Saturday, July 18, 2009

Conviction: Tonight's General Session Notes Transcribed

The 'middle of the road' is no place for a Christian. Unless, of course you could guarantee and maintain perfect control of both the 'left' and the 'right', simultaneously mitigating the tandem pull of their polarities to the same, exact degree – which of course you can’t.
Otherwise, without changing anything, the change around you by itself, will alter your position, causing it to be uprooted, in a perpetual state of flux, to vacillate from right to left and left to right, by virtue of the constant geographic, political, philosophic and spiritual variance around you. The foolish man built his house upon that sand, and lost everything with the first ‘shift.’ That is why the wise man builds his foundation upon the sure, solid, definitive Rock. That Rock is the same, yesterday, today and forever!

There are a lot of Christian’s who take positions – calling yourself a Christian is taking a position to begin with - but what makes you a Christian, a Pentecostal, an Apostolic? What makes you different from the rest of the ‘Christian’ world?
The first things that rightfully come to mind are: 1) doctrine and 2) standards. Right? So the question is, do you know the doctrine – do you know why you ‘keep’ those standards? If you don’t know and aren’t ‘sure’ why – without sinning against God (list) - you are in immediate danger of losing your position in Christ!
We call that loss of position ‘backsliding.’ But, where does a backslider start – the shifting, sandy slopes of compromise.

Compromise begins with conscious consideration, continues with calculation of the costs and concludes with a willingness to concede.
Compromise is deceitfully dangerous! It is imperative that all non-negotiable positions –our doctrine of salvation & separation- are secured. David said ‘thy Word have I hid (secured) in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.’

People often ‘mask’ their compromise, or defend their ‘new’ position by justifying it as being ‘middle of the road’ - but the middle of the road is unsafe, because it is constantly moving!
Even so, such conscious compromise is not the root cause for loss of position (whatever that position may be) – unconscious compromise is. What do I mean? ‘Evil prevails when good men (and women) do nothing’ – Jesus said, ‘to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not – to him it is sin!’ More Christians lose their ‘positions’ and young people backslide today, not because of things they do but because of things they didn’t do. You didn’t start backsliding by doing something because you thought it was ok – you knew it was wrong! You had a position, but you lacked conviction.

Conviction comes from knowledge. Conviction is not just a word, it is the Word (John 1:1). You have to get in the Word to get the Word in you. You don’t stumble across conviction. You seek it out. If you’ve been convicted during a message before, it was because conviction was passed down from authority – but how? Faith coming by hearing – you heard the preacher, the sermon, the lesson – but conviction didn’t come from hearing the preacher, it came from hearing the preacher pass down the Word of God!

Conviction is not a cute noun to be inserted in a casual conversation, Sunday sermon or sales pitch. Conviction is a place, a destination, a graveyard you only dare go after having passed the scrutiny of the cognitive and liability of the affective. Conviction is not moved by majorities. Conviction is not deterred by temptation. Conviction does not cave in to pressure. Conviction is not concerned with opinion. Conviction is the hill you die on before giving up your position.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood,
and I, I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
(by Robert Frost)

Jesus said, 'Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it'(Matthew 7:13-14).

Conviction is where we want to be – a place where we are secure, rooted and grounded, like a tree – unlike ‘the middle of the road’ that is moved by whatever the left or the right or others might do.

Conviction might be a bean patch, a moral, a principal, a truth, a cross, a passport leading to a loss of popularity, a visa exclusive to ‘the road less traveled’ - but, for the sake of the world, our nation, our families, the Church and most importantly YOUR SALVATION, find a place called conviction for yourself, at any cost!


Sammy said...

Awesome post Bro. Joe is so true and I pray that I will always live my life with convictions and follow the "road less traveled"!!! Thanks for the post I needed it, sorry wasn't able 2 make it 2 youth had a grad party out of town to attend! i love the Escuderos and all of TRGYC!!!!!

Cherylg said...

THANK YOU for that GREAT post!!! It was EXCELLENT food for thought.

Sis' Cheryl