hugh’s News & Views (Significant Statements)

Hugh’s News & views

SIGNIFICANT QUOTES FROM A FORMER CATHOLIC NUN

Last week I told of the conversion to Christ of Joanne Howe, a former Catholic nun. I mentioned that Joanne has written three books: A Change of Habit, From Nun to Priest, and Biblical Answers to Catholic Questions, all published either by the Gospel Advocate Company of Nashville, TN or a subsidiary of the Gospel Advocate. With permission from Neil Anderson, owner of the Gospel Advocate Company, I am sharing with my readers this week some of the many significant statements from Joanne’s pen as she recounted her “journey” from Catholicism to the church of which we read in the New Testament, the church of Christ. All the quotations will be from the first two books mentioned above, and for convenience I will abbreviate them as “Habit” and “Priest.”

“Although I knew the Bible was the world’s best-selling book, I couldn’t explain the purpose of its message, nor did I understand why it was written. The contents of both the Old and New Testaments were mystifying in their teachings and overwhelming in the information they conveyed. Because I had never been taught how to read the Bible or how to understand its message, I felt woefully ignorant of God’s purpose for having it written. When I was told that it would tell me who I was, where I was going, and how I would arrive at my destination, I was confused and concerned that I had never received any instruction like this as a Roman Catholic” (Priest, p. 19).

“Anxious to discover other messages, I arranged a Bible study with Mr. Coffman. I was impressed with his knowledge of Scripture, and I admired his ability to quote passages accurately from memory. As a result of counseling, my self-confidence was strengthened, and thoughts and feelings became stabilized” (Habit, p. 92).

“My conscience reeled. Throughout my adult life I had sincerely believed that I belonged to the only true church established by Jesus, under the guidance and direction of the Pope . . . Now I was confounded with the scriptural teachings that the Roman Catholic Church was not founded on Peter, but on erroneous interpretation of the Bible” (Habit, p. 96).

“Though confused over the conflicts between my religious views and Scriptures, I remained steadfast in my belief that the Roman Catholic Church was the true church and that its teachings and traditions were divine and apostolic. I had been taught that the Bible was not a sufficient rule of faith and that God’s revelations were also contained in tradition. Scriptures alone could not convey a sure knowledge of faith and morals. Determined to uphold my Catholic principles, I refused to believe that my church would teach me error” (Italics Joanne’s, Habit, p. 97)!

“I was totally bewildered! Many teachings, traditions, and doctrines of my religion were nowhere to be found in the Scriptures! My faith in Roman Catholicism was shattered by the revelations in God’s Word” (Habit, p. 100).

“I felt numb as the impact of the Scriptures sank in” (Habit, p. 107).

“Confronted with Roman Catholic doctrines that were in complete contradiction to God’s inspired teaching, I wrestled with remaining in my parents’ religion, or choosing God’s plan for salvation. Finally, after many hours of prayer and study of God’s promises, I abandoned my life to Jesus and was born again in the waters of baptism” (Habit, p. 111).

“Today, as a New Testament Christian, I have joy and peace in my heart, knowing that Jesus is my shepherd and will guide and protect me wherever I go. He is the joy of my salvation” (Habit, p. 111).

“Many with whom I have spoken do not believe in the Bible nor in the existence of absolute truth. They believe that all truth is relative and that what may be true for one is not true for another . . . I am a believer in the Bible as God’s Word. I accept God’s teachings as absolute. I understand that truth is knowable and that the Scriptures are truth” (Priest, p. 11, 12).

“We live in troubled times, days of uncertainty, religious divisions, confusing philosophies, doctrinal error, and threat of nuclear annihilation. Jesus came to this earth so that you and I might have life and have it more abundantly” (Habit, p. 116, 117)

Are you saved, based on what you have read and learned from God’s Word, or are you depending on the doctrines of man” (Habit, p. 117)?

Significant statements, indeed!

Speaking Schedule:

July 22: Hilldale Church of Christ, Clarksville, TN

July 24: McEwen Church of Christ, McEwen, TN

July 31: GreenHillChurch of Christ, Mt. Juliet, TN

Hugh Fulford

July 9, 2013

#catholicism, #conversion, #conversion-stories, #hughfulford

Nudge: A Question About Grace

God’s grace is truly dynamic!

I was thinking about the grace of God and wondered to myself (and now to you), “Does God’s grace cover sins because it converts souls, or does it convert souls because it covers sin?”

What do you think? It is one or the other, or is it both?

Think about it and chip in. I have my answer, but I’d love to hear yours!

#christianity, #conversion, #forgivness, #god, #grace-of-god, #nudge