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Thursday, May 27, 2010

You're Going Somewhere!

If you was in a court and a judge ruled that you had to move from your current residence but you was given a choice between two places, which would you choose?  This new residence was going to be where you would never move away from again.  The first place was one of pure beauty.  It was filled with wonderful neighbors.  You never hear of any crime.  A truly pleasureful place to live. Now, the other place, was filled with crime.  It was a place that you didn't even want to go outside due to fear of the neighbors.  A down right rotten place to live.  Which would you choose?

This is not as much of a hypothetical question as you may think.  We will stand before a throne and be judged someday.  (REV 11:18 “And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.” )  Most people will go through this process without any representation but a few will have the best on their side.  (MT 10:32 “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.)  You get to choose whether this man represents you whether you like it or not.  His representation of you depends on the road you traveled to get to the court hearing.   (MT 7:13,14 “ Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it)  What road are you on right now?  The broad with the wide gate or the narrow with the small gate.  I want you know, that the answer to this question doesn't come from your lips because everyone would say, "The narrow road with the small gate, of course!"  The answer to this question, is from your current lifestyle compared to the lifestyle of Jesus!

Consider the choice in the beginning.  Where did you decide to go?  That is not as hypothetical question as you may think as well.  We all have an eternal destination, whether we like it or not.  That is what it means by "created in God's image!"  That doesn't mean God has ten fingers and toes like us.  It means we are both spiritual beings and that we are designed for eternal habitation.  Death will end animals forever.  Man was the only thing God gave life to with his very own breath.  (GE 2:7 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.)   We get to choose the place we spend eternity, like the question in beginning.   (MT 25:46 “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”)  Where do you want to spend eternity?  Again, we cannot answer this with our lips.  This question is decided before we get to the court session as well.  This question is answered by the comparison of our lifestyle compared to God's Word and his plan of Salvation.  

We serve one of two masters whether we know it or not.  Whether we like it or not.  (RO 6:16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?)   Jesus said it best in the book of Matthew.  (MT 12:30 “ He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.)   You are either for Jesus or against Jesus.  There is no in between.  Where will you spend eternity?

Does your lifestyle support your answer?  According to the Word of God not according to what some guy says is the Word of God!

Finally, listen to this story.  There was a giant fence with all kinds of people sitting on it.  The people would get off the fence and go to one side or the other.  One side was to follow Jesus and the other to follow Satan.  Everyone, but one man, made a choice to follow one or the other.  As that man watched Satan and Jesus walk away with the people that made a choice he felt proud that he didn't make a decision and stayed on the fence.  He was whistling and kicking his feet as he sat on that fence.  Then he saw Satan and it appeared he was looking for something.  The man said, "Hey, whatcha lookin for?"  Satan replied, "There you are.  I am looking for you!"  The man was astonished and said, "OOOHHHH NO, I never made a choice.  I never got off the fence."  Satan said, "I know.  I own the fence!"

Have a red letter day

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Have you ever been curious why denominations add a man's name to their Christianity?

Consider, AC 11:26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. Today, so many people want to be called Christians.  People say, "I'm a Christian.  I'm just a (Denominational Name) Christian."  All these different denominations was not what Christ had intended.  

Christ called for one Church, not several. MT 16:18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.   Christ does not say, I will build my churches.  There is to be only one church.

Christ prayed for unity among believers, not division.  JN 17:20,21 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.  Denominations are divisions and that is exactly what Jesus DID NOT want.  

Consider this thought.  Satan worked through Nimrod to build the Tower of Babel for two reasons.  To make themselves a name and to NOT be scattered among the earth. (Gen 11:4)  God told Noah and his family to "bring forth abundantly"(Gen 9:7 KJV) after the flood.  Those three words are translated from one word. * It is Strong's number 8317.  It is defined as follows: "swarm or abound:--breed(bring forth, increase) abundantly(in abundance), creep, move."  You see God called for them to increase by breeding and move through out the earth.  Satan wanted men to do otherwise.  Satan used man to accomplish his plans.  Same as today, Christ called for one church.  I think you get my point.

**Let's look at a few Denominations.
Founded in 1611 by John Smythe and other English puritans.
Founded in 1906 by William J. Seymor during "The Azusa Street Revival"
Founded in 1536 by John Calvin (1789 first church in US)
Founded in 1739 when conversion of John and Charles Wesley spark the Great Awakening
Founded in 1504.  Most Catholics believe that Peter was the first Pope.
Founded in 1517 by Martin Luther when he wrote "95 Theses".

You can't be saved by these or any other man.  Jesus Christ is the only one who can offer you salvation. AC 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”   Therefore, knowing Christ is our only hope of salvation; why do people follow the teachings of men? 

They don't have all authority like Christ. MT 28:18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “ All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."  Christ has the authority to start, stop, or altar a church or its doctrine.  You, I, nor the above mentioned men have that authority.  

You must look at where you are today and ask yourself this question.  Am I in the Lord's church or am I in a church that was started by a man?  

I urge you to "test the spirits" of the teachings that you are hearing.  God's Word is infallible and very clear on the plan of salvation.  The Word of God lays out six steps of salvation. 
1. Hear (Rom 10:17; Acts 4:4)
2. Faith (Heb 11:6; Acts 16:31)
3. Repent (Lk 13:3;Acts 17:30)
4. Confess (Mt 10:32; Acts 8:37)
5. Baptize(immersion) (Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38)
6. Live faithfully (Rev 2:10; Acts 14:22) 
If the teachings you are hearing do not line up with the Word of God you just answered the question asked above.

Have a red letter day!

* THE COMPLETE WORD STUDY  Published by AMG Publishers
** DENOMINATIONAL COMPARISONS published by Rose Publishers  

Monday, May 17, 2010

There is a difference in "Professing" and "Practicing" Christianity!

I was teaching Sunday School this week from a book that the people enjoy learning from. I will refrain from naming the book as that seems inappropriate. This was the first time I had used this book as a teaching tool. I am usually most comfortable creating my own lessons. Although, I want those I teach to give feedback and input so I will teach whatever they request. The latest request was that I try to do some lessons from this SS book.
The first lesson I was going to teach was on COL 3:1,2 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. Can you possibly imagine how incredibly effective a Christian could be if he or she had 100% of their hearts and minds focused on things above. As we are working in our lesson I read a comment of the author. He said, "Col 3:1 includes all Christians who are professing members of the Lord's church."
I am not in agreement with that thought. just because someone is "professing" to be a Christian doesn't make them a Christian. In no way, shape, or form does professing mean a person is being obedient to the Gospel. Think about it, many people today "profess" Christianity on Sunday morning and then leave God and his word at the door as they leave. Many people "profess" Christianity and quote scripture that doesn't even exist. Like the ever popular scripture "God helps those who helps themselves!" That may sound biblical but it isn't in the Bible. If people in your life don't know you are a Christian without you telling them you probably aren't a Christian. Consider,
JN 13:34,35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “ By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” We need to let our actions speak and not just our tongues. Have you ever heard the expression, "Actions speak louder than words"? Also consider what John says, "1JN 3:18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth."
It is abundantly clear that "professing" Christianity is not the same as "practicing" Christianity. Col 3:1 is dealing with those who are in Christ. Those who have been buried and raised again with him in that watery grave. Consider, RO 6:3,4 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life
This raises the question, "How does one die with Christ in Baptism?" I want to give two reasons. First, the firm resolution and intention of renouncing sin forever (this is the spiritual aspect of it), very appropriately referred to as "dying with Christ", since as far as the Christian is concerned, his body is no more to be given over to the indulgence of fleshy lusts and sins, any more than if he had physically died. Secondly, the legal aspect of dying in the person of Christ. Christ died on Calvary; therefore, all who are in Christ are also said to have died "in him." Every Christian can say, "The penalty of sin, which is death; has been paid for. Christ died on the cross in my place and he is my Savior and my Redeemer!"
That is why I struggle the thought concept of those who are "professing" with out "practicing" Christianity are included in Col 3:1. Many people today claim to be Christians, yet they ignore his command of Baptism or they refuse to take part in the lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper is to remind us of what our Savior did for us on Calvary. Why wouldn't someone want a reminder of that accomplishment? People will not accept these doctrines but want to claim his name and have the salvation Christ has to offer!
Have a red letter day!