Now it seems it is time to persevere.

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Keep in mind, what I am going to be writing about is not a prophecy, nor did I get a, “word from God.”  This is just my own personal observations, and thoughts.  I have been thinking lately, that we have had an unusual time of learning, and growing for the last decade or so.  There have been good teachers, and plentiful resources.  Even though there has been persecution around the world, and oppression in other parts of the world, we have been pretty safe here in the USA.  We have had a lack of tribulation.  We have had plenty of time to mature in Christ.  We have been sitting in relative comfort.

I think this time is coming to a close.  I think many Pastors, and teachers are headed for a fall.  The world system, and the enemy are going to be putting Christians, their faith, and knowledge of Christ to the test.  Our sins will seem to come at us with a vengeance, and destructive force that we are not accustomed to.  This is where the rubber meets the road.  Will we buckle under the temptation?  Will we resort to being greedy, selfish, unkind, mean, arrogant, prideful, lustful, adulterous, covetous, abusive, addicted, or fill in the black with whatever sin has been eating at your assurance over the past years, some besetting sin, that you’ve as of yet not had victory over?(1 Peter 1:7, Heb 10:32-36)

We’ve already seen some Pastors/Preaching Elders fall into heterodoxy, or outright apostasy.  We have seen marriages end, and abuses happen.  I think these are just the beginning of what is to come.  We’ve had time to prepare, grow, and learn to fight sin.  I think the time has come, and God is going to put us through trials, and tribulations.  I’m not talking eschatologically here.  It seems the season is here for our good, the Churches good, and sanctification.  Those who are left standing after the fire, will be the ones who have persevered.  We need workmen who have shown them selves approved. (2 Tim 2:15, 1 Cor 9:24-27, James 1:2-4)

Don’t fret or worry.  Rest assured in the God who saves, and sanctifies.  He will also glorify.  When you fall to sin, repent immediately.  Accept Church discipline.  It is for your good, and the Churches good.  Don’t resist out of pride.  Don’t go to another Church, or movement.  Don’t utilize a loophole like that to escape what will bring you back to spiritual health in Christ.  It is the means He has ordained. (Rom 5:3-4)

Let’s do our due diligence, and submit to our Savior fully, and with all the zeal due Him.  Study His word, apply it, discipline your mind and body, make war against sin!  Rest in His righteousness, and utilize the weapons, and protections He has given us. (Eph 6:10-18, Heb 12:1-3)

Biblical Church Growth

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Q. What is the chief and highest end of man?
A. Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.

There are four means that God has ordained to grow His Church. They are, Evangelism (sharing the gospel), Discipleship (training and teaching the new believer) Service, (Helping the hurting and dying world) and persecution. People only become converted from hearing and responding to the gospel. They grow closer to God, and get to know Him by reading His word, and learning His truth. The new heart and nature of a convert is on display in the world humbly serving the lost and dying, displaying the glory of God. Persecution weeds out the false converts, and demonstrates another truth, the world hated Christ, and they will hate you also for His namesake. The exclusivity of the cross is offensive to the world. Remember persecution comes from outside the Church.

Who goes to Church, and why? This is important to figure out, if you are concerned that your congregation is dying. One category of people is false converts. Some of them know they are not Christian, some believe they are Christians. Lost people have a few reasons why they go to Church. Of those reasons, none of them are the right ones. They go to Church to get a pep talk, a self-help speech, they go for professional and social networking, they go to feel good about themselves, (self-righteousness) they go to be entertained by a slick, “praise/worship band. We can agree that these are not the right reasons to go to Church. So what are?

If you are a true convert, you know your purpose in life is to bring glory to the Lord of salvation. You’ve been brought to new life by grace, through faith. You were dead in your trespasses and sins. You know you were purchased at a price, and the Lord of Creation suffered humiliation and death on a cross, in your place because of your sins. Christ became sin for you. You come to Church because it is God’s will. From your new nature you want to do God’s will. After all, He is changing your desires and affections by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the reading of His word. Our minds are being renewed so we can prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. You come to be with brothers and sisters in Christ, to hear the word of God expositorily preached, to sing praises to God, to worship Him in prayer, and song, to be baptized, and have communion, and to be sanctified by God in learning to live in community with other sinners, and by granting them grace, to live out the gospel for the glory of the Lord.

Who is church for, the goats or the sheep? Church is ultimately for the glory of God, and that glory is for our good. God says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Church is for the sheep. They are the ones who really want to go for the right reasons. When God says in Matthew 16, “…I will build my Church…” we also see the means He has ordained for the growth. He is going to use us to preach the gospel to the lost and dying world, because the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.

Salvation is of the Lord. It originates with Him. It is provided by Him. Jonathan Edwards once said, “You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary.” Even persecution is given for the growth of the Church. If there are false converts in the local body, when persecution comes, they will flee, and deny Christ. The truly converted will stay, and proclaim the gospel, and make disciples even during persecution.

What is the gospel? Simply put, “Repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” We have to unpack that for sure. It shouldn’t be a daunting task for us. It should be something that overflows from the heart of a believer, as they have experienced the love and grace of Jesus. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Most people don’t share it, because they are woefully ignorant of what it is.

Here is a simple analogy. Imagine you are a telling a class full of students who want to become mechanics that you are a mechanic, but you leave out the fact that you don’t understand how an engine works. Then when the students ask you how the engine works you mumble and string together things you’ve heard mechanics say. You wouldn’t feel very comfortable or sure of yourself would you?

Believers should feel confident and comfortable sharing the gospel. It is imperative that they learn how to do so, and that they do it. People are entering eternity without Christ. They will rise to eternal torment and burning, having the very wrath of God poured out on them. How can we say we have love, if we refuse to give them the gospel?

Ask some of your congregation “imagine I just was stabbed, and only have moments to live. I am afraid of dying and going to Hell, and I say, “What must I do to be saved?” You can’t tell them to be a good person, they are dying. You can’t tell them it is by baptism, they only have moments to live. What can you tell them? You can preach the gospel to them. You can say, “You are afraid of hell, and rightfully so. You are a sinner. Just like me, you have broken God’s laws, and deserve His just wrath, but being rich in mercy, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live a perfect, sinless, life that we couldn’t live. Jesus was and is righteous. He humbly offered Himself up on the cross, He submitted to death on the cross according to the will of the Father, where the wrath of God was poured out on Him in our place, so that the justice of God could be satisfied. When He was finished atoning for our sin, He said, “It is finished.” He died, was buried and resurrected on the third day. If you’ll repent, or turn from your sins, forsake them, hate them, and ask God to forgive you based on the work of Jesus, He will save you from your sins, for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Will you confess your sins to God and trust in Jesus?”

Friendship evangelism is impractical. The Christian should have a fervent urgency to share the gospel with the lost so they can be saved. Friendship evangelism is slow, and you can only befriend so many people at a time. The need is great, and the workers are few. The command is not to preach to a few, but to all, and we need to get busy.

Remember the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. It is offensive because they are confronted with the righteousness, and exclusivity of Christ. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 15:18-25 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. 25 But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’”

Don’t compromise on the gospel. If we soften the gospel to make it more appealing to the lost, we rob it of its effectiveness. If it were readily acceptable to the reprobate sinner, it is because it doesn’t require rebirth for him to believe it. The only way to grow the true church is by the means that God has ordained evangelism, discipleship, service, and persecution.

What needs to happen so we can do this? Free up Elders who are gifted and able to preach and teach the gospel to the laymen, and to teach them how to evangelize. Organize them, to go out and evangelize. When people are converted they will look for a Church. It doesn’t matter if you put more people in the seats at your Church. We don’t do this to grow our kingdoms, but rather the kingdom of God. New converts will come in. When they do, be ready to teach them from God’s word. Don’t feed them cotton candy theology, sermonettes, or topical sermons that are more self-help than the word of God. Take your position in the pulpit seriously. Get them grounded in God’s word because when persecution comes they will need to know the hows and whys of it. Get them out there serving the lost and dying world out of the new love they have in their hearts.  Equip them to go out and share the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.

Addiction, Compulsion, and Sin.

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We, knowing our own sin, and the power of temptation to keep drawing us in. We should be the first to have mercy, and demonstrate grace to others who don’t even know the Savior. Just like us, they know in their hearts, they don’t deserve mercy or grace from us or God.

The Word of God says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (NASB) Romans 5:8”

Some of us know addiction. There is a compulsion to do something that goes against every intent of our minds, but is so overwhelming. With obese people it is the compulsion to overeat. With drug/alcohol addicts, they need the high/drunk. With adulterers they crave what they shouldn’t have. With the homosexual/porn addict/pervert, they want what is wrong. How can they know freedom from their sin, and the punishment of it? How can they fight against it? How can we preach the gospel if we are only condemning them?  How can they ever know forgiveness if we only act in as self-righteous hypocrites?  

” Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any  affection and compassion,  make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from  selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;  do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but  emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (NASB) Philippians 2:1-11

So be like Christ to the world.  People are suffering in hopelessness, resigned to the notion that they will forever be a slave to their addictions, compulsions, and sins.  Do the most loving thing, and preach the gospel of Jesus to them.  

If they hear the gospel and get saved, what do they do if the temptations are still there? What does it mean if they sin again, and their hearts are being broken each time they give in to what the compulsion to sin is driving them to?

The gospel can set them free from their sinful compulsions. It doesn’t always happen immediately, but through repentance and faith, God will sanctify them, and give them victory over their sinful compulsions. His grace is sufficient. How long are you willing to stay in the fight against your sin? How many times are you willing to allow the shame and guilt to drive you to the feet of Christ to ask Him to forgive you?  Don’t give up on coming to Him.  Don’t let your loss of a battle, or many battles shake your faith in Jesus.  He has won the victory for us.  Trust in His victory.  

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. “(NASB) Philippians 1:6

God will forgive everyone who repents of their sin, and believes in the work of Jesus Christ alone. Don’t trust in your own righteousness, because it is filthy to God. Don’t trust in your good deeds, because they are tainted by your sin. Don’t trust in ceremony or rituals, they just tire you out. Trust in the God/Man Jesus Christ. He will demonstrate grace to you based on His love and goodness, not on any thing you might think deserves favor from Him.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (NASB) 1 John 1:9-10

May God grant you faith to believe in the work of the Savior, and repentance from sin. Put your faith in His finished work, and trust only in Jesus for your salvation. God will deal with you sins and justify you. He will keep dealing with your sins, and sanctify you. He will finally deal with your sins, and give you a glorified body to live with Him forever. In that eternal life you will never desire sin again. You will finally be free to only the will of God without temptation.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified  by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved  by His life.  And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (NASB) Romans 5:8-11

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.  Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (NASB) 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “ But the righteous man shall live by faith.” (NASB) Romans 1:16-17

So live by faith!  Believe that Jesus will do what He says.  Believe He is who the Bible says He is.  Believe the gospel, the good news preached in his name.  He will demonstrate His grace to you if you repent and put your faith in Him.

Snowed in, with a bad back, and an inauguration to watch.

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The last few days have been interesting. So much snow, that my gas furnace and on demand water heater both had their roof-top exhausts covered completely with snow. I didn’t want frozen pipes or a frozen house, so I had to get the exhausts cleared and call some professionals to get the over 3 ft. of accumulated snow off my roof. Thanks Arturo Martinez for all your hard work. If anyone needs some snow removed from their roof, message me and I’ll send you his number. The next morning of fun was realizing the pets could not go outside to do their business. I began to dig them a patch of ground out and wrenched my back. It gave me time to ponder deep topics like, “Will it get better or worse? Will I be able to get to work Monday? How many ibuprofen have I already taken?” One thing is for sure, is that the will of God will be done. This brings me to the inauguration. 4 and 8 years ago, I trusted in the will of God when the pro-abortion, (a.k.a. baby killing) perversion promoting, (LGBT nonsense) Barry Soetoro a.k.a. (Barack Obama) took office and kept it. Even while I wondered how people could condone the evils of perversion, (LGBT) perverse marriage, (Gay Marriage… no such thing) abortion, and socialist totalitarianism, I was comforted by the knowledge that God is sovereign and in control of all things, including the political leadership of this country. I honestly believe we were getting the leaders we deserved as an unrepentant people. We have been calling good evil and evil good for fat too long to keep on experiencing the blessings of God. Instead, for 8 long years or corrosive evil leadership, we were under the discipline of God. I hope that the people have repented, and we will be experiencing a reprieve. God willing, may America be blessed once more. I would ask all of you to repent of your sin, put your faith in the finished work of Christ, and seek God’s glory and will first and foremost in the years to come.

Struggling With Doubt, or Not a Care in the World?

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None of us are sinlessly perfect.  Everyone of us is aware of a specific sin in our lives.  Some of us wonder if we are even saved because of that specific sin that is in our lives.  Some of us are at war with the sin, while others are complacently allowing for it.  Which group are you in?

We are endangered when we count on our own efforts to fight the sin, and then failing time and time again, only to have doubt come in and rob us of our assurance, or we justify our sin away as if it is only a trifle, no big deal, everyone does it, and we allow for it instead of fighting against it.  We count on grace to keep us safe.  Both ways of thinking are wrong.  We should be at war with our sins, knowing that Christ has won the war against sin once and for all.  It is our lot to stand in front of the enemy before us and engage in the fight with all we have, resting in the knowledge that the outcome of the war has already been secured even if we fail in our battle time and time again, but with practice and provision from the Holy Spirit, and God’s word, we should be strengthened.  God will sanctify us, and mature us out of that fight into another fight.  We will keep fighting sin until we die, and are resurrected into a glorified body, that will only do that which is pleasing to God.

If you find yourself in the other group, using grace as a license for sin, sitting back in defeat, without a hope of ever growing, don’t give in.  Now is the time to stand up and fight.  Don’t prove you were never saved at all.  Don’t harden your heart to the calling of the Holy Spirit to get in the fight.  Don’t have a false assurance of your conversion.  “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you [a]fail the test?” 2 Cor 13:5  You might experience a pleasant surprise.  If you get back in the fight, repent and ask Christ to forgive you, He will.  You can have assurance of your salvation.  You can know you are saved.  You can know through the fight, successes and failures, that drive you back to the cross again and again for grace.  Don’t focus on you and your fight.  Focus on Christ and His fight.  Focus on His victory over sin, death and the grave.  Focus on His victory imputed to you by faith and enjoy the peace between you and God in the midst of the violent war against sin in your life.

I Know Everyone is Preaching Unity, Love, and Acceptance, but…

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When the Bible talks about unity, it is for unity among the believers.  When the Bible talks about loving your brother, it is talking about your brother in Christ.  When it talks about acceptance, it is not about accepting sin.

The enemies of the gospel, Christ, and the cross are our enemies as well.  They are the ones who are sold out to Satan.  They hate the gospel, they hate Jesus, they pervert scripture, and they hate His sheep.  These people are not the same as the lost who are living their lives in ignorance.  The lost, for the most part are just plain ignorant about God.  They don’t really care.  The enemies of the gospel are different.  They have made up their minds.  They hate God, His Word, and His gospel.  They also hate His followers and everything that He says is good.

They push every sinful agenda you can think of.  These agendas are part of a larger, “Death Culture” worldview.  They love every defilement of what God says is good.  Just to name a few things; atheism, gender perversion, gay marriage/defilement of marriage, fornication, adultery, liberalizing of the Church, drug use, and so on.  They love anyone who agrees with them and they hate anyone who disagrees.  They preach tolerance while being some of the most intolerant people in the world.

So in the wake of this election, I’d like to share a different perspective and line of advice.  I am not preaching love, tolerance, peace, unity, and acceptance solely for their own sake.  No, I’m preaching being in the world, but not of it.  I’m preaching, put on the full armor of God, pray for your enemies…  they are your enemies.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking they are simply your neighbors and coworkers.  These are the folks that the Bible says will turn you over to the authorities to be martyred, your sons and daughters.

Remember folks, this is a life of death war, eternal life is on the line.  We are to blame for turning our Church services into entertainment for goats.  Church is for the saved of God, to give glory to God!  We are to worship Him together with our brothers and sisters.  We are to go out and be the ones who deliver the uncomfortable truth!  You are sinners!  Repent and believe the gospel!  Hell is real!  Jesus is God!

I don’t care how many people are triggered.  I want to trigger them all!  They need to be shaken down to their cores!  I don’t care how many of them are scared!  They very well should be scared!  They are headed straight to Hell for all eternity!  We need to scare them!  How else can we love our enemies?  This is true love, to tell them the truth, to give them the gospel that can convert their hearts.  So, offend them, offend them all in the name of God!

NO OTHER GODS!!! REPENT OF YOUR HERESY!!!

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There are no other true gods anywhere. There are none in other solar systems. There are none on any other planets. There is no true god except for the God of the Bible, and He is triune. If you deny these truths, you are not Christian, but an idolator! You have made up a god to believe in, and you are in a very very very bad sin. Believing in the wrong god will not save you. It will damn you to Hell! Please repent of your Mormon beliefs! I love my LDS friends, and desperately don’t want you to go to Hell. Some of you, who I maintain ties with, are exceedingly nice people. I’d love for you to become true brothers in Christ.

Mormonism teaches that there are potentially an infinite number of gods, and currently there are countless ones ruling countless solar systems/planets.  Mormonism teaches that the only eternal things are matter and intellect.  It claims that its people worship only the god of this world/solar system.

The Bible says the god of this world is Satan.  The Bible is clear that there is only one true God.  He created everything.  That includes all solar systems and worlds.  Logic dictates that there would have to be one original originator.  If there were many gods there would be no true god among them.  God cannot share His power with other gods, nor can He be known as many gods.  He is one God in trinity.

For the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Assemblies of Yahweh cult members, repent of your Aryanism! You and the Mormons share this in common.  You believe that Christ is not the second personage of the Trinity, but rather a created being. You believe in a lie. You must repent! Read the Old Testament, keeping an eye out for the Christophanies. If you do that, you will see Christ from the beginning. Read John 1:1-14. How can you study the Bible and believe such lies about Christ our God, Saviour, Lord/Master κῦρος, Prophet, Priest, Prince, and King?

“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. ‘Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order, From the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming And the events that are going to take place. ‘Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.'”