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Monthly Archives : August 2018

Jesus In Philemon …. The Way Of Forgiveness …… August 26, 2018

Scripture… Read the one chapter in the book of Philemon … Pauls shortest letter.

     Philemon is the shortest of all Paul’s letters. A letter not written to a church but to a man named Philemon. Paul was a close friend to Philemon, whom he had led to Christ. Philemon had also helped start the church in Colossae. (vs 1-2) Philemon had a slave by the name of Onesimus who had wronged him and then run away. Onesimus somehow met Paul who was in prison, and during this meeting Paul lead him to faith in Christ. Paul was sending Onesimus back to Philemon with this letter to right whatever wrong he had done and to encourage Philemon to forgive him and receive him back, not as a slave but as a fellow believer. Much can be learned from all of Paul’s letters, but what are some of the principles of truth we can learn in the letter to Philemon?

FORGIVENESS:
     Paul, in this letter, was working as a mediator between Philemon and Onesimus. Onesimus had committed an act that according to Roman law, could be greatly punished. He would have lived the rest of his life, if not captured, in hiding and running. Receiving forgiveness was the only way Onesimus would ever really live in freedom- Freedom that comes from being forgiven and received as a fellow believer by Philemon. Just like Onesimus, before a person comes to know Christ as Savior, he is also a slave- a slave to sin— sin which is a wrong against God and is greatly punishable. He is not free. Every person born needs a mediator… Jesus … who will speak on our behalf before God. God will forgive and receive us back when we repent of sin, and return to Him, acknowledging the sin we have done against Him. God is a forgiving God, and by His grace we are set free from the bondage of sin and its unavoidable consequence. We are received by God and made a part of the family. We no longer are separated from Him by our running from Him in our sin. This is the forgiveness every person born needs.

COURAGE:
     If you run away from something, that is what you will be doing all your life. It surely took courage for Onesimus to return to Philemon. Do you suppose that Onesimus had thoughts in his mind as to how Philemon would receive him? Would he forgive him or punish him? Would he take the council Paul had written in his letter to him or ignore it? It took courage for him to travel back to Philemon, but he desired to make right the wrong he had done as a result of his new life as a believer. One difference for the running in this world today is we know that God will receive us and forgive us when we return to a Him. God made the way through His own Son by making a road back to Him by the way of the cross. It takes courage to return to God, for Satan will try to discourage you with fear by the way of questions. Courage is believing and coming to God in faith when your legs are telling you to run.

FELLOWSHIP:
     Fellowship is a result of being where you need to be. Onesimus would never have experienced fellowship as a fellow believer with Philemon if he had not returned. Paul encouraged Philemon to receive Onesimus as a fellow believer equal to himself before God and not as a slave. When a person receives salvation in Christ, God does not look at us as runners/sinners but as his child. For to be in Christ is to experience a freedom that creates fellowship between God and that person. You will never be in fellowship by running from God but only by returning to God….. Where do you need to be?
     Are you a runner today? Return to God by the way of the cross and be forgiven. Take courage in the truth of God’s word and stop listening to the lies of Satan. This will create for you a fellowship with God that will make life, even though difficult at times, worth living by living in a way that you will never know by running.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Jesus In Titus …. Our Gospel of Grace …… August 19, 2018

     For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:11-13 ESV

     In this world there is nothing new under the sun concerning the sin nature of man.  When Paul wrote to Titus, he did so preparing him to deal with issues in the churches at Crete.  Paul refers to a general description of the Cretans as a true testimony that they are described as liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons. (Titus 1:12-13)  This was not exactly an area influenced by Godly living as Christinas are called to live when empowered by the Holy Spirit in their life.  Paul also wanted Titus to deal with the false teaching of works plus faith being taught by some of the leaders in the churches (Titus 1:10-11)  He instructed him to remove these false teachers and replace them with teachers of the gospel of grace – the gospel by which you are saved, which then influences how you live life by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Titus 1:11-3:6)  The challenge Paul gave to Titus instructing him to put things in order at Crete could easily be the same challenge for us today in the world in which we live.  Crete was not an easy place to live because of all the evil that shrouded the region, yet like Christians then, we are called today to be light in the darkness of no hope.  We do so by ——–

TEACHING SALVATION BY GRACE:

     To be religious and teach salvation is Jesus plus something else.  This is a false teacher.  Salvation is made possible to all people only by the grace of God.  For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV  To believe additional work is needed to be saved, is to believe the death of Jesus on the cross was not quite enough.  The truth is simply this, “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaved given among men by which we must be saved.”  Acts 4:12 ESV  That name….. JESUS. (Acts4:11)  Also the teaching of works being necessary to stay saved, is teaching Jesus can save you, but isn’t strong enough to keep you.  Good works are the result of salvation, not the process of salvation.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:10 ESV

LIVING ON PURPOSE FOR OUR GOD AND SAVIOR JESUS:

     It is one thing to say you are a Christian; it is another to live on purpose for God.  Living on purpose is making much of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, not bringing attention to ourselves.  The light that should shine in every Christian should cause fellow Christians and others to see God.  You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  Matthew 5:14-16, ESV  Obviously the light that is shining in you is Jesus, and that is what you want others to see. (2 Corinthians 4:5-6)

WAITING WITH HOPE FOR JESUS’ RETURN:

     A life without hope is a dark life.  The Christian is to live as one knowing and believing that Jesus will return.  We believe this because Jesus said He would do so. (John 14:3)  When we take our eyes off Jesus, we see only the darkness of this world.  We may be surrounded by the storms of life, but we can walk on the waters of this life without drowning when Jesus is our focus.  May we, as Paul, live our lives so that if we are to sleep in death before the return of Christ, we finish well.  Paul said it like this. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7 ESV  May this be true of all who go and live by the name….. Christian.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Jesus In 2 Timothy …. Our Strength …… August 12, 2018

You then, my child, be strengthened by grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 2: 1

     Paul was imprisoned in Rome and it wasn’t going well for him. He was probably going to die, and in his letter to Timothy he informed him of this reality. (2 Timothy 4:6-8) Suffering proved to be a part of Paul’s life, but he considered it more than worth it as a believer. Paul had experienced and received unprecedented grace from Jesus on the road to Damascus. Grace that he recognized as his only hope which was a gift given by God. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Don’t we all need to be strengthen by the grace that is in Jesus? Paul needed it, he encouraged Timothy to be strengthened by this same grace, and this letter applies to us today. The gospel of grace needs to be taught to all who will listen. Then, upon believing and receiving the gift of grace,  share with others. How do we live in the strength of grace that is in Jesus?

WE LIVE IN THANKSGIVING TO JESUS:

     I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord. 1 Timothy 1:12a ESV……. And the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 1:14 ESV

     Everything we have is from the Lord, even our strength and ability to walk as we are commanded. We are to give thanks to Him continually for the strength we receive from him. We are to lay aside every weight of sin that slows us down in our spiritual growth. (Hebrews 12:1) Jesus needs to be our focus in the midst of difficulties, suffering and trials. Stephen, just before he was stoned, gazed into heaven and said these words, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:56 ESV Jesus was his focus when he lived and when he died.

WE LIVE IN THE JOY OF JESUS:

     The joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b ESV

     I know this is in the Old Testament, but it is the same Lord. Strength comes when we are walking strong in joy because of who Jesus is in our life. This is how Paul endured all that he experienced in suffering. A person who has joy in Jesus will have strength to live in victory. This is why we sing the song, “Victory in Jesus, my Savior forever….” We have salvation in Christ alone, not in and of ourselves. This joy is a result of the Holy Spirit living in us.

 

WE LIVE IN THE STRENGTH OF HIS PRESENCE:

     At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me…… But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. 2 Timothy 4:16a – 17 ESV

     Paul, like Jesus, was alone when all deserted him at his first trial. (2 Timothy 4:16) -All that is except Jesus. Jesus made a promise just before he went back to His heavenly kingdom. He said, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b ESV  I know there may be times when you feel all alone, but what we feel and what we know are two totally different realities. We must live in the fact that the Lord will never lie to us. I have never read where Paul wavered from this fact. Let me encourage you not to live with the “why me” mindset. Instead, If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:1-2 ESV  You may say ‘I don’t deserve the Lord to be with me,’ but the truth is you never have. That is why it is called grace, and it is in this grace that we have strength. Strength that comes from Christ alone. Strength that comes from a grace that is greater than all our sin. Paul referred to himself as the chief or worst of sinners when sharing the gospel of grace. (1 Timothy 1:15.)

     Remember, Satan is a lier and will always attempt to make you believe you are alone, without hope and weak. In order for Satan to do this he must make you believe that your sin is greater than God’s grace. The strength of grace is the cross upon which Jesus died, and the blood that covers a multitude of sin. Let me again encourage you to always walk in the strength of the grace that is in Jesus Christ alone.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Jesus In 1 Timothy …. Our Mediator …… August 5, 2018

     For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5 ESV 

     The gap between God and man was and is so great that unless someone intervened, we would be without hope. That someone was and is Jesus. He, by His sacrifice on the cross, made it possible for this gap to be closed by making a bridge between us and God so that we might enter into His presences forgiven. What an awesome reality that by grace, we have someone to go before God on our account in order to restore a relationship that was destroyed by sin. It is also very important to acknowledge some important facts for this grace to be experienced.

THERE IS ONE GOD
     There is no one sufficient word to describe God. God is greater than any language could describe, yet we use words to attempt to have an understanding of His greatness. There are over a hundred names in the Bible to show the greatness of God. Words used like Alpha and Omega, meaning the first and last Revelations 1:8…. Elohim, meaning creator Genesis 1 1-3… Jehovah Jireh, God will provide, Genesis 22:14 . There are not many gods but one true God. God makes it clear for us to understand that we are to have no other gods before Him. (Exodus 20:3…. Matthew 4:10)

THERE IS ONE MEDIATOR
     Satan is more than happy to remind you of your failures. Our failures…sin… separates us from fellowship with God, and Satan would be just fine with us dying in this condition…. Satan would but not God! God in His love for us came in the flesh and paid the penalty for our sin by dying on a cross. All will one day experience physical death and will stand before God to give an account of the life we lived. If this death is faced without repentance, then that person will stand before God alone. However, for all who confess and believe, they will have an advocate that will speak on their behalf. (1 John 1: 8 -1 John 2: 1-2) Think about this…. the Christian will have someone who will stand before God on their account. Though the Christian is without excuse concerning their sin, they will be forgiven because of the work of Christ on the cross who took our penalty for sin….death.

THE MAN CHRIST JESUS God in the flesh; that’s who Jesus was!!! He has ascended back to the Father, and one day is coming again to take the Christian home to be with Him forever. These are just words to the one who does not know Him as Savior, but to the Christian they are words of hope and life. It is comforting to know that Jesus has covered us with His righteousness so that we might stand before God one day justified. Justified…JUST AS IF I’D NEVER sinned. Guilty we are, but forgiven….absolutely!!!! This should be the reason we love God so very much. He was willing to pay the debt for the sin that He did not owe. It was our debt. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV 

     This is the bottom line to all that is written above. How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? Hebrews 2:3 ESV  It must be understood that no one will come into the presence of God forgiven without Jesus. For by Jesus alone a person is saved. AND THERE IS SALVATION IN NO ONE ELSE, FOR THERE IS NO OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN GIVEN AMONG MEN BY WHICH WE MUST BE SAVED. ACTS 4:12 ESV

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

Jesus In 2 Thessalonians …. The Returning King …… July 29, 2018

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. 2 Thessalonians 3:16

     The book of 2 Thessalonians is a short letter written as a follow-up to 1 Thessalonians. Things had become worse concerning the issues Paul had written about in 1 Thessalonians. The persecution had intensified, false teachings concerning Jesus’s return had amped up, and people were not being biblically responsible when it came to work. It was becoming more difficult to …. rejoice always, pray continually and to give thanks in all circumstances as instructed in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Paul was concerned and rightly so; for if thing continued, people might lose sight of the comfort, hope, and peace that Jesus is for them. There is nothing new under the sun, and people can still become discouraged even in our world today. There is still persecution in many places, false teachings, and our eyes watch for the promised return of Jesus. How does a person live in such times? Be it then or now? …In peace that only the Lord can give. Paul prayed it for the believers in Thessalonica, and it is a prayer that could be echoed through the ages.

For Those In Persecutions…. Peace
    There are places in the world today that are experiencing persecution because of their faith in Jesus. Places where churches are burned, people are tortured, families killed while other family member are forced to watch, and children taken captive to suffer greatly at the hand of their captors. (More information concerning these types of persecutions can be read in the magazine, “Voice of the Martyrs” or by visiting the web site, www.persecution.com) How do people endure such moments? They endure by grace that comes from trusting in Jesus. Peace is given by Jesus for those who endure such difficult times. Jesus spoke these words to us from John 15:20 … “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecute me, they will persecute you.”

During Times of False Teachings…. Peace
     There were those who were teaching that Paul said “The Lord has already returned.” Paul had never taught such a falsehood. Today, we are still looking for the coming of Jesus and must not grow weary in doing so. Keep looking up with anticipation for His return. The world is full of all kinds of false teachings which can cause frustration and fear just as in Thessalonica. Never believe the lies of false teachings and always hold on to the truth of the written word such as the teachings by Jesus…. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. And behold, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, TO THE END OF THE AGE Matthew 28:19-20 and Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL COME AGAIN AND WILL TAKE YOU TO MYSELF, THAT WHERE I AM YOU MAY BE ALSO. John 14:2-3

When People Cease to Work…. Peace
     Do not look to the lack of action by others but keep on keeping on until Jesus returns. We are not called to be idle but working until His return. Be one who sets an example for other in how you live by not being idle. There is no retirement in the Christian walk of faith. Have you ever heard someone say “Why should I do _______, no one else is?” We are called to live on purpose for the Lord until He comes, as described in Luke 12:35-40 ….. We must be ready!! While we don’t work to gain salvation, there is a peace that comes from God in our work for Him. It is a peace that knows why we do what we do.

Paul ended the second letter to the Thessalonians with a prayer for them to experience peace from the Lord. Peace, because it is the guard of our hearts to keep us keeping on. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, WILL GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS. Philippians 4:7 ESV  When we lack the peace that comes from faith in God, we will tend to wander from truth. We look for answers in places where there are no answers. When tempted to look for answers anywhere other than in Christ, may we have the mind of Peter in John 6:68 ESV when he said, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

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