Psalm 33:12 "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance."
All over the United States today people will be celebrating the Fourth of July, Independence Day. Some will have cookouts with family and friends, shoot fireworks, go watch a ballgame, take a vacation, and many other activities. While all these are great to enjoy we all must stop for a moment on a day like this and reflect on the tremendous sacrifice that so many of our forefathers made over two hundred and forty years ago. Our society has become increasingly ignorant of the most fundamental truths concerning our conception as a nation. I credit this largely to the public school agenda of indoctrinating our youth in an almost anti-American view of history and globalism overriding real American History courses and values.
The American colonies were setting out to do something the world had never seen. Thirteen lowly colonies would take on the greatest superpower of that day, England, for the right and privilege to govern themselves as one United States of America. From a military, economic, and experience standpoint the odds were stacked against the Colonists. However, the providential hand of God would be upon them as they set out to form this great nation. As stated in the Declaration of Independence from the hand of Thomas Jefferson, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Our Declaration of Independence states that the unalienable rights (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) are self-evident and they are given to us not by a government but rather from our Creator, God Himself. Furthermore, Jefferson goes on to write "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." According to our foundational document what is the purpose of government? Clearly stated, to secure these rights--life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. According to our foundational document where does the government derive their power? From the consent of the governed, we the people!
Why are these statements from the Declaration of Independence important today? Our society is trying to rewrite history and explain it in a way in which our foundational document is not relevant today. Consider the unalienable right of "life". God is the giver of life not only according to the Bible but also the Declaration of Independence. For a government to legally adopt a practice in which it now gives freedom to individuals in that society to kill and in some cases provide the financial means to help accomplish this horrific act is beyond comprehension. The government is not God and should be put in its proper place, which according to the Declaration of Independence, is to SECURE THESE RIGHTS!
The intent of our founding Fathers and the Declaration of Independence was never for the people to be dependent on the government. Today we are bombarded with the notion that more government is the answer. This thought and philosophy is killing American incentive, liberty, drive, and even patriotism. I make no apologies for being an American, standing for the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, defending Biblical principles such as the right to life, traditional marriage, and raising my family without fear of the government. May we all remember to reflect on many things this Fourth of July. Remember the great sacrifice so many made throughout our nation's history. The same flag many burn in protest is the same flag many fought and died to defend. Remember that although this country is not perfect we still get to enjoy freedoms that people living in North Korea and other place will never experience. Remember that we have been fortunate to living in a country of religious freedom. Remember that freedom is not and never will be free, each generation must fight to defend the rights so explicitly laid out in the Declaration of Independence. And most of all, remember that God is in control, the blood of Jesus Christ paid for all our sins, the Bible is still truth, the gospel is still the message to preach, and Jesus Christ is coming soon!
Happy Fourth of July,
Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
In continuing the series on "God's Grace" I began a message out of Titus 2:11-15 last week titled the "Past, Present, and Promise of God's Grace." We dealt with the first two points Sunday morning and Lord willing I will preach the third and final point concerning the rapture of the Church. If you are looking for a place to attend Sunday morning I would like to invite you to Salem Baptist Church in Calhoun, GA. We are living in a day when many people are predicting and guessing about things to come in the future. God's Word tells us exactly what to expect in the future. The next event on God's prophetic calendar is the catching away, or rapture, of each believer in the Lord Jesus Christ (I Thess. 4:13-18; I Corinthians 15:51-55; Revelation 4:1). The return of Christ in the clouds for His Church is imminent and we need not to be ignorant or confused on things to come!
Salem Baptist Church
Romans 3:24 "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus;"
For the past several weeks on Sunday morning I have been preaching a series on "God's Grace." It has been a blessing for me personally to go through the countless scriptures concerning the grace of God. A preacher could spend 10,000 lifetimes trying to expound on the grace of God and never scratch the surface. The first message in the series was from Romans 3:24; Romans 5:15-21, "God's Grace is Free." As I began to study these passages of scripture it became more clear to me how truly wonderful the grace of God is. Additionally, in Romans 5 Paul speaks of the "free gift" of salvation. In essence, the grace God provides is free, and the gift purchased by Jesus Christ is free. It has been said that grace is "God's Riches At Christ Expense."
I have found that many people who take a firm biblical stance on the grace of God are often accused of preaching and teaching so called "cheap grace." However, if something is cheap that means it still cost something. Therefore, the Bible does not teach the doctrine of cheap grace, it undoubtably teaches the doctrine of FREE grace! Grace is the unmerited and undeserved favor of God. If we lift one finger to the grace of God we have completely destroyed grace. This grace is free to all not because we deserve it but because God is gracious to give it. There are different forms of grace concerning the Christian life. The first grace we experience is the free grace in salvation. Below are just a few points from the text mentioned above concerning this grace in salvation.
1. God's Grace is Available:
Romans 5:15 "But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many."
-The offense in verse 15 speaks of Romans 5:12. Adam sinned and plunged all humanity and creation itself under the curse of sin. We were not there in the garden of Eden. We received this condemnation freely by what Adam did. As in Adam all die. This is why the Bible states "for the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)". The grace of God is available because of one man, Jesus Christ! He came into the world born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, went to the cross, paid the sin debt of all the world, and rose from the dead.
2. God's Grace is Abundant:
Romans 5:17 "For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ."
-We receive grace and the gift of righteousness NOT by our works but by the work of Jesus Christ. This is why we are saved, sealed, sustained, and serve by grace.
3. God's Grace is Abounding:
Romans 5:18-20 "18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:"
-This grace has been and will always be greater than our sin. No one has ever been saved by keeping the law. The law slays, condemns, and all the world is guilty before the law. But although the offense abounds through the law, the grace of God much more abounds! Why? Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us!
We had a great week during our VBS at Salem Baptist Church. Each night we averaged over 100 students with nearly 70 of those being young people. It was encouraging to see many parents and grandparents in the community bring their children to learn more about the God of the Bible! The theme of our curriculum this year was "Searching the visible, discovering the invisible."
There were 11 students that learned the theme verses this year, Colossians 1:15-16 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
As a church the participation was outstanding! Those that prepared and served food, set up tables and chairs, registration, recreation, teachers, art and crafts, music/songs, and photography all were faithful to be there each night and I know received a blessing from being around the kids all week. We are looking forward to following up with the contacts that were made and praying for God to give the increase from the seeds sown throughout the week.
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
The fifty-third chapter in the Book of Isaiah is referred to as the Gospel according to Isaiah. Seven hundred years before Christ would come and fulfill the things concerning Himself in this wonderful chapter Isaiah penned down so vividly the suffering of the blessed Lamb of God. There is a word in verse 6 that is of great important concerning God's plan of salvation. The first word and last word of Isaiah 53:6 is "all". Here we see the simplicity, scope, and satisfaction of God's redemption.
All of humanity can identify themselves with the word "all" in verse 6. Truly "All we like sheep have gone astray". The Bible declares in Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Additionally, the word "we" is given in relation to going our own way. Thankfully, the verse does not end there. The good news is that "the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Jesus Christ bore our sins in his own body on the tree. He became a curse for us, the just for the unjust. So, just as sure as all humanity can identify with the first "All" of verse 6, by faith in what Christ "hath" done for us we can identify with the last "all" of verse 6. We go in the first "All" as SINNERS, we come out at the last "all" as SAINTS!
Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke seven times while hanging on the Cross of Calvary. We find the first saying in Luke 23:34. Jesus Christ spoke to the Father in prayer and asked "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
Reading through the gospel accounts we never find Christ asking the Father to forgive anyone. Consider the following verses as the explanation why: Luke 5:21-24 "21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? 22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? 23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? 24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house."
The scribes and Pharisees were accusing Jesus of blasphemy because they knew that only God could forgive sins. Jesus acknowledged and confirmed that He was God in the flesh because He did have the power to forgive sins. He was their long awaited Messiah but they rejected Him (John 1:10-11).
Now when we come to the Cross Jesus cries "Father, forgive them." Though Christ never ceased to be fully God He became fully man. As God, Jesus Christ had the power to forgive sins because God has no sin, can not sin, and will not sin. However, the scriptures teach us in I Peter 2:24 "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." That is, Christ who was the sin forgiver before the Cross is now is sin bearer on the Cross.
Romans 8:3 "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:"
II Corinthians 5:21 "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
This is why Jesus Christ cried out continuously from the Cross "Father, forgive them". Jesus Christ took the awfulness of our sins upon Himself and became sin for us. He was dying as the last Adam to redeem the lost sons and daughters of Adam back to their Creator. This prayer by our Lord Jesus Christ is still being answered today because of what He did over 2,000 years ago. God does not forgive us for our sake, He forgives us for Christ' sake. Forgiveness has been provided by the Lamb of God!
Ephesians 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God forChrist's sake hath forgiven you."
Romans 8:32 "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"
As I begin this blog I do so with the purpose and passion to faithfully communicate the truths of God's Word. I do not profess to be an expert in any realm of Bible doctrine or interpretation. I do believe and have total confidence in the Word of God. It is my prayer that comments made in this blog will be a source of encouragement. In a day in which the apostates and scoffers are flooding our government, schools, communities, and churches it is vital that we adhere to the admonition given by Jude and "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
The Bible states in Romans 4:3 "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." This verse will serve not only as the heading of this blog but I trust it will be the very heart of it as well. In this world of confusion, chaos, and conflict we must judge and compare all things according to "For what saith the scripture?"
Here are a few reasons why we must rely on "For what saith the scripture?"
1. The Scriptures are Truth
Ephesians 1:13 "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,"
John 17:17 "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
The Word of God is the only source of truth we have. We are saved by hearing and believing the Word of God. In expounding on I John 5:9-10 the late Dr. M.R. DeHaan states "the truth here is as clear as it can be stated: salvation is believing what God says about His Son Jesus Christ. God knows of no other way of redemption for lost humanity." The Lord Jesus Christ in His high priestly prayer in John 17 prays for us to be sanctified by the Word of God. We are always on solid ground when we believe the eternal truths of God's Word.
2. The Scriptures are Timeless
Psalm 119:89 "For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven."
Matthew 24:35 "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
Psalm 119:89 tells us that there has not be a time in which the Word of God has not been. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, informs us that there will never be a time in which the Word of God will not be.
3. The Scriptures are Tried
Psalm 18:30 "As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him."
I Corinthians 15:3-4 "3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"
There isn't enough time and space in this post to list the innumerable verses that we could reference about how God has said something and brought it to pass. If you want to study history, study the Bible. If you want to study current events/issues, study the Bible. If you want to study the future, study the Bible. The greatest message the world has ever known is given in I Corinthians 15 concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was born according to the scriptures, He died for our sins according to the scriptures, He was buried and rose again the third day according to the scriptures. The Word of God is tried and approved! Just as sure as we believe the gospel according to the scriptures we can look forward to our gathering according to the scriptures (I Thess.4:13-18).