This Gospel

1 Corinthians 15:2 By THIS GOSPEL you are saved, IF you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed IN VAIN.

There is only ONE Gospel and ONE God and only ONE way to Him: Jesus Christ. I’m coming to the conclusion that the local church may be the largest mission field in the World. People believe what they perceive is the Good News of the Gospel, but most people I’ve ever talked to have a form of the Gospel but not the genuine Truth.

EXAMPLES

They have prayed a sinner’s prayer and think at the pronouncement of those words they have flipped the switch to guarantee them a seat at the marriage supper of the Lamb. They then proceed to live the same un-sanctified, sin filled lives, confident that the easy grace they purchased through a “sinner’s prayer,” (which is not in the Bible) has them covered. No repentance, no passion for Christ and His Word, no life turned toward holiness, no life lived that reflects the heart of Christ, NO salvation.

They hear “Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” Throughout eternity, yes. But here and now it may not be your idea of a wonderful plan for your life if your name is Paul, Job, Peter, Joseph, or really any of the 12 Apostles! Christianity becomes about finding and walking the “WONDERFUL” path of the wonderful life. No repentance, no passion for Christ and His Word, no life turned toward holiness, no life lived that reflects the heart of Christ, NO salvation.

Comes to Jesus because He wants you to prosper in every area of your life. Increase in riches, job, children, possessions etc. All the wonderful things God should be doing for you to make your life prosperous becomes the goal. No repentance, no passion for Christ and His Word, no life turned toward holiness, no life lived that reflects the heart of Christ, NO salvation.
You have a God shaped hole in your heart and you need Jesus to have the contentment you were made for. Another gospel that is centered on man and his perceived needs. It ends like the rest. No repentance, no passion for Christ and His Word, no life turned toward holiness, no life lived that reflects the heart of Christ, NO salvation.

And many more false gospels.

Here is what the Gospel is for:

1 Peter 3:18 Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.

John 17:3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Let me see if I can do a quote I recently heard justice. If when you die you get to go to heaven, and in heaven you get every good thing you ever wanted; food you love in abundance, access to family and friends that have gone before you, a great house in the temperature and environment you long for, you get everything you ever wanted, BUT you don’t get to see God’s face. Would you do it? Does that appeal to you? If it does, it only proves you’re more in love with God’s STUFF than with the LORD Himself. That should concern you greatly.

And, it should show you that you’ve most likely bought into a FALSE gospel.
No repentance, no passion for Christ and His Word, no life turned toward holiness, no life lived that reflects the heart of Christ, NO salvation.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures.

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If You’ve Never Heard A Message On Sin, Righteousness, and Judgement, You’ve Never Heard The Holy Spirit Preach!

Over the past couple of years I have seen some desperate things happening. The church of today in many cases doesn’t even resemble the church of the Bible. If it doesn’t resemble the church of the Bible, and God changes not, is it even the church? This has raised an alarm in my heart. I want to share some of those things with you in the hopes that if you see them as well, you’ll share them with your church and with other pastors and leaders you know.

The simplicity of the Truth of the Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit is clear. John 16:8 When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment. Let me break it down.

When was the last time you heard someone preach on these MAIN works of the Holy Spirit? When was the last time you preached on them?

Who calls God Holy and calls out SIN? For the wages of sin is death Romans 6:23. It seems many pastors are more concerned about offending people than they are bringing sin to light so men can repent before a Holy God and get free from it. There is no one who does not sin. 1 Kings 8:46

What about RIGHTEOUSNESS? We preach about forgiveness of sin, but not righteousness. Forgiveness of sin is on the road to righteousness. Righteousness is being made right with God. Open access to God and unity with the Father through Jesus Christ.For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. 1 Peter 3:18

What about JUDGEMENT? Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15 That verse should concern the church! Where is the church that was once referred to as ‘God fearing’? Where is the warning from the pulpit that should ring with the knowledge of the judgment?

Instead we have churches focused on what appeals to SELF, (What’s in it for me?) What will serve MY interests? I don’t have to tell you this. People come in and out of your church looking for what best fits the needs that appeal to them rather than becoming disciples who have died to self.

Rather than being drawn to a church by the Word they are drawn by the same things that the world uses to draw people. They go from church to church being drawn by who has the best WORSHIP TEAM AND EQUIPMENT. The COMFORT and CONVENIENCE of the building has to be to their personal standard. The preacher has to preach messages that are ENTERTAINING, ENCOURAGING, (but not convicting), and a SHORT ENOUGH not to interfere with their plans for the day. SIGNS and WONDERS need to be a main focus because they think that proves the Holy Spirit is there. They do not prove any such thing. Look at those in Matthew 7:21. They had signs and wonders but were told by Jesus to DEPART because He never KNEW them.

If you are truly preaching a Gospel of Sin, Repentance, and Restoration to God, the people I just described come to your church long enough to find out if your message itches their ears and then they’re off to the next one. Their last stop is most likely HELL. We’re tempted to give them what they want and call it church growth. It may be growth but it’s NOT the church.
Matt 15:8 These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.

Jesus was speaking with those who would one day identify themselves as the church when He said, “Matt 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For WIDE is the gate and BROAD is the road that leads to DESTRUCTION, and MANY enter through it. 14 But SMALL is the gate and NARROW the road that leads to LIFE, and only a few find it”. Jesus wasn’t speaking to people outside the church. He was speaking to those who thought they were the church.

My prayer is that if you see the desperate condition of the church as described above you’ll join with me in presenting these straight truths to pastors, friends, and even your church. You can forward this letter to people you know on WhatsApp, Facebook, and Email, and then preach it to your church.

I do not want anything from you. I have no plan to ask for anything. Join with me and let us awaken the church to be the church.

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Minister’s Depression

 

Over the past few months I’ve posted a few things I’ve come across on Facebook having to do with depression in the ministry.  I’ve been amazed at how many times things I’ve shared have been reposted, liked, and commented on. It certainly seems to be something many can relate to and sheepishly agree with. No one is in a hurry to admit they struggle or have struggled with depression, at least they don’t say it out loud.  No one is in a rush to say how it has effected their ministries, families, and personal health. Not many are ready to divulge how anxiety and depression  affects their daily ability to function in their capacities of leadership, including me.

One apprehension associated with speaking on this topic is the same one the Apostle Paul had to deal with.  In his day Paul called them “super apostles”. They were the false teachers who appeared to be superior to Paul in their manner and authority.  The guys with all the answers who can’t imagine how anyone could ever allow themselves to suffer in such a manner.  They certainly wouldn’t put up with it for a second.

The Bible doesn’t use the word depression in most translations.  It does however use words like downcast, brokenhearted, troubled, miserable, despairing, and mourning, among others. There is a whole host of Bible characters who battled their way through what Charles Spurgeon described as the “dark night of the soul”. Charles Spurgeon, experienced the signs of depression throughout his life and it was his most desperate battle.  He was not alone.  The likes of Charles Dickens, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, Handel, Emily Dickinson, Sir Isaac Newton, and many others make up the list of great leaders through history who dealt with this malady.

David was distressed and battled deep despondency. “My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.” Ps. 38:4

Elijah was discouraged, weary, and afraid.  “I have had enough Lord, he said. Take my life, I am not better than my ancestors”. 1 Kings 19:4

Job suffered through great loss, wreckage, and sickness.  “Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb? Job 3:11  “I have no peace, no quietness, I have no rest, but only turmoil. Job 3:26

Jeremiah wrestled with great loneliness, feelings of defeat, and insecurity.  “Cursed be the day I was born…why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame? Jer 20:14,18

The Apostle Paul’s sufferings for the gospel were more than physical.  “We were pressed beyond measure, beyond strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life”. 2 Cor 1:8

Even Jesus Himself was deeply anguished over what lay before Him. “And He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; Mark 14:34

The Imperfections Of The Perfect Leader

Most ministers and leaders I’ve known show a lot of grace and patience toward the people they serve.  Leaders are subject to people as they mis-speak, make mistakes, sin, get mad, let them down, fail, and wound.  Most, and I stress most, not all, take it in stride, forgive if it needs forgiveness, and give people room to grow.  I’ve seen way to many cases where that door doesn’t swing both ways.  I am certainly not saying ministry leaders are without faults.

As pastors and ministers we are well aware of our shortcomings, fears, wars, hurts, and insecurities. We remember and are well aware of our failings and mistakes that have caused wounds to others. Believe me when I say it haunts our sleep. Our personal failings sting relentlessly. The feelings of having let others down, decisions we regret, not being there, or being enough when it counted returns to visit often. I am fully aware that “we” could never be enough. Only Jesus is enough, but the pain is nagging and very real. Every criticism spoken against us sneaks in through wandering thoughts riding on the back of the accuser of the brethren. Every pained and helpless look remembered of the face of a spouse re-opens old wounds. Every disappointed look that reappears in our minds eye from our children’s faces cuts like glass on fresh wounds.

It’s easy to stand on the sidelines like Job’s three friends and shout out what the struggling leader needs to do, or what you would do if you were in that situation. It’s safe and easy to be an armchair quarterback; just cast the care; repent of pride; confess the Word, put it behind you; etc. Do you really think the suffering one doesn’t know those things?  When you are suffering with those doubts, fears, anxieties, and depression it’s a lonely place. Psalm 61:2 From the END of the earth I cry… The END of the earth is a lonely place. If you stop and think about it there is only room for ONE to stand at the very END of the earth. Lonely.

It’s hard to believe anyone understands or even could understand a place like that even exists anywhere near the Kingdom of God, but it does. It’s not only a frightful and terrible place, it’s also the place from which you can catch a glimpse of God. The earth your standing on rolls and heaves with sudden and profound quakes. At one moment you’re thrown to the ground and it feels as though the ground will open and swallow you. (And a part of you hopes it does.) The next moment you realize the one who rules the quaking loves you, and will never let you go. Then you catch a glimpse of him, victory is in sight, and it’s more than OK. You know He’s drawing you to Himself, and then you lose sight of Him, and the rolling and heaving starts all over again.

There is nothing new under the sun. King David reveals the vulnerability we all try so hard to hide. In Psalm 38 David shares his sufferings and prayers. David felt he’d been forgotten of God. Then, like many of us he passes back and forth between objection and hopefulness. It’s one thing to suffer the emotional pain of this torment. It’s quite another to deal with the physical pain David spoke of that is associated with it.  Listen to David in this Psalm speak of both emotional and physical pain.  His back filled with searing pain.  There is a lot of that going around.  Groaning in anguish of heart could be the emotional pain and loneliness that comes with leadership, or more often than not the chest pains that can accompany the gravity of responsibility.

Psalm 38:6-8 6 I am bowed down and brought very low;
all day long I go about mourning. (emotional)
7 My back is filled with searing pain;
there is no health in my body. (physical)
8 I am feeble and utterly crushed; (physical)
I groan in anguish of heart. (emotional)

Real World Casualties 

I recently read about a young pastor who was barely 30, with a wife and three small kids that committed suicide. He seemed to have it all. (Which proves having it all isn’t the answer.) Mega church, 3 dozen paid staff people, 800 volunteers and well loved by “so many”. It’s not the “so many” that are at issue. It really is only the few. The few that will never give an article like this a passing glance, and never see the damage they have caused in so many lives. Why “the few” end up having such a devastating voice in our lives is hard to understand when there are “so many” voices cheering us on. Why does the voice of dissension seem to leave an indelible mark, while the voice of encouragement seems as sidewalk chalk after a rain?

I’ve heard it said, “Other peoples heads are the wrong place to keep your happiness”. Another truism to be sure. Regardless of how true this truism is, living it out is more than a quick witted statement. The reality is it hurts. There is nothing we can do about what other people say and do to us. The only real influence we have is the influence over what we allow, with the strength of the Lord, to touch our own hearts and souls.

You’re Not The Perfect Leader

Never have been. Never will be. No one expected it of you but you, and some over zealous voices to blind to their own faults, and to focused on yours.  Ask the Lord to forgive your pride, and to help you forgive the blind who criticize you so freely. Ask Him to help you find and see Him like you never have before. Ask Jesus to redeem the circumstances surrounding your anxiety, stress, and depression, and like Jesus said to Peter, “When you return strengthen the brothers”

I really believe that a place we have missed it “in” the church and in leadership has been relationships. Being a body. All of the “one another’s” in the New Testament can’t happen in the context of Sunday Morning “Church”. Do a Google search for yourself. The “one another’s” don’t fit in the context of simply meeting on Sunday morning. They only fit in the context of “doing life together”. Community. In our fast paced world where we just work Sunday services into our schedule, the relationships necessary for spiritual survival just don’t fit. This is just as true for Pastors and Ministers. I’ve had a couple of professional counselors I know tell me, “every counselor needs a counselor”. We need those relationships. Leaders need other leaders they can trust with their victories, hurts, and concerns. If we’re not making time to do this as a local church we’re certainly not making time to do it between leaders, and it shows.

Let’s consider Jesus. We don’t often think about what it looked like for Jesus to actually deal with stressful times and being disappointed by people. But He was.

I came across this message on Matt 26:36-39 somewhere. I really don’t remember where. I’ve taught it so many times that it has become my own. You have my permission to forget where you got it and make it your own too There are 5 great lessons to be learned here..

Matt 26:36-39 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane and said to the disciples, Sit here while I go and pray over there. 37 And He took with Him Peter and the sons of Zebedee and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

#1 Jesus chose some close friends to be with Him. Pulled aside w/precious trusted friends.

Matt 26:37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.

Jesus didn’t draw away from people. The devil will try to cut you off from the Life of the Body.

#2 He opened His soul to them.

Matt 26:38a Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.

Can you imagine their mouth dropping open? Their King confessing His struggle.

#3 He asked for their help in spiritual warfare

Matt 26:38b Stay here and watch, (pray) with Me.”

He asked them to fight with Him and for Him.

#4 He poured out His heart to the Father in prayer.

Matt 26:39a He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me;

Whatever it is that Satan fires against you it’s right to ask the Father take it away, God is mightier than he is. But…

#5 He rested His soul in the Sovereign Wisdom of God

Matt 26:39b nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

It’s not sin to find yourself “IN” despondency. It’s sin to STAY there

Take a breath and feel peace flood our souls.

Ps 31:15 My times are in Your hand;

Ps 138:8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; thy steadfast love, O LORD, endures for ever.

#1 Find your trusted friends
#2 Open your soul to them
#3 Ask them to fight with you and for you
#4 Pour out your soul to the Father
#5 Rest in the Sovereignty of His Wisdom

Pastor there is nothing wrong with you but that you are human, weak, frail, flesh. Just the way Jesus made you. Do what Jesus did. Be a part of the Body. Let others you trust bear your burdens with you. Draw close to Jesus. Don’t be cut off. Listen to what Jesus says and not what people say.

Most importantly, ask God to redeem your suffering, and for Him to reveal Himself to you in a fresh intimate way.

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Questioning “Christianity” #3

 

 

It seems possible not everyone who identifies as a Christian REALLY is.

It doesn’t take more than a glance to see the church looks more like the world than a people set apart for the Lord;  If  the Word is true and broad, wide, and MANY are destroyed, and narrow, straight, and FEW find life,

 Hence, QUESTIONING ‘CHRISTIANITY’.

Matt 24:39 and [they] did not know until the flood came and took them all away…

I don’t want that to be me, but it’s going to be somebody, probably a lot of somebodies. Consider the entirety of Matthew 24:36-39.

Matt 24: 36-39 But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

No one knows when Jesus will return. He compares His coming to the season just before Noah’s flood. It was life like any other day. No big deal. Life focused on them. No worries, or even a thought for the future, business as usual. The people were eating, drinking, casually planning for tomorrow, marrying, and doing business. Just like that wave that hit me, they never saw it (Him) coming. Like those sheep to the slaughter?

The thought of people just existing without an eye on eternity, and not aware that life as they know it can and will come to an abrupt end, scares me. Worse than that, if they didn’t have an eye on eternity, they didn’t have their eye on Christ. The eternal result of that out of focus view has timeless, damnable, and unchangeable consequences. One reason this concerns me as it does is I’m aware of the large swath of humanity who don’t even have Jesus on their radar, until they’re in trouble, if at all. Then there those who think they are fit for eternity while only giving Jesus a nod on Holidays or Sundays. Never realizing that attempting to satisfy a perceived requirement of Christianity can never substitute for Saving Grace.

(TO BE CONTINUED…)

Email me at Pastorted@Yourministrymatters

Questioning “Christianity”

Questioning “Christianity” #2

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Questioning “Christianity” #2

 

Stop and think about what you’ve read in the Bible about the church, and then compare it to what we know today AS the church.  It seems possible not everyone who identifies as a Christian really is.

If you DO look close, much of the church looks more like the world than a people set apart for the Lord; acting like the world acts, wanting what it wants, talking like it talks, and dressing like it dresses, etc.?

If  the Word is true and broad, wide, and MANY are destroyed, and narrow, straight, and FEW find life, EVERYONE, including church folks, need to take a CLOSE look at what they base their eternity on. Hence, QUESTIONING ‘CHRISTIANITY’.

PART 2

As for me I think I’d like to know the day appointed for me to die. I’d want to do a last minute inventory and know as sure as I can possibly know that I’ve surrendered everything to Christ. (I know we should live like this all the time but as I’m thinking about actually knowing the moment of death, it seems a bit more crucial.) I’d maybe share Christ with someone I missed, say my good-byes, make things right that I now discover really didn’t matter, and give last minute words of wisdom and experience to those who might listen to me now that they know I’m checking out. I’m sure if I dwell on this a bit more I could add to this list, but I’d rather not think about it.

As I think about it, an unexpected death doesn’t sound so good. I think I’d like a bit of warning. Once my wife and I traveled to a place where there were big waves. Being unfamiliar with their power and effects I waded out into the water. Before I knew what was happening one of those waves caught me off guard. I was completely unprepared for what came next. I felt like I was suddenly caught in the spin cycle of an industrial wash machine. I didn’t know what hit me. I was thoroughly unaware and unsuspecting.

Jesus said there would be people like that at His coming. Unwittingly and unknowingly overtaken in the spin cycle of death, they never saw coming or even considered; like sheep to the slaughter.

In Matt 24:36-39 Jesus isn’t talking to people who will be hanging out at the Mall or even a tavern. No, Jesus is speaking to those who will IDENTIFY as Christians. It’s a warning to people like you and me.

Matt 24:39 and [they] did not know until the flood came and took them all away…

Email me at Pastorted@YourMinistryMatters.com 

Questioning “Christianity” #1  http://www.yourministrymatters.com/2018/08/06/questioning-christianity/

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Questioning “Christianity”

 

You don’t need to look to close at the church to discover ‘Not Everything That Goes Baa Is A Sheep’. Said clearer, not everyone who identifies as a Christian really is.

If you DO look close, much of the church looks more like the world than a people set apart for the Lord; acting like the world acts, wanting what it wants, talking like it talks, and dressing like it dresses, etc.?

If broad, wide, and MANY are destroyed, and narrow, straight, and FEW find life is true, EVERYONE, including church folks, need to take a CLOSE look at what they base their eternity on. Hence, QUESTIONING ‘CHRISTIANITY’.

Part ONE

Living Life Like Sheep To The Slaughter

No matter what part of the world your from, or what century you lived in, everyone has two things in common; we all came into the world the same way, and we are all going out the same way. All of us came in through the birth canal, and, all of us will travel through the one-way passage of death. Everyone. All living and breathing animals whether through the egg, or womb will one day run their course and return to the dust.

I wonder how many people who eat chicken or beef ever think about the fact that those meats didn’t really get their start at a fast food counter or a grocery store? Many of those creatures got their start as barnyard or feed lot farm animals. They had a real life before they reached their appointed fate. They ate, drank, slept and wakened. Maybe some romped in a pasture, reproduced, raised little ones, and grew unwittingly to maturity. Then one day, being totally unaware of what was looming ahead, they were rounded up and met their end without the slightest inkling of their fate. They never saw it coming. I believe the saying is; like sheep to the slaughter. Many people live and die like that. This most definitely includes a vast number of people who “identify” as Christian. (The Bible says this. I’m just repeating it. More on this later.)

It is not only possible, but probable, that many “in name only” Christians may meet their end like those barnyard animals without the slightest inkling of their fate. Blindly, like sheep to the slaughter…

(TO BE CONTINUED…)

Email me at Pastorted@Yourministrymatters

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What Is “Ministry Of Helps?” – 4 min Video

Here’s our 4 minute HELPS video. Take a look and pass it on.

Contact www.PastorTed@YourMinistryMatters.com to schedule this vital end time teaching in your church.  The Word sets Body free to that their place.

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For Him Who Has Ears… Food for thought

2 Cor. 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Stop and think about this verse. Think. Ponder. Meditate. Does the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ shine in your heart? Would you say this verse describes your walk with Christ and defines what it means to be the redeemed? A Christian?

Let light shine out of darkness. Have you ever been in a dark room or worse yet asleep and had a light flipped on that made you suddenly startled and retreating from the light? Does this describe your conversion and Christianity?

The knowledge of the Glory of God. What? Imagine, knowledge of the glory of God. The Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient, unsearchable, beyond human comprehension, Sovereign God whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain. He is the God whom Moses could only stand to see His backside as His goodness passed by. The God who caused the prophet Isaiah to fall on his face confessing the sorry state of his life when he saw the robe of God’s Glory fill the temple. (Think about it.)

In the face of Jesus Christ. In full knowledge that there is no way for you to behold such a divine image of God except for in and through the face of Jesus Christ. Aware that there is nothing about you, in you, or potentially through you that would wash away the stain of guilt ridden sin that permeates every fiber of your being rendering you fully unworthy and undeserving of even a glimpse. Your only hope is humbly falling at the feet of Him who is Hope, deserving wrath and grasping at a Grace freely given. Is this your cherished memory, knowledge, and experience with Christ every time you think of Him?

My concern is that this doesn’t describe most of us concerning our Christianity. I see first hand the “form of Godliness” that passes for Christianity. Churches filled with those stumbling blindly in a religious stupor while going through the motions of singing Amazing Grace. They are not even aware that the road they are on is the broad one leading to destruction. Measuring themselves by those around them and their own piety. Sightlessly passing by the true glorious Hope. Busy with image, the World, worries, and doctrinal pride rather than being the humble, not of this World, lost in the Life of Christ, resting in His Sovereign guidance, Redeemed.

I am desperate to be heard. Ephesians 5:14 “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

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Where’s The God Fearing People? (Homeboy)

There was a time when Christians were referred to as “God fearing people”.  There was a sense of reverence, awe, and veneration when you spoke of God or the things of God. People bowed their heads and removed their hats for prayer.

Hearing the Lord’s Name taken in vain still pierced the heart and wasn’t just a line thrown into a television program for dramatic effect. Was the fear of the Lord just something from the “old” days or did it mean something?

The book of Genesis says man was created in God’s image. I wonder if we haven’t returned the favor? Yes John 15:15 says, “I no longer call you servants, but friends”. (Condensed) Friends yes, buddy no. I have “friends” who are very powerful and important people. You might even be impressed that someone like me knows such influential people. Yet, because they consider me a friend and I them, there is a certain respect to be maintained nonetheless.

I’ve seen people with T-Shirts that say, “JESUS IS MY HOMEBOY” or “SALVATION MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER, JUST LIKE BACON”. NO! I don’t think when you see Jesus face to face you’re going to approach Him with a familiar HOMEBOY greeting. Nor do I think you’ll express your grateful heart for salvation by comparing the unparalleled gift of the Incarnation of God, His Death, and gift of Grace in salvation with the yummy taste of BACON.

When Isaiah saw the Lord in Isaiah 6:1-5 he howled out, ““Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Oh, that’s the Old Testament you say! That’s before grace! Yes, got me there. Let’s look at an after grace New Testament one on One with Jesus. The Apostle John was on the Island of Patmos, (after Grace) and Jesus appeared to him. John didn’t say, “Hang on Homeboy and I’ll put some coffee on”. Nope. Revelation 1:7 says, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead”. That’s weird huh? That’s never happened to me when I’m “chillin’ wit my homeys”.

Ps 50:21-22 When you did these things and I kept silent, YOU THOUGHT I WAS EXACTLY LIKE YOU… 22 “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you

How dare we ever forget that we are sinners who exist only as a gift of God’s mercy. We receive each breath as a gift from God and walk this earth only by the expressed will of the Almighty Sovereign and Benefactor.

“I’m not a sinner” you say. “I’m in grace and covered by the blood”.  So… you’re saying you don’t sin? If you do sin, even once, that makes you a sinner. Paul said, 1 Tim 1:15 Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I AM chief. Don’t hold your relationship with the Lord in a lax and common way.  We are CURRENTLY living IN grace by faith. We better not forget that. 1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is NOT in us.

Let’s think on the Glorious and Omnipotent person of Jesus Christ. He deserves to be magnified and glorified. He is high and lifted up  Live in this Word. Keep these thoughts close to your heart and think on them…

1 Tim 6:11-16 Man of God… pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you… 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

Email me at Pastorted@Yourministrymatters

 

 

 

 

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What IS the Gospel?

Ask someone what the Gospel is. You’ll get an answer that sounds something like this, “Jesus loves me and died on the cross for my sins”.

What’s wrong with that? It’s not the Gospel, it’s not the Good News. So you’re forgiven, why? So you don’t have to go to hell?  There is more to it.

If while getting dressed, I couldn’t find something and shouted at my wife needlessly in frustration, and she calmly pointed it out, what needs to happen next? I need too ask to be forgiven.

Why do I want to be forgiven? So she’ll make me breakfast? Cook me a nice lunch? Not stomp around the house glaring at me? NO! I want her. I want my relationship restored to her. That’s WHY I want to be forgiven. I want things to be right between US.

Christ died so my sins may be forgiven… that’s glorious.

Christ died that I might be counted righteous before a Holy God, and that’s glorious… but that’s not the ultimate goal of the cross.

Christ died that his wrath might be removed and that’s wonderful… but it still not the ultimate goal of the gospel.

Christ died that I might not go to hell and that’s really good news… but that’s not the ultimate goal of the gospel.

1 Peter 3:18 Expresses the ULTIMATE goal of the gospel.

1 Peter 3:18 Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, THAT HE MIGHT BRING US TO GOD.

That’s the GOOD NEWS!

As ministers we’re guilty of preaching FORGIVENESS but not REDEMPTION. Forgiveness alone is NOT the Gospel.

Why would you want to be forgiven? Why, if we don’t get to God?

All of those other things; forgiveness, justification, removal of wrath, escape from hell, are all a means to getting to Him.

If we don’t get to GOD through forgiveness, justification, Jesus paying for our sins, escape from hell, removal of wrath…

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If we don’t get to GOD and treasure Him, and love Him and possess Him and He’s everything to us, then it hasn’t happened. Salvation hasn’t happened!

Getting to Him, that’s what it’s all about.

It’s not about ME getting forgiven, ME getting out of hell, ME getting free from wrath, It’s about ME getting to God.

I’m made for God. I’m made to know Him, and to love Him, and to be with Him in a fellowship that satisfies my soul as I glory in his Name!

That’s the end of the story. Everything else is meaningless.

I think we need to re-evaluate our presentation of the Gospel. Forgiveness without Redemption TO God is not the Gospel.

1 Peter 3:18 Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, THAT HE MIGHT BRING US TO GOD.

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