Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Matter of Heaven or Hell

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
I had a dream last night in which I and several others were praying for an African American brother I fellowshipped in the church I used to pastor. I  was praying for him to receive the Holy Ghost. In the dream the man was praying without lifted up hands and in a spirit of discouragement. As I prayed with him I told him to lift up his hands and worship the Lord with all his heart because it was a matter of heaven or hell. When I awoke the scripture came to me in Romans 8:9, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." The Bible says that we are in the Spirit, "if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Having the Holy Ghost is not an option, it is a matter of heaven or hell.

Can one lose the Spirit of God in one's life? I remember speaking with a young man many, many years ago in Portland, Oregon who was convinced that once you received the Holy Ghost and became a child of God you could not then be lost. His reasoning was that God would never disown one who had become one of God's children. In essence so it seemed to me that he believed the doctrine of "once saved always saved." In Ephesians 4:30 the Bible gives a warning, "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." The question then is, once someone is "sealed unto the day of redemption," can they be unsealed? In the context of Ephesians 4, the Apostle Paul's testimony was that the believer was to walk not as do other Gentiles, to not be like those, "Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." (See Ephesians 4:17-19)

There is ample evidence in the Bible to believe that we can be lost, even after we have been saved. The Apostle Paul said in Romans 6:16, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" It is in Romans 6 that the apostle said that we should not sin because grace abounds. We have been made dead to sin because we have been buried with Jesus in baptism. (Read the entire discussion in Romans 6). If you obey the lusts of your flesh is it not to your flesh and to death you owe your allegiance and not to the Lord Jesus Christ? Apostle Paul asked the rhetorical question, "know ye not," twelve times in the scriptures. One of those times he was very explicit. 

In 1st Corinthians 6:9-11 Paul said, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." If we think we can go back to the old ways and do again those things that we have been saved from we deceive ourselves. The Apostle Peter put it this way in 2nd Peter 2:20-22, "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."

The Holy Ghost is, after all, called the HOLY Ghost. Can one live an unholy lifestyle and still have the Holy Ghost? I think not! Is God unmerciful then? Not at all. The Apostle Paul said in 1st Corinthians 3:15, "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." And in 1st John 2:1, the Apostle John said, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous..." And again in 1st John 1:5-10 "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

The Apostle John said in 1st John 4:16, "...God is love..." The Bible further states in 1st John 4:18, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear..." It was that God, who is love, the Lord Jesus Christ, God manifested in the flesh, (See 1st Timothy 3:16) that said in Luke 12:4-5, "And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him." So my friends it is a matter of heaven or hell. 

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