The Church

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19, 20

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The Great Commission and Contending for the Faith

How to Contend for the Faith

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What I Learned In Church Yesterday

As you know last week I finished up The Parable of The Lost Son. I used many resources, books and commentaries to help me learn and teach it to the folks at my church… so before I get to What I Learned In Church Yesterday, I wanted to give you two books I recommend for reading. A Tale of Two Sons By John MacArthur. He writes “Of all Jesus’ parables, the prodigal son is the most richly detailed, powerfully dramatic, and intensely personal.  The parable is not a warm and fuzzy feel-good message, but a powerful wake-up call with a very earnest warning.” You will not be disappointed with this book. You can listen to his sermons series for free Here. The second one is The Prodigal God by Tim Keller. John Piper writes “The Prodigal God is vintage Keller–biblically faithful with a fresh angularity. That is, Keller seizes a great truth and comes at it from an angle and with language that help us see it in new ways.” You can listen to seven short sermons by Tim Keller on Luke 15:11-32 Here

I ended the class and my post last week with this verse Acts 2:23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death…. Then had some discussion with some people about foreknowledge – just what does it mean ? So plan on seeing that sometime this week. The answer just might come as a surprise to you. Now just what did I learn in church yesterday?

Well, I found myself back into the same Philippians class I had left to teach The Prodigal Son. They really didn’t go very far in Philippians… I remember leaving some where around the middle of chapter two… and yesterday we were in Philippians 3:7-11 Just the way I like it… slow, deep and accurate. 2 Timothy 2:15 He must have learned that from someone… Tim, our elder is doing a great job. He already hit on Philippians 3:7-8, 9 last week, so he took us through Philippians 3:10-11 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. And started a bit on Philippians 3:12-16

The great truth that came out of this study for me is Those of us who believe and  suffer with and for Christ will attain the resurrection from the dead… Just as Jesus did. Amen! Romans 8:10-11 and Romans 6:4-11 Those of us who believe will live in the presence of Christ for eternity… And if the resurrection of Christ never took place we are just bumbling idiots here. But Jesus has defeated both sin and death… the resurrection is the greatest act of power… He defeated death and sin… So this same God has the power to bring us, who were dead in our trespasses and sin and make us alive in Christ Ephesians 2:1-4 Just like He resurrected  Lazarus from the dead (Lazarus come forth) He chooses us… those of us who believe for eternity, before the foundation of the world Ephesians 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love. We have gone from death to life and have been crucified with Christ Galatians 2:20 So many people hear the gospel call… but few are Chosen Matthew 22:14 Repent and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ Mark 1:15 and live forever with Him in eternity. For Salvation is from the Lord Jonah 2:9

If you’re reading this and you are a lost soul… Call out to God to save you, repent your sins to a Holy God and place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ and by grace the bible says you are saved… Not by your doing but His Ephesians 2:8-9 Repent and Believe! How do you know that you’re saved… you’ll know.  First of all if you believe what the word of God says and if it’s a godly repentance you’re saved… Then the Holy Spirits testimony Romans 8:14… You will go from death to life and there will be a change in your life…  People will see a difference in your life… You will hate your sin and desire the things of God. Then you can be confident that He who saved you will keep you until glory Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

That’s what I learned in church yesterday.

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Preach and Teach It

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3 Years Old

The Bible Christian turns 3 Years Old Tomorrow

My desire has always been to give God the glory Romans 11:36… to edify the brethren 1 Thessalonians 5:11 and send forth God’s word, knowing He will do the rest Isaiah 55:11 And if I don’t… it’s like fire in my bones. But if I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,” Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it. Jeremiah 20:9

Is not God’s word like a Hammer

I am not a man pleaser… but God pleaser Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. A true Slave of Christ proclaims the only gospel of God and does not live to please man. He does not compromise… but he speaks the truth in love Ephesians 4:15.

The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

Romans 11: 33-36 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

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Four reasons to lie…

I was elected the chaplain of my college’s choir and we are doing a series of devotions on the attributes of God.  Yesterday I talked about God being Truth and I used part of John Piper’s sermon on the subject.  Here is a brief excerpt that I thought was really great.

“Let’s be specific and make ourselves aware of some of the deceitful desires that tempt us to lie. I think all the desires that lead people to lie can be summed up in these two: fear and greed. Two kinds of fear and two kinds of greed…

Let’s think first about fear. In Matthew 21:23–27 the authority of Jesus is challenged by the chief priests and elders. “By what authority do you do these things?” Before he answers them, he gives them a test question to see if they really love the truth or whether they are only trying to justify themselves and trip him up.

He asks, “The baptism of John, whence was it? From heaven or from men?” Now we can watch a lie in the making. We can see what desires go into the making of a lie. It says (in v. 25) that the chief priests argued with one another and said,

“If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we are afraid of the multitude; for all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

The chief priests and the elders fail the test. They prove that their deep desire is not for truth. What is it for? It is for personal esteem and physical safety! They are controlled by fear. Two kinds of fear.

First, they fear getting egg on their faces and losing the esteem of the people. They fear being shown wrong. We see this in verse 25: they conclude that they can’t answer Jesus’ question by saying John’s baptism is from heaven. Why? Not because it is untrue—that is quite irrelevant to them. No. It is simply because if they answer that way, they will give Jesus a chance to show them in an inconsistency—”Why then did you not believe him?” So they are driven toward a lie by their desire for the esteem of men and their fear of having to admit an inconsistency.

The second kind of fear that controls them is fear of physical harm. Physical safety is more important than truth. We see this in verse 26: they can’t answer that John’s baptism is from men because the multitudes believe John was a prophet and so the people might get mad and stone the priests!

So instead of giving the answer that they believe is true (namely, from men) they lie. They are evasive, diplomatic, or (as some say) political: they say, “We don’t know!”

I said that lying is not just caused by two kinds of fear, but also by two kinds of greed—greed for money and all it can buy, and greed for praise and approval.

Ananias and Sapphira are an example of the first kind of greed. The sold a piece of property and kept back some of the proceeds for themselves and took the rest of it to the apostles, presenting it as the whole sum. Peter said (in Acts 5:3), “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” Satan is on hand again in his usual role. How did he get Ananias to lie to Peter and to God?

He deceived Ananias into thinking that it is more blessed to keep than to give. And that is a lie—exactly the opposite of the word of Christ. Satan probably suggested to Ananias all the possible expenses that might be coming up, and all the legitimate pleasures that he and his wife Sapphira have gone without all these years. So a deceitful desire was born from a lie and gave birth to a lie. And Ananias dropped dead and so did his wife. And great fear came upon the whole church. The lying tongue is an abomination to God.

That is one kind of greed that produces lying—the greed for money and what it can buy. The other kind of greed that produces lying is greed for praise or power or position or approval. I will leave the examples here to your own imagination. We must hasten on to the positive half of the command in Ephesians 4:25.”

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God’s Love and Forgiveness

So now we come to the last post of my review of our Sunday school class on the Prodigal Son… Click for Part 1 and Part 2. This is not obviously an exhausted study but a brief overview… mostly to urge you to study the parable deeper. We talked about who the audience was, the context and the Pharisees outrage that Jesus, this so-called Messiah… Spends His time with sinners. Then Jesus answers them with three consecutive parables, two small one’s leading up to the largest parable in the bible. Yesterday we discussed man’s total depravity and a need for repentance… we defined what repentance is, where it comes from and what we do with it. We answered that all with “BUT GOD” Ephesians 2:4 One last comment which will lead us into today’s post, all the gifts that God lavishly pours out to us who believe… he does not take back, we are secured and sealed for eternity Ephesians 1:13 look at Romans 11:29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. When He saves us by grace through faith we’re sealed for eternity. His love and forgiveness to those who responds to His irresistible grace is breath taken. Take a look.

The lost son is on his way back… The bible says he’s talking to himself practices what he is going to say to the Father Luke 15:17-19. He knows what this Father of his should do, he’s expecting the worst here, he’s expecting to be shamed when he gets back to town… Not just by his Father, but by everyone in his village. Look what the Father does, shocking to do this in that culture Luke 15:20 “So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. As one writer but it ” middle age middle eastern men don’t run ” They don’t look to see if their son’s coming back… The Father is not going to embrace him, he would slap him across the face and make him earn his way back into the family… not this Father, look what he does felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him and he’s not done yet, the lost son is still in repentance mode Luke 15:21 the father will have none of that, look at Luke 15:22-23, 24 “But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate. Completely going against what he should do. This parable is about the Father, He’s really the prodigal in this story… he’s the one who is lavishly pouring out gifts to us who believe, bring the robe, get the ring, put on the sandals, kill the fatten calf and lets party. God embraces him and immediately showers His forgiving love on that sinner and says My son was dead and now he’s alive Ephesians 2:1-4 “Salvation is from the LORD.”Jonah 2:9

The older son… The Pharisee, a lost religious legalistic phony. This older brother shows us that self-righteous, religious hypocrites do not know what grace is Luke15:25-32 This older son was in the field at work, working for righteousness, working for his father’s approval and for salvation. Look at Luke 15:29 ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; Dutiful doings and pride, look what I have done… I did this and I did that… He’s working his way straight to hell… While the younger son, the tax collectors and sinners, are in the house of grace, rejoicing and partying, the older son, self-righteous, religious legalists are out in the field working for salvation. Jesus said “the field is the world” in Matthew 13:38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one;

So what happen next the parable just ends… what does the religious legalistic phony… The Pharisee, the older son do? Well for me the answer is found in Acts 2:23 Peter speaking to the men of Israel said this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. They murdered Him… but look ! not by their plan, by who’s? God’s… These Pharisee were just an instrument that God used to place his Son on that tree so we could have His righteousness and be saved 2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.



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Depravity and Repentance

Continuing part 2 of a 3 part review of a very fruitful 10 week study we did in Sunday school class… Yesterday we kind of set the stage and context. Jesus was talking to the Pharisees… The sinners are there, the tax collectors, but it’s the Pharisees Jesus gives an answer to Luke 15:1-2, 3 here is what the Pharisees said Luke 15:2 Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” We said yesterday that they consider themselves better than these wretched sinners… Jesus responds with 3 parables Luke 15:3-4. The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin and the Lost Son… The first two smaller than the last, but both have something lost then being found… When found there is much rejoicing and celebrating. Both cap it off with the sinner repenting Luke 15:7, 10 More on repentance later.

The lost son says give me my money… I’m out of here. He hates his father, doesn’t want to do anything for his father. So it says not many days later the son gathers everything together… He turns it into money and is on his way spending it on loose living and prostitutes. He spent it all… He has nothing. The bible tells us he began to be impoverished. Then something happened that was out of his control.. a severe famine. He needs to do something or he’s going to die… the bible says he literally stuck himself to a citizen of that country. Ultimately he ends up a Pig. Luke 15:11-16 “Sin is not weakness, it is a disease; it is red-handed rebellion against God and the magnitude of that rebellion is expressed by Calvary’s cross”. Oswald Chambers.

I was reading an article of about the Connecticut man sentenced to death for the fatal home invasion on Monday… what struck me was the comment that the judge made to the jurors for their service “You have been exposed to images of depravity and horror that no human being should have to see” I could not help thinking that those of us who are Christians, at one time were children of wrath, dead in our trespasses and sins Ephesians 2:1-2, 3 Do you see yourself here? Sooner or later, in one way or another, the pride and rebellion of every sinner’s heart will display itself. The son’s conduct in this parable is a clear representation of the pride and rebellion of our hearts by nature. Romans 8:7-8 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. I love Luke 15:17 But when he came to his senses. God’s granting repentance here… grace is on its way and faith is sure to come. Why? Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), Repent and believe!

What is repentance ? I often hear it explained as a changing of one’s mind, and that is true… But I think we must go deeper than that. What’s the very first thing Jesus said when He starts his Galilean ministry? He comes on the scene “and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15. I love this illustration in 1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God. Yes it is changing our mind… But it’s a turning towards God from what? your old why of life… your idols, your habitual sinning. The bondage that held you captive… But God being rich in mercy sets you free in Christ. You turned (Epistrepho) describes a definite turn to God in thinking and conduct. The amazing thing about repentance… Just like grace it’s a gift from God Acts 11:18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” And it’s a gift that keeps on giving… We Keep on Repenting Luke 17:3-4 To God be the glory! Tomorrow God willing Love and Forgiveness.


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Mr. Steinbrenner Listen Up

Looks like my Grandson is opinionated like Papa… Just Saying !

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The Prodigal Son (Lost son)

Like I said in an earlier post we are going to review the story of the prodigal son for just a couple of days… Now for me my understanding has changed forever… The meaning is now clear, the audience is so important in this parable. Who was Christ talking to? Luke 15:1, 2 It’s clear that it just wasn’t the tax collectors and sinners… But also the Pharisees, mostly the Pharisees, the religious legalistic hypocrites… They are righteous in their own eyes, full of pretenses and they wanted Jesus dead. That was so important to understand… Context was key here. They said Jesus did the things He did because He was from the devil. But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.” Matthew 12:24 But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.” Matthew 9:34 They are pictured in Isaiah 65:5 “Who say, ‘Keep to yourself, do not come near me, For I am holier than you!’ These are smoke in My nostrils, A fire that burns all the day. Have you ever gotten something in your nostrils that was foreign, that didn’t belong there… you just want it gone. They are like irritating bugs to God and He will oppose them.

They couldn’t stand to be around these sinners. Remember Luke 18:9-14 The Pharisee and tax collector Luke 18:11 “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. They said For I am holier than you!God’s going to cut them downHe opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble look at verse 14 Luke 18:14 “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” The tax collector was justified ( SAVED) he was humble and full of repentance with an awe and fear of a holy Godreminds me of Isaiah 66:1, 2 Thus says the Lord, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? “For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word. This brings us to the younger son… Who was lost, depraved and wretched. But that’s for tomorrow… As we continue to take a look back at the parable of the lost son.

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