A Decreasing Frequency of Sin

A Decreasing Frequency of Sin

“No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9).

A decreasing pattern of sin in a believer’s life means his faith is genuine.

A sinful life pattern is incompatible with salvation. If you could continue in the same sinful pattern after being saved from sin, that would mean salvation is ineffective. Therefore, 1 John 3 deals with the saving work of Christ and reveals just how effective it is.

Verse 5 says Christ “appeared in order to take away sins.” If you say someone who has had the work of Christ applied to him is continuing in sin just as before, you are denying the purpose for which Christ came. He died to take away the pattern of sin as well as the penalty.

Therefore, if you are truly a believer you will relate to God in a totally new way, because the Christian “abides in Him” (v. 6). You are no longer a perpetual slave to sin, but you now have the option and ability to do good (see Rom. 6:14, 17-18). You will always be acutely sensitive to sin (Rom. 7; 1 John 1:8-9); yet, because of Christ’s abiding in you, your struggle will decrease over the years, and sin will be less and less a pattern in your life.

That brings us to 1 John 3:9, which is a reminder that believers have been born anew by the Holy Spirit. Your new nature or new disposition of life is the “seed” verse 9 speaks of. Just as the seed of a plant, when placed in the soil, produces a distinct kind of life, the divine seed produces a righteous life in you that ends sin’s dominance. And that seed will never die—1 Peter 1:23 says it is “imperishable.”

What does all this mean to you if you’re a genuine believer? It means you will see a decreasing pattern of sin in your life because you now have holy affections. It doesn’t mean sin will be eliminated, because your unredeemed flesh is still present. It means the more you practice righteousness—with its right motives, right desires, right words, and right actions—the less you sin, and the more you can be assured you’re a child of God.

Suggestions for Prayer

If there is a frequent sin you struggle with, ask God to help you defeat it.

For Further Study

Record at least five truths contained in Romans 6:1-11. How do they help give victory over sin?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Additional Resources



Study: Only 12% of Young People View the Bible as “the Actual Word of God”

Study: Only 12% of Young People View the Bible as “the Actual Word of God”

by Ken Ham on July 8, 2017

 

The serious effects of teaching generations that they can reinterpret God’s Word—particularly in Genesis—or totally reject it are painfully evident in Americans’ views of the Bible. We’ve been saying for years that one consequence of this compromise will be an increasing rejection of the Bible as the literal Word of God and as our authority. And this is exactly what a new Gallup poll shows.

Only 24% of Americans (including older Americans) believe the Bible is “the actual Word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word” compared with 26% who view the Bible as “a book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.” Another 47% of Americans view the Bible as “the inspired Word of God but that not all of it should be taken literally.”

According to Gallup, this is the first time in 40 years that the number of those who are skeptical about the Bible has surpassed those who believe it should be taken literally.

Only 12% of Young People

What I found particularly striking about these results is the numbers when it came to young people. In 40 years, the number of young people who believe the Bible as written has fallen from 32% to a mere 12%. That’s a massive drop!

IN 40 YEARS, THE NUMBER OF YOUNG PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THE BIBLE AS WRITTEN HAS FALLEN FROM 32% TO A MERE 12%.

That number represents generations of young people who have not been taught to stand boldly on the Word of God, defend what they believe, and allow God’s Word to be the authority in their lives. Most of them have been indoctrinated in the increasingly atheistic public education system. Frankly, I believe their parents and churches are partly to blame. Sadly, I wonder how many of those young people were told it didn’t matter what they believed about Genesis, as long as they trusted in Jesus? When you open the door to reinterpreting the Bible in Genesis, where do you stop? If we can be the authority over the clear words of Scripture in Genesis why not be the authority in other places too?

Parents, pastors, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, Christian teachers—are you actively working to instill a belief in the inerrancy, inspiration, and authority of the Scriptures in the young people under your influence? Are you simply assuming they view the Bible in this way? Are you actively undermining this belief by allowing for compromise regarding the history recorded in God’s Word?

As believers we need to be diligent about teaching young people the correct view of the Bible because the world is trying very hard to convince them that God’s Word can’t be trusted and that man is the authority, not God. I encourage you to arm yourself with resources (such as our newly updated and expanded Answers Bible Curriculum) and dedicate yourself to training up a generation of young people in the way they should go.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.



Unequally Yoked

Unequally Yoked

by Mike Riccardi

“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.”
2 Corinthians 6:14, ESV

Over the past two weeks, we’ve been considering whom the faithful Christian minister may properly partner with in ministry. Two weeks ago we briefly surveyed the history of the ecumenical movement in order to vividly illustrate the terrible consequence of disobedience to Scripture on this matter. Last week we oriented ourselves to the key text I’m focusing on, 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1, considering the context in which it comes. I won’t rehash all of that here, so if you’ve missed it please click over to read those two introductory posts.

But today we come to consider the actual prohibition that Paul gives. It comes in 2 Corinthians 6:14: “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.” Now, this term “to be unequally yoked with,” is a translation of the compound word heterozugeo, which is made up of the familiar term heteros—“different”—and the word zugos, which is the word for “yoke.” This is an agricultural image. A yoke is a wooden crosspiece that a farmer would fasten over the necks of animals, which is then attached to a plow or a cart that animal would pull. There’s a double yoke, which sits on the necks of two animals as they plow side by side in the same direction. And the idea is: “Don’t get into a yoke with an animal that requires a different kind of yoke than you do,” or, “Don’t yoke together two different animals who are going to be pulling in two different directions.”

And the imagery that Paul draws from comes from the Old Testament. The only other time Scripture uses the term heterozugeo is as an adjective in the Greek translation of Leviticus 19:19, where God commands Israel: “You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.” When set alongside the prohibitions to not mix seeds or mix fabrics, this command is seen clearly to prohibit the cross-breeding of animals of different kinds. If you translate the Septuagint literally into English, it says, “You shall not breed your cattle with an animal that uses another yoke.” The same concept is repeated in Deuteronomy 22:10: “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together.” In other words, don’t put an ox and a donkey in the same yoke and expect them to pull that plow in a harmonious, cooperative way. They have different levels of strength, different manners of walking, and very different constitutions—the donkey, of course, being much more stubborn than the ox! These two different kinds of animals are a mismatched pair, and it would be impossible for them to plow together in an effective manner.

By using this imagery, Paul is saying the same thing about partnership between believers and unbelievers. Just as yoking together two fundamentally different kinds of animals will result in incongruity and discord, so also are believers and unbelievers two fundamentally different “breeds”—fundamentally different kinds of people. Any intimate association or spiritual partnership between them will eventually only result in dissonance and difficulty. Believers and unbelievers are moving in different directions; we live in two different worlds; we’re energized by different powers, and motivated by different passions. To partner them together and expect them to plow in the same direction is ludicrous, and will only end in spiritual disaster.


Not a Call to Isolation

Now, it’s important to state clearly what this call to separation from unbelievers does not mean. It does not mean isolationism. It does not mean that Christians are to cut off all contact between ourselves and the world, and retreat into monasticism and live as hermits in caves. It doesn’t mean that we withdraw from society into our little Christian bubble, where we live in a housing development or an apartment complex populated only by Christians, in a house that we bought from a Christian real estate agent, and drive a car that we bought from a Christian car dealer, a car that’s insured by a Christian insurance agent, a car in which we drive our kids to and from their Christian school, and only shop at a Christian grocery store, and on and on it goes. Not being unequally yoked with unbelievers doesn’t mean retreating into a Christian commune where you’re cut off from the world.

It can’t mean that, because the same Paul who wrote 2 Corinthians 6:14 wrote 1 Corinthians 5:9–11, where he anticipates this sort of misunderstanding. He says there, “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous,” et cetera. More than anyone who’s ever lived, Paul has modeled the exact opposite kind of lifestyle. Paul was no monk! He traveled the known world, marching right into the middle of pagan society and depraved human culture, in order to preach the Gospel to every creature in obedience to the commission of Christ. This is the one who became all things to all men, so that he may by all means save some (1 Cor 9:22). The Lord Jesus taught us that we are the light of the world, Matthew 5:14, and no one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket. We are to let our light shine before men so that they glorify God who is at work within us.

And besides the obvious necessity of evangelism—engaging in the ministry of reconciliation as ambassadors for Christ—in 1 Corinthians 10:25, Paul assumes the Corinthians will shop in the marketplace where the rest of the unbelieving city shopped. And in 1 Corinthians 10:27he encourages believers to accept an unbeliever’s invitation to his home for dinner. So there is no sense in which the call to separation in 2 Corinthians 6:14 is a call to monasticism or isolation from the world.

What Does It Mean to Be “Yoked” Together?

So what is it then? Well, it’s not a geographical or spatial separation, but a spiritual and moral separation.

The most common application of this text is that Christians should not marry non-Christians. And while Paul isn’t thinking about marriage in this text, certainly the principle would apply to marriage. What more intimate of a spiritual partnership is there than marriage? If believers and unbelievers can’t do ministry together, certainly it’s asking for trouble to bear the common yoke of marriage together. That doesn’t mean Christians ought to divorce their unsaved spouse (1 Cor 7:12–14), but it does mean that no Christian can enter into marriage unless his spouse is “in the Lord” (1 Cor 7:39).

So, while this call to separation applies to marriage, its most primary application is to partnership in worship and ministry. No Christian is to take up common spiritual cause with a non-Christian—even a non-Christian who calls themselves a Christian, but who denies their profession by their life or their doctrine.

There can be no commingling of worship or of ministry among genuine regenerate Christians and false converts. Believers cannot take part in a worship service of an apostate church—such as a Kingdom Hall meeting, or a Roman Catholic mass, or an Eastern Orthodox liturgy. A true believer cannot stand together with an unbeliever in any form of evangelistic ministry. And they certainly cannot pray together. This is the primary application of this command.

John MacArthur comments,

“[Satan] does not want to fight the church; He wants to join it. When he comes againstthe church, it grows stronger: ‘the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.’ When he joins the church, it grows weaker. And undiscerning believers think that’s an evangelistic strategy and embrace it. What folly. It’s not an evangelistic strategy, it’s slow suicide.

“Truth and error cannot go together.  They are opposite in nature; they are pulling in opposite directions; they are headed toward opposite goals; they are motivated by opposite desires, and they’re controlled by enemy leaders. We have to separate from non-Christians in every activity that has anything to do with the advancement of the gospel.  They can have no part, except to be on the receiving end of our evangelism.

“Undiscerning believers who join in a common spiritual cause with unbiblical forms of Christianity or other false religions open the door wide to satanic infiltration and forfeit the blessing of God. Further, embracing those heretical systems falsely reassures their followers that all is well between them and God, when actually they are headed for eternal damnation.”

And he’s absolutely right. The Lord Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:29 that coming to Him in saving faith is to take His yoke upon us,” as He is our Master. But those who bear Christ’s yoke cannot share it with those who, in unbelief, refuse to take His yoke upon themselves. As one commentator put it, “Those who harness themselves together with unbelievers will soon find themselves plowing Satan’s fields” (Garland, 331). And we’ve seen that very thing take place throughout the history of the ecumenical movement.

But are Christians really that much different than non-Christians? Are we really two different breeds unable to bear the same yoke? After all, aren’t we both made in the image of God? Don’t we share a common human nature? Stay tuned. We’ll examine this issue next week.
 
Original post found here.


Dinosaur Fossils Found in Marine Rock…Again!

Another spectacular dinosaur fossil discovery baffled paleontologists who deny the historical accuracy of the book of Genesis. 
New Scientist recently reported the identification of a T. rex-like dinosaur from Upper Cretaceous system rocks in North Africa. What confounded the scientists were the phosphate-rich rocks in which the bones were found-rocks indicative of deposition in an open ocean.
 
The new species was dubbed Chenanisaurus barbaricus by its discoverer Nick Longrich of the University of Bath, UK…..He added, “This find is unusual because it’s a dinosaur from marine rocks-it’s a bit like hunting for fossil whales and finding a fossil lion. It’s an incredibly rare find-almost like winning the lottery.” But the discovery of a dinosaur in marine rocks should be no surprise to Longrich and his colleagues, as a group of paleontologists had concluded earlier that nearly allCretaceous dinosaurs across Europe were buried in marine rocks.
 
In their 2015 report, Zoltan Csiki-Sava and his co-authors reported just that-nearly all Late Cretaceous dinosaurs were found in marine sedimentary rocks, including chalk and limestone beds.Researchers made similar discoveries of ankylosaurian and hadrosaurian dinosaur fossils in marine sedimentary rocks along the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington, and all the way north to Alaska.
 
With all these finds, it’s now clear that the discovery of dinosaurs in marine rocks and/or mixed with marine fossils is the norm, not the exception. Why do secular paleontologists continue to be surprised by what they pull out of the ground? It’s likely because they have no other viable explanation outside of deep time and evolution for what they observe. If one rejects the possibility of a global Flood event, as described in Genesis, one is left with no other recourse.
 
However, creation scientists are not surprised that so many dinosaurs are mixed with marine fossils and are commonly found in marine sediments. Dinosaurs were rapidly buried by the salty Flood waters as they engulfed the continents, mixing the sediments, the ocean creatures and the terrestrial animals together. The evidence for the global Flood is found in the phosphate mines in Morocco and all over the world.
 
1. New Scientist staff. African T.Rex was one of last dinosaurs alive before extinction. New Scientist.Posted on newscientist.com May 7, 2017, accessed May 5, 2017.
2. Dinosaurs in Marine Sediments: A Worldwide Phenomenon. Acts & Facts. 44 (6): 16.Csiki-Sava, Z. et al. 2015.
3. Island life in the Cretaceous-faunal composition, biogeography, evolution, and extinction of land-living vertebrates on the Late Cretaceous European archipelago. ZooKeys. 469: 1-161.
4. Geggel, L. Huge Dinosaur Thighbone Found on Washington Beach. LiveScience. Posted on livescience
.com May 20, 2015, accessed online May 28, 2015.
 
 


A platform for porn and a dialogue with the devil

A platform for porn and a dialogue with the devil

A few years ago my wife and I were invited to what was being called “The Great Porn Debate.” A Christian man who was anti-porn was going around the country with a famous porn actor and they were debating the question: Is porn harmful or helpful? They were debating this on college campuses, but the meeting we were invited to was in a church—a large church in San Diego where thousands of Christians would be exposed to a man who was going to try to convince the crowd that porn can be good for you and your marriage.

Needless to say, we declined — a decision for which I was subject to ridicule. I was called a Pharisee, and also I was mocked for being “afraid” to hear inappropriate language.

It did make me wonder, though: Should Christians allow debates like these to occur in our churches? Should we expose our congregations to worldly thinking and allow people to come in and attempt to convince our loved ones that the Bible is wrong, or that God is hateful and is holding back good things from us?

As I thought about that day, I’ve concluded that it’s never wise to allow false religions and worldly thinking onto our stages. And I have at least four reasons for saying that.

Truth shouldn’t be put on trial

Many of these so-called debates are supposed to be evangelistic, but my apologetic objects because God should never be put on trial. I don’t care if you are talking to an atheist, an imam, or a Buddhist monk: the God of the Bible does not need us to defend His existence. He is the I Am who has declared Himself in His Word and in every heart of man. The reason why non-believers neglect Him or replace Him with other religions is because they love their sin. Most of the time these dialogues and debates are done in order to defend God and to convince the other people of His existence through reasoning. But a God I can reason to is not a God worth worshiping.

Your congregation is weaker than you think

People need to be shepherded carefully. Of course we know that God is going to complete the work He started in each of his children (Phil 1:6). Of course we are told to contend for the faith. But we are also told protect the sheep from wolves.

Wolves bite and sheep tend to get bitten. I don’t care if you’re the greatest Christian on earth, the devil is strong and is able to attract your sheep. The lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life lures even the strongest Christians in our churches, and we must stand on guard. We need to keep the wolves out; we should never let them in because we think we can control these evil creatures whose sole purpose is to devour our sheep.

I am weaker than I think

As a shepherd, I am not as strong as I think I am. I am prone to question, to get discouraged, and to sin. I get angry and I am not as smart as I suppose myself to be.

I used to go alone to do evangelism but I do so less frequently now. I need the encouragement of others as I talk to unbelievers mainly because I am prone to get discouraged and doubt as much as anyone else in my church. Any debator or pastor must not be so prideful as to think, “I can expose my people to these wolves, because I’m able to argue in such a way that will be able to keep my sheep safe.” This is the height of arrogance and something we should repent of.

People don’t get saved through dialogues

Over the course of church history many people have compromised in order to win skeptics. From seminary scholars who compromise on the miracles in the Bible or the dating of books, to the various coalitions between Roman Catholics and evangelicals, compromise has often beguiled the church. Today it looks like friendly dialogues between Islamic leaders and Christians, but remember: none of these dialogues bring about what we want.

Complimenting wolves in sheep’s clothing on how great their clothes look is not being winsome. It’s being unwise. We must remember that salvation comes through hearing and hearing through God’s word, therefore we must defend it and declare it without holding back or compromising it at all. We mustn’t let the wolves in, and we must expose them for what they are.

Of course, it must be said that those who do choose to expose their people to these men and women don’t become apostates upon doing so. If a pastor held a dialogue with a Muslim leader at his church, I wouldn’t question his salvation or his motives (unless he has proven himself to be a false teacher over time). It is possible to be a faithful man of God and faithful evangelist and choose to do the opposite of what is said in this blog post, remembering that one day we will all stand before God and give an account of what we’ve done.

But with that said, the longer I am in the ministry, the more I am convinced that hosting dialogues with porn producers or local imams are not only counterproductive, but potentially spiritually dangerous.



Four Marks of Fruit-Bearing Christianity

 

The Christianity which I call fruit-bearing, that which shows its Divine origin by its blessed effects on mankind – the Christianity which you may safely defy unbelievers to explain away – that Christianity is a very different thing. Let me show you some of its leading marks and features.

(1) Fruit-bearing Christianity has always taught the inspiration, sufficiency, and supremacy of Holy Scripture. It has told people that God’s Word written is the only trustworthy rule of faith and practice in religion, that God requires nothing to be believed that is not in this Word, and that nothing is right which contradicts it. It has never allowed reason, a person’s mind, or the voice of the Church, to be placed above, or on a level with Scripture. It has steadily maintained that, however imperfectly we may understand it, the Old Book is meant to be the only standard of life and doctrine.


Read more...

The Basis for the New Birth (John 3:14-21)

Christ had to die (vv. 14–17).

Christ again refers Nicodemus to the OT, this time Num. 21, the account of the brazen serpent. The serpents were biting the Jews and killing them, and the strange solution to the problem was found when Moses made a serpent of brass! Looking to the serpentin faith brought healing. In like manner, Christ was made sin for us, for it was sin that was killing us. As we look to Christ by faith, we are saved.
 
Did all this happen for judgment and condemnation? No. That was never God’s purpose. 
Notice how central Jesus is to the passage. Verse 15 emphasizes the words “in him” and they appear again in verses 16–18, while verse 17 talks about God’s saving the world through him. 

Read more...

The Great Gospel in One Verse

JOHN 3:16…

For…
GOD – the greatest Lover
SO LOVED – the greatest degree
THE WORLD – the greatest number
THAT HE GAVE – the greatest act
HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON – the greatest Gift
THAT WHOSOEVER – the greatest invitation
BELIEVETH – the greatest simplicity
IN HIM – the greatest Person
SHOULD NOT PERISH – the greatest deliverance
BUT – the greatest difference
HAVE – the greatest certainty
EVERLASTING LIFE – the greatest possession


8 Tips for Studying God’s Word

 

A Prayer before You Begin

Father, help me to approach your Word not most ultimately as a textbook or instruction manual. Enable me to approach it for what it is—your unique revelation of your own joy-inspiring glory. May what I come to understand intellectually move me quickly to worship, obedience, and sharing with others. So please open my eyes now, that I may see wonderful things in your Word. 

1. Get the right writing materials.


Read more...

An Open Letter to Those Frustrated by Their Progress in Sanctification

 
We all love it when life leaps into forward gear and we make all kinds of progress. Problems just seem to fall away. Perhaps in your life you’ve had a season like that, a season when your life seemed to shine and flourish. Maybe it was when you first became a believer or during some period when you were very well nurtured by good community and wise input.

Then there are those seasons where things go very slowly. You wonder, “Is this all there is? Why do I keep struggling with the same old things? I keep losing my temper, or feeling anxious, or being clumsy in relationships . . . ” What vision does God give us for what our lives are supposed to look like, especially when we’re dealing with the long, hard struggle part of being a Christian? Let me say two things.


Read more...

Is Your house Clean?

Our study in the Gospel of John has already proven to be challenging and enriching. Remember John’s purpose in writing this book:

He declares, “these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).

The primary purposes, therefore, are two-fold: evangelistic and apologetic.1

John wants us to believe in Jesus. He has chosen seven signs (out of countless others Jesus performed, John 20:30) to support His thesis that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. These past two weeks we witnessed the start of Jesus’s signs in John chapter 2. John began with a miracle of 

conversion (changing water into wine in John 2:1-12). Next, John shows Jesus with a work of cleansing (the cleansing of the temple in John 2:12-17). This is always how Jesus works in His people: conversion, then cleansing. You and I cannot possibly be clean enough to come to Jesus! We desperately need the intervention of God’s Holy Spirit to change us first.

 
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 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. 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. 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), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:1–7)

 

What can dead people do? NOTHING!! We need Jesus to bring us to life. We need to be born again from on high (John 3:3). We need to be converted first. Conversion is that act of God whereby God enables sinners to experience His calling and drawing away from sin and toward Himself. Although conversion can be seen as a human act or decision, Scripture stresses that the work of God lies behind this human decision, guiding and motivating it.2 (See Acts 15:3; 26:18).

 It is only after this rebirth, or Conversion, does the cleansing come into play.

As Hebrews 12:6 reminds us,

“For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” He adds (12:11), “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” And so we should not regard His discipline lightly or faint when we are reproved by Him, but rather be subject to the Father of spirits and live(12:5, 9).

You see, just as Jesus was moved to a righteous anger (John 2:12-17) because of the offense of the Jews in the temple, He also is angered over the offense of our sin. The Jews in the first century had set up shop in the Temple courts. Specifically, they were in the Courtyard of the Gentiles. This grieved, even angered our Lord because in doing so, the Jews had become a stumbling block to the Gentiles. The selling & buying of animals inside the court of the Gentiles had made it nearly impossible for the Gentiles to worship the Lord in the Temple for Passover, as they were instructed to do so in the Law.

The Jews were therefore sending a not-so-subtle message to the Gentiles that they were not welcome in God’s House nor among God’s people. This angered Jesus because His plan included the Jews and the Gentiles. Provision had been made for the Gentiles in the out courts, but the Jews were hindering their worship of the Lord.

Thank God that His plan includes us as well. Thank God that, “

… now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.” (Ephesians 2:13–16)

Today, we do not have to go to the temple, or even a temple to worship God. We ARE the temple!
 
In 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, Paul writes, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.” The context indicates that Paul is speaking of Christians, of the church.

Considering His choosing of us to be His temple, it is good that we examine ourselves to make sure that our temple is clean… that we’re in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). Here are a few questions to consider as we examine our “temples”:

  • Have I lost my first love for Christ (Rev. 2:4)?
  • Do I spend time with Him often in His Word (Psalm 119) and in prayer (1 Thess. 5:17)?
  • Am I actively seeking to grow in grace & in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18; Phil 3:8-10)?
  • Do I seek to please Him with my thoughts, words, and deeds?
  • How are my relationships with others, especially with those whom I live (Matt. 22:39)?
  • Am I fervent in my love for others (1 Pet. 4:8)?
  • Do I deny myself and seek to build up others in love (Mark 8:34; 1 Cor. 8:1)?
  • Do I love gathering with His church (Heb. 10:25)?
  • Do I spend my time seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33)?
  • Am I a conscientious steward of the resources that He has entrusted to me (Luke 16:10-13)?
  • Do I view myself as the Lord’s servant, seeking opportunities to be used by Him (Luke 17:10)?
  • Are there any hidden or open sins that I need to confess and forsake (1 John 1:9)?

Clean house, my friends! Do not procrastinate! Do it now! You are, after all, a new creature in Christ Jesus.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

For His Glory,

Pastor Kevin



9 Actions to Consider This Sunday

Here are nine servant actions for you to consider.
  1. Pray as you enter the property. Pray for the guests. Pray for the services. Pray for the pastor and the sermon.
  2. Park at the most distant spot available. Save the closer parking places for guests.
  3. Greet people. They may be guests. They may be members. It’s okay to introduce yourself to either.
  4. Look for people to help. You know the place well. Many others will not. Be a guide. Help someone who looks like he or she needs help.
  5. Sit as close as possible to the front of the worship center. Save the back rows for guests and late entrants, so they don’t have to walk past so many people.
  6. Sit in the middle. Don’t claim that aisle seat where people have to walk over you or past you.
  7. Sit closely. Your worship center may be packed. If so, be willing to sit cheek to cheek.
  8. Volunteer to serve. As the number of attendees increase, so does the need for volunteers. parking lot help, & the church greeter ministry are a few of the areas that will need more volunteers to help serve and minister to members and guests.
  9. Pray as you leave. The Holy Spirit is likely working in many persons who attended. Pray for His continual work of conviction and comfort.

These are simple acts. They are acts of service. And if you survive doing these acts of kindness and service on Easter, you just might be able to do them on other days of worship as well.



WHO CRUSHES THE SERPENT’S HEAD IN GENESIS 3:15?

by John Fallahee, Proclaiming the Gospel Ministry

INTRODUCTION: The first prophecy in the Bible regarding Christ is in Genesis 3:15. It is an amazing text. Not only is the text ancient but it foretells Christ ending the power of Satan. Scholars call this the “protoevangelium” or “the first mention of the Gospel.”

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel. (Genesis 3:15)


Read more...

For Lent , Give up Lent

by Jesse Johnson

February 27, 2017

A friend of mine was recently asked by a local youth pastor, “What’d you give up for Lent?” My friend quipped, “Lent.”

I can’t help but notice a growth in evangelicals who want to celebrate Lent by “giving something up.” I’ve heard of Christians giving up sugar, soda, Angry Birds, and Netflix (ok, I made up the last one—I’ve never heard of anyone giving up Netflix). For some evangelicals, apparently Lent is the new New Year’s. Those old resolutions were dropped by Feb 10, so time to dust them off and start over on March 1.


Read more...

Passion for Truth and Hatred for Lies

by Mike Genderon, Proclaiming the Gospel Ministry
 
Religious institutions that deceive people about their eternal destiny are to be exposed as enemies of God and agents of the devil. The Bible reveals there is only one answer to the question: “What must I do to be saved from the wrath of a Holy and Righteous God who must punish sin?” To give the wrong answer to this sobering question is to propagate the most lethal and deadly lie anyone could ever speak. To point people to the wide road that leads to destruction is the most despicable departure from the truth and a devilish abomination to God (Prov. 12:22).

Read more...

In Case You Still Aren’t Sure About The Shack…Updated For The Movie

Sadly, there is still need to address the serious theologically heretical issues presented in William Paul Young’s book, The Shack, because now it has made it to the big screen. 
The Shack 
will be released as early as tomorrow in many markets and is being promoted by many within evangelicalism.
 
There have been numerous articles written concerning the errors & dangers of the book and movie. Here are a few to study and share (Please share as Christians today repeatedly demonstrate a serious lack of discernment in spiritual matters):
 
 

Read more...

Ways to Pray for Your Church Family…

13. That members would share the gospel this week—and see more conversions!

14. That members would be prepared for persecution, remembering to love, not curse, their persecutors.

15. That hopes for political change would be outstretched by the hope of heaven.

16. That giving would be faithul, as well as joyful, consistent, and sacrificial. 

17. That more members would use their careers to take the gospel to places it’s never been.

18. That members would be good and do good in their workplaces this week.



Ways to Pray for Your Church Family…

7. That elders would remain above reproach, kept from temptation, complacency, idols, and worldliness.

8. That the church’s songs would teach members to biblically confess, lament, and praise.

9. That the church’s prayers would be infused with biblical ambitions, honesty, and humility. 

10. That adult members would work to disciple teenagers and not just leave it to programming. 

11. That the church’s primary teachers grow in dedication to God’s Word even when no one’s watching. 

12. That it would grow in being distinct from the world in love and holiness, even as it engages outsiders.

 
 


Ways to Pray for Your Church Family…

1. That we would have unity amid diversity
—loving those with whom we have nothing in common but the gospel. 

2. That a culture of discipling would form in which making disciples is viewed as an ordinary part of the Christian life.

3. That faithful elders would use Scripture to train members to do the work of ministry.

4. That a hunger for studying the gospel would form among members so that they can guide and guard one another in it.

5. That transparent, meaningful relationships would become normal and remaining anonymous strange.

6. The preaching of God’s Word—that it would be biblically careful and Holy Spirit imbued.



Our Response to God’s Power

“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength…. They will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”

Isaiah 40:31

✧✧✧

Relying on God’s power gives us confidence to live as Christians.

What should be our response to God’s power? First, we should worship Him. Our response should follow what God told Israel: “The Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm, Him you shall fear, and to Him you shall bow yourselves down, and to Him you shall sacrifice” (2 Kings 17:36).
Understanding God’s power should also give us confidence: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil.

4:13). Because of His strength, we can live the Christian life each day with confidence. God “is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Eph. 3:20).

Our eternal hope rests on the power of God. His power saved us and will “raise [us] up on the last day” (John 6:40). That day should be the great hope of the Christian, because whatever troubles we have on earth, our heavenly destiny is still secure.

When I’m tempted to worry, I’m comforted to remember that God’s power is greater than any problem I have. The psalmist says, “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Ps. 121:1–2). The God who made everything can certainly handle our troubles!

God’s power also gives us spiritual victory. Paul instructs us to “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10). When the adversary comes and you’re on guard, you don’t fight him; you go tell the commander, and he leads the battle. God will bring about the victory because “greater is He who is in [us] than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Satan may be powerful, but he’s no match for God.

Finally, understanding God’s power gives us humility. Peter exhorts us, “Humble yourselves … under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Peter 5:6). Apart from God’s gracious power we are nothing and can do nothing (John 15:5).

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer

: Thank God for each of these ways He uses His power for our benefit.

For Further Study: Read Psalm 121. In what ways does God demonstrate His power to us?[1]

 

 

[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today

. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.


Evidences of God’s Power

 

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know … what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.”Ephesians 1:18–19

✧✧✧

God’s power is seen in creation, preservation, redemption, and resurrection.

Think of all the energy we get from the sun, and multiply that by the innumerable stars in space. But God by His great power created all the stars with no effort whatsoever: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host” (Ps. 33:6). He just spoke, and they were made.

God’s power also preserves the universe. Christ “upholds all things by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3), and “in Him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17). Chaos would result unless His sustaining hands were directing the orderliness of creation (Ps. 104; Jer. 31:35–36).
God’s power was beautifully demonstrated at the cross. Satan was subdued, death was conquered, and the penalty for our sins was paid. The gospel “is the power of God for salvation to every one who believes” (Rom. 1:16). When we were saved, God made each of us “a new creature” (2 Cor. 5:17). Not only that, but “He who began a good work in [us] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). God’s power saved us and gives us strength to live lives pleasing to Him.
The power of God is also made evident in resurrection. Did you know that someday God is going to resurrect every human being who ever lived? The righteous will be raised to eternal life, and the unrighteous to eternal damnation (John

5:28–29; Rev. 20:11–15). Billions of people, long dead, will be resurrected. What tremendous power!

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer

: Praise God for the power He has shown in His beautiful creation. ✧ Thank God that by His power He made you into a new creation and will someday raise you to eternal life.

For Further Study: Psalm 33 is a song of praise to God for His power and sovereignty. Examine what it teaches about God’s power, and read it as your own prayer of praise.[1]

 

 

[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today

. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.


God has Unlimited Power

“Thine, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Thine is the dominion, O Lord, and Thou dost exalt Thyself as head over all.”

1 Chronicles 29:11

✧✧✧

God has unlimited power and ultimate control over everything.

There is no limit to God’s power. Revelation 19:6 says, “The Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.” In fact, one Hebrew name for God is El Shaddai (El means “God”; Shaddaimeans “almighty”). Another word for “almighty” is “omnipotent.”

God can do anything effortlessly. It is no more difficult for Him to create a universe than it is for Him to make a butterfly. We get tired when we work, but God’s infinite power never lessens: “The creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired” (Isa. 40:28).

Not only does God have unlimited power but also the authority to use it. “Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Ps. 115:3). But God’s power, authority, and will are in harmony with His nature. He cannot sin, neither can He accept impenitent sinners. Such actions would contradict His holiness.

People often question what God does because they don’t understand that He can do anything He wants. They ask, “Why did God do that?” I’ve often replied, “Because He wanted to.” He showed His sovereignty—His ultimate control of everything—in showing mercy to some like Isaac and Jacob, while hardening the hearts of others like Pharaoh (Rom. 9:6–21). To those who object to God’s right to control such things, Paul said, “Who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay … ?” (vv. 20–21).

Never question God’s use of His power. He is in control, and “The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and kind in all His deeds” (Ps. 145:17). We can trust that whatever He does, it’s for the best.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer

: Praise God for His infinite power and sovereignty.

For Further Study: Read Isaiah 40:21–31. How has God demonstrated His power? ✧ How has He demonstrated His sovereignty? ✧ What comfort should that bring to you?[1]

 

[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today

. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
  ****


The Incarnation: Did Jesus Give Up His Divine Attributes?

The Incarnation…

Did Jesus Give Up His Divine Attributes?

A casual reading of Philippians 2:6-8 may lead the reader to assume that Jesus gave up His divine attributes in the Incarnation. This is a complete misunderstanding. Upon closer examination we see that Jesus did not give up any of His divine attributes when He, the Word, “became flesh”. What then did Paul mean when he writes that Christ, “emptied Himself” or “made Himself nothing”?

First, Christ veiled the glory that was His from all eternity as God. This was necessary in order for Him to take the appearance of a man. Christ never surrendered His glory. Remember the transfiguration? On the Mount of Transfiguration the Glory of the Lord Jesus was on full, magnificent display (Matthew 17). Jesus had to veil His glory in order to dwell among mortal humanity (see Isaiah 6:5; John 12:41; revelation 1:17).

Second, Christ “emptied Himself”, or “made Himself nothing”, by voluntarily laying aside some of His divine attributes. Jesus willingly refrained from exercising His rightful, divine prerogatives. His chose to do this in order that He might accomplish His objectives. It is important to understand that Jesus could never have actually surrendered any of His attributes or else He would have ceased to be God. Can God cease to be God? Of course not! What we find in the Scripture is the voluntary laying aside of certain attributes during His tabernacle with us. A prime example of this can be seen in Matthew 24:36. Here, we see that Jesus, in His humanity, temporarily laid aside His omniscience. As Jesus dwelt with us in the Incarnation, He willingly set aside the knowledge of His second coming. It would be illogical to believe that Jesus, being God of very God, does not know have this knowledge.

Third, we see that Christ “emptied Himself”, or “made Himself nothing” by taking on the appearance of a man and the very nature of a bond-servant. Christ was thus truly human. This humanity then would have been subject to temptation, distress, weakness, pain, sorrow, and limitation. It is amazing to think that Jesus “made Himself nothing” as reported in Philippians 2:7. The greek word for this is “kenosis”. Kenosis is the doctrine of Christ’s self-emptying in His incarnation. MacArthur states, “This was a self-renunciation, not an emptying Himself of deity nor an exchange of deity for humanity.” 

He continues, “Jesus did, however, renounce or set aside His privileges in several areas: 

1) heavenly glory—while on earth He gave up the glory of a face-to-face relationship with God and the continuous outward display and personal enjoyment of that glory (cf. Jn 17:5); 

2) independent authority—during His incarnation Christ completely submitted Himself to the will of His Father (cf. Mt 26:39; Jn 5:30; Heb 5:8); 

3) divine prerogatives—He set aside the voluntary display of His divine attributes and submitted Himself to the Spirit’s direction (cf. Mt 24:36; Jn 1:45–49); 

4) eternal riches—while on earth Christ was poor and owned very little (cf. 2Co 8:9); and 

5) a favorable relationship with God—He felt the Father’s wrath for human sin while on the cross (cf. Mt 27:46;
2Co 5:21).1
 
What grace! From heaven to earth, from glory to shame, from Master to servant, from life to death, “even the death of the cross!”2 In the Old Testament Age, Christ had visited earth on occasion for some special ministry (Gen. 18 is a case in point), but these visits were temporary. When Christ was born at Bethlehem, He entered into a permanent union with humanity from which there could be no escape. He willingly humbled Himself that He might lift us up!

 

 

  1. J MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Php 2:7). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
  2. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 75). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.


Jesus is our Tabernacle

Jesus is our Tabernacle

John 1:14

The Greek word for “dwelt” is the Greek word skaynay. Skaynay is the Greek word for tabernacle. In other words, Jesus came and “tabernacled, or “pitched His tent”, among us. This is a clear reference to the tabernacle of the Old Testament. 

Just as God’s shekinah glory came down and tabernacled with His people, Jesus Christ, the Word of God who took on flesh, tabernacled with us when He came to earth. Friends, the tabernacle of the Old Testament is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. Who took on flesh and dwelt among us. 

What was once a shadowy picture of God dwelling with His people became a brilliant colorful reminder that Jesus came and dwelt, tabernacled among His creation.