Archive for the ‘Gospel’ Category

Who is Jesus?

Dear readers,

A little snow fell this weekend. Here at the lake, it was three or four inches. With the warmer temps this week, I don’t expect it to hang around very long. The snow always adds to the beauty of the Christmas lights around the neighborhood. The first annual Trail of Lights was held last week, and by all reports was a huge success. Plans are being made for an even better display next season.

On the topic of Christmas, I wonder at times if there are people who don’t really know who, or why we celebrate at Christmas? Most folks would say it is about the birth of Jesus Christ, but do they really know who he is?

Who is this Jesus, whose birth we celebrate? Jesus asked his disciples at one point, “who do people say

that I am?” They answered him, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, one of the prophets.” “But you,” he asked them, “who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.”

Today, there are many who will say Jesus was a moral person, or that he was a great teacher. Some see him as a historical figure, and some believe he is just make-believe. There is only one right answer to the question, and Peter supplied the correct answer.

If one believes the Bible is God’s unchanging word, then Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Savior of the world. There are other descriptions of Jesus in the Bible; Light of the world, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, the Son of God, the Word. In Isaiah 9:6, the promised Messiah is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Jesus, speaking of himself said, “I am the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6). Above all, He came to save the world from the penalty of sin. “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).

Many years ago, in sharing my testimony, I appealed to my listeners with the following verses of scripture from the writer of Hebrews; “So as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…” (Hebrews 3:7-8). Is He speaking to you today?

In Him,

Pastor Jerry

Why Christmas?

Dear friends,

As we contemplate the coming of Jesus to the manger in Bethlehem, I want to share a devotional from Pastor Greg Laurie.

“But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.”
—Galatians 4:4–5

We are on the verge of celebrating Christmas, and we’ll talk a lot about the Baby born in the manger and the beauty of the Incarnation. But the purpose of the Incarnation was so there would be the death of Jesus and, ultimately, the resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus came to Earth to die for the sins of the world. Yet His disciples didn’t get that because it was lost in translation. Their hope and belief was that He would establish an earthly kingdom then and there. Their hope and belief was that He would drive out the Romans who were occupying the land.

After Jesus fed the five thousand, His most popular miracle at the time, the people wanted to make Jesus king by force so that He would bring Rome’s occupation to an end. They didn’t understand that it wasn’t the reason He had come to this earth.

It was always God’s plan for Christ to die. Revelation 13:8 calls Him “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (NKJV). What does that mean? It means that before there was a planet called Earth and a garden called Eden, before there was a couple known as Adam and Eve who ate of the forbidden fruit, God knew that humanity would blow it.

Adam and Eve’s sin didn’t come as a surprise or shock to God. He knew it would happen. So He already had a plan. His Son would come to this earth and be born in a manger, live a perfect life, and die on the cross for the sins of the world.

Of course, one day Jesus Christ will come back and establish His kingdom. One day He will rule as King of kings and Lord of lords. But before Christ would wear a crown, He would first have to die on a cross and then rise from the dead.”

As Christmas approaches, let us not forget the Reason we celebrate.

In Him,
Pastor Jerry

Celebrate Christmas

Dear friends,
Christmas lights and other reminders of the season have appeared almost overnight. Christmas themed music has begun to be played on the radio, and much advertising is directed toward Christmas shopping. In all this, I pray we don’t lose sight of the real Reason for the season. In the world we live in, we need Jesus as much as we have ever needed Him, if not more.

If we believe the Bible, and understand that we live in a sin-stained world, our priority should be to put Jesus first. The prophet wrote, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a Son, and will call Him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14).

This one to be called Immanuel would be born in Bethlehem as prophesied in Malachi. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Micah 5:2.

The angel Gabriel announced to Mary and Joseph that the son to be born would be the Messiah, the promised Savior. To Joseph he said, “She (Mary) will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins”) Matthew 1:21. To Mary, his message was,
“You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:31-32).

Paul wrote, “But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive the full rights of sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).

Jesus came to be the sacrifice that would pay the sin debt of the whole world, that whoever believes in Him would have eternal life. In Romans 6:23 it is written, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

At this time of the year, and in this Christmas season, we celebrate the birth of the Savior. It is an old, old story, but one of which we should never tire, or take for granted.

Thank God for Christmas!
Pastor Jerry

Knowing the Truth

Hello friends,

There is not much to report as far as weather; just mostly cool temperatures, with some sun and some clouds. The fall colors have been extra special this year, but with the one really windy day last week many leaves have fallen.

I had the pleasure of speaking at Grace Bible Church this week. I thought it might be beneficial to share some thoughts from my sermon with all of you. Based on Paul’s first letter to Timothy, it tells us to be on guard against false teachers, of whom there are plenty these days.

All believers have a responsibility to be on the alert for false teachers. What are we to look for? Here are four things to keep in mind.

First, look at their understanding of Scripture, and ask if their teaching is biblically sound. Do they place extra-biblical teachings on a par with Scripture? That is, do they add or subtract from the value of God’s Word? Do they accurately handle the Word of truth? Scripture says, “Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Second, examine their goals. Do they seek to love, honor and glorify God? Or do they pursue self-love, material wealth, or personal happiness?

Third, examine their motives. Are they humble and selfless? Or do they seek to make a name for themselves?

Finally, examine the effect of their teaching. Do their followers understand clearly the gospel of Jesus Christ? Do they define the Gospel properly? Do they use the law properly, as part of the gospel message, or do they promote works righteousness? The law was given to show sinners their need for a Savior. The Law saves no one. Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, to recognize and expose false teaching, we must spend time in the Bible. Not just to check off a passage of scripture as our daily reading, but to really spend time getting to understand what God has already said. Meditate on it.

We need not ask the Lord to speak to us. He has spoken. “But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed head of all things, and through whom he made the universe” (Hebrews 1:2).

In Christ alone,

Pastor Jerry

Turn to Jesus

Dear readers,
Gardening season has ended for 2021. Those freezing temps for two or three nights in a row were effective. It is a welcome break from the heat we have been experiencing. Afternoons have been pleasant, but I suspect colder highs are nearer than we would like.

If you are like me, some days just seem too much to bear. Are you worn down by worry or concern over your situation today? What is a person to do? The answer is found in God’s word. The scripture verse for today is Psalm 27:14. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord.” Another Psalm tells us our help comes from Him. “I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).

It is an old, old story, but Jesus came to this earth to bring salvation to all people, and to offer himself as the perfect sacrifice that would pay our sin debt and give us eternal life. These are His words, “Truly I tell you, anyone who hears my words and believes in him who sent me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24). Also, “For this is the will of my Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him will have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40).

God says in Isaiah 45:22, “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God and there is no other.” Jesus says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Here are comforting words from a favorite hymn:
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

For Him,
Pastor Jerry

What Is Jesus Doing?

 Dear friends,

Another week has slipped away from us. Fall is definitely in the air. The colors of the season are as spectacular as any I have seen. What a great blessing to live where God has placed us. I can think of no other place I would rather be. Short fishing report; I caught a nice-sized bass one morning last week, and had it for supper Friday evening. It was even better than I had anticipated, it makes me want to catch another one or two!

On Saturday, I attended a conference for rural Christian workers. I was reminded of some things for Christians to focus on in our current reality, and thought they were worth sharing. A popular question from a few years back asked, “What would Jesus do?” Our speaker asked, “What would Jesus do today?” The following is a brief outline of his answer.

First, Jesus is still building his church. He said, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18). We (believers) are the church, and He is still adding to it. As His people, are we helping build the church or are we tearing it down?

Second, He is still making disciples through his church. He commands us to make disciples. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).  As more people come to faith in Christ, we are to be discipling those new believers, teaching them how to follow Him.

Third, He is still seeking and saving the lost. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). As followers of Jesus, one of our responsibilities is to point others to Him. We are to introduce the lost to the Savior. According to Acts 5:42, speaking of the early church, “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.”

In summary; we are to love people the way Jesus loves them. Share the good news of Jesus’ salvation. Invite them to respond to His offer of salvation and be saved. We are not to be mere spectators.

For Him,

Pastor Jerry

It’s Christ Alone

Dear readers,
Rain report – 3.25”. I have my laptop back from the repair shop. The diagnosis was a failing hard drive, so now the old machine has a new solid-state replacement, which has no moving parts. I had to reset some things, but we are getting accustomed to each other. The news of the past week has been anything but encouraging, but we can be assured that God is not sleeping through these events.

As I write these articles each week, my aim is to share with all of you what the Bible says about life in general, and God’s plan of salvation in particular. His word is quite specific regarding Jesus Christ, and the fact that we are only save from our sin by placing our faith in His sinless sacrifice on the cross.

I have come across a recent study that shows some trends that concern me. This study found that over sixty percent of born-again Christians in America between the ages of 18 and 39 believe that Jesus isn’t the only way to heaven. Further, for those in that age group, over 30 percent say they either believe that Jesus sinned just like other people or aren’t sure. This begs the question, what in the world are they being taught? A Christless Christianity is a contradiction of terms. Scripture is quite clear on these two issues. I will let the Word speak for itself.

Jesus’ words: I am the way, the truth, and the life No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6). Jesus was fully human, but differed from all other people in two ways. First, He was born to a virgin; He had no human father. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb (Matthew 1:18-25). Second, unlike any other person, Jesus was without sin. He claimed to be sinless (John 8:46) and there is never a record of His confessing sin, although He told us to confess ours. Paul said that Jesus became sin for us but that He personally knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21).

In short, it is Christ alone who is uniquely qualified to save us from our sin. It is because He is the only way, and He alone is the sinless Lamb of God, sent to save the world from sin. Any other gospel is a false gospel.

On His Word alone,
Pastor Jerry

Perspective on Disaster

Dear readers,

There is not much new here this week. Summer seems to be winding down, and I notice the days getting shorter. For a time, I was waking up to early morning light, now I need to turn on the light in the morning. After procrastinating for a time, I power-washed the deck this week, and we have been busy applying a new coat of stain. Milrae mentioned that it seems harder than it was the last time we did it.

School will soon be starting, and in some cases has started for another year. As always, we pray for students and teachers. It seems there are more challenges each year to providing a good education, and one that will bring about the most benefit to the learners.

The news for Saturday told of an earthquake in Haiti. This is just one more disaster to hit that nation in recent times. We must pray for the people there, as they deal with all the destruction and loss of life. Once again, we are reminded that the forces of nature are at times deadly. We live in a broken world, and due to man’s sin in the Garden of Eden, it will remain broken until such time as God sees fit to restore His creation to its original design. As devastating as these disasters are, God is not taken by surprise, and He is still in control of His creation. As we look back on the events of history, let us remember that history, from beginning to end, is all about His Story!

Events like this should serve to remind us of the fragility of life, and the need for every person to place his or her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We wonder what brought this on; is this a result of someone’s sin, or is God judging a nation or people with this disaster? In response to a question concerning some men who had died at the hand of Pilate, and some who died when a tower collapsed, Jesus replied, “Do you think they were more guilty than all others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish” (Luke 13:1-5). His point is, rather than find fault with those who had died, they should be reminded of their own need to repent and be saved.

Jesus saves!

Pastor Jerry

Go and Tell

Dear friends,
April is moving along as usual, bringing to mind the saying “Time waits for no man.” For instance, I had hoped to wait a few days to mow the lawn, but the grass had a different time schedule. We have not only mowed the first time this year, but flower beds have been cleaned and other preparations for summer are in the works.

The camper has been taken to the repair shop for some minor issues, and we hope to begin the new season soon. I was told we had to get the camping out of the way before time to start caring for the garden. Since I enjoy the produce as much as anyone, this sounds like a reasonable approach.

In case you have been wondering about our cat; be assured she has taken over our lives. She has learned to let us know when she wants to come in and when she wants out, and her dish never has enough food in it. As I write this, she is sleeping beside my chair.

As I observe the things going on in our world, I am continually reminded that many people have no concept of God or of his Word. The world is seeking answers for mankind’s problems in all the wrong places. Rather than finding out what God really says about the human condition, the world prefers to listen to false teachers and to follow ungodly leaders who deny the very existence of a Creator God.

I believe we are at the place Paul describes in his instructions to Timothy: “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

As we live in our world, may we be witnesses to God’s power and majesty, as we tell others of His love and his saving gospel. To Him be glory and praise forever!

For Him,
Pastor Jerry

Amazing Grace

Dear friends,
It is a sunny Sunday afternoon as I write this. The past week was rather cool with some rain. Our forecast is for cool temperatures early in the week, followed by a warming trend. I expect we’ll see more evidence of spring in the days to come. We have both been staying home nursing colds, but we are steadily improving and should return to normal soon. Once again I find, we too often take good health for granted.

This week brings two very important days in the Christian church calendar; Good Friday and Resurrection Day (Easter). Good Friday commemorates the death and burial of the Lord Jesus Christ; the Resurrection celebrates his rising from the tomb. These two events are the basis of our hope in eternal salvation. The Bible clearly states there is no other way to be saved from our sins but by placing our faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

I write on this topic often, because to me this is the most important decision a person can make in life. In my own experience, the day I chose to follow Jesus my life was changed in ways I could not have imagined before. So, to this day, like the old song says, “I love to tell the story of Jesus and His love.”

I was cruising along through life, thinking I was doing pretty good, taking my wife and two boys to church on Sunday. Then one day as the pastor was preaching from Romans chapter ten, I heard these words: 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 10:9). This was an eye opener for me! Up to this point, I thought I just had to be a little better person than someone else. Now I was learning that my own self-righteousness was worthless in God’s eyes.

Later, I heard these words; For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast’ (Ephesians 2:8-9).

A dear friend passed away this week, and we rejoice that he is now in heaven, because he believed what these verses taught. Amazing grace, how sweet it sounds!

Anchored in Him,
Pastor Jerry