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Peace on Earth

Peace on Earth

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14

Every year throughout the Christmas season, in one form or another, carolers gather to sing of the wonderful news the angels pronounced to the shepherds that first Christmas night. One of the most popular themes recorded in song is “Peace on earth, and good will toward men.” Yet, we must ask ourselves, what did the angels mean when they spoke of peace on earth?

The writers of these beloved carols seem to think they were referring to world peace here on this earth. Edmund H. Sears, a unitarian minister who made no mention of Christ in his carol, was bothered by the social conditions that ultimately led to the Civil War when he wrote, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. Henry Longfellow wrote, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, amid great personal tragedy during the Civil War. The newest of Christmas Carols, Do You Hear What I Hear, was written with concern of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Though there will be perfect peace on this earth when the Prince of Peace returns, Christ’s first coming was not at all intended to bring world peace. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 10:34, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” The purpose of Jesus first coming was to bring peace between God and Man.

The bible clearly teaches that all have sinned, and our sin puts us at enmity against God. In a sense, our sins are a declaration of war against an all sovereign God. Though God has not wronged us in any way, He has initiated a peace offering. His Son, Jesus, is that peace offering. Jesus is God’s means of reconciliation.

Prior to the host of angel’s declaration of peace on earth, a single angel announced the birth of a Savior who was born in the city of David, which was Bethlehem. (Luke 2:11). That Savior was Jesus who was born into this world to live a perfect life that would ultimately be laid down on the cross of Calvary as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind.

Today, for those who repent and turn to Jesus by faith, their sins will be forgiven and washed away, they will be justified, in other words put in right relationship with God, and they will have peace with God. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is a true peace, and this peace is the gift God gave to this world on the first Christmas day; a gift that is still available to anyone who will put their faith in Jesus.

For more information about Rusty Kuhn Ministries visit, www.rustykuhn.com

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2018 in Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Silent Night a Christmas Devotional

A Christmas Devotional on Silent Night. Give your mess to the Master and He will make a masterpiece out of it. This is a part of my Behind the Carol Christmas Program that I do looking at the history or meaning of the Christmas carols. I will post a different one each morning this week.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2018 in Devotional, Music, Uncategorized

 

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Missions, Ministry, and Evangelism

Missions, Ministry, and Evangelism

It’s time that I get back to writing. It’s been three years since I was diagnosed with cancer and I have written very little since. Starting next week I will start posting every Monday morning a series of blogs titled, Missions, Ministry, and Evangelism. They will focus on my years of experience as a pastor, a church planter, and an evangelist. I will write about things that I’ve seen work well, and not so well. I will give practical advice and results, good and bad, of my past labors along with what I’ve seen others do. This will be geared toward pastors, churches and lay leaders who have a heart for missions, ministry, and evangelism. My prayer is that it will motivate our churches to get out beyond their walls and into the field for the purpose of reaping a great harvest. I don’t claim to be the best writer, or even good writer, nor do I claim to have the best advice, I simply want to share my passion and pray that it will be contagious. So, stay tuned!

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2018 in Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Convincing of Righteousness

Convincing of Righteousness

As we continue to look at how the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, we will now look at how the Holy Spirit will convict the world, the sinner, of God’s righteousness. The Holy Spirit cannot convict the sinner of his own righteousness, for he has none. Romans 3:10 states, “There is none righteous, not even one.” Not only is there none who is righteous, there is none who seek for righteousness. Romans 3:11 says, “There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God.” Apart from the Holy Spirit convicting the sinner of God’s righteousness he would be left abandoned to his own unrighteousness never to seek or long for God’s.

We should give God the highest praise that He has sent the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Apart from that conviction we would be hopeless. Jesus would be useless to us because apart from the Holy Spirit we cannot see, or know Jesus. Jesus said in John 16:10 that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of righteousness, “Because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me.” As stated earlier, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin by convicting us of Jesus Lordship. In the same way, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin by convincing us of Jesus righteousness, and allowing us to know we are utterly lost in hopeless unrighteousness on our own.

Jesus asked in Mark 10:18, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” The bible is clear that Jesus is God, and that He is righteous. He is perfectly righteous as is the Father and the Holy Spirit. God alone is righteous. Jesus proved His righteousness by going to be with the Father. Had Jesus not fulfilled all righteousness the Father would not have accepted Him. Yet, the Father did accept Him; therefore we clearly know that all righteousness has been fulfilled through Christ.

Jesus had nothing to prove by fulfilling all righteousness. He was perfectly righteous prior to taking upon the flesh and He remained so after He became flesh. Jesus fulfilled all righteousness, not for His own sake, but for ours; for we have none. II Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Since the wages of sin is death Jesus took upon the penalty for our sake. Since Jesus was sinless, death had no hold or claim on Him, therefore, Jesus arose from the grave defeating death. When one repents from their sin and turns to Jesus not only is their sins wiped away but God replaces the sin of the flesh with Jesus righteousness. Just as the Father would not have accepted Jesus apart from Jesus fulfilling all righteousness neither will He accept us apart from Jesus righteousness placed upon us through the acceptance of Jesus sacrifice to sin.

For this reason the Holy Spirit convinces the sinner, through His convicting power, first, that he has no righteousness of His own, second, that Jesus is perfectly righteousness, and third, that Jesus paid the price for our sins, will blot out our sins, and give to us His righteousness if we simply repent of our sins and turn to Jesus. Wow, that was a long sentence; but it is an amazing work that God offers to those who will receive. Apart from the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and the submission to the conviction, the sinner will remain in his sins, unrepentant, thinking that he is sufficient on his own when he clearly isn’t. Only God’s righteousness is sufficient, and only Jesus paid the price for sin where we can be redeemed and receive His righteousness. Truly, that is amazing grace!

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Living Stones

Living Stones

Jesus asked the disciples in Matthew 16:13, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They said in the next verse, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” Jesus then asked them in verse fifteen, “But who do you say that I am?” At this time Simon boldly answered in verse sixteen, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” In the next verse we see that Jesus was greatly pleased with Simon’s answer and said, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Jesus then renamed Simon Peter saying, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church.”

When Jesus renamed Simon He called him Peter which is Petros in Greek. Petros is a small stone or a rock. A brick can fall under the category of a petros. It is certainly not a foundational stone that someone would build a house on. Rather it would be the small stones, like bricks, that would rest upon the foundational stone.

After Jesus named Simon Petros, He said “upon this rock I will build my church.” The word that Jesus used for rock was a different word than the one He used for Simon Peter. Jesus used the Greek word petra as the rock that the church would be built upon. Petra is a large rock, a foundational stone that is much different than the small stone, petros, Simon was called. Clearly Peter is not the foundational stone that the church is built upon; Jesus is. Jesus is the one who gave His life so He could redeem the church. To say any other is the foundation of the church is not only biblically inaccurate, it is outright blasphemous.

Peter clearly understood what Jesus was talking about. Peter wrote in I Peter 2:4-5, “And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” Who is the living stone? Jesus is. He is the one that was rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God. We are the ones who come to Him also as living stones that are being built up as a spiritual house. This is the perfect portrait of the church.

The church is not a physical building, an address, or location. The church is a spiritual house. Jesus is the living stone that is the foundation. We are living stones being built up on that foundation. Just as bricks are laid atop of the foundation of the building we are laid atop of Jesus who is the foundation of the church. We are also laid atop of all of the other believers who came before us such as Peter. Peter was named Petros because he was the first to confess Jesus as the Christ. Upon our confession of Christ we are saved and therefore laid atop of the foundation of Christ as the church.

After Peter gave us this wonderful picture of the structure of God’s spiritual house he then gave us an understanding of its function. He said in I Peter 2:9, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Jesus didn’t save us to give us a get out of hell free card. He saved us out of darkness and into light so we would have a relationship with Him and so we would proclaim to the rest of the world, which remains in darkness, of His excellencies and His marvelous light so they too would be drawn to the light and have a relationship with Him and not stand in darkness separated from God doomed to eternal condemnation. Clearly, this is one of the main functions of the church; the whole church.

Paul wrote in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” If the gospel is truly the power of God for salvation, as the Word of God says that it is, and we refuse to share the gospel we are then guilty of condemning this world to hell. How will they repent of their sins if we don’t tell? How will they walk out of darkness and into the marvelous light if we don’t tell? How will they know their sins will eternally condemn them if we don’t tell? “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15).

The feet that carry the good news may become callused, bruised, and bloody; they may become dusty, dirty, and grimy; they may become tired, weary, and worn, but they are beautiful to God. Far, they are bringing the good news of Jesus to a lost world of whom He loves.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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The Gospel Must be Communicated

The Gospel Must be Communicated

Have you ever heard someone say “I allow my life to be my witness?” Clearly the bible teaches we should do good works. Titus 3:8 says, “This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.” Jesus Himself said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). Godly living and good works should go hand in hand. However, good works alone is an insufficient witness.

Clearly we want the unreached world to see our good works so our Father who is in heaven will be glorified. However, good works alone can be dangerously misleading. The bible clearly states that we are not saved by our good works and that we are only saved by placing our faith in the works of Christ. (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Titus 3:5 says, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit”

If we fail to communicate the gospel, which is the works of Christ that lead to salvation, we can lead the lost world into believing that their good life and good works are sufficient to save them. They will think they simply have to be a good person and perform good works to get to heaven. Paul said of those who teach this perverted form of the gospel, which is really no gospel at all, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8, 9). This is usually not the intention of the one who desires his life to be a witness. However, this is the danger of living a good life and doing good works without communicating the gospel.

True biblical evangelism consists of communication. Jesus said in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” One cannot preach without communication. The word preach means to proclaim. We are commanded to proclaim the gospel to all creation. We are called to be witnesses of Jesus and his teachings to the whole world starting where we are at. (Acts 1:8).

In the Word of God we find two distinct calls to preach. Paul tells Timothy, who is the pastor of Ephesus, in II Timothy 4:2, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” This type of preaching is pastoral preaching. It is preaching directed to the church with instruction that leads to godly living.

The other type of preaching is what Jesus commanded in Mark 16:15-preach the gospel. It is evangelistic preaching, or proclaiming. It is preaching directed to the lost with instruction of how to be saved. The Greek word used here is euaggelizesthai. It means, to evangelize. To evangelize is to share, preach, proclaim the gospel. Euaggelizesthai is a verb. It is a word that demands action. This word is used fifty two times in the New Testament.

Preaching is God’s choice of the communication of His gospel message. I Corinthians 1:21 says, “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” Whether we are proclaiming to the masses or sharing with individuals we must communicate, preach, proclaim the clear message of the gospel. Every Christian is called to this task.

In the Word of God we find two ways that the gospel can, and should be, communicated. Clearly the first way is verbal. Acts 14:1 says of Paul and Barnabus, “In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks.” The spoken word is the most prominent form of communicating the gospel in the New Testament. However, it is not the only form of communicating the gospel.

John said in I John 5:8, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Luke also stated his purpose in writing the book of Luke in Luke 1:3, 4 where he wrote, “it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” A quick read through the book of Romans will show you that it is the greatest gospel tract ever written. Writing isn’t preaching, but it is a wonderful form of communication that God has given to us to share His gospel message.

Whether we choose to preach, proclaim, share the gospel through the spoken word or the written word we must clearly communicate it. We are called and should be compelled to proclaim the gospel with the lost with every available opportunity we have. Apart from the proclamation of the gospel the lost world stands condemned to an eternal hell. When we proclaim the gospel they may chose to reject. Regardless of their decision, we have given them an opportunity to make a decision by communicating the gospel. If we however reject the call to proclaim, we not only stand in rebellion against God, we also have to ask, how then will they ever have the opportunity to make the choice?

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Proclaiming the Gospel is an Act of Love

Proclaiming the Gospel is an Act of Love

The ultimate act of love is seen in the act of God so love the world. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God didn’t wait for us to change our wicked ways and then turn to Him. Apart from the power of the blood of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit we can’t turn to God. Apart from the work of God we would never even want too. Philippians 2:13 says, “It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

We did not choose to love God, He chose to love us. I John 4:19 says, “We love, because He first loved us.” He chose to love us despite the fact that we were living in rebellion against Him. He loved us enough to pay the price for our sins on the cross of Calvary, suffering greatly in humiliation and anguish knowing that His sacrifice would purchase redemption of sin and reconcile us into a right relationship with Him. We love the Lord today because He first loved us.

Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus demonstrated His love towards us by laying down His life. As a result of the cross God also requires us to lay down our lives. Not as a dead sacrifice, but as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God. Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Because of the mercies of God, which is the act of Jesus on the cross, we are urged to give our lives as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God.

Jesus told us to preach the gospel to all creation. In order to do this we must sacrifice. We will sacrifice our time, our energy, and sometimes our money. We may think that the world is wicked and cruel and therefore is not worthy of my sacrifice. But, we need to ask ourselves, “Are we worthy of Jesus sacrifice?” Absolutely not! Fortunately for us, God didn’t give us what we deserve; instead, He gave us grace and mercy-because of His love. We to are called to demonstrate grace, mercy, and love to a hostile and often rejecting world. We as Jesus did, are to overlook the hostility and rejection of the world in love, hoping to win a few for the Lord.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). God loves the world and everyone in it. Does He love their ways? Of course not. This is why He sent His Son to die on the cross and save them from their sins empowering them to repent and live for Him. Paul writes in Romans 10:14-15, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?  How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” The feet of those who carry the gospel to the unsaved are beautiful to God. They are carrying the good news of Jesus salvation to the world in which God loves so they can hear, and therefore believe. But how will they hear unless we love them enough to go and tell. By telling we carry on the ultimate act of love-God’s sacrificial love.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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