Friday, September 19, 2014

Choosing a church made simple: It is by hearing the message of the gospel that we are saved.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. (John 3:14-15)
 
 

It is by believing in Jesus that we are saved. 
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) 
 
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift
of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
 
It is by hearing the message of the gospel that we are saved.  

"He will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household."
 (Acts 11:14) 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes"
(Romans 1:16)  

So what should our church focus us on? 
 
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly
portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by
hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the 
flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit
to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?
(Galatians 3:1-5) 
 
"Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?" 
(Galatians 3:2) 


For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so
 that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having 
escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. (2 Peter 1:4)

Precious and magnificent promises. 




 
Whoever believes in him is not condemned. (John 3:18)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Is Jesus your Mediator? Praying in the name of Jesus.

"In the name of" means that we have Jesus' authority to pray to the Father. It doesn't just mean that we use his name in our prayers.

Acts 19:13-16 shows someone using Jesus' name. But more than just using his name is needed: "Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded."

Only children of God can rightly claim the authority of Jesus' name. Jesus said to pray "our Father". Not all people are children of God. (1 John 2:29-3:1)

Ephesians 2:18 "For through [Christ] we both have access to the Father by one Spirit."

Those who do not have the Holy Spirit have no access to the Father. Romans 8:8-16 shows that only those who have Christ dwelling in them, who are born again, are children of God. see also John 1:12.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

"How do I find a church" part two

In this series about choosing a church I am trying to give basic principles to go by. Focus on the gospel (discussed in part one), avoid certain mistakes like putting your hope in a denomination or choosing a denomination based on prosperity or law (will be discussed in future posts). I was going to try to avoid talking about my choice of denomination. This is because cults focus on your choice of denomination so much (this will also be discussed in a future post). They think that being part of the right group, having understanding of a certain doctrine, or listening to the right teachers is of paramount importance when it comes to salvation. This is not true. It is faith in Jesus that saves and I (and most ex-cult members) had faith in Him before choosing a church.

I have so many people discussing the problems that they have had in trying to find a faithful church that encourages them in the faith that I have decided to tell you why I chose the denomination I am in.


First of all, my church has a confession and sticks to it. I know what I am getting when I attend an LCMS church. The law/gospel distinction, the deity of Christ, the efficacy of baptism, the gift of Holy Communion, are all in the confessions and aren't going to change. Every church member is catechized and this should prevent significant holes in theology. When we join a confessional church, we study the Apostles Creed; we know what the resurrection of Jesus is and means; we know that Christians have the hope of a bodily resurrection. Understanding of the kingdom is part of learning about the Lord's Prayer. When we learn about baptism, we are taught to avoid the error of thinking that our act of obedience is what saves us. When we learn the Ten Commandments, we learn that no one keeps God's law perfectly. When we learn about Holy Communion, we realize that this isn't something we do for God, but something that He is doing for us. And that brings me to

The Confessional Lutheran Difference

 

In a Confessional Lutheran church, the emphasis is on the gospel. It is understood that it is the gospel that saves. It is the gospel that empowers. (Romans 1:16) Every sermon includes the gospel. The promise of what Christ has done and is doing for us.

"His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature" - 2 Peter 1:3-4

Holy Communion emphasizes the gospel, because it is the gift of eternal life, the gift of Christ's body and blood. (John 6:51, 54) His promise of forgiveness. (Matthew 26:28) Baptism emphasizes the gospel, because it is the promise that Jesus died and rose again, for the one who is baptized. (Acts 2:38-39, Romans 6:3-9)

Everything, everything, is about Jesus. It isn't about you. It isn't about me. It isn't about our faithfulness, our obedience. It is about His faithfulness. And it is about His faithfulness, His promises, that we need to be constantly reminded. "Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you." - 2 Peter 1:12

"The law is good! 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' it’s something we should strive to do, but not because you’re going to get something for it and not because it proves you are a Christian. Jesus proves you are a Christian, baptism proves you are a Christian, the Lord’s Supper proves you are a Christian—to you. God is proving it to you!" - Reverend Jonathan Fisk

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Christ's "invisible presence", Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Antichrist

In each of the scriptures below notice the word translated "coming" is the same.

2064 [e]
erchomenon
ρχόμενον
coming

2 John 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.

Matthew 24:29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.

Now look at the links below to see quotes from Watchtower publications that show that they meet the description of the antichrist given in 2 John 1:7. They say that Christ does not return in the flesh:


Christ's invisible return in 1914... Why is this an important teaching to Jehovah's Witnesses? 

Do Jehovah's Witnesses believe Jesus was resurrected?

 


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"Though my father and my mother abandoned me, the LORD gathers me up." Psalm 27:10

I posted this on facebook on Father's Day:


"Happy Father's Day to the Father who is always there for me, my Abba. Lord you took me out of the dark pit I was in and placed me into your heavenly kingdom, not because of any merit in me, but because I need you. Thank you for your love and your faithfulness. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for always being here for me."


One of my friends replied that I am her hero. That is a very encouraging thing to say to me, and I love her so... but this isn't about me and my sacrifice for the Lord. 

We have heard of people leaving their family for less, I am sure. For an unapproved career or marriage? Christ is everything, everything. Of course I would leave my family for Him.

"everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." Philippians 3:8

Yes it takes great faith to leave everything you have ever known. This faith, even this is not my doing, but is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Am I so amazing that I did this? No, of course not. It is about Christ. It is Jesus. He does everything.

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

When we see a Christian doing something that we consider amazing...

We know who the real Hero is. 

Praise God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Cults deny the doctrine of Justification

False teachers believe that we should prepare for judgment day by being faithful to the law (if not the ten commandments, their own) that this will cause us to progress in sanctification so that we will be obedient and ready for judgment day. This contradicts, among other scriptures, Galatians 3.

They might not use the word justification, or they might talk about justification but give it a different meaning.

We believe that Jesus has done everything needed to prepare us for judgment day; that upon belief in Him, we have been given His righteousness, even as we are still sinning, still being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14) That is the doctrine of justification.

"But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe." Romans 3:21-22

For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying that a person has life.” This way of faith is very different from the way of law, which says, “It is through obeying the law that a person has life.” Galatians 3:11-12

"But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners." - Romans 4:4,5


Who 
           forgives
                         sinners. 

Weren't the ten commandments the only laws written on stone?

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone. 2 Corinthians 3:6-7

Then obviously the letter in 2 Corinthians 3:6, which is the Old Covenant, not the New Covenant, and which kills and brings death, is the ten commandments, since the letter spoken of here was written on stone.

So the New Covenant is not of the ten commandments, but is of the Spirit, which gives life.


Compared to Galatians 3 which says that we receive the Holy Spirit by belief, not by obedience, not just at the beginning of our Christian lives, but continuing on in our Christian walk.

Romans 3:28 "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." WOW!