Civil Legalization Does Not Constitute Divine Commands

It has happened again!  Another abomination in the eyes of the Lord has passed through the Supreme Court, allowing humans the legal right to marry whomever they wish.  It also means that states that have not legalized gay marriages will have to recognize such marriages when these couples enter into those states.  Why is it that man thinks when something is made legal within the statutes of the government then nothing is wrong with it?  What we do in this world will not affect the justice that God will impart on that Final Day (II Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 9:27; I Corinthians 6:9-11).

This time the courts ruled against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which simply allows them to redefine marriage.  Since January 22, 1973, over fifty million unborn children have been murdered since the courts decided that abortion was a woman’s right.  Since December 5, 1933, we have seen the devastation and destruction that alcohol has caused since Americans were given the legal right to drink such beverages.  These are just a few matters that government rulings have legalized and that God’s Word has not authorized.

What should our reaction be as Christians to these abominable laws?  After being locked in prison for preaching and teaching Jesus, and then leaving prison to teach and preach Jesus in the synagogues, Peter and the other apostles said, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).  When man makes laws that are contrary to the commandments of God, then we must obey God over the laws of man!  Many religious groups have twisted their beliefs to match what society says is morally and politically accurate.  However, God’s word will never change to meet the likings of men (Mark 13:31; Revelation 22:18-19).  The true church of Jesus Christ will not allow the ways of the world to influence how one lives and worships (John 17:17; II Timothy 1:13-14; Ephesians 5:26-27).  The Bible is our all sufficient authority (II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:3).

Mankind will continue to make laws that are based upon popular belief and opinion.  But as Christians, we must not waiver in our commitment to the Lord (Galatians 2:20).  Choosing to live life as a Christian has never been a popular decision.  When we stand up for the authority of God, we will be hated (Matthew 10:22).  Some will even state that we hate them because we stand opposed to their beliefs.  Yet, they themselves are angered because their lives are in opposition to the Light and their evil deeds have been exposed (John 1:4-5, 9-10; John 14:6).

When Jesus dealt with the Pharisees on the matter of divorce, He made it clear that even though the Law of Moses permitted a certificate of divorce for any reason, “from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew 19:8).  In fact, Jesus further explained that the only legitimate reason for one to divorce and remarry is when one’s spouse has committed adultery (the innocent party has the right to remarry – Matthew 19:9).  God’s intentions for marriage have been overlooked by so many in today’s society.  Just because the law permits for one to divorce his or her spouse does not make it lawful in the eyes of the Lord.

The Proverbs writer said it well.  “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 16:25).  The problem that we face is that man loves his opinions more than he loves the will of God.  The longer that man expresses his opinions, the more others will believe it, even if it is not correct.

Brethren, we have the most important responsibility in the entire world.  We must keep proclaiming the truth of the Scriptures into this ever changing world (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16).  God desires for “all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Timothy 2:4).  We owe it to the world to proclaim the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).  Man thinks he has the capability to change lives.  But it is the unadulterated Word of God that has the power to transform lives for the betterment of the Kingdom and this world (Hebrews 4:12; John 17:17; John 14:6).  Doing our part in reaching out to the lost, gives God the opportunity to do His part – give the increase (I Corinthians 3:6-7)!


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Posted by on July 3, 2013 in Uncategorized


Are There Second Chances After Death?

A few weeks ago, I was asked if the Bible taught anything about receiving second chances for salvation after one is deceased. While our fleshly desires may lead us to hope and believe that there are second chances after death, the Bible speaks openly about having only one life to live (Hebrews 9:27).

There are many reasons why some people ask this question. Sometimes people ask this question out of concern for themselves. They wish to live a long, fruitful life that pleases the Lord, yet putting away worldly lusts proves to be more difficult than it appears. Therefore, they are left hoping that God will be gracious toward them on the Day of Judgment since they have chosen to “sow their wild oats.”

Others might ask this question out of concern for those who have already passed on from this life.  When a loved one leaves this earth not right in the eyes of God, the family is left questioning whether they will have a second chance or not. It is disheartening to hear of these situations because of the spiritual state one has left this life.

Many in this world would love to hear that God gives us another opportunity to obey Him once we leave this carnal body. However, nowhere in the Bible does it teach that the gospel had been preached to the dead nor will be preached to the dead. The Scriptural evidence for this does not exist.

Some might believe that Peter taught the concept of second chances to the Dispersion in his first epistle.  However, Peter did not say that Jesus preached to those who were dead. In fact, the Scriptures make it clear that the preaching to those spirits in prison took place through Noah when he preached for approximately one hundred years (I Peter 3:18-20).

Peter said that we will have to give an account to the Lord who is ready to judge the living and the dead (I Peter 4:5). While we live, we are given the opportunity to take the gospel as an escape from our sins and live eternally with the Lord, or to refuse the gospel and suffer eternal destruction. The choice is ours. We must make the right choice before leaving this earth.

In this carnal life, we are given one purpose: “Fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). If we fail to act upon that purpose, we have no hope for eternal life.  The flippant attitude that many have concerning eternity will cost them a great price – eternal separation from God (II Thessalonians 1:9). Is it truly worth enjoying the pleasures of sin for a short time (James 4:14)? Moses didn’t believe it was worth it (Hebrews 11:25-26), nor can I fathom being separated from God forever!

We must wake up and come to grips with reality.  Reality is truth. The truth is God’s Word (John 17:17). God’s Word says that “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

Our lives are not our own (Matthew 10:39). We exist to live for the Creator of this world; the one who has given us “life, breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25).  Life without God offers no hope of a life at all (Romans 6:23).

As humans, we were deserving of spiritual death.  Our sins caused grief, heartache, and separation in our relationship with God (Isaiah 59:1-2). Yet, God was gracious toward us to give us the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:8; John 3:16; Titus 2:11-12).

Jesus made it very clear to His disciples that He “is the way, the truth, and the life.” Without Jesus the Christ, we have no hope of eternal life with God (John 14:6). It is in this life, physical life, that we have the opportunity to change our relationship status with God.

Without Christ, we are alienated, “having no hope and without God in the world.” But in Christ Jesus, we are “brought near [to Him] by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:12-13). It is through baptism that we begin our relationship with God, through the blood of His Son (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-6; Ephesians 1:7; I Peter 3:21–22).

It is NOW that God commands us to repent (Acts 17:30; II Corinthians 5:21)! Why must we repent in this life? The Bible speaks of a day that is appointed, where Jesus Christ will judge us (Acts 17:31a). The Judgment day is certain because God, who is in complete control, raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 17:31b).

Second chances are nice. However, the only opportunity we have to become sons of God (Galatians 3:26) is in this life, right now!



Posted by on April 10, 2013 in Uncategorized


Gossip: A Tongue Untamed

Do you have a problem with your tongue? I’m not talking about a physical deformity of any sort. But rather, have you ever spoken when you shouldn’t have and gotten yourself into trouble?

I write out of concern for all Christians, warning that we must control what comes out of our mouths. One of the smallest members of the body must be controlled in the most delicate fashion. James speaks of this member warning us of the deadly nature it has if it goes untamed. This small, deadly, fiery, poisonous, member of the body is defined as the tongue (James 3:1-12). “With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men”(James 3:9). Brethren, we must watch our tongue and control it.

As mere humans, we have a problem that causes so much grief and heartache, all because we cannot control our tongue. When we learn of new information, it is instilled within us to share it. This presents a problem when we don’t have the authority to pass on this information (I Timothy 5:13).

One of the most frequent forms of an uncontrolled tongue is revealed through gossip. Whether we are aware of it or not, Satan uses this destructive form of communication to win souls of Christ over to his cause. Satan is always prowling the souls of Christ to pounce on them so they too can share in eternal destruction (I Peter 5:8).
Gossip is something that we can easily get caught up in if we aren’t properly watching how we think, act, and speak. Often, we become participants of gossip before we realize it. I’ve heard it said that if the information doesn’t have anything to do with you, then stay out of it!

Please understand that when we participate in gossip, we are doing exactly as Satan desires for us to do. How can this be? Satan encourages us to participate in gossip to cause us to stumble.

The Bible explicitly warns against the practice of gossip of any form (Proverbs 11:13; Romans 1:28-32). We need to be careful not to defile ourselves with such slanderous speech (Mark 7:20-23).

Gossip will destroy relationships with friends and family, hurt innocent people, and even destroy churches. There is nothing good about gossip. It is wrong, sinful, and must not be practiced by any Christian!
There are “six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him…one who sows discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16-19). When gossip is spread, it sows discord among the brethren! We hurt our family in Christ when we do such things. “A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends” (Proverbs 16:28). More importantly, we hurt our God.

There is much wisdom offered on how to handle gossip in the book of Proverbs.
1) Proverbs 21:23 – “Whoever guards his mouth
and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.”
2) Proverbs 20:19 – “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips.”
3) Proverbs 26:20 – “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.”

Paul also put it well when he said, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). Spreading gossip does not edify our brothers and sisters in Christ! Before we speak, let us remember to speak with words that build one another up (Hebrews 10:24-25). Do we allow our words to impart grace to those that hear them?

In most cases, gossip seems to started by this statement, “Just between you and me…” Brethren, let us be careful not to hear or spread gossip. It is poisonous and could affect our relationship with others and more importantly, our relationship with God!

Being a Christian means carefully observing one’s life in order to abstain from ungodliness and unrighteousness. It is through “the grace of God that brings salvation” that we learn to “deny ungodliness and worldly lusts” and “live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12). At the end of life, we will be judged upon whatever good or evil we have done (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; II Corinthians 5:10).

I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned(Matthew 12:36-37).



Posted by on March 6, 2013 in Uncategorized


Wearing the Name Part II

As was mentioned the previous week, the Scriptures only pen the term “Christian” three times (Acts 11:26; 26:28; I Peter 4:16). The first disciples to ever receive this name were from the city of Antioch (Acts 11:26). Through their Christ-likeness attitude, unwavering commitment to spread the gospel, and gracious act of benevolence we learn what is to be expected of every Christian. However, later on in the book of Acts, we learn that one must be properly committed to Christ in order to befittingly wear the name Christian.

In Acts chapter twenty-six, Paul is currently in chains and given the opportunity to defend the accusations brought against him by the Jews (Acts 26:2). Even though locked in chains and the position he was facing, Paul saw this as an opportunity to tell the story of Jesus (Acts 26:22-23, 29).

He begins by giving an account of his life before Christ (Acts 26:4-5). He was a dedicated Pharisee that was well known by his own people, the Jews. But when the hope of a promise from God was revealed to him, his thoughts and actions differed from his past. His past consisted of speaking openly against Jesus of Nazareth and persecuting as many as possible that followed after Him (Acts 26:9-11). However, when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus and gave him a purpose, his life was changed (Acts 26:12-18). Paul, having the character and attitude of being committed to whatever he set his mind out to do, was obedient to that heavenly vision (Acts 26:19).

Paul’s purpose was to spread the gospel message of Christ. He preached for men to “Repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance” and said “no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come – that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles” (Acts 26:20, 22-23). These are the reasons the Jews sought to take hold of Paul and kill him!

Paul’s devoted faith in God is what carried him through these terrible times of persecution (Acts 26:22). God was responsible for allowing Paul the opportunity to live this long and preach for His cause. Some people will view Christians as insane because of the message they preach and the lives they live. Paul was told that much learning has driven him mad (Acts 26:24). But as Christians, we need to remember that we, like Paul, are speaking “the words of truth and reason” (Acts 26:25). The evidence for being a Christian is so logical and within reason that our faith must not waver! We live in a world that does not want to accept logical reasoning. Hence, the problem of persecution against the Christian and those that love God.

After hearing Paul’s testimony and being able to comprehend the evidence of Paul’s life as a Christian and servant of God, King Agrippa makes this statement, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian” (Acts 26:28). It is from this statement that we can tell two things. First, King Agrippa understood that you have to commit yourself to be a Christian. Second, King Agrippa was able to see that commitment in the life and testimony of Paul.

When we view King Agrippa’s reaction to Paul’s testimony, it truly is a sad remark. There was obviously something in his life that was holding him back from making this commitment. Maybe it was the standing he had with the people he governed or something more personal in his life. Sometimes people just can’t let go of ego, pride, and self to give their life to eternal happiness.

Let it be understood, that to become a Christian means to sacrifice your will for the sake of Christ and His Kingdom. We can no longer be a participant of the world (I John 2:15-17) or a pleaser of mankind (Galatians 1:10). Our focus is to seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
When we devote our lives to Christ in this fashion, it is then that we will be successful in winning souls to Christ’s Kingdom, the church! Remember the words of Peter as we strive to press forward in our walk with God.
“Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (I Peter 2:11-12).


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Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Uncategorized


Wearing the Name

Did you realize that the name Christian is only found three times in the New Testament Scriptures? This name is given to those that properly distinguish their lives from the rest of the world (I John 2:15-17). It means to be a follower of Christ in every way. Without a change toward that which we are called, one cannot properly wear this name.

One thing must be understood. The Bible’s brief usage of this term does not mean that it isn’t important. The name Christian bears important characteristics that should be closely examined.

To give proper justice to the subject, one must understand that because the term Christian first originated in Antioch (Acts 11:26), does not mean that Christians weren’t around before that time. Before this term was coined, the Scriptures reference followers of Christ as “believers,” “disciples,” saints,” “brethren,” and many other names (Acts 5:14; 9:1, 13, 30).

Today, our society uses this term quite loosely. In fact, society says that anyone that is a part of a denomination or religious group that practices Christianity is categorized as a Christian. In the first century, the name “Christian” was given to specific people for a specific purpose (Matthew 16:16-18; Acts 11:26; Acts 26:28; I Peter 4:16).

Not only did the disciples refer to themselves by this name, but those who weren’t Christians – those living in the world – recognized them as such. But what exactly was happening in this city that allowed them the opportunity to bear this Christ likeness term?
In previous verses, God made it clear that Gentiles could have salvation. Peter was told that “What God has cleansed you must not call common” (Acts 11:9). What amazing news God left Peter and the disciples of the first century that salvation is for all people (Romans 1:14-16; I Timothy 2:3-4; John 3:16).

The profound message that God desires all mankind to obtain salvation was in need of being spread. During the Dispersion after Stephen’s stoning (Acts 7), many Christians scattered to the surrounding cities, Antioch being one of them. It was in this city that much growth for the church was coming about.

Before, only Jews were being taught about the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 11:19). However, men from Cyprus and Cyrene came to Antioch to speak with the Hellenists, which most scholars believe to be the Greeks in this context (Acts 11:20). We certainly see the fruits of the work these men were doing in the city of Antioch because many had believed and were turning to the Lord (Acts 11:21). As Wayne Jackson points out in his commentary “The Acts of the Apostles,”

At the time of faith, one has changed his conviction; at the point of repentance, he has altered his mode of living; when he is baptized, he has changed his relationship to an “in Christ” association (Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 6:26-27) (Jackson, 136-137).
Turning to Christ and becoming a disciple or Christian is much more than merely believing, but turning to God (Acts 11:21).

After the church in Jerusalem had heard of the amazing things that were taking place in Antioch, they sent Barnabas to help be an encourager in this mission (Acts 11:22-24). Barnabas certainly carried out his purpose because his excitement pushed for him to go find Saul to experience this awesome effort (Acts 11:25- 26).

The brethren that were living in Antioch were deserving of the name Christian. Why? Because they were turning to the Lord Jesus and allowing His message to be spread. Christ’s church was able to thrive and prosper as He desired for her to do so (Acts 11:21, 24, 26).

The brethren in Antioch also demonstrated Christ’s character when a need arose (Acts 11:27-30). Could it be that the Prophets that came from Jerusalem were sent to Antioch because they knew that the Christians would help in a time of need? It very well could be the case.

Why were the brethren called Christians first in Antioch? They were called Christians because they truly allowed the character of Christ to shine in their lives. There wasn’t any partiality to the Gentile nation after God said that they were to have salvation, they continued to teach the Lord Jesus to as many as possible, and showed Christ’s love to the world through their sharing in when others had needs.

Church, let us properly wear the name Christian as these brethren have demonstrated in the first century.


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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Uncategorized



55,000,000 and Counting


We live in a world that has long forgotten the role of respecting God and His biblical authority. We could mark many occasions throughout the history of our lives in which we have seen more and more turning from God. Just yesterday our nation celebrated the fortieth anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. During that forty-year span some 55,000,000 precious lives have been taken from their mother’s wombs. It is truly a sad day, when our nation has come to celebrate the classification of unborn babies as nonliving souls.

As a child, I can remember celebrating the importance of life. I remember attending friends’ birthday parties and in return them coming to mine. I remember the excitement that used to overcome the crowd of a full living room whenever relatives would announce the expecting of a new life into this world. Since when did we stop the celebration of life?

What truly concerns me is the attitude that people have concerning the disposal of life. The argument is made that those for pro-life are just expressing their opinions, just as they are with pro-choice. But since when did it become a matter for human beings, those made in the likeness and image of God (Genesis 1:26- 27), to determine who lives and who dies?
I do not write about this subject because I love life and the life of others, because I do. But I write because I am a Christian who believes in the importance of life and purpose that God has given for each and every soul that is formed.

Since the beginning of time, God warned man of the consequences for taking another’s life. Right before Cain ended his brother’s life, God told him that sin was lying at his door (Genesis 4:7). In today’s society, most will agree that murder is wrong and a sin before God (Galatians 5:21). Yet, why have so many chosen to let the life of an unborn child be taken away so lightly.

God also made it evident that He hates those who shed innocent blood (Proverbs 6:16-17; Deuteronomy 19:10; 27:25). How much more innocent could we get than that of an unborn child still living in the mother’s womb? Abortion is a violation of this very thing that God sees as abominable.

The Bible also speaks of unborn children and children post-birth in the same manner. Luke wrote that Elizabeth had “conceived a son in her old age” and “that the babe leaped in her womb” (Luke 1:36, 41). First, it didn’t say anything about which stage the child was in or that the tissue leaped. The Scriptures proclaim that the BABE leaped – showing that it has life. After Jesus was born, He was called a babe (Luke 2:12, 16). God does not distinguish a difference between an unborn child and one already born because there is no difference in His eyes. Nor should there be a difference in our eyes.

We are also told that God knew Jeremiah before He was formed in his mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). What an awesome illustration God has given us to show our importance before conception. Not to mention the fact that we are created in His image (Genesis 1:27).
When God gave commands to the Children of Israel, He emphasized that equal punishment must be given to those that hurt a child still in the mother’s womb (Exodus 21:22-23). Why would God give a command as such? Each soul is precious in His eyes and He desires for all to see the value of life.

Even though the world might adapt to shedding the blood of an innocent life, we have knowledge of the stance God has on it. God loves all mankind (John 3:16) and does not show any prejudice toward any one in particular (Romans 2:11; Acts 10:34). He does love the preciousness of each soul and desires to have a relationship with each one (I Timothy 2:3-4).

If we truly desire to please Him (I Corinthians 10:31), we will follow after what He desires (John 14:15). As Christians, we ought to be compelled to share this information with the lost of this world. The Scriptures make it clear, “Unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Anyone has the opportunity to turn away from this horrific sin and become a follower of His today.

I hope that you each have a great week! Let us do all we can for the Kingdom of Christ!


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Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Uncategorized


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What Must I Do To Be Saved?

Living in a world that believes anyone can do as they wish and still be alright in the eyes of God is disheartening. Many in the world still have a respect for God and desire to have the salvation that He offers. Are there really many avenues that God gives for one to be a child of God?

Where must one turn to find out how to be saved? If someone had concerns with their plumbing, who best to go to than a professional plumber? If one truly desires salvation, he will stop asking the world and ask God. God is the giver of salvation from the sins of this world (John 3:16; Titus 1:2; Acts 4:12). God’s mind has been given to humans through the inspired Scriptures (II Timothy 3:16-17; I Corinthians 2:10- 13). God is the absolute authority when dealing with matters of life and godliness (II Peter 1:3).

All men have been given the same purpose in life – “fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). God desires that all men see this purpose and come to the full “knowledge of truth” (I Timothy 2:4). However, not all men regard the words given by God. There will be a day that all men will face God for the decisions that were made, whether for or against Him, at the end of life (Hebrews 9:27). All men must make the decision of who will rule their life – God (Joshua 24:15) or Satan (John 8:44). Those who let God be the ruler of their life look to the Scriptures for authority (Acts 17:11), but those following Satan will look to the wisdom of this world (I Corinthians 2:1-9).

Why does God offer salvation? Sin is a problem that must be dealt with. When one desires salvation, he understands that sin is a problem that only God offers a solution to fix. The Bible gives a clear depiction that sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). It is truly a heart breaking experience to find out that sin separates one from God. Sin is a problem that all men face (Romans 3:10, 23). Therefore, we are in need of God’s gift of eternal life.

How does one experience this salvation that God gives out of love? The Bible gives us six steps that were followed by the first century Christians.

It is first necessary for one to hear the gospel. It is evident that God requires a belief or faith to be established in Him before one can truly please Him (Hebrews 11:1, 6). In order to establish the proper faith one must have in God, it is vital that one hear the Gospel of Christ (Romans 10:17). Someone cannot learn how to become a Christian, the importance of that decision, and live a particular way without being shown the proper evidence to believe (Romans 10:14).

Most of the religious world will agree that believing is necessary for one to be saved. The Bible says that believing is necessary. The problem occurs when one states that belief only gives one salvation. There are many things that one must keep in mind when obeying the gospel.

Jesus spoke to the Jews about His departure and said, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). The Gospel of Mark states, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

One must also repent from his sins if he wants true salvation. Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5). What does it mean to repent? Repentance is godly sorrow leading to salvation that is not regretted (II Corinthians 7:10). Godly sorrow produces action to change your life from a life of sin to a life of godliness. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it” (Romans 6:1-2)? We must mold our lives to be more like Christ everyday (Philippians 2:5).

Confessing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God is something every Christian must do when choosing to follow Christ. The confession is two fold. Before one is baptized into Christ, he is asked to confess his belief in God and who Jesus Christ is. Then, one confesses Christ daily by the life they chose to live in Him (Matthew 10:32-33). Peter openly confessed when asked by Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). We must make that same confession.

Just as the other aspects are important to salvation, baptism is just as important. On the Day of Pentecost, the people wanted to know what they must do to be saved (Acts 2:37). Peter said, “Repent and let each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Baptism is a cleansing of one’s life from their sins (I Peter 3:21). It is through baptism that we are burying the old (sinful life) in the grave of water to come up a new creation (Christian living) (Romans 6:3-4).

After one has put Christ on in baptism, he is then added to the Lord’s Church by the Lord (Acts 2:47). It is from that point forward that we are to remain faithful until the end of our life (Revelation 2:10). It will be difficult, but we know that it is not impossible (II Timothy 4:6-8).

If you have questions and would like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to study God’s Word with you. Have a great week!


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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Anointing the Sick with Oil

At some point or another, every human being has suffered from a type of physical illness. This is something that cannot be escaped. What can one do when he finds himself in such a condition?

In the Biblical days of James, it is indicated that the elders of the church were to have prayer with the sick individual and anoint him with oil (James 5:14). Some have asked, “Are we to practice this today?” There are a few things that need to be considered before coming to a conclusion.

First, is the “sick” in verse fourteen a physical or spiritual sickness (James 5:14)? Most have come to agree that it is a physical illness based upon the context and the use of the Greek term in other New Testament passages (Mt. 25:36; Mk. 6:56; Lk. 4:40; 7:10; 9:2; Jn. 4:46; 5:3, 7; 6:2; Acts 9:37; 19:12; Phil. 2:26-27; II Tim. 4:20). The Greek word in this verse is astheneo. It means “to be weak, feeble, without strength, powerless, sick” (Thayer’s Lexicon). This is the same word that describes Lazarus when he was on the verge of death (Jn. 11:1, 2, 3, 6). Jesus also used it when He sent out and commanded the twelve to “heal the sick” during the limited commission (Mt. 10:8).

Also, consider the context of James. James seems to be discussing these matters in a literal sense. “Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms” (James 5:13). He continues by discussing sickness in a literal way, too. There is no suggestion as to what type of physical illness James is referring to or its severity. However, we do know that prayer is an important aspect in the life of a Christian and the working of God.

When the elders of the church were called, the purpose was two-fold. First, the elders were to offer prayers on behalf of the sick person. Second, they were to anoint him with oil. Both of these were to be done in the name of the Lord, which meant that the Lord had given the authorization for such things to be done.

The oil that the elders anointed with would have been similar to our olive oil. It was said from the ancients perspective that this was done for medicinal purposes. It was used in the Old Testament in the appointment and coronation of prophets, priests, and kings (I Sam. 10:1, 9). It was even used in the New Testament for therapeutic means in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk. 10:34). After Jesus had sent the twelve out, they anointed the sick with oil and healed them miraculously (Mk. 6:12-13).

The scholars are divided when trying to decide the purpose of the anointing with oil. Some say that it was done for medicinal purposes, while others believe that the elders were able to heal miraculously with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In the Biblical days, it was common for at least some elders to have miraculous gifts of healing (Eph. 4:8-12). The elders were also known as “righteous” men. Therefore, their prayers would “avail much” (James 5:16).

However, the miraculous power should not be understood to be in the oil itself. The prayer of faith along with the anointing of oil done by the Lord’s authority is what would make a man well (James 5:14- 15). Let it also be noted that not all men were able to be healed even in the miracle age (II Cor. 12:8; II Tim. 4:20; Phil. 2:25, 30; I Tim. 5:23).

Seeing that the miraculous age has ended (I Cor. 13:8-13), and the oil itself didn’t present any form of healing for the sick person, let it be understood that anointing with oil is not a command for Christians to practice today. The true working of healing a sick person is in the hands of God and providentially given to us through our prayers. Therefore, the healing is left up to the Lord.

I would have to agree with J.W. Roberts’ conclusion on this matter:

It is impossible to say with certainty which of the uses of anointing James had in mind (i.e. medicinal or miraculous). Certainly in the context of their own activity at the time the first readers of James knew which he meant. But that context is not known (completely) to us today. We can only say which is more probable and what the application for us would be in either case (J.W. Roberts, Commentary on James, pp. 213f).


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Posted by on October 5, 2012 in Uncategorized


Healthy Homes Help Build A Healthy Church

Why is there so much turmoil in our world today? Is it the government’s fault for not enforcing laws as they should? Are the school systems to blame for their lack
of control and instruction? Even though some of these reasons might be why we have behavioral problems today, we shouldn’t make them the emphasis.

Consider the most important aspect that is often neglected. Children spend most of their time at home. The home is where they develop character and
attitudes that make them who they are today.

It is understood that we can’t fix everyone. As Christians, we are to focus on the spiritual side of things. It has been proven that if there is a good home life, children have a better opportunity to succeed in normal behavior. The same can be applied to the church. When families are healthy, the church is healthy. When families are unhealthy, the church is unhealthy.

How can we build a healthy home and make the church what Christ desired for her to be? First, the home must secure marriages in an unstable world. Marriage is not taken as a serious commitment any more. People are living together and committing
indecent acts of fornication and adultery. The hearts of men have become so hardened that the marriage bed has become defiled.

The Hebrews writer reminds us that marriage is to be honored (Hebrews. 13:4). God instituted marriage to be a commitment that a mate would remain faithful until the end of life (Genesis 2:24-25). When marriage is defiled and not honored, we forget to recognize our spouse as a blessing from God. Those who are sexually impure will be judged by God (Hebrews. 13:4).

The lack of respect for marriage has led many to put away their spouse. There are definitely times when one can divorce their spouse, but not because they burnt he toast or squeezed the bottom of the toothpaste tube! God says that divorce is only permitted when one spouse is unfaithful to the other. The innocent spouse
would have the right to remarry if he or she so desires (Matthew 19:1-10).

The love of a husband and wife is reflective upon the church. Paul illustrates this matter of reflection when he says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25). “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). Paul later says that husbands are to love their wives as much as they do their own body (Ephesians 5:28-29). Children
are perfect at determining whether a husband and wife truly love each other. Are we truly living up to this ultimate relationship?

The second way we can build a healthy home and make the church a healthy place is by training our children in a difficult society. There are many distractions that often grab our children today. Whether it is because of video games, TV shows, movies, or the influence of other friends, children often show disrespect to their parents. Parent’s have a vital responsibility to train their children in the Lord.

Children will never forget what you taught them while they were living at home. If it was good, they will remember it. If it was bad, they will remember that too. The emphasis of teaching our kids right from wrong, godliness or ungodliness, and righteousness or unrighteousness is vital to what happens to the church tomorrow. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

Paul also reminds us that we are to give our children back to God. Children are to be “brought up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Too many times we emphasize our sports, schooling, and other secular things and forget the main emphasis – God! “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Children will learn the priorities that their parent’s set first. Do we practice
proper training in the home?

The future of the church rests much upon the home. Are you doing your part to make a healthier church? Godly living is first emphasized in the home and then
exemplified through the church. If our homes are healthy, the church is healthy. When one is considered to be in a healthy state, it means that growth and
maturity can continue. It also means that challenges can be presented without falter.
Let’s do our part and grow a healthy church!


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Posted by on July 3, 2012 in Uncategorized


I Just Want to Fit in

The need to be socially accepted can play a significant role with how we act to fit in with our society.  Television commercials encourage us to buy their product because “everyone is using it.”  Clothing departments encourage us to wear the name brands because that is the “in thing to do.”  And those that don’t participate in the popular choice aren’t considered to be a part of the “in crowd.”

Teenagers often face peer pressure from their peers in this way.  They are often pressured by their peers to do certain things to be accepted – have sex outside of marriage, use fowl language, lie, participate in the use of drugs and alcohol, etc.  In the minds of most, fitting in with the popular crowd brings happiness and an ease to life.  Even though society believes it controls the popular choice, does that make the popular choice right?  Our society is simply trying to persuade us to be something that we are not.

As Christians, we are to shine as lights unto the entire world (Mt. 6:13-16).  The Scriptures teach that people must see a difference in our lives compared to the lives of the world.  Often, because we are different, the world will bring social persecution upon those shining as lights.  Even though our world sees us as social outcasts, consider the outcome for the Christian.

Choosing to shine as lights in this world will do two things.  First, it will either cause those who are of the darkness – those of the world – to abstain from the light or provoke them to become a part of it.  In other words, those who participate in ungodly activities will flee from the presence of those participating in godliness.  Light is known for exposing the things that are hidden in the darkness.  And for that, a person might become embarrassed and regretful of his actions.  If he is truly attracted to the light, his conscious will work together to produce godly sorrow leading to repentance (II Cor. 7:10).

Second, those who shine as lights will attract others who are trying to shine their light as well.  “When we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7).

The saying, “opposites attract” is not true with light and darkness.  As Christians, we don’t have to give ourselves over to the ways of the world to be a part of the “in crowd.”  Jesus Christ shed His blood so that we could be a part of His crowd (Jn. 3:16)!  Jesus distinguished that people are either in the church or outside of the church (Mt. 16:18; Mt. 7:21-23).

Christianity isn’t the popular decision of most today.  Jesus Christ wasn’t a popular choice in His day either.  Peter, an apostle of Christ who knew that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of God, denied any accusation that linked him to Jesus.  He understood that being with Jesus could have caused him pain or even death.  The most common incident that declares Jesus’ unpopularity was His suffering a horrific and painful death because people chose to be against Him – the true Light (Jn. 1:9).

How do we overcome the peer pressure and the thoughts of believing we do not fit in?  Understanding there is more than this earthly life is the beginning of it all.  Most things our peers pressure us to do are often things that God does not want us to participate in.  These actions often cause us to put Christ through open shame yet again (Heb. 6:6).

It doesn’t matter what our peers say we should do, or how society says we should act and respond toward others.  But what does matter is the plan that God has laid out for us and the pattern by which we are to live.

Jesus declared,

‘Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.  And where I go you know and they way you know.’  Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?’  Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me’ (Jn. 14:1-6).

The words of Jesus reveal it clearly.  Society might decide the popular choice for the world.  But the true choice has already been laid out before us.  Jesus Christ is the Way, Truth, and Life.


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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Uncategorized