Archive for February, 2013

The Unchanging Word

In our day, as has been the case since the beginning of the church, there are those in pulpits who claim to speak for God, yet “prophesy” falsely. They come with a message that isn’t found in the Bible, claiming they have a “new word” from the Lord. Let’s remember, every word intended for us to have from Him is recorded in the Bible. There is no “new word” from the Lord. If you hear of such a person, distance yourself from him.

The scripture is explicit in its command concerning the adding to, or the subtracting from God’s Word. “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19). Although this passage is in Revelation, it, by association would indicate that all of the Bible is to be seen as God’s unchangeable and final word.

“Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God that I give you” (Deuteronomy 4:2).

“Every word of God is flawless…Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar” (Prov. 30:5-6).

2 Peter, chapter 2 gives more details concerning false teachers (prophets), their ways, and their destiny. You can look it up.

We must examine the teaching of anyone who claims to speak for God, and that includes your pastor. (Acts 17:11). I appreciate those who hold me accountable for the words I speak and write, although I may sometimes not show it right away….

In His Love,
Pastor Jerry

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Worship

Our devotional topic for the week is worship. Man was created to worship. People worship all kinds of things, but it was God’s plan for his creation to worship Him. It seems today that worship is reserved for sports figures, movie, music and television stars, our jobs, our children, our cars, (in ranch country it might be a new “truck”), or any number of other things.

God still desires to be the exclusive object of our worship, and the reality is this… we will only be satisfied in worship when our worship is totally directed toward God. The first two of the Ten Commandments establish God’s right to be the only true God, and that He alone is to be worshiped (Deuteronomy 5:7-10).

It seems to me that we have lost much sincerity in our worship of God, and I have to think it is because we have a watered down idea of who He is. Somewhere we have gotten the idea that God is just a kindly grandfather that wants us to be happy, and that worshiping him is optional. I believe if we have a right concept of who God is, and if we will comprehend His glory and His majesty, worship will naturally follow. When we read in the Bible of men who have come into the very presence of God, we see that their response was dramatic.

Isaiah said, “Woe to me! I am ruined!” (Isaiah 6:5). When Ezekiel was in the presence of the glory of God, he fell face-down (Ezekiel 1:28). John, writing of his experience in Revelation, and recognizing the Lord, said, “When I saw Him, I fell at his feet as though dead (Revelation 1:17). And there are others I could mention.

Oh, that we would have this view of worship when we come into our churches each week! Would we not see a dramatic difference in the way we worship and in the way we respond to the preaching and teaching of the Word?

Just Wondering,
Pastor Jerry

Stand Firm

We’re spending this Sunday afternoon waiting for the remnants of our first real winter storm of 2013 to fade. We didn’t receive a lot of snow, but we did get nearly a half-inch of rain last night, and the wind is blowing hard. Further north and west, they are dealing with some significant snow and wind. I remember those times when our days were spent feeding and caring for livestock. And, I am glad that for me, they are over.

There is increasing pressure for evangelical Christians to accept “same sex marriage”, and a host of other sinful behaviors. Our reaction cannot be to hide in a cave hoping it all goes away. We must stand firm on God’s Word. I believe his people must not compromise his truth. As we are pressed more and more to conform to the ways of the world, it seems appropriate to revisit some instructions from several of the apostles’ letters in the New Testament.

Paul, writing in Romans 12:2… “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Peter, in 1 Peter 1:14… “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (This scripture calls us to live godly lives.)

John, in 1 John 2:15..”Do not love the world or anything in the world.” Also, chapter 3, verse 7: “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.”
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them (false teachers), because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Finally, “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:5).

Do not let the world mold you into something contrary to God’s plan for your life. We, who are called by His name, cannot compromise on these issues and stay true to our Lord’s calling. We must speak the truth, and do so in humility and in love.

In Truth and Love,
Pastor Jerry

On Baptism

It is time again for a devotional thought for the week. These are meant to encourage you, or to teach the truths of the Bible. They may even be controversial, but my prayer is that the reader will gain a new understanding of God’s plan, and apply it to his or her life.

I recently received a response to an article in which a question arose concerning the relationship of Christian baptism to a person’s salvation. I want to briefly share what I believe the Bible teaches.

In every New Testament reference to baptism following Jesus’ return to heaven, it is shown as something a person does as a testimony to their faith in Christ. It is symbolic of a person dying to sin and being raised to new life in Christ. Being placed under the water, or being sprinkled, whatever the case may be, indicates being buried. Then, coming up out of the water identifies that person with Christ’s resurrection and a new life.

Salvation comes first, then baptism. Therefore, I believe baptism is for the person who has reached the age of complete understanding of the concept that he or she is a sinner in need of a Savior, and is able to make that choice on their own.

In Acts 2:38, following Peter’s sermon the people asked “what shall we do?” Peter responded, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you…” And in verse 41, “Those who accepted his message were baptized.” Then, in Acts 8:12-13, we find “when they believed, they were baptized.”

It follows then, that the infant or toddler, or the person with reduced mental ability is not going to be condemned because they passed into the next life without experiencing baptism. I believe those are welcomed immediately it the arms of Jesus.

On the other hand, a person with the capacity for full understanding of sin and its consequences, will be held responsible for their acceptance or rejection of Christ’s offer of forgiveness of sin. Whether or not they have been baptize has no bearing on their salvation. This I believe.

In His love,
Pastor Jerry