Because It Matters!

Sometimes in our conversations with people about truth, they will come to the point of saying, “Does doctrine really matter? Is theology necessary? Can’t we just have Jesus? While this sounds nice, it is foolish. First, because it ignores the meaning of those terms: doctrine means teaching and theology is the learning of God. Both are given in every breath of scripture!

Go listen to our weekly hour-long podcast “Theology Answers” that can be found over at “TheologyAnswers.com” and is a part of the Christian Podcast Community

 

“Half truth is no Truth, like being half dead.”

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You Devil You!

Look at this tree in my eye! Your dusty specs are truly a problem. Dealing with sin is hard enough in our own lives, but what to do when we have to address it in each other? Why is it so hard? What does the bible say? I’m not talking about someone sinning against another, but when we sin wilful or habitual sin in the lives of our siblings in Christ. How do we approach that?

Go listen to our weekly hour-long podcast “Theology Answers” that can be found over at “TheologyAnswers.com” and is a part of the Christian Podcast Community

 

“You could be ugly.”

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Jesus Loves Me, This I Know!

FOR THE BIBLE Tells me so.  How is that? God shows his love for us in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  We’ve butchered the true meaning of the Love of God. The Bible teaches us exactly how God loves and we would do well to correct any other notion.

Go listen to our weekly hour-long podcast “Theology Answers” that can be found over at “TheologyAnswers.com” and is a part of the Christian Podcast Community

 

“Your baby could be ugly.”

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Jesus Loves Me This I Know!

Because the bible does tell us so! The truth is that God, being immutable and eternal, has loved you eternally. That is if you are a believing one. His love for your purchased you through the death of His Son Jesus the Christ and there is no fear of wrath because He has rescued you by His everlasting love. 

Rest well and as always, we’re here to discuss with you the truth of the Gospel.

Go listen to our weekly hour-long podcast “Theology Answers” that can be found over at “TheologyAnswers.com” and is a part of the Christian Podcast Community

 

“Solus Cristos!”

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ThePointSketchAs long as there has been sin in the world there have been people with problems. Adam’s first issue was the fact that he was naked and then ashamed; Eve likewise. Since then the problems of humanity have compounded to an immeasurable proportion and it is very likely that things are not going to get better for humanity any time soon. The Good News is that Jesus Christ has suffered temptation, suffered in the flesh and risen from death and ascended into Heaven to “prepare” us for the presence of God (Among Many Things found in redemption…). So, those who know the love of God IN and THROUGH Jesus Christ ALONE can have joy in the midst of the problems. As believers, we know that all things are for our good and in time we will see the outcome of such in all circumstances. We understand that God is sovereign and that nothing is out of His touch and decree and that even in the worst of times His love for us is visible, effectual and known.

To this point then let’s remind ourselves of the love of God.  First, God is love. So, He is known as love in His nature, love, holiness, character and actions. Second, if we love God it is only because God first loved us. Third, God’s love is only known through Jesus Christ the Son whom HE (God) put forth to satisfy His judgment against us and bring justice for our sin according to His holiness. We learn that there is no greater “love” than for a man to lay down his life for a brother, therefore, God loved the world in this way (so loved) that HE gave His Son.  So, we summarize the love of God in the following way:

  1. God is love.
  2. God’s love is only known through the GIVING (sending and killing) of Jesus His Son.
  3. God loves us in the giving of Jesus Christ to die for our sins in that we cannot pay for them ourselves.

So, if we understand God’s love this way according to scripture, then we can rightly assume that to DISAGREE with God’s love through the Son is to REJECT the love of God. Those who reject the love of God are condemned already (John 3:16-18) and are subject to the wrath of God’s hatred for sin and sinners. Hmmmm….. Let that soak a minute and now let’s move to the point of our conversation.

Ministry often times is man-centered. It can been seen in a selfish light of “I want a friend”, “I want a shoulder to cry on”, “I want someone to pity me.” Of course this is not exclusive nor is it the rule but everyone can resonate with such statements. Let’s consider true ministry as “An attempt or effort to love others as God has loved us.”  Thinking this way should have already opened your eyes. So, if God ONLY LOVES in the giving of His Son, then in the same manner (like in Ephesians 5:22-25) we should love each other as God loves us. We are unable to put Jesus the Son on the cross for He has already fulfilled His ministry as the Lamb but we are able to POINT TO THE LOVE of God for us and in doing so we are LOVING each other.

Ministry takes on a whole new light when we think biblically and especially when people come with their problems.1 Thessalonians 5:14 teaches that the church should be admonished when idle, encouraged when downhearted and strengthened when weak.

Everyone needs a good ear from time to time and it is always good when a believer seeks out counsel from a brother or sister in the local family of faith. In this seeking of counsel often times it comes to the point of just listening to someone whine about how bad things are rather than seeking good counsel. In the end it is always improper (according to our understanding of love) to allow someone to just fall into pity and self-centeredness for any reason. Our love for them should point them to the promises of God through His word and in the admonishing of the idle a stern warning comes first to BE IN THE WORD and BE IN THE BODY.

Without these two things no counsel will work, no hope will stick, no joy will arise. To give someone a shoulder to cry on while they live in continual disobedience and rejection of what the scripture teaches on how they are victors is “like” casting a diamond into the sea in hopes it would swim to a new family for their wealth or maybe like throwing a pearl in a pig sty. In other words, it does NO GOOD at all to just allow someone to ignore the power of God and His gospel just to have a pity party.

The answers to life come from God’s word, the power of victorious living come from the word, hope and courage come from God’s word… grace comes from God’s word. The letter of James tells us that those who see and do the word of God are victorious and rest on a solid foundation and just like Psalm 1, their feet will be planted and produce great growth. So, when someone needs wisdom, we go to scripture and show them to “ask and it will be given.” When someone needs comfort we exhort them to believe Jesus Christ when He says, “come to me all who are weary.” When one comes broken in their battle over sin we show them that Christ has suffered in every way and with every temptation but has sinned not. Others come with worry and in need of answers to their problems that they would find an escape and Godly council says, “stand fast in the fiery trials” and “do not be surprised” when they come.

Being out of the word of God and away from God’s people is like asking God to save you from burning as you set yourself on fire. Well maybe not quite as dramatic… but you get the point. At the cusp of this matter lies the ministry of the church of Jesus Christ, who are ambassadors of the living God through the redemption that is theirs in Christ. Sadly, many who want counsel want more than what the Word of God offers or want to be free from the pain of this life and sadly apart from the Word they will never find answers.

So what is the point of this rambling treatise? For all of those who diligently minister to those in need, please remember that the greatest ministry is the ministry of the word and the greatest friend is found in the body of Christ. So as we labor to answer the questions of life for others and we point them to the word of God we put our hope in Christ not ourselves. If we find some who refuse to hear and heed the word but they keep coming back for something else, it may be that we have to just clearly show them we have nothing more for them. Part of the pain of the Father’s discipline is being alone when we reject the Father’s instruction. Not to say we abandon others but we surely have to be clear that there is little we can do to help if they will not hear.

Warn the idle, encourage the downhearted and strengthen the weak through the word of God – if they do not listen, pray that God will cause them to listen and in their silent and lonely search for hope, God the Spirit will guide them back to His written word and back into the intimacy of His Holy People!

Lord Bless!

God is Not Mad

Along US 25 in Waynesboro, Ga, Maranatha Community Church felt it was a good idea to post this sign. The message seems to be that God is never mad at anyone for any reason. The sign is clearly visible from the highway although best visible to northbound traffic. It is a permanently constructed, not easily changed sign, obviously constructed to last for a long time. For me this sign symbolizes for us the weakness and collapse of the evangelical church.

Examining it in the light of scripture, you can find that this sign is just flat contrary to scripture. If you look at Rom 1:18 it says “For the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteous of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness”. Later in this chapter we learn that this refers all people who are not Christians. Thus we learn that God IS mad at all people for all sort of reasons. So this sign is a false teaching and a deceptive and false prophecy.

Now you could say, well, we’re just talking to Christians here. After all, Christians are not under the wrath of God (1 Th. 5:9). If that is so, then the sign should have been qualified so as not to be misleading. It should say “God is not mad at CHRISTIANS …” but that is not how it is written. It is also not placed so only Christians would see it. We therefore have to conclude that the intended audience is everyone passing by on US25.

If the objective, then, is to encourage “seekers” to enter the church with the idea of then giving them the true gospel, wouldn’t that be a bait and switch? If you are going to ultimately present them the gospel of sin, condemnation, Christ’s sacrifice and repent and faith, this would seem to start off in a deceptive direction which would make you look like a liar and turn people off immediately.

Now I know nothing about Maranatha Community Church, but it would seem that the sign is an actual expression of their belief and that they want to encourage unbelievers to come to their church with the promise of inclusion and acceptance of them no matter what their state or mode of life. The call might be “we don’t care what you are or what you do, we offer you the peace and acceptance of Christ. Come join with us! We don’t care if you an LGBTQ or if you are mafia hit person or a drug abuser, come join with us and received the acceptance of Christ!” If true, this would be a denial of the Gospel which calls for people to die to themselves and become slaves of Christ. The people who would compose such an assembly while they call themselves a church would in fact be an effective denier of Christ and thus an anti-Christian assembly.

This is what Schaeffer spoke of in Death in the City. Church, knowing the truth, have turned away from it. They propose externally focused religion, rejection of the Word of God, toleration for specific sins, and adoption of the world’s practices as the way to go rather than following the Word of God. In so doing the ministers trample God’s vineyard, scatter the sheep, distort and misuse God’s word. This not only leads God’s people astray, it also creates the wrong impression of God and His requirements in the hearts of people. This results in a diluted/destroyed witness and a lack of influence on society. As more and more assembly’s adopt this kind of teaching, the churches are weakened and polluted and the world receives more and more reason not to pay attention to it.

Schaeffer’s solution is to preach the true gospel, live the true Gospel and to call out those who are distorting the Word and misleading the people. Again, not knowing anything about Maranatha Community Church but that sign and what it means, we call on them to either correct that sign to represent a true statement or to take the sign down altogether. We further indicate to all people on the authority of the Word of God, that that sign does not represent what God would have us to know about Him and our relationship to Him.

Dr. Cuellar can be found on Facebook

1 John 2:28-3:3 shows us the full glorious reality that we have been adopted and given a certain hope in Christ Jesus whose righteousness we bare and who by His grace are able to walk in the light of holiness, not perfectly, but continually without fear of judgment or wrath. We abide in Christ because He abides in us and the anointing of Christ in us affords us an eternal hope of preparation (sanctification) as we await to see Him face to face we are being transformed from one degree of glory to another! Grace upon Grace! Amen.

Our pursuit of holiness is the outcome of our position as children, not a constant war of helpless expectation. Repentance is the state of the believer who then is able to abide forever in the finished work of Christ, striving in the power of Grace to rest in Christ who has prepared for us good works to walk in before the world began. (See Eph 2)

Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus because God is satisfied in Christ who paid the penalty of our sin. While we do grieve God the Spirit when we sin, we walk bold before our Father in forgiveness because our debt to sin is satisfied in the body of Christ.

Rest well saints!

LoveGod_LoveOthers

The Lie

In modern thought, so many professing Christians consider their salvation a sealed deal because of their affiliations.  First, the affiliation with an action such as membership, prayer of salvation, walking an isle etc, enables some “professors” to be comfortable with the reality that their souls are safe and thus, the need to look further into things of grace and salvation are not needed.  This is a lie and it breeds from the desires of the flesh of a fallen humanity and is perpetrated by Satan, the enemy of God who seeks to devour the church and the gospel. (Which will not happen.)  This lie establishes an ignorantly blissful aversion to spiritual matters, growth, worship and most of all, the fruit of God’s everlasting grace in those who indeed trust in Christ.  IN other words, many people who think they are saved prove otherwise because they do not love each other.

“By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in himought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:5-6, ESV)Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is nocause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:9-11, ESV)

So, the lie is that people are thinking they are in Christ when indeed, they have no love for their brothers and then, they do not walk as Christ walked who laid down His life for this brothers as the ultimate act and expression of true divine love.  The outcome of this lie stands in two pots.  First, the pot that some feel that they are loving in their heart and that is enough and secondly, the other pot that grows out of a false understanding of love in the first place.

The Truth

The truth is the Love does not in ANY WAY define God.  It is rather God who defines love.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1, ESV)

By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:10, ESV)

So as 1 John 4:8 states, …God is love…, then the reality of love is bound up on the person and character of God, not the other way around.  So, those who claim Christ but love not the way God is love… are they in Christ at all?  No they are not according to scripture.

The Way

Now the question comes is that, “how can one love like God loves?”  God’s word is clear on the power behind the love of God in those who belong to Him.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us andhis love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:7-12, ESV)

So those who do not love in a dying and sacrificial way are not of God and are by nature children of wrath prepared for destruction.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, andwhoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:13-21, ESV)

The power of God through Christ Jesus is given to His children in order that they abide in Him, in His love, in His commands, in fellowship with His people and in continual sacrifice and obedience to the every command.  No Christian is perfect, just being perfected.  Those who do not love have fear.  Fear of judgment by God.  Those who do not fear but should are blinded by the god of the world so they cannot believe (2 Cor 4) and those who are in Christ do not fear because they see and savor the glorious love of God in Christ Jesus as their only hope.

The Glory

What difference does this make?  Well, for the sake of God’s glorious name, when the people of God love like God loves it denies the very nature of culture, religion and depravity that so easily walks without shame in the world.  The manifold wisdom of God is shown, not only to the world, but to the enemy of God!  God is serious about His glory and has killed His own Son in order to bring His children into right standing with Him.  How much more do you think the one who hates the children of God will suffer because they have rejected the very ones that Jesus purchased with His blood?

 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that wekeep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

6 This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify:8 the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:1-12, ESV)

So in the end, only those who are in Christ prove themselves to be in Christ by their love for the Son of God, the Father and the people whom Jesus has redeemed.  The one who denies these things actually denies the very nature of God who defines love and he along with all like him will face the wrath of calling God a liar.  God says that His commandments are not burdensome for His people because of His love toward us which empowers us to live unto sanctification.  If one rejects Jesus as the one who creates a people of this nature, then they are awaiting no love from God, but only wrath.

Come today to the precious love of God in Christ Jesus.  Repent and believe the gospel.  You who are in Christ, continue in the faith, contend for the faith and in the power of Christ, love one another to the praise of His glorious grace!

James