Monthly Archives: January 2008

THE RATIONALE FOR WRATH by Jim Elliff


A cartoon depicted Noah’s ark surrounded by desperate people drowning in the water, begging for help. The rains were coming down hard while Noah and his family were safe inside. On the outside of the ark was a “smiley face” with the words, “Smile, God Loves You.”Are you sure God loves everybody? John the Baptist didn’t think so. He said, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (Jn. 3:36). Why is God justified in having wrath toward you if you have not come to Christ on His terms?Because you are a sinner by nature. The Bible affirms that all people are “by nature children of wrath even as the rest” (Eph. 2:3). “There is none righteous, no not one” (Rom. 3:10). Like David, you were “brought forth in iniquity, and in sin [your] mother conceived [you]” (Ps. 51:5).Because you have amassed a huge volume of sins. If you were only to commit 1 sin every day for 10 years, your total sins would be 36,500. But if you sinned at that rate for 60 years, the number would be 219,000. Yet you commit far more than 10 sins each day. And remember how many sins Adam committed before God judged him worthy of death.Because you have committed the greatest crime possible, against the highest existing authority. The first and greatest command in the entire universe is this: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mk. 12:30). The qualifier “all” speaks loudly in this command. Only perfection will satisfy these terms. And the authority behind this law is not earthly; it is God Himself—the highest authority in the universe.Because of your persistence in sinning against God. If a man steals once, he might be forgiven. But if he steals repeatedly and habitually over his lifetime, his crime attains a magnitude of offensiveness that demands far more punishment. You have been repeatedly and habitually committing a sin much worse than stealing, for your whole life!

Because you have spurned the greatest love gift ever. Christ’s coming to the earth and dying for the sins of people like you is the most amazing act of love possible. But you have ignored it. You have just gone on your way as if it meant nothing.

Because you have spurned this gift even though you have knowledge of Christ and the way of salvation. The just judgment for sin is augmented when knowledge is involved. Jesus said that it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom than for Capernaum, Chorazin, and Bethsaida (Mt. 11:21-24). Sodom was full of immorality and would certainly be judged. But because these other three cities had knowledge (that is, Jesus has spoken and performed miracles in their streets, and yet they still rejected Him), their judgment will be far more severe. You have much knowledge about Christ’s offer of salvation. But like those cities, you have rejected Him too.

Because you have been unwilling to admit your desperate need. “And Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.’ Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, ‘Are we blind also?’” Jesus replied, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.’” (Jn. 9:39-40). The very fact that you think you are without need of Christ proves your blindness and hardness of heart.

Because you have been proud of your good works, though dependence on them damns you. Paul said, ” . . .for if righteousness comes through the Law [that is, by doing the commands], then Christ died needlessly” (Gal. 2:21). The Bible makes clear that we are saved by grace. Salvation is “the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). Those who depend on law-keeping have no part of God’s grace (Gal. 5:4).

Because you have not repented even though He has been kind to you. “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each man according to his deeds” (Rom. 2:4-5).

Because you have stubbornly refused to yield to God and His way of salvation in Jesus Christ to the last possible moment—now!

Can you say that it is unjust for God to be angry with you? Can you possibly imagine that you are a special case, different that all the rest? Certainly you cannot. But all is not lost if you will trust Christ for your salvation. Turning from the control of your life, you may depend or rest entirely on Him and what He has done on the cross to save sinful people like you. The first part of the verse we began with is as true as the second part. At this moment, God’s wrath abides or rests on you. But you may place your trust in Christ now for “everlasting life.” If you do not, you will once again demonstrate that God’s wrath is just and reasonable.

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (Jn. 3:36).
Copyright © 2005 Jim Elliff Permission granted for not-for-sale reproduction in exact form including copyright.

Grace and Peace to you in Him with love
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Repentance ( necessary) Part Three

How the Holy Spirit truly led me to come to this conclusion is what Jesus (and others) said and did through out His ministry. He breaks on the scene in Mark 1:15 to start His Ministry verse 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Repent and Belief are two steps that need to be taken along side each other, they are both on the same side of the coin. For example, if your trapped in a fire holding on to the window frame for dear life and firemen come and say jump into our net, you have to do two things at once, release yourself from your grip on the window (repent) and fall into the net of the firemen to save you (believe) two action done at the same time.

Repentances is a necessary and vital step in Salvation.

Lets look at repentance, comes from the Greek word metanoeo /met·an·o·eh·o/ 1 to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent. 2 to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins.

Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent (metanoeo) and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Peter again in his second sermon in Acts 3:19 Repent (metanoeo) therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,


Paul in Acts 17:30-31 talking to the people of Athens in his Mars Hill sermon

“Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, (metanoeo) 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

Again repentances is a necessary and vital step in Salvation and it’s the godly repentance that God is looking for because it is His will.

2 Corinthians 7:9-10 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. 10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.

We will end where we started with our Lord and Savior Luke 15:6 “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.


I could go on with many more and I didn’t even get into the Old Testament.

Billy Graham said this “If your sorrow is because of certain consequences which have come on your family because of your sin, this is remorse, not true repentance. If, on the other hand, you are grieved because you also sinned against God and His holy laws, then you are on the right road.


Look for part four tomorrow, we will look at the Rich Young Ruler and the Women at the well, maybe even get to the Woman caught in adultery and see our Lord’s Response. Coming days we’ll look at the times when our Lord said, go your faith has healed you.

Grace and Peace to you in Him with love
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Law before Grace (pt2)

Before I get to Galatians 3, I wanted to explain a little bit about the Law.

The Law is the instructions from God on moral behavior. God gave the Law so that people would have a guide to live by and a standard by which they might recognize God’s purity and their sinfulness. The Law is a reflection of the character of God because the Law comes from the very heart of God. Therefore the Law is good and it is pure, right, and holy. It is wrong to lie, because it is against God’s nature to lie. It is wrong to steal because it is against God’s nature to steal.

This Law by its very nature of coming out of the heart of God, and being spoken to men, is a standard for human conduct, a perfect standard. Because it was perfect, and we are not, it is impossible for sinful people to keep. It was for this reason that the Law became a stumbling block because it is an unattainable perfect standard.

The Law, then, brings about the opposite of what it requires. The Law says to be perfect, but shows you where you are not. It says to be holy but condemns you when you are not. Since it is not possible for us to keep the Law and earn our position with God, we then need the holiness of God given to us because there isn’t any way for us to get to the standards of God. Now To Galatians 3

Galatians 3:6-29
6 Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.
8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.
9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.
10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.”
11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “The righteous man shall live by faith.”
12 However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “He who practices them shall live by them.”
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”—
14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
15 Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations: even though it is only a man’s covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it.
16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ.
17
What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise.
18 For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.
19
Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.
20 Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one.
21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law.
22
But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
23
But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.
24
Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.
25
But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

Verse 29, if we belong to Jesus Christ and are true believers we are heirs according to the promise and are no longer under the law. As believer we do not live in a purpose driven life we live in a promise driven life.(eternal life)

I love verse 19, Why the Law then?

The answer is in verse 24 the Law acts as a teacher to lead us to Saving faith in Jesus Christ

Look at verse 21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? Paul says may it never be! People have the opinion that the Law is gone or should be gone, but Paul says the Law comes from God and the promise comes from God. You see they work in harmony with each other.

That is why we preach Law first then Grace, because it’s the Law the Ten Commandment that lead us to Christ (verse 24).

Look at verse 22 we are trapped in sin, the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin or to confine everyone. Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

John Wesley told A young preacher, Preach 90 % Law and 10% Grace and he’s right because that’s what God’s word says. And its that godly preaching and witnessing that leads to a true repentance of our sins and the freedom from the Law and eternal life with Christ.

It says in 1Peter 5 –God opposes the proud but gives Grace the humble and again in James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Law before Grace we must be humbled before God gives us Grace

Read- 1 Tim 1:8-11

Tomorrow we’ll continue part three with What Did Jesus Do (WDJD)

race and Peace to you in Him with love
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The wonderful thing about church yesterday.

The wonderful thing about church yesterday is that the same thing I taught in my Sunday school class my pastor preached on in his sermon, I had no idea he was going to preach on the law and the old covenant. But let me talk about Sunday school, we talked about the law and how the law is used to bring us to the point of Salvation. We went to

Romans2:14-16

14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves,
15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,
16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

We know that the Jews had the written law and these verses talks about the gentiles having the work of the law written in their heart.

No man is without the knowledge of God’s law and is revealed in the hearts of man, speaking to the gentiles who have no law but do by nature the things of the law and are really law to themselves, because the work of the law is written in their hearts, verse 15, their conscience (with knowledge) bearing witness and their reasoning also accusing or excusing them

Let’s look at Romans 3:19-20

19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;
20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

One writer puts it this way referring to vs. 19

“The effect of overwhelming evidence upon an accused party in court” “Guilty” Accountable to God the offended party.

The unbeliever has no defense against a Guilty verdict and it is the Law that makes sin known and brings us to the point of salvation but can’t save us.

Romans 7:7

What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

Paul wants to make clear that the Ten Commandments were not wrong or evil, how can they be, They came from God and they reveal His divine standard, the ten commandments, the law is good, it reveals God’s will, the problem is not with the law it’s with us. The Ten Commandments reflect our heart, if we read the word of God it reveals who we truly are, we are sinners in need of a savior. The Ten Commandments is a mirror showing us our state of sinfulness.

The law reveals the sinfulness of sin and shows us how weak our flesh is.

One writer says this “We all like to look in a mirror—except one: the Word of God. We don’t like to look in that one because it reveals us as sinners, horrible, lost sinners.


Look for part two tomorrow

We’ll take a look at Galatians 3 and what the only viable response can be in witnessing to the unsaved and the way our Lord and Savior did it. The way of the Master.

Grace and Peace to you in Him with love
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Isaiah’s Vision

Isaiah chapter 6

1 In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.
2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
3 And one called out to another and said,
“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory.”
4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.
5
Then I said,
“Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs.
7 He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”

When we come into His presence our response should be with fear and trembling and our words, Holy, Holy, Holy.

Our minds clear, our heart filled with AWE and thanks for Him who saved us,

The unbeliever in our service will see true worship and with sound preaching the spirit of the Lord will do His work on them.

Look at Isaiah’s response in verse 5 being in the presence of the Lord

“Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips
,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”

And God’s response in verses 6and 7

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs.
7 He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”

What is your attitude and what is on your mind when you come to worship service? and are you allowing the Lord to refine you by fire?

Remember people we come into His House, so our only response is “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.”

Worship is more than the music, much more, it’s our response to a Holy God who has chosen us to be saved, and that deserves my worship how about you?

Saying that here are two Music videos that worship God as Holy and remember when we come to worship service were coming to His House

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

Grace and Peace to you in Him with love
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Oh it is a sweet and holy life!

(Octavius Winslow, “Divine Realities” 1860)
“My times are in Your hand.”
Psalm 31:15

Learn to be content with your present lot—with
God’s dealings with you, and His disposal of you.

You are just where His providence has, in its
inscrutable, but all wise and righteous decision,
placed you. It may be a painful, irksome, trying
position—but it is right. Oh yes—it is right!

Strive, then, to live a life of daily dependence upon
God. Oh it is a sweet and holy life! It saves . . .
from many a desponding feeling,
from many a corroding care,
from many an anxious thought,
from many a sleepless night,
from many a tearful eye, and
from many an imprudent and sinful scheme.

Thus you shall walk with God through this
valley of tears, until you exchange . . .
sorrow—for joy,
suffering—for ease,
sin—for purity,
labor—for rest,
conflict—for victory,
and all earth’s chequered, gloomy scenes—for the
changeless, cloudless happiness and glory of heaven!

“My times are in Your hand.” Psalm 31:15

Grace and Peace to you in Him with love
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Why we do church

Unchurched people today are the ultimate consumers. We may not like it, but for every sermon we preach, they’re asking, “Am I interested in that subject or not?” If they aren’t, it doesn’t matter how effective our delivery is; their minds will check out.–Bill Hybels


That is precisely my concern about today’s pragmatic church-growth strategies. The design is to attract the unchurched. For what? To entertain them? To get them to attend church meetings regularly? Merely “churching” the unchurched accomplishes nothing of eternal value.

Too often, however, that is where the strategy stalls. Or else it’s combined with a watered-down gospel that wrongly assures sinners that a positive “decision” for Christ is as good as true conversion. Multitudes who are not authentic Christians now identify themselves with the church. The church has thus been invaded with the world’s values, the world’s interests, and the world’s citizens.
John MacArthur


My only response is I didn’t think it is or will ever be about the preacher and or subject, WOW!! How sad to completely take the power of God away. It’s now a subject, but for me it’s the word of God, living and active, have we put the sinner before the Savior. Have we completely taken out the power of the Holy Spirit to convict and convert a sinner’s soul?

We meet to worship on Sundays to give God the glory and honor and praise, to have a fear and reverence to the holy creator of us and the universe first and then to edify the believer, to build the believer up with sound preaching and bible study to enable and to equip the believer to share God’s word and the hope we have in Christ.(1Peter 3:15) to the unchurched. That’s how you build a Church, that’s church growth. In Acts 2 Peter didn’t stop preaching the word of God because the unchurch was there. But look at the response to his sermon Acts 2:37-44

37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”
40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”
41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

The Fellowship of the Believers

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.
44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.

We never build our worship service around the unbeliever. It’s always around God and His glory and His word. Why do we think that a new approach is always better, the bible talks about the old ancient paths.

Thus says the Lord: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Jeremiah 6:16

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.– Heb 4:12

Paul tells Timothy

1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:
2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

2 Timothy 4:1-4

Grace and Peace to you in Him with love
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The answer is in the Gospel.

I‘ve been thinking about Church this past Sunday – Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.

Abortion is terrible, horrible and God hates it, but He hates all sin.

I love Care Net and the work they do to minimize this horrible sin that people do to God’s unborn. The compassion they show to people who come to them, the Gospel they share so God can convert them. What a wonderful light they are for God.

Please any extra money you have and want to donate GIVE to Care Net of CNY. (They do a noble work)

But it goes deeper. What really is the problem, when people decide to end life…

It’s sin.

Ephesians 2:1-5
1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

We as Christian know God graciously saved us and as Paul says later in:

Ephesians 5:1-11
1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;
2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
3 But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;
4 and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
7 Therefore do not be partakers with them;
8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light
9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),
10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;
12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.

The answer to abortion and any sin is the word of God and the Gospel.

That’s why the preaching of God’s word and the Gospel is the only true weapon we have for sin including abortion. God’s word will expose all sin. (vs.13)

We will find all this in God’s word, forgiveness, conversion, a new birth, repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, a new creation and truth and it’s truth that will set us free.

Look at verse 9. Paul says, (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), Paul calls goodness and righteousness and truth the FRUIT of light because it grows naturally out of light. Fruit comes out of a tree because of what the tree is. That is the Christian life: becoming what you are—bearing fruit.

We as Christian walk in light of the word of God; the message of Jesus Christ becomes clear(Romans 12:1-2) and to take it a little further, our responsibility doesn’t stop at rejecting evil but exposing it (vs. 11) and we do all this with the word of God.

Hebrew 4:12
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

I loved the final hymn we sang on Sunday (The Wonderful Words of Life), it was rich in truth. The old hymns are so often filled with scripture and doctrine.

The answer is in the Gospel.

Isaiah 55:11
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

Romans 10:8, 17
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart
that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,

17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

The Wonderful Words of Life

Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life,
Let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life;
Words of life and beauty teach me faith and duty.

Refrain

Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life,
Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.

Christ, the blessed One, gives to all wonderful words of life;
Sinner, list to the loving call, wonderful words of life;
All so freely given, wooing us to heaven.

Refrain

Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life,
Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.

Sweetly echo the Gospel call, wonderful words of life;
Offer pardon and peace to all, wonderful words of life;
Jesus, only Savior, sanctify us forever.

Refrain

Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life,
Beautiful words, wonderful words, wonderful words of life.

Grace and Peace to you in Him with love
Lenny
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Inward, Upward, or Outward

Inward, Upward, or Outward

By John MacArthur

If the average evangelical congregation were surveyed concerning the primary purpose of the church, it is likely that many diverse answers would be given.

Several purposes, however, would probably be prominent.

A large number would rank fellowship first, the opportunity to associate and interact with fellow Christians who share similar beliefs and values. They highly value the fact that the church provides activities and programs for the whole family and is a place where relationships are nurtured and shared and where inspiration is provided through good preaching and beautiful music. A favorite verse for such church members is likely to be, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

At a level perhaps a step higher, some Christians would consider sound biblical teaching to be the church’s principal function, expounding Scripture and strengthening believers in the knowledge of and obedience to God’s revealed truth. That emphasis would include helping believers discover and minister their spiritual gifts in various forms of leadership and service. Like fellowship, that too is a basic function of the church, because God “gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4: 11-13).

Adding a more elevated level, some members would consider praise of God to be the supreme purpose of the church. They emphasize the church as a praising community that exalts the Lord in adoration, image, and reverence. Praise is clearly a central purpose of God’s people just it has always been and will always be a central activity of heaven, where both saints and angels will eternally sing praises to God. “Worthy, Thou, our Lord and our God,” sing the twenty-four elders lying prostrate before God’s throne, “to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and are created” (Rev. 4: 10-11; cf. 5:8-14).

All of those emphases are thoroughly biblical and should characterize every body of believers. But neither separately nor together do they represent the central purpose and mission of the church in the world. The supreme purpose and motive of every individual believer and every body of believers is to glorify God, and the supreme way in which God chose to glorify Himself was through the redemption of sinful men. It is through participation in that redemptive plan that believers themselves most glorify God.

Nothing so much glorifies God as His gracious redemption of damned, hell-bound sinners. It was for that ultimate purpose that God called Abraham, that in him “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3). It was never the Lord’s intention to isolate Israel as His sole focus of concern but rather to use that specially chosen and blessed nation to reach all other nations of the world for Himself. Israel was called to “proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day” and to “tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples” (1 Chron. 16:23-24; cf. Ps. 18:49). Like her Messiah, Israel was to be “a light to the nations so that [the Lord’s] salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isa. 49:6; cf. 42:IO-12; 66:19; Jonah 3:1-10).

Likewise, the great mission of the church is to so love, learn, and live as to call men and women to Jesus Christ. As sinners are forgiven and are transformed from death to life and from darkness to light, God is glorified through that gracious miracle. The glory of God is manifest in His loving provision to redeem lost men. He Himself paid the ultimate price to fulfill His glory.

If God’s primary purpose for the saved were loving fellowship, He would take believers immediately to heaven, where spiritual fellowship is perfect, unhindered by sin, disharmony, or loneliness. If His primary purpose for the saved were the learning of His Word, He would also take believers immediately to heaven, where His Word is perfectly known and understood. And if God’s primary purpose for the saved were to give Him praise, He would, again, take believers immeidately to heaven, where praise is perfect and unending.

There is only one reason the Lord allows His church to remain on earth: to seek and to save the lost, just as Christ’s only reason for coming to earth was to seek and to save the lost. “As the Father has sent Me,” He declared, “I also send you” (John 20:21). Therefore, believers who are not committed to winning the lost for Jesus Christ should reexamine their relationship to the Lord and certainly their divine reason for existence.

Fellowship, teaching, and praise are not the mission of the church but are rather the preparation of the church to fulfill its mission of winning the lost. And just as in athletics, training should never be confused with or substituted for actually competing in the game, which is the reason for all the training.

(Adapted from The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Matthew 24-28, pp. 330-33)


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Kirk Cameron and John MacArthur on Salvation

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“I wonder also how many Christians in our day have truly and completely abandoned themselves to Jesus Christ as their Lord. We are very busy telling people to ‘accept Christ’—and that seems to be the only word we are using. We arrange a painless acceptance.

We are telling people that the easiest thing in the world is to accept Jesus Christ, and I wonder what has happened to our Christian theology which no longer contains any hint of what it should mean to be completely and utterly abandoned to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

I think it is a good sign that we are having a relentlessness and a dissatisfaction among professing Christians concerning their own spiritual state. I find that we are having to start all over with many of them because they have never been taught anything but ‘the acceptance of Christ.’ They need the plain statement of the terms of eternal satisfaction: acknowledgment of sin and complete trust in Christ and utter abandonment to Him and His Lordship.”
-A.W. Tozer, Who Put Jesus On The Cross

Grace and Peace to you in Him with love
Lenny
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