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We cannot ask too much, when we ask in faith believing. Thought for today: If a care is too small to be turned into a prayer, it is too small to be made into a burden. Sermon: Betraying Christ. If the gospel is taken to this world it will be the ordinary followers of Christ who do it. We must never forget the importance of men like Peter, James, and John.

Certainly, the Apostle Paul and many others. The many converts of these great leaders were also responsible for the spread of the Gospel message. Who will hear the good news of the Gospel from you? Will the next generation have the opportunity to know Christ because you were faithful to share it? Thought for today: He who buries his responsibility is making a grave mistake.

Sermon: The gates of death. Job Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? Or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? July 14, Genesis contains four very important words. According to this verse, everything began with God, and certainly everything will end with God. There is a huge difference between creating something and making something. Many humans have made many things. However, no human has ever created something from nothing. God spoke and something came from nothing. That is called creation. This physical universe was spoken into existence by God Himself.

It is Satanic delusion to believe that this vast solar system and constellations, with measureless space, having millions of stars moving in clockwise precision, could have happened by random chance. Is it possible that of all the billions of people on this planet, not one has the same DNA or fingerprints as yours? This could never happen by chance, there is a designer, and He sees you as a very valuable person.

So valuable that He was willing to suffer, bleed, and die just for you. Thought for today: The only preparation for tomorrow is the right use of today. Sermon: What the Bible says about salvation. Acts Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. It is aggressive in accomplishing the purpose that God intends. The Word that was spoken thousands of years ago is still relevant today. The Word of God the Bible is not just white pages containing black letters compiled into a book.

His written Word is made real to us by the power of the Holy Spirit. The letter by Itself, without the unveiling and revealing of the Holy Spirit, can only bring death. Only the Spirit of Truth can reveal the Word of Truth. The Word of God can only operate in our life when we are established in the Truth, not bogged down in fables and tradition. As we read, study, and meditate on His written word, we are able to deal with all of life correctly.

Thought for today: Faith is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes can see. Sermon: Enemies of salvation. Matthew June 30, The Apostle Paul gives us some good advice in his first letter to the Corinthian Church. Paul realized he was in a race that would affect his life in the ages to come. He realized that though he was free to do all things, yet he could become disqualified if he failed to keep his flesh under control.

Before salvation our flesh controls and governs spirit, soul, mind, and emotions. This is obvious as you listen to conversations of others around you. The average person talks about the body, financial concerns, recreational pursuits, occupational goals, and physical needs.

A Round of Delights

But when salvation comes suddenly everything is different. However, the flesh hates the loss of control. It demands that it be in charge. The only cure is confession and forgiveness. We are to keep our flesh in the basement and not allow it to determine our choices in life. Are you as disciplined in your walk with Christ as you were two or three years ago? Thought for today: The first step to wisdom is silence; the second is listening. His book, Origin of Species, gives his ideas on how life came to be.

His ideas are often taught as fact and not theory. This teaching is filled with gross error and tragic consequences. To think that the eye evolved by natural selection seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree. There exists no extant proof of evolution. When a person puts their faith in something or someone other than God, the Bible calls it idolatry.

Be careful what you invest your faith in. A lie can be in the form of a man made image or a theory written in a book. Anything that is suggested as a replacement for God and His Word should be avoided at any cost. Thought for today: We have been given the privilege of choice, but also the responsibility for the consequences.

Sermon: Success in life. Proverbs It is the responsible father. There are more children living in fatherless homes than ever before in our nations history. In fewer than six million children lived in single parent homes. Today that number exceeds 22 million. This is having a devastating effect on our nation. Fatherless children are percent more likely to have behavior problems. They are 68 percent more likely to use drugs, become sexually active, and commit violent crimes. They are 63 percent more likely to commit suicide. Fatherless sons are percent more likely to be incarcerated.

Fatherless daughters have a 92 percent divorce rate. Eighty percent of teens with psychiatric problems come from fatherless homes. There are seemingly endless negatives relating to fatherless homes. We are experiencing an epidemic of gigantic proportions. Many of our nations problems can be traced to absentee fathers. Fathers must rediscover the important job they have been given.

They must guide their children in avoiding actions that will shipwreck their future. It depends on you, father! Thought for today: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it Proverbs There have been many in my lifetime. Consider just a few. We had no television, no frozen food, plastic, credit cards, ballpoint pens, dishwashers, clothes dryers, air conditioners, or computers.

We first got married then lived together. Closets were for clothes, not for coming out of, bunnies were small rabbits, and no one would ever call a rabbit a Volkswagen. Fast food was eating in a hurry, and outer space was the back of the local theatre. We never heard of gay rights, computer dating, group therapy, or nursing homes. Time sharing meant being together, not computers or condominiums. Pizza, McDonalds, Burger King, and instant coffee were unheard of.

There used to be five and dime stores, where you could actually buy something for a nickel or dime. A cold coke or ice cream could be bought for a nickel. In our day grass was mowed, coke was a cold drink, and pot was what you cooked in. No one was ever confused about being a boy or a girl. We were simple enough to believe you needed a husband to have a baby. Is it any wonder that our modern world is so confused? Thought for today: Yesterday is gone.

Tomorrow never comes. Sermon: How to escape Hell. Isaiah June 2, A Christian missionary team began sharing the Gospel in a Russian city. He led them to a huge storage building a few blocks away. There they were introduced to the head of the local KGB, who led them to the storage building containing the Bibles they had confiscated over the years.

They were given permission to give the Bibles back to the people. Within minutes they were all given away. As the crowd began to thin out, the missionaries saw their new friend sitting on the curb with tears running down his cheeks. Twenty years ago when I was in the Communist Youth Corps, she told me that Communism would not last and that Jesus Christ was the only answer for my life.

I laughed at her. She died several years ago, but I never forgot her words. Today I know there must be a God. Only He could have given me her Bible. Please tell me how I can know this Jesus! He is still doing that today. Our daily obedience to Him is vital. John May 19, Walking the path our Lord has left for us will never be easy. When the world gets you down, and the going gets tough, remind yourself that you are not alone. Many faithful of the past were willing and able to continue the mission of our Lord Jesus. Through their allegiance to Him, and by His power the faithful of our past has made this day possible.

When we choose the way of our Lord we are certain to encounter resistance. The world is now and will always be opposed to the way of our Lord. When we take a stand for the truth we will not always be rewarded. When you find yourself punished for doing what is right you have joined the ranks of a very distinguished league. You follow in the steps of faithful men and women who extended the Kingdom of our Lord and made the world a better place.

Much of the time at great personal cost. We must fearlessly do as they did. Trust that our Lord is right in all that He says and does, and take courage that we to fight from the winning side. May the God of all peace sanctify, preserve, and assist you as you continue to labor in the Gospel of our Lord until He calls you home or returns as He promised. What now? Micah They carry hardships and burdens, yet are filled with love, happiness, and joy.

They smile when they want to scream. They sing when they want to cry. They fight for what they believe. They stand against injustice. They do without so their family can have. They cry when their children hurt. They love unconditionally. Mothers come in many sizes, colors, and shapes. They will do almost anything to show how much they care. The heart of a mother is one of many blessings that make this world a better place. They bring joy and hope in a sometimes hopeless environment. They give compassion and high ideals. They give moral support to both family and friends.

A mother is the only woman on earth who can divide her love between ten children, and each child still has all her love. What a marvelous creation of God, this one we call mother. Without Him there can never be any real life. At one time or another all will have to deal with Him.

This involves more than just head knowledge. It is through the eyes of the heart that one comes to see the eternal value of the Lord Jesus. Through the light of the Gospel our hearts see the glory of Christ. Through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit one is able to see the truth, beauty, and value of the Lord Jesus. It is possible that a physically blind person is able to see Christ more clearly than a sighted person. Anyone who reads the Biblical accounts about Jesus can surely see the value His followers placed upon Him. Yet many look at Jesus and see with different eyes.

Not everyone sees the truth, beauty, and infinite value of Jesus. Some see only a myth. Others see only foolishness. Some see only offense. Seeing they do not see. It is like a person looking at a Michelangelo and preferring a comic book. It is only through heart sight that one can see and appreciate the value of the Lord Jesus.

What do you see when you look at Jesus? Is He just another religious icon? What do you value most in your life? Sermon: Post-resurrection activity. Luke a. April 28, The name Jesus is a transliteration of the Hebrew name Joshua. He came from Heaven to earth to save His creation from the Principle of Sin.

Sermons By Series

The name Jesus identifies Him with humanity. Through this name He would endure cruel human punishment on a man-made cross. If you want to get attention in a crowd or get to the front of the line, just mention the name Jesus and the crowd will do anything to get rid of you. You will quickly become very unpopular.

He has made us free from the presence, power, and penalty of this Principle of Sin that dominates most of the people on planet earth. Lost without hope, lost beyond time and eternity, lost and forever lost. There is only one way to reverse the condition of lostness; It is through the one who came to save us, the one and only Jesus Christ. Thought for today: Falling down does not make you a failure, but staying down does. Luke April 21, The world in which we live offers no real freedom. Actually, there is no freedom apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. We are created beings and will always be enslaved to someone or something.

The effects of the principle of sin introduced by Adam has and will continue to bring enslavement. We are always slaves to something. The frailties of our own bodies drive us to seek unrealized slavery. Our own ego is a prime culprit. Through yielding to temptation many are brought into servitude. The materialism of our culture can be a driving force leading to slavery. Some fall victim to the horrid slavery of despair. There is almost an unending list of potential enslavements.

All the above eventually lead to sadness, fear, bewilderment, discouragement, and hopelessness. This is why the Resurrection of Jesus is so important. It is through enslavement to Him that we find real freedom. Because He lives! This sets Him apart from all others who offer some type of religious activity. During this Easter season and afterwards, we must never forget that the only real freedom comes through the Lord Jesus Christ. He is alive! He offers Resurrection life to all who will ask in faith. Are you really living or just existing?

Thought for today: Those who deserve love the least need it the most. Sermon: Meaning of Resurrection. If the foundation is weak so is the whole building. No matter how attractive the building may be, it cannot stand without a strong base. The house in which you live has some type of foundation, and the strength of that foundation keeps your family safe. Just as any building needs a strong foundation, so does life.

The Gospels tell us to build our life upon Christ. The world offers a foundation, but it is built on shifting sand. It cannot withstand the onslaughts of this wicked culture in which we live. The foundation of Christianity is constantly under attack. The Theory of Evolution attacks the creation of a loving God. The right to choose is attacking the right to life. The list goes on and on. There are many opportunities to build on the shifting sand of this world, but if you will build your life on the Rock Lord Jesus you will stand strong against the storms of life.

What foundation are you building on? Thought for today: Jesus is a friend who walks in when the world has walked out. April 7, The Lord is still seeking followers who will influence the world for Him, not let the world influence them. The ship may even be in the midst of a storm, but if the water is kept out, the ship will remain afloat. If ungodly pressures are allowed to penetrate our defense, they can sink us. The problem then becomes, not the Christian in the world, but the world in the Christian. He will forgive and you can make a difference. No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus.

His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life. I am enthralled with the luminous figure of the Nazarene. A man similar to Einstein. Wise enough within himself to be a leader of his people, yet ignorant in the workings of the God he supposedly served. Historical knowledge is not sufficient for salvation. The wisest thing he ever did was to come to Jesus to understand the depth of His message.

We must never forget that Jesus is the creator of all knowledge. He knows everything! The presence and power of Jesus was a challenge to both Nicodemus and Einstein. However, all the historical knowledge in the world about Jesus will not suffice for knowing Him through the new birth and faith in what He has accomplished. He has always been and will always be the one and only way to God and eternal life.

He is the Lamb of God that takes away the principle of sin. Seek Him and His way and you will be wise beyond measure. Thought for today: Reputation is made in a moment, but character takes a lifetime. Sermon: Spirit war. Ephesians Upon returning home for spring break, he told his father that he had discovered that God had made a lot of mistakes in creation. Have you ever questioned why God allowed something to happen? Have you ever complained or thought you could do better? Job did. We must be very careful how we question God. His desire is to teach us the right way and bring us into a closer walk with Him.

Are you a teachable person? Sermon: Racial discrimination. When none of them returned after several hours, officials set out in their cars to find the runners. They found all the runners safe and still running, but in the wrong direction. Many had already gone as much as ten miles. The officials finally determined that the mix-up occurred about half-way through the race. The lead runner had taken a wrong turn and the rest followed. Who are you following?

Where are they going? Are others following you? Contrary to what many say, all roads do not lead to heaven. The Lord Jesus told us that there are two roads in life. The broad way and the straight and narrow way. He said the straight and narrow is the way that leads to Him and eternal life. There are many voices in our culture, but we must choose His voice over the voice of Satan and the world.

Satan is the thief that comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Jesus warns us that the best route in life is the straight and narrow. Learn to hear and know His voice and follow Him. Walk the straight and narrow, following the instruction of the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be headed in the right direction all the days of your life. Thought for today: Even a woodpecker owes his success to the fact that he uses his head. Sermon: The crown of life. James He is God in the flesh.

He came to us in our sinful condition in order for us to have His sinless perfection. He is our Godalways with us. This majestic glorious God came to us with abundant mercy and grace. He came to live life among sinners, to give us what we never deserved, so that we would never receive what we do deserve. When justice demanded payment, mercy answered. Jesus could never be our Lord and Savior without being Immanuel. In order to save us He had to become one of us.

Fellowship with God was lost by the first man Adam. It was regained by the last Adam, Jesus Christ our Lord! At the birth of Christ, we see God with us. At the cross of Calvary, we see God dying for us. This can never be altered or erased. It is the eternal work of our Lord. Signed, sealed, and delivered in the precious shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thought for today: The measure of a man is not how great his faith is, but how great his love is.

Sermon: Fourfold progression of salvation. I Peter Our Lord is the fulfillment of the first promise in the Bible. This seed had been traveling through thousands of years and multiple generations to arrive at the designated time. Our Lord Jesus was virgin-born, implanted by the Heavenly Father in the womb of a young girl by the name of Mary. He has the right being both God and man to be both our Lord and our Savior. The virgin birth is the beginning of the one and only hope that creation has, to experience real life.

God is forming, molding, and fashioning eternal life bound up in this miraculous birth. The God-man is entering into life and it will never be the same. There are many things which occupy our minds. Careers, livelihood, education, and so forth. Is your name there? Thought for today: You should never let adversity get you down—except on your knees. Sermon: Sending a living hope. This is indeed the greatest event the world has ever experienced. Nothing will ever eclipse this glorious gift. Our Lord Jesus came into this world as the God-man.

He exhibited His divine power by walking on water, healing the sick, calming the storm, and rising from the dead. We see His human side by His becoming tired and thirsty. He also felt sorrow and pain. He came as a tiny helpless baby into a world of sin and disgrace. He did not choose the penthouse or the palace, but chose the lowly place of a stable that He might identify with the poor and needy.

The little town of Bethlehem is associated with the birth of our Lord. There is no other hope of eternal life other than this God-man called Jesus. Thought for today: Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death. Sermon: The state of the Church. February 17, Many years ago, a wonderful and glorious light came into this world. The light came through a young peasant girl, for whom there was no room. She found herself without even the decency of a clean sheet or a simple cot. She labored on a bed of straw in a stable for animals. When her child was born the Christ Child she wrapped Him in cloths and laid Him in a feeding trough.

Thirty years later this God-man would begin a ministry that would charge the gates of hell. No longer would humanity have to live under the curse of sin. He has given life to the lifeless, hope to the hopeless, and heaven over hell. Eternal life, not death, awaits all the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is still, in this supposed day of enlightenment, the only real and lasting light for this world. No one has to live in the darkness of death any longer.

Peace with God Means Hope in Hardship

He calls humanity to come to Him and receive everlasting life, joy unspeakable, and a reason for living. If you are not a follower of this God-man, then let me encourage you to come to Him today. One day it will be too late. He is waiting. Thought for today: You cannot win if you do not begin. Sermon: Living a blessed life. He is the true leader of the Church, the Rock that shall never be moved.

It is He who is able to storm the Gates of Hell. Only He reigns over death, hell, and the grave. It is He who has given you and I the completed victory over all. Therefore, we are to obey Him completely. For as the bible tells us obedience is better than sacrifice. He is our leader and we are to follow Him without reservation. He loved the Church and gave Himself for her, and if we love Him we cannot help but love the Church. It is He who gives life and vitality to the Church. Without Him the Church would be no more than another club to join. He is the founder and the sustainer of the Church.

The Church is the divine institution that our Lord established to continue the work He began years ago. What a wonder she is: She has survived neglect of her members, foes from without, heresies from within, and lies by the onlookers. Yet, the Church of the Living God is still here and will be until her Lord calls her home. Thought for today: True faith and courage are like a kite. An opposing wind raises it higher.

Colossians February 3, There was a lot of heartbreak, sorrow, and grief that filled the family tree of our Lord Jesus Christ. The grief of our father Abraham leaving his homeland and family to go to a land he had never seen. The sorrow of having to send Ishmael, whom he loved, away from the only family he had known. What about King David? He had to see his son die because of his own sin. His son Absalom killed his brother Amnon, and later led a revolt against King David. Yet all of this pales in comparison to the suffering and grief of our Lord.

He left a throne in glory to suffer, bleed, and die for sinners like you and I. His heart was truly broken on Calvary as those whom He loved rejected and crucified Him. This old world holds more grief than we are able to bear alone. We are never sure of what a day may bring, but we can know Who holds the day.

He has promised to bear our griefs and carry our sorrows. Lean on Him. He is a very present help in times of grief and sorrow. Thought for today: God can heal a broken heart but he has to have all the pieces. January 26, Did you know that there has never been, nor will there ever be, anyone just like you? You are a unique individual. There are no fingerprints or DNA that exactly matches yours. You are not just a speck in an ocean of time. Your DNA carried your proclivities regarding disease, intellect, temperament, and many other attributes. In our modern culture, many people are pre-occupied with their genealogy.

Most of us have no idea of the name of our great-grandfather. Nothing is known about his life. Chances are your own great grand- children will not even know your name. After all what really matters is this: Is your life rooted and grounded in the Lord Jesus Christ. This will never be forgotten for it is written down in Heaven. Our Bible contains many names, some which are difficult to pronounce. Some are great, some not so great. Some of them are poor and some are rich, some shepherds and some slaves, some kings and some harlots.

No matter what their genealogy or standing in life, all must come by way of the Cross. Thought for today: Remember that the tea kettle, although up to its neck in hot water, still continues to sing. Sermon: Kingdom life. January 19, Some of the most boring reading in the Bible can be found in the seemingly endless genealogies.

In the ancient world women were never mentioned in genealogies. They were viewed as less important than a man. The first of these is a woman by the name of Tamar Matthew She once dressed as a prostitute, seduced her father-in-law, and had illegitimate twin males. Rahab is the second female in the genealogy of our Lord. She was the town prostitute in the city of Jericho Matthew The third woman was Ruth verse 5.

Last is a woman by the name of Bathsheba verse 6. She lived in an adulterous relationship with King David, lied to her husband, and birthed a child that was conceived in sinful activity. How in the world did these four women get into the genealogy of the most perfect sinless one who ever lived on planet earth. This can be explained by only one word: Grace! Thought for today: He who cannot forgive destroys the bridge over which he himself must pass.

Sermon: Lordship defines ownership.

Reward Yourself

This is the supreme purpose of our Lords coming to planet earth. He began His journey in a lowly grotto that Thirty-three and a half years later would bring Him to Gethsemane. There He prayed not My will but Thine. His face was always pointed toward Jerusalem. His journey to Golgotha was not to just bring salvation to us, but to do the will of the Father. Our Lord has left His journey for us to continue. It is His will that we occupy till He comes again. We should be no less faithful in our journey than He was in His. It is a willingness to do it. Sermon: Lordship determines relationship.

What a spectacular sight of beautiful flowers. Every inch of every float is totally covered with gorgeous flowers and other natural materials. It is said that each float contains at least , blossoms. It is quite a wonderful experience to view all these beautiful floats as they proceed down the streets pf Pasadena.

There is one thing we can be sure of in this new year. There will surely be times of misery, misfortune, misunderstanding, and mistakes. Yet, in the midst of all this sinful world can bring, stands Jesus our Lord who tells us to come to Him for rest. As we trust and follow Him we will never be forsaken. Trusting His promises can make a fantastic year. Thought for today: will be successful if you refuse to serve God in an advisory capacity. Sermon: Four last words. Luke Acts Philippians December 30, Do you sometimes struggle with doubt and fear relative to your salvation?

We often say God can do anything and everything. However, there are some things God cannot do. God cannot lie, He cannot fail, He cannot err. If you have invested your God given faith in the Words of your Heavenly Father you are safe and secure forever. Stop worrying and get working! He will keep every promise given. Thought for today: Many a good man has failed because he had his wishbone where his backbone should have been.

Even though December 25th is not Biblical, but of Catholic origin, we can still enjoy this time of remembering our Savior. Many of those who despise and reject our Lord have tried to take Christ out of our celebration. They are always seeking ways to remove Christ from the word Christmas. They have replaced Christ with the letter X. Too them this symbolizes the unknown.

He is and will always be the only hope for humanity. All humanity is lost and condemned without Him. May this Christmas season bring a renewed peace and joy in your heart. May each of us catch a new vision of this wonderful Savior who left all the glory of Heaven to become one of us. Sermon: He became. I Timothy a. That word of power that framed the worlds, unfailing, changeless, strong, and sure. Though heaven and earth should pass away, what Thou hast spoken must endure. Is thine arm shortened, thine ear dulled? What Thou hast sworn, hast Thou forgot?

The Assurances Of The Secret Place

God of the everlasting years, all else may fail; Thou fail not. Mid shifting sands of doubt and fear, this is the one foundation—stone; My soul has cast her anchor here; I rest upon Thy Word alone. This is the point where many believers make excuses for their unbelief. The trial of our faith is constantly warring against the subtle attacks of the enemy. We must always be vigilant in casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the promises God has given us. We must rely on the indwelling Holy Spirit God has given each of His followers.

We are involved in a great cosmic battle that can be won or lost by the measure of faith God has given each of us. We simply must choose, even against our own reasoning, to believe in our hearts the infallible promises of the living God. It shall never pass away. Sermon: An imagined God. November 25, The calling of every follower of Christ is to a life of mission. We are here for a purpose, and that purpose is to be an ambassador for our Lord. No matter where life takes us, there will always be the opportunity to share the hope that lies in us. There are millions of people in our world who have no knowledge of Christ.

We simply must be on mission for our Lord. As we strive to meet our largest goal ever, may we each give sacrificially that others may find the real and true meaning of life on planet earth. We cannot go all over this planet, but we can help to send others. During this season emphasis on foreign missions, will you make it your goal to help Fair Havens meet her goal.

I encourage you to remember Luke Sermon: Our mission. November 18, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It blends together all the things that we Christians hold dear without the sham and hypocrisy of commercialism. Shopping centers jump from Halloween to Christmas, from spooks to Santa, pumpkins to presents, orange and black to red and green. Except for grocery stores merchants are mostly silent during Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving highlights the home and family. It symbolizes that which can only be found in kids, grandkids ,reunions, and family activities.

The simple and sweet things of life are brought into focus. It deepens and strengthens our faith. It blocks out the awful giant of selfishness, and ushers us into a sincere spirit of gratitude, love, and genuine joy. Something has happened to the water that makes active and effective the power within it. Through Christ we can be effective in bringing light to a darkened world. With Christ, we overcome the power of sin and death. As we follow Christ in this fallen and sinful world we will bring hope to the hopeless, salvation to the sinner, and glory to our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

Sermon: Six events in your forever life. Genesis , Romans , Hebrews October 28, Several years ago, a circus act featuring Bengal tigers was broadcast live on television. The trainer went into the cage with several tigers for a routine performance, and the door was locked behind him. The audience watched carefully as he put the tigers through their act.

Then right in the middle of their performance, all the lights went out! For 20 to 30 seconds the trainer was locked in a dark cage with Bengal tigers, a whip and a chair. The tigers could see the trainer but he could not see them. After the ordeal was over, the trainer was asked if he had been scared during this fearful time. They never knew I could not see them as well as they could see me. Do you live in fear of certain situations? Do you ever feel as if you were locked in a dark cage?

Whatever your circumstance, stand firm in your faith. Romans October 21, A class of geography students were asked to choose what they believed were the seven wonders of the world. While counting the votes the teacher noticed that one student, a quiet girl, had not turned in her votes. He asked if she were having trouble with her list. The girl stood to her feet and began to read. In a day when human life seems worth less and less, remember that God looks at you with great love and considers you to be of great value. October 14, Life is truly a matter of perspective.

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What one values the most usually guides and governs their life. Life is surely influenced by the things valued. What is most valuable in your life? In the spring of an auction was held to sell personal items that had belonged to John F. Many of their belongings were originally quite expensive, such as diamond rings and famous sculptures. The surprising thing about this auction was that all of the items were sold for more than they were originally worth. Purchasers considered them of greater worth because of who had owned them. As with all possessions, a price may be set by the seller but the potential owner determines the value.

You and I are the possessors of eternal life and an eternal home in Heaven. Christ emptied Himself of all of the privileges of Heaven and came to Earth to die on a cross. Our perspective should be, since we have been allowed to enter His Kingdom and His Heaven, that we should give up everything. A farm boy with his team of horses quickly pulled him out. The gentleman asked the boy what he wanted to be when he grew up.

Nearly fifty years later another English Statesman was dying of Pneumonia. But it is another thing for God to tell that same man, now that he is saved, that, if he does not obey, he will be damned, when God knows this man is now justified and will never be damned for his disobedience. It is true that the elect, if they do not believe even though they surely will , will be damned.

It is not true that the regenerate, if they do not obey, will be damned. As far as we are "illuminated by faith," we know that the calling of God is without repentance. But in our struggle with the flesh we are to fear going to hell. How can a person hold these two contradictory states in his mind at the same time?

This used to be called schizophrenia. Now it is called the Reformed doctrine of perseverance! Cited by Beeke He felt that it was impossible to derive certainty by this means and therefore concluded that the best way to have assurance was an active participation in the church and her sacrements. This is the best sign that you are in a state of grace. He felt we could only arrive at a conjectural certainty based upon works. This whole tradition was given credal form at the Council of Trent.

The Tridentine formulation Chapter 12 reads. This is what the reformers bolted on. The issue was the authority of the church vs. Do you derive your assurance from the church or from your bible. Catholics held thousands in bondage with their assertion that assurance could only be found in the Roman Church. The reformers stongly asserted that you needed only faith and with faith came assurance and that the sacremetns of the church were irrelevant. Since A cannot equal non-A, since both proposition A and proposition B cannot be true at the same time, the Calvinist system flatly contradicts itself.

His doubts and resultant fears may motivate him to live a godly life. Yet Paul had assurance and scripture says we can to. Indeed, the WCF inconsistently says we can have it now, Shaw p. But how can you know if you will persevere unless you have persevered? However, the word translated "castaway" Gk. This might open their eyes to the probably that, not those who glory in their assurance, but they themselves are guilty of self-righteousness. I will seek God's Glory: "A man who is led by the Spirit of God, is, by definition, a man who desires to live to God's glory.

A man led by the Spirit always has a desire within him for greater knowledge of God, and a greater knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Anyone led by the Spirit is always concerned about his lack of love for God and for the Lord. A man led of the Spirit is increasingly sensitive to every approach of sin and evil and to temptation.

He is aware in himself of desires for righteousness and holiness. Do you long to be holy? Are we manifesting the fruit of the Spirit? Gal 5. He actually considers this as nine additional tests! How much joy do you have? How much peace do you have, etc. Lloyd-Jones asks, "Are we testing ourselves as we should? I am simply asking - and I do so to encourage you - Do you find in yourself any evidence of these things?

If you do, you are Christian. If there is but little, a mere trace, you are a very small infant and you have perhaps only just been formed. That is a beginning. If there are but glimmerings of life in you, it is sufficient. Of course, traces are found in the reprobate with their temporary faith and in disobedient Christians as well. Therefore, Lloyd-Jones's assurance gives no basis for distinguishing one's faith from that of the non-elect. In other words, his excruciating introspection will yield no assurance at all. This is the problem: how much evidence do you need?

How much is "any evidence"? How much is a "glimmering"? A man might be very carnal for life and have glimmerings and some evidence. If that is all he means, then how is his regeneration to be validated? Dabney feels that, if there is "little" evidence, this would not be sufficient.

In John 15, Jesus likened His followers to branches that bear fruit but need pruning now and then. There is no such thing as a fruitless Christian. Everyone bears some fruit. You may have to look hard to find even a small grape, but if you look close enough, you will find something. These are tests of fellowship. However, as the believer reflects upon them, and sees this in his life, he certainly knows he is in fellowship with the father and this bings a secondary subjective assurance to the heart.

We can intuitively see that this is bad logic. We cannot state how many whiskers it takes to make a beard and yet it is obviously that some men have them and other do not. Calvin said, neither a glimmer, more than a little, or a grape are relevant to the quest for faith. An old Scottish lady was visited by a very young minister who was short on experience. He was skeptical of any Christian having full assurance of their ultimate arrival in heaven. All I would lose would be my own soul, but He would lose His good name. If God is for us, who is against us? God is the one who justifies;34 who is the one who condemns?

Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Now there are many in the Reformed camp who would express it exactly this way, e. The difference is that I would say 1 Perseverance in Holiness is not inevitable and that 2 the absence of works is not necessarily proof that the person is not born again. Reformed say the absence of works is proof you are not a Christian, this is a point in which we would differ.

Antinomiansim does not equal moral license, historically, but against the law. The man reasons, I say grace at dinner, go to church and even attend a bible study once and a while. Therefore I am saved. We are not talking here about the man who claims to be a Christian and who is in complete rebellion but the more common problem of the church attendee who is lethargic and nominal. Therefore, for him there is no danger.

He is not in rebellion, there is no doubt that he is a believer because he has these evidences. Hall, David D. Durham and London, Duke University Press, pp. The controversy took place in the 17 months between October and March in Massachusetts. She was an ardent admirer of the famous Puritan preacher, John Cotton.

Cotton fled to New England to avoid imprisonment for this non-conformist views and Ann Hutchinson followed in May of She claimed to have the gift of prophecy and although she was very adept at answering her critics scripturally, she finally appealed to the authority of prophetic inspiration against the minister who criticized her. This was her undoing. Hall argues we must not confuse the hysteria about heresy with what really happened. Her critics charged that she was recklessly disrupting the civil order.

This was largely because she called the maintainers of this order, the puritan ministers, advocates of a covenant of works and did not respect their authority. Heresy hunters were quick to accuse their enemies of holding all kinds of bad ideas. However she was not a libertine and did not advocate sexual license as she has been accused.

Most of the ministers did not think assurance came at once but that it was developed over a period of time. They had concluded this on the basis of Christian experience in which they could see the variability of many of their parishioners. When the parisionhers were perplexed with doubt, they counseled that the practical syllogism be used. John Cotton also felt that assurance should come in fullness and not arrive in bits and pieces. The Synod of pulled together 82 errors. However Stepehn Foster has argued that they are a classic example of excess deriving more from tradition of heresy-hunting and from real life antinomians in New Engliand.

Ann began to hold meetings in her home in which the Sunday sermons was discussed. Cotton was her pastor in England and the family follwed him to the Colonies. They said that outward evidence of sanctification meant that the person was justified. The governor of the Colony, Henry Vane, sided with Ann and blamed the ministers. A fast was declared but it only deepened the divisions. He attacked those who say that sanctification is and evidence of justification as preaching a covenant of works and called them antichrists.

This did not help the situation. Basically the antinomian in this controversy was a title they held in honor. The issue was whether sanctification was a valid way to judge justification. The problem was not doctrines which promoted liscense, but the challenge to the authority of the ministers, particularly by a woman. Logic defies how these statements could be construed as meaning anything except that one cannot have assurance without fruit so that the problem he accuses the Reformed of having is his also.

Assurance is not based upon fruit. Even if some initial fruit is a necessary result of salvation, a person can be assured of salvation by looking to Christ and not to fruit. The fact that some initial fruit is necessary does not mean we base our assurance upon it or eve that we can perceive its presence as different from what the unregenerate have.

The Fruit may not even be consciously evident to the new Christian or to others. The kind of fruit we are talking about is passive, not active. Eps require a life of works. We are only speaking of the general openness to God that comes with saving faith in its initial act. This will be the third time I am coming to you. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you. Of course Paul and they know they are. Of course you will not fail the test, because you are truly believers. Paul views their disqualification and unthinkable, that is not the issue.

Because it is unthinkable, because they are Christians, then of course they will pass the test. Paul is using irony. It is no more likely that they will. They are proof of his ministry and hence his authority. If they are in fact believers, then Christ is certainly speaking in Paul and his authority should not be challenged. The exhortation to " examine yourselves" has found a prominent place in the theology texts of the Experimental Predestinarians:.

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test. Here the apostle tells his readers that a self-examination can result in knowledge as to whether or not one is "in the faith. However, it does not mean this.

He is referring back to v. They wanted proof that Christ was speaking "in me. The object of this examination is not to find out if they are Christians but to find out if they are "in the faith. In other uses of this phrase it refers to living according to what we believe. And Mattithiah. The verse could be translated something like, "And Mattithiah was in the faith for baking the offering bread. To be "in the faith" in this verse is to have responsibility for something. In Paul says, "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith , act like men, be strong.

Doesn't this mean something like "weak in living according to what one believes"? Paul wants believers to be "sound in the faith" , and Peter urges the Christians to be strong in resisting the devil, "steadfast in the faith". In each case, being "in the faith" refers to consistency in the Christian life, not possession of it. Christ "in me" in v. Similarly, the test they are to perform to find out if Christ is "in them" is not to discover if they are saved but whether or not Christ is manifesting Himself in their words and deeds. Paul, of course, doubts that Christ is in them in this sense.

Salvation is not in view at all. Christ is in them, unless they fail the test, i. This word is used seven times in the New Testament. It is found in the often quoted passage in where the apostle himself fears he might become adokimos. The result of their failure is determined by the context. In it is used of the unfruitful believer. He is a worthless field because he yields thorns and thistles and is close to being cursed.

The word means "which has not stood the test," and in this context refers to disqualification. Paul's fear was not that he might lose his salvation, but that he might lose his crown through failing to satisfy his Lord cf. He now turns it around on them. For parallels in 2 Peter many have noted that the Majestic Glory in and divine power in are simply roundabout ways of referring to God. Because of 1 our equipping v. A firm life is the second benefit Peter cites for those who will cultivate the virtues of v.

The interpretation of this verse has been the occasion of much controversy. Generally four views have been suggested. The basis of our assurance was to be found in contemplation of our works. This is done by the practical syllogism which goes like this:. The basis of our assurance was to be found only in contemplation of Christ. To what does call and election refer? The nouns or related words are combined elsewhere in the New Testament e. It is, of course, possible that call Gk. Rom ; 1 Cor. Normally when the election precedes call, an effectual call and then election are meant Rom.

This reversal in word order argues against all views of this phrase which apply it to justification. In 1 Peter we are called to render a blessing in order to inherit a blessing, future reward. This fits the context of 2 Peter 1 well where we are called to manifest the virtues v. That Peter may have this meaning in mind for call is confirmed when we consider that the word was used this way by his Master.

There are only two other places in the New Testament Majority Text where the same words, call and election occur together and in which a sequence is implied, call then election, Matt and Matt. All Christians are invited Gk kalew to the wedding feast, but not all are chosen. This would suggest that the call here is the call to participate in the messianic partnership and receive full reward or as Peter puts in vs. It should be noted that the phrase call and election in Greek involves two words united under the same article. Wallace can find only one other instance in the New Testament where two singular nouns united under one article are identical.

It is a life in which we are invited called to join the messianic partnership and if we add to our faith the virtues of we will be selected chosen to participate v. We are, according to Peter, to make Gk. The latter sense, of a legal guarantee is found in the papyri. It is God who makes the legal guarantees of salvation to the believer in all places where the word carries this sense Heb. This inference must be rejected because Peter has already made clear that he considers his readers to be saved people. The absence of the virtues of v.

They have forgotten their cleansing from their former sins v. These people already have faith v. I take it simply of the fact itself, that calling is shown to be confirmed by a holy life. For him the primary means of confirmation to our conscience came through looking at Christ whom he regarded the mirror of our election, i. And 3 there is nothing in the context of 2 Peter 1 that alludes to testimony to others. This has ample support in the overall theme of the letter. How encouraging to know that we can by means of character building come to a point that we will never stumble.

Technically, this verb is a subjunctive of emphatic negation. It is the most decisive way of saying that even the potential idea of falling is impossible. Elsewhere it is clear that all Christians stumble in the sense of sin e. James What Peter has in view here is ruin. This has no reference to loss of salvation,[81] as both Bauckham[82] and Bigg[83] suggest, but to loss of fruitfulness and effectiveness If we are not assured we are in his family, we cannot claim the forgiveness of sins for daily fellowship.

According to Luther, one day the devil approached him and tried to persuade him of his fallibility and destroy his assurance. He presented the Reformer with a long list of sins of which he was guilty. During the first part of the construction of the Golden gate bridge in San Francisco, no safety device were used, and 23 men fell to their deaths. At least 10 men fell into it and were saved.

We are in a war and when a soldier goes to battle he needs a full arsenal of wheapons. A man whose heart is filled with doubts, who is constantly seeking assurance is like a soldier who spends all his time gathering more armour and loses sight of the oncoming enemy. Furthermore we cannot see the difficulties as chastisements of a loving father, he may not be our father. Without assurance, our hearts are so filled with doubt about what is happening to us that we lose all strengthy to persevere.

Apart from assurance, rewards becomes legalism. Berkhof, speaks of the this being necessary for the joy of salvation — p. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Paul rejoiced in the fact that his death was merely a birthday into a better life. There is ….. Winding up his final appeal, the aged Paul now pens some of the most moving words ever written. All that he has asked Timothy to do, he can illustrate from his life.

There is no theory here, only the completion of a life well lived. He knows that the end is near. In fact, he was beheaded by Nero shortly after this epistle was written. This verse is a strong statement of assurance of Salvation — he knows he will be with the Lord. The Apostle is about to set sail on his last voyage. It was a sacrificial word. When pagan worshippers left the table to offer sacrifices it was said that they "departed.

It was a soldier's word. When the battle was over and the victory won, the weary soldiers would "strike the tents," i. Paul's battle is over. His ministry is being passed on to Timothy. He has lived victoriously. He has won. He is now striking his tent for the journey home. There are so many things we do not now understand. The apostle himself acknowledge that now we see in a mirror dimly. How grand it will be to have all our questions answered.

Paul is about to find the answers when he meets the King, face to face. Finally, it was a prisoner's word. When the chains were removed, they were said to be "loosed. Those chains which bound him to the walls of the Mammertine prison are about to be removed forever. First he has been a fighting soldier. I have fought a good fight. Those who have invested their lives faithfully for the King need to remember this. It is a good thing they have done, and one day the King will acknowledge that. Paul knows he has invested his life wisely. The battle to live for Him and to serve Him is not only good, it is the best possible investment of a life.

Secondly, he has been a focused athlete. I have finished my course. The phrase refers, no doubt, to the foot race called the dromos , a yard run in the athletic games. Paul often compared the Christian life to the life of the athlete. Both require discipline. Both require focus on the goal. Both will be rewarded. Heb ; Phil , 2 Tim , 1 Tim. Paul has lived life with a central purpose see Acts. Now at the end, he can say he has done it! What a tremendous thing to be able to say. Finally, he can say, I have kept the faith.

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  4. Is he saying "I have kept on believing" or "I have preserved the faith," i. However, Paul has challenged Timothy elsewhere to guard the treasure , and to handle accurately the word of truth and in the immediate context has warned about those who will turn away from the truth At any rate, he must keep on believing if he is to guard the faith. These are Paul's trophies. He summarizes his life achievements with these three things, each of which signify in different ways that the ultimate purpose of life is only found in faithfulness to the King. How different from the desires of the wise and mighty.

    They strive to be remembered for the buildings they have built, the impact they have had, the titles they have achieved, the wealth they have accumulated, the battles they have fought, the books they have written, and the worldly accolades they have received. Knowing that he has lived well, he is confident he will receive a crown of righteousness.

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    Furthermore, 2 that kind of righteousness is the possession of the believer now on the basis of faith. The crown will be a "given," Gr. It is, a reward that is a fair, just, deserving, and conforming to God's standards for service which Paul has met; and b in contrast to the unfair, unjust, and undeserving reward the secular judges have meted out to Paul, incarceration and death for the service of Christ cf. It is the merited, just reward which declares that Paul was right in the way he lived his life, Rome was wrong. Everything he believed in, trusted in and ultimately gave his life for, will be shown to be correct when he receives this merited honor.

    Yet the Lord, the righteous judge , in contrast to the unrighteous judges before whom he stood, will not overlook the significance of his faithful life. Indeed He will honor all that love His appearing. Shortly after writing these words, the old warrior went to his death.

    Here his body could only rest on rough stones. The air was foul and sanitation was nonexistent. It is cold, damp, and he is lonely. All of his associates in Asia have deserted him. There are 26 exhortations in the epistle, and only one of them is repeated three times, "Come see me before winter.

    He has endured incredible hardship in the service of the gospel: he was beaten with rods, whipped, stoned, shipwrecked at sea for three days; he endured many all night travels on cold dusty roads. Now this is what it has all come to, imprisonment and execution. Yet he confidently asserts that "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have entrusted to him for that day. Persecution was breaking out, the Christians were being imprisoned, and now their leader, unnoticed, deserted, and incarcerated in a lonely cell, was about to be beheaded.

    Yes, from a human perspective it was over for Paul, Rome had won! According to Gaius, Paul was beheaded by the sword. Eusebius places his death in 67 and Jerome says The persecutions of Nero began in If Luke was allowed to stay by his window or if Timothy and Mark had reached Rome in time, the sounds of the night vigil would not be those of weeping, but of singing.

    When the dawn came the soldiers took Paul to a pillar. The executioner stood ready, stark naked. The soldiers stripped Paul to the waist and tied him, kneeling upright, to the low pillar which left his neck free. He was beaten with rods as a prelude. Then, mercifully, the executioner's sword fell. A rich Roman lady named Lucina is said to have buried him on her land near the place of execution in a sand grave.

    Here ends the final course of the greatest of the Apostles and the greatest missionary in the history of the church. It was the heroic career of a warrior, who lived for his King and for winning others to obedient service for Him. He had labored more abundantly than them all and yet he sincerely believed himself to be "the least of the apostles. His humility grew as he learned more of God's grace and as he ripened for heaven. He died unnoticed by the mighty and wise of his age. Yet how infinitely more noble, beneficial and enduring was his life and work than the dazzling march of military conquerors like Alexander and Napoleon, who prompted by ambition, absorbed millions of treasure and a myriad of lives only to die at last in a drunken fit at Babylon, or of a broken heart on the rocks of St.

    Their empires have long since crumbled to dust. Rome is no more! Better is the attitude of the apostle Paul, "Do not go on passing judgment before the time". Henry Beveridge, 2 vols. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, , 3. Emphasis is in the original. Paul's Epistle to the Romans , ; reprint ed. He cites Institutes , 3. In both places Rom. He says the demonstration of regeneration must be "in some vital degree" p.

    But this helps the sensitive soul not at all. What degree is "vital"? What degree is "some"? These statements are not only not found in Scripture but give little help. Certainly the saved believer who dies in carnal rebellion like the regenerate Solomon did would not fit in this category. See also the references in 3 Macc.