Friday, July 26, 2013

Why do churches use the term "Services"?

"The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve."- Matthew 20:28

Jesus serves:

1. By proclaiming God's Word:

"Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you." - John 15:3

2. By baptizing:

"Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." Ephesians 5:25-27

3. The Lord's Supper:

 "Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." - Matthew 26:26-28
"For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves." - Luke 22:2

4. Proclaiming forgiveness:

Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." - Luke 7:48

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, "Son, your sins are forgiven." - Mark 2:5

The Church serves:  

1. By proclaiming God's Word: 

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” John 21:16

"We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." - 2 Corinthians 5:20

2. By baptizing: 

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," - Matthew 28:19

3. The Lord's Supper:

"For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes." - 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

4. Proclaiming forgiveness: 

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them;" - John 20:21-23

"I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake." - 1 John 2:12

How is my Christian religion different from Jehovah's Witnesses?

Jehovah's Witnesses teach that we must try really hard to be good enough to enter paradise. Jesus teaches that He is good enough, and my sins, ALL of them, are forgiven, even though, as a sinner, in reality, I am never good enough. And that he accepts me, and gives Himself to me, not just 2000 years ago when He died, but everyday. Everyday, this Holy One, mingles with me, even me! He gives me His very own perfect blood to cleanse my dirty blood even of the dirt that I have caused myself! He comes to me. He saves me, when I don't deserve it. He lifts me up. It is His work, not mine.
Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27) He wants a holy Bride, without blemish, so what does He do? He makes us holy!

My God is nothing like the God of the Jehovah's Witnesses. My God eats dinner with tax collectors and immoral women, He touches the demon possessed, the leprous, the dirty beggars, the Romans and the Samaritans,

He washed His disciples feet!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What is the Gospel? What is Christianity?

What is the Gospel?

  1. God loves you!  14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  (John 3:16 and context)
  1. You are a sinner.  "There is no one righteous, not even one; For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”  (Romans 3:10,23)
  1. You have earned death. “For the wages of sin is death”  (Romans 6:23) “Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.” (Romans 4:4)

  1. Jesus took our punishment.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:5,11) “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

  1. Eternal life is a gift: “For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 6:23) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast”  (Ephesians 2:8-9)


  1. Jesus rose from the dead.  “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures”  (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (Romans 4:25)

  1. Jesus offers forgiveness of sins and eternal life to those who believe in Him. “On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive” (John 7:37-39)

“He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’  They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household’”  (Acts 16:30-31)


What is Christianity?

Christianity is the life and salvation God has given in and through Jesus Christ.

“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son does not have life.” 1 John 5:11-12 “Whoever has the Son has the Father also” 1 John 2:23

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:3-5

Notice that it is after salvation, and after being justified (declared righteous), and after becoming heirs that this is said in verse 8:  "The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people."

"We all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:3-9

Once again we notice that it is being saved by receiving the gift of God, that enables us to do good works in verse 10:  "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."