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Supremely Selfish

Supremely Selfish

Paul said of the unregenerate man in Ephesians 2:3 that they live in the lust of their flesh, indulging in the desires of the flesh and of the mind. In this description we find one who is supremely selfish. They are living a life of self gratification with little or no thought of God’s will for their life. They are only concerned with what pleases and benefits them.

In II Timothy 3:1-4 Paul gives a graphic description of the heart of man in the last days, “For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” He began this description of the heart of man as being lovers of self and ended the description as these men being lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Clearly this is the culture of which we currently live.

We live in a violent culture, a culture of partisanship, a culture of splits, separations, and stalemates, a culture of tolerance so long as you agree with me, and a culture of throwing a fit until I get my way. James 4:1-2 says, “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel.”

This is the heart of the man of flesh; the unregenerate man. Unfortunately, the church so often appeases this fleshly selfishness rather than opposes it and calling it into repentance. They appease it with their seeker sensitive services in hopes that the sinner will never be uncomfortable. Did God Himself not create our bodies to have pain and fever alerting us that something is wrong? Pain and fever isn’t comfortable. That was intentional by God’s design. A sinner should always feel welcome in church but never comfortable.

When one reads the sermon Peter preached to the Jews in Acts 2 one can hardly say his intention was to make them comfortable. His intention was clear. It was to make them aware of their selfish motives that led to their sin resulting in them being in hostility towards their creator. His intention was for their hearts to be pierced with the truth of God’s word leading them to ask, “Brethren, what shall we do?” This question then led to the conclusion, “repent.”

The gospel of the selfish man tells us to come to Jesus to get healthy, wealthy and prosperous. The gospel of Jesus says, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24). Are there benefits in following Jesus? Absolutely! However, we must “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33). If our heart is what we can get out of God rather than God Himself we stand in need of repentance of our selfishness and rebellion towards God.             Jesus said, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” (Matthew 16:4). In Matthew 12:40 Jesus told them what the sign of Jonah was, “For just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” In other words Jesus was telling us that the only sign we need is the gospel which is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Our only need is Jesus; anything else is selfish.

Jesus said repeatedly throughout the gospels to deny ourselves and to put ourselves in last place. Jesus said of John the Baptist, “Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist!” Then He said, “Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:11).

Selfishness is sin. It is a mindset of the fleshly man. It is the sin that divides, splits, stagnates, and segregates communities and churches alike; it is the sin that destroys marriages, the sin that neglects the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of a child, and the sin that causes the world to be at war within itself. It must not be appeased. It must be called into repentance whether in our hearts or the hearts of our hearers.

It is Jesus of whom the bible calls us to have the mind of. It is Jesus who showed the ultimate act of selflessness “by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8). The man of the flesh can never be a man of God until he becomes likeminded with Paul where he said, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” This is the message of which we live. This is the message of which we preach.

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

 

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All Have Sinned

All Have Sinned

The bible is clear-all have sinned. Isaiah 53:6, “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way;” Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God;” I John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us;” I John 1:10, If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him (God) a liar and His word is not in us.”

Since all have sinned, all stand in need of salvation through the sacrifice Jesus paid on the cross. Because of the sacrifice Jesus paid the bible says in I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” As we see clearly that all have sinned we see just as clearly that the offer of salvation is for all. Romans 10:13 says, “For “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”

Since all have sinned no one is a greater sinner or a lesser sinner, we are simply sinners that need salvation from our sin. Your sin can never be too great for the God of all grace to forgive or too small for our holy and just God to over look. All of mankind has sinned against God, therefore all stand in need of His salvation; His salvation that is available to all.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Our Sin Has Declared War Against God!

Our Sin Has Declared War Against God!

There has been many a Christmas song written over the years reciting the angelic message to the shepherds on the first Christmas of God offering of peace on earth and good will towards men. (Luke 2:14). The Christmas carols often recite them with a focus on world peace. One even requests, “Pray for peace people everywhere.” However, these writers of the beloved Christmas carols have a great misunderstanding of what God’s peace offering truly is. Though His second coming will bring world peace, Jesus first coming wasn’t to bring peace among the nations, rather, it’s purpose was to bring peace between God and individuals who accept His peace offering.

Jesus said in Matthew 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” Jesus didn’t come to establish a kingdom of this world but rather a spiritual kingdom that is in the heart of man rather than this physical realm. Jesus also 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.” Since Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” Jesus clearly wasn’t stating that Christians are to be at war against the world, rather, the world is at war against Christians.

Clearly the peace that God offers through His Son Jesus, which was announced by the angelic host, was a personal offering to each individual. Truly, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son”, but only “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” The offering of peace with God is available to the whole world, but only received by the whosoever that will call upon the name of the Lord. The offering of peace with God is available to all but only received by the individual who accepts it by receiving His Son.

Why then do we need to be at peace with God? Because our sin has declared war against God. On December 7th, 1942 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor as a declaration of war against the United States. In the same way, each time we sin we attack God declaring war against His sovereignty and holiness. James 4:4 states, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” The Japanese may have awakened a sleeping giant but the sinner’s fate in the hands of a righteous and just God is far more dreadful. Hebrews 10:31 tells us, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

But the good news is, God has offered to all who will receive an offering of peace. God’s peace offering that is His very own Son. His Son who was born in the flesh that first Christmas morn, His Son who laid down that same flesh that first Good Friday, His Son who was resurrected defeating sin, death, hell, and the grave forevermore, His Son who is available today to whoever will accept His offering of peace. Colossians 1:19-20 says, “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

Our sins declared war against God yet it was God who offered us an offering of peace, not through the birth of His Son, but through the blood of His Son. God would have been just to destroy us for our sins and will be just in punishing those who reject His offer of peace. But praise be to God that He has offered us mercy and grace through His Son where we not only find peace in God, we are at peace with God. Truly, His grace is amazing!

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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The Wages of Sin is Death

The Wages of Sin is Death

Romans 6:23 tells us that, “the wages of sin is death.” For this reason Jesus died to pay the price for sin. Not that He sinned, but that He took upon Himself the sin of all humanity and died for all who would accept Him as their atoning sacrifice and therefore be cleansed of their sin. I Corinthians 5:21 says, “He (God) made Him who knew no sin (Jesus) to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

In Genesis we see God fellowshipping with His new creation Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God told them of every tree in the garden they can eat free, with the exception of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God said if they eat of that tree they shall surly die. (Genesis 2:16).

Although Adam and Eve tried to pass the blame of their sin to another, they were still held accountable for their actions resulting in the fall of all humanity. They could not blame the serpent for their sin. They made a conscious choice, do we obey God or disobey God. Although they knew the command of God and the consequences of their disobedience they personally chose to disobey God thus they sinned.

Did Adam and Eve die that day as God said they would? Yes. They died spiritually. They lost fellowship with God and were removed from the Garden of Eden and cast into a mean cruel world now corrupted by sin to labor by the sweat of their brow until the day they physically died. Sin has grave consequences. Had Adam and Eve not chosen to sin they would still be alive today. They would not have earned the wages of sin.

The bible speaks of three types of death, spiritual death, physical death, and the second death which is eternal death. Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:1, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,” and again in Colossians 2:13, “you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh.” Paul wasn’t talking to people who were physically dead but spiritually dead.

Sin separates us from God. God’s heart is to have a relationship with us. However, sin prevents us from having that relationship with Him. Separation from God is spiritual death. For this reason Jesus died for us so our sins can be forgiven and we would no longer be spiritual dead but alive in Christ and through Christ. Romans 6:23 not only tells us that the wages of sin is death but also says that the free gift of God is eternal life. Accepting the sacrificial atonement of Christ cleanses us from our sins and reconciles us into a right relationship with God.

Unless we are caught up in the rapture we will all die physically. However, we are not physical beings, we are spiritual. For those who have accepted Jesus atoning sacrifice and received salvation from their sins the bible says, “I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” There they will remain with the Lord spiritually until the resurrection of the dead where they will be given resurrected and glorified bodies, the same type of body that Jesus already has.

Those who refuse to accept Christ’s atoning work of salvation from their sins will then stand before God after their physical death and be judged for their sins. At the time of their judgment they will be cast into the eternal lake of fire where there is no longer any hope of redemption. The bible calls this the second death. (Revelation 20:11-15).

For this reason the church and every individual Christian should take with absolute urgency the mandate to preach the gospel to all creation. How else will they know? If they choose to reject, they have made their choice. However, they have made the choice with the knowledge of the command of God to accept His Son, and the consequences of choosing not to.                      If you have never accepted the free gift of God’s salvation understand that you are not promised tomorrow. You are not even promised a second breath. I have lived long enough to be shocked at the announcement of many people death. I was just as surprised by their sudden death as anyone else was. I we all were surprised by their sudden death wouldn’t they have been as well. It’s to late for them to make a choice, but you can choose the Lord today.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Is all Sin Equal?

Is all Sin Equal?

For most of humanity man has put different types of sin into different classifications. Today we have grand theft larceny or simple theft. God just calls a thief a thief. Today we have big lies that are propaganda or small lies that are little white lies. God just calls a liar a liar. Today, Christians think of homosexuality as a major sin and adultery or fornication, (shacking up), as the lesser of the evils, though in the bible they are viewed as equal. Jesus said that even looking at a woman lustfully is equivalent to adultery, (Matthew 5:27-28), and that being angry at your brother is equivalent to murder, (Matthew 5:22).

In the fifth chapter of Acts we see the Christians selling their possessions and property then giving all of the proceeds to the church to help those who were in need. One couple sold all of their property but didn’t give all of the money to the church. When asked if they gave all of the money they said that they did. Because of this sin God struck them dead. Wow! What was this grievous sin that cost their lives? Despite the suggestion of some that is was about the money, it wasn’t. Nowhere in the bible is there a command to sell ones property and give all to the church to help the needy. This act was done voluntarily out of a genuine love of Jesus and those in need. So, what was the sin? A little white lie. When asked if they gave all of the money from selling their property they knowingly lied and said that they did. Remember that the next time you are tempted to justify sin and say “it’s only a little white lie.”

The reality is, God doesn’t classify sin, God calls everyone who sins a sinner regardless of what the sin is. The biggest indicator that God views all sin equally is that God punishes all sin equally and that Jesus paid for all sin equally. Romans 6:23 tells us that, “the wages of sin is death.” There isn’t a classification scale of sins from big too small. The wages of all sin, big or small, is death. Even if the world considered someone to be a “good person” and that person had, at some point in their life, done something that man considers a minor sin, like telling a little white lie, and that person died without being forgiven of their sin they will be cast into hell for all eternity to pay the wage of their own sin.

The good news is that Romans 6:23 doesn’t only tell us that “the wages of sin is death”, it also tells us that “the free gift of God is eternal life.” I Peter 3:18 tells us, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The fact is, since Jesus died for all sinners and for all sins, from the most grievous to the little white lie, all sins and every sinner sent Jesus to the cross to die. No classifications, just sin. Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Jesus loved you and I enough to pay the wage of your sin with His death. Do you love Him enough today to turn away from your sin and live for Him? If you ask Jesus today to forgive you of your sins, whether that are big or small, He will. I John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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What is Sin?

What is Sin?

When asked what sin is, Billy Graham said, “A sin is any thought or action that falls short of God’s will. God is perfect, and anything we do that falls short of that perfection is sin.” The actual word the bible uses for sin is an archer’s term. When an archer releases his arrow from his bow and misses the target, he has sinned; literally, he has missed the mark. Romans 3:23 says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” In other words, we have all missed the mark, God’s mark, God’s standard. Every single one of us has missed it, therefore, every one of has sinned.

God gave to the Jews a law to live by and every one of them failed to live in accordance to it. God also gave the gentiles a law of conscience, a law every gentile has broken. Romans 7:7 tells us that the law makes us aware of our sin. In fact, the first commandment of God tells us, “You are to have no other God before me.” Have you always put God first in your life? Have you ever put something, someone, or self before God? Sure you have. Everyone has. Therefore, we have all broken the first commandment of God; we have all sinned. In fact, if I were to sit down with you in person, in a short amount of time I could show you how you have broken all of God’s commandments; we all have.

Clearly we sin when we lie, steal, murder, covet, lust, or do anything that God doesn’t approve of. Any action that falls short of God’s glory, His standard, His mark, is sin. However, sin is also not doing the many things that God has told us to do. For instance, God has clearly told us to not forsake assembling with other believers. (Hebrews 10:25.) In other words, go to church. Therefore, when we deliberately refuse to go to church we have sinned against the very God who has told us to go. We have missed the mark. Likewise, when we deliberately refuse to study His word, pray, give, witness, as well as many more things God has told us to do we have missed the mark.

Sin is what separates us from God. God is righteous and cannot have a relationship with sinners. Adam and Eve were removed from paradise because of their sin. They disobeyed God and suffered the consequences. Paul, writing to people who were obviously physically alive, wrote, “And you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1). Why were they dead? Their sins separated them from God and were therefore spiritually dead. Their repentance from sin and acceptance of God’s grace gave them life- eternal life. (Ephesians 2:1-10). If one dies physically while still separated spiritually from God in their sins they will stay eternally separated from Him in hell where there is no chance of escape. That’s why today is the day of salvation. Once we die, it’s too late.

We cannot clean ourselves up or straighten out our act. Nor can we shake the stench and stain of sin off of our lives. There is nothing we can do on our own that can release us from the condemnation of sin. It was sin that Jesus died for so that through Him we would have the ability to die to it. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

When we understand that we are sinners we understand our great need of Jesus. For He alone can save us from our sins and restore us into right relationship with God. Since we are all sinners, we all stand in need of salvation from our sin. Praise God for Jesus and His grace and mercy that results into salvation to those who believe.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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All That Wasted Time and Energy

“How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest” Your poverty will come in like a vagabond and your need like an armed man.” Proverbs 6:9-11

Since the past is the past and there is nothing we can do to go back and change it I usually don’t encourage people to look backwards. Rather, I try to encourage people to look forward. If we have confessed our sins of the past they are forgiven and blotted out. Now we can move forward. However, if you are still in your sin I would encourage you to look backwards. Look into your past and ask yourself, how much energy have you lost chasing after the lusts of your sinful lifestyle?” How much time have you lost, how much money have you lost, how many relationships have been destroyed, how many bridges have you burned, how much pain has it caused? Has it been worth it? Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” The thief is Satan. Unfortunately, we have opened the door with our choice of sin and invited him into our lives to steal and kill and destroy.

Again, the past is the past and there is nothing we can do about it. God can and will forgive us of the sins of the past but we can’t go back and change anything of the past. It’s done. However, we have a future. The question now is, “Are we going to continue to allow Satan to destroy us or are we going to allow God to bring healing and restoration?” Jesus finished John 10:10 by saying, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Which is the better choice?

Just as we have invited Satan into our lives to destroy us with our choice of sin we can invite Jesus into our lives by repenting of our sins, asking Him to forgive us of our sins, and making Him the Lord of our lives. Now, all of the time and energy we wasted on serving Satan we should spend serving God. Satan cursed you yet God will bless you. Therefore, we should give even more time and energy to God. Moreover, I can promise you, there is not a second we will spend serving God that will be a waste.

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Posted by on June 12, 2015 in Bible Study, Devotional

 

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