Back when I first got saved: The superintendent of the non-union mine, mentioned in article two, where I worked was a pastor. I got saved on a Sunday night. Nobody knew it but my wife. The next day, Monday afternoon, I went to the underground coal mine where I worked afternoon shift, went into the mine office, a beat up, dirty, smelly, ancient trailer filled with tools, tracked in mine mud, oil and grease stains, equipment parts and supplies, the battered superintendent's desk and a couple of rusty file cabinets.
I admired that pastor and I couldn't wait to tell him. So, I told him about me getting saved. He stared coldly into my eyes for probably 15 seconds, his expression never changed, then he gruffly said; "Git yer stuff 'n git underground".
Well, so much for a miserable first outing! I got my stuff and headed underground to crawl around (low coal, a 32" thick seam, you have to lay on your side to drink water) and work for at least 81/2 hrs. I never told anyone else about me getting saved until I announced it in church the next Sunday and arranged for my baptism the following Sunday.
I didn't admire that pastor very much anymore. Conscience programming. Even then I figured a Christian should be happy when he heard someone got saved. It wouldn't hurt anything to show a little Christian love too! All the love in the world locked up in your heart isn't worth a hill of beans in the garden if you don't show it and give it.
An older Christian humiliated the life out of me in front of a bunch of men, most of them sinners, in a gas station a couple of months later. Loud; "I heard you got saved Jimmie. How'd it happen?" I started to explain but he cut me off; (Mark 9:31) "It says in the Bible that God don't hear sinners. You was a sinner so explain to me 'n these fellers here how you got saved 'n we'll believe you're a Christian."
I was red as a beet and all sweaty and sticky. My first impulse was to wipe the smirk off his face with my fists (some Christian huh?) but I looked him right in the eye and told him I didn't know what he was talking about but I'd find out and call him when I did.
They laughed at me as I paid up and left. I went home and started reading that chapter and praying for God's revelation. I finally understood late that night. I called that Christian at 12:15 am in the night, got him out of bed and explained a sinner had made that statement and the situation was about healing and not about salvation. He grunted something unintelligible and slammed the phone down. A great baptism by fire? Conscience programming.
It hadn't taken me long to find out there are basically two kinds of Christians; those who build up and those who tear down. I wanted to be a builder upper. I wanted people to get saved. I wanted to tell people about Jesus. I wanted to be a witness for God in the worst way. AND: I decided to be loving, kind and eager to help young Christians. I never want to be the cause of them being hurt the way I had been.
I prayed, studied and struggled and God started using me. A few years later the coal business took a down turn and I wound up working in a motor rewinding shop in another county. I was the only Christian there. Perfect, God had me on fire with His Holy Spirit! Every time I had a chance I witnessed and talked about Jesus.
One day two of the employees went out in the parking lot and beat each other bloody. I was in another building and didn't know it had happened. When I found out about it I was shocked and commented that I didn't understand why two friends would do that to each other. Another worker exploded!
He took God's name in vain and; "*&%$#@& it all to @#%& Jim! You've got everbody tore all to pieces a runnin' around here talkin' 'bout Jesus and about us a goin' to hell if we don't get saved!" BUT: Three of those men had started going to church and had gotten saved before I left and I heard a couple more accepted Jesus as Saviour after I left to go to a better job. Praise God for that.
Oh yes, I almost forgot; that feller doing the cussin' has been to church with me a few times over the years but he hasn't gotten saved yet but his son and daugnter-in- law did. God programming my conscience to get tough enough to take the bad stuff, show love and take the tough times in stride. Oh Yes, my God is somethin' else 'cause there is none other like Him, He sometimes makes me laugh and cry all at the same time!
Later on a half drunk acquaintance on a farm tractor tried to run down one of my boys. When they ran, all white faced, into the house and told me what happened I didn't believe it. I had grown up with the man and I just knew he wouldn't do something like that. The boys took me out and showed me the tractor tracks and the paint on the tree where Bud hit it when Jimmie jumped behind it to get away from the tractor. My temper erupted and then Bud came back down the road that went across the creek to some neighbor's houses up from mine. Bad timing.
I met him in that road and we went right into a knockdown, drag out fist fight and I won. Yessiree Bob, that's just the very thing for a Christian to do to a sinner. The law came and got him and took him away. Of course the two officers were Christians and they looked at me with new eyes. I cooled down and I looked at me with new eyes too. "Oh happy day! Oh happy day Christian soldier! You witnessed to that one with your bloody fists didn't you? You slob!" Guilt! More guilt! Guilt all the time! I apologized to God.
The guilt got worse! After a few days I knew I was going to have to go and apologize to Bud. "Bud, I'm sorry I hit you. I'm a Christian but I sure didn't act like one. Will you please forgive me?" "Well h--- Jimmie, I needed every lick of it. I apologize to you for acting like a fool!" So, we forgave each other. God guided me to witness to him over the years and I guess other Christians did too. He eventually got saved. Praise God for that too. Conscience programming; don't be stupid!
At this time I carry copies of "Breath of Life" in my car to hand out to lost people, copies of Backsliding: The Failure Principal to give to backslidden Christians and copies of "Part 2: Old Walter: A CHOSEN VESSEL" to share God's blessing with Christians wherever I go. Those 3 things cover all the people in the world. Sometimes God tells me to go to some Wal-Mart, Lowe's, large grocery store, or just whatever that has a large parking lot and I'll make up a hundred copies to hand out while I'm walking around witnessing.
Sometimes people offer me money to help pay expenses but I never take it because God always makes a way for me to meet my own expenses. I get "the feeling" if I took their money somehow it would "take away" from them what God has sent me to do for Him. In all the times I've done it I've never seen another Christian doing it. WANT TO JOIN ME?
Conscience programming. When God first burdened me to witness like that I was amazed and troubled. I couldn't believe He'd do that to me! "Do You mean You want me to walk right up to rank strangers and ask them if they are Christians?" "That's what I want." "But---" "You said you wanted to serve Me didn't you?" "Yes sir."
"Well, that is what I want; I'll go with you and I'll show you how it's done." "Yes sir; and Lord, well, I'm scared to death, but Lord thank Ye fer lettin' me serve Ye." I went. I thought my heart would burst and my throat was so tight I knew I'd never get a word out, it still does.
But I went, that's the main thing, I was willin' to try. (1Cor. 2:3-5 & Phil. 2:12) Serve God with fear and trembling and I was shaking like a leaf inside, inside where I'm shy and tender and afraid. You can never imagine how astonished I was when, through the Holy Spirit, it worked!
I'm far from handsome, I don't have pretty clothes, I'm just average size, maybe even on the small side, I don't have a beautiful, commanding voice, I have nothing of physical qualities; yet, through the power of the Holy Spirit God makes it work. I still tremble and shake to pieces inside too. But it's for God, that's all that'll ever count!
Absolute strangers actually talk to me about very personal situations and events in their lives. Sometimes it's like a floodgate opens within their soul AND ONLY GOD CAN DO THAT; it sure isn't anything from powerless, helpless, useless me! So many, many times it is brilliantly plain to see the Holy Spirit has already gone on ahead of me and is working in the hearts of sinners, Christians and backslid Christians I meet and talk to. READ (Matt. 9:37-38 keyword: labourers):
When I'm walking the pavement alone I can't help but wonder; "What about all the other parking lots in America? Where are the labourers to help me? It's so obvious the world is on starvation for God's word! Don't any Christians care?" Do you care? SURE YOU WON'T JOIN ME THERE IN YOUR PLACE? I KNOW, IN MY HEART, GOD WILL BLESS YOUR WORK BECAUSE IT IS HIS WORK! Is God doing some conscience programming to you?
There are hundreds of stories to tell and they are all because of God's grace and mercy. (Isa. 55:9-11 keyword: void) One lady told me; "You know, me 'n my husband started goin' to church and got saved, then my Mom 'n Dad started goin' with us and they got saved too, then my two teenage kids got saved. This paper (Breath of Life) you gimmie is what started it."
(Luke 19:10 & 2Cor. 4:3-4) Sometimes lost people, with tears in their eyes, will touch my arm and say; "I didn't think anybody cared if I go to hell or not." (John 6:44, 12:32 & 16:7-14) Right then they were spiritually looking at those beautiful, beautiful, beautiful nail scarred hands being extended to them in the supplication of blood-bought, eternal mercy and they didn't know how to grab 'em.
God programming my conscience through the lips of sinners that I must fight harder for their souls. One Christian lady took a copy of Part 2: Old Walter: A CHOSEN VESSEL, looked right into my eyes and said; "Somebody told me 'bout this paper. I've heard this story before." I reached out to take it back and she drew her hand back defensively. "I've heard it, now I got a copy of it, thank ye!"
One day I was coming down the road. I was in another county to have my old car repaired. I had only given hand-outs to some of the people I'd met that day and I had plenty of copies in my notebooks. I stopped at a bakery outlet store where they sell "day-old" bread. I asked the cashier if she was a Christian. "Why d' ye wanna know that for?" She was aggressive and defensive at the same time!
I explained. "Yeah, I'mma Christian." Her voice rose and her eyes burned with Holy Spirit inspired "Christ Fire". "I'm the only Christian in my family 'n they's a bunch of us. I ain't been a Christian very long 'n they give me a hard time 'bout it but I ain't a backin' up on the Lord 'n I give it right back to 'em." NOTE: I always carry business cards with this website address on them and offer them to people I meet. "We ain't got no 'puter but I want 14 of them "Breath of Life" papers fer my family 'n I want one of them "Old Walters" fer me."
I got the hand-outs and we started talking about how good God was and is to us. (Matt. 18:20) The Holy Spirit started blessing us and, as we talked, we laughed, cried, finally shook hands and I headed home.
That little, wiry, skinny, wonderful lady was so on fire for God I'll bet she hit the lost-ness defensive line in her family like one of God's big, strong, spiritual full-backs carrying the spiritual football of salvation. God programming my conscience to pray for and try to encourage those lonely Christians who are badly outnumbered but still fiercely fighting for the souls of their loved ones in much greater battles than mine. Hundreds of stories.
WILL YOU JOIN US? Right from the center of my heart to your heart; "I'd rather fail for God than succeed for the Devil." (Matt. 26:34, Mark 8:31-33, Gal. 2:11-14, 1Pet. 3:12-17 & 2Pet. 1:14-15) Read about Simon Peter's life and you'll understand what I mean.
Just the other day I was walking the pavement witnessing and a car slowly followed me for a while and finally rolled up beside me. Thoughts: "I wonder if the Devil has got somebody talked into shootin' me? Well, the worst they can do is send me to heaven. I sure hope it kills me dead so I don't have to suffer." And I turned to face whatever was coming. I looked into the meanest pair of fire-blue eyes I've ever seen.
She, the older woman, was driving and a younger woman was passenger. Before I could say anything the older woman spoke; "Me 'n my daughter was two cars up from ye while ye was talkin' to a man up on the other end. We was eatin' a sandwich 'n we bent down so ye wouldn't see us 'n bother us. Ye went on but we got to talkin' 'bout what ye said to that feller 'bout God a building a forever family. Reckon we could have two of them gettin' saved papers?"
I handed two copies over and I knew I'd better talk fast because she had leavin' on her mind.
"Do you know God loves you 'n wants to save you so bad He let His Darlin' Son die in your place?" Those mean eyes filled up with tears, she bobbed her head "yes" twice and rolled away. My eyes were filled up with "Holy Spirit tears" too and then I went on about God's business, conscience being programmed that (Matt. 10:28) I am in a much larger war with more critical results than Vietnam ever was. Over the years sinners have caught up with me several times here and there and asked about salvation.
(Rom. 8:9-17) #1 (V.15 keyword: Abba) Christians have been adopted by God through the Holy Spirit by the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son! Did you see the word Abba there? It is a Greek word of Chaldean, Semitic origin and means; father as a vocation, (Gen. 11:26-31) ask any Jew, their ancestors were Chaldean and Abba means Daddy! I don't know about you but I really, really like the idea of "Daddy God".
(Psa. 119:2 keyword: blessed) Father has to do with birth but Daddy goes deep inside your heart; deep in there where your secret doubts, fears, pain and sorrows are hidden, where your most secret feelings are hidden. Deep into your heart is where God wants to go so He can fix it and make you blessed (happy). Abba is a personal God, as personal as you will let Him be and (Rev. 3:20-21 keywords; Behold, I stand at the door and knock) you hold the keys that will let Him into your heart.
God wants you to trust Him with you (self), all of you. (Mark 14:36) Abba is who Jesus cried out to when His back was to the wall and He faced an awful, agonizing, blood drenched death on the cross at Calvary! #2 (Rom. 8:16) Christians, you and me, are the children of God! #3 (Rom. 8:17) Christians, you and me, are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ! (Heb. 4:14-16) Because Jesus lived His life facing the same things we face God knows exactly how it feels to live the life you are living! (Rom. 8:15 & Gal. 4:6) Christians, us, me, YOU can call on Abba (Daddy) God! No other people on the face of this earth have that privilege!
(Matt. 13:18-23) A lot of Christians are cold toward what God wants to do with their life because (V.19) to them, God is not important enough to learn about and get to know; OR: because (V.20-21) Jesus' bloody sacrifice when His living, whip slashed, fist smashed, thorn pierced, blood slickened body hung by cold steel nails, writhing on the splinters of that cruel cross is not important enough for them to suffer some tribulation or persecution; OR: because (V.22) riches, positions of power, social standing, sexual conquest and pride of life and self are more important than the eternity in paradise God tenderly offers and wants to share.
What would you think about them if it was your child who paid that price? What does your conscience programming think about that?
(Titus 1:15-16 keywords: mind and conscience is defiled) With all that God has done and given and yet some Christians make only a half-hearted OR: quarter-hearted OR: even less-hearted attempt to know God! Their conscience is defiled because they have programmed it to not care how God feels! They don’t even make an effort to study the Bible and learn who God really is! Do you risk letting yourself get close to a person by exposing your innermost thoughts and feelings to them when they don't even want to know you as a person?
Of course you don't and God don't either because (1Tim. 1:19 keywords: conscience & shipwreck) lots of Christians made a shipwreck (stranded) of their conscience and they aren't going anywhere with God!
(1Tim. 4:1-2 keywords: conscience seared) Some Christians have become so entangled with worldly things their seared (cauterized, to make unsensitive) conscience is so numb they are unaware they have departed the faith and the living, loving, longsuffering personality that is God really doesn't mean anything to them!
SO: Once again here we are, you and me, with our consciences.
(6-21-12) My conscience is bothering me! SO: Let's stop right here for a minute and let me clear up something. I had finished the story given below and re-read what I have written in all three articles of this series. If I have given you the impression I feel like I'm God's "right hand man", His "go to guy", I sincerely apologize for that.
I am not God's "right hand man". I am not God's "left hand Man" either. I don't even qualify to be one of God's in the way all the time, bothersome, underfoot men". I am infinitely thankful God has a high tolerance for people with a perpetual case of the stupids because that's me.
God's will: Two physical allegories of my spirituality is that I'm like a blind dog in a meat house. That dog smells meat everywhere but he can't pick up an individual "scent" that will lead him to a piece of meat. The dog is blind and he can't "see" to find what he's desperately searching for. He stumbles, bumps, staggers, and sniffs without success and if someone doesn't come to his rescue and feed him he'll starve to death right there in the land of plenty with his nostrils full of what he needs to live.
That's me, spiritually hunting for God's will as to what He wants me to do; just stumbling, bumping, staggering, sniffing and if God doesn't rescue me I'll die of starvation.
God's blessing: My wife has a small, very fat, forty pound mutt that stays in the house. When we are sitting at the table eating, the dog sits on the floor and begs with her eyes and an eager expression. Her dog food pan is always at least partially filled with the normal, dry, every day physical dog food BUT: she knows the "good stuff", the spiritual food, she so desperately needs is on the master's table and she can't get up on the table to get the spiritual food on her own.
That dog can't even fill her own dog pan with physical food either; the master must provide that too. She can't open a can of beans, she can't get stuff out of the fridge, she can't turn on the stove, she can't cook, season, or adjust to make her own "good stuff" spiritual food like that on the Master's Table. All she can do is beg and hope.
That's me about the things I do for God and the things I write for God. If the "good stuff", the spiritual food, don't come from the Master's table I don't get it. AND: If I don't get it I can't do it OR: I can't write it. AND:
If God didn't provide a way for me to obtain normal, everyday, physical food I'd soon physically starve to death too. (Job 1:10, 12 & 2:6 then John 8:44) Do you think the devil, Satan, would let either you or me live if God didn't have us hedged about with His protection?
This writing: The three articles of this series of commentary are a perfect case in point. I had finished the first two parts, checked to make sure the scripture was correct, checked the spelling and grammar and re-read them a dozen times searching for ways to make the structure more easily read and understood AND I was satisfied and rearing to go on to something else.
Something was nagging at me, it wasn't much and I ignored it. Bad move, Stupid! BUT: I had a couple of things on my mind I wanted to write about and I went there to write. I felt sure it was what God wanted me to do. BUT: I was as dry as a 140 degree desert wind. Sure I wrote. BUT: It was a senseless gibberish that was empty of God.
It was about God but there was no God in it. I panicked. I prayed, worried and suffered for days. Had I somehow backslid? There it was! God had given me the word I needed but I missed it completely. I was so concerned with me, my state, that I simply did not realize God was showing me He wanted me to write about the backslider's conscience programming. Too stupid! Hillbilly head too hard to absorb!
My insides had turned to mush with despair and desperation. The days turned into 2 or 3 weeks of sitting in the floor at the Master's table begging for some of the "good stuff", the spiritual food, I had to have because I was starving to death in a "place of plenty" that I could smell but I couldn't see because I was blind. I was stumbling, bumping, staggering and sniffing wildly just like the blind dog in a meat house.
Then one day I read the article about Supreme Court Justice Kennedy. I was fascinated BUT: I didn't know why I was so fascinated (duuuhhhh, hello Holy Spirit!) and I read it a couple more times. Then I went through it carefully and highlighted some key parts. Then it dawned on me with a crash; the backsliders conscience! What programmed it?
Now think about all this for a minute. God had to almost beat me to death with the absence of Himself, He had to bash me over the head with a magazine, THEN: He had to paint a banner in my soul to get me to understand the word backslid (the backslider's conscience programming) He had given me in the beginning in the above paragraph! Good grief! If it wasn't for God's tender pity, longsuffering, infinite grace and patient, endless love I wouldn't even be worth sitting in the floor at His table begging for a handout.
I had to go through the agony of contacting my provider to open a part three. There's more to it than you think, I have a bad memory and sometimes I "mess up and wipe out" what the wonderful, patient, kindly technician named Mark has done.
Like I said, on top of everything else I'm stupid. He helped me move some paragraphs around on the three articles then I had to start writing all over again, here and there, in all three parts and after that, with God's blessing, I will finish part three. With all my heart I hope God has a sense of humor about me and my uselessness. Now you know about me; the great soldier of God! Hah! Yuck!
I want to tell you one more true story that happened during my walk through life with Jesus. Please look for, see and understand how God, through the Holy Spirit, programmed my conscience in the following event TO: use the knowledge given me that day to help several people AND: I'm sure God, in His infinite wisdom, also knew He would someday bless me to write about it so you can read and understand just how loving, merciful, tender hearted, and kindly affectioned Abba God really is.
It was just a normal church service. There was a good crowd, about normal. The Spirit in the church was warm, friendly, kind, loving; it was near the end of the service. The preaching had been blessed, the music had been blessed, both with the normal, sweet, peace from God that was expected by us. The Pastor was giving an altar call, inviting (Luke 11:9-10, 12:27-31 & Acts 17:24-27 keyword in all three: seek) the seekers to come on up and make their peace with God.
A young woman of about thirty got up and went to the front. Pastor met her, they talked briefly, he knelt with her and they started praying. The piano notes were low and sweet and spread quietly through the building on gossamer wings. The quiet, gentle music did not intrude, it fit perfectly with the gentle service. Everything was just right. With a gentle expression the Pastor questioned the woman after they finished praying. She shook her head "No", he said something else and she prayed again.
Another preacher went to them and also knelt to pray. The same thing happened again and a third preacher went to assist, same thing. Pastor motioned to a couple of the, wise in the ways of the Lord, deacons to join them. As the deacons went up front they were joined by three or four older Christian members of the congregation. SO: There were eight or so people down front praying at the altar for the young woman. Lots of people back in the crowd were praying too. Nothing.
Suddenly the Holy Spirit spoke in my heart; "Go up there and talk to that woman." I couldn't believe it. "What?" "Go up there and talk to that woman." I broke out in a sweat and started getting embarrassed. I'd been a Christian 8 or 10 years. I was sitting back in the congregation with my family. I was safe and anonymous, just another face in the crowd. Thoughts, not enough guts to say it to God: "Up there in front of everybody? No way!" "Go up there and talk to that woman." "Lord, what do I say to her?" "Go up there and talk to that woman!"
It never entered my flabby brain I was about to take a walk of faith, actually I was too scared to think. It felt like my heart was big as a bushel basket and heavy as lead, slow, loud, heavy beats; "thump, thump, thump" as I got up and walked down front. My throat felt swollen and full, like my head was about to pop. I wouldn't look at anybody and I kept my head down. Looking back on it maybe it was some kind of survival instinct; "If I don't look at them maybe they can't see me".
NOTE: You must remember that I am nothing, I have no power whatsoever. Even my miniscule willingness was because of God. Anything accomplished for God will be done through the power of God's Holy Spirit. No other possibility exists! All credit, glory and thanksgiving go to God, not to man, not to me, not ever.
For "some reason" there was lots of room on the left side of her. She was a small woman, bent before the altar Jesus had won for us on the bloody cross at Calvary, on her knees, hands clasped in front of her, her forehead almost touching the wood and her little bent back looked so pitiful, hopeless and helpless and that broke my heart.
She looked so alone there in God's house with God's people. Everything changed when I knelt beside her because the Holy Spirit took me over. I touched her arm with the tips of my fingers and she raised her tragic, desperate, tear streaked face toward me.
The words came so easy and with such gentle assurance as I whispered with words not of my wisdom but of God's wisdom; "Have you been a Christian before?" Her eyes widened a bit and she nodded; "Yes". The Holy Spirit inspired me with the words to say and the Holy Spirit gave her soul the light of the truth of them.
"It won't be the same as the new joy of that first meeting with God during your initial salvation experience. You've been gone from God's house a long time and you are trying to come back home. Just like the prodigal son, God has been looking down your life's road and waiting for you to come back home to Him."
"Just like the prodigal son you have wasted the riches of the years you have been gone but God can make that right through Jesus' blood and it will never be brought up against you because your relationship with God will be a renewing of old acquaintance. You are the one who has to come back and ask God to forgive you and let you come back home. When you have been accepted there will be a flooding of peace from God and you will know you are back home in the already familiar surroundings of God's love, peace and safety."
By that time her tears were pouring like silver rivulets down her face. She briefly prayed and the relief and joy from God flooded through her. She stood up and, with glad tears and brilliant smiles, she told the congregation what God had done for her.
When she stood up I beat a hasty retreat back to my seat with my family and my anonymity in the crowd. I didn't dare look around. I didn't want anyone giving me credit for what God had done. I wanted to be invisible. God is the best thing that has ever happened to me and there is no other like Him because He is All of everything.
That young woman is still faithfully serving God. Over the next few years her husband and their two children accepted the salvation God offers through Jesus' blood. I got to know her and her family after her renewing because God blessed me to talk many times with her husband Paul.
I had to move from that area BUT: yes, I still know them and talk to them now and then when we run across each other in town. They are an inspirational family. It's none of my business and I'll never ask BUT: I can't help but wonder why and how she had backslid. What was the conscience programming that helped her backsliding happen?
FIRST: Before we discuss backsliding we must address the once in grace always in grace heresy. There are those unlearned people who say there is no possibility of backsliding in spite of what Jesus plainly said in (Luke 8:13-14) that temptation will cause believers to fall away and some obviously were saved because they were in a position to bear fruit for God but turned to cares and riches and pleasures of this life and wouldn't bring fruit to perfection. Some of the unlearned even say if you sin you were never saved in the first place.
It sounds like they are making excuses for THEIR perceived weakness of God and they left out the all important, God given gift that man is given the ability to make free will choices just like (Matt. 25:1-13) the ten virgins, (Luke 17:12-19) the ten lepers, (John 6:68-71) Judas (Heb. 10:12-31) and stubborn, willful Christians. I guess they forgot about or didn't read (Rom. 1:1 through Rev: 3:22) where sin by Christians is described, cautioned against and condemned in so many different scriptures.
I suppose those foolish, unlearned people simply choose to ignore (Rev. 3:15-16), which we have already addressed, while they live in their dream world of perfection on earth. Duuuhhhh! In my experience so far it's been a waste of time to try to convince those people of their error so I won't waste space here by expounding on other scriptures that prove their error. I surely pray and hope God, through the Holy Spirit, programs someone's conscience through these words that the "once in grace always in grace" teaching is heresy.
SO: What conscience programming causes a Christian to fall from grace. There are as many reasons as there are people who (Heb. 12:15-17) fail and (Luke 8:13 & Heb. 4:11) fall. But: the basics of backsliding are rooted in just TWO aspects of conscience programming.
When I was a young Christian my first Pastor, a mighty soldier for God, that 5' 4'' guy mentioned in "Old Walter: A CHOSEN VESSEL" and "The Holy Spirit is Truth" gave me two of the most powerful and yet simple pieces of advice I have ever had. #1) "Don't never take your eyes off of Jesus because He'll never let you down!" AND: #2) "Whatever you're faced with get in the scripture as fast as you can and stay there because that's all that'll ever count."
Those two things are based in scripture (the Bible, God's Holy Word) and they have kept me when nothing else could because (John 1:1-5, 1Tim. 3:16 & 1John 1:1-4) God's word is alive and contains the word of eternal life.
#1) "Don't never take your eyes off of Jesus because He'll never let you down." (John 6:44 & 12:32) Jesus is the God who drew you. (Acts 4:8-12 esp. V.10) Jesus is the only source of salvation. (Matt. 18:11) Jesus came to save that which is lost. It is obvious to both of us if you have experienced the salvation event it was through Jesus according (John 3:3-6) to the Holy Spirit. SO: (Acts 5:17) At that time you became a new creature (creation) in Christ. BECAUSE:
(John 14:8-9 then 16-23 esp. V.23) Jesus/God in the Holy Spirit form took up dwelling within your soul. AND: (Rom. 8:11-17) You have become a member of God's forever family IF: (Matt. 10:22) you remain a working, practicing, enduring Christian to the end of your life, *****it is a loyalty to the family, especially the Father (Daddy), concept.***** And you can BECAUSE: (Heb. 13:5-6) Jesus said He will never leave you or forsake you.
BUT: Just like the prodigal son (Heb. 12:11-17 esp. V. 15 keyword: fail) you can depart the Father's house. Keep your eyes on Jesus, let Him program your conscience and none of the things listed below will happen to you.
QUESTION: Had the prodigal son died in the hog pen how could he have returned to his Father? (Acts 1:25) Judas couldn't. (Rev. 3:15-16) A lukewarm Christian can only change his ways on this side of the grave (Rev. 3:17-18) just like Jesus told them to. I'll bet you know some cold Christians who won't change, or didn't change, don't you?
Remember the words at that funeral you once attended when the preacher was being kind to the family and friends; "Well, he used to be a Christian and he's fallen into the hands of a merciful God." I'd certainly hate to gamble my eternity on what I used to be but wasn't when I died.
I sincerely believe God is much more merciful than we know BUT: God's word don't give us much hope about backslid and lukewarm Christians when you get right down to it, does it? I'll bet you know at least one Christian who don't go to church anymore. See what I mean? If you doubt any of this please read the articles Who is the Holy Spirit and THE KING OF THE THORNS in The Holy Spirit and You commentary.
SOOO: Don't let the things listed below and things like them program your conscience to quit church or to grow cold in church. Why would you worry about what your church does with what money you give Jesus? It's their problem not yours! Pray about it, take your problem to Jesus. If you don't like what they do with the Lord's money give it somewhere else, I'm sure a Christian school could use it. Why would you worry that your pastor or congregation does not publicly recognize the work you do for Jesus?
(Matt. 6:1) If whatever you do is to be seen of men it isn't for God! It is pride in self! Why would you be insulted if someone you witnessed to didn't give you credit for their salvation? You didn't save them! Why would you worry if another Christian, even a member of your congregation, sins? Are you a judge? Why would you worry if your pastor and your whole congregation fell into apostasy and went a whoring after some other God?
Pray about all of it, take your problem to Jesus, sit still for a while with no electronic devices or people to cause your attention to wander and listen to what Jesus tells you through the Holy Spirit that is backed up by scripture. (Isa. 50:1) "Thus saith the Lord," (Isa. 50:2) "Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver?"
Do you think God is so weak He can't take care of you? (Gal. 3:1-4 & 3John 9-11) If you are told to stay in your congregation and fight for what is right back up your argument with scripture; that's right, read it to them. OR: You may be set free to leave and serve God someplace else!
YOUR WHOLE RELATIONSHIP IS WITH JESUS, NOT MAN! Jesus sustains you and keeps you, not man! See what I mean. You'd better, because your forever depends on Jesus. #1) "Don't never take your eyes off of Jesus because He'll never let you down."
#2) "Whatever you're faced with get in the scripture as fast as you can and stay there because that's all that'll ever count." (John 6:63) Jesus said; "The words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life." Jesus was speaking about the timing of the end of the church age and the testing of Israel and He said; (Luke 21:29-36 esp. V. 33) "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away."
(Mark 8:34-38 esp. V.38) Jesus was talking about His people's (Christian's) allegiance to Him and the value of YOUR soul and He said; "Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation (the generations then, in between and now, your now); of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels (judgment)."
QUESTION: Do you think Jesus will let someone into heaven of whom He will be ashamed of for eternity. That would be a sour note in heaven's choir wouldn't it? If you do think Jesus will let you whom He is ashamed of into heaven please read (Luke 19:12-27 esp. V. 22 keywords: out of thine own mouth will I judge thee*** which means what you talk about AND: V.27 keywords: slay them before me*** which means the death sentence, eternal dying: that is not heaven!).
(Matt. 12: 30-37 esp. V.30 & 37) Jesus said there are only two types of people; those who are for Him and those who are against Him! He talked about deciding whose side you are on. Jesus started talking about your values and your words. Then Jesus said how He felt about it. "For by thy (your) words thou (you) shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shall be condemned."
(Rom. 2:4-6 and 2Pet. 3:9-16 esp. V.9 & 5 keyword: longsuffering) Jesus lived, and lives, a life of disappointment and pain because of the way people (you?) are. (John 12:35-41 esp. V.40) Jesus spoke about those whom the devil had blinded. THEN:
(John 12:42-43 esp. V.43) Jesus spoke about the people who were afraid their friends would not want them around if they talked about Jesus as their Saviour OR: if they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. CONSIDER THIS: What would you rather hear: God say; (Matt.25:21) "Well done, thou good and faithful servant:-----enter thou into the joy of the lord."
OR: Would you rather hear man say; "You've got the fastest car. You've got more money than. You've caught the biggest fish. You've got the best golf score. Your team is the best. You've won the bet. You've got the prettiest yard. You've got the biggest house. The highest position. The most friends and popularity. The most power and etc! OR:
Worst of all, that pride/humility thing; BRAGGING ABOUT YOUR DEEDS FOR THE LORD, WITHOUT GIVING HIM CREDIT FOR IT, MEANS YOU'RE TRYING TO LOOK LIKE SUPER CHRISTIAN IN FRONT OF PEOPLE!
It's really your choice about what's important and dear to you isn't it? Let Jesus' words (the Bible) program your conscience. (James 4:1-4) The world, (Rom. 8:6-14) your own carnal impulses, values and motives and (Matt. 4:3, Heb. 4:14-16 then 1Thess. 3:5) the devil will try to program your conscience CONTRARY to what God wants for you (2Cor. 10:3-5) and it is a war! Then Jesus spoke the awful words that will condemn so many Christians:
(John 12:44-48 esp. V.48) " He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." #2) "Whatever you're faced with get in the scripture as fast as you can and stay there because that's all that'll ever count."
Well, it's up to you to check your conscience programming AND: judge yourself by God's word isn't it?
Please think about this regarding those who preach, teach and believe a Christian cannot backslide into hell.
(Rev. 1:3-5 esp. V.3 keywords: hear the words of this prophecy) (V.5) This prophecy is from Jesus. (Rev. 1:11-20) (V.11) And Jesus starts His prophecy by naming the seven churches (V.19-20) to whom the prophecy is directed. There were about forty churches in existence at that time so why these seven? It is because they represent types of churches and if you will study the seven and the condition of today's church you will see how they describe parts of or all of every denomination, every local church and each individual Christian.
(Rev. 1:20) Jesus said the seven candlesticks are the seven churches. The candlestick holds the light (a candle) and (John 8:12) Jesus is the light of the world (Matt. 5:14-16) Jesus said about Christians; "Ye are the light of the world. A city (singular- individual Christians or plural- a church) that is set on an hill (a high place) that cannot be hid." (John 14:15-26 esp. V.16-18, 20-21, 23 & 24-26) Jesus lives through us (Christians) as the Holy Spirit (John 15:1-6 esp. V.5-6) and we can do nothing without Him. SO: Christians are supposed to love Jesus enough to let His light shine through us to a lost and dying world.
If a Christian (Mark 12:30) does not love Jesus enough to let Jesus' light shine through him (John 15:6) to lost people that Christian will be withered and cast into the fire and burned! (Rev. 2:1-5) The Christians in the church at Ephesus (V.4) had left their first love, (V.5) had "fallen" (to drop away, to lose, become inefficient), were advised to repent and do the first works or else "I (Jesus) will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."
Remove a whole church? YES! Remove from what? Remove them from HIMSELF! What would then happen to them? They would probably go on as a religious organization (read this--> 2Cor. 11:13-15) but led by Satan the false angel of light! Read the internet information concerning the division in the United Methodist Church for proof!
(Rev. 3:1-5) (V.1) Jesus said to the church at Sardis; "I know thy works, that thou hast a name, that thou livest, and art dead. (V.2-3) Jesus had not found their works perfect before God and told them to repent. (V.4) Jesus said there were a few members of that church who had not defiled their garments and they would walk with Him in white. (V.5) BUT Jesus said if the others did not overcome their problems He could and would blot (Strong's# 1813: smear out, obliterate: the same definition as blotted used in Acts 3:19) their names out of the book of life.
(Rev. 3:14-19 esp. V.16) Jesus said he would spue (projectile vomiting) these lukewarm Christians out of His mouth if they did not repent. Do you really think Jesus is going to vomit out these Christians that make Him sick to His stomach into some back corner of heaven?
(Rev. 22:18-19) (V.18) "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues written in this book:" In other words (1Thess. 4:13-18) they were not taken with the catching away of the church if they are alive when it happens. SO: What happened to the people who died while believing and telling people Jesus would not or could not (what is the difference) take their name out of the book of life? (Rev. 21:8) "all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone which is the second death."
(V.19) "And if any man shall take away from the words of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." WHY? The people who say Jesus will not or cannot take a Christian's name out of the book of life have called Jesus a liar (Rev. 21:8) and they also are liars headed for the lake of fire!
Read the scriptures! Every Book of the New Testament (Covenant) is full, to running over, with instructions concerning Christian relationships with God and fellow Christians. (Eph. 3:11-19 esp. V15 keyword: family) We Christians are God's Personal Family!
(Eph. 4:29-32 esp. V.30 keyword: grieve, which is to make sad) In God's view "His Family" is supposed to be a tight-knit, loving, helping each other, sticking up for each other, God obeying, God loving, "God Family". (Psa. 86:15, 103:4 & Rom. 2:3-6 keyword: longsuffering) Anything less is insulting to God because God has "feelings" (emotions) that can be hurt!
So many times Christians think of God as being cold and remote but don't ever forget you are made in God's image and your "feelings" can be hurt SO: God's can too! This concept of thought and action concerning God's "feelings" may be a revelation to some of you because I personally do not remember ever hearing God's tender feelings mentioned in Church!
(Psa. 46:1, Matt. 15:25, Heb. 4:16 & Heb. 13:5 keyword: help) Whatever your trial, help is on the way (John 10:25 & Rom. 8:31) to sustain you before you fall; IF YOU RECOGNIZE IT AND WANT IT! Conscience Programming! SO: What does your conscience say to you? Think about what you have read here and you will realize Sin in Church by Christians is Real and it may very well apply to you!
Like I said; "Well, it's up to you to check your conscience programming AND judge yourself by God's word isn't it?