Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

His final message

While a pastor  was  visiting  one of his church members in the hospital, suddenly the sick man became very agitated.  Unable to speak, he scribbled a short note and handed it to his  pastor who stuffed it in his pocket and had prayer with him.  A few moments later the man passed away.   

Several days later while he was preaching his funeral, he remembered the unread note in his pocket and thought it might have an appropriate final message from the deceased man to share with the people. In the middle of his message, he took a moment to pull it from his pocket and read it.    

The dying man had written,  “Get off my oxygen tube!”

May 27, 2006 Posted by | A Merry Heart | Comments Off on His final message

To Where does the Narrow Way Lead?

The Gospel Door is narrow.  The vast majority of people will not enter. It is too humiliating.  The door is open only to those who are humble and broken before God. Only those who see their utter lost, spiritually bankrupt condition can enter. There will be no spiritual snobs  in Heaven who attempt to keep their distance from those who would tarnish their self-image.  There will be no self-achievers who made it into Heaven by self-effort.    Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate, for wide is the gate and  broad is the way that leads to destruction and many there be that go in thereat; because strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life and few there be that find it” Matthew 7:13-14 

Jesus said to His disciples, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man comes to the Father but by Me.” John 14:6 Peter preached at Pentecost, “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  Acts 4:12 Those verses don’t sound very broad minded and politically correct, do they? 

The Bible is clear. The only way to Heaven is to come to God in faith as a guilty helpless sinner, trusting in the shed blood of Christ who died and rose again to pay the full penalty for all our sins.  Our faith rests in the Bible: the inspired,  infallible, inerrant Word of God. A major part of a preacher’s ministry is preaching and teaching this infallible Word and exposing false teachers in order to protect others from their error.  That truth is taught throughout Paul’s Epistles. 

WHERE DOES IT LEAD? 

The strait gate and the narrow way do not lead to a narrow life.  To the contrary. The narrow way leads into the large, wide room of the Christian life.  Listen to the Psalmist in Psalm 18:19 as he talks and sings about the wide room of fellowship with God.  “He brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me, because He delighted in me.” 

Psalm 31:7-8  “I will be glad and rejoice in Thy mercy; for Thou hast considered my trouble, thou hast known my soul in adversities and hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; Thou hast set my feet in a large room.”  God’s will is not constrictive.  Paul writing in I Corinthians 16:9 assures us, “A great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” We must guard the door of salvation and keep it as narrow as the Bible makes it; but at the same time, we must show people the  large room into which it leads us. 

HOW BIG IS THE ROOM? 

When we lead new Christians through the narrow door of salvation, it is important that we help them see the immensity of the room into which they have come.  Consider God’s unfathomable love and wisdom.  “Oh, the unfathomable breadth and depth of God’s love and wisdom. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.”  Psalm 145:3 

Paul wrote to the Ephesian church, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given that I should preach the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hidden in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ; to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in Heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God.”  Ephesians 3:8-10 After dealing with one of the most difficult doctrines of Scripture, a doctrine that Christian have debated for centuries, Paul bursts into a doxology of praise to God in Romans 11:33-36  “O the depths of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!  For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Who hath been His counselor? Who hath first given to Him and it shall be recompensed unto him again?  For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” 

May God help us to see how small and inadequate our minds are to fully grasp the mind of God and the richness and fullness and greatness of being a Christian and a part of the Family of God.  That little gate of salvation and the narrow way and the narrow stream of salvation empties into an ocean of theological truth that encompasses some Dispensationalism, some Arminianism, some Calvinism, some Reformed Theology and a smattering of Charismatic enthusiasm: most of whom love the Lord and are part of the Body of Christ. Truly we ought to be able to say with the Psalmist, “I am a companion of all them that fear Thee, and of them that keep Thy precepts.”  Psalm 119:63 

May 27, 2006 Posted by | Salvation | Comments Off on To Where does the Narrow Way Lead?

Deception series #3: When the Wind Blows

Matthew 7:24-27 and in Luke 6:47-49 record Jesus' story of the two men who built their houses; one on a rock foundation and the other on the sand. When the storms came and the winds blew and the floods rose up, the house on the rock foundation stood firm and the house on the sand was destroyed.

What's below the surface?

We've been warning about self-deception. This story illustrates self-deception and the consequences. It also warns us to be cautious about trying to assess the seeming success of others. Don't be deceived because one looks and acts like a Christian. He may not be. Don't be envious of the seeming success of others. If they are not building on Christ, the sure foundation; their destruction is coming.

Let's take a look at these two men and their homes. They both desired nice homes. They possibly built identical houses. They were possibly close neighbors. They lived under the same weather conditions, facing the same storms in life. The only difference lay below the surface. One had a foundation. The other had none. Both homes might have had the same value, but after the storm, the one house was worthless.

Don't take shortcuts.

The foolish man was in a hurry. He took short cuts. He didn't bother to dig deep. He didn't bother with foundations, because as he said, "You can't see it anyway." He lived only for today. He thought, "Why be so pessimistic and negative? Just keep a positive outlook on life. Don't think about storms and they won't happen." He gave no thought to the future until it was too late.

The wise man's desire was to build a home that he could live in the rest of his life and be able to pass it on to his children. He built a house that would be durable and stand the tests of time. Though building a foundation took effort and money, he considered the greater cost of building without a foundation. No doubt, he went to an architect for advice and blueprints. He wanted a house that would stand not only in the sun shine, but in the times of severe storms that he knew would come.

LESSONS FOR US

.If Christ is not your Saviour and Lord and the foundation of your life, your future is at risk. It's not a question as to whether storms will come; it's a question of when they will come. If Christ is not your foundation, you will crumble and come apart when the storms arrive.

Young people need to be concerned about foundations when courting and planning marriage. Most of their courting days should be given to building that foundation together. Once married, it is often too late to consider foundations.

Are you building on the shifting sands of feelings and self-righteousness, or are you building on Christ, the Rock. Read I Corinthians 3:10-15 and Colossians 2:6-10 and make sure about your foundation. To concern yourself with foundations after the storms come and destroy your home is as useless as trying to buy home owners insurance to pay for the damage after the storm has already destroyed your home.

A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENTIf you are a Christian, Jesus is for you. Romans 8:31 He is praying for you. Luke 22:32 When the storms come, you WILL stand. II Corinthians 9:8. The Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:1 urges us, "Therefore, my dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord."

May 27, 2006 Posted by | Deception Series | Comments Off on Deception series #3: When the Wind Blows

Separation series #4: Unequal Yoke

 

Over three thousand years ago God commanded His people Israel not to yoke an ox and a donkey together to attempt to work in the fields.  Deuteronomy 22:10

 

The Apostle Paul referring to that command under the Law of Moses wrote by inspiration of God,  “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?  And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  And what agreement hath the temple  of God with idols?  For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God and they shall be My people.  Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 

 II Cor.  6:14-18

 

Here is one of God’s  clearest commands to Christians and yet in the past  fifty years, it has been unpopular and  ignored by Christians. Those who obey it are viewed by some who ignore it as being hateful, ignorant  and  obscurantists. What does this command mean?  Before we answer that question, let’s settle what it does not mean.

 

 

WHAT IT DOES NOT MEAN?

 

God does not want us to withdraw from the world and live a monastic life in a commune avoiding all contact with the world.

 

He does not want us  to drop all our unsaved friends and  forget we ever knew them.

 

He does not intend for us to move out of our neighborhoods and live in Christian neighborhoods.

 

God is not asking us to shop only in the stores run by Christians and bank our money only in banks run by Christians.

 

He  does not mean for us to play sports only on church teams.

 

Jesus wants us to be involved in the world, or He would have taken us to Heaven when He saved us.  Why live in a sin cursed world when we could enjoy the glories of Heaven?

Jesus left us here with His Great Commission to take the Gospel to all the world. If we are Christians and have no interest nor involvement in fulfilling this Great Commission, we are disobeying God.

 

Before Jesus returned to Heaven He gathered His disciples together and explained to them, “I pray not that Thou shouldest take them (His Church)  out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world even as I am not of the world.” 

John 17:15-16

 

 

WHAT THEN IS THE  UNEQUAL YOKE WE ARE TO AVOID?

 

The unequal yoke basically is accepting as a Christian and attempting to enjoy Christian fellowship and working together in Christian fellowship with anyone who does not abide in the doctrine of Christ. See II John 9-11 on this and then study the introductory message to this series,  The Doctrine of Christ.  Anyone can confess that they are Christians, trusting in Jesus as their Saviour; but if they are not abiding in the doctrine of Christ, they are counterfeits, regardless of how nice they may appear to you.

 

Certainly it applies to marriage.  Christians are to marry only Christians. However, if you are married to an unbeliever, you are not to divorce that person.  I Corinthians 7:10-16 For a fuller treatment of this,  go to  my series of messages on MARRIAGE and also one on DIVORCE.

 

While associating  and working with and befriending sinners,  we are to guard from adopting their ungodly philosophy and lifestyle to the detriment of our testimonies.  We are also to reject working with false teachers in evangelizing the lost and being involved with us in Christian ministry. God expressly forbids the unholy union of Christians and  non Christians from working together to further the cause of Christ.

 

Although we gladly welcome anyone to visit our church and hear the Gospel,  we would not knowingly receive an  unsaved person into our membership.  We would not hire a non Christian to teach in our Christian school  nor would we allow an unsaved person  to teach a Sunday School class in our church or to sing in the choir or to preach in our pulpit.

 

Although the interdenominational cooperation of Bible believing churches in citywide evangelistic meetings is a wonderful way to evangelize the lost and encourage Christians, and has been used effectively for many years;  regardless of who the evangelist is, we are not to take part in a city wide evangelistic campaign in a joint sponsorship with pastors who deny the essentials of the Faith.

 

Those essentials of the Faith would include an acceptance of the Bible as the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God. It would also include faithfulness to the Doctrine of Christ: an acceptance of the truth that Jesus is God in human flesh and that He shed His blood as the sacrifice for our sins; that a Christian is one who has put his faith in that shed blood and been born again through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

 

It is not our responsibility to judge the heart nor the motives nor the effectiveness of any evangelist or preacher; but we are clearly commanded to avoid participating in an ecumenical crusade where saved and unsaved alike are involved in the sponsorship of the crusade and where converts are directed back into false religion.

 

It would be disobedient to God’s command for a Christian college to hire a professor just because he has  educational credentials;  if he denies the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible and if he does not evidence a personal saving relationship with the Lord Jesus. 

For example, if he professes to be a Christian, but denies that God brought the universe into existance in six literal days as recorded in Genesis 1 and 2 and if he rejects the miracles of the Bible, including the bodily resurreciton of Christ on the third day  and if he believes  that God brought the universe into existence using evolution; he is an enemy of God and has no place in a pulpit nor in a Christian college classroom teaching students.

 

It is wrong to support a denominational unified  budget if part of the money is supporting theologically liberal missionaries or college professors  who deny the inspiration of the Bible and reject salvation through faith in the shed blood of Christ. If you are giving to any religious cause, it is your responsibility to determine to the best of your ability  the doctrinal position of those whom your donations support.

 

GOD IS CLEAR ON THE MATTER OF SEPARATION

 

As Jesus, we are to  love sinners and associate with them.  Jesus was known as a friend of sinners. Matthew 11:19  So should we. 

  

We are not to separate from sinners,  but from Christians who are knowingly walking in disobedience to God’s Word. I Cor.  5:9-13

 

We must discipline and remove disobedient Christians from our church membership with the ultimate goal of seeing them restored to fellowship. Thus our procedure and spirit must be right.  Matthew 18:15-17 details that procedure.

 

Repeatedly God’s Word presses on us the need to separate from false teachers; not only the teachers from false religions, but also those teachers who call themselves Christians, but hold to and teach heresy.  Read these warnings.

 

We are to identify and avoid false preachers and teachers.  Romans 16:17-18

 

We are to recognize false teachers as under God’s curse.  Galatians 1:8-9

 

We are to turn away from them as teachers.  II Timothy 3:1-7.

 

We are to make an effort to convince them from God’s Word of their error. Titus 1:9-13

 

We are to warn others of their danger.  II Peter 2:1-3

 

We are not to receive them into our homes as teachers; nor are we to ask God’s blessing on their efforts.  II John 7-11

 

We are to earnestly contend for The Faith.  Jude 3-4  That involves standing for that which is scriptural and rejecting that which is unscriptural.

 

We are to study God’s Word and shun false teachers whose teaching can infect our souls  as gangrene infects and contaminates a body. II Timothy 2:15-19

 

 

SATAN WANTS TO JOIN YOUR CHURCH!

 

He may already be at work in your church or mine.  We all need to stay alert and in God’s Word so we can discern what is of God and what is of Satan. Satan not only comes as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. I Peter 5:8 

 

He also comes as an angel of light and as a master counterfeiter of Christianity. The closer the counterfeit to the real thing, the more dangerous it is. II Corinthians 11:13-15.  See the series on DECEPTION on this web site.

 

Over the  years many Christian colleges and seminaries that were once true to the faith have been infected by professors who deny the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible.  A Christian student is safer in a secular college where he is on his guard, than in a so-called Christian college where he is more apt to be deceived.  Thank God, there are still Christian colleges that have remained  true to God’s Word where Christian students can receive an excellent liberal art’s education in a total Christian atmosphere.

 

 

HOW ABOUT THE CHURCH WHERE YOU ATTEND?

 

Do you always leave church feeling good about yourself?

 

Does your pastor never deal with your sin?

 

Does he only talk about the sins of society in general?

 

Is the worship experience, rather than the preaching, the main part of the service and does it always  give you an emotional high?

 

If you answered yes to those questions, you are being deceived and need to seek God’s will about finding a church where you can hear the truth of God’s Word and grow.

 

Two thousand years ago there were seven churches pictured as lamp stands in Asia Minor (now Turkey) The Lord Jesus had some special individual messages for each of them. He warned some of them of their sins and that He would remove their lamp stands unless they repented. Read about them in the last book of the Bible. Note that some of them were struggling with the same issues then that we struggle with today.

 

The Church of Ephesus        Rev. 2:1-7

 

The Church of Smyrna         Rev. 2:8-11

  

The Church of Pergamos      Rev. 2:12-17

 

The Church of Thyatira        Rev. 2:18-29

 

The Church of Sardis            Rev. 3:1-6

 

The Church of Philadelphia  Rev. 3:7-13

 

The Church of Laodicea       Rev. 3:14-22

 

May God teach us as Christians the delicate balance of loving sinners  and working with them without being infected by sin

 

May He give us discernment to recognize false doctrine and not be yoked together with unbelievers as we attempt to serve God. 

 

May every Christian young person determine now that they will never disobey God in the matter of marrying an unbeliever. Although Christians can and should have unsaved friends, it is unwise to date an unsaved person since dating can lead to marriage. Again, I encourage young people reading this to get further help on the subject of dating and marriage by going to the topic of  MARRIAGE on this web site.

May 27, 2006 Posted by | Separation Series | Comments Off on Separation series #4: Unequal Yoke

The Auction

 

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art.  They had everything in their collection from Picasso to Raphael.  They would often sit together and admire the great works of art. 

When the Viet Nam conflict broke out, the son went to war.  He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son. 

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door.  A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.  He said, “Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life.  He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly.  He often talked about you and your love for art. 

The young man held out his package.  It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man.  He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting.  The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears.  He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. 

“Oh, no sir,  I could never repay what your son did for me.  It’s a gift.” 

The father hung the painting over his mantle.  Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected. 

The man died a few months later.  There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings  and having an opportunity to purchase one for  their collection.  On the platform sat the painting of the son. 

The auctioneer pounded his gavel. “We will start the bidding with the picture of the son.  Who will bid for this picture?” 

There was silence.  Then a voice at the back of the room shouted, “We want to see the famous paintings.  Skip this one.” 

But the auctioneer persisted, “Will someone bid for this painting?  Who will start the bidding?  $100,   $200?” 

Another voice shouted angrily.  “We didn’t come here to see this painting. We came to see the Van Gohs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!” 

But still the auctioneer continued, “The son!  The son!  Who’ll take the son?” 

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room.  It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son.  “I’ll give  $10 for the painting.”  Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.   

“We have $10, who will bid $20?” 

“Give it to him for $10, they shouted.   Let’s see the masters.” 

“$10 is the bid, Won’t someone bid $20?” 

The crowd became angry.  They didn’t want the picture of the son.  They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. 

The auctioneer pounded his gavel. “Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!  

A man sitting on the second row shouted. “Now let’s get on with the collection!”   

The auctioneer laid down his gavel.  “I’m sorry, the auction is over.” 

“What about the paintings?” 

“I am sorry.  When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will.  I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time.  Only the painting of the son would be auctioned.  Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!” 

God gave His Son  2,000 years ago to die on a cruel cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is,  “The Son, the Son,  who’ll take the Son?”  Because you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.   ___________________ 

“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.”John 3:16 

“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all,how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things.”Romans 8:32

______________ 

This story was forwarded to us with the request that we share it with others. We just learned that the author was Woodrow Kroll.It was originally published by Back to the Bible,

PO Box 82808 Lincoln, Nebraska  68501

May 27, 2006 Posted by | Jesus | Comments Off on The Auction

Christmas series #4: Gift Exchange

Christmas is one of the most blessed of holidays and exchanging gifts is one of the most exciting activities of Christmas, especially for children.  What a joyful, gratifying experience it is to shower gifts of love on our children!  Those of us who are empty-nesters, look back with nostalgia on those happy years when we were together as a family, experiencing these happy occasions, now only memories.

 

Agape Love

 

In this article, lets consider this matter of giving.  Did you know that we don’t know the first thing about unselfish giving and loving until we know God intimately through faith in His Son, Jesus?   “We love God, because He first loved us.”  I John 4:19

 

God’s love (agape love) is the true, selfless love that comes from God alone.  This is unconditional love that is showered on us with no strings attached. Any giving with the expectation of getting something in return is not really giving at all.  It is a selfish manipulation of others to get what we want. When we know God personally, it is possible for us to love and give as God does.  Such love is expressed by the giving of our time, energy and resources to people needing it, regardless of whether they appreciate it or whether they can reciprocate.  We offer such love to others because God’s love is flowing through us.

 

Imagine what this world would be like without God.

 

Without God there would be no loving and no giving in the world.  We are all born TAKERS; not GIVERS.  Children do not need to be taught to take.  They grab from birth and scream if they don’t get what they want NOW!   As they grow, they need to be taught to give.  They learn that kind of giving by observing the love and sacrificial giving of their parents.  But more than our love, they learn it as they come to know and experience Christ’s loving sacrifice for their sins. Being born again will change hearts like nothing else can.

 

Can you imagine what this world would be like totally devoid of love and sacrificial giving?  There would be no loving families, no churches, no hospitals, no medical care and no nursing homes.  There would be no Red Cross or Salvation Army, nor any other charitable giving. There would be no orphanages, no shelters or rescue missions, no missionaries. We would live in a totally selfish world.

 

What is a Gift?

 

A gift is a tangible or intangible expression of our love that meets the physical, emotional or spiritual needs of others.

 

A gift is unearned.

 

It is given from a heart that has been touched by God’s love and grace and responds in love and appreciation to Him.

 

It is given unconditionally, whether the receiver reciprocates or not.

 

It is given freely with no strings attached.  It’s not ” I’ll give you a gift if you give me one.”  That’s really not a gift. That’s merely swapping stuff.

 

When giving gifts we do not compare the value of what I gave you with the value of what you gave me.  The difference in value does not miff us and it is not even a consideration. 

 

Consider God’s Gift to us.

 

God gave His Son for us.  John 3:16

 

Christ gave Himself for us is taught in such passages as  Galatians 2:20,  Ephesians 5:25,  I Timothy 2:5-6

 

As a mother who gives her baby to adoption parents freely gives all the baby things with her baby,  so God freely gives us with His Son, all we need to live the Christian life in this world. II Peter 1:3-4, Romans 8:32, James 1:17

Have you received God’s Gift of salvation?  Are you  still rejecting Him?  Think how you would feel if you went to great expense and to great pains to give a gift to someone you love, and that person rebuffed you and rejected the gift.  That’s how God feels about your rejection of His Gift of Jesus.

 

Consider your gift to God.

 

Understand,  that  we can give Him nothing to earn our salvation.  By His grace alone, He gave us Himself as a sacrifice for our sins.

 

However, if you  have received God’s gift of salvation,  you can show your gratitude and appreciation by giving yourself totally to Him.

 

He wants nothing less from you than your life.   In Romans 12:1-2 Paul does not command, but he beseeches us to present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice.  In II Corinthians 5:14-21  we are constrained by His love to live the rest of our days serving Him. 

 

Your body, your life, your time, your talents, your strength, your heart all belong to Him.  How can you give Him less than your best?

May 27, 2006 Posted by | Christmas Series | Comments Off on Christmas series #4: Gift Exchange

Covenant series #3: Law and Grace

The following are some common misconceptions about Christians and God’s Law

Misconception # 1. Old Covenant saints were saved by keeping the Law and New Covenant saints are saved by grace.
Correction No one since the Fall of Adam under the Old or New Covenant was ever saved by attempting to keep God’s Law. That would be an utter impossibility. Romans 3:19-20 No one is capable of keeping God’s law perfectly. Read Romans 4 and you will see that Abraham was not saved by works, nor by keeping God’s moral law nor by keeping the ceremonial law. In the first place God’s moral law and ceremonial law did not come along until 430 years after Abraham. Where there is no law, there is no transgression of the law. Romans 4:15

The Law was not given to save men in any age. It was given to show God’s holy standards and to convince all men that they had come short of God’s holy standards and that they were transgressors of the Law. Galatians 3:10 shows us that The Law curses us. The Law condemns us as we see our total inability to keep it. It shows us our need of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus. Galatians 3:19-26 The Law slays us because of our inability to keep it. Romans 7:9-11

Romans 3:20 tells us “By the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified in His sight.” In Hebrews 11 we have a long list of Old Testament saints who were saved; not by law keeping, but by faith in God’s grace alone. No, they did not put their faith in Jesus’ shed blood for that blood would not be sacrificed until Jesus came 2000 years after Abraham. Instead, they put their trust in the promised Saviour who was typified by the countless animal sacrifices of the Levitical ceremonial system.

True, New Covenant saints are saved by grace, and so were the saints under the Old Covenant. From the days of Adam and Eve to this present day, every sinner who has looked to God for salvation has been saved by the grace of God through faith in His provision, whether it was an animal sacrifice under the Old Covenant or the sacrifice of Christ under the New Covenant. Under the Old Covenant the animal sacrifice was made in anticipation of the perfect and final sacrifice of Christ, the promised Seed of Abraham. If Christ had never come to this earth, died for our sins and risen again then all the animal sacrifices offered under the Old Covenant would have been in vain. No one would be saved.

Misconception # 2 If you are saved by grace, it doesn’t matter how you live since you can never lose your salvation.
Correction What a terrible misconception! Only the devil could come up with such an idea and place it in the minds of depraved men and women. The Apostle Paul is horrified by the idea. In Romans 6:1 he asks that rhetorical question “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” Then he thunders back, “GOD FORBID! How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?” With that reply Paul launches into an explanation of how to live victoriously over sin. Thank God for His grace that saves and for His grace that enables us to live the Christian life by faith. For a further explanation of this truth go to the article on VICTORY on this site.

True, God gives eternal life to those who trust Christ. John 3:16 True, those of us who trust Christ can never lose the salvation God has given to us by His grace. John 10:28-29 Romans 8:29-39. For more on this, see the article on ETERNAL SECURITY.

When He saves us, He totally changes our hearts so that we hate our sins and desire to live a pure life and bring glory to Him. If that has not happened in your heart, you need to be born again. You are deceiving yourself if you think you are a Christian.

Misconception #3 It is our calling to bring about Christ’s Kingdom (Christianize society) on this earth now through implementing God’s laws on society.
Correction The Puritans who founded America established this nation on Biblical principles. Four hundred years later we are still experiencing the blessings of that noble experiment. But we must never forget that the unregenerate heart is only evil continually. Because of that fact, we face an uphill battle today to try to legislate morality in our land by forcing citizens to live by God’s law. As Christians we can be examples and we can let our Light shine, but we cannot force unregenerate citizens to live by Biblical standards. That will only happen during the Millenium when Jesus rules this earth with a “rod of iron”.

Our calling is not to Christianize America. Our calling is to evangelize America. That is, we are to help others understand God’s holy standards and help them see how far short we have all come in attempting to meet those standards. Then we are to give them the good news of what Christ has done for us in dying for our sins and rising again for our justification. When God brings salvation to a sinner, God begins the work of sanctification and He enables a believer through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit to live out the righteousness of God’s Law. Our responsibility is to evangelize. God does the Christianization in the heart of a believer. Though Christians differ on this; I believe Christ is returning to personally reign over this earth. Psalm 2, Isaiah 11, 35, Zechariah 12-14, Luke 1:30-33. II Timothy 2:12, Revelation 19 and 20

Misconception # 4 In addition to trusting Christ, we need to observe certain ceremonial laws and OT feasts in order to be stronger and better Christians.
Correction The short answer is NO, we do not need to observe the Ceremonial Laws given to Israel under the Old Covenant. That means, we do not need to observe any of the Feasts, including the Passover. We do not have to observe the practice of circumcision as a religious ritual. We do not have to observe the Sabbath. All of these were symbols, pictures and types of Christ. We have Christ. We do not need the symbols.

God’s moral laws, embodied in the Ten Commandments and in the Sermon on the Mount, are holy, just, good and spiritual. Romans 7:12, 14 Christians as well as godly Old Testament saints love God’s Law. We desire to keep His law. Psalm 40:8, Romans 7:22. A Christian is not guilty of legalism for wanting to do right.

The problem is that no matter how hard we try, we fail miserably to keep God’s Law perfectly. That’s where God’s grace comes in. Thank God for His grace. We are saved by God’s grace when we receive Christ as our Saviour. God not only saves us from the penalty of sin, but by His grace He gives us the power to begin walking a new life of obedience, bringing glory to Him. Titus 2:11-14 Has God started this work in your life?

May 27, 2006 Posted by | Covenant Series | Comments Off on Covenant series #3: Law and Grace

Family series #4: Example

The third wall of protection for our homes is our example.  Without our godly example all our teaching and discipline will be meaningless to our children.  We  will appear as  hypocrites to our children.

 

Models

 

Children learn from models. As little tots, their earliest models are their parents.  Little girls want to grow up to be just like their Mommies.  Little boys want to grow up to be just like their Daddies. As they develop beyond the infant and toddler stage, their models begin to include people outside their home: their Sunday School teacher, their pastor, a  school teacher, a scout leader, a sport’s hero, a policeman, a television character or another child.

 

It’s just a little poison.

 

It is essential to know exactly who those models are and what our children are watching on television.  We can be certain it is going to influence them for better or for worse. What goes into the minds of our children is as important as what goes into their mouths.  As we would not consider offering our children a plate of poison just because some good food was mixed with it,  so we  should not allow the poison of inappropriate television or movie fare to enter the minds and hearts of our children  just because it is mixed with good.

 

If we control the models to which we expose our children, they will learn to love what we love and reject what we reject. By the time they have reached their teens, their values will be set.

 

Do you want your child’s heart?

 

Every father should be able to say, “My son, my daughter, give me thine heart and let thine eyes observe my ways.”  Proverbs 23:26    Every pastor, every Christian  teacher, every Christian coach, all in Christian leadership should be able to say with the Apostle Paul, “Be ye followers of me as I also am of Christ.”  I Corinthians 11:1

 

Christian young person, let me challenge you with Paul’s challenge to young Timothy in I Timothy 4:12, “Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith and in purity.”  Young people, you are a role model to younger children. Don’t let them down and don’t let the Lord down.

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May 27, 2006 Posted by | Family Series | Comments Off on Family series #4: Example