Is It Truly Golden?

Gold-24I know many people who say they follow the “Golden Rule”.  They say they  live by what Jesus has taught in the Bible and they love others as they love themselves.  Or they do to others as they would want done to them.  Many of these same people consider themselves Christians just because they claim to follow this teaching.  Is that all it takes in life?  Is that all it means to follow Jesus Christ and thus this makes a person a Christian?  Perhaps the most important question is, is that what the Lord Jesus means when He laid out this commandment, to just simply do unto others as you would have them do?  Or is there more to this and more to being a Christian?

Let’s take a look at a few places where the Lord Jesus has said this.

27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31 Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  Luke 6:27-36

Here we have Dr. Luke recording this account.  In vs. 31 the statement appears.  But in context, what is the Lord Jesus saying?  Is He saying do good so you can have good back?  Is He saying don’t do to others what you wouldn’t want done to you?  Or is there something bigger that the Lord Jesus wants those who hear to grasp?  I believe the answer is in vs. 35-36. Let’s take a look at what Matthew records.

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! 12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:7-12

Here in vs. 12 we have this command again.  Matthew records it at the end of the Lord Jesus teaching His disciples about prayer and asking God in faith.  Then vs. 11 leads right to the point of vs. 12 and vs. 12 to the point of this great sermon delivered by the Lord Jesus.  Are you starting to see it yet?  Is it about doing good to get good?  Also in vs. 12 the Lord Jesus mentions the Law and the Prophets.  This referes to the Old Testament writings of which the Lord Jesus has fulfilled.  I pray you are starting to see.  Let’s take a look at a few more places this “Golden Rule” is mentioned.

34 But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. 35 One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40

Again, Matthew records here the Lord Jesus answering a lawyer (scribe) when asked about the great commandment.  The Lord Jesus gave him two.  The second is the “Golden Rule” in vs. 39 and again He states the Law and Prophets (Old Testament) depend on this command.  But wait, what is the first?  What is the greatest?  Let’s take a look at one more record of the Lord’s 2 commands.  

28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31

Here the Lord Jesus gives the same “Golden Rule” answer for the second, but the first He states slightly differently.  “Hear, O Israel!  The Lord our God is one Lord”.  What the Lord Jesus is quoting from is Deuteronomy 6 in the Old Testament.  This is also the Shema that the Jews would pray daily, and still do.  The Lord Jesus knew this and He was stating how important it is to obey this command over every command.  He was stating here, and as recorded in Matthew, that there is no other God and He is to be loved with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  This is the most important.  And this God we are commanded to love is the God of the Bible. He is the same God of the Old and New Testament.  To love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength is to obey all that He commands.  That is to obey all of the Bible and not just what we decide to obey.  In deciding for ourselves we create a god in our image and we don’t obey the true God who created us in His image.

Godsunrise

But what does that mean for the “Golden Rule”?  This rule is not “Golden” unless we obey the first.  We can not truly love others until we truly love God.  We can not do to others as we would have them do until we understand the love of God and His grace and mercy.  Notice in Matthew 7:11 the Lord Jesus talks about evil people giving good gifts to their children who show love back.  God goes beyond and gives gifts to those who do not love Him to start.  Those who do not love Him do not ask because their hearts do not love God.  In Luke 6 the Lord Jesus is explaining how the love of God is unconditional.  Giving to those who do not deserve and being merciful to those who deserve wrath.  God wants us to be Holy and imitators of Him.

The point of the “Golden Rule” as truly taught by the Lord Jesus is not for human gain.  It is not a simple guidline to go through life.  It is not what Christianity is as many may believe it to rest only on this command.  It is not the gospel.  It is not any of these becuase it needs the Shema.  It needs the person following the “Golden Rule” to submit to the will of the One true God.  In order to do that a person must have their heart changed. They must turn from their sin of creating their own god and put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to be forgiven and born again to know God.

What does this mean?  The Lord Jesus became a man.  He lived a perfect life of obedience, loving the Father with all His heart, soul, mind and strength, the way we are commanded to but can not.  Through this He also loved neighbor. This we also truly can not do on our own either.  Then He was crucified on the cross.  This is the death you and I deserve for our sins.  This is what all sinners, of which i am the worst, deserve.  The penalty of sin is death.  But God, being merciful, poured His wrath out on His Son.  His Son, showing us how to truly love God and neighbor, laid down His life.  The He defeated death rising from the grave after 3 days and He is now seated at the right hand of the Father ruling as King over heaven and earth.  Now when a sinner believes that this life, death, and resurrection was for them, they are forgiven.  His heart becomes regenrated to be able to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Then inturn, they can begin to truly love their neighbor and do unto them as they would have them do unto themsleves.  Then the repentant sinner will also recieve the grace of eternal life in paradise with the loving God of all.

This is GOOD NEWS.  This is the GOSPEL!

I pray you recieve this message and truly love God so you can love neighbor and be a true Christian and a son or daughter of God.

It can’t truly be “Golden” without the true God.

emptycross

 

 

 

 

It Can’t Stay Down

Holding it down yet it keeps pressing up. That inflated ball won’t stay under the water. We try to hammer it down like playing a game of whac-a-mole. But we can’t keep all the moles down at once. One will pop up and reveal itself.  The ball will come to the surface.*

image

This is what happens when we deny the existence of God. We hold down the truth. We hold down the truth in our unrighteousness. This means we love our sin. We love being our own god. We love having a god we have made or that other men have made. These man made gods, or gods of self, say we are in control or we have a way to get to God through our own deeds. This is man centered and goes to the root of our sin that was from the garden. “Did God really say?” Is echoed from Genesis 3.

So many deny the truth of God. The God who reveals Himself to us in the Bible. The God who reveals Himself to us in His Son Jesus Christ. The God who has reveals Himself in His very creation.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1

We all have no excuse to not know God exists. We want justice when we feel justice needs to be done because God is just. We want people to be honest because God is not a liar. We know adultery is wrong because God is completely faithful. We Know these things also because we are made in the image of God but we just deny His existence when we choose us over Him.  We choose the way we want to live over the way He commands us to live. We suppress the truth.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Romans 1:18-25

This is what I thought.  I created my own god. I worshiped created things, and most of the time it was myself who I worshipped.  It wasn’t until I repented, turned from my sin, and put all trust in Christ.  This trust was that He lived, died, and rose for me.  If I was to stand before God and tell Him He didn’t give me enough evidence it would not be an acceptable excuse.  If I was to stand before God and say my good deeds outweigh my bad He would not accept that either.  He commands perfection.  This perfection can only come from His Son.  If I stand before God covered in the blood of Jesus Christ, He will see His righteousness and not my filth.

I pray your eyes will be open to see Him.  I pray your ears will be open to hear Him.  I pray your heart will be open to receive Him.  Without Him everything is ultimately worthless.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3

morningsun

Jesus is the only way to God. You can’t suppress the truth forever.  It will make His way to the surface of your life.

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

*a similar reference was made by Pastor Jeff Durbin from Apologia Church.

 

Come Into the Light

cross light

I would like to believe the majority of people in the USA would agree that taking the life of an innocent person is wrong.  We would all call that murder.  It would not matter the reason either. While there may be reasons a murder is committed that we may say we understand, the majority would still not condone the action.  I believe the majority of people in the USA would say that murder in any case is wrong.

You shall not murder.  Exodus 20:13

An example would be murder for hire.  I have seen some shows over the years about cops doing undercover stings to catch people who hire hit men to murder their spouse.  They may want to murder them because they are abused by them, they may inherit a sum of money, they are having an affair, or any other reason that will be more convenient rather than letting that spouse live.  Again, I believe the vast majority of people in the USA would agree that this is wrong and should be illegal.  Thankfully it is illegal and no one seems to be pushing to make it otherwise.

But there is a murder for hire that is not illegal.  This murder is done for convenience.  This murder is committed on people who have no chance at defending themselves what so ever.  This murder though has a different name.  It is called abortion.  Sadly, I believe most people in the USA find nothing wrong with this murder.  My evidence is 55 million murdered, or more, since 1973.  No police undercover sting was done to stop these murders.  No national outrage over these murders.  Just 55 million plus dead babies who never had a chance.

Posterity shall serve him;
    it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it. Psalm 22:31

I know you may be saying this isn’t a fair comparison.  You may be saying I’m taking it to an extreme to prove my point. If I offended I am sorry, but this isn’t extreme.  While it seems harsh this is truth.  This is consistent.  I see people on social media complain when a child is murdered at 5 years old.  I see people complain with outrage when a child is left in a car on a hot summer day.  I see people weep for animals who are abused or hunted and killed in the wild. Many of these people are for a woman’s choice.  But let’s please call that choice what it is, a choice to murder.  Where is the consistency?  Where is the love for the unborn baby?  Where is the compassion for that little girl or boy who was murdered?

I know all situations are different and I may sound like I do not have compassion for the women and men who have made this terrible decision to take life of their baby.  I am sorry if this is how it looks.  The truth is I have tremendous compassion for you and all who come to this decision.  I myself am not innocent of this.  I bought the lie.  No!  I lied to myself.  I knew it wasn’t just tissue.  I knew it was a life.  Yet, in my young days, I did not stop the girl.  I, like Adam in the garden, stood by in silence because it was more convenient for me for a baby to die then to be a dad. Yes, if that didn’t happen my life would be different, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that I had a part in the murder.  But others do not have to make that choice.  All babies should be given a chance to live.

baby roo home

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them. Psalm 139:13-16

I have to live with that choice I made all those years ago.  I am guilty.  If you made that choice, so are you.  But you can be forgiven.  You can be shown that life matters.  Your eyes can be opened to the light and then proclaim the truth and save lives. You can be consistent in your thoughts and actions.  This is made possible only through the saving power of God through Jesus Christ.  Not because it is deserved, but because God is full of mercy, grace, and love.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

While I am guilty I am forgiven by Jesus.  God granted me repentance and I put my faith in Jesus Christ.  Without Him I stand condemned of murder and every other sin.  With Him I am clothed in His righteousness.  At the cross He took my murderous hands and gave me His righteous hands.  It is the great exchange.  It doesn’t sound fair.  I deserve to be on that cross, but I get God’s grace, mercy, and love.  Now my eyes are open.  I see sin for what it is.  It needs to stop.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

This can be for you too.  If you have had an abortion, or you were an accomplice, you can be forgiven.  Just come to the cross of Christ.  This sin isn’t greater than the cross.  I pray you can get on your knees before the cross and that your heart will be made able to receive Jesus.  Please turn from your sin and turn to Jesus.  Then you will begin to see.  The light will shine.  You will support life because you will have life.  Abundant life. Eternal life.  Consistent life.  A life giving life.

baby roo kissy

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” John 3:16-21

Please, come to the Light.

How Do We Make Them?

Go

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

This passage of Scripture is referred to as the “Great Commission”.  These are the words Jesus says to His disciples before He ascends into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father.  There has been much written on this passage.  There has been much discussion on how we are to live out this commission.  That is what I would like to address in this post.  How are we to go about making disciples and baptizing them and teaching them to observe all the commandments of Jesus?  First lets take a look at the statement Jesus makes before the commission.

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”  Jesus is clearly telling the disciples who is in charge.  He is not stating that some authority has been given to Him.  He is not saying that He has some now and will get more later.  Jesus says that He has all authority now!  He is King and is ruling now at the right hand of the Father.

This statement is just as important as the last statement.  “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end  the age.”  The King of all is with us as we go out and do what He commissioned us to do.  We are not alone as we go and make disciples.

So how are we as Christians in this century supposed to go and make disciples?  Where can we look to see how this is done?  Perhaps there is a model for us in Scripture.

Let’s look first to how Jesus made disciples.  Jesus went out.  He went from town to town.  He went from town to town preaching.  He went from town to town preaching the good news of the Kingdom while often quoting Old Testament Scripture as well as performing many miraculous signs.

From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17

The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered and said to them, It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:30-32

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:23-26

These are just a few examples of what Jesus said to those who followed Him and wanted to become His disciples.  He did not hold back the truths of what it takes to be a true disciple of Jesus.  It starts with a repentant heart and then total trust in Jesus and leaving behind all selfish ambition.  Abiding totally in Jesus means a converted heart.  This will lead to the second directive in the great commission of baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As Jesus preached truth the result was many following and many leaving.  The more He called the religious elite out, the more they plotted to kill Him.

What examples of disciple making do we have from people other than Jesus?  For that we will look at a few passages from the book of Acts.  In the book of Acts we see the Apostles and other disciples spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom.  We see numerous people coming to faith in Christ repenting of their sins.

How did Peter make disciples?  Peter preached the Word.  He told the people who Jesus is using the Scriptures.  He boldly proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom as well as sometimes accompanying this with miracles by the Holy Spirit.  What was the result?

Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:37-47

Now let’s take a look at how Paul made disciples.  Also in the book of Acts, lets go to chapter 17.

Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. Acts 17:1-5

Here we see Paul, as we did with Peter, preaching to the Jews.  These were people who were familiar with the Scriptures.  This apparently wasn’t the first time Paul went to the places where the people were who Paul wanted to reach as we see it says it was his custom. We also see the result as many believed and many didn’t.  Some joined Paul in following Jesus and some wanted to stop him from preaching the Word.

Let’s take a look at how Paul reached the gentiles also in Acts 17.  The following is Paul preaching in the Areopagus, but what lead to this was Paul preaching in the open marketplace.  He was open air preaching and as a result he was able to deliver this sermon to an even bigger crowd.

So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”  Acts 17:22-31

What was the result?

Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.” So Paul went out of their midst. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.  Acts 17:32-33

So by Paul preaching the Word of God, the Scriptures, to those who were familiar with the text had some people come with him and some not.  Then Paul preaches to unbelievers not familiar with Scripture using what they know, the creation, and takes them to the cross of Christ saying that God has revealed Himself and is declaring that all repent.  The result is the same.  Some believe and follow while others think he is crazy.

What can we learn about making disciples from the examples of Peter, Paul, and Jesus Christ Himself?  When the Word of God is preached people come to repentance and faith and are baptized, then they can learn to observe all the commandments of Jesus Christ.  The other result is unbelief, anger, and people wanting to shut up the Word of God.  But this is the primary tool to making disciples.  The proclamation of the Word of God.  The proclamation of the Gospel.  It is what the apostles preached.  It was what Jesus Christ preached.

But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.” Luke 4:43

Jesus preached about Himself and what He was doing for those who believe.  He lived the life He preached.  He died for those who believe and rose for those as well.  This is the message preached that the Holy Spirit uses to bring about repentance and faith.  It is from the Word of God that we get this message.

How do we make disciples?  Pray for the lost.  Go to the lost.  Tell them the Gospel.  Love them whether they receive the message or not.  Rely totally on God to make the seeds grow!!!  Do not wait to tell them when you are comfortable.  That is not in the Scripture.  Do not think you must invest years of friendship before you can tell them the most loving message ever.  Life is too short.  Jesus came with urgency.  The Apostles preached and moved around with urgency.  If we believe what we claim to believe we must preach the Gospel with urgency.  Yes with wisdom, courage, lead by the Holy Spirit and always with the love of Jesus.  But if they do not hear they can not be saved and can not be a disciple being baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holt Spirit learning to observe all the Jesus commanded.  Making disciples without preaching the Gospel is just a human attempt at behavior modification.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

If you are not a believer and made it to this part through all the Scripture, thank you.  I want you to know the good news.  We can’t earn heaven.  In fact we deserve hell.  Wait….. Where is the good news?  Here it is… God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live a perfect life that we are supposed to live but all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and the penalty of sin is death.  Then Jesus Christ died on a cross being tortured along the way before He was nailed to the tree.  That is the death you and I deserve.  Then He rose after 3 days in the grave proving He was who He said He was and now when we repent (turn from our sin) we are forgiven.  We get eternal life like Jesus.  We then follow Him as Lord putting of our old life of being a slave to sin and we are free in Jesus Christ.  Now on the day of judgment we stand before a Holy and just God and He doesn’t see our ugly sins.  He sees His beautiful Son who paid our penalty with His blood.  He paid our fine.  We are free.  Free in deed. This is good news!!!!  This is the best news ever!!!!!  This is the Gospel!!!!  Hear it!!!!!

I pray you believe this.  I pray you are free to be a slave to Jesus Christ.  I pray He takes your heart of stone and gives you a heart of flesh to repent and believe.  In the saving Name of Jesus Christ Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen!

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  Romans 1:16

Journey to Where?

mapjourney

I was once on a journey.  I was trying to find myself.  Isn’t that what life is about?  Trying to find out who you are and how you fit in this world?  Isn’t it about getting ahead, getting a degree, getting a job/career, getting a house, getting a wife and starting a family?  The list of stuff to go after is non-stop.  It is all part of the American dream.  You want it?  Go get it!  Just be nice along the way and the universe will move for you.

Is this what you believe?  If so, then what?  What happens when you get all you ever wanted?  What happens when you are living the dream?  What happens when you are suddenly on your death-bed or suddenly dead?  Will that house, car, wife, family, iPhone be of any use to you?

Sadly, some preachers even preach this.  It is refered to as the “prosperity gospel” or “name it claim it gospel”.  It is not the true gospel.  I once heard it said that he who dies with the most toys wins.  But in actuality, he who dies with the most toys dies just like everyone else.  The question goes back to, “then what?  Is it all over?  Did I amass all this stuff for my vapor of a life on earth and now nothing?  Or did I amass all this stuff in my vapor of a life on earth and it was my idol and I worshipped it instead of the creator of all?  Did I love stuff and hate God?  Did I love the dream and hate the Spirit?  Did I love the world and hate Jesus?”

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14

“So what? My life is short.  So I am not supposed to pursue things.”  Here in America so many have the privilege to have stuff.  It is when the stuff becomes the focus.  But nothing matters at all if you do not know God.  Nothing matters at all if you are an enemy of God.  “So pursuing things makes me an enemy of God?”  If anything is put in front of your relationship with God you need to examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? 2 Corinthians 13:5

“But I do not believe in the God you speak of.”  If you don’t know God at all then yes, you are His enemy.  You have created your own god in the image of yourself instead of worshiping the true God who made us in His image.  We all know there is a God.  Some will recognize Him as God and others will hold down the truth.  They will actively hold it down like trying to hold an inflated beach ball under the water.  But the truth still exists that we were all created in His image.

 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Romans 1:18-23

This is what happens when we deny God.  We create gods in our image.  We love ourselves and try to reason away our behavior by denying God for who He is.  We don’t want there to be a true and just God because then we will be held accountable for our actions.  Or we try to have a god who will let us in to heaven on our own works.  We know that God is just and will punish us for our sins.  So we hold down the truth in our unrighteousness and the world says that is ok.  The world and flesh and the evil one tells us to keep seeking self. They tells us to keep doing what feels good.  They tell us our good deeds out weigh our bad so if there is a heaven we will go there.

This is a great lie.  It is a lie that started from the fall.  “Did God really say????”

Yes! He has said and Yes! there are eternal consequences for not obeying His standards.  We all have lied.  We all have taken His name in vain.  We all have dishonored our parents. We all have not loved the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and strength.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  Romans 3:23

But God did something for sinners.  He came down and became a man.  He lived a sinless life.  The life we should live.  He died the death that we deserve.  He rose after three days dead to prove who He is.  “So we just believe that?”  We turn from our sins, with the power of the Holy Spirit, and put our trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior and follow Him as Lord of our lives.  Putting our trust in Jesus is not just believing He lived and died and rose.  It is believing that it was for you and without it God sees your sins and punishes you with all His wrath.  When you put your trust in Christ, God sees His righteousness.  He poured out His wrath on Him so you can be saved.  This is good news.  This is the gospel.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8

Are you on a journey to find you?  Are you on a journey to amass things?  Are you running away as an enemy of God?  If so I pray you will turn away from your sins and striving for things (repent) and put your trust in Jesus Christ.  I know I can’t convince you to believe any of this.  I just want you to think about it.  Then think some more.

Holy Father, give them ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart that is regenerated by You gospel.  It is in the name of Jesus alone they can be saved.  Works, church attendance, praying the rosary, sacraments, or any other thing added by man can not save.  It is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, by You alone God, any can be saved.  I pray in the saving Name of Your Son Jesus Christ I pray.  Amen!

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

morningsun

 

 

 

Works or Faith? RC church or Bible?

What is truth? This was a question Pilate asked of Jesus. It is asked a lot these days. Truth is important. What you believe is important.  That is why I am posting this.  I know I may get some backlash and some rebuttals.  I pray that a conversation is started and the Truth will be known.

Having a Roman Catholic background I was taught certain things.  There were also certain truths that Rome teaches that I was not taught or that I missed.  I hope that this brings to light some of the teachings and doctrine of the Roman Catholic church and what the bible truly teaches.  I do not go into much detail in this video but just wanted to start the conversation

In the end what we believe is important. What we believe about heaven, hell, this world, and God has eternal consequences.  Believing the correct Gospel of Jesus Christ is essential. Your eternity is at stake. Truth is critical!

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

What A “Good” Lie!

good

I have had more than a few conversations with people about destiny.  No, not what you think the future holds for you in a way of career and family, but what eternity holds.  What happens to you when you die?  Most people have told me they believe in heaven.  Then I ask the million dollar question…. How do you know that is where you are going?  Most common answer. “I am a good person”.

Is this how we get to heaven? Do we need to be “good people”?  How do we know what “good” is?  Do I use our own standard of “good”?  Do I use someone else’s standard of “good”?  Or do I use God’s standard of “good”?

Some will use their own standard of “good”.  I recently heard a Tim Keller sermon in which he made the point that if someone uses their own standard of good and took a tape recorder and put it around their neck, then at the end of the day played back everything they said, they could not even live up to their own standard of “good”.  I agree.  I know me and know I couldn’t do it.

So let’s look briefly at someone else’s standard.  If I can’t live up to mine how can I live up to theirs?  Unless theirs is so low that they allow me to live how I want.  This may be so they can live without the guilt of not living up to their own standard.

Now let’s look at God’s standard.  How do we know God’s standard for good?  We have His Word.  We have the bible.  We have in the bible the commandments given to Moses.  I will not list them but I will test myself against a few to see if I live up to the standards God’s wants me to live by.

Have I ever taken the Lord’s name in vain? Have I used it as a curse? Yes! One commandment broken.

Have I ever dishonored my parents?  Yes!  Strike two!

Have I ever taken something that wasn’t mine?  Maybe even something small like a pencil?  Yes!  Strike three!

Have I ever been angry with someone and not forgiven them?  Yes!  Jesus says this is like committing murder in your heart. Strike four!

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.  Matthew 5:21-22

Have I ever looked at a women with lust?  Yes!  Jesus says if you look at a women with lust you have committed adultery in your heart.  Strike five!

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:27-28

Let’s stop at five.  I can keep going because I have broken them all.  There is no one who hasn’t.

as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; Romans 3:10

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23

So what does this mean?  We can’t live up to our own standards.  We sure can’t live to God’s standards.  He will judge us.  If God is just, He will give us what we deserve.  He will not weigh the good we have done against the bad.  That would not be just.  That would be like if a person commits murder and goes to the judge and says “judge, look at all the good I did.  It must outweigh the bad.”  Would he be a just judge to let the murderer go? 

 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

Here is the GOOD NEWS!!  Here is the GOSPEL!!!  We have someone who took our punishment for us.  God sees our sins and says “guilty”.  My punishment is death.  But, God came down and became a man in the form of Jesus.  He was fully man and fully God.  He lived that perfect life that God commands.  He was tempted as we are tempted.  He did not sin.  Then He took a sinners punishment being whipped with a cat of nine tales being lashed to the bone.  He was spit on and mocked made to wear a crown of thorns.  He took my cross up Cavalry and had nails driven into His wrists and His feet and before He died said “It is finished.”  He atoned for our sins.  Now we can repent and put our faith in Him for our forgiveness.  We no longer have to be slaves to sin.  We can be free as slaves to Jesus Christ.

but god

I do not write this to make you feel bad.  I do not write this to lift myself up in self righteousness. I struggle with sin everyday!  I am not perfect but I am being made perfect through Jesus Christ.  I am a wretched sinner in need of the Savior.  My hope is that you think about these things: “Am I good?  By what standard? Can I live up to God’s standard on my own?  Why did Jesus die?  Can I put my faith in Him for taking my punishment and repent?  Can I pick up my cross and follow Jesus? 

I know this is a popular Scripture but it is truth.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16

My prayer is always that you are “whoever”.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Saved by grace alone, through faith alone, through Christ alone, by God alone.

The Pursuit Of………………..

running_joints_1209

Everyday is a gift.  I know this is a cliché but it is true.  Even if that day you have been given is a rainy one.  It is a gift.  The air we breathe we take for granted.  The water, the food, the clothing, the shelter are all gifts.  This is what allows life to continue.  What happens in that life may not feel like a gift.  You may feel your life is terrible.  Maybe even unlivable.  Maybe you are jobless, friends less, or homeless.  Maybe the life you were  living suddenly changes because you lost a loved one to death or they left you.  Maybe you get up everyday and go to a job you don’t like going to.  Maybe there is some “dream” you want to be living.

There are a few ways you can look at those situations.  Some say life is what you make it.  If you want to go after your dream just go get it.   You can do this but be careful.  Make sure going after your dream doesn’t negatively affect others you love. Even before that, make sure going after your dream doesn’t negatively affect your relationship with God.  This should be first before you go after that dream.

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?  Mark 8:36

Go to any book store and you will see a huge self-help section.  There will be many books about improving yourself.  There will be many books about how to succeed in business, health, and life overall.  There may even be a few of these books in the religious section teaching you how to live your best life now.  But what good is any of this if you lose your soul?  What good is any of it if you don’t have a relationship with God?  What good is any of it if you don’t know Jesus?

That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

Godsunrise

I was one of those people with ambitions to be successful in business.  I was chasing that American dream.  Mean while things in my life weren’t firing on all cylinders.  More than that, I didn’t know Jesus.  I was truly just doing my own thing.  I was just after making me happy and serving myself.  I was my own god.

I see this as a common occurrence in the world.  People are chasing success.  Again, there is nothing wrong with going after your vision, but your why is what is important.  Are you chasing that dream to say you did it?  Are you chasing that dream because the world says you have to leave that type of legacy for your life to mean something?  Are you chasing that dream because it is now your identity?

I chased it for these reasons.  But if I would achieve what the world sees as success what would I really have?  What would I really have if I didn’t know Jesus?  In the end I would still end up dead.  I may end up with a bunch of money to hand down, but I would still be dead.  If I was to live my entire life successfully, as the world sees it, and not know Jesus, I would end up dead and forever separated from God.  I would have lived for nothing.  All would be in vain.

But all of that changes when you know Jesus.  Your heart changes.  Your thirst for the things of this world will be quenched.  He gives you living water that is so much better than the water of the world.

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

When you know Jesus you will have eternal life.  Will that make your life easy?  No!  It may make it harder.  Following Jesus is not the easy road, but it is the road that leads to life.  It leads to an abundant life.  Not with the things of the world that are perishable, but with the things of heaven.

 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:9-11

My prayer is that if you don’t know Jesus, He begins to work in your heart.  I pray you know that He came down to earth

to take our punishment for our

sins.  We deserve death, but He took our death on the cross and gave us life. 

I pray you repent and put your faith in Jesus and live the life He gives. 

I pray that if you know Jesus that you are living for Him and not chasing your own god. 

I pray you aren’t thirsting for the water of this world but that you

share the water of Jesus Christ by sharing His gospel.  From there what you do is not what defines you. 

Jesus Christ defines you. 

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.  Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Get in His Word!  Stay in His Word! 

In Whom

i-believe

When I say I believe in Jesus Christ it is not a belief like when you’re a kid and you believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy. When I say I believe it is like when someone says they believe in themselves to accomplish a goal. Or like when you tell someone you believe in them accomplishing their goals.  Better yet, when you believe in someone to provide for your well-being.  My belief in Jesus Christ isn’t about His existence.  I already know Jesus is real from Holy Scripture and personal experience. My belief is in what He has done and the promise of what it means.

I believe in Jesus Christ in His life.  He lived a perfect life that I can never live.  In this perfect life He was tempted in every way that I am.

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

He lived as a human and did not fall as I do.  He was the perfect lamb.

I believe in Jesus Christ in His death and work on the cross.  He was beaten and humiliated.  He was nailed to a cross through His wrists and feet.  He was piecered through His side and was a bloody mess.  This is the death that I deserve.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

I believe in Jesus Christ in His resurrection.  He was dead for three days then came back. Not just spirit, but His entire being, body and all was raised.  In this I have eternal life.  In this I have the promise of resurrection.

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”  Luke 24:1-7

Jesus Christ is not a fictional character in whose existence I believe.  I already know He exists.  I believe in His life, death, and resurrection for my salvation.  C.S. Lewis said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”  This is how I also believe. I see everything by Jesus Christ.  He has given me faith.  This faith is also not a blind faith.  It is faith in what is real.  It is faith in Who is real.  It is faith in what Holy Scripture says.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

I put all my trust in Jesus Christ. He changed my heart. He opened my eyes. No more walking in darkness. His promise is true. Believe in Him and walk in the light of salvation.  Jesus Christ is all.  He is enough.

And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.  John 12:44-46

I encourage you to get a Bible.  Read these passages I have shared.  If you don’t have one I will send one to you.

My prayer is for Jesus Christ to work in your heart.  I pray for Him to open your eyes.

I am nobody special.  I am just a sinner who has been saved by the grace of God through the perfect life, bloody death, and amazing resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; Ephesians 2:8

I pray He saves you.

morningsun

For You

cloudsSky

Life is short. You don’t know what tomorrow holds.  You don’t know if tomorrow holds anything at all.  You may wake up.  You may not wake up. If you are blessed to wake, what will you do with the time you are given?  What will you live for?  Will you take advantage of the time or will you let it take advantage of you?  If you knew today was your last what will you do with it?  Will you spend it having fun?  Will you spend it living out the stupid acronym that was popular a few years ago YOLO?  Or would you use your last day sacrificially?  Would you give all you are?  Would you do what you think will help people the most?  This life is short.  I pray you come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  He offers everlasting life.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

I live today to tell you about Jesus Christ because I love you too much not to. I believe the most important thing I can do is tell you about Jesus Christ.  I need to tell you what He did for us on the cross.  I need to tell you that I am a sinner and so are you.  I need to tell you God loves you and became a man and died the worst death because we are sinners.  I need to tell you this because your sin, my sin, deserves to be punished.  I need to tell you that God, who loves, is also just and will carry out the judgment, wrath, and the punishment we desever if we don’t come to the saving knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ who took that wrath for us.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

These are tough words.  DEATH and WRATH!  But it is justice.  Think of the most horrible crime imaginable.  Think of this crime being commited against you.  Maybe it is theft, murder, rape, torture, or worse.  Should that person be punished for their crime?  Should that person receive justice?  Should that person be judged and sentenced to the full extent of the law? What if you are the theif or the murderer?  I know you might be saying “I may have only taken something small, or told a little lie, but I never murdered.”  Jesus said:

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.  Matthew 5:21-22

Jesus is saying holding ill will, hate, and anger for another in your heart is as bad as murder.  I am guilty of that.  This is a crime commited against God.  The justice we want for a crime against us is the justice God has to carry for our sins against Him.  We deserve to die for our sins.  Not just the big ones, but all of them.  This is because God is just.  God is holy.  Any sin we commit deserves to be punished by a holy and just God.  The fact is all sins are against God.

We are all doomed!

No!  While God is just He also shows amazing grace.  God provided a way for all who believe.  He provided the Way, Truth, and Life.  He provided the wages for sins of all who believe.  He provided Jesus.  Those who believe need to repent and put their trust in Him.

From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  Matthew 4:17

Repenting is turning away from our sins.  When you know Jesus is your savior you see your sin for what it is.  He will give you the power to turn.  You my have tried to do it on your own.  Let Him lead you.  Let Him sanctify you.

But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13

The Truth is Jesus, who was from the beginning. May you know the Truth.  May He work in your heart.  May you come to saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  May you be freed from your slavery to sin.  May you meet and follow Jesus.

This world is temporary, but then comes eternity.

while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

I pray you repent and put your trust in Jesus Christ. 

bloodforyou