Dallas Burdette (Phd) of Montgomery, Alabama is an excellent Bible student. He is the author of several books, including a new one on Daniel, which is excellent! He sends out articles on a regular basis that are all worth reading. I am glad to share the most recent article about the on-going process of “conversion” for the believer. It is an important issue that needs to considered seriously. Dallas Burdette will also be one of our speakers at the upcoming Preterist Pilgrim Weekend, July 14-16, 2016, here in Ardmore. This promises to be an excellent seminar, and will also feature a two day formal public debate between Dr. David Hester of Faulkner University, in Montgomery, Alabama, and Don K. Preston. Make your plans to be with us!
And now, here is the article by Dallas Burdette:
Conversion Continues By Decision
Where do we stand spiritually in our relationship to God and to others? As we continue to face the year 2016, hopefully, this year will continue to be a decision for Christ, which choice demands a RADICAL CHANGE OF DIRECTION. Are we faithful in our profession of faith–Christ is Lord? If we expect to grow in Christ, we must ever be mindful that there can be no escalation in our commitment until a resolution is made to put Christ first in our lives. Do we remember the words of Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount about priorities? If not, we should, once more, reread Jesus’ admonition: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). Where do our loyalties lie? Are we more concerned about material things or spiritual things? It is in this vein that Paul wrote to the Christians in Colosse (written about AD 61 from Rome):
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3)
We must not only “seek” heaven, but we must “think” heaven. Are our hearts set on things above? Are we lacking in zeal? Have we lost our spiritual fervor? Have we forsaken our first love? Many of us have been going around for years with Christ but without a commitment, that is to say, without loyalty to the cause of Christ. How do we want Christ–part-time or full-time? How do we want our faith in Christ to be known? Do we want religion-at-a-distance? Such a religious conviction will not produce a change in our lifestyles. If our conversion is to be permanent, our decision must lead to development in our spiritual walk with God. Remember, God takes the initiative for our redemption, but if any permanent turning to God is to take place, we, as individuals, must make our own personal affirmation to God, to Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
It is only personal choice that transfers our allegiance from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. The author of the Book of Hebrews encourages all believers to “continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess his name” (Hebrews 13:15). Toward the conclusion of Paul’s Epistle to the Christians in Rome (written about AD 57 from Corinth), he calls attention to the heart of worship:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (Romans 12:1-3)
In our acceptance of Christ, have we transformed ourselves into His image through the renewing of our minds? Have we refurbished our minds? Have we revamped our minds because of God’s rich mercy? What does God’s mercy mean to us? Has His kindness altered our lifestyles? Paul writes to Titus (written about AD 65 from Macedonia) concerning God’s grace and its implication in our lives: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12). In my sixty-five years of ministry, I have witnessed countless Christians flaking-off and going over-the-hill, so to speak. Sometimes when Christians say the wrong thing, other Christians either quit the congregation or stop meeting with God’s people altogether. Has love and forgiveness ceased to be a part of our devotion to God? Does love still cover a multitude of sins?
Do we love one another in the same way Christ loves us? Do we make allowances for the failings of others? Do we pray for forgiveness and, at the same time, refuse to forgive others? Do we expect to be in heaven with some who have offended us? Do we expect to be in heaven with those who do not always agree with our interpretation of God’s Word? Do we really and truly love one another? Do we make allowances for one another? Why not make this year a year of forbearance and love? Is our Christianity real? Why not pray the Lord’s Prayer right now! Jesus tells His disciples:
This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11Give us today our daily bread. 12Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9-13)
Do we habitually reflect upon our salvation? If so, how often do we think about God’s deliverance from condemnation and, at the same time, think about how we ought to respond to His love? Apparently, some of the Christians that the author of the Book of Hebrews addressed were turning back to Judaism from the Christ of Calvary. Have we turned our backs upon God’s Messiah? This same author’s warning is as valid today as it was two-thousand years ago. We should tune our ears to his exhortation:
We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. (Hebrews 2:1-4)
Do we pay careful attention to God’s plan of redemption “in” and “through” Jesus our Savior? Do we ignore God’s “great salvation” in our day-to-day walk? In Paul’s final farewell to Timothy (written about AD 67 from Rome), he reminds him of the significance of the Gospel. We can almost hear, as it were, the heartbeat of Paul as he explains the following concerning the very heart of God’s Gospel:
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. (2 Timothy 2:8-10)
Hopefully, this devotional will strengthen us in our daily walk with Jesus our Lord. Please share this message with others. Also, I encourage each reader to access my website: www.freedominchrist.net. If you have an opportunity, please go to Amazon to view an analysis of my twelve volumes. I give a brief analysis of each book. My prayer is that God will continue to bless each reader as he or she seeks to promote God’s kingdom.
Yours in Jesus the Messiah
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Montgomery, AL 36116