Those who chose obedience to God and act on it... Remnant.
Gift of Grace
Luke 13:23 One said to him, “Lord, are they few who are saved?”
He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter in by the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will seek to enter in, and will not be able. WEB
It's kind of ironic how we often ignore simple instructions gifted to us, to save us. Quite smoking, exercise, don't eat so much sugar, meditate, tell the truth, stop stealing, forgive, have mercy, or pray. If we obey the instructions and do it properly we may get some wanted and needed results.
Then comes the rationalization and justification of our continued participation in unhealthy action. It's a holiday, weekend, birthday, wedding, or too cold, hot, tired, rainy, etc. The infamous "I don't have time" has become well accepted and condoned. But which of these will God approve with Grace? No matter what the excuse, we can only receive the Grace of God when we accept it on God's terms, humility, repentance, and a contrite heart.
Those who harden their hearts and follow pride, greed, etc. move against Grace. They may see it, hear it, and witness it, but their hearts will not be able to accept it due to it being hardened. God opposes the proud.
To receive Grace is to take the position of submission to God. It's like receiving control. We cannot be in control and receive control at the same time. Our attitude within our mind and heart can function like a valve. When we turn to God with submission, humility, and a contrite heart completely open to serve God's desires, Grace poors in and we grow. When we turn from God and do what we please against God's will, the valve shuts and we become separated.
Matthew 10:37 He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me isn’t worthy of me. WEB
Luke 14:33 So therefore whoever of you who doesn’t renounce all that he has, he can’t be my disciple. WEB
Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who disbelieves will be condemned. WEB
We are called to respond to God's Grace. If we were drowning and someone threw us an object to save us, would we just splash around it? Probably not, we would take hold of it, use our muscles, apply all our attention to it, and pull ourselves to safety. We would have every once of who we are focused and dedicated to holding on being careful we are not distracted by anything that might be left behind. God's love is that object, but we must hold on to it, use it, apply it, experience it, feel it, think it, teach it, share it, live it, seek it, and give it each day. Yet many of us will believe lies, follow self-deception, give into temptation, and fall away into the mainstream of sin, slowly drowning, withering, and drown in our own selfishness. Because of other interests...
There are consequences toward our beliefs and actions
Self deception exists in all of us. Either we are guarding against it and growing in our discernment about good and evil or we are following it. Why are we doing what we are doing? Few people thoroughly seek out to answer this question, but if we follow God, this question ought to be continuously within our thoughts and our lifestyle. Following God requires us to see where God is, move in that direction, and do as Jesus did. If we take our focus off of God and place it on something else then we no longer follow God. Choosing to follow God and choosing to follow something without God have different consequences.
Let's understand that we can do so many Godly looking activities without God. We can go to church, read the Bible, and even worship without God in our minds and hearts. It probably happens each Sunday. Love is essential, but it must be God's love. Love is whatever we decide love to be. People love food, cars, people, drugs, activities, etc. We are all unique and have varied understandings of how love is defined. (More on this)
Thoughts and actions with our hearts and minds aligned with God can build trust, integrity, self-discipline, hope, faith, love, peace, patience, justice, and joy. Following God can produce more freedom from worry, fear, anger, and anxiety. The world and its ways does not follow God. If we look thoroughly, not just glance, at how the disciples followed God it could help us better understand how different mainstream Christianity is from the example of the disciples. And we ought to understand people follow their teachers more by their demonstration than their instruction.
Jesus lived with the disciples for good reasons. There were people who went and heard Jesus teach and then there were people who stayed with Jesus and got to know him. The ones who stayed and got to know him were the disciples/learners of Jesus. How many of us get to stay and know our pastors/teachers?
What does look thoroughly mean? Looking thoroughly at the inward conditions the disciples experienced means we ought to better understand what they thought, saw, smelled, tasted, felt, and heard. To better get their experience we will need to understand their inward experience. No electronics, vehicles, paved roads, electricity, ice, drinking fountains, etc. Imagine how important relationships must have been without the multitude of distractions we have today. People rarely lived alone. No phones, email, or streaming videos. No book stores. Try 24 hours living this way. They did it everyday. No banks, credit cards, or A/C units. Yet they persevered to find pleasure with God.
If we only read scripture which makes us feel good, we will live by a distorted message. It's not a good thing to shape God's message to satisfy ourselves, a congregation, our children, or anyone else. A lie is a lie and that is evil. Does God hold back truth to protect us from discomfort? Who are we serving when we do it? God wants us to truthfully inform God's people, gently with love and patience, what leads to salvation and what leads to death. There are conditions from our choices everyday, some good, some not so good. It is important for us to see our train of thinking about the following verses to see how our minds teach us to think and respond to them. What messages do we tell ourselves about them? Do they lead us into Godly action?
John 5:39-40 39 “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me. 40 Yet you will not come to me, that you may have life. WEB
John 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and remain in his love. WEB
John 14:12 Most certainly I tell you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also; and he will do greater works than these, because I am going to my Father. WEB
John 14:20-21 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 One who has my commandments, and keeps them, that person is one who loves me. One who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and will reveal myself to him.” WEB
Romans 2:13 For it isn’t the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be justified WEB
Romans 8:28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. WEB
1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 or God called us not for uncleanness, but in sanctification. 8 Therefore he who rejects this doesn’t reject man, but God, who has also given his Holy Spirit to you. WEB
Titus 1:15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. WEB
Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we would live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; WEB
2 Corinthians 7:10 “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” NIV
Matthew 10:22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. NIV
Matthew 24:13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. NIV
Mark 13:13 Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. NIV
Acts 16:31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” NIV
Acts 2:21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ NIV
Romans 9:27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. NIV
Romans 5:9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! NIV
Romans 5:10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! NIV
Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. NIV
Romans 10:10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. NIV
Romans 11:26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. NIV
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. NIV
1 Corinthians 5:5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord. NIV
1 Corinthians 10:33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. NIV
1 Corinthians 15:2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. NIV
2 Corinthians 2:15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. NIV
Ephesians 2:5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. NIV
Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— NIV
Philippians 1:27-29 27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. NIV
1 Thessalonians 2:15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone 16 in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last NIV
2 Thessalonians 2:10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. NIV
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. NIV
1 Timothy 2:4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. NIV
1 Timothy 2:15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. NIV
2 Timothy 1:9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, NIV
Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, NIV
Hebrews 10:39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. NIV
1 Peter 4:18 And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” NIV
Mark 8:33-38 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
The Way of the Cross
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” NIV
Instructions for Christian Living
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. NIV
Ephesians 6:24 24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. NIV
Galatians 1:10 10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. NIV
Galatians 6:7-8 7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. NIV
Galatians 5:6 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. NIV
Listening and Doing
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and sodeceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. 26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. NIV
Hebrews 10:26-27 26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. NIV
Hebrews 11:6 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. NIV
Hebrews 12:14 Warning and Encouragement
14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 2:1 We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. NIV
The Parable of the Sower Explained
Mark 4:13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satancomes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown. NKJV