A Sustained Life Of Faithfulness
    And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. {36} But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. {37} All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. {38} For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. {39} And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. {40} And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:35-40)
    Much of the religious world in which we live today is confused and unorderly. Many seem to be walking by sight and through their own power while using parts of the Bible to support their ideas and practices. A large section of the body called "Christian" today live by a "hope so faith". By that, I mean those who profess Christ as Savior and then try to do their best in keeping themselves saved and hope that they will be accepted when they pass from this life. They feel that they can only do the best that they can. God says in the last part of Psalm 39:5 - "... verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity."  Could our best ever be enough? How much must a person do? Is it different for everyone? Is God satisfied with me? Can I hold out and make it through? The answer is NO! on all counts. Man cannot keep himself in a state of grace and influence God to receive him after he, or she has done their best.
    Beloved, God reveals to His children that they live a sustained life of faith as to their salvation. God's children cannot persevere by their own will and power. God's children cannot persevere by sight. "For we walk by faith, not by sight: ..." (II Corinthians 5:7)  A Christian cannot live a life of faith without the sustenance and sustaining power of God as He takes us through this world. We would lose every time. Hence, we must realize that our life of faith on this earth is sustained by God's grace and goodness to us as we follow the course that leads us home. "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps." (Proverbs 16:9) The hymn writer John Newton tells us that "through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come, 'tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace twill lead me home."  Perseverance is a part of God's grace to His children. Let us rejoice that our perseverance is guaranteed. God will not drop us, or lose us .
    God guarantees our:
    How marvelous. Is it a lifetime guarantee? NO!  It is an eternal guarantee! All who believe and receive Christ  are sealed and kept by God's means. Surely we are not robots. Doesn't God give His children the ability to make choices. Indeed He does as we shall see later. Paul speaks of God's guarantee in II Timothy 4:18 when he says of himself, "And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Not only Paul, but all of God's true children. Notice in Ephesians 1:13-14 what God tells us. "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, {14} Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
    God gives us guarantees as to:
    God is clear to reveal to His children their security in Him, not as a license  to sin, but to mature and serve Him  as they show forth what the will of the Lord is. The 39th verse of our Scripture portion says: "And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." (John 6:39) How amazing that we are held in the hollow of His hand. Not only so, but I Peter 1:3-5 tells us: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, {4} To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, {5} Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." God's faithfulness is past finding out. Praise his holy name.
    Many people wonder if they can hold out. Can they make it? Yes. God will not drop, or lose one of His children. Listen to what God tells us in Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" What a guarantee and assurance! God guides us, teaches us, and uses us according to His sovereign will. Here is what He tells His ancient people and us in Psalm 48:14, "For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death." Not only that, but look at Psalm 32:8 which says: "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye." Praise God! What better equipment could we have? What better means to live the Christian life here on earth? God is marvelous in all His ways. "And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them." (Isaiah 42:16)
    God guarantees:
    Will our standing before Him ever change? Is it possible to sin and lose the acceptance in the beloved and all of the other precious promises? If it is in our own power, yes. Note, however, what God tells us in Jude 24 and 25: "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, {25} To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen." All of the cares, problems, and hurts of life are not without God there to keep, guide, and provide for his children.
    He gives us peace and assurance. "I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. {6} I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about." (Psalms 3:5-6) There is nothing that overtakes a Christian that we should fear; for if it comes to us, it is His will. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. {2} Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;" (Psalms 46:1-2)
    God guarantees:
    D.  CHOICE
    We often hear that those who believe as we do are robots, or that it is God's fault if we sin, or it doesn't make any difference if we sin. Does God allow us to choose and make decisions in our Christian walk? Most certainly. Are they always a good, or right choice? No, God allows us to make choices on our life's journey and they can be bad, or unwise choices. How do we know that we can make wrong choices in this Christian life?  We read in II Corinthians 5:10, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." What if we make a wrong choice, or sin? I John 1:9, or else the operation of chastening in Hebrews 12 comes into play. God is gracious to us and He loves us more than we can understand. Romans 8:28, which is familiar to all of us, tells us that God works all things for our good. That is, we may sin, choose wrongly, or displease Him in some way, and He will work it to our good. It may not always be pleasant, or the way we think it should go. It may involve loss, or many other
unpleasant things, but it will be for our eternal good.
    God gives us a course to travel through this earthly life. We are to strive to please God and run the race with patience and desire according to God's will. We are to be temperate in all things and strive to master the course through God's power and guarantee.  "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. {25} And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. {26} I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: {27} But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." (I Corinthians 9:24-27)
   A. The Christian's Course, or Race  -  It is the path of life and experience here on earth wherein God leads us, tries us, and gives us the completion. Are we to look at others and compare ourselves to see if
we are doing as good as they? No. The Word, both living and written, is our guide. "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise."  (II Corinthians 10:12) There are a couple of things we need to remember in this course of life.
    1.) In this race of life, everything is lawful to us, but not everything is expedient. We must refrain so that we can sustain love and concern and fellowship around us. Nothing is to harm our fellowship. We are always to bear in mind the good of others and the possibility of being a stumbling block. I Corinthians 6:12 says: "All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any."
    2.)  The Christian has different motives and desires in his, or her life course. We are not to be as the world. We are governed by God and His principles which are opposed to the world of men. That is why I John 2:15-17 speaks of the world as not of the Father. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. {16} For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. {17} And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." Without the guarantee of the One Who has overcome the world, we as His children could never do so in our own power.
    As we said, the basis of this judgment is works in the Christian's life, their motives, and God's initiative. All believers stand individually at this examination and manifestation of works, not corporately. Our works and choices shall be tried for reward, or loss. This is not for salvation, but for God's equity to His children.  All the earthly inequities  will be set right. All of the slights, arguments, wrongful suffering, and discord will be set right.  How wise for us to choose to keep things "right" in our life as Christians as to others. I Corinthians 3:11-15 tells us of the judgment. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. {12} Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; {13} Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. {14} If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. {15} If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
    Beloved it is sad to realize, but many who name the name of Christ are building on a "hope so" foundation when there is only One Sure Foundation. The materials of others are wood, hay, and stubble.
    Beloved, we could never persevere, or live a pleasing life to God without His sustaining power and the other blessings He gives us to travel as strangers and pilgrims in this earth.  We must know Him and on
that Foundation build as He leads.
    "And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming." (1 John 2:28)
    May God call you to assurance and blessing.

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