gift

Another gospel?

We know these are perilous times. All too often we consider this when thinking of the world in which we live. Although it is a proper context, it is not the only context. Many of the troubles we face today are not uncommon throughout ages past. My concern is the perilous times facing the church today.

The church, in general, today is experiencing perilous times. There are so many denominations, doctrines, teachings, and ideas. What I find to be most dangerous is this: The general acceptance of all things. If someone thinks it, believes it, and says it loud enough multiple times, someone else is willing to accept it and repeat the process.

Galatians:1:6: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
Galatians:1:7: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

Here we find that from the beginning some were trying to preach and teach another gospel. Then we find it wasn’t really another gospel, but a perversion of the gospel. This passage speaks the very essence of troubles facing the church today.

If we find a gospel being preached that is easy to digest and a gospel that tickles the ears, we better be alarmed. If we hear soothing words that eases the burden of sin without true repentance and cheapens the grace which God has given, it must become our duty to defend the truth.

You cannot defeat what you will not confront. If you cannot confront sin, if you cannot admit sin, you surely cannot confess it and be given the victory over it. If you cannot define sin, if you cannot submit to what God says is sin, if you cannot call a sin “sin”, there is no repentance. Everything is not going to be alright until the church, as a whole, gets that right.

The path Jesus walked in this world was not an easy path. He was mocked. He was put on trial. He was found guilty in a court of law by His own people. He paid a great price, the ultimate price. He lived a life of enormous burden, even asking at one point that the cup pass from Him. Yet, not His will, but the Fathers will be done, and it was. Christ never once apologized for the truth, no matter how hard that truth was to understand or accept. We are called to be like Him. We are called to be holy.

Today, maybe more than ever, the church must stand. We must be clear and concise, we must be the light He has called us to be. The whole Word of God must be our rule, our guide, and our compass. We must accept it as it is. We can not pick and choose what we are comfortable with. We are to be transformed, we are to submit ourselves, to allow Him to shape us according to His will. We live, yet not us, but Christ in us.

Yes, we have grace. We are free indeed, in Christ. We have wonderful privileges as children of the King, but we cannot use them as an occasion to be worldly. We cannot use grace as an occasion to sin, we cannot conform ourselves to this world. We are not called to be like the world, and we cannot tell the world everything is okay. Now we have grace. If you have not accepted Jesus as Savior of your life, you still have the opportunity to accept Him and the grace He offers. Yet, unless you are willing to confront sin, understand sin, confess sin, and truthfully define sin, how much grace do you expect to find? I will end with this, the greater the sin, the greater the grace He has to offer. Try Him and see His goodness. Seek Him while you have the chance, and trust Him to multiply His grace to you. To Jesus be the glory, for He is truly worthy!

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A Christmas Devotional

A few days ago I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to give a Christmas devotional during our young adult Christmas dinner. I would also like to take this time to share it with you as well. It is a bit longer than my usual articles, but worth the time. I hope you enjoy it:

This time of year, this season, we set aside as a very special occasion. Families and friends gather together and celebrate. It is a time of joy, celebration, and charity. This is the time we celebrate the birth of our Savior:

Luke:2:4: And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
Luke:2:6: And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
Luke:2:7: And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Here we find that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. This, as with all other things, was by design, and not accident. Bethlehem literally means “house of bread”. Jesus became that manna, that bread which came down from Heaven to be born in Bethlehem.

Lu:2:10: And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Lu:2:11: For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Good tidings of great joy; What greater joy do we know than salvation? Not only for those who were able to see the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, laying in a manger, but to all people. We have that joy, and it is still available to all that will hear and accept Him.

Matthew:1:22: Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Matthew:1:23: Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Not only did the King of Glory come down from His throne, that He would dwell among us, He remains with us today, in His Word and in the Spirit. He is still Emmanuel, God with us. He is the Reason for the season and our gathering together tonight.

For just a few more minutes, let us look at the Gift received then, and the Gift that yet awaits.

Luke:2:25: And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
Luke:2:26: And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
Luke:2:27: And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
Luke:2:28: Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
Luke:2:29: Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
Luke:2:30: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Luke:2:31: Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
Luke:2:32: A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Here we read about a man named Simeon. We see first that he was led by the Spirit to the Lord, Jesus Christ. Just as it was then, it remains so today. How precious is that moment when his eyes beheld Salvation, and our Spiritual eyes also found the beauty of the cross? This was done openly and not only for the Jews, but for us, the gentiles as well. In Matthew we read another account of finding the Savior:

Matthew:2:7: Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
Matthew:2:8: And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
Matthew:2:9: When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
Matthew:2:10: When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
Matthew:2:11: And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

The wise men were sent to search diligently. That is to search with purpose. They went seeking and they did find. When they found, they rejoiced with exceeding joy. Do you still remember that joy the moment you too found the Savior? Not only did they rejoice, but they took from their own treasures and gave from them gifts. Today we too rejoice in fellowship with the Savior, we are rewarded in diligently seeking our Savior, and we too offer gifts of ourselves unto Him. Just as they followed a star to find the child Christ, we too follow that bright and morning star, which is Christ. This is the gift which was received then and now.

And finally, the Gift which awaits. Our King ,which came from glory and perfection, which went from riches to rags and took upon Himself our shame. He paid our debt and washed us clean by His precious blood. He did all this by the work He accomplished here in the flesh, that we could have the promise of eternal life. Romans and Ephesians say it like this:

Romans:6:23: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Ephesians:2:7: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Ephesians:2:8: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Ephesians:2:9: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

We await eternal life. We await that mansion prepared in glory. As much as we wait to inherit these things, our Gift, Jesus Christ, also waits.

John:14:2: In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
John:14:3: And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Our Lord awaits at the right hand of the Father for that moment He will be able to receive us unto Himself. Jesus, our Gift from God, awaits. As Christmas approaches, keep in mind that we have the ability by the Spirit of God and the witness of our testimony to reach out to the lost and lead them to the same Gift from God we have already accepted. Let us continue to praise and give Jesus thanks for this season and every day for those gifts received and those yet to come.

The Wages of Sin

We work and are taught to work from a very young age. As children in school we begin to learn, to take on assignments, and the payment is based on how well we have accomplished our task. It is a very simple system, a system which follows us through life.

At the age of five or six it doesn’t seem like work. The older we grow, the harder the tasks, the more we begin to realize what work is. We begin to labor, we begin to exert ourselves and push our known boundaries. While the work becomes harder, the reward does not seem to change. Whether we wanted to do the assignments, no matter if we enjoyed the assignments, even if we did not do the assignments, a grade would be issued. A wage would be paid. This brings me to the point:

Romans:6:23: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The wages of sin is death. There is no escaping what is rightfully do a sinner. A person in sin will be paid with death, which is hell, eternal torment, and separation from God. You see, intent does not matter. You live a good life, you are good to people, and you are full of good intentions? That sentence is full of one thing, “you”. God is not found in that sentence and Hell is full with people that had good intentions.

Isaiah:64:6: But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

By ourselves, we are worthy of only death. Yet, when we speak of wages, there is One who has already paid the wages of death. Do not let today end with good intentions, let today be the day of salvation! The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Today, give up the wages of sin, leave behind the good intentions, receive the gift of eternal life and call upon the Savior, Jesus Christ. Let Him clothe you in His righteousness. His Gift is free and greater than all the wages you have and will earn. Praise God for His gift to us!