March 29, 2015

The Grace of God – Ron Boatwright

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

God’s grace is His unmerited favor.  Grace “is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).  We cannot earn our salvation, but we must qualify for it.  “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11).  But we know all men will not be saved.  Jesus says only few will be saved but the vast majority will be eternally lost (Matthew 7:13-14).

The supreme need for all of mankind is to obtain the forgiveness and salvation God wants to give us if we are to be saved.  But what must we do to qualify for it?  “The Lord is…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  To not be lost we must repent by making changes in our life.  We must change and do what God says we must do if we want to be saved.

Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).  One must do God’s will if he/she really wants to go to heaven.  Hebrews 5:9 says concerning Jesus, that “He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him”.  What does Jesus say we must do to obtain the salvation He wants to give us?  Jesus says, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he that does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).  One needs help to misunderstand what Jesus says here.  Jesus does not say, “He that believes and is not baptized shall be saved”, nor does He say, “He that believes is saved and can be baptized later”.  The majority of denominational churches laugh at the Lord’s requirement for one to be baptized in order to be saved.  The denominations say that it is not necessary for one to be baptized to be saved.  They do not really believe in Jesus because they are not willing to do what He says and for the reason He wants to give us.

God’s grace is located in Christ.  2 Timothy 2:1 says, “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  One must be in Christ to take advantage of this grace.  How does one get into Christ to receive this grace?  Paul says, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27).   According to God’s word as found in the Bible, baptism is the only way to get into Christ in order to be saved.  Paul says, “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:10).  After we have been baptized into Christ in order to be saved we must continue to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).

By doing any of the things man says we must do to be saved will not qualify us to receive God’s grace so we can be saved.  Jesus says, “In vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrine the commandments of men” (Mark 7:7).  The commandments of men will only cause one to be eternally lost.  Anything that differs from what God says in the Bible is false doctrine which is designed by Satan to cause people to be eternally lost.  In order to qualify for God’s grace so we can be saved, we must do what God says, the way He says, and for the reason He says.

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March 22, 2015

A Pluralistic Jesus? – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

The unreliable but dangerously popular reference, Wikipedia defines pluralism this way: “Religious pluralism the acceptance of all religious paths as equally valid, promoting coexistence.”

In 1991, the Pluralism Project at Harvard University began to lead a major effort to promote this idea. It is distressing to see all around us, how successful they have been. It should be a grave concern to Christians because Christianity is based on a stand for truth, the opposite of the warm, syrupy acceptance of “whatever” for the sake of niceness.

The teaching of Jesus is different.

“But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (John 3:21)

“God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)

“you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:32)

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” (John 14:6)

“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:17)

“… I have come into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37)

Paul received truth by revelation and what was revealed to Paul contradicts pluralism over and over again. We will cite just a few of the many examples:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,” (Romans 1:18)

“but to those who are selfishly ambitious and  do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.” (Romans 2:8)

“a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of  the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,” (Romans 2:20)

“For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth.” (II Corinthians 13:8)

But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.” (Galatians 2:5)

“You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7 )

“Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation … (Ephesians 1:13)

“but speaking the truth in love, we are to  grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,” (Ephesians 4:15)

 “Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,” (Ephesians 6:14)

“and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of  the truth so as to be saved… 12 in order that they all may be  judged who  did not believe the truth, but   took pleasure in wickedness.” (II Thessalonians 2:10-12)

“who desires all men to be  saved and to  come to the  knowledge of the truth.” (I Timothy 2:4)

“…the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” (I Timothy 3:15)

“with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,”  (II Timothy 2:25)

Perhaps the most obvious passage Paul wrote, diametrically opposing pluralistic tolerance of teaching that has not been revealed by God, is found in his condemnation of the conduct of the brethren at Corinth.

“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. 4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.”  (II Corinthians 11:3-4)

Perhaps other translations of the last phrase in this quotation, describing their offending conduct (the essence of pluralism), will make the point of this rebuke, inescapable.

“You seem to believe whatever anyone tells you,..;” NLT

“…you put up with it readily enough.” ESV

“… you submit to it readily enough.” NRSV

“…you may well put up with it!” NKJV

“…you’re willing to put up with it.” GWORD

“…you gladly tolerate anyone who comes to you…” TEV

Unfortunately, today you can be politically correct (pluralistic), or you can be a Christian (one who follows Christ) but you can’t be both.

March 15, 2015

Is The Truth Enough For You – Philip C. Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

The Savior of the world uttered these words, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” John 8:31-32.  It is worthy of note that Jesus spoke these words to “Jews who had believed in Him.”  There are a few salient points from these things that need to be understood:

  • Believing in Jesus is obviously not the same as abiding in His word, being His disciple, knowing the truth, or being made free by it.
  • This is so because the conditional word “if” is used.  Thus, being disciples, knowing the truth, and being made free by the truth, are all dependent upon a willingness to meet the condition of abiding in the truth.  Such a conclusion is not opinion, but the simple grammatical requirements of the spiritual truth Jesus spoke.

Now, what does all of this mean?  It means exactly what Jesus said despite modern thinking and teaching to the contrary.  One cannot be a disciple (follower) of Jesus merely by believing in Him (that he is the Son of God) – even the demons do more than this, James 2:19, “You believe that God is one.  You do well; the demons believe, and shudder.”  Furthermore, it also means that one cannot know the truth or be saved by it unless one is willing to abide in the Words of Jesus.   Jesus went on to explain these things further in John 15:1-10 where abiding in Him and abiding in His love were inseparably linked to keeping His commandments.  Thus, receiving the salvation lovingly offered by Jesus and becoming a disciple of His requires more than just belief- it also requires obedience.  Such is well illustrated in John 12:42, “Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.”

But let’s take these things in a slightly different direction now.  If you believe in Jesus, and abide in His word, and thus become a disciple and are made free, is that enough for you?  In other words, is that really what you want?  Think about it.  Is discipleship really what you want from Jesus?  It has its own set of requirements:

  • Loving Jesus more, and putting Him before even your own family, Luke 14:26;
  • Self-denial, Matthew 16:24a; and,
  • Following Jesus, even if it costs you your life, Matthew 16:24b-25.

Likewise, is the freedom from sin and its consequences enough for you?  This is what His sacrifice, His word, and His body (the church) are all about- but is this really what you want?  Or, are you looking for and desiring other things from Him, His word, and His church? Like for instance:

  • The ability to accept Him on any terms that are agreeable to you regardless of what He says?  Luke 6:46-49
  • The ability to worship Him anyway you please regardless of what He says?  John 4:23-24
  • The ability to feel good about yourself and the way you choose to live regardless of what He says?  John 12:48
  • The solving of all your earthly problems and ills so that life is “heaven on earth”? Matthew 10:24-39

Jesus died to provide salvation, Romans 5:9-9.  His word was given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to provide salvation, Romans 1:16-17. His church was founded to be the foundation and support of truth to the provision of salvation, 1Timothy 3:15.  Is this enough for you?  It is if you understand that sin and its consequences are the biggest and most important problem we face in this life.  More than any academic, political, societal, familial, or even health-related issue, the guilt of sin and the subsequent need of salvation is man’s most important endeavor.  Jesus is the way, and provides the solution, if we will but believe, obey, and follow.

March 8, 2015

Come To Jesus Or I’ll Beat You Up – Ken Weliever

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

My son, Kenny, recently sent me this unbelievable news article from the Tampa Bay Times:

A Boise woman is facing charges after police say she attacked a Jewish acquaintance and beat her as part of a bizarre bid to convert her to Christianity.

Marguerite Haragan, 59, showed up at the victim’s home on Feb 5. Haragan “was banging on the front window yelling at her that she better believe in Jesus and she was not going to leave until she did believe in Jesus,” Ada County Prosecutor Dave Roscheck said.

When the woman opened her door, Haragan grabbed her by the hair and dragged her to the ground. “The defendant began kicking the victim in the stomach and thigh area, Roscheck said. During this time the defendant was screaming at the victim that she better accept Jesus or she would not let up.” The woman eventually said that she’d convert and Haragan let her go.

As crazy as this story sounds, it’s true. The Idaho Statesman reports that Haragan has been charged with two felony counts of malicious harassment. In the meantime she is undergoing a court ordered psychiatric evaluation before her next court appearance on March 24.

Jesus wants people to believe in Him, confess Him as Christ, and obey His Word (John 8:24; Matt 10:32-33; John 14:15). Following His resurrection, Christ charged the apostles in the Great Commission (Mark 16:15-16) to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

The Acts of the Apostles records men like Peter, Paul and Philip taking the Good News of the Gospel to the far corners of the Roman world. By the hundreds and thousands, people left Judaism, paganism and religious superstition to become followers of Jesus. Paul was not ashamed to say “we persuade men” to obey the Gospel.

However, conversion was not accomplished by coercion. Paul’s practice was to present evidence that Jesus was the Christ and offer a rational basis for their obedience. When he came to Corinth, the Bible says, “he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 18:4)

Torture, threats and intimidation are not Jesus’ method of converting the world. The radical Islamic threat “convert to Islam or we will kill you” may be the idea of Allah, but it’s not the way of the one true God, Jehovah.

The Bible says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Cor 10:3-5)

Carnal tactics, physical force and fleshly weapons do not touch a persons’s heart, appeal to their intellect, or change their will. The Gospel of Christ can, and does cut the conscience of a sincere seeker and affect conversion.

While no Christian would execute an infidel, nor would any rational Believer resort to violence in order to convert someone, let us be careful not to make pejorative comments, hurl ugly epitaphs or utter snide remarks toward those with whom we disagree.

One of the best guidelines for effective evangelism is found in Colossians 4:5-6. “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

We invite all people to accept Jesus as their Savior. But the choice is yours!

March 1, 2015

The Spiritual Kingdom – Morris Norman

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

In view of the fact that some in our world today are undoubtedly trying to advance their religious cause by vicious physical means and in view of the associated fact that at least one influential American has accused Christians of having been guilty of the same thing, I believe the following article is appropriate. (DRP)

“Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now my kingdom is not from here’” (John18:36)

In Jn. 18:33-38, Jesus had, from the chief priests, been accused to Pilate of being “king of the Jews.” Pilate understood better than many today that the kingdom of Christ is not a political or military force in competition with the kingdoms of this world (see Mt.26:35 to compare this to what He said to a disciple). This declaration to Pilate confirmed that His kingdom is a spiritual kingdom.

It is “not of this world”. Christ did not need the means and methods of earth kingdoms for its existence. It does not depend on economic support to succeed. It boasts no armed forces or other splendors of a material kingdom such as industries, schools, papers, building, cities and such. The political methods of man are denounced. The rulers among the Gentiles lord it over them; the great ones exercise authority. Not so among disciples. They were to be servants who desire first to be slaves as Christ did Matt.20:24-28. Christ took the way of sacrifice, service and perishing to perpetuate the kingdom. He and He alone rules by spiritual laws.

Truth is the conquering power of Christ’s kingdom.

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believe Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” (John 8:31-32)

Men are in bondage to sin and it is only truth that makes them free Jn.8:31-36. Christ is the truth Jn.14:6, we learn the truth that is only in Him, Eph.4:20,21, and man is sanctified by truth, Jn.17:17. The Spirit of truth carries the truth on in the apostles by the Holy Spirit, Jn.14:16-18; 16:7-14. Love of the truth is the true test of faithfulness, II Thess.2:10-12. It is by obeying truth that one is born of God, I Pet.1:22, 23 and has fellowship in the promises of God, Eph.3:1-8.

Christ’s kingdom is engaged in a spiritual warfare.

“If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight.”

Religious orders today are using material force in order to attain their ends. Note the religious wars of 2,000 years of what is called “Church History,” by those who call themselves “Christians”. They embrace all “this world’s means and methods.” Paul pled the Corinthians to speak the same things with no divisions, perfectly joined together in the same mind, the same judgment, I Cor.1:10. God’s wisdom is in the gospel; man’s wisdom produced the division in Corinth and the 2000 years of “Church History.”

Paul writes to the Ephesians:

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:10-12)

The whole armor is truth, righteousness, faith, the gospel of peace and salvation to be able to stand in the evil day against the wiles of the devil. Eph.6:10-18.

To the Corinthians he writes:

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” (II Corinthians 10:3-5).

Jesus tells us “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). He reigns by means of truth in our hearts.