The Prodigal Son’s Sinful Brother: Part Two

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The Elder Son: Spiritual Immaturity (a Babe in Christ)

In the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells the story of a rich man that has two sons. One of the sons asks for his inheritance, takes it, and squanders it, but his father forgives him. On the surface it seems like the simple story of a life wasted, repentance, and forgiveness.

However, the deeper lesson for the Christian lies in what the Bible says the elder son did upon hearing of his younger brother’s return.

“Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.”  (Luke 15:25-28)

“And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.  (Luke 15:29-31)

To fully understand the lesson that Jesus was teaching that day we need to understand it the same way that the early Church did. This is done by knowing the original Greek words that were used in writing the New Testament and translated into the words “son” or “sons” in the King James Version.

“And he was angry, and would not go in… thou never gavest me a kid… But as soon as this thy son (Greek word hwee-os’ for mature son) was come… And he (the father) said unto him, Son (Greek word tek-non for little child) thou art ever with me…”  (Luke 15:28-31)

Throughout the time that the younger son demanded his inheritance, wasted it with riotous living, joined himself to the heathen, and ended up in the pig sty, the original Greek Scriptures used the word hwee-os’ for mature son in reference to him.

No matter what mistakes the younger son had made, the father never changed his opinion of him. The father always considered him to be the same son that was worthy to receive his inheritance.

The only time the word for son changes to tek-non, meaning a little child, is when the father speaks to the elder son in the 31st verse of Luke.

It was not the outward sin, the transgression, the stumbling that revealed spiritual immaturity, but it was the hidden condition of the heart revealed by the jealous and hateful words of the elder son that caused the father to refer to him as a “little child”.

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.”  (1Cor. 3:1)

“I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.”  (1Cor. 3:2)

“For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”  (1Cor. 3:3)

Envy, strife, and division are what God considers when determining if we are a “babe in Christ”.

ENVY: “…thou never gavest me a kid…”

STRIFE: “…And he was angry…”

DIVISION: “…would not go in…”

“But as soon as this thy son was come…” the elder, supposedly more mature son, wouldn’t even call him “brother”, but referred to him as “thy son”.

Often we as Christians think that if we can ever get to the place in our life where we never stumble, never transgress, and never sin, then we have become like Jesus and are a mature son of God.

However, the Bible says:

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”  (1John 1:8)

As long as we are in this body of flesh we will always be susceptible to temptation, failure, and sin. To think otherwise is a dangerous place to be as a Christian.

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”  (1Cor. 10:12)

Knowing this, the devil takes advantage of our misplaced hope of perfection, and by emphasizing our repeated stumbling in our Christian walk, tries to make us believe that we are a failure and will never be a mature son of God.

Even as the prodigal son said, “I am no more worthy to be called thy son, make me as one of thy hired servants.” However, because of his mercy and compassion, the father always saw him as the mature son in spite of his failure and did not hesitate to restore him to his full place of authority.

On the other hand, it was the elder son that appeared to be faithful by staying at home and managing the affairs of the household who the father referred to as childish, immature, and irresponsible when once the secret condition of his heart toward his brother was revealed.

The older son boasted of his faithfulness and righteousness and complained that the father was not being fair:

“And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:”  (Luke 15:29)

Many times Christians who have served the Lord for a period of time become prideful concerning the changes they have made in their lifestyle, especially when they see others who seem to fall short of the mark.

Sometimes without realizing it, we compare our lives and accomplishments with those of others. We see others who we feel need to improve and we look down upon them, or we see those who seem to have obtained or been given more in their Christian walk and we envy them. We forget the admonition from the Word of God:

“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”  (2Cor. 10:12)

We as Christians have to be careful not to allow our Christian practices (church attendance, Bible reading, time in prayer, ministry, etc.) to become benchmarks or points of accomplishments that we use to prove our spiritual maturity.

The only benchmarks that God looks at to determine spiritual maturity or immaturity are the unbridled feelings we harbor in our hearts toward others.

We could be the Pastor of a congregation or the head of a ministry, have attended Bible School, given tremendous sermons, and done mighty works for God, but if we harbor in our heart judgment and criticism, if we are envious and jealous, if we murmur and complain, if we gossip and backbite, then in God’s eyes we are a babe in Christ and spiritually immature.

The father told the older son:

“And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.”  (Luke 15:31)

The elder son had received his inheritance. He had everything that the father had to give. He could have killed the fatted calf and made merry with his friends any time he chose. He could have set his heart on being with the father and enjoying all that the father had given him, instead of filling his heart with jealousy and ill will toward his brother.

He could have made the decision to be as the father, to put away feelings of hurt and betrayal, and simply love his brother and hope for his return.

He could have chosen to be the hwee-os’, the mature son of the father, instead of refusing to grow up spiritually and remaining the tek-non, the little child.

The first step to becoming a spiritually mature son of God is in recognizing and acknowledging the current spiritual condition we are in.

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”  (Prov. 28:13)

Tomorrow- “Grow up in Him”: Spiritual Maturity

All ten books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy available now in one collection for a limited time for just $9.99 at bn.com for the NOOK,  amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices

All ten books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy available now in one collection for a limited time for just $9.99 at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices

The Prodigal Son’s Sinful Brother: Part One

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The Prodigal: The Younger Son

In the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells the story of a rich man that has two sons. One of the sons asks for his inheritance, takes it, and squanders it, but his father forgives him. On the surface it seems like the simple story of a life wasted, repentance, and forgiveness.

However, to fully understand the lesson that Jesus was teaching that day we need to understand it the same way that the early Church did. This is done by knowing the original Greek words that were used in writing the New Testament and translated into the words “son” or “sons” in the King James Version.

The story in Luke begins:

“And he said, A certain man had two sons:” (Luke 15:11)

Here the Greek word translated “sons” is the word pronounced hwee-os’. It means a son that has come to the age of maturity or responsibility. The Bible always uses the word hwee-os’ in the New Testament when referring to Jesus as the Son of God.

Even in the Old Testament, the prophetic Scriptures concerning Christ refer to Him as the one with responsibility or control.

“A Psalm of David. The LORD (Heb. word for Jehovah) said unto my Lord (Heb. word meaning “divine controller”), Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”  (Psalm 110:1)

Jesus is always the mature son. Jesus is always in control.

The story continues in Luke:

“And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.”  (Luke 15:12)

Here the word for “younger” actually indicates a son who might be in the age range of a teenager to a young adult, whereas the word for “elder” used later in the story to describe the other son indicates a senior or someone far along into manhood. This is important to know in understanding the deeper meaning of the story.

It is also important to notice something else in the Scripture that is often overlooked by many. The Bible says that “he divided unto them his living.”

We often emphasize the young man demanding his inheritance when in reality the father not only gave the younger son his inheritance, but at the same time he also gave the elder son his inheritance.

In these two verses of Scripture we begin to see the parallel between the two sons of the rich man and the believers in Christ.

They were both sons who were of the age of responsibility. We become “responsible” when we hear and understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

They both received their inheritance, although each of them chose very different paths concerning that inheritance. We receive our spiritual inheritance when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and then it is our choice as to what we do with it.

And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.”  (Luke 15:13)

Here the Bible says, “And not many days after…” showing us that for a short period of time both sons were managing their inheritance with their father. But soon the younger son took his portion, left, and acted irresponsibly by wasting it.

The story goes on to tell us that the younger son, having spent all, joined himself with the heathen of the land and ended up feeding swine.

When he found himself desiring to eat the very swill that he was feeding the swine, he repented of his sins and rose up from the pig sty to return to his father.

The younger son said:

“I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,” (Luke 15:18)

“And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”  (Luke 15:19)

The young son arose and went home to his father, and again we see the parallel to the Christian.

Instead of finding a father ready to judge and condemn him for his actions and decisions, he found that his father had been waiting for his return all along and was ready to rejoice at his homecoming.

“But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:”  (Luke 15:22)

“And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:”  (Luke 15:23)

“For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”  (Luke 15:24)

The Bible tells us that just like the father in the story, our Heavenly Father is not as concerned about our bad judgments and transgressions as He is about our repentance and restoration.

“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”  (Prov. 24:16)

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (1John 1:9)

Up to this point in the story we see the wonderful message of sin, repentance, and forgiveness, but as we continue we begin to see the deeper message of spiritual maturity.

“Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.”  (Luke 15:25)

“And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.”  (Luke 15:26)

“And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.”  (Luke 15:27)

“And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.”  (Luke 15:28)

“And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:”  (Luke 15:29)

“But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.”  (Luke 15:30)

“And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.”  (Luke 15:31)

The first step to becoming a spiritually mature son of God is in recognizing and acknowledging the current spiritual condition we are in.

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”  (Prov. 28:13)

Tomorrow- The Elder Son: Spiritual Immaturity (a Babe in Christ)

All ten books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy available now in one collection for a limited time for just $9.99 at bn.com for the NOOK,  amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices

All ten books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy available now in one collection for a limited time for just $9.99 at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices

Growing Up Spiritually

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What is Spiritual Growth?

“Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.”  (1Cor. 14:20)

Before we can see what spiritual growth is, we first have to see what it is not.

Spiritual growth is not determined by how long we have been a Christian. Although length of time is necessary and fundamental in physical growth, it has nothing to do with growing spiritually.

It is entirely possible for an individual to remain spiritually immature their entire Christian life. Growing spiritually is a choice.

Spiritual growth is not determined by our faithfulness in church attendance, Bible reading, or Scripture memorization. Although all of these things can aid in our spiritual growth, they cannot be substituted for it.

Your spiritual growth has nothing to do with a particular Church affiliation or Denomination.

The method by which you were baptized, the day you choose to attend services, or the manner in which you worship are all personal choices that you must make based upon your knowledge of the Word of God and your conscience toward Him, but unless you are continuing in a manner contrary to God’s Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, they do not affect your spiritual growth.

How does one grow spiritually? How does a Christian pass from spiritual childhood, to adolescence, to maturity in the Spirit?

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”  (2Peter 3:18)

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  (2Cor. 3:18)

The answer to spiritual growth is KNOWLEDGE, CHOICE, GRACE, and CHANGE as by the SPIRIT OF THE LORD.

The Bible says:

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;” (1Peter 1:15)

“Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”  (1Peter 1:16)

The Bible also says:

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” (Heb. 12:14)

Holiness and spiritual growth are parallel. Holiness and spiritual maturity are virtually one and the same.

It is not so much an achievement as it is a lifestyle and a goal.

The word “holiness” in the Greek literally means “sanctification of the heart and life”, in other words, to “sanctify” or “set apart” your heart and life to God.

The word “holy” in the Greek means “physically pure” or “morally blameless”, so we might say that to strive to grow spiritually and become spiritually mature is to set apart our hearts and lives to be physically pure and morally blameless to God.

What seems like an impossible task, the Bible calls “our reasonable service”.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”  (Rom. 12:1)

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  (Rom. 12:2)

To do this on our own is indeed an impossible task. But that is why Jesus came, to give us a new birth, that the Holy Spirit might come and live inside of us and empower us to become holy.

This is done first by knowledge: the “renewing of your mind”.

The Holy Spirit reveals to us through the Word of God and by His convicting power the things which we need to change in our lives so that we may grow and become holy (set apart) unto God. In other words, what is “right” and what is “wrong” about our lives.

Next, God provides you with a choice: “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely…” (Rev. 22:17), “…choose you this day whom ye will serve…” (Joshua 24:15).

God will always give you the freedom of choice. That is why Jesus came to break the bondage of the sin nature (Rom. 6:14). Now we are free to choose whether to do right or wrong, whether to grow and mature or to remain spiritually childish.

If we make the choice to change and grow, then God will give us the grace to do it.

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”  (James 4:6)

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  (2Cor. 12:9)

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” (2Cor. 9:8)

Once we make the choice to lay aside the weights and sin, God gives us grace and strength through the Holy Spirit to effect the needed changes, until we realize that once again we have grown a little more into the image of Christ.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”  (Heb. 12:1)

It does not happen overnight. Spiritual maturity is a growth, a step-by-step process.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  (2Cor. 3:18)

But it first begins with knowledge: by understanding where we are now in our spiritual growth and what we need to change.

Most often we do not realize what stage of our spiritual life we are in: whether infancy, childhood, adolescence, or maturity.

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.”  (Prov. 21:2)

That is why it takes the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to reveal our hearts unto us.

One of the best examples of this is contained in the story of “the prodigal son”.

Tomorrow- The Prodigal Son’s Sinful Brother

All ten books in the "How to Walk Christian Series" by Raymond Candy available now in one collection for a limited time for just $9.99 at bn.com for the NOOK,  amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices

All ten books in the “How to Walk Christian Series” by Raymond Candy available now in one collection for a limited time for just $9.99 at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices

The First Step in Spiritual Growth

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What is “receiving” or being “baptized with” the Holy Ghost?

Someone might say, “I’ve just accepted Jesus Christ and been born again. What do I do next?”

If you have recently asked Christ into your heart and confessed Him as Lord of your life, then you are no doubt feeling a great joy and thankfulness to the Lord for washing away all of your sins, saving your soul, and giving you a new life in Christ.

I am sure that you are feeling a great love for God because of His mercy and grace that He has bestowed upon you.

“We love him, because he first loved us.”  (1John 4:19)

You have been, as Jesus said, “born again”, and as such you are like a new born infant in the eyes of God.

And just like a new born baby, you have been washed (in the cleansing blood of Christ), swaddled (in the fresh linen of the righteousness of God in Christ), and all God asks of you for now is to be nurtured by Him (through prayer and reading His word), grow, and do as He asks.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”  (John 14:23)

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  (John 14:15)

The first step in growing spiritually is to obey the Lord, and the first thing that the Lord asks of us after being born again is to be baptized, both in water and in the Holy Ghost.

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”  (Acts 2:38)

“And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.”  (Acts 1:4)

“For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”  (Acts 1:5)

The Bible makes a clear distinction between water baptism and being baptized with the Holy Ghost.

“Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:” (Acts 8:14)

“Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:” (Acts 8:15)

“(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)”  (Acts 8:16)

“Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.”  (Acts 8:17)

By water baptism we are immersed in water and by being baptized with the Holy Ghost we are immersed in His Spirit.

“And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.”  (Acts 8:38)

“And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”  (Acts 8:39)

In the same way that confessing with our mouth is an outward manifestation of the inward belief in our heart and we are saved,

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”  (Rom. 10:9)

“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  (Rom. 10:10)

Water baptism is the outward manifestation of our inward belief that through Christ we are dead and buried to our old life of sin and we are raised out of the watery grave to a new life in Christ.

“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”  (Rom. 6:4)

The baptism with the Holy Ghost is the empowerment to live that new life.

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)

In the same way that water baptism was not just for the early church but was a commandment for all believers for all time, the promise of the Holy Ghost is a promise for all believers for all time.

“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”  (Luke 24:49)

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”  (Acts 2:38)

“For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”  (Acts 2:39)

The Bible says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  (Rom. 10:17)

If these Scriptures that we have shared have caused the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart and give you the faith that baptism is for you, then you might ask, “How can I be baptized?”

Water baptism is simple. Any other believer in Christ can baptize you in water. Phillip was a deacon in the early church and he baptized the Ethiopian eunuch in the Book of Acts. Paul was an Apostle and he baptized very few choosing to allow others the blessing of doing it.

I was baptized in a swimming pool, my daughter was baptized in a lake, and I baptized my son in a bathtub. My wife was baptized in a Church Baptistery.

The type of water is not important. What is important is having the faith as to what it means and making a public expression of your faith. The Bible says that we are to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost and in the name of Jesus Christ.

Being baptized with the Holy Ghost is just as simple. Jesus said all we have to do is ask the Heavenly Father and believe.

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”  (Luke 11:13)

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.”  (James 1:6-7)

If your Heavenly Father said that He would do it, then He will. It is impossible for God to lie.

The Holy Spirit will guide you in your next “baby steps”, such as what Scriptures to read (He had me begin in the Gospel of John), what Church to attend (one that believes in the whole Word of God), and changing your life so that it is pleasing to God.

After these baby steps have been taken, then it will be time to go on into the deeper things of God.

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,” (Heb. 6:1)

“Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit.”  (Heb. 6:2-3)

Tomorrow- Growing Up Spiritually

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Entering the Kingdom of God

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I’ve Just Been Born Again: What’s Next?

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”  (1John 3:2)

“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Eph. 4:15)

The Bible tells us that when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and invite Him into our hearts, several things happen concerning the relationship between us and God.

First, the Bible tells us that we are saved.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”  (Rom. 10:9)

We are saved from sin. The Bible tells us that sin shall not have dominion over us any longer. (Rom. 6:14)

We are saved from the enemy of our soul, the devil. Jesus says that He gives us power over all the power of the enemy. (Luke 10:19)

We are saved from eternal damnation and punishment:

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”  (John 14:2)

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  (John 14:3)

The Bible also tells us that we have become “born again”. One translation translates it as being “born from above”.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  (John 3:3)

Nicodemus, the man Jesus was speaking to, couldn’t understand how a person could be born a second time. Jesus explained that it is a spiritual birth.

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”  (John 3:5)

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”  (John 3:6)

In the same way that the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and miraculously conceived in her a physical seed that was to become the only begotten Son of God, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside of us and He conceives the spiritual seed of our new nature so that we become an adopted son of God.

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”  (1Peter 1:23)

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”  (Rom. 8:15)

However, as it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual. We are not “born again” as a mature spiritual son of God, but we are born as an infant. And although this is the place from which we must begin if we are to enter the kingdom of God, this is not the condition to remain in if we are to inherit the kingdom of God.

“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matt. 18:3)

“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Eph. 4:15)

In the next few postings we are going to do an in-depth examination of spiritual growth: what it is and how to achieve it. We are going to see what God determines to be the signs of spiritual maturity and the signs of spiritual childishness.

Unlike physical growth which is inevitable, it is our choice whether we decide to grow spiritually or not. However, if we determine to do whatever is necessary to become a mature child of God:

“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”  (Matt. 25:21)

Tomorrow- The First Step in Spiritual Growth

Available for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore on iTunes for the iPad, and at Lulu.com for all other e-reading devices and the pc

“How to Walk in the Faith of God” by Raymond Candy available for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, the iBookstore on iTunes for the iPad, and at Lulu.com for all other e-reading devices and the PC

What must I do to be Born Again?

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Jesus said “Ye must be Born Again”

“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” (John 3:1-2)

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

“Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (John 3:4)

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:5-6)

“Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:7-8)

Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he shall not see the Kingdom of God”, and again He said, “Ye must be born again.”

When Nicodemus was confused about how a person could physically be born a second time, Jesus said that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

In other words, the “born again” experience is a spiritual birth. Jesus compared it to the wind, which although it is invisible, the effects can be seen, felt, and heard. So it is with being born again.

Jesus told Peter, “When thou art converted (changed), strengthen the brethren.”

“But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:32)

There is a change that takes place when a person is born again.

It is a moment, a place, a point in time when the Spirit of Christ comes to live inside of an individual and that person is not the same ever again. It is not gradual. It is an experience that can be marked on a calendar.

The Bible says that if any man doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ then he is none of His.

“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.” (Rom. 8:9)

How does one become “born again”?

First of all, it is not just a matter of believing in God or even believing in Jesus Christ.

The Bible says that the devils believe, and they even fear and tremble, but they can never be saved or “born again”.

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19)

Believing in Jesus Christ, who He is and what He has done is a starting point.

We must believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God and that He was born of a virgin after the Holy Ghost had come upon her and placed within her the seed of God.

We must believe that He lived a sinless life in complete obedience to the will of God, and that He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil.

“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” (Acts 10:38)

We must believe that He gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins and was crucified at the hands of wicked men, that He was buried in a borrowed tomb, and after three days He rose physically from the grave and is alive forevermore.

We must believe that He ascended into Heaven and is set down at the Heavenly Father’s own right hand, in His Father’s throne, and has sent back the Holy Spirit to come and live inside of everyone that has been saved and is born again.

And we must believe that we become born again when we believe in Jesus Christ and confess Him as Lord to the glory of God the Father.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Rom. 10:9)

“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom. 10:10)

When we confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord we are not only confessing that He is Lord over all, but we are confessing that He is Lord over us, our life, and that we are giving and committing our life unto Him both now and forever.

If we are ever going to know Christ, be forgiven of our sins, and make Heaven our home, then we are going to have to be born again.

It doesn’t matter whether we were brought up in Church or never stepped through a church door in our entire life. It doesn’t matter what Church or denomination we were born into or have joined.

It doesn’t matter whether we are a “sinner” or what some might call a “saint”, whether a “goody-two-shoes” or a not so nice person. We all must be born again.

The Bible says that all of our good deeds are like filthy rags before the Lord and that there is none righteous, no not one.

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isa. 64:6)

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Rom. 3:10-12)

Ever since the Lord saved me and called me to preach, He has given me a wonderful gift, the ability, or you might say an anointing, to lead people to Christ and be born again.

I have seen many believers preach or share personally God’s plan of salvation and what it takes to be born again. I have even seen them pray with individuals and ask God to help them make the right decision only to see that individual leave the time of prayer still in need and unfulfilled.

For some unknown reason, God has given me the anointing to share the Scriptures that will not only cause someone to believe in Jesus Christ and come to the edge of accepting Him, but also to step over that precipice, invite Christ into their heart, and be born again at that moment.

The Bible says in First Corinthians chapter three,

“So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” (1Cor. 3:7)

I remember attending a service where the minister had preached a wonderful message on God’s mercy, repentance, and salvation. Afterwards, the minister asked that if anyone needed prayer would they come down to the front of the auditorium and be prayed for.

I saw a young man get up out of his seat and go down to the front. The minister prayed for him and he returned to his seat with his head still bowed.

The Lord spoke with me to go and talk to the young man after the service had ended. I felt out of place but I decided to obey the Lord.

I sat next to the young man and asked him if he had gone down to accept Christ or did he just feel sorry for his sins and want God to forgive him.

He said that he had just felt sorry for sinning against God. I asked him if God forgave him and he said that he didn’t know.

I asked him if he had ever been born again and he said “no”.

I shared with him that Jesus loved him and would forgive and save him but he had to believe in Christ and ask Jesus to come into his heart.

I shared briefly the Scriptures about being born again and confessing Jesus as Lord and he prayed out loud repenting, asking God to forgive him, confessing Jesus as Lord of his life, and inviting Jesus to come into his heart to save him and set him free.

Afterwards he grinned from ear to ear saying that now he knew that he had been forgiven, that he had been saved and born again, and that Jesus had written his name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

How about you?

Do you know that Jesus loves you?

Have you been born again?

It is my prayer that if you have not, then you will pray out loud right now and tell Jesus how much you believe in Him, love Him, and ask Jesus to come into your heart, save you and set you free. God said that if you do this then you shall be saved and the Bible says that God cannot lie.

And I pray that if you have been born again then God will anoint you with the same anointing that He has given me to lead people into the arms of Christ by believing in their hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead and confessing with their mouths that Jesus Christ is Lord.

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Prov. 11:30)

Available for $9.99 at bn.com for the NOOK,  amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices

“The How to Walk Christian Series: the Complete Collection” by Raymond Candy available now for $9.99 at bn.com for the NOOK, amazon.com for the KINDLE, on iTunes at the iBookstore for the iPad, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-reading devices

Walking in the Spirit

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Spiritual Misconceptions

Since the beginning of the early Christian Church there have been many different doctrines and beliefs as to what it means to “walk in the Spirit”.

The same holds true today.

Satan does not want you to discover how to walk in the Spirit.

At the very most he would like to see you fall in your Christian walk, give up, and turn from the faith.

At the very least he would like to see you continuously stumble and falter so that your faith would be weak and ineffectual.

Before we establish our belief as to what it is to “walk in the Spirit”, let us see what it is not.

First, “walking in the Spirit” is not how you dress or how you look. Although how you dress and look might reflect the way you think, it will in no way empower you or create in you the ability to “walk in the Spirit”.

“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”  (1Sam. 16:7)

Walking in the Spirit is not being so “heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.”

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”  (Matt. 5:13)

It is not belonging to a certain Church, or denomination, or group. It is not how many times a day you pray, or fast, or read your Bible, or attend service.

What is “walking in the Spirit?”

First and foremost, walking in the Spirit is a choice.

It is the determination to reject the world and the flesh and choose what we know to be God’s will according to His Word.

It is then allowing and trusting in the indwelling Holy Spirit to empower us to walk in that righteous choice.

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”  (Gal. 5:16)

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”  (Gal. 5:17)

“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”  (Gal. 5:18)

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,” (Gal. 5:19)

“Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,” (Gal. 5:20)

“Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”  (Gal. 5:21)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,” (Gal. 5:22)

“Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”  (Gal. 5:23)

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”  (Gal. 5:24)

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  (Gal. 5:25)

The Bible tells us:

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  (Rom. 10:17)

Reading the Scriptures will create in you the spiritual hearing to have faith to repent of all sin, receive forgiveness, crucify the flesh, reject worldliness, resist the devil, pick yourself up, turn around, and walk in the Spirit to do the will of God.

“For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.”  (Prov. 24:16)

"How to Walk in the Miracles of God" by Raymond Candy. Just Published and available for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, and Lulu.com for the PC, iPad, and all other e-reading devices

“How to Walk in the Miracles of God” by Raymond Candy. Just Published and available for $2.99 at bn.com for the Nook, amazon.com for the Kindle, and Lulu.com for the PC, iPad, and all other e-reading devices