Monthly Archives: December 2013

Dealing with the End of All Things.

Dearest Brethren, The end of all things is at hand.  It has been for some time now.  Each generation of Christians have thought the same as we do today: “How can things get much worse?”  Each generation has had to deal with a turbulent and spiteful world system, while at the same time loving the souls that are captured by it.  How did they do it in the past?  How can we deal with this awkward and evil situation ourselves? 

Well, it is safe to assume that they took comfort and instruction from the Word of God.  In 1 Peter 4:7-10 we are instructed to be “…sober and watch unto prayer.”  Most importantly, to “…have fervent charity among…” ourselves because charity covers a “…multitude of sins.”  Furthermore, to be hospitable “…one to another without grudging…” and to take care of each other as we “minister “…as good stewards of …” “grace”. 

To not get duped by this world system, we need to be sober.  This deals directly with the intoxicating influence of alcohol, liquor or spirits.  But too, it addresses the influence of any passion of worldly influence.  In other words, it addresses keeping one’s “right mind.”  You have heard it said that in any stressful situation you should not panic, to keep your wits about you?  This admonition speaks to keeping a sober mind.  If we do so, then we will be attentive to the sneakiness of the Devil.  He is more deceptive than one can ever imagine.  How can we combat this deception?  How can we keep sober?  We must pray.  But not just any old praying.

Dealing with the deception of the Devil is like suddenly realizing we are in the middle of a field of land mines.  We find ourselves in such precarious situations because we do not pay attention to where we walk.  By ourselves, we can never detect the mines; they are so well hidden.  So we need a mine detector to sweep the area in front of us so we can find the mines.  Only then we can traverse the field safely.  Our prayer to God needs to be for a mine detector of spiritual deception of the Devil.  We need to ask God to show us were the mines are that can so easily trip us up.

“God please show me where the Devil is working on my life.  He wants me to fall, and I cannot see His deception.  Please identify them and help me to go around them so I can walk through this day for you without being a casualty.”

Charity (i.e. Love) is our combative weapon for dealing with a love stripped world system.

Love does not beat people down for their problems of failures.  Love either exalts someone else or says nothing at all that would be derogatory about them.

People of the world system love too!  There is no doubt about that.  They were created in the image of God as well, so they too have the attributes and emotions that God has.  It is just that they use them for things they are not meant to be used for.  Have you ever needed a screwdriver for some household chore and couldn’t find one?  I’ll bet you headed for the utensil drawer of the kitchen and picked out a butter knife to use it as a screwdriver.  What happened?  Did  you bend the tip because the screw was too tight?  Probably.

The world uses love to love self and not others.  They use something God gave them for helping others for themselves.  They bent the tip and ruined it.

Christians need not “bend the tip.”  Loving one another is the only combative weapon that Christians have to fight back against this world system.

How is it so effective in fighting the world system?  It covers the multitude of sins.  It looks beyond peoples faults.  You say, “But he/she does things wrong.”  Yes, you will notice the faults of others.  We all do that.  But love is when we know someone’s faults, but we choose to ignore it.  We choose to not bring it up.  We choose to not make a big deal about it.  That is love.  That is how Christians treat each other, especially during these last days.  We have enough enemies.  There are enough people in the world telling us to love self, pointing out our faults and directing/establishing blame.  With love, we don’t need any of that.

This is where “grudging” or begrudging comes in.  There are enough people in our lives that hold grudges.  “Grudging” is: being uneasy at another’s possession of something which we have a desire to possess.  Somebody else has something and we want it.  That is holding a grudge.  This can be with a physical object (new car, tv, dress, etc.) as well as prestige, honor or focus.  When someone gets special favor and you don’t, that is grudging.  Why does he/she get attention and I don’t?  Usually, we won’t say it out loud to someone because we are afraid of sounding petty or immature.  But we should not even think it for even one second, and if we do, we should shake that thought out of our head immediately.  That is called love.  That is thinking better of our brother or sister and rejoicing in their blessing.  This is how we minister to one another—LOVE.

With this type of living, all of our Christian ancestors have survived under difficult circumstances.  In fact, the trials for some was death, torture and degradation.  Yet they still loved.  Why?  They did so to cope with the difficulties they experienced.  After all, what kind of life would you have if all you ever did was begrudging and hating your entire life?

So, let us be sober and watch unto prayer.  Lets look for ways to love each other and the community in which we live.  What can we do in the life of another person that can make their journey along the pathway of this life a little easier?  Then, let us turn it into a fervent love so we can cover sin.  Sin does not need to be exposed and exalted.  It needs to be disdained and covered over with the blood of the Lamb.  Lets have a little grace.  With grace we can minister to each other.  The primary ones to “hold up” are those of our own church first.  It is no good to help other Christians while overlooking those of our own family.  In this we are “…stewards of the manifold grace of God.”        ~Pastor

GRANDMAS ARE SMART

 

I was out walking with my grandson.  He picked up something off of the ground and started to put it in his mouth.  I took the item away from him and I asked him not to do that.

“Why?” my grandson asked.

“Because it’s been on the ground; you don’t know where it’s been, it’s dirty, and probably has germs. Sometimes germs make little boys sick and not feel good” I replied.

At this point, my grandson looked at me with total admiration and asked, “Grandma, how do you know all this stuff? You are so smart.”

I was thinking quickly and said to him, “All Grandmas know stuff. It’s on the Grandma Test. You have to know it, or they don’t let you be a Grandma.”  We walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, but he was evidently pondering this new information.

“Oh…I get it! He beamed, so if you don’t pass the test you have to be the Grandpa.”

“Exactly,” I replied with a big smile on my face.

I Can’t Pray?

After being interviewed by the school administration, the prospective teacher said: “Let me see if I’ve got this right. You want me to go into that room with all those kids, correct their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse, monitor their dress habits, censor their T-shirt messages, and instill in them a love for learning?”

“You want me to check their backpacks for weapons, wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, and raise their sense of self esteem and personal pride?”

“You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, and how to register to vote, balance a checkbook, and apply for a job?”

“You want me to check their heads for lice, recognize signs of antisocial behavior, and make sure that they all pass the final exams?”

“You also want me to provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps, and communicate regularly with their parents in English, Spanish or any other language, by letter, telephone, newsletter, and report card?”

“You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books, a big smile and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps?”

“You want me to do all this, and then you tell me……

I CAN’T PRAY?”

Starting a Church is like Raising a Baby

Starting a new church in a community is not an easy task at all.  It takes time and devotion.  There will be joy as well as anguish.  As it grows and is able to stand on it’s own two feet, it will take on a mind of it’s own; it will strive for independence, not from God, but from those who helped start it.  This is a good sign, for then, and only then, could you say, “It is established.”  But until that time, there is much to pay attention to, and much to do.

Babies are funny creatures.  They are so innocent and helpless.  They need to be taught everything they are going to learn except crying.  Boy, do babies know how to cry!  The tiniest of human beings can sure make a loud sound when they want or need something.  Then we must find out what it is that they need and take care of it.  Sometimes it is changing a diaper, other times it is feeding.  There are even times when they are sick and we have to figure out what to do.  That is the problem—figuring out what the baby needs.  This is because they can’t talk to us and say, “Hey Mom, you’re a little tardy with the food this morning.  Don’t you know that I am supposed to be fed on my schedule and not yours?”  They just say, “WAHAAAHHHHH!” and we jump into action.  In fact, the whole house jumps into action, and we quickly learn that the whole house revolves around the baby.

Babies are expensive.  They need “baby things.”  You can’t just give a baby an old stick from the back yard and expect them to “make believe” they have a doll or something.  You have to get them “baby dollies,” and they don’t come cheap.  They have to be made for the safety and development of the baby.  Not only that, you have to get a whole new assortment of furniture, just for the baby.  There are: cribs, changing tables, hampers, high chairs, rockers, and a bunch of other little things.  There are doctor visits too.  Babies need to keep going to the doctor to check their development.  All of this to say, if you love your baby, you will get as many things you can to help the baby grow.  Why?  Because you love the baby and want it to grow up.

Now you know that you must feed a baby.  If you don’t feed the baby, and ignore its cries, things for the baby don’t just stay the same—they get worse.  If you don’t feed the baby, the baby doesn’t just stay in that level or growth and development until you resume feeding again.  The baby begins to regress.  It begins to deteriorate.  If you took a 6 month old child and stuck them in a closet somewhere for a few years and then pulled them out, you wouldn’t have a healthy 6 month old baby to resume feeding and care for.  That baby would have regressed until it died.  This is a frightful thought to say the least.  The point is, you must keep maintaining the child for it to develop.  It needs a carefully managed diet.  It needs lessons in things like walking, holding spoons, sitting up and many more things.  If you stop the lessons, the baby begins to lose the things it has learned and does not develop.  In fact it doesn’t just stay idle, it regresses.  Babies must be cared for if they are to keep developing!  If you don’t care for it, then it begins shrinking and getting weak.

Starting a new church is much like having a baby and raising it up.  It does not just grow on its own.  The first part of its growth is like the womb phase.  It must be comforted in the warmth and love of its mommy’s tummy.  There it knows it is protected and cared for.  It grows in love, nurture and admonition.  It hasn’t a care in the world except growing to its birth.  It is totally dependent on its mother.

New church starts too are dependent on their mothers—that is their mother churches.  The mother church is not to be confused with the Catholic Church which is often referred to as “the mother church.”  It is a reference to the church that sends out the preacher or missionary for the purpose of starting a church in another place.  The church that sends out the missionary is like: “the Mother Church.”  Another reference to it in this day and age is: “the Sending Church.”  Without a mother church, there is no “womb phase” for the starting church.  There can be no church if there is no “womb phase.”  This is the phase where the sending church helps the baby church get started.  This usually happens by training up a preacher to this cause.  Then sending some people from the mother church to go and help canvass neighborhoods to get a small group to form the church.  The sending church typically supports the pastor financially in some way and helps provide necessary equipment like, pews, pulpits, etc. for the church to get started.  This is the womb phase.  It is a very delicate phase for a new church and it is important for them to know that they are safely snug in their mommy’s tummy; protected and cared for.  Without this phase, it is nearly impossible for any new church to be born, for it can be compared with having a premature baby.  When babies come pre-mature, it is a very delicate and critical time, because they can easily die.  So it is with a new church start.

Once a church is born, it is still not healthy enough to walk on its own.  It still needs help learning how to walk, hold its spoons, bottles, etc.  It only learns this from watching others, and that is almost always its mommy.  Again, this is where the sending church is crucial.  As the devil would like for children to remain undeveloped, so would he like new churches to remain that way.  Someone needs to gently guide, comfort and encourage the baby in its growth.  So is it with a new church.

As the sending church is crucial in this roll, so do the members of the church plant have responsibility. Their responsibility is to respond to and learn the lessons being taught it.  That is, if they are to remain safe from the devil’s attacks.  The members of the church plant have the difficult job of learning and growing.  This cannot be done if they refuse to do the things necessary to grow.  If they don’t try to develop, they never will.  Just like the baby who begins growing finds it new and difficult to learn crucial lessons like crawling and then walking, the church has the same difficulty.  Prior to this, mommy is doing everything for the baby, but now she is beginning to make the baby stand up, or crawl.  The mother church begins this long arduous weaning process.  As this happens, more and more of the members have to pitch in and work.  If they do not, the church will fail.  The members cannot go on in their “comfort zone” forever.  They must begin working, if they truly want a church.

There are times when babies need their diapers changed and need to be cleaned up.  It is the same way with the church.  When the baby gets dirty, all it can do at first is to just yell and cry.  Amazingly, that seems to be the same way it goes in new churches.  People seem to just scream and cry about the dirty condition of the church, but no one does anything about it.  All they want is the loving touch of mommy to take away the problem for them, but guess what; they eventually have to learn to use the potty just like the big kids do.  If members of a church plant are ever to develop to an established church, they will need to learn how to deal with their own dirty diapers; they will need to learn how to go to the potty.  This equates to growing as a Christian.  It means that they become proactive in HELPING each other and not tearing each other down.  It takes a loving, kind and patient heart to work with a baby until it learns how to use the potty.  Church members should be the same way to each other.

Help for Sifted Saints in Trials

Luke 22:31-34 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

A shipwrecked man managed to reach an uninhabited island. There, to protect himself against the elements and to safeguard the few possessions he had salvaged, he painstakingly built a little hut from which he constantly and prayerfully scanned the horizon for the approach of a ship. Returning one evening after a search for food, he was terrified to find the hut completely enveloped in flames. Yet by divine mercy this hard affliction was changed into a mighty advantage. Early the following morning he awoke to find a ship anchored off the island. When the captain stepped ashore, he explained, “We saw your smoke signal and came.” Everything the marooned man owned had to be destroyed before he could be rescued.

The trials and adversities of life are never pleasant, but in them we learn the secrets of His presence. None of us wishes for trials or adversity, but it is through them that God refines the metal of our lives and molds us into His image. Just as metal is placed in a furnace and heated to a white hot state so the dross can be removed, God allows us to enter the furnace of affliction so that He might refine and purify our lives.

In our text, Simon Peter is made to understand the fact that he is about to be tested. He is encouraged in this revelation by the fact that the Lord Himself will take an active part in his trial. I know people who are going through adversity. I know they face battles and trials that cannot be imagined. However, I also know there is hope! This passage lets us know that we do not have to fail in the attacks of life. We do not have to crawl away in defeat, never to be heard from again. Anyone can endure the trials, tests and adversities of life. Even if you have failed, you can still rise from the ashes and salvage what Satan has attempted to destroy. There is Help For Sifted Saints.

“Satan Is Determined To Destroy Your Life with trials!”

Jesus tells Peter that Satan has made a request to have “all” the disciples to test the reality of their faith. The word “desired” means “to demand, to ask for oneself.” The word “you” is plural in nature. It is a request for all the disciples. His demand is that he might “sift” them. This is an agricultural term that refers to the savage process of separating the husk of the wheat from the grain. The wheat was crushed under foot, then it was agitated, or thrown into the air. The chaff, or husk, was blown away by the wind and all that was left behind was the good grain. Satan wanted to tear at the heart of God by proving that there was no reality to the faith of the disciples. Satan believed that he could crush them, sift them and that nothing would be left but a lost heart. He had already done this with Judas! He believed that he could do it to the rest.

We battle a determined enemy. He wants nothing more than to cut the heart of God by sifting our lives. He wants to prove that we are phonies. He wants to show God and the world that there is nothing to our professions of faith. He wants to destroy everything of value in your life.  The Bible tells us in 1 Pet. 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”  He wants to ruin your testimony. He wants to destroy your home. He wants to wreck your influence. He wants to take away everything of value in your life and leave you with nothing but a devastated shell of what you had!

If he can get you to believe a false profession, he will. If he can get your eyes off Jesus, he will. If he can drive a wedge between you and the members of your family, he will. If he can drive a wedge between you and the members of your church, he will. He will do everything he can to cut the heart of God and ruin your life! He will use whatever tactic he deems necessary to get you to fall, just like he did to Adam and Eve in Gen. 3:1-6. He will never stop until you fall, or you die!

If the devil gets his way in your life and you succumb to his attacks, remember this: Your sin doesn’t just affect you, it affects everyone around you! It is the absolute height of selfishness to live just to please yourself, while having no regard to what your sin is doing to your family, your church and to others in your sphere of influence! Surely you will agree with the Bible where it says in Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”! David’s sin with Bathsheba, (2 Sam. 11), affected him, Bathsheba, their baby, Bathsheba’s husband, and the house of David for years to come! You never walk away clean when you choose to walk away in sin!

“The Saints Have A Powerful Ally In Their Corner during trials!”

While all the disciples were in Satan’s sights, Peter received the promise of intercession. Jesus was praying for them all, but He spoke especially to Peter, because He knew that Peter was about to take the biggest fall, v. 34. Sin isn’t a maybe in our lives, it is a given!  The Bible tells us, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10).  All the disciples failed the Lord that night, Mark 14:50 “…they all forsook him, and fled.”  But Peter went beyond simple failure into the realm of outright denial of any relationship to Jesus when he said in Luke 22:57, “…Woman, I know him not.”

The times of testing and failure will come in our lives, but in the midst of them, let us take courage in the fact that we have Someone pleading our case, taking our part, praying for us in Heaven:

  • Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
  • Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
  • 1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

Satan may have his devices and his schemes to tempt us and try us, but he doesn’t have the last word! In the midst of his scheming and planning, Jesus “butts” in to stand by our side until the trial has passed! He will never leave us, regardless of the task or trial.  He says, “…I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”, (Heb. 13:5.)

Just because a temptation is offered to you, that does not mean that you have to fall into sin. Jesus has equipped us with all the resources we will ever need to be able to withstand anything the devil throws at us:

  • 1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
  • Hebrews 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
  • James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

“No Failure from trials Should Ever Be Considered Final!”

Jesus makes it clear that Peter will fall, “when thou art converted”, means “when you have repented, or come back to me”, but that his fall will not be the final statement of his life. He was going to be restored and he was going to be used of the Lord in a great way. His preaching at Pentecost, and the great acts of faith of his life are some of those ways.

People may come under this kind of attack someday and fall into sin. Some have fallen and have already come back. Others have fallen and are still in that fallen state. It is comforting to know that your fall does not have to define your life!

God has made provision for the cleansing and the restoration of those who fall into sin. Those provisions include Confession, Repentance and Forgiveness. When we come clean about our sins and turn from them, the Lord will forgive and restore the fallen one to a place of service and blessing.  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  This truth is illustrated in the life of the Prodigal Son and what happened when he returned to his father, Luke 15:11-24.

When a person walks away from the things of the Lord and goes into sin and stays there, it means that one of two things is true:

  1. They were never really saved.  1 John 2:19 says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would not doubt have continued with us: bur they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

  2. They are in open rebellion and are subject to the wrath and chastisement of the Lord.  Rev. 3:19 says, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Genuine faith will falter, but it will never utterly fail! Peter came back because he was saved. When he was sifted, it was proven that his profession was genuine. There was some chaff, but there was a grain of real faith too!

When a believer falls into sin, those who genuinely love them will seek to restore them, Gal. 6:1-2. They will not condone or support their sinful actions, but they will not abandon them completely either!

“Never Say Never during trials!”

When Peter hears this prediction he, in typical Peter style, boasts of his love and devotion to the Lord. He vows to go to prison or even to death to prove his allegiance to Jesus. Peter forgot a very important principle of life, “Never Say Never!” No one is above falling into the snare of the enemy. Only when you are in his sifter can you know exactly what you will do! It is a dangerous thing to rely upon yourself and your ability to withstand temptation and testing.  The Bible says, “…let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor. 10:12). We’ve all seen someone act in certain ways and we have said, “I would never do that!” Be careful!

You are weakest in the area of your greatest strength! That may sound like a contradiction or a paradox, but it is true nonetheless! When you begin to think you have an area of your life absolutely conquered and that sin cannot possibly occur there, you will tend to let your guard down. When that happens you can be sure that the enemy will target you for sifting! Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”  Proverbs 28:26 says, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”  If you have the feeling that “It can’t happen to me!”, you are in danger of falling today!

The way an Eskimo kills a wolf is grizzly, yet it offers fresh insight into the consuming, self-destructive nature of sin. First the Eskimo coats his knife blade with animal blood and allows it to freeze. Then he adds another layer of blood, and another, until the blade is completely concealed by frozen blood. Next, the hunter fixes his knife in the ground with the blade up. When a wolf follows his sensitive nose to the source of the scent and discovers the bait, he licks it, tasting the fresh frozen blood. He begins to lick faster, more and more vigorously, lapping the blade until the keen edge is bare. Feverishly now, harder and harder, the wolf licks the blade in the Arctic night. So great becomes the craving for blood that the wolf does not notice the razor sharp sting of the naked blade on his own tongue nor does he recognize the instant at which his insatiable thirst is being satisfied by his own warm blood. His carnivorous appetite just craves more–until the dawn finds him dead in the snow!

Such is the power sin has to destroy our lives. Thankfully, it does not have to be that way. Jesus has done everything necessary to provide a plan of salvation that will work for all people. He has promised to pray for us and to see us through the times of temptation and sifting. He has promised to receive, forgive and restore us when we do fail. There is no need for anyone to allow sin to devastate their life. If you want help as you face the times of sifting in life, you will find it in Jesus, and in Him alone!

JESUS: THE SYMPATHETIC SAVIOR

He painted a sign advertising the pups and set about nailing it to a post on the edge of his yard. As he was driving the last nail into the post, he felt a tug on his overalls. He looked down into the eyes of a little boy.

“Mister,” he said. “I want to buy one of your puppies.”

“Well,” said the farmer, as he wiped the sweat off the back of his neck, “these puppies come from fine parents and cost a good deal of money.”

The boy dropped his head for a moment. Then reaching deep into his pocket, he pulled out a handful of change and held it up to the farmer. “I’ve got thirty-nine cents. Is that enough to take a look?”

“Sure,” said the farmer. And with that he let out a whistle. “Here, Dolly!” he called. Out from the doghouse ran Dolly followed by four little balls of fur. The little boy pressed his face against the chain-link fence. His eyes danced with delight.

As the dogs made their way to the fence, the little boy noticed something else stirring in the doghouse. Slowly another little ball appeared; this one noticeably smaller. In a somewhat awkward manner the little puppy began hobbling toward the others, doing its best to catch up. This was clearly the runt of the litter.

“I want that one,” said the boy pointing to the runt.

The farmer knelt down at the boy’s side and said, “Son, you don’t want that puppy. He will never be able to run and play with you like these other dogs would.”

With that the little boy stepped back from the fence, reached down, and began rolling up the leg of his trousers. In doing so, he revealed a steel brace running down both sides of his leg and attaching itself to a specially made shoe. Looking back up at the farmer, he said, “I don’t run too well myself, and he will need someone who understands.”

Sinners need that same sort of understanding! Praise the Lord there is a Savior who loves sinners and understands us like we are. At the same time He never condones our sin. He is holy and He hates sin. However, He knows what we are made of and He knows what we face in our lives day by day.  “…he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”, Psa. 103:14. How does He have this kind of information about humans? He lived as one for 33 years.  “…and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”, Phil. 2:7-8!

As we look at the portrait John paints of Jesus in John 8:1-11, a picture develops of a Sympathetic Savior. He doesn’t show One who is soft on sin, but of One who loves sinners and reaches out to them in grace, forgiveness and love. That is the Savior I want to address in this article: Jesus, The Sympathetic Savior.

According to the account, there was a woman who was caught in the very act of adultery. She was guilty before the face of the Lord and before the world. Adultery is a vile sin, but it is no worse than any other.  “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”, James 2:10.  Even if we never committed any sin with our bodies or our minds, we would still be guilty before the Lord!

  • Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
  • Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
  • Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

We are all as guilty as this woman, our problem is that we simply won’t admit to it.  “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”, Pro. 28:13.

In their haste to bring this woman to Jesus, her accusers probably didn’t give her sufficient time to get properly dressed before they brought her into public. However that may have been, she was certainly humiliated by the public accusation and disclosure of her sin.

Sin is a shameful thing! No matter how skillfully it is hidden from the eyes of others, Jesus knows all about it and one day it will be revealed before all.  “Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon housetops.”, Luke 12:3.  Saddest of all, the truth about your profession will also be made public one day.  In Matthew 7:22-23 we are told, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?  and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:  depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Wouldn’t it be far better to get everything right with the Lord and have nothing to fear then? There will come a day of judgment and of full disclosure.  We are clearly told about this in Rev. 20:11-15 which tells about the Great White Throne Judgment.

Her accusers were absolutely correct! According to the Law, she deserved to die (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22). There was one small problem here: Where was her partner? Both were supposed to die for this sin! The man may have been part of this scheme to attack Jesus. He may have been allowed to slip away. Nevertheless, this woman was guilty and she deserved to die.

Nobody gets away with sin! The penalty of it will always come due “…the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”, Eze. 18:4. There will come a payday someday! The only hope any sinner has is to run to Jesus. He offers the only hope anyone has in this world or the one to come. He is the only way.  “…no man comethi unto the GFather, but by me.”, John 14:6.  In there effort to humiliate this woman and to discredit the Lord, they brought her to the best possible place. They brought her to the very man who could deal with her past and her problems and who could make it all right.  Never think that Jesus doesn’t care for you. He is the sinner’s Friend! Even in His day, He was known to hang out with notorious sinners, (Luke 7:34; Luke 15:2; Luke 19:7). Jesus isn’t concerned about His reputation, He is only concerned with your eternal soul!

These men had it in their heads to pin Jesus on the horns of a dilemma. If Jesus simply let the woman go, then He would be seen as being easy on sin and could have been arrested for being in violation of the Law. If, however, He gave permission for the woman to be killed, He could then be accused before Rome as an upstart and a seditionist, and He would have destroyed His reputation as being the “friend of publicans and sinners”. They felt that no matter what Jesus said, He had no wiggle room.

These religious men are just like legalists in our day. They couldn’t have cared less about this woman, her sin, her soul, or her eternal destiny. All they cared about was pressing their agenda, and their brand of righteousness. Things haven’t changed! All Pharisees are the same!

Their plan might have succeeded with any ordinary man, but they were dealing with Jesus Christ, and He simply refused to play by their rules! When they tried to stump Jesus, They discovered that they had met their match. While they were talking to the Lord, He just knelt down and began to write on the ground. He had no use for their pettiness and lack of love for sinners.

What did Jesus write? Well, for 2,000 years, men have tried to solve that little mystery. The deep theological answer is that: We don’t know! However, maybe He wrote:

  1. The Ten Commandments. After all, it was his finger that wrote them the first time!
  2. Perhaps He wrote their names in fulfillment of Jeremiah 17:13.
  3. Maybe He wrote out Lev. 20:10 and Deut. 22:22.
  4. Maybe He simply wrote their girlfriends names in the sand.

Whatever the Lord wrote on the ground, it surely got their attention. He knows how to speak to hearts! How much better would it have been for them to come to Him by faith and miss all that exposure and punishment!

But they didn’t and they were exposed.  When Jesus did speak, He said, “He that is without sin among, let him first cast a stone at her.” Jesus wasn’t requiring that any judge be sinless. If that were the case then no human would ever be able to render judgment in any matter, even in a court of law. Jesus was saying to these hypocrites, “He that is free from this particular sin, let him first cast a stone at her.”  Adultery can be committed with the head and the heart just as surely as it may be committed with the body!

At this point, all the shouting came to a stop and all that could be heard was the dropping of their rocks and the shuffle of their sandles as they stole quietly away. These men had been exposed before their fellow man, the accused lady and most importantly before the Lord.  Giving them the benefit of the doubt that when they saw themselves as they really were, (Perhaps the most painful realization of all), they stopped calling for the death of this woman. One of the hardest things you can face is yourself as you really are! However, when you see yourself as being sinful, then you can do something about it. Paul would have went to Hell had he not been brought face to face with himself on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). When we are convicted of our sins, then is the time to come to Jesus. He is the only One who can deal with Man’s sin problem!

Only Jesus could have cleared the Temple after that fashion and when the last rock had hit the Temple floor, Jesus stood up and faced this sinful woman. As He stood before her, He was the only One the world has ever known who was qualified to take up the first stone, as well as the rest, and stone her to death. When she faced Jesus, she was facing the ultimate judge!  She had reached a place in her life where it was just her and Jesus. It always comes down to that! Eventually, somewhere, someday you are going to have to face Jesus. Probably He has given you opportunities in this life to come to Him. What have you done with them?  You will either receive Jesus at one of life’s encounters, or you will face Him on judgment day. Which would you rather it be? In the end, it always comes down to just you and Jesus. And, what you do with Him will determine where and how you spend eternity!

The only One qualified to throw a stone refused to do so! Jesus dealt with her on the basis of compassion. The religious men had condemned and considered her as good as dead, Jesus however, saw someone worthy of His love and worth salvaging. When she came to Jesus, she received 2 great blessings that forever changed her life. These same 2 blessings are the gift of God to all who receive Jesus as their Savior.

1. By her simple confession of Christ as Lord, salvation became her’s. That is all there is to being saved! Rom. 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved!” It doesn’t get any easier than that! Even small children can comprehend that truth and make it real in their lives. What about you? Have you taken this step of faith?  Anyone who wants to be saved can be saved through faith in the shed Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ! (Rev. 22:17; John 3:16; John 6:37.)

2. All of her life, she had been subject to the God of this world, Satan. She had been a prisoner of her own lusts and desires, (Eph. 2:1-3). Jesus, however, came and unlocked the shackles that held her bound in sin and He set her free! Imagine for a minute what happened the next time she saw her lover!  Jesus specializes in taking wasted, ruined lives and saving them by His grace and restoring them to usefulness. Every person who comes to Jesus for salvation receives this new lease on life.  The Bible says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17). We get a chance to begin again, and this time, we actually have a chance of making something out of our lives.

Maybe. Like this woman, your life has been wrecked and ruined by sin. Maybe you have been hurt by religious people. Maybe you are looking for a compassionate Savior, One who will make everything right. Why don’t you come to Jesus? He cares about you just like you are. He loves you and wants to save you. He wants to deliver you from your bondage. He wants to set you free. Therefore, He invites you to come to Him today. If there are issues in your life that need to be settled, Jesus is the place where they be taken care of forever. Will you bring your life to Jesus and let Him make it over?

The Importance of Soul Winning!

There are things that are important to us in life, but nothing is more important than soul winning. The soul is the part of man that lives forever. It is the part of man that feels pain or joy; happiness or sorrow. It is the center of the man.

Proverbs 11:30 says, “He that winneth souls is wise.” It is a wise and profitable thing to be a soul winner because it pleases God. He has a high evaluation of the soul winner. It is one of the dearest things to the heart of God. Consequently, it pays enormous eternal dividends. A man who turns peo­ple to righteousness is wise because he is laying up treasure in heaven.

Conversely, a Christian who is occupied with trivial matters of life is unwise. Majoring on minors is foolish. Therefore, not to win souls is to be guilty of the sin of folly.

If we are to be wise, we should actively be involved in soul winning of some kind. If we don’t know how to win a soul to the Lord, we should learn how to do so. I am sure you can ask your Pastor or Christian friend.

When is the last time you led someone to the Lord? Have you ever won someone to the Lord? There is no shortage of people that need to hear the gospel. They are wondering aimlessly through life, believing a lie that is leading them to hell. People want to be saved. They just don’t know what to do. They know there is an emptiness in their life that is not fulfilled. They know they need something, they just don’t know what it is or how to get it.

There is however, a shortage of Christians who are willing to tell the lost about salvation. There should not be, but there is. We need to be not so. The entire world is in need of the Lord Jesus Christ—and who will tell our neighbors? The Devil will have them hear all of his doctrine, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by every means possible. The Lord left the job of spreading the gospel up to us. Not the TV. Not the Internet. Not the radio. He left it up to us.

Spreading the gospel is not doing good deeds for others. It is not living a right life or even helping the poor. Spreading the gospel is to actively tell people how they can be saved; how they can know for sure they an go to heaven.

These are the last days that we are living in. We live in a unique time. No other people the history of mankind has had so much at stake as we havetoday. We are like the anchor runner in the relay race of life. Lets not drop the baton. Lets not run out of steam on the last lap. Lets give it all we have Got. Souls lie in the balance.

Ten Things I Wish Christians Knew About Homosexuality–Examined

Jim Rigby (a proclaimed preacher) posted on Facebook the Ten Things I wish the church knew about homosexuality. His very questions display his ignorance of the Bible and the subject for which he claims to be an authority. So that his teachings (and the teachings of others like him) do not infect innocent and ignorant minds, I have responded to his teachings below:

1. If Jesus did not mention a subject, it cannot be essential to his teachings. WRONG—You should read your Bible. Jesus as the son of God is the author of the entire Bible and He mentions much about the sin of homosexuality.

2. You are not being persecuted when prevented from persecuting others. YOU are being persecuted when others are NOT PREVENTED from persecuting YOU. SO, it depends on who is on the RIGHT SIDE and God’s side is always right for He is your CREATOR.

3. Truth isn’t like wine that gets better with age. It’s more like manna you must recognize wherever you are and whoever you are with. WRONG—Truth is truth no matter who you are with or wherever you are. It is not relative to your opinion or position.

4. You cannot call it “special rights” when someone asks for the same rights you have. WRONG—It is “special rights” when their rights oppose or conflict the rights of truth.

5. It is no longer your personal religious view if you’re bothering someone else. WRONG—Your personal religious view is your personal religious view no matter who is bothered by it. AND, if it is based on “truth” then it really doesn’t matter what your view is or not. It only matters what the truth is.

6. Marriage is a civil ceremony, which means it’s a civil right. WRONG—marriage is a command given to humans by their Creator who designed humans to fulfill that command. It is not a right whatsoever.

7. If how someone stimulates the pubic nerve has become the needle to your moral compass, you are the one who is lost. WRONG—If your moral compass offends the A-moral, then you are on the right track.

8. To condemn homosexuality, you must use parts of the Bible you don’t yourself obey. Anyone who obeyed every part of Leviticus would rightly be put in prison. WRONG—If man had obeyed the Books of Leviticus all along instead of swaying from it, then it would be the standard of living now. (Note: regarding homosexuality, the book of Leviticus (written to the Levite Priests) is not the only book in the Bible condemning homosexuality. There are the books of Genesis, Exodus, Proverbs, Psalms, Romans, etc.). Also, Jesus does not hate the homosexual, He hates homosexuality. Jesus loves the people of the world and died for them so they could have forgiveness of their sins and a means of overcoming them.

9. If we do not do the right thing in our day, our grandchildren will look at us with same embarrassment we look at racist grandparents. WRONG—It is never permissible to do the wrong thing based on how our grandchildren will look at us. If they were taught right, they would have hero’s instead of villans.

10. When Jesus forbade judging, that included you. WRONG—Jesus did not forbid judging. In fact He command us to judge the righteous judgment (Isa. 1:17; John 7:24) just as He gave us example in doing (John 5:30; 16:11)

Right, wrong, or indifferent, he obviously has no idea about what the Bible says about the subject.

JUST DO IT!

2011 Family Street Preaching 004I was pleased and overjoyed when God’s people go out on the streets preaching His Word.  I know that this really makes the Devil mad.  He would like nothing better than to discourage the entire church from doing anything for the Lord, AND he knows that the best time to do that is now.

It is so easy to just go to church and receive all of the blessings of God, and not really do anything to get people saved.  It takes a real love for the Lord to transcend from being a “taker” being a “giver” of the blessings of God.  Jesus said, “if  ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).    It takes a love for Jesus to do what He says and the final thing He told us to do before ascending into heaven was, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:”  If we are not actively engaged in trying to get people saved, then we are not following His commandment, and our love for Him should come under evaluation to see if it is appropriate.

I know that it encourages me to see others love the Lord so much so that they are really out there on the front lines doing something for Him.  Likewise, I know that it discourages me to see people doing nothing for the Lord.  I know one may say, “Well, I teach a Sunday school class.  Isn’t that doing something for the Lord?”  True, it is doing something for the Lord, but is it doing what He has commanded all Christians to do?  Is it what He wrote down in His Word?  Another might say, “Well, I have a family so I know that I already have a ministry; my first ministry is to my family and If I don’t take care of them, I am worse than an infidel.  Isn’t that doing something for the Lord?”  True, it is doing something for the Lord and He has made that clear in His Word that we are to take care of our family, but is that doing what he commanded regarding getting people saved?

 I know that it is easy to get distracted with the cares and burdens of life.  There is always something to do; some sickness to deal with; some appointment to keep.  All of these things are necessary, but we must be careful to not get out of balance and one day find out we have replaced them for the endeavor of getting people saved.  Why?  Because people are watching.

Everyone is watching our lives to see how a Christian is supposed to act; what they are supposed to be doing.  Our children are scrutinizing our life and learning by our actions how they are to approach living for the Lord.  For example: are they learning that going to church is something you show up “just on time” for, or even show up late?  Do they see you show up late for work?  For appointments with the world?  This is not to say that such things are not important, but what message are they getting when they compare those things of the world you are involved in with your relationship to God’s things?  Do they see you staying up all night to prepare for work, but “throwing together” something to teach in the House of the Living God?  What message do we think they might get?  Perhaps you are more vocal and straightforward with your attack upon God’s work by gossiping; running down the church or badmouthing the preacher or other Christians with your mouth (James 1:26; 3:5, 6, 8).  You are not doing anything to help God’s cause.  You are intentionally hurting God’s cause and discouraging your brothers and sisters as well.  Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth” (Luke 11:23).  I would certainly not want to find myself in that situation.  If I did, I would repent of that quickly.

It has been said that we cannot see the forest for the trees, likewise we cannot really see what message we are portraying by our actions because we are too close to the situation.  But, others are seeing the situation of our “life message” from a much greater vantage point.  They can “see the forest.”

Doing wrong things certainly preaches a message about how we really feel about something, but there is something more damaging:  that is when we don’t do something right.  Usually people think that: “if I just don’t do anything to hurt the cause, then I will be okay.”  But, this is not true.

Doing something you choose to do can be even more destructive than doing nothing at all, for it may border on the line of hypocritical.  That is to say, people may think that you are doing just fine, when all the time you are still not doing what the Lord commanded.  You certainly don’t look like you are against the Lord, you look like you are doing what God said when all the time you are doing nothing.  The message this preaches is: “How to look like you are doing what you should be doing, but not do it.”  The Christian who is not doing anything to witness or get people saved, is undermining the Lord’s work because of his/her inconsistency.  If they were actively witnessing (passing out tracts, holding signs, coming to visitation, etc), they would be inspiring and teaching others how a New Testament Saint is supposed to be acting.  This is very important, especially in this Laodicean age in which the entire world is void of true gospel witnesses.

Maybe it has been so long since you passed out a tract that you have become frightened.  Most people reason this down to one of the most popular lies of the Devil: “I don’t want to offend anyone.”  How offended do you think they would feel at the Great White Throne Judgment being dragged away by the angels to be thrown into the Lake of fire as you watch on, knowing that you could have at least done something to give them a chance.  I know I would wish you did something for me.  In fact, I am glad that someone did do something for me.

Sometimes the Devil convinces us that we just need to wait for the right moment; the right opportunity.  This is such a damaging lie that it is not even worth contemplating for the Child of God who loves His father.  God said, “…now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2).  Today is the day to tell someone about Jesus.  Now is the time to say something to your friend.

Instead of offending somebody, we should be thinking about offending the Lord.  He certainly would think highly of us if we were at least trying to get someone saved.  Inversely, how do you think He feels about us when we are doing nothing?  How will we really be able to stand before Him one day and give accounting for why we didn’t do what we were supposed to do?  Will it not be a question of love?

I know that most people feel inside that they would like to do something for the Lord.  In fact, they know that they should be witnessing, but they just don’t do it.  It becomes like so many “ruts” we experience in our lives when we get to that stage.  I would like to say I sympathize, but I really cannot, because I don’t want to endorse not doing what we should be doing.  Like giving advice to a smoker who is trying to quit; I don’t really want to tell them “its okay” because I don’t want them to give up trying.

So, while the Devil gets mad and tries to keep us in our “rut,” the only way out is to “JUST DO IT!”  The only way to change this situation is to just begin witnessing.  You can write a letter to a stranger, send them a tract, give a word of testimony outside the church, or hold up a Scripture sign.  There are many ways to “get onboard.”  Best of all is to come to the visitation time on Saturday mornings, even if it is just for a little bit.  You know there is strength in numbers, and if kids can do it, then we can too.  I’ll be there, and for your own spiritual health, I pray you will be there too!

~Pastor

Here We Go With The Atheist Again

Here we go with the Atheist again.  Recently they have taken out a huge billboard add proclaiming that Christianity is a myth.  In Times Square their add has Santa Claus on the top with the caption “Keep the Merry!”  A photo of Jesus on the cross at the bottom with the caption “Dump the myth!”  David Silverman, head of the American Atheist said a private donor paid more than $25,000 to post the billboard sign for one month.

They spend huge amounts of money trying to convince people that there is no God.  It simply is not enough that they don’t believe in God, they have to convince others to join their cause.  Why can they not let people believe as they wish?  Why do they attempt to steer people’s minds to their cause?

They are zealots.  They are not only non-believers in God, but they are fanatically against God.  They are haters of God and will not be satisfied unless others hate God as well.  I guess you could say they love their sin (Jer. 14:10; 2 Tim. 3:2).  They Love it so much that they don’t want to be accountable to anything that offends their love for it.

With that in mind, I am really quite amazed that their primary tactic in the war against God is to boldly proclaim that he is a fairy tale.  It’s amazing they are afraid of a fairy tale.  I mean really, if God and the Bible were really just a fairy tale, then why be afraid at all?  Why spend tremendous amounts of money just to make that statement.  It seems quite foolish to me and I wonder if there is a flaw in their thought process (1 Cor. 8:2).  After all, most of the leaders of their fastidious movement were educated in the finest universities our great nation had to offer.

Atheists would not be so bad if they didn’t try to so vehemently attack Biblical Christianity.  It doesn’t seem as if they are as much for the promotion of Atheism as they are for the undermining of Christianity.  They are negative people; haters of Christ.  That seems what they exist for as an organization.  I mean, why don’t you see more billboards explaining or promoting their belief as opposed to signs attacking Biblical Christianity?  Why do they turn so quickly to “hate speech”?  I think we see a patter to their actions.

One of the men who ordained me to the ministry, Dr. Ken Blue, recently wrote, “How come you never see atheist attacking the Muslim religion?”  I think this is a very good question indeed.  Why is it that you never see signs or T.V. adds attempting to defunct other religions?  Of course, as a Christian I know why, and I am sure you do as well.  They are filled with hatred for their creator and are in a total and organized rebellion from Him.  This explains why they are so quick to use “hate speech.”

Curious, I went to the website of the American Atheist to see what all the hub-bub was about.  I found that there was not one thing mentioned about any other religion than Biblical Christianity.  There were articles about how an atheist can deal with, and argue apologetically with, a Christian apologetically.  Most of their arguments revolved around two things: asking the Christian how he can prove what he believes and the pointing out “supposed” contradictions in the Bible.  The premise was: if you can get the Christian cornered to the point of saying “God said it!  I believe it! Case closed!” then they could dismiss Christianity as a simple “belief” and nothing of substance.  Of course, the first and foremost attack of their argument was the inconsistencies of various bibles.   Since there were so many different Bibles, and no one still living has ever seen the original manuscripts, then how could you even know you have God’s word at all?  Very tricky!  An attack on the word of God itself.  If the Christian would defend their position by saying God promised to preserve His word (Ps. 12:6-7), they were to immediately classify that as the “God said it!  I believe it! Case closed!” argument and dismiss your reply.

To them, this might seem very good indeed but they neglect to realize that God’s very creation bears witness to the truth of His word, and day and night validate His message.  For example: Creation is the only logical explanation for the existence of all things.  It is certainly not an illusion, nor is it evolution.  Any kind of “big bang” would not produce all of the order that is revealed before us.  So, the burden is really on them to explain how they can so confidently prove there is no God.  This they cannot do.  Any attempt to try requires them to abandon truth and rely upon what they believe, and when they do, it is similar to them stating: “I believe it!  Case closed!”

Suffice it to say that there is no logically functioning mind that could deny the existence of God.  Therefore, they have a problem with their minds.  They don’t think right.  They don’t know how to think properly and logically.  Most likely because they are blinded by their rebellious hatred for God.

Must Christians struggle against them?  Must we fight back?  This is an interesting question and I feel that there is no need to strive with an atheist.  We are to witness and never be ashamed of our Lord Jesus Christ, but they are truly acting like children throwing a fit to get attention.  The more you ignore them, the less they have to throw a fit about.  The more they keep getting put on the front page of news papers, the more they are encouraged in their ridiculous cause.  If people today could just leave God to His business and get busy doing what they were told to do, there would be less rebellion from God in the world.

God told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He did not tell us to wrestle with atheist over illogical premises.  If Christians had been doing, wholeheartedly, what they should have been doing, there would be more people saved and less atheists to deal with in the first place.