Archive for October, 2015

Preparations

This month has certainly flown by. It seems as winter approaches, we move slower. Maybe it is because we are seeing the things we didn’t get done over the summer looming larger as we think of colder weather ahead. I have winterized the camper, and closed the ventilation windows in the crawl space of the lake house in preparation for winter.

Speaking of things that get put off to a later date, how about making preparations for where we will spend eternity? I read recently of a man whose wife had prayed for his salvation for many years. Finally, at the age of 93, he placed his faith in Christ.

The question I would ask is this. What if he hadn’t had 93 years? The Bible says those who reject Jesus as Savior spend eternity apart from God in a place of torment and anguish. Not everyone has 93 years. In fact, not one of us is guaranteed tomorrow. God’s word says “now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). In another place it says “just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people” (Hebrews 9:27-28). In Hebrews 4:7, it says, “Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later He spoke through David as was said before “Today, If you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts”, indicating that if He is calling you to be saved, you need to respond now. Do not wait. It is the most important decision you will ever make.

In spite of what many so-called “religions” try to make you believe, there is only one way to heaven. That way is through faith in Jesus Christ. I quote again John 14:6, the words of Jesus: “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.”

You may be able to put off winterizing your home or RV. The worst that can happen is frozen pipes and a mess, but when your eternal destination is on the line, please don’t delay. Remember, scripture says man is destined to die once and after that the judgment. There are no second chances. Now is the day of salvation.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

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Renewing the Fire

We had our first freeze last week, although it didn’t seem to affect much of the vegetation right here in town. The leaves are changing colors and many are falling from the trees. I suspect winter is on its way.

I got some actual work done this week. It wasn’t much, but considering the time it has taken to regain a measure of strength since my hospital stay, it is a big improvement. There were some maintenance issues needing my attention, so I figured I might as well get at them.

A piece of siding had blown off the side of the house one windy day, so I got the ladder and put it back. I mowed the lawn (with the riding mower), and was going to trim, but the trimmer wouldn’t start. I quit trying to start it just before I gave out completely. After working on the trimmer a while, I decided the spark was weak. We went to town the next day, so I picked up a new spark plug. With the new plug installed, the trimmer started on the second pull of the rope. A stronger spark was all it needed.

Christians, I believe, sometimes lose their spark, so to speak. The zeal we have as new Christians seem to fade after a while, and we need to renew the spark. In Romans 12:11, believers are told, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” How do we renew, or regain that spark? I believe it begins with prayer. As we renew our relationship with the Lord through prayer, he will renew our passion for Him.

Psalm 51:10…A prayer of David; “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” To his disciples, Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…” (Acts 1:8).

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

Paul prayed for the believers in Rome, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

Trusting Him,
Pastor Jerry

Blessed Assurance

Hello friends,
It’s time for another of our weekly chats. I realize these are somewhat one-sided, but you are welcome to respond at any time. I hope you have been enjoying the nice weather. It is quite a bit cooler this morning than yesterday, but 95 degrees in October is a bit too much.

In Sunday’s message, we discussed two topics that are closely related. They are the ‘assurance of salvation, and the ‘perseverance of the saints.’ There are those who believe a Christian can lose his or her salvation. Scripture teaches once saved, always saved, and the follow-up of that, is God will see to it that the saved person will persevere to the end.

On assurance of salvation, we have these passages of scripture: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did” (1 John 2:5-6). “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).

On the perseverance of the saints. Paul writes to the believers at Philippi, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Believers persevere to the end, not by their own effort, but because God has promised to preserve the saints, that is, those who believe on the Lord Jesus.

If a person appears to have lost their salvation, the Bible teaches they were never saved. They either were never really saved, or they had a false assurance based on false doctrine. Concerning those who appeared to have lost their salvation, the apostle John said this: “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us” (1 John 2:19).

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves…” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Saved forever,
Pastor Jerry

The Wrath of God

Last week, we looked at the good news of the gospel as presented by Paul in Romans 1:16-17. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” Today, in the verses following, we are reminded of God’s wrath. That is, the fact that sin angers God. “For the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Romans 1:18).

God’s wrath is not a popular topic these days. People would rather hear about God’s love. The fact is they go together. Understand this: God’s attributes are perfectly balanced. If he had no righteous anger and wrath, He would not be God, just as He would not be God without his gracious love. He perfectly hates just as he perfectly loves, perfectly loving righteousness and perfectly hating evil.

Preaching that fails to teach the wrath of God and the condemnation it brings upon all with unforgiven sin, fails to teach the whole counsel of God. Even the New Testament, which many people hold up as only teaching about the love of God, has something to say about God’s wrath.

The often quoted John 3:16, which says “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”, is followed in verse 36 with these words. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

God’s wrath and judgment are real. The only way to escape his righteous judgment is to accept his offer of salvation by faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. “That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 9:9). This is the good news of the gospel.

“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

In Truth,
Pastor Jerry