Archive for the ‘Temptation’ Category

Identifying False Teachers

The January thaw is under way in our part of the world. The snow is melting away and everyone just has a better outlook. We were able to get some outside work done on the lake house, including the construction of steps, so we don’t have to climb on concrete blocks to get to the front door. This will greatly reduce the risk of injury, especially for someone getting along in years…

My current sermon series is from the Apostle Peter’s second letter. In it, he addresses the issue of false teachers in the church. You see, the presence of false teachers in the church is nothing new. They were present in the Old Testament in the form of false prophets; men who claimed to speak for God, but did not. Later in New Testament times, men came into the church with teaching that downplayed the importance of faith in Jesus, and obedience to his commands. Much of their false teaching was centered on immoral behavior and the idea that because of grace, they could engage in all kinds of immorality without fear of judgment.

Those false teachings are present in churches today. Some are preaching and teaching a “new morality”, much of which is disguised as “civil rights” along with other misleading definitions of sin. Let’s be clear about this. There is no new morality, it is only the old immorality repackaged. God’s judgment awaits those who teach this false gospel, and those who follow them.

Peter writes concerning false teachers: “They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute” (2 Peter 2:2-3).

There are four things to learn from our study: First, the church is not immune to false teachers. They are among us today. Second, promoting sexual immorality is heresy. It goes totally against God’s word. Third, Gods judgment is coming upon those who deny or reject the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Last, and most important, all sinners will be saved from judgment if they repent (that is turn from their sin), and trust the Lord Jesus, who bought them by His blood.

To Him be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever. Amen.

In Truth,
Pastor Jerry

The Least of These

Occasionally, I will hear someone make a comment something like this: “I just don’t think I could stay in the same room with a “certain person.” Even worse, they might be talking about someone who might join them in church, or Bible study. However, that person might overlook their feelings for a certain other person for what they might gain because of that one’s high position in society or their perceived wealth. In the letter of James, we read, “as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism…if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers” (James 2:1-8.)

Where do we get off deciding what church related event we will attend, or any other activity we will be involved in, based on whether we can be in the same room with a person or persons? Do we not remember the Lord’s teaching concerning treatment of the “least of these?”

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). I believe this applies first to our Christian brothers and sisters, but also to our fellow-man in general. Or what about this admonition?….”Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

This not to say we should accept everyone at face value, but that we are concerned enough about their eternal destiny to welcome them in the name of Jesus, sharing the good news of salvation through faith in him.

By the way, I’m not pointing fingers. These scriptures convict me of my own sinful attitudes every time I read them. It is as the old saying goes: “if the shoe fits….”

Is this easy? No. Can we do it in our own strength? No, but the Bible says, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13). And, Jesus says to us, “Apart from me you can do nothing!” (John 15:5).
In His power,

Pastor Jerry

Weed Control

I was able to get back to finish spraying last week. The good news is the cost of repairs for the Arctic Cat were minimal. A guy needs a break once in awhile, and I thank the Lord for that blessing.

The weed spraying thing always brings to mind what the scriptures say concerning our battle with sin. In the case of this weed called Leafy Spurge, we probably will never see it eliminated, but with the properly applied herbicides, we can keep in under control.

It is very much the same when it comes to the temptation to sin. Temptation will always be with us, because our enemy, the devil, will not give up trying to ruin our witness for the Lord. However, properly applied, the Word of God will help us to keep him and sin under control.

Our weapons against the tempter are a working knowledge of the Bible, backed up by the work of the Holy Spirit, who not only gives us strength to resist the devils schemes, but he also defends us in the courts of heaven. “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26).

Finally, I direct you to the following; It begins with this… “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…” (read Ephesians 6:10-18 for the full armor list).

The temptation to sin will always be with us, but God’s word tells us we have the tools to resist. The secret to control is to put these tools to use.

In His care,
Pastor Jerry

Weed Control

It is time once again for the semi-annual leafy spurge tour at Lake George. It is different this year in that I will be driving a different spray rig. We’ve moved from riding an ATV horseback style, to one with side-by-side seating for two. I hope this will prove to be a more comfortable ride. Time will tell if this is true.

I don’t know how many years we’ve been dealing with leafy spurge here on our place, but I doubt we’ll ever completely eliminate it. It will look like we’ve gotten rid of it for awhile, but one day you ride past a spot, and there it is again. I’m reminded then of the characteristics of sin.

Sin, as described in the Bible, is the result of our willful disobedience to God’s commands. It is a little like a noxious weed. It infiltrates our lives, and causes all kinds of trouble. We may confess it to Him, and turn from it, but somewhere, somehow, it will reappear and we have to deal with it again.

There are chemicals for spraying noxious weeds that are effective, but they must be applied to the problem.

To deal with sin, we must use proper procedures. Know first of all, that once we put sin away from us, the devil will not be satisfied to leave us alone. We will be tempted again. To be prepared is a large part of the battle. We need to be able to recognize temptation and stay away from it. How is that done?

Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). The Bible also tells us this: “But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The way we deal with noxious weeds, is to know what chemicals are effective, and how to use them. The way out of temptation is knowing God’s word and how to apply it in each situation.

The tools are available. It is up to us to choose whether or not to put them to use.
Just thinking,
Pastor Jerry

What’s In Your Mind?

Some time ago, I made the decision to join Facebook. I sometimes wonder why I ever did such a thing? Some of the things posted there make me want to leave and never return. On the plus side, I often find material for these weekly articles.

Recently, I’ve notice two trends. One, there are a lot of really interesting recipes being posted, and two, it seems a number of people are concerned about healthy eating, and what they may or may not be putting into their bodies.

The question then arises, “how many people are as concerned about what they are putting into their minds”? From a pastor’s perspective, I suppose it is only natural to wonder about that. The scripture says “man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:3). Jesus rebuked the devil with this verse when he being tempted in the desert (Luke 4:1-4).

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things” (Philippians 4:8). By doing these things we will be following Paul’s instructions to the Romans: “Do not conform any longer to the patter 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” (Romans 12:2).

What’s in your mind?
Feeding on His Word,
Pastor Jerry

“Christianity isn’t all that complicated, it’s Jesus.” — Joni Eareckson Tada

Flee From Danger

Hello everyone,
It’s a beautiful spring morning. As I write this from Lake George, there is a family of Canada geese outside my window. There are six goslings, and of course, their parents. I’ll be here today for some personal renewal, along with some mowing and other chores. Tomorrow I’ll be on the road, starting the process of finishing up Mom’s affairs. Then back to Ericson to pick up the regular schedule.
Thanks to all for your prayers and support this last week. Thanks to all our church family and other friends for helping make the memorial service go smoothly. May God bless each of you in a special way.
As I sit at watching these geese, I have noticed that every now and then, one of the parents will give an alarm, and they all race toward the water and safety. The parents are teaching the young ones to flee from danger. I don’t know what danger they sense, but obviously they are teaching their young the proper response to any threat to their safety.
I’m reminded by this of scriptures that warn Christians to stay away from temptation: “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:16); “Flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:14).
In regard to making the love of money rule our lives, Paul wrote this, “But you, man of God, flee from all this…” (1 Timothy 6:11). In his second letter to Timothy, Paul says, “Flee the evil desires of youth..” (2 Timothy 2:22).
As Christians, we need to be aware of our enemy, the devil. The apostle Peter describes him as a “roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” What are we to do? “Be self-controlled and alert” (1 Peter 5:8).
We will be tempted. Flight is the best response. Waiting around to see if there is really any danger can be deadly.

Pastor Jerry