Saturday, October 16, 2021

God's Not-so Secrets - Part 1


This last Sunday, Pastor Kyle continued in our church’s sermon series through the book of 1 Corinthians. He states that almost every Cult and false religion carries a concept of hidden knowledge that can be obtained with people climb some spiritual ladder to the top of their false belief structure. But the fact is that there is no ladder that anyone can climb to get to God. The only stairway to Heaven started with a Manger in Bethlehem, when the Lord Jesus Christ descended to earth, God incarnate and hung on a Cross, where He died an atoning death for our sins, so that we could have forgiveness and salvation unto eternal life. Yet, people will search far and wide for secret meaning (a secret of the universe that you need to find) in order to try and figure out the meaning of their lives, like astrology, physics, future tellers, and cults which are all against the things of and Word of God in the Holy Bible. They will look anywhere and everywhere, except to the God of the Bible, who makes everything plain and clear for everyone to see, understand and know. All other religions say “do”, you have to do something. Christianity says “done”, Jesus did it all.


The defining trait of the Christian faith that sets it apart from all the other religions and every other belief out there is that it is not based on any hidden or secret knowledge; it is the plain, full message of the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ for all – that (1) all have sinned against our just and holy Creator God and deserve His righteous wrath and punishment, (2) we cannot pay for our sins, so God sent our Redeemer Christ to pay in our place on the Cross – He died for you and I, (3) therefore, by repentance and accepting the free offer of Jesus’ substitutionary atoning sacrifice by faith, our sins are forgiven, (4) we are adopted into the family of God as citizens of Heaven, (5) the indwelling Holy Spirit is given inside of soul, and (6) gives His people eternal life with Him. God’s plan of Salvation through the infinitely intricate Gospel of Jesus Christ remains the same forever, though we spend a lifetime learning and growing daily in and by Him. God does not hide how to become a Christian or how to get to Heaven when we die or how to experience a blessed life on this side of Heaven; He reveal it. The Gospel truth is out there in plain sight for all to see, easily attainable, understandable, available and applicable to all at any point in their walk with God. Yet, we will spend our whole lives learning about the deep things of the Lord for application in life. 


1 Corinthians 2:4-7 “my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.”

Among the mature, we do impart deeper spiritual wisdom from above; not a wisdom of this age (not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God), but some of these things are revealed by the Spirit of God. The apostle simplified the Gospel for the new Believers, and told them what they needed to know and could handle at the time. One of the most important principles of good communication is to know your audience in order to explain the Bible message in a way that breaks through and connects. The defining trait of Christianity is that Jesus is our Savior and Lord, who is with us always – will never leave us nor forsake us. Read your living, God-breathed bible, it is plain to see, know and understand with the help of the Holy Spirit in the born-again Believer. God makes everything clear. But, you have to be actively seeking God and His truth with an intentional effort to find it. The secret to unlocking the secret wisdom of God is to be seeking the God of the Bible. 


1 Corinthians 2:8-10 “None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” — these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.” 


Lets continue Pastor Kyle's message on the reveal truth of God in the next post.

In Christ, Brian

Friday, October 15, 2021

Joy in All Seasons – Part 2

1 Thessalonians 5:16 “Always be joyful.


Pastor Herk continues: The Apostle Peter also wrote about the joy of the Christian. In 1 Peter 1:6-9 he writes, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” In the season that you find yourself living in today, is the joy of the Lord in your heart and your strength? The Lord Jesus said in John 10:27-29 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” No one can steal your joy.  


Romans 8:16-17 states, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.


The Christian Believer is an heir to a priceless inheritance kept in Heaven for you; pure and beyond the reach of any decay in God’s kingdom. We keep this godly joy in all seasons by keeping our focus where it belongs ... on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Following the Lord, forget about the peripheral, secondary things that are going on around us; glancing and keeping track of it to know what is going on in the world, not get tripped and defend the faith. But, do not be distracted or tempted; keep your eyes and focus centered on Jesus and His paths of righteousness where it belongs. Faith overcomes and gets the joyous victory. Life is a dangerous profession and difficult seasons come down the turnpike, but praise God, our joy in the Lord is our strength. Life Paul and Silas in Acts 5:42, “daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” 


Hebrews 12:1-2 “since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.


Anyone can experience seasons of joylessness as we go through some terrible conditions, circumstances and situations. King David expressed this in Psalm 55:6-8 when he said, “o I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.” We are going to get distracted, having anxieties, worries and cares, because disappointments happen in every life of this fallen world, or the devil’s ploy affecting our natural human nature, but re-center focus on Christ, our rock-solid, foundational constant source of joy and peace. We do not deny our feeling or suppress our emotions, but we obediently submit our circumstances to God in prayer. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” Be honest and pour your heart out to the Lord.


Philippians 4:4-9 “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.


Know that All-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful and ever-present God is with you in every season of your life. Walk by faith and joyfully pray, worship, praise and focus on the things of God in spirit and in truth, where the fruit of the spirit are produced in abundance and fill the soul. The prophet says in Jeremiah 31:13 “The young women will dance for joy, and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration. I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.” If we have steadfast faith in the Lord, then it is going to be seen in the way that we face the trials and seasons that take place in our lives and how we treat others. People should see Jesus in us by our lives lived out in committed and unswerving faith, obedience to God and His holy Word, by our intolerance of sin, by our industrious commitment to honest work, our hospitality and neighborly care, by our love of family and community, and by our joy of life.   


James 1:2-4 “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” 


When we persevere through trials, we gain experience, grow in knowledge, increase in maturity and our mental depth, endurance and spiritual faith strengthens and we feel joy in our lives. Trials lead to transformation. Through God’s grace, we can experience joy in all seasons and any circumstance. Weigh your worries, calculate your trials and put them into perspective. The main priority in our lives is not our personal pleasure or comfort. The main priority in our lives should be the purposes of God, outlined in His Holy Word, the Bible. The Christian life should display the reality of a life centered and focused on Christ and the Gospel truth, empowered buy the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.


In Christ, Brian

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Joy in All Seasons – Part 1


Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”


This last Sunday, Pastor Herk of the Little Church in the Pines preached a sermon on Christian joy. We receive joy from the Lord, if we have faith in the Lord. Born-again Believers have the Holy Spirit living within them for the fruit of the Spirit. We have different seasons that we go through in our lives, but we should have joy in all seasons of our life, regardless of what is going on in them at the time. Even in difficult seasons of life, we know that God cares and is looking out for our best interests as He dearly loves us. The Lord Jesus tells us in John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” God loves us more than all the love that we feel for others; it’s an “agape” love beyond our comprehension.  


We are going to encounter different circumstances in our life, in different times and seasons. Ecclesiastes 3:1 explains, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Every season that God takes us through has a joyful purpose; a means to a way in His over-arching plan. There should be contagious joy in the Lord, His purposes being fulfilled and His work in us. God gives us the gift of joy. The Greek word for “joy” is “CharĂ¡” meaning cheerfulness, calm delight, gladness, greatly or exceeding joy. The word “joy” is defined in the 1828 Webster’s dictionary as: The passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good; that excitement of pleasurable feelings which is caused by success, good fortune, the gratification of desire or some good possessed, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; gladness; exultation; exhilaration of spirits. Joy is a delight of the mind, from the consideration of the present or assured approaching possession of a good. Joy to my soul for what God has done, is doing and is going to do. A joy that comes when we are aware of all that God is doing for us; God’s grace, God’s mercy, God’s forgiveness, God’s healing, God’s provision, and God’s protection wrapped up in God’s love for us.  


Nehemiah 8:10 “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”


Godly joy is in knowing God in trust and obedience, abiding in Christ and being filled with the Holy Spirit. When Jesus was born, in Luke 2:10, the angel said to the shepherds, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” If you are a repentant and born-again Christian, a disciple and follower of Jesus Christ, then you have already experienced the good tidings of joy that the Lord has brought into your forgiven and transformed life. It is joyful to know that Believers have a place reserved for them in heaven because of what Jesus (the Savior of the world) has done for us; this is the eternal perspective and blessed assurance! The sins of the repentant convert to Christianity (past, present and future) have been nailed to the Cross and forgiven. We are in a personal relationship with our Creator God who love and cares for us, and has a plan and purpose for all His children. 


Luke 10:21 “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.”


Knowing God, knowing Jesus and knowing the indwelling Holy Spirit that leads and guides us, brings joy into our lives every single day. In thankful gratitude, let us praise the Lord with joy for what He has done, is doing and is going to do. Jesus said in John 15:9-11 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” And in John 16:24, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”  In Jesus’ parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son, all end with joy. In Luke 15:10 Jesus says, “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” When someone repents of their sin, accepts the free gift of salvation, invites Jesus into their heart as Savior and Lord with dedication and devotion to follow Him as a true disciple, the angels in heaven are joyfully rejoicing. 


Joy was a natural “fruit of the Spirit" outpouring of the early church. Acts 2:46-47 tells us that, “Day after day they met in the temple [area] continuing with one mind, and breaking bread in various private homes. They were eating their meals together with joy and generous hearts, praising God continually, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord kept adding to their number daily those who were being saved.” And Acts 13:52says that “the disciples were continually filled [throughout their hearts and souls] with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” The Apostle Paul confirms in Romans 14:17, “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking [what one likes], but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you are a sanctified disciple of Jesus Christ, then you are a citizen of Heaven and a loyal subject (One that owes allegiance to sovereign God and is governed by His laws. Subjects as well as citizens; as citizens, they enjoy rights and franchises, while being under the authority, power and dominion of the King, the Lord of the kingdom of Heaven). You are part of the kingdom of God, sharing in the life peace and of God’s dominion. Philippians 4:4proclaims, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” 

Let's continue Pastor Herk's message on "Godly Joy" in the next post.

In Christ, Brian

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Blessed Are the Peacemakers – Part 2


This week, Michael writes: Each of the eight Beatitudes builds on the preceding Godly attitude. The next to last beatitude says, blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God. The beatitudes leading up to this one are the attitudes of heart to approach God’s throne of grace with a broken heart of meekness and humility. We need to become poor of spirit, mourning over our sin nature, with meekness to receive His instruction, hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Then we will begin to see things differently from a pure heart, after we have been purified through the trials and tribulation of God’s refining fire. Through patience and perseverance, we will understand His lovingkindness and tender mercy. Others will know the purity of our hearts when we reflect God’s mercy by giving mercy to those who have wronged us. Then we will be able to confess Jesus is Lord and Savior; that we are saved by His grace. In accepting His gracious gift of salvation, Jesus said, my peace I leave with you. Peace is the result of reconciliation. He reconciles our heart with God’s heart. We have peace with God because there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.

We all contend with the nature of sin of our fallen mind, will and emotions that we inherited from Adam’s fall. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day tried to approach God in their own self-righteousness. They expected God to send a political messiah to deliver them from the oppression of earthly rulers. However, Jesus said, that’s not why I’m here. They thought their messiah would establish a new kingdom for the children of Israel upon earth ... that only Israel deserved a righteous king. However According to 2 Corinthians 5, After God poured out His Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, bond, nor freed man, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Unto those who are born-again, God has given the ministry of reconciliation and committed unto them the Word of reconciliation through Jesus Christ our Lord. To reconcile means to put back together that which has been separated. Sin separates our heart from God’s heart. Only Jesus Christ can reconcile our hearts with God. He will make of twain [two] one new man. Peace is the result of reconciliation ... in Christ we are made the righteousness of God in Him. Jesus Christ is the one who intercedes on our behalf. For He who was without sin was made the perfect sacrifice for sin on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in Him.

In the United States of America, we value our freedoms and liberties. Our nation was founded on Godly principles as one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. The reason our nation was founded was to secure our unalienable God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.... blessedness according to the truth of God and His Word. The freedom we have in Christ is according to Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” Some think that liberty means license to “do what I feel and please.” However, true liberty is not in pleasing ourselves but in delighting ourselves in the Lord and pleasing Him from a heart of reverence, respect and love. Then when we love God above all, we will not use liberty as an occasion to sin, but to manifest the love of God by serving one another.

It’s a hard lesson to learn that this life is not about me. God will break our hearts for what breaks His. He will tenderize our hearts through the trials and tribulations ... manifest in the pressures of this world. For tribulation works patience and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope makes not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us. When we’re softened through the affliction of this world, we come to realize that it’s not about us, it’s about the Lord. In Isaiah 55 God said to His prophet, for my ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts... For as high as the heavens are above the earth so much higher are my thoughts than your thoughts and my ways than your ways.

After Jesus delivered His message about the beatitudes, He said, I’m here to seek the glory of my Father. As followers of Jesus Christ we seek no glory for ourselves. Our blessing is to glorify our Father in Heaven. Jesus said, A new command I give you that you love one another. If you only love those who are good to you, what good is that? Don’t even the sinners and the tax collectors do that? How can you who have been forgiven a lifetime’s worth of sin, not forgive others? Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Without forgiving others, our hearts will be full of pride, vengeance, and anger. We will keep a resentment bank against those who have wronged us. Nurturing anger, vengeance, and resentment is like drinking poison and hoping that the other person will suffer the poisonous effects. However, Jesus Christ is the one who gives us peace. When we come to Him, He will cleanse our heart from all malice, strife, contention, and evil attitudes toward those who have wronged us. The love of God covers a multitude of sins. Then we will realize that I have found the enemy and He is me.

Out of the heart, the mouth speaks. The Apostle James says the tongue is a little member that steers the whole body ... The tongue is an evil fire set ablaze by the flames of hell itself. Your tongue influences your heart. Then out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Those who grumble, condemn, complain and speak evil reveal the contents of their evil hearts. Because of Jesus’s supreme sacrifice we can do an about face. When we change from our own selfish desires and make Jesus Lord of our lives and believe that God raised Him from the dead, we will have peace with God. Jesus said, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.”

As ambassadors for Christ, blessed are the peacemakers who deliver God’s peace treaty through our Lord Jesus Christ that we may ever live to the praise of the glory of His grace.

Your brother in Christ, Michael

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Perish-Proof Christ – Part 4

Continuing Pastor Kyle's message, So, as Believers and disciples of Jesus Christ, we have been transformed from perishing to thriving with spiritual discernment and God’s wisdom that we could not understand before when we were in our lost and dying state of the fallen spirit, yet we need to be seeking God’s wisdom daily, growing in faith, disciplining minds in the truth of the Bible in order to keep grabbing those “right” Gospel lifelines and live it out in thought, word and action. Then, we can confidently say, as King David wrote in Psalm 23:1-4 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” There are natural consequences to sin, and they are not to be ever taken lightly. Jesus was nailed to the Cross and died for every one of them. Christians are to loath inequity and repent of all sin as dishonoring disobedience to our just and holy God. We are constantly learning and maturing in our Christian walk as we listen to godly wisdom, take the teachings of the Bible and implement them into our life, and this saves ourselves so much agony.  


1 Corinthians 1:26-31 “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption — that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” God takes ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things for their community in Christ and for the advancement of the kingdom of God.  


1 Corinthians 2:1-5 “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”


The Apostle Paul decided to now nothing in planting the Christian church in Corinth, except Jesus Christ and Him crucified, intentionally so that the people’s faith would not rest in the wisdom of men, but rest in the power of God. Paul tells us in Romans 12:2, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Our lives should be evidence of this also. Only through the Gospel truth of the Cross can the ordinary become extraordinary. The Bible is full of ordinary people created by God doing exceptionally righteous and remarkable accomplishments in kingdom work, and that gives us great hope. In serving the Lord, we can take the areas where we lack that are discovered, and use that knowledge to adjust and correct ourselves to be the best “me” that we can be. 


It is only through the counterintuitive nature of Divine wisdom and the Gospel truth of the Cross of Jesus Christ that ordinary folks like you and I become extraordinary for God, by the power of God, and being used by God every single day to accomplish God’s purposes in this world. The biggest influence that you will ever make in someone’s life will never happen from being popular, famous, having the most friends on Facebook or in posts that you make. The biggest influence that you will ever make in someone else’s life is in your own home; they are a gift from God and your first priority, your main ministry and the place where you are going to make the biggest impact. Make a difference in your own nuclear family home with the people that care and love you. The second biggest influence in ministry is found in the body of Christ through the church Worship, Bible Studies, Outreaches, Evangelism, Fellowship and Missions projects. 


John 3:31-36 “He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”


Imagine what God can do when you surrender your whole heart and soul to Him. Sometimes, you may not feel like you are going anywhere, but God says that you are on your way up. God wants to use little old you and I to extend that spiritual lifeline to our perishing friends and family, but many are self-conscious and afraid to share their faith. We do not want to push away the people that we are trying to love into the kingdom of God. The Gospel is the way to salvation and eternal life, and you have the wisdom of the Cross to reach people around you. Everyone you know, who has not made that decision to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is perishing as the wrath of God for their sins remains on them. The God-rejecting, lost and dying, worldly people are living by worldly wisdom at best, grasping for anything that feels satisfying in the moment because the authority of God, the Cross of Christ and the Word of Holy Scripture offends them. But some people need to be offended for their sin and rebellion.       


1 Peter 3:14-16 “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed.

And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.” 


If we over-popularize the Gospel by leaving out the hard-to-hear guilt of sin portion that leads the sinner to the realization that they need a Savior, then we may unintentionally dilute the message and lack the conviction of sin necessary for repentance and cause a false faith and salvation. Never do that! Jesus is about salvation and stability of life; not ease of life. Hold firm to the truth of the complete gospel but reach the seeking listener at their level, life on life, to reach them where they are at for understanding and an informed choice. Love God, live out the Gospel as Christ Followers and Bible-believing Children of the Kingdom of God, and love the sinner, not the sin. Pray for Divine appointments by the Lord with those that the Holy Spirit has prepared their hearts in advance for speaking the truth in love; asking God to bring them to us, show them to us and give us the boldness to engage with them with the light of Christ. When someone you know comes into your heart and mind, contact them and ask with care, “I was thinking about you. How are you? What’s going on in your life?” It is exactly what those who are perishing in your life need right now.


In Christ, Brian  

Monday, October 11, 2021

Perish-Proof Christ – Part 3


1 Corinthians 1:26-2:5 “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”


Continuing, Pastor Kyle points out that there are two aspects of the Great commission. (1) To grow in the teachings and commands of Jesus, understanding them and obeying them. (2) bring as many as we can into the body of Christ and the fellowship of Believers. Disciples make disciples that make disciples in order to decrease the population of Hell and advance the kingdom. By the knowledge of the full Gospel and eternal destiny, God begins to break our hearts for our unbelieving family, friends and acquaintances, who don’t yet know our Savior and Lord. The thought of them spending eternity separated from God in Hell is the most painful thought that we can fathom. We all know someone in our life that either do not know or just will not repent and take that Gospel lifeline unto salvation. It is our job as Kingdom Workers to be in tune with the indwelling Holy Spirit for His leading and our unbelieving friends and family to know when they are in a personal place where they are seeking so we may talk to them (life on life) about the Gospel of Forgiveness and Salvation.


In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus tells us, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”


We need to be praying for divine appointments where we can be “salt and light” of the Gospel to help friends, family and neighbors to embrace the counterintuitive truth of the Cross; to us who are being saved it is the power of God. People who do not know the Lord and refuse to take God’s Gospel lifeline are perishing, but the offer is there for the taking. The second fact about the counterintuitive nature of Divine wisdom is (2) those who know God still need to continually retrain our minds to grab the right lifeline. Our sin nature is so pervasive that it takes a lifetime of spiritual sanctification to retrain our hearts, minds and soul to desire and do the things of God (aka get back to the original “Garden mentality”). Before transformational conversion in Christ, sin is what feel “right” and fulfilling to us. Even after repenting and being sanctified, sin continues to have such a strong pull on our sin nature of the fallen flesh on this side of eternity and appeals to our easily tempted heart. In Galatians 5:16-18 the Apostle Paul tells us, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” The Born-again Believer is given the indwelling Holy Spirit as our helping Counselor, so walk in the Spirit, lean on the Spirit and live in the Spirit, grabbing the Gospel lifeline daily.


The process of Sanctification involves knowing God and knowing Him more, trusting God and trusting Him more, continually praying and learning the Word of God applied to life more, growing in knowledge of truth, maturing in godly wisdom, and increasing in Kingdom service to the Lord; alive and thriving in Christ. Yet, it takes daily work to align our will to the Will of God, to recognize the “right” (right in the eyes of the Lord) action and to do it day-in and day-out. We are so inundated with secular humanistic worldly wisdom that we are often unaware that the God-rejecting world-system is the land in which we live. Yet, not all worldly wisdom is bad. We can study the different worldviews in the culture in light of the biblical worldview for discussing, bringing the light of the Bible into the truth of the situation. We need to know and understand what the unbeliever thinks so that we can debate the truth and communicate the Gospel message in our society. The question is: “Who is influencing who?” We are not to let the godless wisdom of the day to woo you away from your biblical foundation.    


Psalm 73:26-28 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.”


In God’s plan of Salvation, the Lord implants true spiritual wisdom, and in the transformed heart of the Believer we can discern the between worldly wisdom and spiritual wisdom, then we have to grow in recognizing it every day, living it out. 1 Corinthians 2:11-13 “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” 


How was the indwelling Spirit of God given to Believers? Jesus tells us in John 14:15-17, “If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” There are a lot of things in our life that we have the ability to do, but rarely do. We have the entire Holy Bible at our fingertips, in very translation available on our Cell Phones, Tablets or Computers, 24/7/3605, for either reading or listening to; and yet, we touch our tempting distractions (Text Messages, Social Media, News feeds, and Entertainment icons) instead. The point is that there are so many things in our lives that we know we have the ability to do, but we don’t actually take the time to do it. So, we need to wake up every single day, and in devotion to our Lord, we say a pray and read the Word of God, then live what we read. In our conversations with our heavenly Father and walking in the Spirit, slowly the Lord shows us the things in our life that are “past tense” foolishness or sin that are affecting us in our “present tense” kingdom living today. 

Let's conclude PAstor Kyle's message on our "Perish-proofing Christ in the next post.

In Christ, Brian

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Perish-Proof Christ – Part 2

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.


Continuing: Jehovah Jireh God gives us supernatural access to counterintuitive godly wisdom and to spiritual discern between those things that cause us to perish and the things that will cause us to prosper and thrive in this life through the lifelines of His everlasting ways of the kingdom of Heaven.  The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. The cross of Christ is upside-down, counterintuitive to unbelievers as sacrificially dying to save and live appears backwards. We normally believe what we see with our own two eyes as proof; seeing is believing so we require a visible sign as if God is the one on trial to prove that He is real. But, it is the fallen, perishing in sin people who are on trial. Sanctified Christian know and understand this Gospel truth and those who are not won’t because they do not know God. Also, to those who depend upon naturalistic wisdom, the super-naturalistic wisdom of the cross of Christ will not satisfy their desires; it sounds like folly or crazy to them. Can Almighty God do signs and wonders? Of course, but He doesn’t have to prove themselves to doubters, who struggle with the concept of God dying on a Cross to save sinners and have no desire to believe, so do not reach out to God.   


Deuteronomy 8:18-20 “You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.


Pastor Kyle gave us three facts about the counterintuitive nature of Divine wisdom. (1) People who do not know God are perishing and they refuse God’s lifeline in Christ. Skeptics say that Christianity is a crutch the weak, a waste of time, childish fantasy and foolish. Yet, the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. Because the unbeliever has not fully embraced the freedom of the Gospel of Salvation in Jesus Christ, they do not know what can come from God. In Matthew 16:24-27 Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. How do we find our life by losing our life? By faith. 


2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore, God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”


Until someone repents and surrender their sinful life to the Lord, whether they can realize it or not, are perishing and they cannot save themselves. Luke 13:3-5 “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” We have to come to a place where we recognize that the sinful way that we are living our life right now is not working. Until we give our life over to the Lord, we will just continually grab for the wrong lifeline time and time again while keep swimming against the riptides of life and perishing. If you are not a repentant, born-again believers in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, a consecrated, sanctify, regenerated and transformed disciple, and you continue in your unsaved, fallen ways, genuinely not knowing if you’d go to Heaven when you die, then you can and need to repent and accept the free gift of redemption and forgiveness by the grace of God in Jesus.  


2 Corinthians 2:14-16 “Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.”


True Christians remember a point in their lives when they realized that their lives were sinfully pagan and were hellbound for their rebellious sins against a just and holy God. But, grabbed that counterintuitive life line of the redeeming Cross of Christ to save them by His atoning sacrificial blood for the forgiveness of their sins, surrendering their selfish will and sinful way for His righteousness. Life after salvation is living for the Lord on this journey of Sanctification; even with temptations and spiritual battles along the path, we are learning, growing and maturing with the help of the Holy Spirit, for the word of the cross is the power of God. Now, by the great commission of our Lord (Matthew 28:18-20), our mission is to bring as many others as we can into the family of God and the kingdom of Heaven by the Gospel with a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. That is called witnessing for Christ through discipleship (making disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you).  


In John 10:27-29 Jesus affirms“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

Let's conclude pastor Kyle's message on "perish-proofing" our life in Christ on the next post.

In Christ, Brian