Friday, August 5, 2016

What does it mean to be saved and saved from what?

Jesus saves us from sin, death, the devil, and the tribulation to come. (Matthew 1:21, Hebrews 2:14-15, 1 Thessalonians 1:10) We are saved by the washing and rebirth of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:8-11, Titus 3:5) This Spirit gives life. (Romans 8:11)

Romans 8:
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Why do Christians focus so much on the resurrection?

Let's ask scripture.

Notice the context of the scripture that nearly everyone uses to define the gospel. 1 Corinthians 15: 

1Now I would remind you, brothers,a of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 11Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. 15 We testified about God that he raised Christ

In the same chapter about the gospel:

And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:14-21)

So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. (1 Corinthians 15:42-43)

Peter's famous speech in Acts chapter 2: 

23this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

29“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.
Peter's message to Cornelius, the "words by which you will be saved" included the resurrection: 
And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree,  but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. (Acts 11:14; 10:34-43)

I hope this has helped us all see that the resurrection is an essential part of the gospel. The resurrection frees us from death and sin.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification (Romans 4:25)

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:11)

That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10: 9-10)

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives (Hebrews 2:14-15)

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?O death, where is your sting?” (
1 Corinthians 15:55)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Jesus Christ, the Faithful Witness

"I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” - John 8:18

Who is Jesus a witness of?

"I am the one who bears witness about myself."

Monday, October 6, 2014


I read that the early Catholics celebrated Halloween by making fun of death and the devil because they have been conquered. We have nothing to fear from them.

"That by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death--that is, the devil" Hebrews 2:14
For my household, it is a celebration of our freedom from fear and superstition.

I encourage everyone to look into the history of the holiday. Generally, churches that have the holiday on their liturgical calendar know the history of a holiday rather than relying on more recently written articles that rely on pagan sources that change history. In the case of Halloween, it was a Christian Holiday, All-Saints Day first.

In the year 609 or 610 Pope Boniface IV established a date for All Saints’ Day on May 13th. And later, in the early 700s AD, Pope Gregory III changed the date to November 1st. Decrees like this took some time to propagate from Rome to the more remote areas where the Church was found. But the change in date had nothing to do with any pagan practices. Pope Gregory IV extended the celebration on this day to the entire Western Church in the early 800s. And again, the change took time as it spread from Rome.
The point is this: a common day for commemorating the Saints has been around throughout the Christian Church from very early times. And the fact that it falls on November 1st today has nothing to do with paganism.
OK, so what does this have to do with Halloween? In the Bible the day begins at sundown or evening. This is why we have Christmas Eve. Halloween is All Hallows’ Eve‘, that is All Saints’ Evening. Halloween is the beginning of All Saints’ Day starting at sundown on October 31st.
These days we have “Trick or Treat,” costumes sometimes too gruesome to describe: witches, goblins, werewolves, vampires, zombies, Lady Gaga; Jack-O-Lanterns, skeletons, spooky sounds, grave stones, candy and a celebration of gore and all that is un-Holy.
Many of the Christian Churches in the Reformed traditions claim that Halloween is a pagan celebration. Very often they do this by referring to Neopagan and Wiccan writings. And there are many in the Neopagan and Wiccan communities who have tried hard to claim Halloween as an ancient pagan holiday that had been stolen by the Christian Church.
Don’t ever expect truth from Neopagans and Wiccans. They already live in a fantasy world created by their own fakelore. -

This article is also a good one considering that the Orthodox church does not have Halloween as part of their Liturgical calendar, and does not officially support the holiday:

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