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To Be Continued

Posted 5/16/2017

Christian, no matter how you started, you must continue in Jesus’ word.  The truth is known through continuing in Jesus’ word.  The freedom that flows from the truth is exclusively promised to those who continue in Jesus’ word.  There can be no real freedom without knowing the truth Jesus offers to those who continue with Him.

This idea of continuing has its precedent in the concept of faithfulness in the Old Testament.  God expected His covenant people to be faithful to Himself and all that He commanded.  When they remained faithful, God blessed them.  When they were unfaithful, God handed them over to the consequences of their rebellion.  It wasn’t enough that they were descendants of Abraham; they had to remain faithful in their generation.  The rules have not changed.  In the New Testament, the apostle Paul warns that we must learn the lesson from those who did not remain faithful (or didn’t continue) and avoid making the same mistake:

 

Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness toward you, provided you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.    Romans 11.22

Paul also says elsewhere:

And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before Him— provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven.    Colossians 1.21-23a

When writing to Timothy, Paul says:

Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.    1 Timothy 4.16

And later Paul writes:

Indeed, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.  But wicked people and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived.  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.    2 Timothy 3.12-17

Scripture is useful.  How can you continue in Jesus’ word if you don’t know Jesus’ word?  You can’t.  I know this is stating the obvious, but when the obvious is ignored it must be stated.  Are you a student of the word?  Why not?  Don’t you want to be His disciple?  You can be. Jesus welcomes you to walk with Him daily.  Why not make a fresh commitment to become an active learner of Jesus’ word?  Make daily Bible reading a non-negotiable part of your day.  Don’t just read your favorite passages; read the whole thing.  Read the Bible over and over again.  I highly recommend using the OneYearBible reading plan.  Click here or go to the Daily Bread page for easy links to today’s readings.  Decide to continue in His word.  You will increasingly know the truth and that truth will set you free.

Continuing in Jesus’ word is more than just learning facts from the Bible.  It is a way of life.  It means walking daily with Jesus in a growing relationship.  It means faithfully following His lead as revealed in His word and by the Holy Spirit.  There is more of Jesus to know and experience.  This relationship is to be continued; not a one-time encounter.  Walk with Jesus and you will experience life change from the inside out.

In Luke 9.23-24, Jesus says, "If any want to become My followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.  For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for My sake will save it.”  Do you hear His call to continue?  We must take up our cross daily; that means today and every day.  Walking with Jesus means dying to self.  Dying to self is not bad; it is good.  Our old self is a mess; we long to be more like Christ.  Following Jesus means change.  Continuing in the word of Jesus necessarily means the discontinuation of everything contrary to His word.  Paul says it this way:

What then are we to say?  Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound?  By no means!  How can we who died to sin go on living in it?  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  Therefore we have been buried with Him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we will certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His.  We know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin.  For whoever has died is freed from sin.  But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him.  We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him.  The death He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God.  So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.    Romans 6.1-11

It is time to continue.  It is time to start living like you are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.  It is time to start living like Jesus is the only One you follow.  It is time to stop making excuses and start making progress in your spiritual journey.  It is time to passionately pursue Jesus.  It is time to know the truth by walking with Him.  It is time to experience the freedom Christ offers.  It is time to live like citizens of the Kingdom.  It is time to do more than give lip service to Jesus’ Great Commission and start doing what He commanded; the way He commanded it:

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Matthew 28.18-20

Are you seeing what He said?  Make disciples.  Baptize them.  Teach them to obey.  Today, we are witnessing the Great Omission.  Too many churches are busy making starters (converts); not continuers (disciples).  Baptism is optional.  Obedience is optional.  This is not continuing in Jesus’ word.  This is not what He has commanded.  A false hope is being offered: as long as someone converts, even if they never learn to obey, their ticket has been punched and God is obligated to warmly welcome them into His eternal kingdom.  This is fantasy; not truth.

Have you read and learned the lesson of the Parable of the Sower/Soils?  If not, click here and start learning.

It is time to truly be His disciples.  It is time to make disciples.  May His Kingdom come.

This relationship is to be continued . . .

There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, "It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God."    Acts 14.22