Monday, December 24, 2012

A Scandalous King For You!

If you were to choose a king  who would be  your choice? In all the elections I can recall the candidates all promised;

1. everyone would have a house

2. a chicken in every pot in that house,

3. transportation,

4. employment to which one was to be transported

5. little or no taxes or they will be paid by others.

Wow! Now those are fantastic promises. If he could carry them off what a wonderful king he would be.

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
(Luke 1:30-33 ESV)

This is the King given to us by God. Of a scandalous birth to an unmarried girl. This King grew up not in a palace but in a regular family. This King, instead of leading an army into victorious battle, did battle with the devil and his servants. Not at all what one would want for a King.

To make it worse, This King was tried in a mock trial with lying witnesses. This King was severely beaten beyond any other man. And this King was nailed to the cross which was the only throne he had on this fallen world.

What Child is This?

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The babe, the son of Mary.

Some of the unbelieving world does not mind the babe in the manger. There he is all safe and warm. And we are safe with him there. The above verse is skipped on secular broadcast on radio and in stores. From a marketing standpoint perhaps it is understandable. But sadly if and when this hymn is sung in many churches this part is left out or rewritten. What of a people who are embarrassed of what Our King did for the world? Is it a wonder this society is going down hill?

Take heart dear brothers and sisters. This King is Sovereign. This King has chosen to be located in the manger, on the cross and risen from the dead for you. He has determined his Gospel to never be silenced. This encourages us to repent and trust in his work for us on the cross and his resurrection. We can pray for his Church which is in such disarray that Christ grant her true repentance and forgiveness. And also pray for and encourage his pastors to boldly preach repentance and the forgiveness of sin in the name of King Jesus.

Trust this good news and live in its peace. Amen. †

Monday, December 10, 2012

Did God Make This Happen to Me?


I recall after my daughter Amanda was born. Filled with concern any new father with a beautiful baby girl became my worry. We were blessed with a bright beautiful, happy, bright, sensitive and caring little girl who is still the apple of her daddy's eye.

Shortly after her birth something happened to another daddy's little girl. I do not remember her name for this was so many years ago. This little girl was taken from the home while playing in the backyard. She was found a few days later badly used and murdered. My heart was beyond breaking for this little girl's parents.

The question always comes at times like those is why? Why did God allow this to go on? Does he not know or not care? Or is he unable or unwilling to help? Did he want this to happen? The last question is perhaps the most painful. The challenge for Christians is to try to answer these questions. Mistakenly thinking they have the answer the attempts are made.

Offensive answer number 1: This is a fallen world and bad things happen to good people. This is an attempt, it appears, to try to sound rational and bible believing at the same time. The offense is caused because it sound flippant and said to silence the weeping of the parent.

Offensive answer number 2: God is Sovereign and wants to use this to strengthen you for scripture says:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 ESV)

That answer looks even more scriptural for we have a proof text! But placing the verse back into its near context it is addressing the Holy Spirit's work in and for the Christian. The offense here is again flippancy compounded by the fact this verse was never meant for such use.

Jesus wept.
(John 11:35 ESV)

This is the only response which is warranted. We do not seek to explain it to the sufferers. We do not seek to understand because we have no ability to understand the grief.  The parents are weeping so the Christian also joins with them in weeping. Jesus knew he would raise his dead friend so why the sadness? He was doing the Jesus job fulfilling the love and care for a friend of which we are incapable. This demonstrates in his humanity and his Deity he is intimately involved with the suffering. He understands the sorrow he is not separated from it  We are incapable of fully understanding the sadness another is experiencing due to our fallen condition. We are too self focused and cannot totally love our neighbor as ourselves. We just want to end our misery by trying to end the suffering person's misery. We are not only incapable but unwilling for it is uncomfortable and unseemly to cry openly with a sufferer.

Jesus atoned for this inability and unwillingness  on the cross.  We are not held liable for this sin of not caring as we should. His resurrection secures for us justification which is given to us as a gift. Jesus' resurrection is our focus point during all times of suffering. What a glorious promise we receive through faith.

Trust this good news and live in its peace. Amen. †

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Trusting in Christ Means no Death Tasting.

As my lovely bride and myself keep collecting birthdays we get letters and brochures advertising final resting places and services. Our doctors, who keep getting younger and younger, want to address end of life related health issues. Was it not just a few years ago we graduated High School?

The Jews said to him, Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’
(John 8:52 ESV)

What an offensive remark! A keeper of the words of Jesus will never taste death? How preposterous can you be? Christians die everyday. Throughout history and even today some Christians die for no other reason than his or her confession.

“Cowards die many times before their deaths,
The valiant never taste of death but once.”

This is a quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Christians do not have to die many times before death. We can face death with peace and confidence. The unbelieving world is not that way. Look at the money which is spent in order to stop the process of aging and dying. If one has no hope for anything beyond this life who can blame them?

But even this pales in the face of what Jesus meant.

But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
(Hebrews 2:9 ESV)

What Jesus is referring is the fact that he did the death tasting for everyone. This dread need not seize anyone on account of his or her own mortality. It says of Jesus’ resurrection “oh death where is thy sting and grave where is thy victory?” The unbeliever rejects this great comfort in his or her own desire to not have the crucified and risen God. Rather the unbeliever will prefer to deny any existence of the true and living God or manufacture a more suitable god and look for ways to locate it and seek ways to serve it. The truth that Jesus did the tasting of death for everyone makes this dread all the more dreadful and hell all the hellish. It is so unnecessary!

Certainly a man will be concerned about his death and provision for his family. Or that his wife or child would precede him in death. This is love and of course we miss those who depart us and are concerned with their well being at all times.  But as for himself he has no need to fear the grave any more than he fears his bed. Those in Christ can trust that his preceding us into death and the grave also means his resurrection is ours.

Trust this good news and live in its peace. In the name of Jesus. Amen. †

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Double Predestination 3.

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.
(2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 ESV)
Here is another set of verses which have been misused to teach God’s predestination of sinners to being lost. At the surface we do see God sending delusion in order that people believe falsely. So with this conclusion it is no longer the sinner who is at fault but it is God who did not want that sinner. When one reads the entire passage these are people who did not believe the truth and pleasured in unrighteousness. Sinner is at fault as is always the case in scripture.
This false teaching can and has offended believers who are weak and sinful creatures. At times one can struggle, in what looks to be futility, with sin and doubt. This dreadful and non scriptural teaching teaching that God does not want certain people will take the sinners eyes off Jesus and on themselves for assurance. One maybe unable to know that Jesus even died for the under those circumstances. What a tragedy these offenses are for no other reason than to make it all sensible to the finite sinner’s logic and reason.
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.
(2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 ESV)
Again close context shows that through the activity of Satan and his power and false wonder will do the deceiving not Our Father. Those who are believing a lie and are dying in sin is at fault for refusing to love the truth and be saved. This casts the fault back on the lost sinner where it belongs.
We can with confidence behold our Jesus crucified for our sin and raised again for our justification. Scripture leaves no doubt whatsoever Jesus’ sacrifice is for us and for all people.
Trust this good news and live in its peace. Amen. †

Sunday, September 30, 2012


One may ask me, How can you say the Doctrines of Grace, known as TULIP, steal the peace given by God?  What follows is a look at one of the letters in TULIP and how it steals God’s peace.

Let us start with the real tricky one. The P stands for perseverance of the Christian.  This teaching says that once one is saved he or she will never lose this salvation.  Wow!  Cool!

However, what is said about those who confess Jesus as Saviour for years only to become offended and denounce the faith?  The answer is usually that he or she did not really believe unto salvation.  The proof text used to support this idea is the following:

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
(1 John 2:19 ESV)

Okay, brother John, that is plain enough.  They were not really Christians, so there! But wait a minute.  How do I know I am really a Christian?  How does this apply to me?  Perhaps somewhere down the road I too will denounce the faith. How can I know that I am really saved?

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.
(1 John 2:18 ESV)

In the near context of this passage, we can see it is a specific group to which St John refers. These are not people who wanted Jesus until the heat was turned up; nor were they offended at poor treatment by other believers.  These were false to begin with, each one knew they were false, and these people were there for the purpose of turning people away from Jesus.  Later we see those were denying that Jesus was the Christ and not at all seeking to worship him and serve their neighbour. They had come to steal, kill and destroy others.

Instead of trusting in the P it would be much better to trust the strong promises of God. Through baptism, preaching of the word and the Body and Blood of our Lord we are saved and preserved. This preservation comes from outside ourselves and is based upon clear teaching of the scripture not man's logic.

Trust this good news and live in its peace. Amen. †

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Double Predestination 2

For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!”
(Luke 22:22 ESV)

The above verse records Jesus telling of how his crucifixion was determined ahead of time. This also tells of his betrayal by Judas Iscariot. The statement of woe to the man that betrays Jesus is seen as a decree that Judas goes to hell.

It was prophesied that Messiah would be betrayed by a close associate. What was the reason the woe was pronounced on Judas? After all during his trial all of his disciples forsook Jesus. Peter betrayed Jesus by lying for fear for his own life. However, these men were forgiven;

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
(John 20:19-23 ESV)

We see after the Resurrection of Jesus the disciples are still fearful of his enemies. Jesus comes and tells them peace be with you. This greeting shows these men have peace with he whom they all betrayed by action of leaving Jesus alone at his trial. The difference for these men is that Judas did not truly repent and trust in Christ for forgiveness. It is not the activity of sin that condemns but rather unbelief. 

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
(John 3:18 ESV)

Double predestination would have it that Judas was not condemned due to his rejection of Jesus but rather that God did not want him saved. Does the scripture really teach that God has chosen some to eternally die and he will not save them?  The clear teaching that God wants all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. This makes no sense how that a Sovereign God can have the desire that all be saved. However, do we want to disbelieve a truth in scripture because it makes no sense?

This will offend the insecure believer who, due to their sin, is in terror that salvation is even theirs. Rather teach the believer to look to Jesus only for assurance of salvation instead of whether one is predestined to believe or not. Trust in his death burial and resurrection is what receives the righteousness of God.

Believe this good news and live in its peace. In the name of Jesus. Amen. †

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Double Predestination

The sovereignty of God is a great truth.  Some Christians seek to defend this truth at all costs.  The purpose of this post and subsequent posts is not to call into question the sovereignty of God; rather the purpose is to examine the proof texts used to show double predestination.  Do these scripture passages lead one to conclude double predestination?

The LORD has made everything for its purpose,
even the wicked for the day of trouble.
(Proverbs 16:4 ESV) 

This indeed looks at the outward appearance that God has made the wicked for the purpose of condemnation.  However, has he made the wicked to be wicked, or is it that he uses what the wicked desire to do?  Is this verse saying that he will not have mercy and grace toward these individuals?  As usual, placing the verse in the near context will give the answer.

The plans of the heart belong to man,
but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
but the LORD weighs the spirit.
Commit your work to the LORD,
and your plans will be established.
The LORD has made everything for its purpose,
even the wicked for the day of trouble.
Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD;
be assured, he will not go unpunished.
By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,
and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.
Proverbs 16:1-6 ESV 

We have a great example in scripture about a wicked man on whom God had mercy. Saul of Tarsus thought he was doing God a solid by persecuting the believers in Jesus.  Jesus showed up to Saul and granted him true repentance and forgiveness of his sin. Saul was retooled for the purpose of being the Apostle to the Gentiles.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:29 ESV

Biblical references to predestination show it refers only to those in Jesus.  It is an offense to scripture to teach God predestined the unbeliever to hell.  This has offended Christians when the law has brought to mind his or her sins of the heart.  This teaching will call into question which group a believer belongs to. Does the believer belong to the predestined-to-hell-group based on a sin that is brought to mind, or does the believer belong to predestined-to-salvation group?  Rather those believers in Jesus should be pointed, once again, to the cross and resurrection.  It is there one finds peace for the troubled conscience and it is there we turn to in troubled times.

Trust this good news and live in its peace. In the name of Jesus. Amen. †

Monday, September 24, 2012

OFFENDED!!!!!!! Romans 9

Yes, the scripture is offensive to our sinful nature. This is most certainly true when used rightly.  The proper use will always show man’s condition before a Holy God. The important thing is to make sure to allow the scripture to do what God has designed it to do, which is to show Christ for sinners. That offense is of God not our use or misuse of God’s words.

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. Romans 9:1-5 ESV

These verses from Romans 9 tells us who this passage is speaking to.  We see God is not explaining how he deals with all of humanity. Instead this is how he has dealt with the seed of Israel. We see in scripture the nation Israel was dealt with more severely by our Lord than other nations. Why would this be? For it was through Israel that the Christ would come.

Like all of humanity Israel rebelled constantly against God. In order to return her to true repentance many judgments were laid on her by God using various means to bring it about. These means varied from Esau, the brother of Jacob, to Pharaoh and natural calamity. So broad and deep is the rebellion of mankind against our Lord that even those to whom the promise was given needed to be brought back to faith.

Therefore instead of the natural choice of the eldest son, Isaac, inheriting the promise, it was the younger son, Jacob, to whom the promise was given.  In order to have a grand exodus for the children of Israel, Pharaoh was raised up. Instead of a mean and vengeful God, we have a loving Father seeking to bring his chosen to repentance in order to bring forth the Lamb for the salvation of the world.

This is the golden thread throughout all of scripture. The discussion comes back to that of Jesus, who took the sins of the entire human race and bore them to the cross, resurrecting on the third day after burial for the Justification of those same sinners. God will stop at nothing in order to bring proud humanity to the realization of the need for a Savior.

Trust this good news and live in the peace it gives. In the name of Jesus. Amen †

Friday, September 21, 2012

Looking For God in All the Wrong Places.

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
(Colossians 1:19-20 ESV)

On earth we have always been plagued with many differing religions. All promising the finding of God. One feature to all them is the attempt to explain God and what he is doing. This is not unusual and will continue until Jesus returns to put an end to all this foolishness. How tragic it will be to have people looking for God in all the wrong places and refusing Jesus’ call to repent and trust his finished work.

What is offensive and causes some to become so offended they leave the faith is parts of the Christian Church doing the same thing. This is a refusal to try to comprehend the events in life outside of suffering and the cross. These theologians will peer all over the place at logic, worldly and demonic wisdom and pagan philosophy. This is done in pride trying to wrap minds around the mystery of catastrophe, illness and other such events.

Looking at the account of Job we see horrible things happen to this man who feared God and rejected evil. The answer he gets from the Almighty was to show him he could not hope to understand the answer. This demonstrates the truth found in Isaiah 55:8,9 where Father proclaims his thoughts and ways are higher than our thoughts and ways. The answer down through the centuries has been for God’s people trust in him regardless of circumstances and our ability to comprehend the reason.

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
 (Matthew 11:25-30 ESV)

A sweet invitation to those who believe in Jesus. The so called wise and learned theologians spend years speculating and cannot see this invitation. Take a long and loving look at our Crucified and Risen Lord and we will see the Father revealed to us through faith. I encourage my fellow believers in Jesus to leave off the searching for God, in all the wrong places, to the false religions of which there are many. Demonstrating to them how Our Lamb of God is the only God revealed to us.

Let us believe this good news and live in its peace. In the name of Jesus. Amen. †

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sinless Perfection

Another of the most pernicious errors taught in the church is that of sinless perfection. This is most offensive due to the fact that we are beset by indwelling sin. This will rob a believer, especially a longtime believer, of much peace. Having been a Christian for quite a while many of the old actual sins have vanished. Actual sins are those that take a special effort to commit. During this maturing process one can see actual improvement in behaviour which is quite amazing and assuring to the person.

You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.
(1 John 3:5-6 ESV)

The above section is abused in order to show that one who is in Jesus does not sin. This is very disconcerting to the believer who is reading the law and taking it serious. The law always accuses and Satan, the flesh, false and erring brethren will constantly toss this in the face to terrify the believer. After a time of seeing the hopelessness of fulfilling the perceive requirement of a sinless life the person could lose faith.

But is this a faithful representation of St John? As always context is queen, When backing up a sentence, one small set of words and the picture is quite different.

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.
(1 John 3:4 ESV)
So there we have it don't we? Close context shows not a person falling into sin and having a heart broken due to the sin but rather the one who makes a practice of the sin. I am sure everyone has heard from some people how he or she will brag on his or her sin. They seem to be looking to become better and better sinners and have no concern about it. Some of these people perhaps confess Christ as Saviour and say that they are forgiven so no big deal. This adds salt to the injury of the terrified conscience who will despair of his or her standing in the Lord.

The good news is that Jesus came to take upon himself the sin and death we all have by reason of our fallen condition. By the holy innocent suffering and death of Jesus on the cross all the debt for the entire human race is paid for. How tragic that a person will reject this gift in favour of a short time fulfilling the desires of the flesh.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 
(1 John 1:8-9 ESV)
Let us believe this good news and live in the peace it gives. In the name of Jesus. Amen. †

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


The other day I was listening in on some teaching a pastor was giving on what it means to be saved. He spoke of Christ crucified and resurrection for the forgiveness of sin. He also mentioned how that everyone in Jesus has the hope and promise of resurrection to life everlasting. I was rejoicing in my heart to hear a minister proclaim the good news in such a clear and simple manner.

The sadness hit in the next sentences. We can receive this after we clean ourselves up. His analogy was a clean person going into a filthy house. We would not want to do that and so Jesus will not go into a heart that is dirty. Indeed Jesus wants his believing ones to live in peace and righteousness, No where in scripture does it teach we are to first clean our lives before we are forgiven. Quite the opposite.

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.” (Matthew 12:43-45 ESV)

Thus Jesus spoke in response to the self righteous when they condemned him for what was thought to be sinning against the Sabbath. This shows the condition of a person who is trying to clean himself up but have no faith in Jesus. This is so sad and unnecessary for a person to experience in this life but many do who will try to clean themselves to be acceptable to God.

When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:8-10 ESV)

We are fully sanctified through the perfect life, innocent suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus for the sins of the human race. This is a gift which is received by trusting in this finished work of Jesus.  It never was about cleaning oneself in order to be acceptable to God. Never was it about sacrifice either of produce, meat or time. How do we know we have this promised redemption? By what way do we perceive ourselves as holy?

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22 ESV)

This washing, in other scripture, shows we are not cleansing ourselves ritually. We are not showing our faith to others. Those both make baptism our work and takes baptism away from our Lord. When Jesus instituted baptism he promised that through it we have the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit placed on us. We can trust that promise and draw near to God in full assurance having a clean heart created by God and it is our gift through faith.

Let us trust this good news and live in its peace. In the name of Jesus. Amen †

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tearing Christ From The Heart.

Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (Romans 10:1-4 ESV)

This passage is directly about the Jews in the day of the Apostle Paul. In the larger context of Scripture we will see warnings from Blessed St Paul. These warnings were in order to have those who believe in Jesus not to trust in self righteousness. Galatians 3:11. In this passage we see that one is justified by faith. This justification is the righteousness of Jesus himself. This glorious gift is ours by faith for the just shall live by faith.

What, if anything, does this teach us who may not know any Jews who are trying to subject us to the law? Unfortunately in the church today it is overrun by those who, with good intentions, tear Christ out of the heart. One way this is done is to tell believers the only way to know if saved if one’s life is improving each and everyday. This may work for a while since the person may have some bad habits to give up. What about after all the actual sins such as drunkenness are forsaken? What improvement is one to see then? What about the other holy living spoken of by St Paul? He also lists sins of the heart like coveting as idolatry. One can end up coveting without notice. Can one look at their life to really tell that one is a child of our heavenly Father?

This offends the believers by taking assurance of salvation from the heart. Rather than teach a person to trust the sure promises given us in scripture they are led astray.

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  (Romans 10:8-10 ESV)

That a glorious promise to those troubled by sin. Better to give that to the terrified heart rather than to point it to itself for assurance. God’s promises are sure and everlasting our good behaviour and thoughts are not.
Trust this good news and live in the peace it gives you. In the name of Jesus Amen. †

Saturday, July 21, 2012

OFFENDED!!!!! Wrong Teaching of God's Law

“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.”

On the the one side offense of this command is and extreme use of it. This use is that of accusing anyone who has a cross with a representation of Jesus on it. One can have said crucifix and have it as a reminder and a teaching of what Jesus did for the sins of the world. This remembering is not necessarily a worship of the image or the cross. This offends believers in Jesus for if he or she does not have a physical crucifix one exists in the mind. This takes the law of God and in the stead makes it a command of men.

On the other side of the offense we have the lack of teaching of what would be included in the prohibition of the image and service of the false god. One will never hear of how sinful the love of money can be. This love and service of money can take many forms and all are sinful. One of these is cheating on taxes which is theft. Theft is serving the false god of money for it is not trusting God to supply all our needs as promised by our Lord Jesus.
The final offense against this section of scripture is teaching that obeying it will sure up your salvation. This misuse will both offend the sinner in making one trust in working for his salvation. It may also offend the person in not giving the comfort of the Gospel and leave the person in terror of his or her lack of ability to obey.

The true teaching is that Jesus fully obeyed this command for us and we receive his righteousness by faith. The use, therefore, of the law in the Christian Church is the accusation of the sinner. This is in order to grant true repentance and trust in the finished work of Jesus. In his death burial and resurrection he provides the full payment for sin and righteousness we receive by faith.

Let us trust all this good news and live in the peace it gives. In the name of Jesus. Amen. †

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Promises of Jesus.


What is sadly lacking in churches are the teaching of the promises of Jesus. One of the promises not taught is the first one promised in the prayer our Lord taught us. This is offensive to Jesus due to His wanting us to trust in His promises especially in difficult times. It also offends those who trust in Jesus for they are unaware of what Jesus wants for them to have even here on earth.

When we say Our Father which art in Heaven….. We can  trust that Jesus is giving His Father to be our Father. This means we can go to Our Father as a dear Father and He regards us as dear children. We can trust that he will give us good gifts. As His full hands supplies the needs of all His creation He knows our needs before we ask and had provided for them. In a world caught up in greed, insecurity, robbery and other sin this is of great comfort.

So much is Father’s love and concern for us He sent Jesus to live the perfect life. Jesus also took the sins of all and had them pinned to the cross with Him. And by His resurrection seals our Justification that we receive through trust in Him.

Thank you Father for your generosity in providing for our every need. Also for the Love you have for sinners that you did not spare Jesus your Son but rather gave Him as the atoning Sacrifice for our sin. Praise to you Lord Jesus for taking our penalty upon yourself and richly providing for us eternal life in Your Name. We worship and glorify You Holy Spirit for giving us sight to see Jesus as our only Lord and Saviour. 

In the Name of Jesus. Amen. †

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Decision Theology

Decisions Decisions
Where to live? Whom to marry or even to marry? Which employment do I seek or stay where I am already employed. These and many other decisions face people each and every day. But do we decide when it comes to Jesus? I often hear from people the evidence they want in order to decide whether God exists and do they need the salvation from Jesus.

The so called Evangelical section of the church is quite wrapped up in what is called Decision Theology. This will raise more questions than it answers. This will not work at all when speaking to atheists or other questioners. And this will encourage them to, in addition, claim he or she does not need it.

When talking to a Christian who is mistaken that it was their decision which saved them more than likely will ask "When did you decide to follow Jesus?" If one cannot remember a point in time where they went from unbelief in Jesus then doubt will be cast upon that person. How exciting is it to think I am a believer in Jesus because I examined the evidence. I came to the conclusion that it made sense. So I decided to give my heart and life to Jesus. Heady stuff! This false teaching, indeed, appeals to the inner brat.
Instead of focusing on the finished work of Jesus these brothers and sisters will look at experience for assurance. This is the primary offense for it robs God of his glory in salvation.

Ephesians 2:2  And you were dead in the trespasses and sins  in which you once walked, following the course of this world, followingthe prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy,because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  ESV

God from beginning and throughout salvation is doing the saving and keeping without the help or permission of the saved. This is indeed good news for, again, the only focal point for a sinner is the Crucified and Risen Lamb of God. No need therefore, to spend countless hours trying to remember the exact time that you made a decision for Jesus. We no longer need be concerned whether our decision was in earnest or possibly too shallow. Let us trust this good news and live in its peace. 

In the name of Jesus.  Amen. †

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Offended!!!!! Fruit Inspection

I would like to have, say $1.00, for every time a person will say of another; "He cannot be saved. I see no fruit." The fruit referred to is either some thing Inspector X wants done or a falling short in a way which Inspector X especially finds revolting. When trying to remind Inspector X that one is saved by faith apart from works a verse gets used to justify this fruit inspection.

Matthew 12:33  “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.35  The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” RSV

Context is everything. This follows the incident of the enemies of Jesus saying he was doing things by the power of the devil. v 24 It was out of the evil heart of unbelief and denial of the true Messiah that produces this bad fruit. No person, with faith in Jesus, would ever say such a thing about his work. This is the bad fruit which shows the heart is not trusting Jesus. The unbeliever will not receive the gift of salvation won for him or her on the cross of Jesus.

This judging of another believer is offensive to our crucified and risen Lord who desires us to look at his finished work and trust that for salvation. Through the hearing of his word, faithfully preached and divided, he gives us true repentance and salvation. He has also given us the gift of baptism to know we are adopted into God's family. Jesus also gives us his body and blood in the Supper to know that our sins are forgiven, to strengthen us and to keep us in the faith.

Let us trust this good news, gifts and promises. Instead of always looking within look to Jesus and live in his peace. †

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Offended: Wrong teaching about overcoming sin

Practice makes perfect. This wise old saying is, in most cases, true. One wants to play and musical instrument or sing then hours or preparation are in order. Doctors, after years doing the job, are more apt to diagnose correctly. And the list goes on in efforts on this planet where practice pays off. When it comes to sin which so easily entraps us this is not the case. One can curb sin of action by resisting the temptation. In addition the sin of omission will be curbed by doing what is right when it presents itself to be done. However, what about the sin of the thought life based squarely in the mind and heart.

Romans 7:21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? ESV 

Reason would look at that question and she would suggest to try harder. This is the natural answer to many of the challenges we face in life. The answer, sadly, in much of the Christian Church is casting the sinner back on him or her selves. This is pagan Greek philosophy but in no way Christianity. Where does St Paul point us?

Romans 7:25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. ESV

Romans 8: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. ESV

What human reason and effort cannot do Jesus did for us by his holy life, bitter sufferings, death and resurrection. This handled the curse of the law for us. Do we want to sin and keep on sinning. No. But out of true repentance we look to Christ and trust his doing the whole job for us. Let us trust this good news and live in the peace it gives.

In the name of Jesus. Amen †

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Offense: God is Angry With You!

This error is based mostly on assuming the behaviour of the Christian is related to justification. We all fall short in our thoughts words and deeds in trying to do what our Heavenly Father desires of men. This error is preached, it seems, to guilt the believer into either changing behaviour and perhaps increase service in the church. This hurts people who are sensitive to the law and loves Jesus that he or she would wish to follow perfectly. However, is God really angry with us for our failures to follow his commands and desires for our lives? 

 Colossians 1: 21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind,doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. ESV 

 In this letter to the Colossian congregation on will see that we are reconciled with God by the death of Jesus for our sins. We are also by virtue of the innocent and bitter suffering and death of our shepherd presented holy and blameless. This should answer once and for all the fear that God is angry with us and will reject us or we are not truly saved due to our falling short. 

One can be so hurt by this wretched error that one can lose faith in Jesus. One may err from the faith and adopt a "why bother trying since my trying is or was a failure?" This hopelessness often leaves one erring from the faith rather than keeping in repentance and true faith in Christ.

This error is not beholding the bitter suffering and death of Jesus in a correct manner. A true view will see God's fierce wrath toward sins as well as how that Jesus bore this wrath for all people. Hence the teaching of God being angry towards a believer is an actual slap in the face to the Crucified Lamb of God. When one has been granted repentance and faith in the finished work of Christ God is no longer angry with the believer. And the grateful response of the Christian is to out of gratitude seek to guard the words of Jesus seeing them as a Light unto his or her path. 

Let us trust this good news and live in the peace it gives. 

In the name of Jesus. Amen. †