What this series is going to help do, is examine, are we a member of the Lord’s church or are we following man made traditions, organization, and practices that were not set up by the Lord.
“But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear” (Isaiah 59:2)
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)
When asking if we have received God’s love, one must conclude that receiving God’s love, is receiving the Son that He sent for us to have eternal life.
So what does it mean to receive His Son? To receive His Son, is to be in His Son (Ephesians 1:3) and to have the Father and the Son making their abode with them. “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me” (John 14:23-24).
The way Jesus told Judas to have God and the Son to make their abode with a person was through the keeping or obedience to God’s word. We see that reflected in 2 John 2:9, “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.”
So how do we as, carnal sinful human beings, keep something so holy and unstained? First off, it comes from God. We could not have faith, if God had not given us something to have faith in. We know faith comes by hearing the word of God and our faith in the love that God has shown us causes us to love in return (Romans 10:17; 1 John 4:7-14). We could not love without having first been given love, love begets love, when it comes to the love of God. So then our faith turns into a motivation for obeying God, rather than a reason, which the two can be intertwined. The reason we love God is because of the motivation we received when we found out what God has done for us, even in our sins. Jesus let’s us know that that the evidence of our love for Him, is found when we keep His commands (John 14:15).
So what is the commands God has given us for salvation? There is obviously something God wants from us, that distinguishes the lost from the saved. If not, then either all are be lost or all are be saved. Jesus makes a clear distinction between sheep and goats in His ministry. Jesus simply says this to Nicodemus, talking about His coming Kingdom, “Truly, Truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” he continues in verse 5, “Truly, Truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, 5). Jesus equates, being “born again” with being “born of water and Spirit” thus concluding that to enter into the kingdom of God, one must be baptized (water) for the remission of sins and receive the gift (indwelling) of the Holy Spirit (spirit) (Acts 2:38 emp. Mine). Romans 6:3-7, reminds us what baptism represents, it is reenacting the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord, Christ Jesus. Our faith motivates us to obey Jesus, which leads us to baptism for the remission of sins (ie being born again). This is where we obey Christ and put on Christ (Galatians 3:27), which brings us back to John 14:23. Jesus makes the statement in Mark 16:16, “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he who disbelieves shall be condemned.” Belief allows us to trust the command from Jesus to be born again, by water and Spirit, and allows us to see or to enter into the kingdom of God.
Once again, none of this would be possible, if it had not been for God. There is nothing we did that caused God to love us, but because h\He loves us, He sent us His Son. He has given us an opportunity to get into Christ (Ephesians 1) for eternal life.
Luke, let us know in Acts 2:41, that those who were being baptized were the ones who were being added to the church. Receiving Christ, being baptized, and being in Christ’s church are synonymous statements. Have you been added? If not, why not, and if you want to discuss more about the kingdom of God and wondering if you are in Christ’s church, let’s talk.