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    Easter Thoughts

    Christians who still hold the Jewish people accountable in the role of Jesus' death are being transparently un-Christian and I don't mean merely in the sense that Jesus taught forgiveness, or that it's not nice to promote genocide, no matter how angry you might be. The point or at least one of the main points, of our religion is that Jesus died for humanity's sins. I recognize that just because the story had a theological happy ending doesn't mean that the Crucifixion was anything other than horrific. The symbol of our religion is the cross, not a Good Samaritan icon, because the Crucifixion and subsequent resurrection were what proved his divinity and redeemed humankind. It is clear that the Crucifixion and Resurrection are central to the Christian faith. While the Crucifixion in itself wasn't a good thing, it was, according to our Christian doctrine, an entirely necessary and pre-ordained thing. Without it, Christianity as we know it wouldn't exist.
    We all wear and look at Crucifixes and I think maybe we have forgot just exactly why it’s our symbol, to give you a way to look at it, just think if Jesus had been hung instead of nailed to a cross, we would then have our jewelry in the shape of a hangman’s noose, doesn’t seem the same does it? I hope that the next time you put a Crucifix on or see a cross anywhere you remember just exactly the sacrifice that God gave for us, think about what the symbol means.
    So, the answer to the question "Why did the Jews kill Jesus?" should be: No, and we shouldn’t hold The Jewish people accountable. I mean you can’t say any race or group of people did something that a few did, just as Americas can’t be grouped because some serial killer was American, nor can we say all Muslin’s & German’s are bad because of Homein & Hitler’s actions. Holding a race or group of people for the actions of a few is exactly what we are taught as Christians not to do. Theologically, the question is irrelevant, which means Christians can stop blaming Jews and people of both faiths can get back to disagreeing about things like whether you get more presents at Hanukkah or Christmas.
    My meaning to this discussion is that when we critize one for their beliefs to the point that it is prestigious or hurtful we are being un-Christian. Jesus’ teachings does not instruct us to hate or be hurtful to others. So why do some think it is ok to do so.. There are no commandments or teachings that say we can’t befriend someone who has other beliefs than we do; in fact we are taught to do just the opposite. Do we ask to who and what faith are they when we drop our change into one of Salvation Army buckets at Christmas? When we see someone in need should we ask what faith they are before helping? Should we turn our backs on someone who is in need because they are homeless, owe us money, have done us wrong in the past or don’t go to the same Church or have the same beliefs as ourselves? Respect and do for others as you think Jesus would, it’s a simple concept so why is it so hard for some to do?
    True Christians will someday, I hope, understand that our beliefs are rooted from childhood by our parents and the people around us and just because others were brought up in a different way, with different beliefs doesn’t mean all are wrong or not going to Heaven. There are thousands of different reglions and denomations based on The Bible and the only thing that all can really agree, other than there is a creator in God, is that all of us can’t be right. There is and will always be disagreement and different interpretations of the meanings and translations of the writings of the Bible; maybe it was God’s hand in the compilation of these books and text that keeps it interesting and discussed for over a 2000yrs now. If these text were written in such a simple way that there was no way for it to be interpreted except one way, it prOBably would have been read once as a youngster and then put on the bookshelf or in the storage box in the attic along with our 1st grade Dick & Jane book. I have to think in His ultimate wisdom ,God knows that by discussion and debate over the interpretations we keep His word alive and fresh to those who wish to believe in Him. I won’t go in to discussing other books and beliefs not based on The Bible at this time, a topic for another time, but know this , I do believe we are taught to love and understand ALL, not just those of us who were raised with the teachings from The Bible.
    As we celebrate the resurrection of Christ we should maybe take a look within ourselves to resurrect our faith and love every one, no matter of race or reglion. Help those who are in need help and do as if The Lord is right there with you, for He is. Some are good at showing their beliefs, faith and religion by quoting or posting Bible verses on social networking sites, others do the things that make others aware of their faith by making sure they go to church service or work at events to assure everyone knows they were there. Then they live another way, causing turmoil, hurting the ones they are supposed to love, turning their backs on those in need, judging people on their looks, what they drive or what they do for a living or being prestigious towards people of different races or beliefs. It’s like putting your clothes in the dryer before you wash them, one is no good without the other, to be the whole Christian not only do we need to show our beliefs and faith but live by them too. The things we do that don’t get the recgonigation in the paper or church bulletin are the things we may be judged on the most.
    In this Easter season we will all hear “Jesus died for you”, we also need to remember why Jesus lived for us.

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    Joel 2:12-19

    Joash,Jehoiada, Revival. Jehoiada dies. Joash allows idols. War. Locust. God’s wrath. Joel the prophet calls nation torepentance. We, too, are living in anemergency hour.

    I. There is a Weakening of theConsciousness of Sin

    a. In our personal lives.

    b. In our homes.

    c. In society.

    d. In business.

    e. In politics.

    f. In the Church

    II. Many Church Members Manifest aTerrible Indifference to the Claims of Jesus Christ and His Cause

    a. We take all He has to give us, butgive little or nothing in return.

    b. We claim the blood regeneration andact as though we had never even heard of the blood.

    III. There is a Lowering of MoralStandards

    a. The Church is conforming to theworld. Lax standards of morality – ofmarriage vows. Filthy movies, music,literature, video games, etc.

    b. The Ten Commandments have not beenrepealed. The Sermon on the Mount isstill the law of the King.

    IV. There is a Blighting lack of Passionand Compassion for Lost Souls

    a. No weeping mothers, no burdenedfathers, no praying deacons or elders, no agonizing Sunday school teachers, noanxious church members, no all night prayer meetings.

    b. No intense driving, longingcompulsion to see souls saved. It is outof style to weep, and shout in the church.

    V. Sinners are Coldly Indifferent toTheir Desperate Condition

    a. The Gospel has become a mockery, abyword, because of us.

    b. Our lack of compassion fails to warnsinners.

    VI. Here is God’s Appeal to Us(Vs.15-19): A Call to Prayer

    a. It is a universal call – topreachers, to deacons and elders, to men, to women, to children, to babes inarms.

    b. It is a call to repentance.

    c. It is a call to confession (Ps. 32:1-3).

    d. It is a call to dedication: “Sanctify the congregation.”

    e. It is a call to prayer.

    f. It is universal.

    g. Supplication and intercession areinvolved.

    VII. Promised Results

    a. A return of the Lord.

    b. Overcoming OBstacles.

    c. Showering of blessings.

    d. Visitation of the Holy Spirit.

    Adapted fromHyman Appleman, Preached By Pastor Jim Nicholson 1/30/2011

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    preach by brother matt at king of grace baptist church


    this message preaches with a spirit of sticking to the old time way, geared to the young men coming up in the ministry...

    for more preaching click here

    Brother Matt
    psalm 138:4-5

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    I Peter 3:18-22
    18 “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
    19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
    20 Which sometime were disOBedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
    21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
    22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

    There has been a sizeable amount of false teaching concerning this passage of Scripture. With God’s help, I plan to put the false teaching to rest, and to fill your hearts and minds with sound doctrinal truth.

    3 Goings On while the Ark was being built

    A.) Noah was a preacherII Peter 2:5 “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly…”

    B.) Comparison with Jonah and the Ninevites (in comparison the Ninevites believed Jonah)
    Jonah 2:1 “And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
    2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
    3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.
    4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
    5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
    6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his rOBe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
    7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nOBles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
    8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
    9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
    10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”

    A.) God is longsufferingI Timothy 1:12 “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
    13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I OBtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
    14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
    15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
    Howbeit for this cause I OBtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

    Psalm 86:15 “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.”

    Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
    Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

    III. A VISUAL AID WAS CREATED (Intro text vss. 19-21)
    A.) The Ark pictured Christ
    1.) The word “baptism” means “to place into.”
    Romans 6:1 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
    2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
    3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
    4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
    5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
    Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

    I Peter 3:20 “Which sometime were disOBedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by [Gk. “dia” = through, by, among, at] water."

    B.) We are saved by being placed into Christ (not the water; those who were in the water outside the ark were destroyed - drowned!)

    Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
    10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

    Ephesians 2:13 “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

    Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    Philippians 1:1 “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons…”

    A New Creature
    Galatians 6:15 “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.”

    II Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

    Galatians 3:26 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

    I Corinthians 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

    By faith Noah and his family got into the ark.

    By faith we enter into Jesus Christ.

    Water baptism is a symbolic act which refers back to our being placed in Christ. It is a testimony to that fact.

    Acts 8;36 “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
    37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
    38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
    And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”

    Romans 10:10a “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness…”

    Note: You may listen to this sermon in audio by going to the Harvest Baptist Church Website listed here on Online Baptist.

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    I had the chance to preach this a few months ago. Keep in mind I am no preacher. I have made the verses bold and posted most of them at the bottom of the sermon.

    The Two Births

    John 3:1-7
    I heard a qoute once and when you hear it I want you to really thing about it. If you are born twice you die once. If you are born once to die twice. (X2) Listen again to the words of Jesus in John 3:3 (Except)and John 3:7 (Ye Must) Notice Jesus didn't say that It would be a good idea if you were born again but you MUST! Compare this with Rev 20:11-15 and Rev 21:8 Now before we go any further I just want to point out that John 3:5 is not talking about baptism. If you read it in context the passage is clearly referring to the Physical and Spiritual birth

    So let's see what the Bible has to say on this subject. First we will look at the first birth (Physical) and the second birth (Spiritual) Then we will look at the first death (Physical) and the second death (Spiritual)

    John 3:6 The first birth is the physical or the flesh birth. Father and Mother get together and produce flesh. This birth produces a sinful nature. A child does not need to be taught how to sin. It just knows how. PS 51:5 Rom 3:10 Rom 3:23 We are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are sinners. The second birth is the Spiritual birth. This birth produces a Spiritual nature. II Cor 5:17 God's Spirit joins with our spirit and produces a new birth (Spiritual) Rom 8:14,15 (Explain Adoption)The spiritual birth is like this. God is in heaven and wants to adopt everyone. He through his Son Jesus sent everyone an open invitation to be adopted or born again. But God will not force himself upon anyone. We must accept his invitation willingly.

    Next the physical birth produces a corruptible nature I Ptr 1:23 The corruptible nature brings forth a corruptible or contaminated seed. The seed of man was corrupted when Adam sinned Romans 5:12 Corruptible man can only bring forth corruptible seed. For example if a man has Aids his blood and seed are contaminated. Any child he brings forth will also be infected with AIDS. The Spiritual birth produces an incorruptable nature. Rom 5:19 An incorrtible nature produces an incorrtible or uncontaminated seed. I Cor 15:50-55 This is why it was so important for Jesus to be born of a Virgin. Because He was concieved by the Holy Ghost he did not have the sin nature passed on from Sinful man.

    The physical birth produces an old nature and a death sentence Rom 6:23a Have you ever heard the phrase " Born to DIe" From the moment we are born the clock is ticking. Every second every minute takes us closer to death. What is age anyway? Think about it. There are those we consider young and those we consider old but young and old should really be defined by when you will die. If a 16 year old lives until they are 80 they are basically young. But if that 16 year old only lives to be 17 they are basically old. Their life is almost over. No one is gauranteed tomorrow. The Spiritual produce a new nature (II Cor 5:17) a gift of life. Rom6:23b Jhn 10:28 If you are here today and you have been born again how thankful are you? Are we trully grateful for the life God has given us? From what he has saved us from?

    Lastly the physical birth produces a hellish nature and children of the devil. John 8:44 I Jn 3:10 Despite what the world says we are not all God's children. The Spiritual birth produces a divine nature and children of God II Ptr 1:4 Romans 8:16 Gal 3:26 again John 1:12

    Now let's look at the first and second death. We will look at the physical (first death) for the believer and the Spiritual (second) death for the unbeliever. Remember the first death is the phyical death. The second death is the Spiritual death. Only those that have experienced the second birth will escape the second death.

    The first death for the believer results in everlasting reparation or rewards. John 14:1,2 2 Jn 1:8, Rev 22:12 After a person is saved then his works count for something but only after. Salvation is a gift Tit 3:5 Ephesian 2:8,9 No amount of works will grant eternal life. In fact if you are trusting in works it is just piling on to your sin debt. The second death results in everlasting loss or destruction. Ma 25:46 2 Th 1:7-9 Those who die in their sins are judged according to their works. Rev 20:13,14

    The first death results in eternal rest. Rev 14:13 The second death results in a restless eternity. Rev 14:11

    Finally the first death results in everlasting life. John 3:15,16 Tit 1:2 3:7 IJn 5 11,13 The second death results in eternal death. Man was created with an immortal spirit. He was made to live for ever. So when a person dies unsaved his indestructible spirit suffers eternally. Hell was not made for man Ma 25:41 but God made only one way, one sacrifice to pay for your sin Acts 4:12 John 14:6
    Reguardless of all the groups, sects, religions, and denominations they can all be boiled down to 2 groups The do's and the DONE All the religions of the world including many in the "Chrisitan" realm and I use the term loosely teach that you must do something to work your way to heaven. True Bible Christianity teaches that Jesus paid it all. All that was necessary Jesus accomplished when he died on the cross. He said "It is finished." John 19:30

    Hebrews 9:27 Everyone here will die on day and be judged. The question is how will you be judged? As a child of God or as a child of the devil? Have you been born again? It is not by works and it not some fancy words. It is by simple faith. I'll share this example and be done. A few weeks ago I took the boys fishing. Well they decided it would be more fun to swin. So they swam and I attempted to fish off the dock. I was turned away from them baiting a hook when Miciah step off the drop off. Immediately he cried out to me I reached down and saved him from drowing. Now how foolish would it have been for him to think I know I am drowing but I am going to save myself. His only escape was for someone to pull him out.

    Jesus is on the dock in Heaven and the world is drowning in sin. Many know that they are sinners but do know or will not admit that they are drowing or wicked enough to go to hell. Others know but refuse help. They are out there with their arms flay ling but instead of calling out to Christ they are trying to grab onto themselves or good works to keep from drowing. That would be like Miciah trying to grab onto some lead weights to keep from drowing.

    Others can hear a message like this or perhaps have heard a message in the past and know they are drowing but think I am just going to wait for awhile before I call out to be saved? Thinking that they can tread water for ever. No one here is guaranteed one more day. Don't be foolish and wait. So the question is what will you do?

    Jhn 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
    Jhn 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
    Jhn 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
    Jhn 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
    Jhn 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
    Jhn 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
    Jhn 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
    Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
    Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
    Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
    Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
    Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
    Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
    Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
    Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
    Rom 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
    1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
    Rom 5:19 For as by one man's disOBedience many were made sinners, so by the OBedience of one shall many be made righteous.
    1Cr 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
    1Cr 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
    1Cr 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
    1Cr 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality.
    1Cr 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
    1Cr 15:55 O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory?
    Jhn 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.
    Jhn 8:44 Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
    1Jo 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
    2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
    Rom 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
    Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
    Jhn 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
    Jhn 14:2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
    2Jo 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
    Rev 22:12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward [is] with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
    Mat 24:51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint [him] his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
    Mat 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
    2Th 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
    2Th 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that OBey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
    2Th 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
    Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
    Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
    Rev 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed [are] the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
    Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
    Jhn 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
    Jhn 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    Jhn 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
    Tts 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
    Tts 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
    1Jo 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
    1Jo 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
    1Jo 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

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    Acts 27:3 "And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself."

    As I was studying a few weeks ago, I ran across this in Paul's journey. As we all know the story, Paul was on his way to Rome and was being carried about by ship. I found this verse to be very enlightening about Paul's testimony in that he was a prisoner, much like the story of Joseph after being put in prison from Potiphar's house in Genesis 39. This verse just seemed to jump off the pages at me about what other people see in us as Christians.

    I've been in law enforcement most all of my adult life--former USMC military police, former correctional officer in a jail, retired state police--I've seen a few jails in my day. I was involved one time in the moving of a couple of death row inmates that won new trials during appeals. They had been sitting in jail for a couple of years at that time and they needed some pretty high security. I've also arrested folks out on the highway and let them ride up front and run through a drive through on the way to the jail. I could tell stories all night about every kind of situation in between where I've had to wrestle, or beg and plead, or pull my pistol, all just to get people to go along with the program. The way people were treated varied some but depended wholly on the way they treated me. However, the one constant was they always stayed within my sight and control and I didn't trust them out of my sight. What does this tell us about Paul's testimony?

    I see first that Paul had "character". Paul said he'd do something and he did it. Paul was told to do something and he did it. Paul set out to do something and he did it. He meant what he said and said what he meant. Look at the Phillipian jailer who would have killed himself but for Paul in Acts 16:27, 28. Paul and Silas didn't go anywhere when the bonds were loosed and the doors sprang open. They weren't going anywhere, Paul had a date with Caesar. This jailer passed the word along that Paul wasn't just a man of God, but he was a man of character. Paul's testimony proceeded him via the social network of the jailers and centurions and guards.

    The next thing I see from Paul is his "conviction". Paul (Saul at the time) already believed in God as a Pharisee and scholar. In fact, before he was struck down and called by Jesus on the road to Damascus, Acts 26:10, 11 shows that Paul put many Christians in prison and even made some of them blaspheme Christ. This shows that Paul was once himself a form of police officer by chasing and persecuting Christians and testifying against them. Look at what it says, he "having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them." (Acts 26:11) Then, when he got saved, he changed his tune. He witnessed to his friends, not just the gentiles, but his police friends. He let his testimony speak for himself and he got liberty. They trusted him because he wasn't fighting against being in prison. He knew his mission was to speak in front of Caesar. He was headed to Rome--with conviction! :amen: What this tells me is that Paul not only had a reputation among the Christians, but again, among this network of jailers, centurions, and guards as mentioned before.

    The other thing I see from Paul is his "commitment". Again, Paul has a date with Caesar. He knows the end, but he doesn't know the in between. Paul is committed to the cause. He is fighting the good fight. He also has commitment to those he is subject to within the justice system of the time. These are guys he prOBably knew at one time or another during his Christian hunting days. Now he's on the other side. Have you ever thought about bad cops? What about police officers that get caught in drug stings or beating people? These folks are the worst of the fall-from-grace-types. Can you imagine the first time Paul got arrested that he ran into one of his old pals? Hey Paul, you're one of them?? But his testimony shined through.

    As I was studying on our text verse, it hit me all of a sudden, something here sounds strangely familiar with something Jesus said: "And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?" (Mark 8:27) Jesus was sent here to do a jOB--"to seek and to save". He had character and He had conviction and He had commitment! He was beaten! He was "buffeted" (punched) with the palms of their hands! Beard pulled out! Crown of thorns! Nails in his hands and feet! Hung on the cross for three days! Finally, pierced in the side!

    Whom do men say that you are? Do the people in who's charge you are in see your testimony? Can they turn you loose and let you go and know that it's going to get done?

    Hey preacher boy--can your preacher give you a jOB to do and know that he can walk away and not have to look over your shoulder?

    Hey soulwinner--are you there every time to meet with the others in your church to go out?

    Hey Christian--are you sitting there like a bump on a log not doing anything waiting for the Spirit to move you? (or the mood to hit you)

    Hey sinner--you're a good person, but it won't get you to Heaven. Have you trusted Christ?

    Peace be with you and may God bless.

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    Ecclesiastes 1:4 One generation passeth away,and another generation cometh:but the earth abideth for ever.

    The righteous liveth to tell of the good news about Jesus. Eternal life is their portion.

    By divine the righteous are the living creature in Gen124-30 that doeth the will of our Lord Jesus christ.

    Naked every creature at different time came into existence to acknowledge the glory of a born child whose generation abideth forever.

    Bound to depart no matter his lifespan.without his passing away the acknowledgement of unlimited generation above remain futile.

    He cannot create another of the sun, moon, stars, ocean, and the air he breath that acknowledge
    "One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever"

    The blind who cannot see can now see in the crowd and the truth :amen:

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    Pleasing God
    by Dr. Paul Chappell

    "Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free."
    Ephesians 6:6-8

    Rather than listening to what a critic says about your life, listen to what God says about your life.

    An old fable that has been passed down for generations tells about an elderly man who was traveling with a boy and a donkey. As they walked through a village, the man was leading the donkey and the boy was walking behind. The townspeople said the old man was a fool for not riding, so to please them he climbed up on the animal's back. When they came to the next village, the people said the old man was cruel to let the child walk while he enjoyed the ride. So, to please them, he got off and set the boy on the animal's back and continued on his way. In the third village, people accused the child of being lazy for making the old man walk, and the suggestion was made that they both ride. So the man climbed on and they set off again. In the fourth village, the townspeople were indignant at the cruelty to the donkey because he was made to carry two people. The frustrated man was last seen carrying the donkey down the road. The moral of the story? We can't please everybody, and if we try we end up carrying a heavy burden.

    Too many people in our world are living to please other people. They feel pressure to please parents, siblings, friends, critics, fans, fellow church members, and others; yet many of them are failing at keeping everyone happy. Ask anyone-from the richest man to the poorest man on earth-if they live without criticism and the answer is no.

    So why do many people try so hard to please others? The answer may be found in the answer of a circus actor. This man's act (being shot out of a canon) had been performed twelve hundred times when a reporter asked him why he signed up for the dangerous jOB. His reply: "Do you know what it's like to feel the applause of 60,000 people? That's why I did it!"

    People live for the pat on the back, the applause, the "jOB well done" from their peers. Their actions are often guided by what others want. Yet God tells us that our service should be done not to please others, but to please Him, "Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord...."

    You will face critics in your life. We all have people who are displeased with what we do, say, or how we behave. Too many people take criticism to heart and allow it to determine their actions. Rather than listening to what a critic says about your life, listen to what God says about your life.

    When someone criticizes your actions, ask yourself these questions:

    • Am I OBeying God's Word?
    • Am I honoring God with my life?
    • Am I faithfully living the life He has for me?
    • Is God pleased with my actions?

    If you can answer yes to each question, then ignore the critics and continue faithfully serving God. The opinion of critics will be of little importance when you reach Heaven. All that will matter is the opinion of your Heavenly Father.
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    I thought it might be fun, and spiritually profitable, to round up and discuss a collection of commandments that are particular to Christianity; beginning with the book of Acts and systematically working on through to Revelation. I'll also have occasion to refer to the Gospel narratives from time to time too.

    Anyone with the wherewithal is at liberty to comment, contribute, point out errors, and/or ask questions; I mean, after all, this might be a devotion; but it's not a filibuster, so I encourage interaction.

    Some people regard any and all commandments as legalism. But let me assure you the commandments on my list are not the commandments of a legalist, but rather the commandments of the Bible's Christ.

    †. 1Cor 2:12-13 . .We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

    †. 1Cor 14:37 . . If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of The Lord.

    †. 1Ths 2:13 . .When you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God.

    †. 1Ths 4:1-2 . . We beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.

    Teachings don't have to be couched in "Thou Shalt" and/or "Thou Shalt Not" to qualify as commandments. Any directive qualifies as a commandment, as does any imperative which Webster's defines as: of, relating to, or constituting, the grammatical mood that expresses the will to influence the behavior of another.

    Some of my commandments will be accompanied with notes, and some will be solo; and I should warn everyone that this is a huge task and requires several weeks of daily-bread style posts to accomplish as I have well over 400 commandments on my list. But if you stay with me to the end, I can easily promise you will be much the better Christian for it.

    †. Rom 12:1-2 . . Be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    †. 2 Cor 3:17-18 . . Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is that Spirit.

    NOTE: Lest someone should take this compilation of commandments lightly, as if it were nothing more than a locker-room bull session, I should point out that OBedience to Christianity's commandments is the acid test of one's loyalty to the Bible's Christ.

    †. John 14:15 . . If you love me, you will comply with what I command.

    †. John 14:21 . .Whoever has my commands and OBeys them, he is the one who loves me.

    †. John 14:23-24 . . If anyone loves me, he will OBey my teaching . . He who does not love me will not OBey my teaching.

    †. John 15:14 . .You are my friends if you do as I wish.

    ps. I never really know how other people's computers display fonts so if my choice is grossly too big or too small, let me know.


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    (Actual Calvinist song as documented in The Other Side of Calvinism by Dr. Laurence Vance)

    "We are the Lord's elected few, let all the rest be damned; there's room enough in hell for you, we won't have heaven crammed!"

    This article is not meant to mock Calvinists. There are many God loving people who have held to Calvin’s system of soteriology, not the least of whom was Charles Haddon Spurgeon. On the flip side, there have always been very good Christians who’ve held to the opposite view, Armenianism, such as John Wesley.

    Pointing out the errors in doctrine is not the same as demeaning those who believe it.

    That being said, Calvinism, if taken to its logical end result can be very harmful. Those who take it there are called hyper-Calvinists, and they tend to spend their time in groups muttering about the elect, eternal decrees, and doing everything but soul winning. Thankfully, Charles Spurgeon was not a hyper-Calvinist and he actually spoke out against them.

    Regardless of whether your beliefs lean towards Armenianism or Calvinism, it’s important to take a step back and examine them. I’ve seen many Calvinists accuse those who do not adhere to their doctrine as being lazy, unwilling to study the scriptures, and taking the easy way out. If you are a Calvinist, I hope you will hold yourself to the same standard of diligence that you hold others to as we take a look at the five points of T.U.L.I.P.

    Total Depravity:

    Rom. 3:10-12, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”

    The idea behind this point in Calvin’s system is that man is so totally depraved that he lacks the ability to be able to come to God or seek Him out. Calvin is correct on this point, to a certain degree. On his own, man is so depraved that he will not seek after God. That’s easily ascertainable in the above passage.

    The story doesn’t end there though; consider this woman who just wouldn’t give up:

    Matt. 15:21-28, “Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23 But he answered her not a word.

    This woman came to Jesus for help. He did not seek her out at all, she went out of her way searching for Him, and when she found Him she asked Him for help.

    Jesus gave her the cold shoulder, first rejection.

    “24 And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.”

    Second rejection. The disciples ask Jesus to tell her to go away, right in front of her. Does this deter her?

    “25 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

    Third rejection, right in front of the woman Jesus ignores the woman again, and tells the disciples that at that time the gospel wasn’t intended for the gentiles. At this point, the woman has experienced rejection three times and Jesus still hasn’t spoken to her directly.

    “25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.

    After being rejected three times, the woman pleads with the Lord to help her. He rejects her, insults her, and insinuates that she’s not good enough to even be able to hear the gospel. The plan was not for her at the time.

    In Matthew 10:6-7 Jesus clearly told his disciples to ignore everyone who was a Gentile and to only bring the gospel to the Jews. Sure, the Gentiles were going to get a “crack at it”, but not until the Jews had heard it first. The reasons behind this have to do with dispensations and the gospel of the kingdom, something that is another Bible study in of itself. Regardless, Jesus rejects this woman directly after ignoring her twice.

    “27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”

    After being rejected four times, the woman doesn’t try to defend herself at all. She understands that she is a lost, hell bound sinner who deserves nothing. She doesn’t argue with the Lord, she agrees with Him. Jesus is moved by this woman’s persistence and faith and goes outside of His own dispensational guidelines to save her.

    How does THAT line up with the idea of total depravity, or better put, total inability?

    Does this mean we take the verses in Romans 3 and throw them out the door?

    Of course not. Then how do we reconcile the woman in Matthew 15 with what is written in Romans 3?

    John 12:32-33, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.”

    Jesus Christ is the game changer. Jesus Christ is the bridge between God and man; the woman in Matthew 15 couldn’t help but be drawn to Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and anyone in the same room as Him would know it instinctively regardless of any dispensational boundaries that may exist! We read in John 12:32 that when Christ was lifted up (“lifted up” is defined as crucifixion in the very next verse) that all men would be drawn unto Him.

    Before Christ, there are many instances of men choosing of their own free will to OBey God. OBviously the depravity of man does not extend to his will, when given light from God and given a choice man is able to respond to it. Without the light, man doesn’t seek out God, but with light he certainly has the ability to choose God.

    So the “T” in T.U.L.I.P is a moot point. It doesn’t matter whether or not man can come to God on His own or not, Jesus promised that if He was crucified that He’d draw all men on earth to Himself one way or another.

    Unconditional Election:

    Eph. 1:5, 11, “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will… In whom also we have OBtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:”

    The idea behind Unconditional Election is that those who trust Christ were meant to do it from the foundations of the earth. The idea is that not only did God know who would trust His Son Jesus before they were ever born (which no Christian would dispute), but He actually predestinated them to make that decision. Some He predestinated to get saved, others He left out. Even if such a thing were true, such election would be based upon foreknowledge so as to not violate man’s free will.

    Most Calvinists hate to admit this, but if God unconditionally (that is the key word) predestinated some to go to Heaven that means that God also unconditionally predestinated some to go to Hell. In fact, it would mean it is God’s sovereign will that most people go to Hell. In order to help take the teeth out of this John Calvin taught that God predestinated all babies to go to Heaven, very convenient to say the least and doesn’t exactly fit with the idea that the election is “unconditional” to some people and not to others. Of course all babies go to Heaven (Rom. 7:9; 4:15, 5:13; II Sam. 12:23), but it’s not because they’re predestined to salvation.

    What Calvinists who are hung up on God’s sovereign will consistently ignore is the fact that God’s will is VIOLATED every time we sin, every time someone rejects the gospel, and especially every time someone goes to Hell.

    1. When we Sin:

    I Thess. 4:3, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:”

    I Thess 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

    2. When the Gospel is Rejected:

    Acts 17:30, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:”

    II Tim. 2:4-6, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

    3. When a person goes to Hell:

    II Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

    John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

    God is not some sadist that loves you enough to send His Son to die for you, but willingly chooses for you to go to Hell. You won’t find that anywhere in the Bible.

    What you will find is a couple verses here and there that talk about people being predestinated. Once again, do we ignore those verses because at first glance they do not seem to fit with the rest of scripture? Of course not.

    Here’s the critical statement:

    Nowhere in the Bible will you ever find anyone ever being predestinated to get saved, what you find is people being predestinated who already are saved.


    “Those in the bus are predestinated to arrive at the bus station in two hours.”

    Being predestinated is conditional on one thing – being in the bus!

    The same thing applies to being predestinated in scripture; you have to be “in Christ”. Being “in Christ” (I Cor. 12:12-13, Rom. 6:3, Gal 3:26-27, II Cor. 5:17) means being in the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23), being in universal church (Col. 1:18, 24), and being part of the bride of Christ (Rev. 21:9, Eph. 5:23-32). They’re all the same thing. The only way you get “in Christ” is by getting saved.

    In both cases in Ephesians chapter one, if you look at the verses that are talking about predestination you’ll see that they’re talking about people who are in Christ. Those who are chosen are “in Him” or “in Christ”.

    Eph 1:4-5, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”

    Eph. 1:10-11, “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have OBtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:”

    The term “predestinated” means basically that you establish to do or receive something before it actually happens. Calvinist assume that these verses mean that a person is predestinated to get “in Christ” (or get saved) before they actually receive Christ.

    In both sets of verses, the people in question are predestinated to two things, the adoption of children and an inheritance. Neither verse says these people are predestinated to receive these things before they are saved, it just says that those who are in Christ are predestinated. The next logical question is what is the adoption of children and what is this inheritance that these people are predestinated to?

    1. The Adoption of Children:

    Rom 8:23 “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”

    According to this verse, we haven’t yet received the adoption, we’re still waiting for it. The adoption is the redemption of our bodies that happens to believers at the resurrection (I Cor. 15). So this verse on predestination is actually one of the strongest verses on eternal security in the Bible, because if you’re saved and in Christ you are at that point predestinated according to the will God to have your body changed into a glorified body.

    2. The Inheritance Incorruptible:

    I Peter 1:2-5, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto OBedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

    I Peter 1:2-5 takes care of several questions. First of all, what is the inheritance that is spoken of in Ephesians? In Ephesians it says we already have it, and here it says it’s reserved in Heaven for us. The only thing I can imagine it would be is a mansion (John 14:2). We, in Christ, are predestined to receive this. Not surprisingly, in the same context, we see in verse 5 one of the strongest and clearest verses on eternal security in the Bible. Predestination falls under the doctrine of eternal security for the believer who is within the body of Christ, not an unbeliever who the Bible says is dead and “in Adam”. If you’re in Adam, you’re not predestinated to anything.

    The second thing this solves is how a person becomes part of the elect. Calvin would tell you that a person is part of the elect “unconditionally”, even though you’ll never find a passage anywhere in the New Testament that says someone is saved without putting their faith in Christ. I feel like saying that once isn’t good enough, no where in scripture is anyone saved unconditionally! Salvation is conditional on you putting your faith in Jesus Christ. Do you see how if you take a verse and start building a doctrine around it you can find yourself ignoring hundreds of verses in the Bible in favor of your strange isolated interpretation?

    So how does one become part of the elect then? It’s very simple; it’s through sanctification of the spirit. Look, if someone is part of the elect before they’re saved that means they have the promises of a new body and a home in heaven, something that is reserved for members of the body of Christ, while they are still “in adam” and “dead in trespasses and sins”. Do you see how ridiculous this is?
    There’s one last passage on the subject of predestination in the Bible, and once again it has nothing to do with anyone being predestinated to be saved.

    Rom. 8:29-30, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

    The saved people in this passage are predestinated to be conformed to the image of His son, that happens at the resurrection, it goes right back to the adoption which is the redemption of the body. The subsequent event to the foreknowledge in this passage is not salvation! Does it say “For whom he did foreknow, he did predestinate to receive redemption?” No, it doesn’t say that. The event that follows the foreknowledge is a Christian getting predestinated to get a new body; it has nothing to do with salvation.

    Calvinists take a couple verses in Ephesians 1 and this passage in Romans 8 and completely get the cart before the horse. The foreknowledge and predestination in this passage and I Peter 1:2 are both conditional upon “…sanctification of the Spirit, unto OBedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ…” In other words getting saved. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, because we’re told over and over again in the New Testament that salvation is conditional upon faith, and the benefits of being saved are conditional upon (amazingly enough) actually being saved.

    Before we stop on this subject, there’s one last verse that should be considered:

    II Tim. 2:10, “Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also OBtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

    Ok, so the Calvinist will tell you that this shows that the elect aren’t saved, and that Paul’s ministry was to get the elect saved. Wait a second though, according to Calvinism, Paul wouldn’t have to endure anything for the elect to get saved, they’ll get saved regardless. What’s the point? While you’re mulling that over, let’s consider another verse to help us understand this verse.

    I Tim. 2:14-15, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sOBriety.”

    Does this mean that women have to have children to qualify for salvation, and that ladies who never get married, have physical difficulties, or are married to men who are sterile are bound for Hell regardless of whether or not they’ve put their faith in Jesus? Of course not, being “saved” in this passage has nothing to do with the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

    Consider another verse along the same lines:

    I Tim. 6:11-12, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”

    This verse is commanding a preacher to lay hold on eternal life by living right. Wait, I John 5:11-12 tells us that eternal life is a present possession, not something we get later on! Also, eternal life is not conditional upon good works (Eph. 2:8-9), so what is it talking about in this verse when it says for us to lay hold on eternal life if we already have it? It’s talking about the same thing that Paul was suffering for in II Tim. 2:10. What would that be? Does Paul clarify what he’s talking about when he says that he’s working for the elect to receive salvation? Where would the best place to look be?

    How about the very next few verses:

    II Tim. 2:10-13, “Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also OBtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.”

    The “salvation” in II Tim. 2:10 is the same thing as the “eternal life” in I Tim. 6:12, it’s talking about earning rewards in Heaven. Paul wanted his converts to receive a “full reward” (II John 8, Phil. 3:14). We don’t know this because it sounds nice, we know it to be true because within the immediate context of II Tim. 2:10 the scriptures talk about Christians suffering to reign with Him. As a Calvinist, if you’re going to protest this then you had better make childbirth a part of salvation for a woman (I Tim. 2:14-15) and start preaching works salvation (I Tim. 6:11-12).

    So the “U” in T.U.L.I.P is ridiculous because any student of the Bible can tell that salvation is not unconditional. As far as predestination, scripture is very clear that it occurs after salvation and not before.

    Limited Atonement:

    John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”

    This passage is used to demonstrate that Jesus ONLY shed His blood for the sheep.

    When you adhere to the “U” in T.U.L.I.P. you’ll find yourself going down the slippery slope of having to believe in “L”, “I”, and “P”. The last three letters of T.U.L.I.P are completely ridiculous, and hardly merit much of a response. The first one, Limited Atonement, is the blasphemous teaching that Jesus only shed His blood for the elect.

    When you start believing that God controls everything we do in life, most importantly acceptance and rejection of the gospel, then the sky’s the limit. If God only chose a select group to go to Heaven and created billions of others for the purpose of going to Hell, then it is only rational to conclude that Jesus only shed His blood for the elect and they are the only ones capable of making use of it for redemption. If there’s no such thing as free will, then of course this makes sense.

    Let’s look at a couple of clear verses that debunk this idea:

    I Tim. 2:4, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

    I Tim. 2:6, “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

    The Calvinist will insist that “all” means “all the elect” in these verses. Ok, fine, show me in the context of those verses where the elect are mentioned.

    There’re not.

    They’re not mentioned in the entire chapter. In fact, nowhere in the entire book are any “elect” human beings mentioned at all. The only elect in I Timothy are “elect angels” in I Tim. 5:21. All “elect” means is “chosen”, Israel is an elect nation (Is. 65:9) and Jesus was called God’s elect (Is. 42:1-4).

    I Peter 2:1, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

    Jesus shed His blood for false prophets and false teachers in this passage.

    I Tim. 4:10, “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.”

    Jesus Christ is the Saviour of all men, and a clear distinction is made between those who believe and do not. He is especially the savior of those that choose to accept Him.

    I John 2:2, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

    His blood atonement is not only available for those who accept Him, but for the whole world.

    If there’s really such a thing as limited atonement, then Hell was made for the billions of people that God would put in Hell. Why was Hell made?

    Matt. 25:41, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

    Hell was made for Satan; it was not originally intended for people. Hell was created after Satan fell, and it was intended for Him and the angels that rebelled against God. What the Calvinist is saying, whether he wants to admit it or not, is that God willfully creates people so that He can put them in Hell.

    Meaning, it’s God’s will for most people to perish.

    II Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

    Yes, there are plenty of verses that talk about Christ’s blood being shed to redeem men and that His blood was shed for the saved, His bride, and His sheep. That is doesn’t mean that His blood was only shed for those who would accept Him. His blood was shed for every man, woman, and child that ever lived.

    II Peter 3:9 tells us that it is specifically against the will of God for anyone to go to Hell. That means, contrary to Calvinism, the atonement at Calvary is unlimited.

    Irresistible Grace

    Acts 13:48, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”

    The teaching of Irresistible Grace is that not only does God choose who’s going to get saved, but He also overpowers them and basically forces them to accept Him. Those who are predestinated to receive Christ must accept Him, and they are unable to resist the Holy Spirit in the matter of salvation.

    Unable to find a verse that would even hint at such a thing, the Calvinist will yank this verse out of Acts and a couple other verses about God forcefully preparing somebody for a specific task (none of those tasks have anything to do with receiving Christ) and claim that God’s sovereign will forces people to accept Him outside of their free will. At best, this is a quantum leap based upon a couple verses in the Bible, ignoring a huge host of verses that talk about men having free will to choose Christ or not.

    If man is unable to resist the Holy Spirit, then how does the Calvinist explain these verses?

    Acts 7:51, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.”

    Matt. 23:37, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

    II Tim. 3:8, “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprOBate concerning the faith.”

    Duet. 8:20, “As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be OBedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.”

    II Chr. 33:10, “And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.”

    These verses demonstrate that man can overrule the will and commandment of God. God’s grace and His commandments are clearly resistible. Yes there are cases in the Bible where God hardens someone’s heart (Ex. 9:12), allows them to be deceived (I Kings 22, II Thess. 2:11), gives them over to a reprOBate mind (Rom. 1:28), or even turns away from an entire nation or group of people (Acts 13:46, Rom. 9:22) – but in every case it’s only after the person or group of people have continually rejected the light that God has given them.

    Now back to Acts 13:48. When it says that these Gentiles were ordained to eternal life, what does it mean? We’ve already determined from several other passages that it doesn’t mean they had no choice in the matter and were predestinated to receive Christ, so then what does it mean that they were “ordained to eternal life”?

    Romans 2:4-7, “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

    At first glance this passage could seem to teach that God renders eternal life according to the good deeds of people. In other words, works salvation. We know that’s not true based upon plenty of other verses in the Bible that say salvation is a free gift of grace through faith. So what is it talking about? It’s talking about repentance, look at verse 4. Lost people who respond to their conscience and seek after God (because Christ was lifted up they can do that, see the part about Total Depravity) are rewarded in this life for their good works by receiving more light. An example of this would be Cornelius.

    Acts 10:1-4, 21-22, 30-31, 44-45, “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. 3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. 4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.”

    This man was a lost Gentile. He sought after God, and God heard his prayers, saw that he fasted and wound up sending Peter to him so he could get saved.

    “Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come? 22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.”

    Peter tells the man that God has heard his prayers, and that God told Peter to go to him.

    “30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.”

    Peter preaches a message to Cornelius and several other Gentiles who are present, and in the middle of the message they wind up accepting Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit.

    While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

    Another example of a Gentile seeking out God of his own according and God rewarding him with more light is the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8. The Bible is very clear that God rewards those that seek Him.

    Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

    With all that being said, do you see how God takes extra care and prepares some to get saved, based upon how they respond to the light that God gives them? See, the prOBlem is the Calvinist takes this one verse and one word in it, “ordained”, and builds a doctrine around what they think that word means, without checking out the rest of the Bible first.

    They assume that “ordained” means “predestinated”. If you can find a verse in the Bible that says people are predestinated before salvation to receive Christ, then you might have a point – but you can’t. All ordained means in this case is “prepared”, God takes special care and attention to those who seek after Him and he prepares them to one day receive Christ. He doesn’t make them do it, but He gives them every chance He can and helps them out as much as possible. That is what the Bible teaches, and that is the correct interpretation of being “ordained to eternal life”. That interpretation is not based upon a Greek word or a dictionary definition; it is based upon clear scripture with scripture Bible study.

    It’s a sad thing when someone resists the calling of the Holy Spirit to salvation, but it happens all the time. God’s grace is resistible, and man does have a free will.

    Perseverance of the Saints

    Matt. 10:22, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”

    Depending upon how it’s taught, this can actually be the one point in Calvinism that is correct. If taught that the believer has eternal security, then it’s correct. We understand that eternal security is a Bible doctrine based upon several verses in the Bible (Eph. 1:3, Heb 13:5, I Peter 1:5, Rom. 8:38-39).

    Many Calvinists take a skewed view of Matt. 10:22 and teach that if you’re part of the elect you will endure to the end. In this case, “the end” would be the end of your life. What results in that kind of thinking is actually very ironic.

    Here you have a group of people that swear on three verses in the Bible (not to be confused with swearing on a stack of Bibles) that God unconditionally predestinated certain people to be saved. He then overpowers them and forces them to choose Him. These folks really have no choice in the matter, and they’re pretty much eternally secure before they’re even born.

    Then the same people teach that the elect will serve the Lord and endure for Him up until the end, and that they are predestined to do just that. The prOBlem is, when you take this teaching and bring it back into the real world, you wind up with a bunch of Hyper-Calvinists wondering if they’re really part of the elect. In other words, these good folks who believe in eternal security on a doctrinal level have no assurance of their salvation on a practical level. It’s actually very sad.

    Matt. 10:22 has nothing to do with people who are saved enduring to the end of their lives. The context is the Tribulation, and all it means is that saved folks who manage to survive the horrors of the Tribulation will be delivered out of it at the very end by Jesus Christ Himself when He comes back.

    In conclusion, let me say that John Calvin was a shining light for his day and was used to God to rebel against the oppressive and tyrannical Roman Catholic Church. He had, however, a huge list of practical and doctrinal shortcomings, and those who refuse to go further than him in Bible study are bound to be fouled up.

    Calvinism is just like any other cult. It is built on a few verses, taken out of context and interpreted without supporting scripture.

    What is clear in the Bible is that God loved the entire world enough to send His Son to die and pay the penalty for everyone, that He wants all men to come to Him, and anyone who does come to Him He will not cast out.

    Rom. 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

    Rev. 22:17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

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  2. Using Acts 11:25-26 as a springboard, we have five alliterated points, on the kind of Christian we ought to be.

    1 Walking Christian Jeremiah 6:16
    2 Working Christian Ephesians 2:10
    3 Witnessing Christian Mark 16:15
    4 Waiting Christian Isaiah 40:31
    5 Watching Christian Ephesians 5:15-16

  3. Introduction to the Book of Revelation
    Part One
    Part Two

    Podcasts and other media formats here

    Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. Rev. 1:3

  4. Taught a few weeks ago at a Wednesday night prayer meeting of church.

    Psalm 55:22: Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

    When we meet for prayer, we bring all our needs and burdens and cast them upon the Lord. 1 Peter 5:8 promises a load of burdens on us all, for the devil is, as a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour. Burdens came into the world because of sin. Yet one verse before, we learn that we can cast all our care upon God, for he cares for us. This is the answer to satan's attacks, and to our burdens.

    We see a few things in Psalm 55:22:

    1. Cast thy burden... The Hebrew word means "throw out, down, or away; hurl, pluck, throw." It's a call to action! Don't ignore your burden, and don't try to hold it by your own strength. Get rid of it, and throw it to the Lord! When you cast it away, it's not your prOBlem any more, and it's not up to you to find the solution. Let the Lord figure it out--if anything happens, the Lord will have to be the one to do it.

    2. ...thy burden... David had a great burden, if you read earlier in this Psalm:

    To the chief Musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David. Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; Because of the voice of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked: for they cast iniquity upon me, and in wrath they hate me. My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.
    (Psalm 55:1-8)

    For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. (Psalm 55:12-13)

    PrOBably this was Absalom's rebellion, with David's equal Ahithophel also against him. David's family and friends were against him, and David was at the place in his life where he wanted to just curl up in a ball and die. His burden was so great that he couldn't deal with it--it was crushing him, and he would have loved to escape and hide somewhere where no one would ever see him again. Do we ever feel like that?

    This burden was caused by David's sin. 2 Samuel 12:9-12 promises David's family would turn against him. David's burden was a punishment from God, yet David knew to run to God for help--what faith! Are their burdens in your life caused by sin? Even if they are, you need to cast them upon the Lord for help.

    Burden: "That which is borne with labor or difficulty; that which is grievous, wearisome or oppressive; a birth."
    Everyone has spiritual burdens--for self, and for others. People have physical burdens--cancer, disease, pain, etc. No matter the burden, the Lord can take it--see Matthew 11:28-30.

    3. ...upon the LORD... NOBody else can better take your burden--not a husband, a wife, a friend, or a pastor. We are called to bear one another's burdens, but ultimately, all our trust should be on God. Our hearts' comfort should not be because our friend is doing something about our prOBlem, or because a doctor is looking after us, but primarily, because the God of heaven is on our side, working continually for our good. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes. (Psalm 118:8-9)

    4. ...and he shall sustain thee. With anyone else, it would say "might." With God, it's "shall" or "will." David had no doubt that God would take care of him. Sustain: "to hold from underneath; endure without failing; maintain; keep alive." The Hebrew word also means "receive." This word is in the Bible 3 other times, including 1 Kings 17:9 and Nehemiah 9:21. If God could rain down manna from heaven, and sustain Elijah many days with a widow woman's last few scraps, He can surely sustain us and meet our needs--and if you cast your burden upon Him, He will. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

    5. He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. Give God your burdens. Every day, cast your care upon Him. Pray to Him. Have the boldness of David, that God will never allow you to be moved. This is only true for the righteous. You must follow God each day, and live being filled with the Spirit. Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (Psalm 119:165)

    Furthermore, you must first have the imputed righteousness of God:
    And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Jeremiah 23:4-6)

    David's righteousness came not from himself--he was a murderer, liar, and adulterer. He coveted another man's wife, and the New Testament tells us covetousness is idolatry. His righteousness came from his Son--the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Called Jehovah Tzidkenu--God Himself--Jesus Christ is our righteousness. Cast your burden of sin on Jesus, and He will be your righteousness before God, for only He was truly righteous in all His life. In Pilgrim's Progress, Christian lost his burden of sin at the cross: "...as Christian came up with the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble, and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more." And so the Lord receives us to himself, and sustains us, most of all when he takes our great burden of sin. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)

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