Time and history in this world are divided into two distinct periods
· BC – Before Christ
· AD – Anno Domini, The Year of Our Lord
The Bible is also divided into two periods representing two distinct covenants
· The old covenant was written on tables of stone and secured by the blood of bulls and goats.
· The new covenant is written in the hearts of Believers and is secured by the blood of Jesus, the only begotten Son of God.
· The first covenant was aimed at sin and based on law.
· The last covenant was aimed at righteousness and based on grace.
· The old covenant brought judgment and demanded death.
· The new covenant brought forgiveness and granted life.
· We know the first covenant as “The Old Testament.”
· We understand the last covenant to be “The New Testament.”
· The Old Testament covers a period of approximately 4000 years. It is a picture of God bringing Messiah to a lost world.
· The New Testament covers a period of only about 40 years. It is the simple account of what one small prayer group did to fulfill the Great Commission which was left to them by Jesus.
All mankind can be divided into two distinct groups.
· Those who do not believe that Jesus is Messiah, Son of God and Savior of the world. Some of these people are good people and some of these people are wicked and evil. However, all are without a Savior, both good and bad, and therefore they are left to pay for their own sins and stand in danger of eternal damnation
· Those who believe that Jesus is Messiah and have embraced Him as both Lord and Savior.
· The Lost who are still living under the law of sin and death
· The Saved who are covered by the grace of God
· Those merely born of the flesh and will of man
· Those born again by the Spirit and the will of Almighty God
· The children of this world and The Children of God
The life of every Born Again Believer is also divided in two periods.
· The time past when they were lost in sin, separated from God and damned to hell
· Life since they were saved by grace, reconciled to God and destined for heaven
Although every person who has believed in Jesus as Messiah and received Him as Lord is saved and on their way to heaven – not every Believer lives their life as a fully devoted follower of Christ. Some Christians are:
· Spiritually cold: They may not be doing anything wrong or sinful but they do not pray, read their bible, attend Church or witness.
· Spiritually lukewarm: These Believers are only going through the motions of Christianity with no constant heart. Their commitments are dependent on what else they may want to do that day. They are “on again – off again” followers of Christ. Sometimes they pray, sometimes they don’t. Perhaps they attend Church, or maybe more than one Church, but have a loose commitment to the place God has set them. These Believers are up and down in their passion for Christ and have other interests which parallel and compete for the call of God on their life. Not bad people, but simply inconsistent and undependable … there, but not really there … often disconnected from the real life and joy of fully following Christ. These Christians confuse the lost, aggravate God, and cause more trouble for the Church than do the spiritually cold Believers who never attend.
· Spiritually backslidden: These Christians are those who live life no different from the lost. Their thoughts, words, and deeds belie that they are born again. Although Children of God, they have gone back to serving their own desires and live like children of this world. The heart of God is broken for these prodigal children and all heaven rejoices when even one repents of their sin, returns to the Church, and recovers their life in Christ.
The Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation as Jesus dictated. When addressing the Church at Ephesus, Jesus clearly expected them to live life as fully devoted followers.
4 "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
5 "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place — unless you repent.
Remember; Repent; and Recover yourselves … God still expects and deserves our devotion to Him above all else. Thankfully we have the New Testament as a pattern example. The first Church was filled with new Believers who lived their life devoted to Christ.
Key Scripture: Acts 2:42 “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
In order to live life as a fully devoted follower of Christ and insure we do not become lukewarm, grow cold, or backslide into old habits, bad thoughts or a sinful lifestyle, we must develop and maintenance our devotional life.
1. A steadfast devotion to the Bible
a. Nothing can replace the reading, the study, and the instruction of God’s Word.
b. Without devotion to the Word we will become lukewarm.
2. A continuing devotion to prayer
a. Communication is essential in every relationship …
b. Especially in our relationship with our Heavenly Father
3. An unwavering devotion to Church
a. If we want to be like Jesus we must attend Church – He did!
b. Jesus still attends Church today – “where 2 or more …”
c. Jesus died for the Church and is coming again for the Church.
d. Church is the Body and Bride of Christ and the family of God where we fellowship and break the Bread of Life together.
Revelation 3:15 Matthew 18:20 Luke 4:16
Luke 15:7 Hebrews 8:6&10 Colossians 3:1-3
Hebrews 10:25 Mark 1:21 Mark 3:1