The Sonshine
July 2020
Walter Olsen

Introduction

The witness of the life of Christ in the believer’s life should be consistent to everyone around him or her. We don’t change our behavior or attitudes to those about us because of who people are or how well we may know them or even like them. Still, we all have people in our lives who are especially important to us, including parents, children, other relatives, and special friends. They are the ones we pray for often and seek to influence for Christ because we especially love them. We pray for them because we have come to know the significance of Jesus in our lives and because of the unchanging truth of God’s Word, the Bible.

The purpose of this article is to discuss some desires that any true believer has for those he loves, to those who are very special to him. The following are particularly important.

The desire to see them truly saved, born again according to the truth of God’s Word. Of all the desires Godly parents have for their children, none is greater than the desire that they have eternal life. Yes, other things are important such as a good education, the ability to earn a good living, and to see them generally happy and successful. However, they fade rapidly when compared to the desire to see them truly born again.

If a person is truly born again, he knows that salvation is not a mater of anything external one may do. It is a matter of the heart, a matter of believing. One may have been in a given church for many years and still not be a real Christian! Many have served their churches faithfully in teaching, music, or anything else, and still not know the Lord as their Savior. This is very sad but I’m afraid very true.

Note the following verses:

Jesus said, “...this is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent” (Jn. 6:29). Salvation is not a matter of doing, but of believing.

Jesus said, “All that the Father hath given Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (Jn. 6:37). Note that, in salvation, one comes to the Lord. True, Jesus is the one who died for our sins, He has done it all, but no one is ever saved who does not personally, in faith, come to Jesus for the forgiveness of his or her sins. As Jesus Himself said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life” (Jn. 5:24).

The desire to see them bear spiritual fruit in their lives. Spiritual fruit is not the matter of just doing things for God. It is rather a matter of giving place to the Holy Spirit so that He can work out His will in the believer’s life. As Paul said, “For it is God which worketh in you to will and do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). Jesus spoke specifically to this truth when He said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing...Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit...” (Jn. 15:4-5, 8). When this truth is manifested in our lives, then we can say with David, “I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy law is within my heart” (Psa. 40:8).

The above is a very important truth, but it is often not regarded as it should be. It is so easy to have some idea about what we should do and just go about doing it without waiting on the Lord for His direction and power. Doing the Lord’s work without His power is like sweeping the floor with just a stick without the bristles. There is much activity but no real accomplishment.

It is also a very liberating truth. We don’t have to struggle and try to please God on our own terms! He has revealed the truth about fruit bearing and has also given the power to do so. The power is the presence and enabling of the Holy Spirit. It is for this reason that service for the Lord must be accompanied with earnest and sincere prayer. Indeed, “...the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). To fail to pray is to fail to avail ourselves of His power.

The desire for them to know the blessing of spiritual growth in their lives. This is similar to the above point but with some differences. Many people trust Christ as Savior but never seem to grow much in their Christian lives. There may be various reasons for that. Some are not taught the realities of the Christian life. They assume the Christian life is a matter of doing or not doing certain things. Yes, there is a place for that, but that is not the essence of the Christian life. The Christian life is a Life, new life that the believer has in the Person of Jesus Christ. “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son hath not life” (I Jn. 5:12). Thus, there can be no spiritual growth without possessing Jesus Christ, the believer’s very life.

Paul prayed for the Colossians, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing; being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:10). As we increase in the knowledge of God, we will increase in our spiritual growth, which is to experientially know Him, worship Him, and serve Him.

Now, what I desire and pray for regarding the ones I love is that they know what it is to have a personal walk and relationship with the Lord. It is one thing to be saved, but another thing to really know Him and to daily walk with Him.

Let me explain more fully what I mean. If we are to daily walk with Him, we must deal daily with the acts and attitudes of sin. Even though we are saved, we still must deal with the old sin nature. We will not be completely free of the influences of sin until we are in the very presence of God in heaven. Still, though, we can walk daily with Him and thus live a victorious Christian life. We don’t have to be broken down and defeated by a sinful life style! Many are, though, and as a result live a very unhappy and defeated life. This is in spite of the public face they may try to portray to the world about them. One cannot truly know another person unless their heart is somehow revealed to him. “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). A spiritual believer in many ways does reveal something of his heart to others.

In dealing with our personal sins, we must give place to the cross of Jesus Christ where He, in ultimate love, died for our sins. The Bible is very clear about what constitutes sin in the believer’s life. Note Peter’s word, “Wherefore laying aside all malice [insincerity with relation to others, rejoicing in their misfortunes] and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (I Pet. 2:1-2). James put it like this, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath...wherefor lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness...” (James 1:21).

James gives much warning about the use of our tongue, “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body” (James. 3:2). The misuse of the tongue is one of the greatest problems for many believers.

When we are convicted by the Holy Spirit of any sin in our lives, there is only one thing to do, and that is to go to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ for the confession of our sins. The failure to seek Him for forgiveness is to fail in all aspects of the Christian life. Nothing else can make up for it, whether it be Bible study, Christian “ministry” or any other duty. Confession alone will make the difference. Thus we read, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I Jn. 1:9). We can neither live the Christian life nor truly worship Him without the work of the cross in our lives. Like David in the Bible we should say, “For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin” (Psa. 38:18).

Further, if we would walk with God, we need to be daily in a personal study of the Word of God, the Bible. One cannot walk with God without daily coming to His Word for correction, edification, and comfort. Also, in our study of the Bible there needs to be a time for meditation. It is not enough just to read the Bible as the fulfillment of a duty that is expected of us. We must give the Holy Spirit time and place to reveal the truth and significance of the word to our own hearts. If we fail to do that, the Word of God is not really planted in our hearts. The Word of God needs to bring forth fruit in our hearts and lives and that takes an earnest concentration on the truth that the Holy Spirit brings to our hearts.

The desire for them to know the difference between what is of the world and what is truly of God. The Apostle John made this clear when he said, “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. 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. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of the Father abideth forever” (I Jn. 2:15-17). This is essential truth for one who would really walk with God. It is truth that needs to be known, not only as a fact of the mind, but as a reality of the heart.

Many believers have never really seen this truth with any conviction of the heart. Thus, their lives and sometimes their churches function on more of a mechanical level than a true spiritual level. Unless this truth is an integral part of one’s walk with God there will be little spiritual growth in his life. Also, such a life will be characterized by much spiritual failure and disappointment. Further, he will not be the salt and light to others he would otherwise be.

Paul’s message to the Philippians is so applicable here, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:9-11).

A man was one day walking in an almost dry river bed. He saw something shining among the dirt and clay. On a closer look, he discovered that it was gold! He had eyes to see the worth of gold. As believers, we need to have spiritual eyes to see the worth of that which is truly of God. The world is filled with worthless things, things that are of man and not of God. The difference between what is of God and what is of man is so very important and can only be discerned as one walks with God.

The desire for them to be faithful to and active in a Gospel preaching local church. The local church is God’s plan for His people in this time. It is a place to hear the teaching and preaching of the Bible, to find Christian fellowship, to use his God given talents in ministry to others, and to support the ministries of the church with that which God has blessed him with.

It is important to note that not just any church will do. That may sound to some presumptuous, but remember, God has given in His Word what He expects of the local church. That includes many things such as the preaching of sound Biblical doctrine, the warnings of false doctrine, and immoral behavior. This is not a treatise on the local church, but just a reminder of its significance in the lives of believers. The local church should be a place of blessing, comfort, and spiritual safety.

The desire for them to know what God says about the future. The Apostle John was concerned about this when he said, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Rev. 1:3). While the Bible doesn’t answer all the questions we may have about the future, it reveals all we need to know so that we may honor Him in our walk and be prepared for what He has revealed.

Most important, we need to be prepared to meet God when we die. God Himself has made all the necessary preparation for that event in the giving of His Son to die for our sins. That is discussed in more detail above. The point is, we need to be personally prepared to meet Him. As Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Thus saith the Lord, ‘Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live” (II Kings 20:1).

I desire that loved ones know about and be prepared for the rapture of the church, the body of Christ. The Biblical account is, “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall arise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.(I Thess. 4:16-17). This is not just a fact to know, but a reality to anticipate and to comfort our hearts. “Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (I Thess. 4:18). With all that is going on in the world today, it is a great comfort to know that there will be an end to it for the believer!

Then, we should have some understanding of what will follow the rapture of the church. It will be a time of unprecedented trouble for the world as the Lord works particularly to prepare Israel to meet and know and receive their Messiah. Revelation 6-19 speaks of this time.

Conclusion

As I look back over this article, I see that it is so incomplete. There are so many more things that could be said. What I really want people to see is not only statements of fact, but the importance of their hearts to know, love, and serve God with all of their hearts. I think much of Christian profession today is rather shallow, and so taken up with things of the world system all about them. They are things that neither bless the believer nor truly honor God. My prayer for loved ones is that they, “...may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death” (Phil. 3:10).

I trust David’s statement of confidence in God will be ours as well, “In God will I praise His word: in the Lord will I praise His word. In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt Thou not deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?” (Psa. 56:10-13).


It has been a blessing to meet together again in our home church on Sunday mornings. All other services are still on line.

As I said in the last Sonshine, we had a Killdeer bird sitting on some eggs in our yard. The nest was not far from our house or the road. She was so faithful in sitting on her nest for almost a month! Finally, we saw at least one tiny Killdeer! They are so cute and seem so fragile, but the Lord cares for them. Both the mother and the chicks leave soon after the eggs are hatched.

BJ and I continue about the same. Not many restaurants are open, but we enjoy grilling outside some or going through the various drive through restaurants. We have several choices in Baldwin.

We extend our sympathy to the family of Morris Berg who passed away in Barron recently. Morris had been a good friend for many years.

Many are wondering what our nation, indeed the world, is coming to in these days. Will we ever get back to “normal” again? One thing is for sure, the Bible speaks of a time of chaos before the Lord’s return and the revelation of the man of sin, the antichrist. We are certainly in a time of chaos and there seems to be no sure solution. It would seem to be the kind of situation when the world will call for a strong man to solve all its problems. The antichrist will be just such a man! He will be a very charismatic individual with all the answers the world is looking for! The problem is, he will eventually be revealed for who he truly is, a man of sin who will deceive the world with his satanic devices and schemes. Thankfully, if one is a believer, he will be taken to heaven before the antichrist is revealed. Unfortunately, this truth of the future is often ignored because we love the comfort of the present. Still, God will carry out His plan to the letter. Perhaps in future editions of The Sonshine we can speak more fully of God’s plan for the future. It is essential that, as believers, we know what God has revealed for the coming days. It is necessary both for our comfort and for our witness to those about us. The good word of Jesus to believers is, “Let not your heart be troubled…” (Jn. 14:1).

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