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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Romans by the Book (Lesson 46)

Home Bible Study
Established November 2008

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4

Romans by the Book                                                       Lesson 46                    

Welcome back.  If you’re a new visitor, we’ve been diligently studying the book of Romans for some time now.  We’ll remain here until we accomplish our goal of gleaning as much knowledge as possible as we travel through this wonderful book.

This is the major difference between reading your Bible and studying it.  If people would choose to study their Bible instead of just reading a piece of it here and there, I believe there would be less disorder in the Body of Christ, and we would not hear words such as “contradictions” in referencing the Bible any longer.   There are no contradictions in Scripture.  People distort God’s Word when they fail to “rightly divide” the Word of Truth.

We began our study of Romans chapter 8 in the last lesson and we didn’t get beyond the first verse.  But this is typical.  The book of Romans is like a gold mine and chapter 8 is the mother lode!  Some of the God-given treasures in this chapter are “No Duh” moments (clearly understood) and some are not.  Some have to be mined or “dug out.”
This requires a bit of effort on the part of the Bible student.  Like the forty-niner of old you have to have the resolve, and the tools to accomplish the task.

I would like to add that we could spend months in this book and not gather in all the treasure that lay before us.  But the entire Bible is put together this way.    There’s no book like the Bible.  It truly is one of a kind.  With a regular novel you read it once, maybe twice, and then you’re done with it.  For instance, I enjoyed reading, “Killing Lincoln” by Bill O’Reilly, but I only read it once and I have no idea where that book is right now.  Scripture is different.  The Bible is referred to as “The Living Word” and this because God speaks to us through it (Hebrews 4:12).

Each time I visit with this book the Holy Spirit shows me something I’d not seen before.  Proving God the Spirit is ready, willing, and able to reveal something brand new to you, if you’re willing to listen, and learn. 

For example:  I met a pastor one Sunday morning, he was 60’ish, this gentleman said he never knew Jesus Christ is the Creator God (Colossians 1:15-17).  He’d been preaching for more than thirty years and never knew this truth about his Lord and Savior.  But then there it was clear as day. 

Here’s one more:  a well known Baptist preacher and author, Dr. Charles Stanley, used to subscribe to the idea that a person could lose their salvation and this is what he preached.  But the Holy Spirit opened his heart to the truth, so he no longer holds to this idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrhFrQJritc   Furthermore, he expounds on six doctrines of the church at stake when the Doctrine of Eternal Security is rejected in his book, “Eternal Security:  Can You Be Sure? 

You’re never too young, too old, or too educated to learn something new about Jesus.

Before I start today’s lesson I want to remind the group that it is not my intention to use this site as a means to attack or criticize anyone.  I don’t expect everyone to agree with me.   That’s their prerogative.  Truth is, people have been disagreeing about what the Bible says for centuries and I don’t expect this to change until the Lord returns. 
It is what it is…   However, this site exists to educate people and to promote the Bible as it’s written.  And in some cases to help you see what the Bible does not say.

Please open your Bible to Romans at chapter 8 and we’ll drop in at verse 1.

Romans 8

1: Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Before I move away from this verse I want people to understand that when God finished the transaction of our salvation, then we are secure, in Christ Jesus.

There are a vast amount of people in the church who do not agree with this message.
But if you’ll also consider that many people can’t agree with the wording of “separation of church and state” in our U.S. Constitution then you’ll begin to understand that people are going to be “people.”

Since this trend is growing among Christians to deny that a Believer’s salvation is secure, and this stance is harmful to the Body, I’m going to take the time to address it using the Word. 

The growing question is, “Is it true, once saved, always saved?”

The age-old question of whether or not a “true” Believer can lose their salvation after becoming “justified” by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, through faith (alone), has existed within the church almost from its beginning.  You see, during the persecution of the church in the second and third centuries many individuals who were faced with the prospect of persecution and death renounced their faith in order to live, when given the option.
Constantine’s conversion to Christianity was the turning point for the early church.
In the year 313 AD Constantine and Licinius issued the Edict of Milan legalizing Christian worship.   The Roman Empire finally tolerated Christians.  Those same people who had renounced their faith in Jesus Christ wanted to return to the church.  It was from this setting that the theological discussion arose about whether or not these folks had lost their salvation and could return to the church after they had “denied Christ” (Matthew 10:33). 

Some of the theologians believed that these people, even though they had renounced their faith, were still “justified” in the sight of God, while others concluded that while they were truly saved once, because they renounced their faith, they were no longer saved. 

Let’s focus our attention on the key word in this conversation and that is Believer.

A true Believer is an individual who has genuinely come to know and trust in Jesus Christ as his/her Savior by believing in His substitionary death, burial, and resurrection for their sins and is demonstrating a “change of heart and mind” towards God. 
In other words, Jesus Christ is the Lord of their life. 

I am not speaking of those individuals who only possess the head knowledge or who have expressed belief in Jesus Christ but they have not produced Spiritual fruit as evidence of their faith (Galatians 5:22-26). 

Mom always said, “The proof’s in the pudding.”  Now I never knew what that meant until I looked it up.  The longer version reads:  “The proof of the pudding is in the eating” and originates from the early 14th century.  It actually means, “The evidence that demonstrates a truth,” or “the exception that proves the rule.”

 It’s time to go to the book and it will produce “the exception that proves the rule.”  

John 15

1: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

2:Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit…

3:You are already clean (saved) because of the word which I have spoken to you (and in which you believed).

4: Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

This is one of the Bible passages some people have selected to refute the church doctrine of Eternal Security or “Once saved, always saved in Christ Jesus. 

Let’s examine it closely.

The vine is the source of life for the branches, and the branches must abide in the vine to live and bear fruit.  You don’t need to be a farmer or live on a farm to comprehend what Jesus is saying, “The vine is the main thing.”

As for the metaphor, Jesus, of course, is the Vine, and the branches are people.  
While it is obvious the fruit-bearing branches represent true Believers, the identity of the fruitless ones is in question.

Some say the barren branches are Christians who bear no spiritual fruit. 
Others believe they are non-Christians.  But as always, we must consider the entire Bible context for the best answer and not just borrow a verse or two while trying to make a point.

When you consider the entire Bible account, with special attention given to the characters in that night's drama, the true meaning of the metaphor is really clear. 

The 12 disciples were with Jesus.  He loved them to the uttermost (John 15:13); He had comforted them with the words in John chapter 14.  God the Father was in His thoughts, because He was thinking of the events and trials of the next day (John 17).  

But Jesus was also aware of another; someone in close proximity - the betrayer.  
Judas had been dismissed from their fellowship when he rejected Jesus' final appeal of love (John 13:10-31).  Note:  Jesus didn’t reject Judas; it was Judas who rejected Jesus.
Jesus saw the eleven and Judas through the eyes of unconditional love; (the evidence that reveals the truth) Jesus washed Judas’ feet too. 

All these people play a part in Jesus' metaphor.  The vine is Christ; the vinedresser is the Father.  The fruit-bearing branches represent the eleven and all true Believers of the church age.  The fruitless branches represent Judas and all those who never were or intended to be true Believers.  I call these “gamers.”  They’re playing a dangerous game with God.  Jesus gave His all for you!  He doesn’t want a fraction of you in return…

Jesus was aware that Judas was different then the eleven.  What does the book say?
After washing the disciples' feet, He said, "'He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you. 

Jesus knew Judas was His betrayer; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean'" (John 13:10-11).

Once a person is forgiven by God, he is clean and does not need the “bathing of forgiveness” again, metaphorically speaking.  All that is necessary to cleanse Believers of the dust and dirt (sins) they accumulate daily is the everyday “washing” of the Word (Ephesians 5:25b-27).

But Judas had not even been "bathed;" he was not a child of God, and Jesus knew it (John 10: 14).  That is why He said, "Not all of you are clean."   Jesus did not name him but Judas was aware and at this moment Judas had the opportunity to be “bathed.”

Judas appeared to be like the other disciples. They shared the same experiences. 
Judas received the same Light (of truth and its knowledge, together with the spiritual purity associated with it) as the eleven.   Judas had been accepted by Jesus and the others.  He was not out there on the “fringe.”  Judas had been trusted with the responsibility of keeping their money.  He was their treasurer.  It appeared that he was a branch in the Vine like the others but appearances can be deceiving. 

Judas may have even “professed” belief in Jesus at one time or another, although Scripture is silent on this aspect of his life (Matthew 16:13).  However, Scripture is not silent on this truth about Judas.  He never bore real fruit.  

You see professing belief is not the same as producing fruit.  The proof’s in the pudding!

What is bearing fruit?  It is “becoming more and more like Jesus (sanctification).
Spiritual fruit will show in the life of a true Believer as a change in their outlook and in their character.  As you spend more time with the Lord Jesus Christ, getting to know Him better, His thoughts and His ways will become yours.  His purpose will become yours.   
This is “bearing fruit.”

Some say Judas lost his salvation.  According to the skeptics, the same could happen to any Believer who does not bear fruit.  Evidently, one hinges on the other according to these.   

But while promoting this teaching they dismiss this statement from Jesus who said, "…and I give eternal life to them, and they will never (never means never) perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand" (John 10:28).  

Jesus also guaranteed the security of every child of God: "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out" (John 6:37)).

A branch that is truly connected to the Vine is secure and will never be removed.
That’s what the Bible says.   But one that only appears to be connected--one that has only a superficial connection--will be removed.  If it does not have the life of the Vine (the Spirit) flowing through it, it will bear no fruit.  These are the Judas-branches.

There are people who, like Judas, appear by human observation to be one with Christ.
I mean to say they “hang around with Believers.”  They may attend church, they may know the right answers, and they may go through the “religious motions;” but the truth is they are not true Believers.  The reality is they have neither accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior nor surrendered their life to Jesus Christ.   In short, He is not the Lord of their life. 

Dressing up to attend church on Sunday, saying a prayer or two when you feel the need, and occasionally talking the talk without walking the walk does not make you a Believer no more than sitting in a garage all day makes you a Chevrolet. 

The way these folks choose to live their lives reveals the real truth and not their words (Matthew 7:15-20).  Therefore, God will remove them, and they will be burned (Matthew 3:12).  In no way does this mean they lost their salvation.  Salvation is gained through faith (alone).  Can you lose something you never possessed? 

I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t tell what a person believes or if they are saved. 
I leave the salvation business to God for only God can read a person’s heart. 

But Scripture reveals any uncertainty which you may have concerning your salvation does not change God’s certainty of your salvation –

Romans 8

16: The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

When you chose to believe the gospel (1Corinthians 15:1-4), the Holy Spirit came to live within you.  You were sealed (and confirmed) until the day of redemption. 

Unless you have been involved in the canning processes you may not be aware, but when you seal something it remains that way until the seal is broken.  The object(s) inside the Mason jar cannot break the seal themselves, it must be broken by an outside source.   
That source will be the Lord Jesus Christ on the day of redemption.  That day will be the rapture event for all true Believers, when we receive our “resurrected bodies.” 

(To be continued)

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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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