Just For Believers – Light Sources – Part 6

(Click here to search for all the posts in this series…)

Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (NKJV)

(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)

In this series, we are studying those things that God says are true about Believers – that is, those who have experienced authentic regeneration of the heart (“born again”) through repentance of sin, and obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let’s review what we have learned so far:

  • Possibility Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (NKJV)
    We discovered that “all things” and the promises, declaration and truths that come from God. Whatever He says He will do, it is possible for them that truly believe. What God declares, whatever is true about God’s nature, becomes possible for the Believer. We also learned that this belief is faith which consists of two parts – undoubting belief that God is, and does, what He says He is and does; and that God is the focus of our belief. We can have true belief in the wrong thing; and, we can believe in God, but have doubt, which betrays a lack of understanding who God is. Faith is true belief focused on the right Person.
  • Remission of sins – Acts 10:43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” (NKJV)
    All your sins, and mine, have been laid aside in whole. The condemnation you deserve for all those lies, deceit and manipulation has been relaxed and removed by God. You have been released from the penalty you deserve for the lust and impurity that you have committed. God will not exact a penalty from you for all the times you’ve cheated and stolen. The Lord has cancelled the planned and deserved punishment that was awaiting you for blaspheming Him through profanity or casual use of His name. The Lord has granted you relief from the suffering and eternal condemnation that awaited you for your wickedness. God has restored you from being a lost sinner outside His family, to be a righteous adopted heir of eternal life. The Lord has removed the intense punishment and condemnation that would have been yours the moment you died and faced Him.
  • No Death – John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. (NKJV)
    Death has no power. We will reign forever with Christ. You will live forever. Starting today. How will that fact change your life? How will it change you today? How will it change you in the next hour? If it doesn’t change you, then I would suggest you either don’t understand it, or you don’t believe it. You will never die. That should change everything about how you deal with this temporary existence on earth.
  • Complete Satisfaction – John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. (NKJV)
    Jesus is the pure water of life. Drink deeply, drink regularly, and drink exclusively from the Well of Heaven, and you will never thirst again. The Lord Jesus is the bread of life. Come feast on Him and you will never hunger. Just for Believers, you don’t ever have to hunger or thirst again. The physical promise will be entirely fulfilled when this sin-cursed world has passed away. The spiritual promise is yours NOW.
    If you are hungry, it’s because you aren’t eating, or you’ve traded bread for junk food. If you are thirsty, it’s because you aren’t drinking, or you’re drinking the wrong thing.
  • Fruit BearingMatthew 7:17-20 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (NKJV)
    Believers bear fruit. If there is no fruit in your life, do yourself an eternal favor, and evaluate whether you are truly a Christian, or a pretender. Remember the old saying, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck – it’s a duck. If you walk like the world, talk like world, and act like the world, does it makes sense to claim you are a Christian? If you are a Believer, you have Christian fruit in your life. Learn to allow the Great Gardner, and Vine Dresser to prune you, cultivate you and fertilize you, so that your fruit may be plentiful and of the best quality (that’s a message for another series!). Remember, fruit is not to be left hanging on the true to ripen, rot and fall off. Fruit is meant to give life and health to those around the tree who can see the fruit, and pick it to eat. Through your witness, sharing the Gospel, your behavior, your language, your joyfulness, your humility and your servant-mentality, you will bless others with the fruit of your Christian life, and through it, bring spiritual life, health and blessing to those around you for the glory of Jesus Christ, our Savior, Lord and Master.

Light Sources

Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (NKJV)

Light… have you ever stopped and thought about it? Light is an actual “thing” whereas darkness is the absence of light. God is light. Light is necessary for life. Without light, we would go mad living in complete blackness, which by the way, is one of the states of punishment in hell (Matt 25.30).

When light is present, darkness must flee. Light exposes impurity as when a shaft of sunshine through a window shows all the dust floating in the air that you can’t see otherwise. Light makes things visible. Light clarifies. Light effects everything it touches.

Believers are called to be light. Wow, that’s a lot bigger consideration than most of us have ever thought about. Let’s take a quick look at darkness first, to help us understand even more fully what being light is all about:

  • Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (NKJV)
    Satan represents darkness. He is the ruler of this “age”, the time in which God’s creation suffers from the curse of sin and wickedness is allowed for a short time to exist.

  • Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, (NKJV)
    Darkness has a hold over mankind. Darkness is the curse of sin and influence of evil entities including wicked humans, demons and Satan.

  • Matthew 6:23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (NKJV)
    The unsaved are in complete darkness. Only the Light of Jesus Christ can make the “bad eyes” good and allow light to enter.

The Bible presents the imagery of darkness as representative of all things evil, wicked and sinful. Satan is darkness; God is light. Unbelievers are darkness, Christians are light.

Why is it important to understand that? Because the idea that most Christians have about us being “the light” in this world, conjures up thoughts of being happy, joyful and bringing smiles to faces. It is presented as something akin to opening up the drapes and letting the sun shine in and all the warm, nice thoughts and feelings that go with that picture. Of course, there is truth in those ideas. All of those aspects are certainly part of “being light”, but if we stop there, we really miss the meat of the matter.

As Christians, being the light of the world means coming against the darkness, exposing the darkness and shining lights where the world doesn’t want the lights on. It is not always sunshine and smiles when “the light” is turned on. Like suddenly being awakened at night with a bright light, sometimes the light is painful. Much like walking out into the bright sunshine not being able to open your eyes because it hurts until your eyes get adjusted to the sun.

Being a Godly light is much more than being happy and cheerful.

Being light in a dark world has many negative and costly aspects. Satan is the present ruler of this sin-cursed world. He and his armies of rebellious angels do not want your light. Sinful humans don’t like the light. The pleasures and secrets of the night do not want the lights turned on and to be exposed. The wicked human heart, full of deception, lies and rationalization, does not want a shaft of sunlight piercing into it exposing the dirt, dust and impurities that cannot otherwise be seen.

This sin cursed world loves the darkness because they are deceived into believing that the cover of darkness, the veil of night, will hide their wickedness from the prying eyes of the ever present Creator, whom they deny, but deep down instinctively know exists. Sin, wickedness and evil flourish and crave the secrecy of darkness because like mushrooms in a cave, it cannot grow and flourish when exposed to light.

This really changes the light-hearted (pun intended!) notion that for Christians to be the “light of the world” is simply the idea of spreading smiles and happiness. No dear Brothers and Sisters… being light is a very serious and dangerous business because you are coming against the Prince of the Darkness and all of the evil that would like to see light extinguished once and for all.

Being light means piercing the black veil of sin that covers the hearts of the lost who will frequently be unwilling, unappreciative and retaliatory in response to their wicked state being exposed. Being light means going against what the world wants, teaches and declares as truth. Being light means being persecuted. Being light means facing the wrath of darkness that doesn’t want your light.

No matter. God calls us to be light, to walk in light and to shine the light regardless of cost, results or discomfort. Jesus came to us as the ultimate Light, the original Light, and He saved us from the darkness of our condemnation. If for no other reason than gratitude for being saved from hell, it would remain our privilege to carry on the light of Christ to others who are still in the dark.

Much more than happiness and smiles, look at all the things that light represents in Scripture:

  • Glory of God – 1 Timothy 6:15-16 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen. (NKJV)
  • Purity of God – 1 John 1:5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. (NKJV)
  • Guidance of God – Psalm 36:9 For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light. (NKJV)
  • Glory of Christ – Acts 26:13 at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. (NKJV)
  • Word of God – Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. (NKJV)
  • Gospel of Christ – 2 Corinthians 4:4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (NKJV)
  • Children of God – Philippians 2:15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, (NKJV)
  • Our Future Glory – Colossians 1:12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. (NKJV)
  • Path of Good – Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. (NKJV)
  • Our Joy and Hope – Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. (NKJV)
  • The Truth – John 3:21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (NKJV)
  • God the Father of Lights – James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (NKJV)
  • The Eternal Light – Revelation 21:23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. (NKJV)

You can see from these verses that being light for God is serious business. Look at the ways the light represents God, and YOU and I are supposed to be that light in this wicked world of darkness. It is a tremendous and all encompassing command. With all these thoughts, verses and ideas in mind, now read what God requires of you and I as Believers:

Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (NKJV)

Lord God, Help us to understand what being light is all about. Help us to count the cost, follow You and take the Light of Christ to lost, dying and dark lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Contemplation: Have you ever considered what it really means to be a light in this dark world? Have you counted the cost? Does your light shine before men, or is it mostly hidden behind fear, embarrassment, comfort or worldliness?

Application: As Believers, we are to be the light of God, shining His truth on the darkness of sin and evil. Being light is not simply being cheerful and spreading joy. It is using God’s truth to expose darkness and shine light into a world veiled in wickedness. It is serious and costly business.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?



(seriesid:40)


Just For Believers – Fruit Bearing – Part 5

(Click here to search for all the posts in this series…)

Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (NKJV)

(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)

In this series, we are studying those things that God says are true about Believers – that is, those who have experienced authentic regeneration of the heart (“born again”) through repentance of sin, and obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let’s review what we have learned so far:

  • Possibility Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (NKJV)
    We discovered that “all things” and the promises, declaration and truths that come from God. Whatever He says He will do, it is possible for them that truly believe. What God declares, whatever is true about God’s nature, becomes possible for the Believer. We also learned that this belief is faith which consists of two parts – undoubting belief that God is, and does, what He says He is and does; and that God is the focus of our belief. We can have true belief in the wrong thing; and, we can believe in God, but have doubt, which betrays a lack of understanding who God is. Faith is true belief focused on the right Person.
  • Remission of sins – Acts 10:43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” (NKJV)
    All your sins, and mine, have been laid aside in whole. The condemnation you deserve for all those lies, deceit and manipulation has been relaxed and removed by God. You have been released from the penalty you deserve for the lust and impurity that you have committed. God will not exact a penalty from you for all the times you’ve cheated and stolen. The Lord has cancelled the planned and deserved punishment that was awaiting you for blaspheming Him through profanity or casual use of His name. The Lord has granted you relief from the suffering and eternal condemnation that awaited you for your wickedness. God has restored you from being a lost sinner outside His family, to be a righteous adopted heir of eternal life. The Lord has removed the intense punishment and condemnation that would have been yours the moment you died and faced Him.
  • No Death – John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. (NKJV)
    Death has no power. We will reign forever with Christ. You will live forever. Starting today. How will that fact change your life? How will it change you today? How will it change you in the next hour? If it doesn’t change you, then I would suggest you either don’t understand it, or you don’t believe it. You will never die. That should change everything about how you deal with this temporary existence on earth.
  • Complete Satisfaction – John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. (NKJV)
    Jesus is the pure water of life. Drink deeply, drink regularly, and drink exclusively from the Well of Heaven, and you will never thirst again. The Lord Jesus is the bread of life. Come feast on Him and you will never hunger. Just for Believers, you don’t ever have to hunger or thirst again. The physical promise will be entirely fulfilled when this sin-cursed world has passed away. The spiritual promise is yours NOW.
    If you are hungry, it’s because you aren’t eating, or you’ve traded bread for junk food. If you are thirsty, it’s because you aren’t drinking, or you’re drinking the wrong thing.

Fruit Bearing

Matthew 7:17-20 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (NKJV)

Every life bears fruit. What do I mean by fruit? It is the result, what is produced, what is grown, what is the harvest of something that is alive and growing. Humans are live and growing organisms. Each of us “produce” something from our lives. Each individual life can be observed and it is usually very obvious what that life has produced (its fruit). Sometimes it is hatred and bitterness; sometimes it’s nothing but work, or maybe love for money. Sometimes a person’s life may have produced only a desire for pleasure or leisure. This is the “fruit” of someone’s life.

For a Christian, “fruit” is defined Biblically as the good and Godly things that come from your life, choices and behavior. On the negative side, a Christian can be devoid of fruit, or their “fruit” can be described as thorns, thistles, weeds or hay; worthless unwanted things that should be discarded and burned away.

I am often asked, “how can I know I’m saved?” or “how do you know if someone is really a Christian?”. In our world of political correctness, and tolerance of all things (except for the exclusive message of Jesus Christ), you will quickly get labeled “judgmental” and “unloving” if you simply declare the plain truth about how to determine if a person is a true Christian or not. We have come to such a state of “easy believism” and “social Gospel” that any declaration, no matter how plainly Biblical, that Christians can be identified as such with a fair degree of simplicity and accuracy, is met with the typical accusations of “legalism”, “judgmental”, “holier-than-thou” accompanied with an avalanche of anecdotal evidence about people who “really are” Christians even though they show no signs of it.

How do you know if you are a Christian? How do you know if some else truly is? There are many ways, but very simply, “if there’s apples on them there branches, then that there is an apple tree.”

If there’s apples on them there branches,
then that there is an apple tree.

Poor grammar, yes, but it is a simple and irrefutable concept. The Bible clearly says that every Believer, every authentic Believer, will bear Christian fruit to some degree. If not, then the tree is cut down and burned. Many people argue about whether or not this fruitless tree that is burned represents a Christian who still makes it to heaven (1Cor 3.15) but that’s a distraction for most people. We don’t need to spend time arguing about the EXCEPTION when it has become the RULE that the typical professing Christian today bears no fruit in their life, and yet this does not alarm them in any way. Our social Gospel still affirms them, and assures them, that if they have “walked the aisle”, “been baptized”, or “prayed the sinners prayer”… then they have nothing to worry about. All the while, they live lives that not only are devoid of Christian fruit and any consistent sign of true Christianity, they go on day after day seeing nothing wrong with this contradiction, abusing God’s graces and taking for granted their salvation. Far from being judgmental, the Bible is abundantly clear that many people will CLAIM Christ, but end up in hell for eternity (Matt 7.23; Matt 13.30) and we do NO favors by sugar coating this fact.

We aren’t doing anyone any favors by sugar-coating
the fact that many people will claim Christ,
and still end up in hell.

That fact should cause EVERY Christian to evaluate, examine and test their faith against God’s Word on a routine basis (Phil 2.12). We should never take our salvation for granted (which is not the same as lacking assurance, or trying to earn your salvation).

It’s amazing to me, how Christians suspend logic, common sense and reality when it comes to Christianity. For example, what business man would say, “oh, just pick a way to do business; it really doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong; all ways of doing business are equally valuable if you are sincere and truly believe in how you are doing it.” How absurd! Yet, every day I hear people say, “oh, as long as you are spiritual and follow some sort of religion, then that is all that matters. All religions are good and correct, if you sincerely practice it.” ONLY CONCERNING RELIGION WILL HUMANS ACCEPT SUCH NONSENSE!

Imagine a doctor who declares, “just do medicine however you want; all methods and beliefs about medicine are equally valid if you are sincere and practice it consistently”. Apply the same logic to an airline pilot, a nuclear facility administrator or a car mechanic. It’s absurd to think this way, right? Yet every day, constantly, you hear people make the exact same claim about religion despite the fact that all these religions teach completely opposite, mutually exclusive and incompatible ideas. INSANITY! No, more accurately, this is a prime example of human wisdom.

Despite the ridiculous nature of the concept (“pick one; be sincere”), the majority of Christians can not present a valid argument against this mentality. Even in their own lives they avoid the truth that “you are not a Christian simply because you claim to be one, or associate with other Christians”. Once again, common sense and logic are thrown to the wind when it comes to this issue. I’m specifically speaking to those who claim Christianity, but show no signs of it (fruit).

Claiming to be something, doesn’t make you that something.
Claiming to be President, doesn’t mean you are.

Being associated with something, doesn’t make you that something.
I can live in a garage for 20 years, and it won’t make me a car.

Consider this: if I claim with all sincerity that I am an Olympic gymnast, and yet you look at me and see that I don’t have any muscle development, I’m overweight, I have soft hands, you’ve never seen me do gymnastics, attend a gymnastics event, nor can I even tell you much about gymnastics… would you believe that I was a gymnast? What if I INSISTED on it, and called you judgmental and self-righteous, and said “who are you to say what I am???” Even though it might back you off, would it change your mind?

How about if I decided to watch others do gymnastics? What if I even went to gymnastic events regularly? I might even educate myself about gymnastics, support gymnastics and volunteer to help with gymnastics. Does that make me a gymnast? What has to occur before my claim to be a gymnast is authentic? I have to do gymnastics. I have to “bear fruit”. You have to come to the tree of my life, and see “gymnast fruit” hanging on my branches before you would know that I’m a gymnast which means living like a gymnast, doing gymnastics and obeying the training regimen needed to be a gymnast.

Despite the clear and obvious truth of that example, how often I see and hear those who “live like the world, talk like the world, enjoy the fleshly pleasures of the world, show no consistent signs of Christ-likeness, can’t tell you much about Christ, can’t defend or communicate their beliefs about Christ, rarely read the Bible, hardly pray and attend church once in a while to be entertained”… and yet claim to be Christians (Christ-followers). They’d never believe I’m an Olympic Gymnast but are incredulous if you question the state of their salvation.

Remember the old saying, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck – it’s a duck. If you walk like the world, talk like world, and act like the world, does it makes sense to claim you are a Christian? Christians walk like Christ, talk like Christ and live like Christ. That’s how you know they are Christ-people, Christ-followers (Christians). The same is true as we examine the state of our own salvation.

How do you know if you are a Christian? The same way you know if an apple tree is an apple tree – there are apples hanging on the branches. How do you know if someone else is a Christian? The same way you know that a blackberry bush is a blackberry bush – there are blackberries growing on it. (Don’t strain the analogy; I realize that fruit bearing plants don’t ALWAYS have fruit present; but over time, on a regular basis and very predictably, they do). How do you know if you are saved? The fruit of Christ will be present in your life.

Now, back to our verse, just in case you think this is nothing more than Brent Riggs’ opinion. Jesus said:

Matthew 7:17-20 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (NKJV; emphasis mine)

Good trees (Christians) bear fruit. Bad trees (non-Christians) can NOT bear good fruit. All true Believers will bear fruit which leads us to some questions that every single Christian should be consistently asking themselves, especially those Christians who routinely would have to categorize themselves as “back sliding”, “straying” or any number of sugar-coated phrases that in essence mean “I claim to be a Christian but don’t live like one”:

These are few things that would appear as fruit in a Christians life. If your life is routinely devoid of Christian fruit, you would do well to consider:

  • Has there ever been any real Christian fruit in your life?
  • How can you claim to be a Christian without actually living a Christian life (bearing fruit)?
  • Is it logical or safe for you to believe that you are a Christian if there is nothing that really identifies you as such?
  • Does claiming Christianity make you anymore a Christian than if you claimed to be a world class brain surgeon who shows no evidence of being a doctor, training like a doctor, or living the life of a doctor?
  • Does hanging out in a hospital occasionally make you a doctor just because you claim to be one?
  • Does attending church once in a while, reading a couple of Bible verses occassionally, and saying “God bless you” to people make you a Christian when the rest of your life is devoid of Christian fruit?

Believers bear fruit. Jesus says so. As Christians, we should be examining ourselves routinely for the presence of fruit (which is evidence of our salvation and gives us assurance); for the amount of fruit (which helps us to keep our priorities in line and store up “treasure in heaven” rather than earthly treasure that will burn); and the quality of fruit (which helps us evaluate the holiness of our lives, and our commitment to Christ).

  • Galatians 6:4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. (NKJV)

  • 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. (NKJV)

  • Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; (NKJV)

  • Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (NKJV)

  • John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (NKJV)

  • Philippians 1:11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. (KJV)

  • Colossians 1:10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; (NKJV)

Only true Believers produce Christian fruit. If you cannot be identified as a Believer by the obvious fruit hanging from the branches of your life, you would do well to think about your eternal condition, and be honest about whether or not you really are a Christian, or just claim to be one. Only your eternal destiny is at stake.

If you are a Believer, you have Christian fruit in your life. Learn to allow the Great Gardener, and Vine Dresser to prune you, cultivate you and fertilize you, so that your fruit may be plentiful and of the best quality (that’s a message for another series!). Remember, fruit is not to be left hanging on the true to ripen, rot and fall off. Fruit is meant to give life and health to those around the tree who can see the fruit, and pick it to eat. Through your witness, sharing the Gospel, your behavior, your language, your joyfulness, your humility and your servant-mentality, you will bless others with the fruit of your Christian life, and through it, bring spiritual life, health and blessing to those around you for the glory of Jesus Christ, our Savior, Lord and Master.

Lord God, Help us to examine our lives for fruit, bear much fruit and bless others with it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Contemplation: Do you claim to be a Christian? Would the average observer of your life see anything during the day to indicate to them that you are a Christian? What would be a sign (fruit) of your Christianity? Your language? The topics of your conversations? Your choices, moods, attitudes or humility? Your service to others? Your prayer or Bible study habits? Would they see any apples?

Application: Believers bear fruit. If there is no fruit in your life, do yourself an eternal favor, and evaluate whether you are truly a Christian, or a pretender. Remember the old saying, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck – it’s a duck. If you walk like the world, talk like world, and act like the world, does it makes sense to claim you are a Christian?

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?



(seriesid:40)


Just For Believers – Complete Satisfaction – Part 4

(Click here to search for all the posts in this series…)

Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (NKJV)

(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)

In this series, we are studying those things that God says are true about Believers – that is, those who have experienced authentic regeneration of the heart (“born again”) through repentance of sin, and obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let’s review what we have learned so far:

  • Possibility Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (NKJV)
    We discovered that “all things” and the promises, declaration and truths that come from God. Whatever He says He will do, it is possible for them that truly believe. What God declares, whatever is true about God’s nature, becomes possible for the Believer. We also learned that this belief is faith which consists of two parts – undoubting belief that God is, and does, what He says He is and does; and that God is the focus of our belief. We can have true belief in the wrong thing; and, we can believe in God, but have doubt, which betrays a lack of understanding who God is. Faith is true belief focused on the right Person.
  • Remission of sins – Acts 10:43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” (NKJV)
    All your sins, and mine, have been laid aside in whole. The condemnation you deserve for all those lies, deceit and manipulation has been relaxed and removed by God. You have been released from the penalty you deserve for the lust and impurity that you have committed. God will not exact a penalty from you for all the times you’ve cheated and stolen. The Lord has cancelled the planned and deserved punishment that was awaiting you for blaspheming Him through profanity or casual use of His name. The Lord has granted you relief from the suffering and eternal condemnation that awaited you for your wickedness. God has restored you from being a lost sinner outside His family, to be a righteous adopted heir of eternal life. The Lord has removed the intense punishment and condemnation that would have been yours the moment you died and faced Him.
  • No Death – John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. (NKJV)
    Death has no power. We will reign forever with Christ. You will live forever. Starting today. How will that fact change your life? How will it change you today? How will it change you in the next hour? If it doesn’t change you, then I would suggest you either don’t understand it, or you don’t believe it. You will never die. That should change everything about how you deal with this temporary existence on earth.

Complete Satisfaction

John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. (NKJV)

In the first of Jesus’ great “I AM” claims, He declares Himself definitively to be God. Everyone listening to Him speak these words on that day would have no doubt whatsoever what Jesus was claiming. It’s unfortunate that even today we have “Christian” leaders teaching that “Jesus never claimed to be God; He just claimed to be like God.” But that’s another series of messages….

In John 6.35, Jesus claims to be God, and then claims to be the answer, the fulfillment, the satisfaction of all things. He claims to complete our life once and for all. He is the Bread and we need never to hunger again. He is the Water of Life, and we never have to be thirsty again. Wow, that sounds great. That sounds very poetic, very expressive and very comforting; but do you have a clue what it means? As a Christian, has any of it come true for you? If not, there are two options… you don’t understand it properly, or you haven’t appropriated these facts, these promises for your own life.

We understand what hunger is, and what it means to be thirsty. Obviously Jesus is not talking primarily or exclusively about physical hunger and thirst, although the application can still be made that in heaven we will never hunger and thirst, for God will perfectly fulfill all our needs and desires (which will be free of sin). While we are alive on this temporary earth though, we get hungry, and sometimes even Christians go severely hungry and starve. We get thirsty. We have droughts and adversity may find us suffering from lack of food and water, especially in poor or war-torn countries. So is Jesus lying? Is this just flowery language?

What is bread and water? Bread represents food, sustenance; that which provides us with nourishment and energy. It’s the gasoline that makes the engine of our spirit run. There is physical bread (food), that God provides and there is spirtual bread. In principle, God promises to provide us with physical bread and we are not to worry about where our next meal will come from (Matt 6.26). However, the curse of sin has corrupted God’s creation and sometimes even Christians suffer the consequences of man’s sinful behavior and find themselves, sadly, in great poverty and starvation physically.

Does this make Jesus’ words false? Hardly. Jesus’ words are true in the physical sense for all eternity. Though we may starve even to the point of death in this sin-cursed world, the Lord Jesus will feed us for all eternity and we will never hunger (go without) even one time when we are with Him.

Spiritually, for Believers only, we will never (or we need never) hunger spiritually, now, or in eternity. Jesus is the bread of life, and if we are hungry spiritually, it’s not for lack of food, it’s for lack of eating.

If you are spiritually hungry,
it’s not because there is no Bread,
it’s because you aren’t eating.

We need never hunger spiritually. Jesus awaits you with a feast, any time, any where. A spiritual banquet of the finest delights are at your fingertips in the Bible, and only one prayer away from your enjoyment. Unlike other religions or lifestyles, only true Christianity is satisfying and completely fulfilling. Every other religion or pursuit ALWAYS leaves you wanting, and knowing that something is still missing.

Water? Same principles but even deeper and more penetrating. Water must be present in greater amounts and saturates our entire existence. Our body is primarily made of water. Spiritually, Jesus is our water of life. He makes up our existence, and in fact holds the very existence of all things in His hand (Col. 1.17).

We cannot go without water but a very short time before thirst arrives. We cannot go without Jesus for very long before our spiritual thirst arrives. We see many (most?) Christians today “thirsty” for fads, trends, gimmicks and the latest program to fulfill us spiritually when the truth is, they need only to avail themselves of the old fashioned notion of simply getting a drink at the well – the Well of Life.

If we are thirsty spiritually,
it’s not because water isn’t available,
it’s from a lack of drinking
or drinking the wrong thing
.

I love diet soda. I’m currently in the process of starting to kick my diet soda habit. I need to drink water; good old fashioned, just-perfect-for-the-body water. I rarely drink pure water because I’ve become habitually enslaved to the sugary tasting, chemical-filled, carbonated liquid over ice. Sure, I get some water from that, but it’s ruined, or at least diminished, by all the junk that comes with it.

Christians need to quit drinking spiritual soda pop,
and get back to drinking Pure Water.

Christianity today is filled with fizzy, flavored, sugary and sweetened spiritual drinks. We attempt to quench our thirst with everything accept just good old, clear, pure, refreshing Water. So we stay thirsty, looking for the next new spiritual drink flavor, the next spiritual sports drink or the next Christian diet drink. All of these give a little temporary satisfaction, but in the end, they leave us unhealthy and even more thirsty. The same could be said for spiritual JUNK FOOD when we talk about Jesus being the Bread of Life.

Jesus is the pure water of life. Drink deeply, drink regularly, and drink exclusively from the Well of Heaven, and you will never thirst again. The Lord Jesus is the bread of life. Come feast on Him and you will never hunger.

Just for Believers, you don’t ever have to hunger or thirst again. The physical promise will be entirely fulfilled when this sin-cursed world has passed away. The spiritual promise is yours NOW. If you are hungry, it’s because you aren’t eating, or you’ve traded bread for junk food. If you are thirsty, it’s because you aren’t drinking, or you’re drinking the wrong thing.

Never hunger, never thirst. Just for Believers.

Lord God, Help us to know Jesus as our food and water. Help us to learn not to substitute junk food and soda for the Bread of Life and the Living Water. When we are hungry, lead us to the Bread. When we are thirsty, remind us of the Water. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Contemplation: Are you a Believer but still find yourself perpetually unsatisfied spiritually? Are you eating? Are you eating the wrong thing? Have you traded a diet of health food (Bible, prayer, service, humility) for the drive through lane of Christian junk food (Christian fads, trends, experiences, entertainment, etc)?

Application: You can starve yourself and not expect to be hungry. If you are not reading the Bible and spending time with God, you will be hungry. If you’re chugging down Christian diet soda rather than the Water of Life, you will be thirsty and unhealthy. Jesus is the Bread of Heaven, and the Water of Life. You need never hunger or thrist again – for Believers Only!

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?



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Just For Believers – No Death – Part 3

(Click here to search for all the posts in this series…)

Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (NKJV)

(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)

In this series, we are studying those things that God says are true about Believers – that is, those who have experienced authentic regeneration of the heart (“born again”) through repentance of sin, and obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let’s review what we have learned so far:

  • Possibility Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (NKJV)
    We discovered that “all things” and the promises, declaration and truths that come from God. Whatever He says He will do, it is possible for them that truly believe. What God declares, whatever is true about God’s nature, becomes possible for the Believer. We also learned that this belief is faith which consists of two parts – undoubting belief that God is, and does, what He says He is and does; and that God is the focus of our belief. We can have true belief in the wrong thing; and, we can believe in God, but have doubt, which betrays a lack of understanding who God is. Faith is true belief focused on the right Person.
  • Remission of sins – Acts 10:43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” (NKJV)
    All your sins, and mine, have been laid aside in whole. The condemnation you deserve for all those lies, deceit and manipulation has been relaxed and removed by God. You have been released from the penalty you deserve for the lust and impurity that you have committed. God will not exact a penalty from you for all the times you’ve cheated and stolen. The Lord has cancelled the planned and deserved punishment that was awaiting you for blaspheming Him through profanity or casual use of His name. The Lord has granted you relief from the suffering and eternal condemnation that awaited you for your wickedness. God has restored you from being a lost sinner outside His family, to be a righteous adopted heir of eternal life. The Lord has removed the intense punishment and condemnation that would have been yours the moment you died and faced Him.

No Death

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. (NKJV)

What extraordinary words! Jesus declares in this verse that He is God, and that He imparts eternal life. So much for the common claim that Jesus “never said he was God” (a claim uttered even by some well known Christian teachers today). “I AM” is an unequivocal, and unmistakable claim to be God. I don’t have the opportunity in this message to teach a lesson on that, but Jesus makes His 5th of seven “I AM” claims in this verse.

The scenario is remarkable. Lazarus was dead and in the grave. Martha, his sister, had sought out Jesus and in her sadness told Jesus that if only He would have been there, Lazarus wouldn’t have died (not a rebuke, but a testimony of her trust in Jesus). Jesus told Martha that Lazarus would rise again. Martha responded by saying that she knew Lazarus would be resurrected on the last day. Jesus follows with this incredible statement:

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (NKJV)

Whoever believes in Jesus will never die. Even though they die physically, they never die. Besides being a clear statement that Jesus is God, and holds the keys to life and death, it is also a clear statement that this body of flesh we are housed in is NOT the real us. It is a shell, a tent, a temporary dwelling. The shell may die, but YOU never will (if you are genuinely saved).

Believers will never die.
The shell will change,
the house will be rebuilt,
the flesh will be replaced…
but YOU will never die.

Can you stop and meditate with me for a moment on that concept. Oh, how our lives would be transformed if we were to truly grasp that, and focus on it. How much less grip on us would sickness have? Poverty? Materialism? How much less stressed would we get over most things in life if we truly had an ETERNAL mindset rather than “I’ve got 70-80 years, and then my life is over”; “I’m only young once”; or “I’m too old”? How much more would we do for the Lord if we realized that we are ALREADY in “eternal life”?

We tend to think that eternal life starts when we get to heaven, and shed this flesh. Newsflash…. eternal life started the moment God supernaturally recreated you and saved your soul from hell (Titus 3.5). You began your new, eternal life the moment you were reborn (“born again”).

Think about it. YOU WILL NEVER DIE. You will exchange your “clothes”, your tent, your house, your temple someday (corruptible sin-cursed flesh for a new incorruptible eternal body):

1 Corinthians 15:51-53 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (NKJV)

No matter how much we study those verses, read them and intellectually give ascent to them, the truth of our immortality won’t affect our daily lives until that truth moves 18 inches from our head to our heart. When it does, then we will truly get to a point in our lives where the stresses, trials, peaks and valleys, disappointments and sadness of this life will no longer have a stranglehold on our emotions, choices and thinking.

The fact of our immortality will not change
our lives until that truth has descended
from our heads, into our hearts.

Jesus then gave us proof of His words in a miracle that left no doubt that He truly was the source of eternal life. Even after being in the grave several days, when his body would have already begun to decompose, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead definitely demonstrating once and for all to see and believe, that Jesus The Christ was God in human form, and that the universal power of death held no power over Him.

Can you imagine how Martha’s life (and the other witnesses) was changed? Can you think of any circumstance that would shake her belief, or faith, from that moment on? Only Jesus’ crucifixion and death caused a temporary question in their minds which was erased forever upon His resurrection.

Revelation 20:5-6 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (NKJV)

Regardless of your doctrinal position on eschatology (“end times”), these verses still clearly speak of our immortality and leave with us, in the last book of the Bible, our promise of eternal life. We shall NEVER die. When does that start? Just for Believers, it started in fact the day you were saved, and it starts in a practical way the second you come to understand and believe this great truth.

Death has no power. We will reign forever with Christ. You will live forever. Starting today. How will that fact change your life? How will it change you today? How will it change you in the next hour? If it doesn’t change you, then I would suggest you either don’t understand it, or you don’t believe it. No death: for Believers only.

Lord God, Help us to grasp the truth of eternal life. Thank you for Jesus who gave Himself so that we would never have to face true death. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Contemplation: Have you ever really stopped and thought about the fact that you will never die? Or do you still live in the mindset that while believing in heaven, you see the end of this life as ‘death’, making it what you focus on? How would you view your problems and difficulties differently if the truth that “you will never die” went from your head, to your heart?

Application: Death has no power. We will reign forever with Christ. You will live forever. Starting today. How will that fact change your life? How will it change you today? How will it change you in the next hour? If it doesn’t change you, then I would suggest you either don’t understand it, or you don’t believe it. You will never die. That should change everything about how you deal with this temporary existence on earth.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?



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Just For Believers – Sins Gone – Part 2

(Click here to search for all the posts in this series…)

Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (NKJV)

(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)

In this series, we are studying those things that God says are true about Believers – that is, those who have experienced authentic regeneration of the heart (“born again”) through repentance of sin, and obedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let’s review what we have learned so far:

  • Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (NKJV)
    We discovered that “all things” and the promises, declaration and truths that come from God. Whatever He says He will do, it is possible for them that truly believe. What God declares, whatever is true about God’s nature, becomes possible for the Believer. We also learned that this belief is faith which consists of two parts – undoubting belief that God is, and does, what He says He is and does; and that God is the focus of our belief. We can have true belief in the wrong thing; and, we can believe in God, but have doubt, which betrays a lack of understanding who God is. Faith is true belief focused on the right Person.

Remission Of Sins

Acts 10:43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” (NKJV)

True Believers are the only humans whose sins will be forgiven. [Note: this is not a message about salvation, baptism, eternal security, etc.; so it is not necessary to write me in this context and tell me something I left out or didn’t clarify about “how to be saved”. This lesson assumes true salvation has occurred.]

“Remission of sins”…. have you ever thought about what that means, or is it just a “churchy” phrase used in Sunday school? Think about the fullness of what it means. Remission carries the following ideas:

  • to lay aside (a mood or disposition) partly or wholly
  • to let (as attention or diligence) slacken : relax
  • to release from the guilt or penalty of
  • to refrain from exacting
  • to cancel or refrain from inflicting
  • to give relief from (suffering)
  • to restore or consign to a former status or condition
  • to abate in force or intensity

How often we quickly fly past what it means to be forgiven, especially in societies where affluence and comfort are the rule. Remission of sins (forgiveness) is something we get done as an accomplishment, one of those important things to take care of like getting a college degree. We would do well to consider all that God has “remitted” for us as Believers, realizing that Jesus paid the price for it.

All your sins, and mine, have been laid aside in whole. The condemnation you deserve for all those lies, deceit and manipulation has been relaxed and removed by God. You have been released from the penalty you deserve for the lust and impurity that you have committed. God will not exact a penalty from you for all the times you’ve cheated and stolen. The Lord has cancelled the planned and deserved punishment that was awaiting you for blaspheming Him through profanity or casual use of His name. The Lord has granted you relief from the suffering and eternal condemnation that awaited you for your wickedness. God has restored you from being a lost sinner outside His family, to be a righteous adopted heir of eternal life. The Lord has removed the intense punishment and condemnation that would have been yours the moment you died and faced Him.

The remission of sins is much deeper and comprehensive than our typical conversation reveals. It’s one thing to say “my sins are forgiven”; it’s another to STOP, and actually consider all that it means. The remission of sins IS the essence of what salvation is all about. No sin can be in God’s presence. Therefore, God had to provide a way that ALL sin could be removed in order for us to be able to live with Him, in His house, for all eternity.

Remission of sins is ONLY for the true believer
who has obediently responded to
the Gospel (salvation on God’s terms).

The remission of sins are NOT for:

  • The Religious – religion will not get you remission of sins. There are countless millions who have fallen for the popular idea that you just need to “pick a religion and faithfully practice it.” Obviously, this is an attempt to earn remission of sins by your own effort. Instead of being forgiven because of belief in Christ, the religious person thinks they DESERVE forgiven because of their own religious merit or affiliation. You can give all you have to the poor; work day and night to help others and sacrifice your entire life in religious service, and you will be no closer to earning forgiveness than is the vilest reprobate.

  • The Good – it is a growing trend to teach that being “good” is the way to salvation and personal wholeness. Myriads of books and public personalities (ie, Schuller, Dr. Laura, Dr. Phil, Oprah, many churches, etc) proclaim that being good is sufficient to be accepted by their version of “god” (a “higher power”). However, long before being good started being proclaimed in modern times, the “religion of morality” has been a favorite of humans.

    Ask any person you know (with the exception of mature Christians), “are you a good person?” and they will say “sure, I try to be.” A vast majority also consider this sufficient reason to be pardoned by God, and accepted in to heaven. (Try it! Ask 10 people today if they are “good” and ask them if being good is what gets you to heaven).

    Learn to administer the following simple test that will effectively show someone they are not “good” at all. Remember, you have to first reach the human INTELLECT with God’s Law to convince someone they are in need of being saved. Then the HEART is ready to hear the Good News about Jesus. We often avoid the hard work and difficulty of the first step, to move to the “feel good benefits” of the second.

    Quickly show someone they are not “good” and face the danger of standing before God as “guilty” by asking these simple questions… “So you’re a good person you say? You’ve heard of the Ten Commandments right? They are simple and easy to understand. Let’s see if you are ‘good’ when compared to the 10 commandments”:

    • Have you ever lied? Even once? What does that make you? (be persistent until they actually say “liar”; don’t allow them to sugarcoat it by saying “that makes me human” or “just little white lies”). One lie makes you a liar.
    • Have you ever used God’s name in vain (profanity or casual use like “oh my god”)? God calls that blasphemy, a very serious sin.
    • Have you ever, even once, lusted after someone? Jesus says that is “adultery in your heart” and is the same as actually committing the act.
    • Have you ever stolen anything, no matter how small? Or stolen from your employer by not working hard? What does that make you?

“So by your own admission, you are a lying, thieving, blasphemous adulterer at heart, right? Does this sound like you are a ‘good person’? Do you think you are good enough to tell God ‘I deserve to be in heaven, you must let me in’?”

At this point, the person is convicted of their sinfulness by their own words and admissions (intellect), and are now fertile ground (the heart) to plant the seed of the Gospel which alone can make them acceptable to God.

  • Everyone – it is a favorite human justification to simply believe that “all roads lead to God”. It is “judgmental” and “intolerant” to believe otherwise (according to the world). Christianity IS judgmental and intolerant. (notice I didn’t say “Christians”….) By its very nature, since Christ alone is the sole source of salvation, Christianity condemns and judges all those who reject God. Christianity judges, not Christians. It is not our job to walk around condemning the lost world; we should be convicting them with God’s law. It is not our job as Christians to be intolerant of the lost, but to embrace them by proclaiming the message of salvation to all. We ARE intolerant and judgmental about participating in, or condoning sin, but we are NOT intolerant and judgmental towards the “lost sheep” who are in need of a Shepherd. Intolerance towards sin; compassion towards people. Judgment against unholiness, patience with struggling sinners.

    Remission of sins is given to EVERYONE. It is available to everyone (John 3.16), but is only granted to those who respond to and obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We do no lost person any favors by informing them of any less.

Remission of sins is the single most important thing that is JUST for believers in Christ. Everything else is secondary to this one great truth that is the essence of salvation and the key to being restored to an eternal relationship with the Creator.

Lord God, Help us to understand what it really means to have our sins remitted. Help us to grasp the depth of this gift, and allow it to change our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Contemplation: Have you ever thought what it really means to have your sins forgiven? Have you meditated on this wonderful truth? How do you think it would change your life, your faith and your commitment to Christ if you were to really stop and contemplate what it really means to have remission of sins?

Application: Remission of sins is exclusive to Believers in Christ. No religion, no good works… nothing will take away yours sins other than Jesus Christ. Forgiveness from all your sins is an exclusive gift just for Believers.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?



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