The Threshing Floor
AN OVERCOMER'S START TO AN ABUNDANT LIFE
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. John 12:24-25
How do I know that I will go to heaven?
The Bible tells us that we can know that we have eternal life (1 John 5:13). We can have this assurance because God has promised to save every one that believes the Gospel (John 3:16; 6:47; Romans 10:9-10). Having eternal life is not conditioned upon our deeds (Romans 3:23; 28; Ephesians 2:8-9).
The Bible teaches that we are all guilty of sin and deserving of hell. This is why God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to live a perfect life as fully man and fully God. Jesus willingly died to take the penalty that we deserve and rose from the dead three days later. It is only by accepting these truths in faith that we can access God’s free gift of salvation. This is the Gospel. No one will get to heaven by doing good or not doing bad (Galatians 2:16).
God is one but is three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In John 3, Jesus the Son told a man named Nicodemus that we must be born again to go to heaven. The moment that we believe the Gospel, the Holy Spirit indwells and regenerates us a new person (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:22-24; Romans 6:6). When we are born again, we are born into the family of God as sons and daughters. We have a new identity. The life we live until we get to heaven is meant to be as an extension of Christ (Galatians 2:20).
The Five Points
As children of God who have been born again to eternal life, we now take a new identity and are called to live accordingly. (John 8:31;12:26). This is called discipleship. The diagram to the left will help us understand how this works. The arrows represent relationships. At the center of all of our relationships, is our heart.
The Bible tells us to protect our hearts (Proverbs 4:23). It’s no wonder as the condition of our hearts will determine the quality of our life and relationships.
Essentially, we want our hearts to have an attitude of worship towards God. The primary way of worship is through obedience. There are many commands in Scripture, but all are elaborations on just two: To love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:35-40). True love is inherent in God’s nature, not in man’s (1 John 4:7-8). Therefore, we must rely on God’s Spirit in us to obey Him (John 17:26; Romans 5:5). True love offers itself for service (John 15:13; 1 Corinthians 13:1-8). This is true worship from the heart (Romans 12:1-2).
The up and down arrows represent our relationship with God. The down arrow is how God primarily communicates to us: The Bible. The up arrow is our communication to God: Prayer. Both synergize with our hearts at the center. If anyone of these areas is lacking, it will affect the others.
The Bible is crucial to discipleship. Both Old and New Testaments are the very Words of God, breathed out by His Holy Spirit working through human penman. They are inerrant, infallible, and our sole authority faith and practice. It is through Scripture that we will learn who God is and how we should love Him and others (2 Timothy 3:16). Jesus compared Scripture to food (Matthew 4:4). Just like a baby cannot grow without food, we are spiritual newborns that cannot develop without the Bible (1 Peter 2:2). Start reading the entire Bible, but begin with the books of John, Genesis, and Romans.
Without prayer, it is impossible to be a fruitful disciple. It both helps us keep our hearts pure (Matthew 26:41) and requires a pure heart (1 John 3:22-23; Psalm 66:18). Just like a dad wouldn’t give his hungry son a rock instead of bread (Luke 11:9-13), our Heavenly Father will withhold no good thing from us if, in Jesus’ name, we persistently ask in faith according to His will (Matthew 21:22; 1 John 5:14-15). This makes the praying life a peaceful life (Philippians 4:6-7).
The right and left arrows represent our relationships with others. To the right is other Christians and to the left is the unbelieving world. Again, our heart is at the center of it all. For example, if we do not walk in love to our neighbor, our heart is impure and this affects our relationship with God. If our prayer life is lacking, our heart will be left undefended and this will inevitably hurt our service to others.
To the right are our brothers and sisters, that is, other born-again believers. The Bible calls us collectively “the Body of Christ” (Romans 12:5). Each of us has been given certain giftings by the Holy Spirit that equip us to help and be helped by one another (1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4:11-12). Therefore, it is of utmost importance that believers connect to a local church (Hebrews 10:25). It is here that we can be baptized, partake in the Lord’s supper, be taught the Word of God, be sharpened as others hold us accountable, and will be able to give and serve as well.
To the left is our outreach to the lost world. This is how we continue Jesus’ mission on earth until He returns (John 20:21; Acts 1:8-11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19). If we fail to do this, we are as useless as salt without saltiness of a candle under a bucket (Matthew 5:13-16). In outreach, our biggest priority is the Great Commission, that is evangelism and discipling others (Mark 16:15; Matthew 28:18-20).