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Category Archives: theology

Good People Go To Church…

 “Good people go to church and bad people don’t.”  This statement is the common perspective that many people have concerning church and why they should attend.  Many attend church because they already think they are a good person or that by attending church they would become a good person.  On the other side of the coin many don’t attend church because they consider themselves bad and church as a place for good people. 

  Over the last month I found out that my fellow employees where I work are church attendees.  I was surprised because in their speech, lifestyle, and relationships there isn’t any hint of anything Christian.  I’m guilty of thinking first, “Why do they go to church if they are going to live the rest of the week the way they do.”  Then I thought, “They need to go to church if they are going to live the rest of the week the way they do.”  I had to decide what the purpose of church is.  I believe the Biblical church is design to lead people without Christ into a relationship with Christ through proclaiming God’s Word and providing an example of His love.  The church is also designed to lead people with Christ into a growing relationship with Christ through teaching them how to live for Christ and helping them find their area of ministry. 

  After talking to my fellow employees about what church they attended and what they learned from their church experience I found that there is a huge problem.  Most people aren’t getting anything out of church.  I believe the problem is that most church leaders assume that the people that are there at church are good people and they really don’t need to talk about Christ.  The solution is to see the church for what it is the platform for telling people about Jesus Christ and the incredible change He makes in a life. 

   In closing the church isn’t for good people, but for people who need to hear about Christ and His Lordship.  The goal is for the church to become passionate again about sharing Christ with all people.   

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2007 in theology

 

“The Real Battleground”

 Hebrews 4:15, 

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” 

Matthew 6:13, 

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” 

James 1: 13-15, 

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.  But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.   Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

I am very qualified to write about sin and the pain it causes because I sin so much.  If you are like me, I struggle to live for the Christ that I love.  Yes, He is Lord, but so much of the time I end up living for myself.  I know what Paul meant when he said in Romans 7, that the things he wished he’d do, he doesn’t and the things he doesn’t want to do, he does.  Yesterday in my prayer time I realized what I believe to be an important key to experiencing the victory that Christ has given us through His death and resurrection.

This important key to victory was the realization that I’m not called to fight against my sin.  If I fight against my own sin, I will lose every battle and live a defeated life.  I realized that my battle isn’t against my sin, but against temptation.  The real battle takes place at the point of temptation.  In Hebrews 4, Jesus sympathizes with our weakness not because he experienced sin, but because He experienced temptation.  In Matthew 6:13, the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus tells the disciples to pray asking that God wouldn’t lead them into temptation.  Again in James 1, the focus is on temptation. 

The truth is your life is bases on how you respond to temptation.  Rick Warren writes in The Purpose Driven Life that he views every temptation as an opportunity for obedience.  This is great, but no matter how you look at it, you must focus on having victory at the level of temptation.  If you lose the temptation battle you will sin and if you win the temptation battle you will walk in obedience.  For example if you are going to overcome an addiction, you must realize the problem is in how you are responding to your temptations.  Change that response and you will be free.

 Here is my point, stop focusing on sin and start focusing on temptation as the real battleground.  Imagine with me a man struggling with porn.  If he believes the battleground is sin, he will continue run through his mind what he wished he could do if he wasn’t trying to live against sin.  He will look at every woman as an object and live his fantasy with her in his mind.  Then when the opportunity comes where he feels that he can get away with acting on his fantasy he does and feels guilty for his weakness.  He fought the wrong battle.  The battle is with the temptation.  He would gain victory if when the temptation concerning women came to mind, he called on the name of Christ or said, “No, I’m not going to think that way anymore.”  Listen, my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, focus on overcoming and avoiding temptation and you will experience freedom.  When temptation comes, already have the plan that you will use it for an opportunity to obey Christ.    

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2007 in theology

 

Got Church?

 

  My desire has been to write about the steps of spiritual growth.  The first step is to trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and to make your commitment to Him public through baptism.  The next step is to join a local church.  Therefore I will write a couple of articles about church and why you as a believer need to be apart of it.  First let me give you a word of warning.  No church is perfect; therefore perfection isn’t the foundation for choosing a church.  The foundation is revealed in answering the question, “How does this church respond to the Lordship of Jesus Christ?”

  The Bible reveals the truth about the nature of a church.  The church isn’t a building or a location.  The church isn’t meeting once on Sunday Morning, Sunday Night, and Wednesday Night.  The nature of the church is a group of at least three or more people who meet together for the purpose of growing in Christ-likeness and spreading the Goodnews of Christ’s work to others.  The church belongs to Jesus Christ, therefore, it is under His control. 

  When I became a Christian, Jesus changed me.  With this change came a new family and responsibility.  My new family is the church and my responsibility is to serve the church in any way I can.  To give up on the church is to give up on God.  I will not grow spiritually mature until I commit myself to a group of believers that are intent on being Christ-like and spreading the message of Christ’s work. 

  What do you think would be the response of a woman if you told her that her face was beautiful, but her body was ugly?  Do you think she would take that as a complement?  No, she would be hurt or even angry.  This is what we do to Jesus when we think we can have Him without the church. 

  Plan on finding a church in the next six months that you will join and serve.  Please follow along as we study the church.

   

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2007 in theology

 

“What Comes Next?”

  There are many people who have received Christ into their life, but don’t understand what comes next.  First of all, I want you to realize that you are not alone in your journey.  This blog was created to help you. 

  Peter in Acts 2:37-38 tells us what comes next.  In the context of the scripture Peter is preaching and the Jewish people cry out to him and ask, “What must we do?”  Peter responds by telling them to first repent and believe in Christ.  Then be baptized in the name of Jesus.  Baptism is the next step for anyone who has placed their trust into the control of Jesus Christ.

  Baptism is the believer’s first public profession of faith.  Baptism by its nature is symbolic.  Baptism is a picture of what Christ did on the cross by dying and what He did by rising from the grave.  The proper mode of Baptism is emersion.  When the person being baptized leans back and goes under the water this represents the death of Christ.  When the person rises back up this represents the resurrection of Christ.  It is by this act people realize you are serious about your faith in Jesus Christ.

  There are some false beliefs about Baptism.  First is that baptism saves you.  Baptism can’t save you anymore than good works can save you.  Remember the criminal on the cross next to Christ.  The criminal turned to Christ and asked Christ to remember him.  Jesus told the criminal that he would be with Him in paradise.  How did the criminal gain access to heaven?  He wasn’t baptized.  He was saved because he believed that Christ was Lord and he wanted to be with Christ forever.

    Another false belief is that baptism without a personal faith in Christ can protect you from evil.  Many children are baptized for the purpose of protection.  Once again baptism has no supernatural power.  Baptism is an act of obedience on the part of every true believer.

  Baptism counts when you make the decision to confess Christ as Lord and you are baptized as a sign that you belong to Him.  You may have heard a pastor baptizing a person say, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”  All the pastor is doing is identifying publicly to whom you belong. 

  Therefore, if you are a follower of Christ and haven’t followed in baptism then I encourage you to find a church that will baptize you.  Until you are baptized your faith is silent.  The time is now to make it public.

    

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2007 in theology

 

"God the Holy Spirit"

“He saved us not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy, through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having been justified by His grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:5-7

We who believe in the reality and truth of the Trinity realize that God is three in one. He is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The problem with many believers is that they no longer see the Holy Spirit as God. The Holy Spirit has no place or role in their everyday life. I believe that if we will return to surrendering to the Lordship of the Holy Spirit in our lives then we will be filled afresh with God’s power.

The key to surrendering to the Lordship of the Holy Spirit is to understand the work of the Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit involves 4 areas. The first area is the work of the Holy Spirits around the world in convicting and bringing lost men and women to faith in the Lordship of Jesus. John 16:8 says, “When He comes, He will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment.” No person comes to faith in Christ outside of the work of the Holy Spirit.

The second area of work that God the Holy Spirit does is baptizing every believer. This baptism is proof that they belong to God. This is a one time event. When a person professes Christ Jesus as Lord, the Holy Spirit immediately creates His home in their heart. He baptizes the believer with Himself. Ephesians 1:13, “In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in Him when you believed, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” Then again in Ephesians 4:4-6, Paul writes, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope at your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.” Every believer has the presence of God the Holy Spirit in them.

The third area of work that God the Holy Spirit does is filling every believer. According to Ephesians 4:30 and 1 Thessalonians 5:19, the Holy Spirit can be quenched and grieved. God the Holy Spirit is grieved and quenched when we are disobedient to His leading, when we don’t surrender to His control, but most of all when we don’t see Him as Lord in our lives. Dr. Stephen Olford use to say, “Until you are willing for the Holy Spirit to be dominant in your life, He will be dormant. Until you are willing for the Holy Spirit to be President of your life, He will only be present.”

Paul challenges every believer in Ephesians 5:18, when we writes, “And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled with the Spirit.” It seems that most Baptist live out the first part of the verse, but how many are living out the second part of the verse. We need to be filled moment by moment by the Holy Spirit. Moment by moment, I need to surrender to His Lordship. Titus 3:5 tells us the key to sanctification. The Holy Spirit regenerates us and renews us. As I surrender to the control of the Holy Spirit, He transforms my life into the image of Christ. As I surrender, the Holy Spirit lives Christ out in my life. The Holy Spirit’s job is to live out Christ in us and transform us into Christ’s image. This is done by surrendering to the Lordship of the Holy Spirit. I have been guilty of praying, “Holy Spirit help me to surrender more of me to You.” Then I remember what I really need to pray is, “Holy Spirit help me to surrender all of me to You.” Here is the good news. You can’t live like Christ and you can’t make yourself into His image. That is the Holy Spirit’s job. You are to surrender and follow Him.

The last area of the Holy Spirit’s work is He empowers every believer for the work of God. This power is called the Anointing. The Anointing is always given for the purpose of accomplishing God’s work. The anointing comes upon us as we surrender afresh to the Lordship of the Holy Spirit and we ask for God’s Power through prayer. There are two main texts that give an example of the anointing of the Holy Spirit to do ministry. One is Jesus at His baptism. The Holy Spirit came as a dove and anointed Christ as He began His three year ministry. The other example is the anointing of the church in Acts 2. Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” To do God’s work God’s way you need God’s power. It is the role of the Holy Spirit to empower the believer who is surrendered and seeking Him.

Many churches are powerless today. The reason they are powerless is because the Holy Spirit isn’t at work in them. He isn’t Lord over their church. They haven’t sought Him or surrendered to Him. Nothing a church can do without the Spirit will equal what they can do with Him. My encouragement is for every believer to acknowledge the Lordship of the Holy Spirit, to surrender to His control, to follow His leading, and to seek His power. Our hope is found in God the Holy Spirit.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2006 in theology

 

"We Preach A Living Christ"

By OKpreacher

Acts 4:1-2, “The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles where teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.”

We preach a living Christ. This is the foundation upon which the gospel is built. How do we know that Jesus is God’s Son? God raised Jesus from the dead. How do we know that our sins were forgiven on the cross? God raised Jesus from the dead. How do we know that those who believe in Christ will be saved? God raised Jesus from the dead. How do we know that even though we die, we will be raised into new life in Christ? God raised Jesus from the dead. The Good News of the gospel is that from death God has cause life. Not only was sin defeated at the cross, but death was defeated in that tomb when God raise Christ from the dead. Who has God the Father chosen for mankind to put their faith in? His Son, Jesus Christ whom He raised from the dead.. We killed Him through our sins, but God raised Him from the dead. He is alive and He is Lord. Therefore let’s remember we trust in and preach a living Christ.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2006 in theology

 

The Holy Spirit and His Church


(Found this article and I hope it stirs you like it stirred my heart.)
by Samuel Chadwick

The Church is the Body of Christ, and the Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. He fills the Body, directs its movements, controls its members, inspires its wisdom, supplies it’s strength. He guides into truth, sanctifies its agents, and empowers for witnessing. The Spirit has never abdicated His authority nor relegated His power. Neither Pope nor Parliament, neither Conference nor Council is supreme in the Church of Christ. The Church that is man-managed instead of God-governed is doomed to failure. A ministry that is College-trained but not Spirit-filled works no miracles. The Church that multiplies committees and neglects prayer may be fussy, noisy, enterprising, but it labors in vain and spends its strength for nought. It is possible to excel in mechanics and fail in dynamic. There is a superabundance of machinery; what is wanting is power. To run an organization needs no God. Man can supply the energy, enterprise, and enthusiasm for things human. The real work of a Church depends upon the power of the Spirit. The Presence of the Spirit is vital and central to the work of the Church. Nothing else avails. Apart from Him, wisdom becomes folly, and strength weakness. The Church is called to be a “spiritual house” and a holy priesthood. Only spiritual people can be its “living stones,” and only the Spirit-filled its priests.

The Church always fails at the point of self-confidence. When the Church is run on the same lines as a circus, there may be crowds, but there is no Shekinah. That is why prayer is the test of faith and the secret of power. The Spirit of God travails in the prayer-life of the soul. Miracles are the direct work of His power, and without miracles the Church cannot live. The carnal can argue, but it is the Spirit of God that convicts. Education can civilize, but it is being born of the Spirit that saves. The energy of the flesh can run bazaars, organize amusements, and raise millions; but it is the presence of the Holy Spirit that makes a Temple of the Living God. The root-trouble of the present distress is that the Church has more faith in the world and in the flesh than in the Holy Ghost, and things will get no better till we get back to His realized presence and power. The breath of the four winds would turn death into life and dry bones into mighty armies, but it only comes by PRAYER!

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2006 in theology

 
 
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