Friday, August 7, 2009

I Never Knew You

I Never Knew Him
By Barbara Henderson

Is there anyone you wish that you could or could have known, but you never actually had the opportunity to meet that person?

Is it a person from the Bible? For instance, do you wish you could have known Moses? My family says I really didn’t’ want to meet Moses; but that I wanted to meet Charlton Heston. They also told me that Ben Hur is a just a fictional character. Ha! What do they know? Plus, Charlton Heston was faithfully married to his wife for 65 years, so I could have met him without consideration of any lecherous tendencies on his part.

Is it a person from history? I think to have met George Washington would have been very neat. From what I have read about him, he was, among other things, a man of high moral character. That is obviously something lacking in modern politicians. Actually, I would have liked to meet both Mr. and Mrs. George Washington.

Or, is it a living person who is well known? I can’t imagine wanting to meet any of the celebrities of today. I am fairly certain that we would not hit it off. I would not be able to keep from voicing my opinion, so we wouldn’t be able to establish any real means for a lasting friendship.

Perhaps it is a family member. Children who have been adopted are curious about their birth families. Some want to meet their actual birth mother and father. Or, is it a family member who died before you were born. Jerry would love to have met and known his Uncle Gerald. Gerald was killed in WWII at the Normandy Landing. Also, Jerry would have liked to have more cousins. He only had three altogether. Jerry always felt like the family missed more than getting to know Gerald. I know that I wish my son in law and two grandsons could have known my sister April.

While all that speculation about who we would like to know, or to have known is fun; but it gains us nothing. Obviously, we have a zero percent chance of meeting people who are now dead while we also live. Second, it might be possible to meet an admired celebrity, but what good would that do? An interested person might get an autograph, but would they gain anything beyond just a casual meeting? Certainly the celebrity would not remember anything about them ten minutes later.

I’ll tell you who I would like to meet. I would like to meet a good friend. I would like it to be a nice lady that I could occasionally go with to have lunch. If she had a nice husband, my husband and I could both go with them to dinner every now and then. I have several such friends, but they don’t live nearby anymore. A new good friend would be someone who, like me, puts her family first. She would understand if I had to postpone a lunch date because something had come up with my family. I would understand the same thing for her. She would never get tired of hearing about my family because I would never get tired of hearing about her family. AND, neither of us would ever ever gossip about each other, or listen to anyone else gossiping. If you think such a friend here on earth is impossible, I can assure you that it is not.

Friends, as dear as they may be, must put the good of their own family first. Having ‘family first’ as a rule in their lives will make them better friends through the years. When a friend wants you to put them above your own family it is time to back off the relationship

I will not be forgetting my good friends. They are in my mind always. I remember some things that we have gone through together, and some things that we wish we had not gone through together. I know they remember me. I can call them anytime and just chat. We have a shared history. I thank God for them.

Unfortunately, you cannot just get up one fine day and decide to go out and meet a good friend for the first time. A good friend is a direct blessing from God Almighty. I suppose when I need another good friend, the Lord will send me one.

Thankfully, Jesus Christ is above all rules of time and space. He can be met on the day someone’s heart is ready for a friend that sticks closer than a brother.
Jesus will never move away and leave you. He will be with you always, even unto death..

Here is an interesting thing about knowing Jesus. Jesus Christ is alive and lives forever. To get to know Him, one must meet Him while he or she yet lives. On the other hand, those who know Christ will have the opportunity to know other people who met Jesus while they lived. After someone dies it is entirely too late. If someone doesn’t meet Jesus while he or she lives in the flesh, they will not have the opportunity to establish a real relationship with Him after they die.

To meet Jesus personally is not a casual meeting. It must be a meeting where you bond with each other. Depending on what you do for a living and where you live, it might be possible or even likely, that you meet people the world sees as celebrities of one sort or another. But, just a casual meeting does not make you their friend or part of their lives. If you met them in a traffic accident by the next day they would not know you. In fact, the never knew you. They just met you in passing. Having met them casually would be of no value to you.

Unlike celebrities, Jesus Christ has a semi open door policy. He will meet with and adopt any repentant soul who comes to Him as in immigrant. That means going to Him on His terms, with full surrender and a heart that is willing to conform to His image. Christ is not interested in settlers. Settlers are people who come to Him with the idea that they want to change heaven to suit their idea of heaven. There will be no settlers in heaven.

There is a catch to the open door invitation of Jesus Christ.
First, everyone gets an invitation to enter the kingdom of heaven through Jesus Christ. A very simple indicator that everyone gets an invitation is given to us in the Bible when the angels told the shepherds ‘behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people’. Now what good tidings would there be all people if ‘all people’ did not receive an invitation?

Second, the invitation must be accepted while the individual is living. The invitation is canceled upon the death of the recipient.

Third, the invitation is not an invitation to a celebrity party where you rub shoulders with the rich and famous, but never actually get to know any of them. The invitation is to begin an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ, the friend who sticks to you closer than your own dear brother.

Ultimately, everyone will stand before Jesus Christ. We will meet Him face to face without any doubt.

On that day, there will be those who will have all documentation regarding their right to enter the home of Jesus Christ which is heaven. They will know in advance that their place in heaven is secure because they know Jesus Christ personally, and they are entering in through the official entry.

On that day there will also be many who attempt to enter into heaven through a variety of means. They will cry out all the good works they did in the name of the Lord. They will loudly proclaim the rituals they went through in the name of the Lord. They will demand entrance based on their own good works, brilliant mind, feelings of having done well, and some even by their own amendments and ‘corrections’ to the teachings of the Bible.

Jesus Christ will answer them thus,
(22) ‘Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?
(23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.’ ( Matthew 7:22-23)
Did you get the part that said ‘I NEVER knew you’?

That means at least two things.

First, it is referring to those who may have casually known of Christ but never actually set up a personal relationship with Him. They may have gone to church and even participated in the social aspect of church religiously, but they never became real friends with Jesus Christ. They are just like someone who might have gone to a celebrity party, rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, but never actually made a friend.

Second, there are those who went to Christ on their own terms. Cain is an example of such folly. He didn’t like the way Christ told him to approach Him, so Cain just made up a way that seemed good to him, and then he tried to make it acceptable to God. It didn’t work for Cain, and won’t work for anyone else either. These are the settlers who are attempting to go to the home of God and then modify it to fit their own image of what God’s home should be like.

For those who go to God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son, the word ‘I never knew you’ will not be remembered. For those who go on their own good works, 'I never knew you' will ring in their ears for eternity.

Today is the day to decide what you will hear on judgment day.
If you want to hear, ‘Welcome home!’ then you need to settle your immigration status today. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.

If you are not willing to go to God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son, then you will hear Jesus say, ‘I never knew you.’

You know, the point of this article was supposed to be eternal security of the believer. When Christ says ‘I NEVER knew you’ it means He never knew you. It doesn’t mean ‘I did know you when you were saved, but I forgot you when you stepped into sin.’ When a child of God steps into sin, he or she is going to hear from God about it in one way or another, but God will not abandon His own child.

But I kept finding my mind wandering to the ultimate and eternal fate of those who never believe. I know Christ is pleading with the lost to be saved. As Christians, we should pray for those who are lost, and we should speak of the love of Christ and the way of salvation when the opportunity presents itself.

Barbara Henderson

The song for this article is O WHY NOT TONIGHT?

O do not let the Word depart,
And close thine eyes against the light;
Poor sinner, harden not your heart,
Be saved, O tonight.
O why not tonight?
O why not tonight?
Wilt thou be saved?
Then why not tonight?
Tomorrow’s sun may never rise
To bless thy long deluded sight;
This is the time, O then be wise,
Be saved, O tonight.
Our Lord in pity lingers still,
And wilt thou thus His love requite?
Renounce at once thy stubborn will,
Be saved, O tonight.
Our bless├Ęd Lord refuses none
Who would to Him their souls unite;
Believe on Him, the work is done,
Be saved, O tonight.

Monday, August 3, 2009

What do You Think the Christians are Supposed to do with Repentant Sinners?

The Sinner Repented – So What Do We Christians Do With Him Now?
By Barbara Henderson

Did you ever know a real Christian who stepped completely outside the actions and behavior that is acceptable to Christ? Maybe it was a long journey to their particular sin. Maybe it was just a short trip that got them into so much trouble.

Then one day, this person woke up just like the prodigal son. He said, ‘I don’t want to live like this anymore. I am going home to my father’s house. I will repent of my sin and turn from it. I know my father will forgive me and take me back.’

So, the sinner arrives in church one day, repents, and starts coming to church and sitting on the front row. Now, how is the Christian supposed to treat this person who has gone so far outside the bounds of acceptable Christian behavior?

The answer is VERY CAREFULLY!

First, the repentant sinner is a child of God. Christians are told in Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:42, and Luke 17:2, ‘But whoso shall offend one of these little ones, which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and the he were drowned in the depth of the sea.’ (exact quote is from Matthew) because this is spoken of in three of the Gospels, it is very important.

So you want to be very careful in how you treat someone who has turned form sin and is trying to begin a new and better life inside the boundaries of Christian behavior. The repentant sinner has often become more childlike in seeking the face of God. Even though grown up, or perhaps just nearly grown up, they seek the Lord in a child like manner. Their own egos are crushed. They go to the Lord and put themselves under His authority, and His mercy. They suddenly become teachable. They don’t hold grudges against fellow Christians because their personal experience testifies to the fact that ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. It appears that the truly repentant become little ones in Christ, ready and willing to learn the things of Christ.

In fact, should any Christian refuse forgiveness and fellowship with the repentant Christian, then that Christian is effectively placing a millstone around his or her own neck. They are falling into sin themselves and are limiting their own Christian growth.

SECOND, remember that the repentant sinner is YOUR brother or sister in Christ. How would you treat your own birth sibling if they came into the flock after time spent in sin? Would you rejoice and welcome them gladly? Or would you sit back in judgment? I believe the prodigal son’s older brother was not happy to see his brother return.

Don’t ‘worry’ that the repentant sinner is ‘getting off scott free’. They are ready to go forward with their life in Christ. They have truly repented of their sins. Christ has truly forgiven them. HOWEVER, the consequences of sin will stay with them. King David’s sin with Bathsheba haunted him the rest of his life. That is just the way the world works. Be sure that you are not the one who heaps sorrow on top of sorrow.

REMEMBER that to give the returning prodigal love and encouragement is not to condone previous sinful actions. It is a good time to consider your own sins. I have seen sin bring sorrow to those who were supposed to be leaders and pillars of the church. It makes me angry that they would be such a vile representative of Christianity. It happens every day. We cannot change it. We can work to avoid becoming part of it.

The Apostle Paul said, ‘But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest bby any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.’

Paul was humble in that he knew that even he could fall into sin. He set his mind to guard against personal sin. Matthew Henry has this to say. ‘Here is a good rule for reprovers; first reform thyself.’ (Matthew Henry’s Bible Commentary – Matthew7:1-6)

I understand that each case is different regarding exactly how a repentant fellow Christian can be treated. This article just covers some generalities. It would be foolish to put a repentant embezzler in charge of the churches money. The main point is to forgive them as Christ has forgiven them, and to love them like Christ loves them. That is the best thing you can do for them, but more importantly, it is the best thing you can do for yourself!