The Privilege of Protection

January 30, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Posted in The Family of Faith | 3 Comments
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Last time, I said that membership in the family of faith includes the privilege of participation. It also includes the privilege of protection.

Citizens of an earthly nation sometimes have to fight for their nation. Citizens of God’s nation and family get to fight in a spiritual war for their nation.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Ephesians 6:12

Why is fighting a privilege? Because we know we’re going to win.

Citizens of an earthly nation must protect the principles on which their nation is founded. Citizens of God’s nation and family get to protect sound doctrine.

Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

Titus 1:9

Why is this a privilege? Because sound doctrine is always profitable (II Timothy 3:16). It is the Word of LIFE.

Next time: the privilege of provision.

Why I Didn’t Care if the Mainstream Media Ignored the Flood

November 4, 2016 at 12:10 pm | Posted in The Flood | 1 Comment
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In July, 2016, a Baton Rouge police officer shot and killed a man named Alton Sterling, prompting protests and national media attention. Later on that month, a gunman shot six Baton Rouge law enforcement officers, killing three, and critically wounding another. On August 12-13, 2016, the banks of the Amite, Comite, and Tickfaw Rivers disappeared beneath raging torrents of rain and runoff. The water began to rise at an alarming rate. Houses – and whole subdivisions – located on property which hadn’t experienced flooding since time immemorial began to fill up with water. The main shopping districts in downtown cities disappeared beneath newly formed lakes. Vehicles sank or floated off the sides of highways. It quickly became apparent that this was going to be one of those events that earn the adjective “catastrophic,” like hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and tsunamis. The national media won’t admit it, but they love these things. They are great for ratings. Reporters rush to the scene and report live in their “rough-weather” gear, often holding onto something for support in the storm, and speaking of doom and gloom into a shaky camera.

Here in southeastern Louisiana it was going to be our turn in the spotlight… except it wasn’t. At least not at first. By and large, the national media, fascinated with the spectacle of a shameful pick-your-poison fiasco of a presidential campaign, and a weird scandal involving Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, gave short-shrift to our noble struggle to stay afloat down in Bayou Country. The difference was glaringly obvious. Social unrest and violence caused by alleged prejudice and bigotry? Alert the media. A common-cause weather disaster prompting us to set aside our differences and work to help each other? Yawn.

And the locals didn’t like it one bit. Social media gives everyone a voice and many people used it to express their disapproval. Why did Louisiana get big-time coverage for our problems, while getting ignored for our resiliency and unity in a desperate time? And, to be fair, the complainants had a point. Conceivably, faster and greater media attention could have resulted in faster and greater aid from around the country. Also, the perception that the Yankee media thinks that us Southern rubes make for better entertainment when we’re getting up to criminal hi-jinks, than when we’re nobly helping our our neighbors, is not without support.

I was one of the few that did not wish for more national media attention during the flood and its immediate aftermath. One reason is that, with the prevalence of social media, people are already overly-enthusiastic about seeking attention. There were plenty of people out doing heroic things during the flood… and posting about it on Facebook. Most of the so-called do-gooders were quickly hashtagged, shared, liked, retweeted, and instagrammed. When a boatful of Cajun good ‘ol boys ferries you from the roof of your house to a National Guard staging area, everybody logged in at home gets a nice case of the feels. When you click on a cell phone camera photo of some kid’s soggy rescue-pet puppy wagging his tongue over the gun-rack in the back windshield of a jacked-up high-water-defying pickup truck, how can you not get the warm fuzzies about your community and humanity in general? The national media would have only reinforced and emphasized a wrong view of ourselves and our true motivations, and that is the last thing we need.

Within a few days after the flood, the harsh reality started to set in. This was not going to be about heroism, bravery, and daring in an air boat, or about sandbag-delivering Samaritans, or about ice chests filled with bottled water instead of Bud Light for once. It was going to be about the cleanup, and, for Christians, it was going to be about opportunities to share the good news about Jesus. No one delights in viewing a Facebook photo of some old dude down on his knees in the back of a dark closet four days after a flood, trying to scrape out the last crumbles of moldy drywall so that it’s safe to put the new stuff up later when it arrives (plus my butt crack was probably showing from that angle and NO ONE wants to see that!). No one hashtags #LouisianaStrong or #BatonRougeProud over a picture of Grandma’s water-warped antique dresser lying smashed in a pile of debris out by the road. So, after the opportunity for glamour, comes the opportunity for ministry.

Wait a minute though, says the objection, shouldn’t we celebrate the spirit of resilience and golden rule reciprocity that comes when people put aside their differences and band together to help, while it is going on? Maybe we should. As Christians, though, we need to be very careful about what we celebrate and, especially, what we label as good. If the Cajun Navy restored your faith in humanity, or if seeing people with different skin colors sitting in the same rescue boat sharing a blanket made you think that people are basically good deep down, then you need to remember what the Bible says about our inherent “goodness” and self-righteousness.

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Romans 3:10-11

For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.

Ecclesiastes 7:20

Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Titus 1:15-16

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Isaiah 64:6

Apart from Christ, every person, regardless of whatever “kindness” or “goodness” or “righteousness” he seeks to perform or demonstrate, is condemned before God. Unless they are born again by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and His Gospel, every admiral, midshipman, and ensign in the Cajun Navy, every “good” neighbor and “good” ol’ boy, every rescue and relief worker, will go to the lake of fire for all eternity. And the mainstream media will not change that truth whether they show up or not.

The Problem with Petulant Parenting

October 24, 2016 at 1:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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Previously we looked at some of the problems with parents who surrender their God-given authority in order to try to be more popular with their kids. Then we looked at the danger of bribery as a parenting strategy. Now we see that petulant parents make parenting decisions based their feelings, emotions, or moods.

One of the biggest problems with this type of parenting strategy is that it teaches kids that there are good times and bad times to ask for attention from parents. In other words, it teaches the art of manipulation and the sin of scheming.

Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.

Titus 1:15

These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

Proverbs 6:16-18

Our children come into this world as fallen sinners, so, while their “purity” is a relative purity, we still, as Christian parents, need to do our best to protect it. The last thing we want to do is coach them in the ways of wicked imagination and mischief.

It can be a daunting and even exhausting task to bring our emotions into check when dealing with our children, and to refrain from responding to their (somewhat excusable) petulance with our own moodiness, but we must spend the time and the effort to do it.

For good or ill, our children, especially when they are very young, will form some of their ideas about God’s character from the way we exercise His ordained authority over them ourselves. When we are cruel or impatient or short with them because we are angry or preoccupied – or when we are too lenient or flattering when we happen to be in a cheery mood – we are accidentally forming in our children’s minds an inaccurate and dangerous picture of God. God is certainly not moody when dealing with us.

Furthermore, allowing our parenting interactions with our kids to be governed by petulance ingrains a defeatist attitude in them concerning prayer. They will be apt to think, “Why should I pray when God might not want to hear me?” Or, “I’ll wait to pray until my obedience makes Him favorably disposed towards me,” as though God could be bribed.

The bottom line is that petulant parents are idolatrous. They are ruled by feelings rather than by Scripture and its Author.

Don’t Let ’em Give You the Slip

March 23, 2015 at 1:05 pm | Posted in Common Expressions, Hebrews | 6 Comments
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Thank You, Lord, for helping us to see Your superiority, for helping us to see that You are supreme – better than Adam, better than Moses, wiser than Solomon, more holy than David, better than the angels. Thank You for blessing us. You have neither left us, nor forsaken us. Please help us never to leave, nor forsake, You. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

There is an admonition for us in Hebrews Chapter 2. It is really the first of five, and it’s not the sort of admonition that reads as if someone is being fussed at (the way the Holy Spirit sometimes did through Paul when writing to the Corinthians). These admonitions in Hebrews read more like warnings and encouragements, but they are still tricky things to handle. In our flesh, if a brother or sister in Christ says, “I see you’ve been getting away from the things of God…” we tend to get defensive or get our feelings hurt. We ought to pray for each other, sure, but we also, at times, have to exhort, encourage, and talk straight with each other.

My children used to listen to a cassette tape in the car by a group called the “Best Buddies.” The songs were somewhat childish, but they generally had very good reminders of Scriptural principles. One of the songs said:

Are you teachable?
Are you agreeable?
Are you being somebody nice to talk to?
Know-it-alls are often very lonely
So humble yourself and you can learn from everybody!

The Best Buddies

It’s been a good reminder for me over the years to listen more than I talk, to try to be humble, and to try not to be disagreeable, even when I do disagree.

Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

Hebrews 2:1

You’ve probably heard the old Bible study adage, “What do you do when you see ‘therefore?’ You back up and see what it’s ‘there for.’”

But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

Hebrews 1:13-14

“Because you have received the Word of God directly from the Son, and because you are the heirs of salvation, let Me,” the Holy Spirit seems to be saying, “encourage you with a warning: Give heed to what you have learned, lest you let it slip.” In other words, don’t slip up in reading God’s Word, in studying God’s Word, in meditating on God’s word, in obeying God’s Word. Our attention has a tendency to “drift,” and something that’s not tied down or held in place, can “drift away,” but the Bible is telling me in Hebrews 2:1 that the onus is on me – on the one doing the holding – not to let things “slip” – to “heed,” to pay attention to what I’m supposed to be holding. If you’ve been to a marina, you’ve seen “slips” – those things to which people tie their boats so they won’t float away.

We have the same admonition concerning strong doctrine.

Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

Titus 1:9

Going Belly-Up

December 27, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Posted in Romans | 2 Comments
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In his letter to the Romans the Holy Spirit had the Apostle Paul save his greetings for his friends and his notes of thanks for the end of the letter.

Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord. Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.

Romans 16:7-9

Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

Romans 16:13

Note how the Apostle Paul not only knew his fellow-laborers by name, but he also knew their various accomplishments and things about them personally. It probably makes you feel important when your fellow-ministers at church remember your name, but it’s even better to be remembered for how you’re serving.

I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.

Imagine the excitement of Tertius! There he was, taking dictation from the Apostle Paul who was inspired by the Holy Spirit, and all of a sudden he gets the chance to put his own little salutation in there! These words became part of the Living Word – to last and be known for all eternity! You and I will never be inspired to add to the Bible, but let me encourage you to listen closely in church. The Lord was speaking to the Apostle Paul, and Tertius was listening and diligently taking it all down, and suddenly the Holy Ghost was speaking directly to him.

These servants of God listed at the end of Chapter 16 have their names preserved for all time in God’s Word, along with the honor of having their character and integrity mentioned. By the same token there are others who were not worthy to have their names preserved in the Scriptures. Although they were also known for their character, they were known for having a bad character.

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Romans 16:17-18 (emphasis added)

Some Bible versions say “watch out” instead of “mark,” but the idea of “watching out” is too general because we are talking about people who have shown their character. Once they have established what they are about, we are to place a mental label, or “mark,” on them. They cause divisions and offenses contrary to the Apostolic doctrine, but the Verse does not say to confront them every chance you get. It does not say to go around telling everyone every bad thing you can about them. It does not say to formulate a plot and plan to get rid of them. No, it says to avoid them. They are such that serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own “belly.” “Belly” is sometimes translated as “appetite,” but the fact is, we can’t always see someone’s “appetite.” Everyone can see a big ol’ belly sticking out. “Appetite” is too neutral. You could have an appetite for good things. But those who “serve their own belly” are guilty of more than just mistaken desire. They have a greedy desire to cause trouble: divisions and offenses. The bigger their bellies get, the greater their hunger is. They see a local church assembly as an all-you-can-eat buffet. They will fill up their bellies with strife, contention, and trouble until someone stops putting more food in front of them.

That’s one reason why it is so important to get acquainted intimately with the people you are ministering alongside at church.

And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

I Thessalonians 5:12

One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

Titus 1:12 (emphasis added)

We have to be on the lookout for those who want to push a false doctrine through division and strife. The Bible says they will use good words and fair speeches to deceive the hearts of those who don’t know better, but by their bellies you will know them.

Christian Lifeguards

August 17, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Posted in Bible Studies | 6 Comments
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In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Titus 1:2

If God cannot lie, and the Holy Scriptures are inspired by God, then how much of the Scriptures are true?

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

II Timothy 3:16 (emphasis added)

But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;

Titus 1:3

God chose to manifest His Word through preaching.

Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

Titus 1:9-14

If God places so much importance on the preaching of His Word, He certainly expects us to deal with false teachers and vain babblers. The first step in doing this to hold fast to sound doctrine and to try to convince them of the truth. A lifeguard at a swimming pool has three duties: He must warn of danger. He must enforce rules. And he must try to rescue those who are in trouble. Those appointed by God to the ministry of the Word of Life must also warn, enforce, and try to rescue. They must be sound in their doctrine and sound in their behavior.

The duties of the older men:

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

Titus 2:1-2

The duties of the older women:

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Titus 2:3-5

The duties of the younger men:

Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

Titus 2:6-8

The duties of servants or employees:

Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.

Titus 2:9-10

How we behave as Christians matters – it’s important.

And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

II Timothy 2:5

God wants us to excel at what He has called us to do, but we must do it “lawfully.”

That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

Titus 3:7-8

Those whom God has saved are called to be separate, set apart, holy, maintaining good works.

Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them. And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.

Titus 3:13-14

The Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Ghost, knew that maintaining good works was even more important than talking to his lawyer!

Discipleship Lesson 6: The Local Church

February 7, 2011 at 10:18 am | Posted in Discipleship Lessons, I Corinthians | 52 Comments
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God has established three main institutions here on earth: the family; the government; and the local church. The local church acts as Christ’s body in carrying out God’s purposes in reaching the lost and helping to perfect the saved.

I. What is the local church?

And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.

Acts 14:27

The local church is not a building.

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

John 4:24

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

I Corinthians 6:19

There is “The Church,” which is the Bride and Body of Christ, and which consists of all the born-again Christians from all times and from all over the world. And then there is “the local church.” Local churches are made up of people who meet together regularly to worship and serve the Lord in a specific place.

For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body.

I Corinthians 12:14-20

Each part of your body has at least one specific function. Each member of the local church should have at least one specific function. Not all members have the same function.

And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.

I Corinthians 12:21

No part of your body can function alone. In the local church, members aren’t meant to function alone.

Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.

I Corinthians 12:22-23

Each member’s contribution is important.

For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

I Corinthians 12:24-28

A properly functioning body operates as a single unit. A local church should operate in harmony and unity.

II. What are the responsibilities of the local church?

The first local church was organized in Jerusalem.

And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Acts 2:42

The local church’s responsibilities include: the teaching of the Word of God; fellowship with other believers; prayer.

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Acts 2:41

The local church should observe the two ordinances of the Church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

Acts 2:43

The local church should be a testimony of God’s grace and power.

And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

Acts 2:44-45

The local church should be involved in mutual assistance and ministry.

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Acts 2:46-47

The local church should reach out into the community and glorify and praise God.

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Ephesians 4:11-16

According to the Scriptures the number one priority of the local church seems to be to build up, teach, and strengthen believers.

III. Why is it important for you to be involved in a local church?

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Ephesians 4:11-12

There are three basic growth stages in the life of a believer: (1) observe and learn; (2) participate; (3) lead by serving.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

II Timothy 2:2

As a believer who belongs to a local church, first you learn, and then you teach what you have learned.

IV. Questions

A. How should you decide with which local church to become involved?

Pray about it.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

James 1:5

B. What are some qualities you should look for in a local church?

1. Evidence of evangelism

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Matthew 7:20

2. A belief that the Bible is the Word of God and that it is absolutely true.

Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

Titus 1:9

Members should be encouraged to read the Bible as much as leaders.

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Acts 17:11

3. Ministry to needs

And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.

Acts 6:1

4. Support of missionaries

And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

Acts 13:3

C. What are two of the main purposes of the local church?

Reaching the lost and helping to perfect the saved.

V. Memory verses

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Ephesians 4:11-12

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

I Corinthians 12:27

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

II Timothy 2:2

Discipleship Lesson 2: Everlasting Security

October 29, 2010 at 9:25 am | Posted in Discipleship Lessons, Eternity | 13 Comments
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I. Will God or someone else take away the salvation He has given me?

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:12-13

We must never base our beliefs on this subject on our experience or the experience of another person. We must let the Bible speak for itself. Consider the testimony of Jesus Himself:

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

John 6:37 (Emphasis added.)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

John 10:27-29 (Emphasis added.)

II. Can I lose it on my own?

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

If we had to do anything to keep it, we would lose it easily.

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Galatians 3:10

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

James 2:10

But we do not “keep” the salvation that God gives us. Christ keeps it.

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

II Timothy 1:12 (Emphasis added.)

If we could get it – or keep it – ourselves, then Christ died in vain.

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Galatians 2:21

III. Can some other power or condition take away from me the salvation given by the Lord?

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

According to John 1:12-13, when God saved you, He became your Father, and you became His child. Your biological father can never not be your biological father. Likewise, once you are made a child of God, your Heavenly Father can never not be your Father.

There is almost always a record made of physical birth, but there is always a record made of Spiritual birth.

And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

I John 5:11-13 (Emphasis added.)

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Ephesians 1:13 (Emphasis added.)

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:30 (Emphasis added.)

Ephesians 4:30 would have been a perfect place to say that if you grieve the Holy Spirit, He will leave you, but instead it says right there that He seals you unto the day of redemption.

We are not saved by feelings, and feelings do not affect the objective truth of the Word of God.

For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

I John 3:20

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Titus 1:2

And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

I John 2:25

IV. Questions

A. Does I John 5:13 teach us that God wants us to be secure or insecure about salvation? Secure.

B. Does I John 3:20 teach that we can trust our own hearts and feelings about whether we are saved? No.

C. Find three Bible Verses that promise that God cannot lie.

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Titus 1:2

That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

Hebrews 6:18

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Numbers 23:19

V. Memory Verses

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

I John 2:25

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

I John 5:13

Next time: Discipleship Lesson Three – Baptism

Healing for Truly Broken Hearts

September 20, 2010 at 9:53 am | Posted in Bible Studies, Salvation, Selected Psalms | 4 Comments
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Lord, help us today to get our eyes off of uncertainty. Help us to take our focus off of questions like, “Why now?” “Why did it happen?” Help us instead to look at something we don’t have to wonder about – something we can know for sure – Your Word. In Jesus Christ’s Name I pray. Amen.

God is the God of comfort. “Comfort” means “with strength.” God has provided for us three main things which work together to comfort us. A table with three legs has strength and stability to stand. A table with less than three legs would be very unstable. The three legs of Christian comfort, stability, and strength are: God’s Spirit; God’s Church; and God’s Word.

God’s Word is a living Word. Psalm 147 is a Psalm of comfort. Its Words were written down long ago, but they are written in present tense because God – and His Word – are still doing these things today.
“He gathereth together.”
“He lifteth up the meek.”
“He maketh peace.”
“He sendeth out His Word.”
In modern English we would say, “He is gathering; He is lifting; He is making peace; He is sending out His Word…”

Today, you may be brokenhearted. If so, no creature is able to heal a broken heart. But there is One that we see only by faith – and He can heal… even a broken heart.

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3

Even now He is healing broken hearts, and He is binding up wounds. Different people have different kinds of wounds, but God knows exactly what type of binding you need.

He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

Psalm 147:4-5

There is nothing about you that God does not know. There is nothing broken in you that God can not heal. Understanding that God knows everything about you may make you uncomfortable. We know it’s true, but it’s scary. The Lord Jesus said:

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:4

That used to bother me. It’s so upside down from the way we’ve been taught. The way to get comfort is to mourn? “No,” says the common wisdom of man, “the way to get over mourning is to get your mind off it, to find something fun to distract you – then you won’t mourn.”
That’s not what Christ is saying. He is saying the ones who are blessed are the ones who have come to Him mourning over their own sins.

Has there been a day when you came to Jesus mourning over your own sins? If so, then Jesus kept His Word. You were comforted. And today you are truly blessed.

But if you’ve never come to Jesus Christ mourning over your own sins, please do it – receive the blessed comfort of healing and forgiveness.

“Your” time in this world is not really “your” time. It is really God’s time. There is going to come a time in the next few minutes or hours or days when something happens to make you mourn. When you want to ask, “Why the loss?” – remember all the times when you failed to ask, “Why the blessing?”

Blessed are they who mourn. They mourn over taking God’s time and using it for themselves. They come to Jesus and they are mourning because they have sinned against Him. Then He heals their broken hearts, and binds all their wounds. Will you tell Jesus you’re sorry for your sins? Will you go to Him mourning for yourself today? Will you ask Him to heal you? Jesus wants you to. His Word CAN NOT lie.

The Author of the Story that Never Ends

January 13, 2010 at 9:58 am | Posted in Eternity, Hebrews | 10 Comments
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An eternal relationship with Jesus Christ is not only the result of salvation; it is also the means. He is not only the “Life.” He is also the “Way.” (John 14:6) In fact, Jesus Christ is the Originator of the plan of, and the Author of the very idea of, salvation.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2

People who claim that eternal salvation, once it is granted by Christ to someone, can somehow be “lost,” have not fully grasped just how powerful the Savior is. The only way for a recipient of eternal life to experience spiritual death, or separation from God, is for the Savior Himself to lose His Own eternal life. This can never happen. When Jesus Christ saves a lost person, that person is saved completely. He is saved to an extent that the Bible calls the “uttermost.”

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Hebrews 7:25

We all have trouble from time to time depending upon the promises of God. However, we must be extremely careful never to build a theological argument which posits that God Himself is unable to do what He says, or that He is undependable. In at least three very specific instances the Bible tells us that God can not lie.

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

Numbers 23:19

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Titus 1:2

That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

Hebrews 6:18

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