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"Top Shelf Christianity" -
A handbook to becoming a Christian

"but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ,
the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." Jn.20:31

Chapter Five
Seek and Ye Shall Find
…………................................................................ by ric justiss

Seek and ye Shall Find.  Matt. 7: 7, Luke 11:9
This is the great promise of the scriptures.

The Doctrine of Seeking is a challenging study in and of itself.   Volumes upon
volumes have been written by great theologians and students of the scriptures on this
subject, knowing full well that it is vital to understand in light of being a capable  
physician of the soul.    Ministers are not ministers without understanding it. So many
ministers and pastors of today attend us so poorly.  To the uncoverted man on the
street who inquires of how to come to God, asking what he must do to be saved, what
he must do to go to heaven, the preacher and teacher has to get this one right, and not
just leave the man on the street with a shrug of indifference, or just a prayer to recite,
or a prayer that perhaps they will find their answer.  Bringing the lost to Christ, to the
throne of Christ's grace, is our job.  

The Doctine of Seeking answers the question "What must I Do to be saved?"   When
that question is asked of a Christian friend or minister, the answer can vary, vastly,
from person to person.    Christians, including ministers, simply are not taught how to
really lead someone to  Jesus Christ.  Hundreds, even thousands, who have wanted to
be saved, have been guided to say the sinner's prayer, but have not been taught
anything about the process of seeking God.

"Strive to enter by the narrow door, for many, I say to you, will seek but not be able."  
Luke 13:24
  Who will God accept into the Kingdom of Heaven?  I know we will have to
be covered in the blood of Christ before He will accept us.
(1 John 1:7,  Rev. 1:5)  And
even then, it is Christ in us that he is accepting, and not us.  No preacher has ever
preached to more people than the great Billy Graham.  He always closed his sermons
with the song, Just As I AM.   And thousands have walked down the aisle, thinking and
believing that God actually will accept them just as they are.  But God does not just
accept us as we are.  There are things we have to do.  There are things we have to
become.  There are changes we have to make.  We have to follow Christ.  We have to
become Disciples (students).  We have to learn.  We learn the story of Christ, learn of
his life, his death, his burial and his resurrection.  And we learn how  it is only through
Christ that we can come to God.  There is no other way.  We learn and then we
respond to the knowledge we have learned by doing.  When we learn about the life
and death of Jesus, we respond by believing the story.  We learn that God sent Jesus
into the world to save the lost, and we listen up to what Jesus had to say.  We study
his teachings.  And we obey.  

Seek and ye shall find.  This is the promise.

I recall the story told of the young man that came to the preacher, wanting to know.  He
was the kind of guy that you know was looking for some kind of an answer for his life.  
His eyes were dark and thoughtful.  The preacher asked him to come into his cluttered
office.  He made  a space on the navy couch and poured both of them a cup of coffee.  
The young man quickly said, “You need to know that I am not a member of your
church.  I don’t intend to be.  You don’t need to try to recruit me.”  The preacher
nodded his head.  He was not sure why he was there.    He said, “I have a burning
question that I have been trying to get answered for some time.  I am hoping that you
can answer it.”  The preacher was confident.  After all, he had a recent degree in
theology.  His bookshelves were lined with wonderful books written by powerful
authors.  “Tell me, preacher, I just want to know what counts.  Don’t give me any
theological jargon.  I have a degree in that.  Get to the heart of it, okay?  I want to know
what counts.”   “What really matters?  What counts?  Tell me.  Skip the periphery.  Go
to the essence.  Tell me the part that matters.”

The preacher tells that he looked over at the young man for what seemed like an
eternity.  He says that his question hung in the air for the longest time.  The preacher
thought to himself.   He could tell him about the church.  He could have told him what
he really believes about God, or called out the words to the Twenty-Third Psalm.  But
all of those things seemed so small.  You see, he did want the meat.  Stop and listen to
his question for a minute.  Can you hear it?  Can you feel his frustration?  He said,
“Give me what  matters!”  

What does matter, friends?  In our Bibles of over a thousand pages, what really
matters?  Among the do’s and the don’ts and the should and the should nots, what is
crucial and essential?  Maybe you have wrestled with the question yourself.  Maybe
there has been a dry season in your life, a time when your prayers felt empty.  Maybe
there has been a time when you just went through the motions and wondered if there
was more.  Is this all that there is?  Sunday attendance.  Pretty songs.  Faithful giving.  
Golden crosses.  Big choirs. Contemporary bands.  Leather Bibles.  Now do not get
me wrong.  These things are nice and wonderful, but where is the heart of it?

Seek and ye shall find.  This is the promise.

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for
our sins according to the scriptures."  I Cor. 15:5

This is the message Paul preached first, that which he considered the most important.  
Read on to the other things that Paul says,
“...and that he was buried, and that he was
raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to
Cephas, then to the twelve."

The part that matters.   I think that if he were in my office today, I would tell him about
the drama of that windy, spring day and what happened on the hill.  The Bible speaks
of many great and wonderful things.  It talks about what our relationship with God
ought to be like.  It speaks of how we are to treat one another and pursue
righteousness.  It speaks of the necessity of prayer and the power of forgiveness.  It
speaks of living as ones who are prepared to be with Jesus.  I know all that.  You know
all of that.  The Bible tells us to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins and the living of
a right life.  We know all of that.  But the most important word in all of the Bible is not
about right living.  The  most significant word in the Bible tells us what God did for us
in Jesus.  God sent him here.  He lived and he taught his heart out.  When it was time,
he died, he was buried, he rose again, and then, he gave us the Spirit - his promise that
we would never be alone again.  It is the part that matters.  His love for us.  And
sometimes we miss it.  This scripture is a preacher’s dream because it gives us the
chance to talk about the most important thing.

The most important part is Love.  God's love for us.  Christ's love for you and me.  We
believe the great and wonderful story of love, of how God so loved the world that he
gave his only begotton son, he sent his son to live in this world, and that through his
life, his death, and his resurrection, we can have forgiveness of our sins and we can
have life eternal in Heaven, a life eternal loving and praising our Lord.

And once we fully, truly, completely believe that story, well then, your seeking of God
will begin forever. And it will be a lifelong journey.  Believing the story of Jesus is the
foundation from which everything else develops and builds.  You cannot skip it.  If you
believe it, you will begin seeking after God.  If you do not believe it, well, there will not
be much of a change in your life.

I Jn 4:8-9   He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent
His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.

Eph 2:4-6    But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love
with which He loved us,  even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive
together with
Christ (by grace you have been saved),  and raised us up together, and made us sit
together in the heavenly  places in Christ Jesus.

John 3 :16
, yes the most famous of all scripture, says it most succinctly.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
 The text literally says, God
so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that the believing ones (those
who believe) will not perish but have everlasting life.  And many similar versus state
the same truth.

It is the sin in our life, and on our record that causes us to be separated from God.  A
cracked vase, whether it has one crack or fifty cracks is imperfect.  That would be an
unacceptable state if perfection is the prerequisite.  We may not be completely bad or
horrible people, but any sin in our life renders us unacceptable before God.

And certainly different people will have varying degrees of sin marked up against
them.  Jesus told the Pharisees that they would  receive the greater damnation for their
Matthew 23:14, Woe unto you scribes and pharisee, hypocrites!  for ye devour
widow's houses, and for a pretense make long prayers:  therefore ye shall receive the
greater damnation."
 So we know from the words of Christ there are degrees in Hell.

And we are told of those who gain a great amount of knowledge about God, but in that
"enlightened" state, more is expected of them, and they will be judged more harshly
for their sins.

I think this illustration will help.  Imagine standing on the pier overlooking the ocean.  
And let us imagine the ocean is God's wrath.  NOW i take a container, say a glass, and
toss it into the ocean.  It sinks, but only contains a certain amount of water.  I then
throw in a bucket and it does the same - it is filled to capacity.  I also do the same with a
55 gallon drum. All 3 are filled to capacity.  All 3 are filled with the wrath of God.  Each
one of them contains the exact punishment to the measure of their sin.  Men are like
this at the Judgment.  They are sentenced to their exact measure of sin.  Some will
receive greater damnation than others, but Hell will nevertheless be Hell for all who go
there.  The torment is proportioned to the sin committed.

But Jesus was the perfect sacrifice.  His sacrifice is accepted by God because He was
the perfect man who obeyed the Law at every point, something we cannot do. He is
the God-man who upheld God's righteousness in the Law and gave Himself willingly
for sinners as a sacrifice.  When Jesus willingly offered up His life on behalf of His
people and died on the cross for them, He takes away their sin.  He removes the wrath
of God from them.  The wrath of God is satisfied with the sacrifice of the perfect Jesus
Christ.  There is a famous hymn that speaks of the "double-cure."  He removes our sin
and clothes us in His righteousness.  

You are still alive and living on this earth.  You should view every breath as an
opportunity to be saved from Hell.  God is pleased to grant salvation to seekers.
1 John 5:13
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you
know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of
the Son of God.

If you believe the great story of love, you can be saved.

You can pinpoint the exact day and time when your sins are forgiven.  All your sins,
gone forever.  God will have forgotten them.  They will never be brought up again.   
They will be removed as far as the east is from the west.  The slate is wiped clean.  

You may have grown up hearing bit and pieces of the story of Christ and even
attended your fair share of church, but not ever given full consideration to the great
story of God's love and the sacrifice of Jesus.  But once you honestly consider the
story and believe it, you now have faith.  And it is through this faith, that one believes
to be true whatever is revealed in the Bible, the Word of God.  You will come to  feel a
driving obedience to obey the Word of God.  You embrace the promises of God,
delivered to you through Jesus.  You come to understand that your faith, saving faith,
is accepting, receiving and resting upon Christ alone for justification and eternal life.  
And your faithful obedience to God's word will lead you to be baptized.

Mar 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not
shall be damned.
Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ
was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in
newness of life.
And at that moment, when you are raised up out of the water, your sins are forgiven.  
Just like that.  All your sins are gone.  Washed away.  Washed away by the blood of
Christ.  And they are gone forever.
John 6:40 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 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

Act 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins,
calling on the name of the Lord.

Jesus had a way of expressing great truths simply.  Seek and ye shall find. An
enormous amount of truth is crammed into those few words.  Seeking and finding go
together according to Christ.  The implication is that we find what we seek, and
nothing else.  We do not seek one thing and find another. Those who seek God, find
God. Those people who find truth, are those who love it and look for it  Also, those
who love a lie will not be disappointed.  They will find it.

Only those who honestly seek to please God will be successful in the end.



Chapter 1 - Once we understand the grandeur of heaven, nothing will be more important to us
than being sure we have a home in heaven awaiting us at the end of this life.

Chapter 2 - If we want to go to heaven, we will have to change.  We have to change, or convert,
from living one way to living another way.

Chapter 3 - Once we do change, we will find out that we are much happier.

Chapter 4 - The Christian life is more than a set of rules that must be followed, but rather is a
process of  slowly  building and developing certain attitudes and character qualities which
prepare you and mold you into a person pleasing in the eyes of God.

Chapter 5 - Jesus had a way of expressing great truths simply.  Seek and ye shall find. An
enormous amount of truth is crammed into those few words.  Seeking and finding go together
according to Christ.  The implication is that we find what we seek, and nothing else.