Category Archives: Salvation

No Rejection!

“Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out.” (John 6:37 HCSB)

There are those who misunderstand and misuse today’s verse.  Contrary to the beliefs of some, God does not force His will on us.  In His Sovereignty, God has chosen to give us free will to choose to believe in Him and trust Him, or not.  He does not create some people with the purpose of going to hell, and others to be saved from hell.  That would make Him and unjust God, which he is not.  God would never create anyone for the sole purpose of sending them to hell without giving them a chance to be saved from hell.  That’s why he speaks to all of us and draws us to Himself.  He wants us to be with Him and leads us to the One who can get us to Him, Jesus.

Here’s what Jesus is really teaching us in today’s verse:

  1. “Everyone the Father gives to Me will come to Me…” – this is the drawing of the Father, the hearing and learning from the Father about Jesus.  God’s opening of our eyes to the reality of our spiritual condition, which causes us to seek and call upon Jesus for Salvation.
  2. “and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out.” – the one who seek Jesus with all their heart will find Jesus, will be saved by Jesus, and will never be rejected by Jesus – their salvation can never be lost.

God, through the Apostle Paul said:

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13 HCSB).”

Have you been rejecting God’s call upon you to come to Him?  Are you hearing Him calling you now?  Would you like to call upon Him and know that you are saved and have your place in heaven with Him for all eternity?  Here’s how God says you can do it:

1. Recognize that you’re a sinner and thank Him for sending Jesus, His only Son, to die on the cross in order to pay the ultimate price for your sin (Romans 3:23; Romans 5:8), and raising Him from the dead in order to give you eternal life (John 3:16-18; John 11:25).
2. Tell Him that, at this moment, you willfully, willingly, and intentionally choose to stop living your life in rebellion against Him and choose to start living your life as His disciple; that you commit to seeking Him, every day; following Him, every day; and that you will strive, every day, to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to Him and only Him, no matter the cost – even if it costs you your life (2 Corinthians 5:15; Romans 10:9-10). Then, do it.
This is the only way you can become God’s child (John 1:12) and experience the fullness of His love, goodness, joy, peace and perfect care. Do this right now!

If you did this, God is so happy with you and wants to start working in your life and through your life. Please send me a message letting me know that you did it so that I can pray for you as you begin a new life in Christ.

In Christ’s love,

Phil Covone

How Well Do We Know Ourselves?

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalms 139:23-24)

Because of our sin nature, every one of us has a skewed view of our selves.  Sin is what is familiar to us, which blurs what’s important.  Because of our sin nature, we excuse the wrong we do and lessen our guilt for doing it.  This is what is normal to us.  The result of this is that we see ourselves very differently than others do, and even how God does.  There could be, in each one of us, an evil habit, or a strong pull to do what is wrong in God’s eyes, which, if not dealt with, can overpower and destroy us.  Not only that, there could also be something in our hearts or lives, that causes us to think less of ourselves, nullifying our ability to be an influence for good.  Here’s the thing, we may not even be aware of all this.  Look at what God tells us about ourselves, through the Prophet Jeremiah:

“The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9).”

The very next verse (verse 10) aught to cause us to tremble, and to be grateful at the same time:

“I, Yahweh, examine the mind, I test the heart to give to each according to his way, according to what his actions deserve Jeremiah 17:10).”

  1. “Tremble” because He is going to judge us and punish us according to whether we live our lives according to His will, or our will.
  2. “Grateful” because He loves us enough to warn us and give us the opportunity to drop our own way of living and live according to His ways.

The reality is that we do not know ourselves as well as we portray ourselves to.  Therefore, the wise thing to do on our part, is to ask our Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent God to do for us what King David begged Him to do for him in today’s passage of Scripture.  King David asks God to do four very important things for Him:

  1. “Search me, God, and know my heart;” – He asks God to search the very depths of his heart – that God would search every part of his being, leaving nothing about him unstarched.
  2. “test me and know my concerns.” – He asks God to test and see that he is not representing himself as a God loving, God fearing man, when he is not.
  3. “See if there is any offensive way in me;” – He asks God to make sure there is nothing in himself that is offensive to God.  He does not want to offend God in any way.
  4. “lead me in the everlasting way.” –  King David asks God to put him on the path to, and lead him on the way to eternal life. In others words, He wants to live according to God’s will, which will lead him to an eternal life in heaven with God.

King David was afraid of breaking God’s heart again, and becoming useless to Him. How well do you know yourself?  Is there anything hidden in your life that is hindering you from being an instrument of God for good?

Will we all have the courage to ask God for what King David asked Him?

In Christ’s love,

Phil Covone

Forgiven and Covered

“How joyful are those whose lawless acts are forgiven and whose sins are covered!” (Romans 4:7)

Though the Apostle Paul is quoting King David, from the Book of Psalms, this verse is applicable for us, today.  The context of Romans chapter four is faith.  Abraham was justified, or found not guilty of sin, by believing and trusting God.  When God told Abraham to get up and move to a land far away from his own, Abraham did not argue with God. He got up and went, no questions asked.  Faith drove Abraham to immediate, radical, costly obedience to what God had ordered him to do.  God blessed Abraham for his immediate, radical, costly obedience.

 

Today’s verse is one of those that aught to make us jump for joy because it speaks of God’s amazing grace and love.  Let’s take a look.

  1. “How joyful…” – this is a type of joy that cannot be extinguished by any difficult circumstance we might find ourselves in.  It is a joy that comes from knowing God.
  2. “are those…” – these are the people who by faith:
    – believe and accept the fact that they are sinners in need of a Savior (Romans 3:23).
    – believed and accept the fact that Jesus was sent by God die on a cross for the forgiveness of their sins (John 3:16-18; Romans 5:8).
    – believe and accept the fact that Jesus was buried and rose again from the dead to give them eternal life (John 11:25).
    – believe and accept the fact that this is a free gift from God, something that cannot be earned, nor bought (Ephesians 2:8-9).
    – made a commitment with Christ to seek Him every day, follow Him no matter where He leads them, and strive to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to His commands (Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46).
  3. “whose lawless acts are forgiven…” – those who, by their faith (above), and God’s unmerited favor, have been forgiven for their willful disobedience to Him.
  4. “and whose sins are covered.” – and also who by faith have had their offenses towards God covered by the blood of Christ.

God also gives us assurance of our salvation, through faith when He says:

“I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13 HCSB).”

Jesus also says:

“My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one (John 10:27-30 HCSB).”

Friends, true joy comes from having the assurance that when the day comes for your life to end, you will pass from an eternal life in hell, to an eternal life in heaven, with Christ.

Would you like the same assurance of eternal life?  Here’s how God says you can have it:

1. Recognize that you’re a sinner and thank Him for sending Jesus, His only Son, to die on the cross in order to pay the ultimate price for your sin (Romans 3:23; Romans 5:8) and raising Him from the dead in order to give you eternal life (John 3:16-18; John 11:25).
2. Tell Him, in your own words, that at this moment, you willfully and intentionally choose to stop living your life in rebellion against Him and choose to start living your life as His disciple; that you commit to seeking Him, every day; following Him, every day; and that you will strive to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to Him and only Him, no matter the cost – even if it costs you your life (2 Corinthians 5:15; Romans 10:9-10). Then, do it.
This is the only way you can become God’s child (John 1:12) and experience the fullness of His love, goodness, joy, peace and perfect care. Do this right now! You will not regret it.

***Please, let me know if you have any questions***

In Christ’s love,

Phil Covone

Crucified

“Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24)

It is an awesome day when a person decides to put all their faith in Christ and surrender their lives to Christ as their Lord and Savior (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10).  There’s a sense of true peace to know that we have passed from eternal death, to eternal life.  Jesus said: 

“I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life (John 5:24).”

What this means is that, when we surrender our lives to Christ, we begin a new life in Him.  We die to our old way of living and begin a new way of life as God, through the Apostle Paul, tells us:

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come (2 Corinthians 5;17).”

Now, in today’s verse of Scripture, the Apostle Paul teaches us how this new life begins.  But to fully understand it in the context it was written, we need to look at the preceding verses.  Here are verses 19, through 23:

“Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I tell you about these things in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:19-23).”

Here, God, through the Apostle Paul, explains the difference between a non-Christian, and a true Christian. The evidence of a person in whom Christ does not lives is: “sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar”.  By contrast, the evidence of a person in whom Christ does live, is: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control.”  

So, in today’s verse, God, through the Apostle Paul, teaches us the process by which we go from living for self, to living for Christ.  Let’s take a closer look.

  1. “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus…” – These are the people who have,
    –  believed and accepted the fact that they are sinners in need of a Savior.
    –  believed and accepted the fact that Jesus was sent by God die on a cross for the forgiveness fo their sins
    –  believe and accept the fact that Jesus was buried and rose again from the dead to give them eternal life
    –  believe and accept the fact that this is a free gift from God, something that cannot be earned, no bought
    –  made a commitment, with Christ, to seek Him every day, follow Him no matter where He leads them, and strive to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to His commands
  2. “have crucified…” – the cross is a symbol of death.  Therefore, we have chosen to crucify, or kill, our old self to begin a new life in Christ.
  3. “the flesh…” – this refers to the sinful nature into which we were born.  We are, by nature, sinful.
  4. “with it’s passions…” – a heart for what is wrong (sin) in God’s eyes.
  5. “and desires.” – a deep desire to satisfy our carnal desires.

If this is what it means to be a Christian, we need to self-examine our lives to see if we are living according to God’s standards, and not what we think, or have been erroneously taught by others.

Now, then,

  • how are we going to obey what we’ve learned in today’s lesson?
  • With whom are we going to share today’s lesson?
  • With Whom are we going to share the story of our salvation, and that Jesus did for us?

In Christ’s love,

Phil Covone

 

 

The Most Hated Man in History

 

Contrary to popular belief, Jesus did not come to the world to condemn the world of its sin, but to pay the penalty for our sin, so that we might not be condemned for our sin.  Jesus suffered the full measure of God’s wrath for our sin so that, through faith in that very act of love, we might be saved from God’s wrath and condemnation.  Jesus Himself said:

“For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:17).”

He did for us what we could not do for ourselves so that we might be saved.  There has never been, nor will there ever be a greater act of love than what Jesus has done us.  Yet He is hated for it.  Jesus is the most hated man in the history of the world.  Not one of the most evil, hateful, murderous leaders in our world’s history is hated as much as Jesus is today.

Jesus taught

  1. To love our Creator God above all other relationships in our lives:  “He said to him, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37).”
  2. To love one another as we love our own selves:  The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39).”
  3. To love one another as He has loved us: “This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you (John 15:12).”
  4. To love our enemies:  “But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, (Luke 6:27).”
  5. To do what is good to those who hate us: “do what is good to those who hate you, (Luke 6:27).”
  6. To speak well of, and invoke blessings, upon those who curse us:  “bless those who curse you, (Like 6:28).”
  7. To pray for those who mistreat us: “pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:28).”
  8. To forgive one another as He has forgiven us: “And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ (Ephesians 4:32).”

This is why Jesus is hated so much.  This is what He lived and taught, and this is why He was persecuted and murdered; and this is why those who are His true followers, those who strive to live according to His moral standard are so hated, despised, and murdered as well.

There are many people who think that when Jesus speaks out against all sexual immorality, drunkenness, lying, cheating, greed, abuse of power, injustice, abortion, murder, and many other things, He is condemning those who practice those things.  He is not, He is simply warning them of the fact that our sinful nature does not allow us to turn away from those things on our own, and that because of that, we are headed to an eternal separation from a God who created us, and loves us, and wants to care for us.

He warns us that there is only one way to avoid God’s wrath upon us, and that is to put our full faith and trust in what He did on the cross to save us from God’s wrath.  Here’s how Jesus explains it to us:

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God (John 3:16-18).”

Do not let the world confuse you and talk you into believing the lies told about Jesus.  There is only one to know Jesus in a personal way, and that’s by:

  1. Asking Him to forgive your sins:  If we say, “We have no sin,” we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9).”
  2. Surrender to His Lordship over your life: If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation (Romans 10:9-10).”
  3. Commit to striving to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to his commands: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven (Matthew 7:21).” 

This is why Jesus is so hated, still.  Do you hate Him?  Will you accept His free gift of salvation this Christmas?  After all, that is why He came. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

***If you have questions, let me know.***

In Christ’s love,

Phil

What Are You Seeking?

The fact is that, as human beings, we all need food, water and a way to protect our bodies from the elements to survive.  These are the basic things we need to continue living on this earth.  In Genesis 1-2, God makes this fact perfectly clear.  In Genesis 3, however, God tells us that, because of our sin, getting our basic needs was going to be very difficult, and costly (Genesis 3:8-19), and ever since then, it has been.  We have to work long and hard to get what we need, and often times, at a great cost.

But, have you noticed that when we do get what we need there is this sense that we have gotten is not enough?  That, no matter how hard we work, and how much we get and/or achieve, it’s just not enough?  There even comes a time in which we begin seeking that missing piece of our lives that we feel will make our lives complete, and when we can’t find it at work, we look for it in relationships, alcohol, sex, drugs and many other places and things which leave us just as incomplete as we’ve always been.  Is this where you are?  Are you seeking that missing piece in your life?

Jesus has what you are seeking.  Look at what He says,

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you (Matthew 6:33).”

God is willing to provide for all our spiritual, physical and emotional needs, but with certain conditions.  Let’s look closely at what Jesus is teaching us in this very important verse.

First come the conditions for providing our needs:

  1. “But seek first…” – Jesus teaches us what must be our top priority search.  Nothing else can take it’s place. Then, He teaches us what we are to seeking above all else.
  2. “the kingdom of God…” – First, we must seek the kingdom of God.  This means that,  as Christians, our top priority must be to seek to spread the good news of what Jesus accomplished on the cross for the entire world, to the entire world.  As Christians, this is our main job, it is in our job description (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).
  3. “and His righteousness,” – Second, we must seek to conform personal conformity to His standard of righteousness, or holy living.  In other words, we must conform to His moral standards and not seek to live according to the world’s moral standards.  We must summit to His Lordship over our lives and strive to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to His commands.

Now come the promise of His provision.

  1. “And all these things…” – Jesus wants us to know that He will provide everything we need to survive in this world, and to accomplish what He has commanded us to do.  Notice that He says, “all”.  He will not keep anything from us.
  2. “will be provided fr you.” – He, Jesus, is the source of our provision.  He already knows all that we need and He is ready and willing to provide it all for us.

Look at what Jesus says,

“So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you (Matthew 6:31-33).”

So, what are you seeking?  What drives you, or motivates you each day?  How’s life?

In Christ’s love.

Phil

The Path

God, through the prophet Isaiah, warned us about turning from good and calling what is good, evil, and what is evil, good.  He said,

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter (Isaiah 5:20).”

The word “woe” means, shredded, or undone. That is a clear picture of what is happening in world, today.  We are being shredded and undone by the choice we have made to reject what is good in God’s sight, in order to follow and do what is evil in God’s sight.  By doing this, we have chosen a path that is leading us to hell, and the saddest thing is that we are happy and rejoice over this decision.  But, God knew we would do this, so He already had a plan to get us off this path to self-destruction.  Look at what He said,

“See, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the Messenger of the covenant you desire—see, He is coming,” says the Lord of Hosts (Malachi 3:1).”

God was going to send John the baptist to prepare the way for Jesus Messiah by preaching the message of repentance of sins, which was the same message that Jesus Messiah was going to preach to them.  Here is what John the Baptist preached:

“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness Prepare the way for the Lord; make His paths straight! (Matthew 3:1-3).””

Sin is what stood between God and His people, the Israelites, and all Gentiles (those who are not Jewish), and still does, today.  Sin is turning away from God to live our lives for the sole purpose of fulfilling our selfish desires and satiate our fleshly pleasures that lead to self-destruction.  It is a rejection of God as our Sovereign Lord.  Repentance is choosing to get off the path to self-destruction, and putting our faith in Jesus Messiah, and following Him on the path to eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14).  Here is what John the Baptist said to the people:

“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the One I told you about: ‘After me comes a man who has surpassed me, because He existed before me.’ I didn’t know Him, but I came baptizing with water so He might be revealed to Israel (John 1:29-31).”

John the Baptist announces Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb who would be sacrificed for the forgiveness of, not just His own people, the Jews, but the sins of the entire world – Jews and Gentiles alike.

Later, after Jesus had been tempted the devil, and resisted his temptations, Jesus began His preaching career, and this is what he said in His very first message: 

“From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heavenhas come near! (Matthew 4:17).”

Jesus was calling all people of the world, Jews and Gentiles alike, to repent, to turn from walking on the path of rebellion against God, put their faith in Him, and follow Him on the path to eternal life.  Jesus said:

“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.”  “Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?” Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:1-6).”

This is great news! Jesus came to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day after His death, so that we can have eternal life. All we have to do is believe and recognize that we are sinners, ask for God’s forgiveness, and then believe and accept what Jesus did on the cross for us in such a way that we now choose to live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to Him; this is not something we do out of obligation, but because we understand what He has done for us, and love Him for it.

What, or whose path are you on? Where is it leading you?

In Christ’s love,

Phil