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Summary: What is it that will bring you into the next level of commitment to Jesus Christ and the Christian life? Lack of commitment hinders our development and prevents spiritual growth. Lack of commitment to spiritual excellence keeps us on a slippery place wh

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What is it that will bring you into the next level of commitment to Jesus Christ and the Christian life?

The original thought planned for tonight’s lesson was to present another lesson in this series on Apologetics, discussing some of the very specific statements in the Bible and some reasons that they are included in Scripture, even though some of them might seem to be only insignificant details.

That was changed when a co-worker asked me about some verses in 1 John that gave him some concern:

1 John 3:4-9; 5:18 which discuss the concept that whoever is born of God and abides in Him does not sin.

These verses need to be considered in the light of the context of the other statements made in 1 John, esp. 1:5-2:2, and the teachings of sin, repentance, forgiveness, justification, etc., in the rest of the Bible as well.

Then I began to think about these passages in relation to my co-worker’s concern -- "If one who is born of God does not sin, and I sin, does that mean that I’m not really born of God? Does that mean I won’t get into heaven?"

And then I thought about this in relation to the Apologetics theme about specific detailed statements and their significance, particularly with regard to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society’s (Jehovah’s Witnesses) doctrine about only 144,000 people gooing to heaven. Considering the general lack of commitment and obedience to the commands of Christ in the church today . . .

Well, the Bible does not teach that only 144,000 people are going to make it to heaven, far from it. One of the phrases used in Scripture describes:

". . . a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ’Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." (Revelation 7:10-11 NKJV)

I believe that the passages we have considered teach that although through the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus Christ and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit we have been given the power and ability to resist temptation and avoid sin. But we still have the ability of choosing to sin and sometimes do so. I believe that these verses also teach that obviously God is aware of this,and through His love He has made provision for our restoration to fellowship with Him if we do sin. But still, He has commanded us not to sin and expects us to obey Him.

The point: DON’T DO ANYTHING TO COMPROMISE YOUR TESTIMONY OR YOUR FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD!!!

I thought about the relationship of the level of obedience to the level of commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.

"If you love Me, you will obey My commandments." (John 14:15)

Many have "accepted" Christ without making any specific commitment to Him. Many are willing to accept His offer of forgiveness, love, and help in times of trouble, but are unwilling, like the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-22, to commit their lives and possessions to Him totally and unconditionally.

There are things which you can accept as true in your mind, that you can give intellectual assent to, but you will only do what you really believe in your heart.

Example: I had known for many years that smoking tobacco was bad for my health, but I finally quit only when I began to have chest pains, difficulty breathing and my heart would race at 120 beats per minute while I was just sitting down. But you know what? I started chewing "snoose." I decided to stop chewing tobacco when the inside of my cheek got hard as leather and I started losing teeth. I knew in my mind that tobacco in any form is injurious to health, but I became committed to setting it aside only when I became convinced in my heart AND mind as I experienced some of those injurious effects.

Interesting statistics to ponder:

80% of Americans say they believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God.

48% of Americans believe that no one set of values is right. -- U. S. News & World Report

"Two out of three (67%) of adult Americans say there is no such thing as absolute truth." -- George Barna

How do you fit these numbers together? It doesn’t make sense! If you analyze these numbers you find that 20% of Americans don’t believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. So if you subtract that 20% from the 48% who believe that no one set of values is right (it would follow that those who don’t believe the Bible would not believe this either), you get 28% of Americans who say that they believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God but that no one set of values is true! Something is not clicking here!

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