What is it that we need in order to be saved and have a part in Gods kingdom?
The only way we can be saved is by having the character of Christ, or in other words becoming like Christ. Having the mind of Christ. Reflecting Christ's image to those around us.
Can we do this on our own? In our own strength? What do we call it when we try to be Christ like in our own strength? legalism. God calls it being lukewarm. John tells us what God says about this in Revelation. 3:16, 17 "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:"
What do the lukewarm think? That they are rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing. Why? Because they are doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons. Outwardly they look pretty good. But inside is only dead mans bones. Jesus put it this way: Ye fools and blind: . . . Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity." Matthew 23:19-28
So, who are the luke warm, those whom God will spue out of his mouth? It is those who are trying to keep God's commandments in their own strength and outwardly are looking pretty good. In fact most people that know them would probably think that they will make it to heaven. Like Paul said about himself before he was converted and realized that outwardly keeping the law was useless. "Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless." Philippians 3:4-6. But when he came into contact with Christ he realized that this was all useless. He realized that it was his character that God was concerned about and not the outward actions. And when he looked at his character he realized that he fell far short of what God demanded.
So, what is character? It is our thoughts and feelings. It is our thoughts and feelings that make us who we are. Without them we wouldn't be. The only thing we can take to heaven is our character, which is our thoughts and feelings.
Jesus made it clear that keeping the commandments went far deeper than our outward actions when He said: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Matthew 5: 21, 22, 27, 28. It is clear that not only our actions will be judged but also our thoughts and feelings. If one really thinks about it our actions come from our thoughts and feelings. In Proverbs 23:7 we read: "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." Our thoughts make us who we are.
So, we can do remarkably well when it comes to actions but we can't control our thoughts and feelings and keep then in tune with God's standard. Jesus gave us the standard when He said: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:48. He was talking about our thoughts and feelings as well as our actions. Doing this is impossible in our own strength we have to have supper natural power in us in order to accomplish this. We have to abide in Him and He in us to accomplish this. We can only live this way with an indwelling Saviour not just someone out there. The Holy Spirit has to indwell us, control us in order for us to be able to live like this. You have probably heard the saying, "Don't just talk the talk, walk the walk." Well if the truth be known that isn't even good enough either. We not only need to talk the talk and walk the walk but we need to think the thoughts. If all we are doing is talking the talk and walking the walk we are hypocrites, and lukewarm and God will be compelled to spue us out.
Remember the Cold are those who are doing the wrong things for the wrong reasons. The Hot are those who are doing the right things for the right reasons. The lukewarm are doing the right things for the wrong reasons. In other words they are doing the right things for selfish reasons and no selfish person will ever make it to heaven. Selfishness is the root of all sin.
Do you want to change your ways and become a true child of God. Someone who would rather die than sin against God, even in their thoughts? If so you need to ask God to forgive your sins and give Him control of your life.
Below is a suggested prayer. But before you even read the following prayer be warned. You will be giving God permission to make some major changes in and to your life and some of them will be very hard to bare. The only way we build character and faith is through trials and tribulations. And they can get very intense at times. To be honest with you there have been many times when I have started to tell God that I take back what I said. But when I start to think about the end result I have simply prayed the prayer again and told Him to keep doing what He is doing. It might be hard to bare, but I can't think of anything worse than not getting to heaven. The alternative is simply not acceptable. God is trustworthy. If you do your part by allowing Him to control you He will do His part. He will take the responsibility and make sure that you will be victorious and He will make sure that you get to heaven if you let Him.
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Dear God, I have come to the conclusion that the only way I can have any hope of entering your kingdom and live with you for ever is to have a character like yours. To reflect your likeness to everyone I meet. I now realize that it not only touches on the outward things I do, but on even my thoughts and feelings. So I ask you to forgive me of all my sins and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Give me a clean heart and a right spirit. God, I am so serious about my desire to be like you, and acknowledging that I can not do it in my own strength, I give You permission to change my character to be like yours. I give you permission to allow your Holy Spirit to control me. More than this I give You permission to do whatever it takes to create Your character Your likeness in me. So when others look at me they see you.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
A suggested daily prayer:
Father in Heaven,
I want to thank you for all of your blessings and all that you have given me. Everything I have has come from you, without you I am nothing, I can do nothing. I want to thank you for the ability you have given me to understand, to work, to think, to dream, to breath and be a living being. I would not exist with out you. If you took away your sustaining power from my live I would cease to exist.
Please forgive me for my sins. (be specific). Please forgive me for the sins that I am unaware of. I am sure that there are many of them. I ask you to give me the victory over ___________ (be specific). Thank you for forgiving me and cleansing me from all my sins. I give you permission to take me today and control me by your Holy Spirit. Fill me with your Spirit and control my thoughts and feelings. I give you permission to do whatever it takes to save me and to create your character in my life, because I am powerless to do it myself, only you can do it fore me.
Be with me today in all that I do, guide all my actions. You know needs, my wants, my hopes, my dreams, the desires of my heart. (if desired, be specific) You know no haste and no delay so, provide them in your timing and work them out according to your will.
Take me today, I am your child. Only you can take care of all my needs. So, I surrender everything I have and am to you. You gave it all to me anyway. Cleanse me from all unrighteousness and renew Your covenant with me and (with reverence) clothe me with Christ's precious robe of righteousness, not because of anything I have done or can do, but because of what Jesus did for me and is doing in me and threw me. I give you my all, to be used by You for Your honor and Your glory, so, that you can come soon and take us home to be with You forever.
In Jesus precious name I pray this, Amen
There is a lot more on this topic on this Website. http://www.whatshallido.org/tocl Some are, "The Practice of the Presence of God" and "God's Elect". Also look under "-Audio- Stories & Talks" for the series entitled From Glory to Glory by Steven Wallace.
2 Timothy 2:15