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Monthly Archives : April 2019

Believing in the Resurrection …… April 21, 2019

He is not here, but has risen. Luke 24:6 ESV

When Jesus resurrected from the dead no one was anticipating him to do so. In fact, some, when going to the tomb after the Sabbath, were doing so to finish the burial process and discussed among themselves who would roll the stone out of the way. (Mark 16;1-3) Having seen the stone rolled away and been told by an angel that He had risen, they ran back to a place where the others were hiding in fear, to tell them that He had risen. Had those in hiding believed in the resurrection they would have been at the tomb waiting… not hiding. Even after being told by those who had seen Jesus, Thomas said, “Unless I see in His hands the marks of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” John 20:23 ESV Truth is, according to Mark 16:14, the elven didn’t believe at first that He had risen and Jesus rebuked them for their hardness of heart and unbelief. Unbelief is so dangerous, for it is the very means by which Satan will take many captive, to the peril of their life/soul. It is imperative to believe concerning the resurrection, for it is what the Christian’s entire life is based upon. Without the resurrection it would have been proven that Jesus was simply a man and not the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 As I teach and am convinced: “What you believe will determine how you live.”

CONFUSION AT FIRST: ……… JOHN 20:1-18
Those who had followed Jesus in life were overwhelmed in the reality of his death and did not understand that he had risen. Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and another desciple whom Jesus loved and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” John 20:1 ESV I do not believe any of us today, if living in that moment, would have understood that Jesus had resurrected from the dead. If we had seen him beaten, crucified, and die, our thoughts, as theirs, would have been, “He is gone”. We, as they, would have believed the only explanation was — someone stole his body. But this confusion only lasted for a while, for Jesus would not have us……

LOOKING FOR LIFE IN THE WRONG PLACES:
While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, WHY DO YOU SEEK THE LIVING AMONG THE DEAD? Luke 4-5 ESV If you believe you can look in a graveyard for answers you are looking in the wrong place. This is why we should not look in our own hearts for answers, but in the One who can make the dead heart alive with understanding. While there was confusion at first, the understanding of the resurrection changed everything. They ceased to hide and began to thrive in proclaiming the gospel of the good news….. JESUS IS ALIVE!!!!!! They didn’t preach it in the graveyard but in the world. They did so because they believed not only what they had heard but what they had seen. We today have not seen Jesus in the flesh as he once walked, so where does that place us in this gospel?

BLESSED:
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” John 20:29 ESV Christians, by faith, believe the Bible is true, and that it is … His-story and the future all in one book. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 ESV Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God. He lived a sinless life, making him the perfect lamb of God to be sacrificed for the punishment of our sins. He died, was buried, and rose again on the third day, conquering sin, death, and the grave. He returned to his Father and is coming again, breaking open the grave of every believer and catching up those who remain in the air to live with him forever. We will one day join with the angels to praise and worship him forever in our eternal home that he promises to prepare for us. GLORY!!!!

APPLICATION:
Live on purpose for God and give evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in your life/heart. 1 John 2:1-6

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

JUSTIFIED…… April 14, 2019

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are JUSTIFIED by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. Romans 3:23-25 ESV

Justified… just-as-if-I’d….. never sinned. I learned that little breakdown of the word ‘justified’ from a teacher years ago, and it gives a clear understanding of the meaning of the word. This is not implying that we do not or have not sinned. It simply means this is how God views us when we, in faith, believe in the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ and receive the gift of grace. (Ephesians 2:8-9) No one will be justified before God based upon their works. However, our works will give evidence of the fact that we have been redeemed from sin and are justified. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand, THAT WE SHOULD WALK IN THEM. Ephesians 2:10 ESV God redeemed us from our sins on purpose and wants us to work/walk for him on purpose in the works he has prepared for us.

FOR ALL HAVE SINNED:
Most people remember the words of Jesus to the men who had brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to him for judgement. “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7 ESV Many people look at Christianity as a religion of judgement upon others, but for authentic Christianity this is not true. Jesus said, “If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” John 12:47 ESV The Christian work of today is to present the gospel – good news – to the world, which is exactly what Jesus was doing. He went on to say, “The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge.” John 12:48 ESV … God. This doesn’t in any way suggest that sinning was acceptable to Jesus, for it was and is not. When the men had dropped the stones and walked away, Jesus said to the woman, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, AND FROM NOW ON SIN NO MORE.” John 8:10-11 ESV Jesus was telling her to change and not continue in a sinful lifestyle. Every person in this world is a sinner and needs Jesus as savior – for all have sinned. When sharing the gospel to the world, it is not to bring judgement upon anyone but to offer a new life in Christ.

JUSTIFIED BY HIS GRACE AS A GIFT:
I have heard it said concerning a person who has died, “That was a good person and they are in a better place.” That is a true statement only if they have received the gift of grace from God for salvation. To imply a person went to heaven based upon their own goodness is to say that they lived as perfectly as Jesus in this life. This would also imply that Jesus wasn’t necessary and the gospel….good news of salvation in Christ alone…would not be true. This would no longer be a gift, for that person would be receiving the reward of heaven based upon their works. Let me give some verses to make this point. Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified. Galatians 2:16 ESV …. As it is written: None is righteous, no, not one. Romans 3:10 eSV …. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 ESV … Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 ESV

REDEMPTION IN CHRIST JESUS:
We are justified only because we have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb. John the Baptist described Jesus as follows, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 ESV…. Every person must accept the truth that ….. 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 The only work that needs to be done by a person is this… Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God? Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:28-29 ESV Jesus said to him, “I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV From Genesis to Revelation this is the message of the gospel…. salvation is in Christ alone.

APPLICATION:
To apply all that is written above, one must first BE RECEIVED BY FAITH. Then, as a Christian, live every day in thankfulness for the great gift of salvation that God has given you through his Son Jesus. Echo the words of David, “I will extol you, my God and King and bless your name forever and ever. EVERY DAY I WILL BLESS YOU and PRAISE YOUR NAME forever and ever. Great is the LORD and GREATLY TO BE PRAISED, and his greatness is unsearchable.” Psalm 145:1-3 ESV Being justified by God will make you see things differently, for you will be seeing things through the eyes of the Holy Spirit which lives within you. Always remember…. He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being JUSTIFIED by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:5-7 ESV Live thankful and on purpose for God.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

OBEDIENCE …… April 7, 2019

For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:19 ESV

I have heard more than one person say, “What I do is no one else’s business.” While this sentiment contains some truth, we must remember that the repercussions of a person’s choices will affect others. We live in a world that is so interconnected, that every choice that is made affects someone in some way…. be it for good or for bad. The fact is, this has been true throughout all history. When Adam and Eve chose to eat the fruit from the tree which God told them not to eat, sin was birthed into the world. This one act of disobedience has affected every generation to this present age. When Jesus, God’s only Son, was birthed into this world, His act of obedience changed the world…. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. Philippians 2:8 ESV In understanding this truth and the principle of cause and effect, how should we, as Christians, live?

AS SLAVES:
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? Romans 6:16 ESV
Bob Dylon wrote a songs years ago with this lyric: “You’re gonna have to serve somebody; Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” So every person must answer the question, “Whom do you serve?” Some might say, “I don’t served the Lord OR Satan,” but in reality that is not true, for you will serve one or the other. The reason this is true is because where you will spend eternity will be based upon whom you have obeyed, and whom you chose in this life to believe.

INTENTIONALLY:
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29 ESV
In obedience we serve God intentionally. Peter and the apostles had been imprisoned for teaching about Jesus and were told to cease such teachings. When they were found teaching after being told to stop, they were asked why they had chosen to continue to do so; the answer was simple for them: We must obey God. This reminds me of the hymn, Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

OBEDIENTLY:
To obey is better than sacrifice. 1 Samuel 15:22 ESV
Sacrificing your time, as we might call it, is not necessarily pleasing to God. God wants an obedient heart that is willing to listen and do his will. Outward sacrifice does not necessarily show inward obedience; however, inward obedience produces a life pleasing to God and will be evident as a living sacrifice before God. (Romans 12:1-2)

APPLICATION:
Therefore, PREPARING YOUR MINDS FOR ACTION, and being sober minded, set your hope on the garce that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As OBEDIENT children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 PETER 1:13-15 Remember, as I have taught multiple times, everything begins in the mind. It is necessary for you to prepare your mind for obedience. It must be intentional to live in obedience for God, but it is not necessarily easy. Living for God must be the desire of your heart in order to please Him, and to please Him, you must obey Him. So I challenge you as well as myself …… live on purpose in obedience to God.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

TRUST …… MARCH 31, 2019

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3: 5-6 ESV

Have you ever trusted someone only to be let down? A co-worker, friend, parent, spouse, or (fill in the blank). It can be one of the most devastating things that can happen to a person. Any time you have trusted someone and that trust was broken, it makes trusting again difficult. Trust is broken by unfaithfulness, broken promises, lies, and again…. (fill in the blank). I believe this could even be one of Satan’s strategies in causing people not to want to trust God. God wants to be a heavenly Father to the fatherless, but someone who has had a father that let them down, might react by saying, “I don’t need a father.” How about the teaching of a friend who sticks closer than a brother, Proverbs 18: 24b ESV? Have you had someone you considered a friend fail you when you needed them the most? The church is referred to as the bride of Christ, but maybe you had a spouse who wasn’t faithful and you might not be interested in anything that compares itself to a marriage. There could be many comparisons of situations that cause you to have difficulty trusting; but to never trust is to never heal, for we were made to interact in trusting relationships. This does not mean you trust everyone, but you must learn to choose wisely those in whom you put your trust. Jesus is one such person to choose, as Savior, friend, and Lord, in whom you can place unreserved trust.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart:
By faith you believe and trust Jesus, and make Him Lord of your life. The heart represents life. When you trust Him with all your heart you are in essence saying, “I’m trusting you with my life.” This trust requires you to take down the barriers of distrust and open yourself to a relationship based on unadulterated hope, faith, and love. It’s a trust believing everything that is taught by Jesus. You believe that He is the only Son of the living God which became flesh and lived with us yet without sin. You believe He came to die and as a result take away the sins of the world….. your world…. your sin. You trust him when He says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b ESV You rest when you remember His words, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and NO ONE WILL SNATCH THEM OUT OF MY HAND.” John 10:28 ESV.

Do not lean on your own understanding:
Trust at times will stretch you by making you vulnerable. If I totally have my mind wrapped around an issue or situation, I have a comfort level that is acceptable to me. However, when I hear the words “trust me”, it is because I might be viewing a situation differently than the person in whom I am choosing to place my trust. It also might be because I’ve trusted before and was hurt or let down. Trust in the Lord means you believe God when He says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth’s so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 ESV We must always remember, it was our own understanding that introduced sin into the world. If Adam and Eve had trusted God’s words they would have never eaten the fruit from the tree. And the Lord God commanded the man saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:17 ESV Something might seem so good or right to us, but if God says no….. trust Him.

In all your ways acknowledge him:
God is to be, and should be, involved in every area of a Christian’s life. In him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:28 ESV Trusting Him is wanting him to have that place in your life. To acknowledge Him is to make Him known by how you live and how you speak concerning Him. (Luke 12:8)

He will make straight your paths:
I like the KJV translation of this verse which says, “And he shall direct thy paths.” The point is, God leads you in the way that you should go. The fastest way to someone or to a place is a straight or direct path based on the road map given to find a person or place. The Bible can be such a road map, revealing the way to God, and given by God for us to follow. In order to find life, we must trust His words on His map to do so. We are to take up the cross and follow him… Matthew 16:24, Mark 8: 34, Luke 9:23. This is not a literal cross, but a cross which represents sacrifice of the old life for a new life in Christ. We are to do as it teaches in Romans 12:1 … to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship…. As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct. 1 Peter 1: 15 ESV These two verses are just two such teachings/directions in God’s road map for our lives. Life is a pilgrimage in living every day on purpose for God.

Application:
You cannot follow someone if you are not going in the same direction. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV Jesus is the way; and if you follow Him, you must trust that he is the only way to God. He is the map / way that leads to God. Trust and believe in the words of Jesus and make His teachings the reason you do everything you do. If you have done this, then the next step is to take one step at a time and follow. People tend to look at the journey and become overwhelmed, but this is not how the Lord wants you to live. Trust Him for today and do not worry about the travels of tomorrow, for that will be another day. Today needs to be the focus in trusting Him. Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Matthew 6: 34 ESV If you have an area in which you feel you do not trust Him, then find in God’s word a promise concerning that issue, memorize it and use it to battle your lack of trust in that area. Live on purpose for God.

Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David

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