Tuesday, June 12, 2018

God's Law & Promises Expose Our Sin Nature AND Offer Us Salvation

No matter how good or bad we think that we or someone else are, we have foolishly compared ourselves to one another, instead of comparing ourselves to God's perfection and His Law. ALL of God's Law and all human law that agrees with God's Law are good for testing ourselves, our deeds, and our motivations. There are way too many times that we either denigrate ourselves or someone else, or we elevate or worship ourselves or others, as  we fail to test all things by God and His Word. For instance, sin is promoted as a popular and cheap commodity, and even believers flock to the temple of sinful pleasure and self-indulgence, yet our willingness to forgive others who have sinned against us is at a premium. Coming in at last place, in the spiritual war, is our infrequent or grudging obedience to God's Word. 

Even, we, who call ourselves Bible believers, are swift to justify ourselves, and slow to condemn our own sin. We may also excuse or ignore the sin of others that our own sin might be overlooked, hoping that we can continue to practice that which displeases God. Sometimes, we think that we can 'clean up our act' without repenting, so that, maybe, we can snuggle up to God or our fellow Man, but, in our lack of repentance, we abuse God's love toward us and despise the blood of Christ that bought us back from sin. So we condemn ours actions. 

Even those who claim to be atheistic or polytheistic condemn their own sinful denial of God and His Christ, when they do righteous things that are mandated by The One True God and His Christ. I'm not picking on those whom most people would agree are sinners, for some of the most egregious sins are committed by those who profess a saving knowledge and faith in The One True God, saying that they believe His Word, yet we still willfully choose to sin against our Savior by "presumptuous" (deliberate, "I know better but I'm going to do what I want") actions. The Bible's Book of Romans is loaded with precious information about who we are, what we do, and how we need to and can 'get right' with God. How about making today a day of practicing repentance in all things? Let's call things what God calls them. Let's examine ourselves in His Light. Let's turn away from sin and toward God's Christ and God's ways, by faith and deliberate action. He does not call us by accident, so let us not wait to accidentally happen upon Him and His plan for our lives, since He is already holding us all together and giving us life.

Romans 3:3-31
 3  For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?
4  God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
5  But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)
6  God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?
7  For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?
8  And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.
9  What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13  Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
14  Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15  Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16  Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17  And the way of peace have they not known:
18  There is no fear of God before their eyes.    
19  Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21  But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26  To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
27  Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
28  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
29  Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
30  Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
31  Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. 


ALL of God's Law and all righteous human laws show us human sin. Sin is exposed and condemned by God and His Law. But, God's Law and human law do not stop sin. Law does not change human desire, motivation, or action. Righteous Law exposes sin and pronounces righteous judgment and penalties upon sin. 

In contrast to Law and its condemnation of sin, God has mercifully provided one and only one Way for the salvation and real peace for humanity, that we might escape the penalty for sin. That One Way is "repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ". God will accept nothing less than 100% observance of 100% of ALL of His Laws, OR, IF we accept His Gift to us, placing our faith and trust in Jesus, God's only Christ and Savior. The choice of your eternal destiny is yours.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

God Wants Me To Suffer, As He Did, By Fighting Against Sin? But, THAT is Not Popular Worldly Preaching!


Let's start by listening to Jesus Christ speaking with a man who was well acquainted with God's Word (including the prophetic promises of the coming of God's Savior).

John 3:1-21
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2  The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit
.
9  Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
10  Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
11  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
12  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
13  And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
14  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16  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.
17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God
.    


The process by which "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son", Jesus was tortured and bled to death, as is recorded in the Bible. He did that to buy me (and all humans) back from sin and worldly living. From cover to cover, throughout the Bible, God makes it clear that MY own sin is responsible for Jesus' suffering and death!! IF I acknowledge and accept that, the gift of His perfect sinless blood redeems me from the penalty of my sin, ...but, ...ONLY IF I believe on and trust in Him and HIS PLAN of salvation, instead of trusting my works or the world. I hold the decision card whether to accept or reject God's redemptive gift to me.

If I do choose to trust Him in repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ (as God desires), what comes after repentance, faith, and baptism by immersion (as He has ordained)? Guess what! He wants us engaged in sharing His Good News and in His holy war against the sin nature of our flesh and the world. As every maturing Christian soon learns, our biggest battle is against the sin nature of our own flesh, as it yearns for 'the old ways' in which we lived before we were saved from our sin. 

Welcome to God's war, Christian! May you battle sin earnestly and without fear, as you allow God's Holy Spirit and His Word to fill you and live through you. All glory to His Savior.

1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

James 1:21-22
21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

1 Peter 1:13-25
13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Romans 8:10-18
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.


Jesus tells us to be born again His way and then He tells us to be sure to dress in ALL the battle gear that He provides for us: Ephesians 6:10-18. Jesus does NOT send His family out to play, because salvation and Jesus sufferings are not a game. The Book of Ecclesiastes, especially tells us that life is too short and precious to waste on worldly things that distract us from what God wants for our lives. Throughout the Bible, God rarely uses the word "play" in a constructive manner. More frequently, He associates it with whoredom, fornication, and harlotry. By contrast, IF we want to have joy and peace with God Almighty, here and in the life to come, the LORD tells us to learn to rejoice in Him and in His ways. We shall not come to the end of our lives able to blame Him for where we end up, for, He tells us that WE are the ones who determine our eternal individual destinies of heaven, or hell. He's very specific that, when our present body is dead and gone, there is NEVER another chance for a 'do-over', nor for anyone to bail us out. May you allow God to help you to choose Him and His ways.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

EVERYONE Starts Life Knowing THE ONE True God

There are billions of people chasing millions of variations of philosophies and religions in our world, today, including some who claim to not believe in God. The potential combination of belief system conflicts among all those people's thoughts and beliefs are overwhelming, if not terrifying, to most people. Yet, instead of most people looking for God's singular standard by which to test and discern between what is True and what is false, most folks ignorantly or blindly cling to and follow the popular, worldly cover story that coexistence and pantheism are acceptable to God Almighty. They adhere to the ungodly self-justification that everyone everywhere is allowed by God to simply believe whatever they want, "follow their own heart", and "do their own thing". But, what does God Almighty say in His Word about all those religious and irreligious people who work so hard at their own brand of religion or non-religion? Does The One True God say that those people are seeking or denying the God of Creation?

Romans 1:16-3216  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;    
19  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
 

That clarion passage, above, clearly shows that the world and people, in general, do not accept, want, or encourage godly repentance, but that they accept religions and beliefs of all sort, and 'by the truckload', so to speak. The world system foments and accepts a multiplicity of 'isms', and then pits them against each other, to keep people in conflict and to distract as many folks as possible from remembering the REAL God. Our own flesh, the world, and the devil all want to keep us from repenting and making our eternal peace with the One True God through His Christ and His only plan of salvation


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Stop Memorial Day Lip Service: Repent & Live

Throughout human history, each generation has established memorials to remember things that they deemed important lessons, hoping to remember persons or events that shaped their generation, or something earlier. Sometimes the memorial was for something good and constructive, but more often it has been to mark things that have had deadly impacts on people. There are always lessons to be learned, IF we will ourselves to search history. But, sadly, too often, we cater to our flesh above all other things, with few souls caring to look at the reasons for what we call Memorial Day, here in these United States of America. 

Ironically, many may angrily retort that they have performed their obligatory or voluntary moment of silence, or gone to a parade, or gorged themselves almost sick with food since they want to prove that they have the means and freedom to do so, or they may have drunk an inebriating amount of alcohol to salute fallen soldiers in whatever war they may or may not remember and ascribe to its correct century. Memorials call us to do more than simply drink, or eat, or get together, or say a prayer. 

Memorials call us to actively engage with life, that we emulate the good that was done, AND that we put down the evil that repeatedly finds new ways to raise its head, in our own lives, and in general. Memorials call us to engage daily with our fellow citizens to make sure that good continues to be done and that evil is not allowed among us... including all the things that God hates. Yes, in His great love, God hates sin and sinful behaviors, because sin hurts us, His creation, and our sin hurts our relationship with Him. A prayerful, thoughtful reading of God's Word can quickly show that there is a huge difference between how God views and experiences love and hate versus how the world and our flesh measure those. For God, love and hate are always pure and righteous decisions to act for good. For us, love and hate are mostly rollercoasters of emotional reaction, and seldom come close to what God wants us to understand. Even when memorials seem to have little to do with God, they can help us take stock of who and what we are. They can help us judge ourselves in truth to press on toward what we can become, if we abide in God's Word.

The Bible is a record of what God considers to be the most important facts of human history, including how He has repeatedly reached out to us to get our attention and how He has continually desired our repentance. All of that is a memorial that points us to our urgent need for a right relationship with Him. Without reading and understanding God's point of view of humanity (the Bible), it is impossible to correctly understand ourselves or human history. God closed the canon of Scripture with the Book of Revelation, where God curses anyone who adds to or takes away from what He has said. He didn't stop human history, but expects everyone to heed His Word and turn back to Him in repentance and faith in His only Savior; His only plan to save us from our sin. God says repeatedly throughout His Bible that there is no other way to get into a right relationship with Him than to acknowledge, accept, and cling to His Memorial of God's Salvation, which is Jesus Christ. Many have argued against what God says, but, let's explore the following embedded link and see what God's Word literally says about memorials (a word that is only used 32 times in 31 Bible verses, even though there are numerous passages throughout Scripture that demonstrate the memorialization of various events or people). 

According to most biblical examples, memorials should inspire us to want to get closer to the objectives that God sets before humanity, closer to Him, closer to a desire to look beyond our own fleshly desires and failures. Biblically, memorials should make us want to shun people, behaviors, and things that would draw us away from God. 

Let us all examine our memorializations of things and people, whether birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Memorial Day, monuments, awards, medals, naming things or towns or streets after people. Let us ask ourselves, "Who gets the glory?" Let us ask ourselves, "Does this bring me, or us, closer to or farther away from a sound biblical relationship with God and His Christ?" Let us ask ourselves whether our behaviors are simply indulging our flesh, or are we honoring the One True God, Jesus Christ, who created us and made us in His image and for His pleasure, that we should learn to be like Him, born again of His Holy Spirit and Word, hungering and thirsting after Him, not chasing our fleshly desires or worldly lusts. In this moment, right now, we need to care about eternal things, so that we gain eternal life and not assign ourselves to eternal death.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Male & Female Homosexuality, Earth Worship, Self-worship, Human Conflict: All Reject God

Romans 1:16-32 
16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
17  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;    
19  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. 


Sunday, April 29, 2018

Am I Living The Life That God Wants For Me?


We had challenging and encouraging preaching at church, today, as usual. I was still hungry for more when I got home, so, I carefully selected the following sermons on YouTube. These were a tremendous encouragement to me. I hope you find them a blessing, also. (The captions on my tv kept misquoting what he was saying so I ignored the captions.)

Romans 7:14-25 - "The Battle Rages" - Pastor Matthew Johnson on YouTube: https://youtu.be/9a3m9Fbhjb8

Romans 7:14-25 - "The Victory is Ours" - Pastor Matthew Johnson on YouTube: https://youtu.be/CmmSq0EQtEw

How does one become a true believer in God, according to the Bible? (look here)

Why did God only pick Jesus Christ, as His one and only Savior? (look here)

How does God's Word use the word "repent"?

What does God say about "faith"?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Who Doesn't Want to Believe God and His Word?

The following passage was directed at unbelieving folks in the Old Testament, but is just as applicable today.

Acts 13:41
41  Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.

Jesus rehearsed a similar warning to those around Him before He was sacrificially crucified, once, for our all of our sin, for all time. He did that for you and me, and every person, so that we can know 100% for sure that we are saved from the consequences of our sin, if we will but choose to repent of our sin, and accept Him and His sacrifice on our behalf.