Christ WILL SAVE HIS SHEEP!

While it isn’t popular, it is the truth. Jesus will save His sheep and NONE of them will be lost. So, when we share the faith we trust in the work of Christ alone and we can rest in the assurance that the Gospel given through the Word is life for all it is intended. We can sleep well at night knowing that when someone rejects the gospel that they are rejecting Christ and that only God can cause a hostile mind to believe! We are not “on the hook” for failing to convince others to believe.

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

 

“Just as we did not create life, we cannot cause it.”

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Many should not be teachers!

Teachers are everywhere, but should they be? Scripture says in James 3:1 that many should not be teachers because those who teach are held to a stricter judgment. The main reason is that it is easy to sin with our mouths and how much worse is sin in teaching wrongly?

We appreciate your listening and look forward to seeing this podcast get off the ground with great force. By the Lord’s grace, we’ll continue to provide more and more teaching on this and other pastoral subjects. 

Also, get ready to start listening 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.

“There is no plan B – No backup option when it comes to faith.”

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We operate strictly on listener support. We also produce several other podcasts, videos for education and worldwide teaching courses published for free for the training of pastors. Your financial support is greatly appreciated.

 

 

Mustard seeds and mustard stains!

One doesn’t wash out and the other is big enough for eternal life. Saving faith in Jesus Christ stands alone and has no other life-line. To truly believe in Jesus for salvation means that one doesn’t hold fast to anything else.

We appreciate your listening and look forward to seeing this podcast get off the ground with great force. By the Lord’s grace, we’ll continue to provide more and more teaching on this and other pastoral subjects. 

Also, get ready to start listening 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.

“There is no plan B – No backup option when it comes to faith.”

Consider Supporting our Ministry

We operate strictly on listener support. We also produce several other podcasts, videos for education and worldwide teaching courses published for free for the training of pastors. Your financial support is greatly appreciated.

 

 

The Pope, Nuff Said!

We cannot promise what Scripture does not teach. We cannot deny what Scripture clearly reveals. Culture has always dictated belief systems and in this present age, just as in the age of Paul, people in their natural flesh will not endure sound teaching. So, they gather up teachers that will say what they want to hear. The Pope by all necessary explanation is anathema due to the fact that he grants promises through weak and situationally insufficient logic in order to appease the crowd. Sadly, I don’t think this is intentional but is motivated about of love and compassion for hurting humans. However, this compassion is resistant to the didactic of Holy Writ, through which we have the fullness of the holiness of God revealed, first through His creation, then His law, the finally and fully through His Son. God is not pleased with the works of man. He cannot be because all men have fallen from the glory of God and are guilty before Him. Romans 1 teaches that the wrath of God WILL BE poured out on all ungodliness and unrighteousness of man.

Man in his natural state of depravity, even when he labors to seek after God and to know him, is still guilty. No man is justified by the works of the law… However, one must be a believer by exercising faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. God does not look at the good deeds of man and justify them, He looks only that the holiness of His Son Jesus and through Jesus is a man justified, redeemed, and propitiated (God’s justice satisfied), thus Jesus Christ alone by grace through faith saves, not our good deeds. Someone who rejects the gospel of grace is condemned already according to Jesus because He is not believing in the Only Son (John 3:16-18) and thus the condemnation REMAINS on Him. Salvation is by the Lord, God saves, God decides who goes to Heaven for sure, but this election is not up for human subjectivity, no, it is objectively God’s design and decree.

So, to promise anyone that God will work outside of His revealed word is foolish, and quite honestly, downright cruel. Yes, it may give a temporary peace but in reality, it hardens the heart of the listener from the truth as it drags them further and further away from the center of life; Jesus Christ Alone. So, we know that one who refuses to believe is not going to enter into the rest of the Lord’s salvation because that is ONLY found in the Finished work of Jesus Christ who pays for our sins. Jesus Christ Alone. That’s the only message that is true, anything else is a devil’s lie. Rest well beloved.

We appreciate your listening and look forward to seeing this podcast get off the ground with great force. By the Lord’s grace, we’ll continue to provide more and more teaching on this and other pastoral subjects. 

Also, get ready to start listening 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.

“God doesn’t save people apart from what He has revealed in His Word. Period.”

Consider Supporting our Ministry

We operate strictly on listener support. We also produce several other podcasts, videos for education and worldwide teaching courses published for free for the training of pastors. Your financial support is greatly appreciated.

 

 

A few weeks ago we considered the biblical overview of The Gospel of Jesus Christ. And we’ve taken a glimpse at the assurance of salvation. Today I want to share what I believe are the consequences of false or ‘works based’ gospels and show that Scripture teaches that they are not really good news, but a prescription for death and false hope. Before I begin I want to answer the critic who says, “Why do we need to even hear about these ‘false’ gospels?” The reason that we need to hear about them is because they are being preached and shared by a majority of Evangelicals in our local community. This so-called gospel is being published on the television, in the newspapers, on the radio, and on the internet at a breathtaking rate and by a great number of people. Scripture teaches ONE gospel, ONE way to salvation, ONE means of Grace, and ONE savior who is Jesus Christ alone. Anything taught contrary to such things, especially when it interferes and invades the church, has to be called out and shown to be in error. So, I make no apology for doing what God has called us to do, and I implore each of you to be prepared to speak the truth in love when an error in doctrine arises in the lives of those around you. It is a gravely wicked thing to allow another human being to live in perpetual unbelief when we have the truth.

What False Gospel Are We Talking About?

While there are many obvious heretical teachings alive and well in our culture, the primary matter at hand is dealing with a weak and cheap grace or a grace plus works. There are people who believe that salvation is faith alone in Christ and then they will add obedience or baptism or church membership etc. to the pile of requirements for justification. And I will warn you, I am going to rant and chase a rabbit or two against the margins of this article.

The False Gospel of Man-Centered Faith can be heard from many Baptist pulpits. Christ is preached as the redeemer and savior, but afterward comes the list of do’s and don’ts. Don’t hear what I am not saying; God will produce good things in our lives, such as our love for each other, our desire to be in the word, our continued putting to death of our flesh, etc. But all of these things are results of God’s work in us and are a reflection of Christ’s righteousness, they are not a means to salvation and they surely do not offer a display of righteousness or guaranteed proof of one being born again. If we are honest, we have to admit that many unbelievers can pull off the same type of lifestyle. They can act the part, speak the part, do the right stuff, and seem like a genuine believer. But each day when they rest in their beds, their confidence in this gospel says, “I know I have eternal life because look at all I am now. I am living a pretty good life… Thanks, Jesus!” This gospel is not one that saves because one’s hope is what he has become, not what Christ has done for His redemption. We could call this a False Gospel of Fruitful Works. It rears its ugly head and causes a man work even harder after “faith” in order to be right with God when Jesus Christ has already done all the work required. Some folks even take great pride in their lifestyle that seems to be less sinful compared to so many others. This gospel of Piety and self-righteousness places them in the company of the Pharisee that Jesus says went home condemned.

A few more false gospels teach that the bible isn’t the rule of faith or the means to salvation in revelation. These people offer a relationship with Jesus Christ outside of Scripture and some of them even consider their own writing to be a new revelation. Others teach that man’s will determines his eternal destiny and that all he has to do is speak into being his salvation request to God and “poof” he’s saved. I call stuff like this having faith in one’s faith. This means that one knows he is right before God because he did the right thing or said the right prayer. Jesus Christ is the ONLY way a man can be righteous before God. Sinners do not make themselves available for purchase, God has bought them with the blood of Christ.  This type of so-called gospel puts a greater emphasis on man’s decisions and determination rather than the infallible and effectual work of Jesus Christ the Righteous.  The so-called gospel of sloppy grace is where someone claims to be saved by grace alone through faith and even has a right understanding of the gospel per se but they then take the grace of God and consider it a license for living in darkness and rebellion. This makes no sense. That would be like me saying that God has saved me eternally but has done nothing in my life or my heart right now. God gives His people a new heart and He puts His spirit in them. So, His work will produce His fruits: Kindness, gentleness, etc. (Gal 5:22). To say that Grace doesn’t transform a man is to say God is a liar. After all, anyone who claims the name of Jesus but walks in darkness is to be put out of fellowship in a public manner. This includes a false gospel, false testimony, false doctrine and false actions. But, we don’t put hope in the transformation, the transformation is evidence of the claim of faith in Jesus Christ and as we’ve stated above, we hold fast to Jesus, who is our righteousness, not the works. (James 2:15-25)

Saving faith and faith are two different things. Sadly, most people have the latter, just faith in something, but it is displaced. Jesus is the only true object of faith. Do you ‘believe’ on Jesus Christ? Are you believing now?

What about this Trauma?

The trauma comes when the object of hope is non-existent, or worse, existent but ineffectual. What happens when a believer sins? Does he run to the altar of repentance, work a few days in a row without sin and then feel OK with God again? What happens when the sin is not of the action or the affections of the flesh? What happens when a believer gets depressed? For years I clawed at the walls of my emotional depravity while I was being told that I just had to shake it off and enjoy life and ministry. I remember people giving me counsel that if I was neither happy nor having fun, then maybe I wasn’t called to ministry and should quit. If my hope were in my faithfulness to the Lord or the success of ministry or my joy, then I would have died or quit Christ many years ago.  Sometimes our lives are joyless and even then we can have joy that cannot be expressed. (1 Peter 1) When someone is given an ineffectual object of faith, they will never live up the standard of that object. They will never be good enough or holy enough to feel adequate. And if they do, then they have bought into the false gospel of self-righteousness like we’ve mentioned above.  If we gauge our salvation on the measure of our joy and our joy is not to be found, then what?  Where is the anchor that holds the man to Christ?  What anchors the faith of the believer to the Savior? Is it sinlessness?  Is it sacrifice? Is it church work?  Is it repentance? Is it preaching? Is it prayer? NO!  It is only Christ. Christ keeps His people tethered to Him. There is no escape from His grasp. He is faithful, even when we are faithless. Praise the Lord Jesus!

When someone comes to believe in these false gospels they never have any true means of forgiveness. They never feel as if their salvation is effectual. They never experience the bold truths of Scripture that they are secure in God through Christ and that nothing can snatch them out of His hand. In turn, they hold to the work of their mind, their heart, and their hands while “saying” that Christ is their savior. They are sometimes cavalier and sometimes too broken and scared to know what to do. Christ alone has provided forgiveness through His blood, there is no other work that can be prepared. There is no other sacrifice for sin. Some may suggest, “what does it hurt to go the extra mile?” Well, beloved, the extra mile is a sentence of death. It is unbelief. It is taking a walk for the sake of salvation and righteousness that God does not prescribe. Paul said to the Galatians that they would forever be cut off from Christ if they began to adopt other means of grace. Grasping at these false hopes belittles the grace of Jesus Christ and produces a continual guilt or an opposing pride in the heart. These give birth to either a perpetual worthlessness, a fake righteousness, or a prideful arrogance that all end in the same place: spiritual death.

The false gospel of man keeps many from knowing and holding fast to the enormous truth of God’s everlasting love for us. I remember a time when I felt far removed from God because of my self-evaluation only to be driven to depression, hopelessness, and despair with nothing to do but throw myself at the mercy of God who lifts helpless sinners to glory. Where are you today? What has your faith? Is it you? Is it your church? Is it your religion? Is it your works? Is it your faith? OR is it the grand good news of Jesus Christ who took ALL OF YOUR SIN on Himself and was judged in your place? Trust in this Jesus. The God of the bible who loves you and gave Himself for you. Otherwise, you rest in vain.

Something to think about,

Pastor James

 

legacy

Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations? (Proverbs 27:23-24 ESV)

I have been resting in the waiting room of a hospital for the last few hours awaiting my bride who is undergoing some tests. Two of the most common things found in a waiting room at a hospital are people who are waiting and people who are suffering. I have encountered a suffering soul this morning whose children are here along with her husband. By all appearances, she could be in her 80’s but her age isn’t what has prompted this journal, it is the wave of considerations that have flooded my soul as I witness her suffering. She has moaned in pain for the lat hour while her family has been unable to help her, give her rest or remove her pain. They have continued to be there with every groan or breath of pain assuring her that “soon they will come get you to help with your pain.” This is a sad experience knowing that there are millions in pain all over this world today of ALL age groups. But it isn’t the pain that prompts me either. Looking at this family center on their beloved I realize that all of us sitting in this large waiting area will one day experience both sides of such reality. We will be sitting as a sufferer with those in pain and we too will be the one suffering in pain.

There are many thoughts running through my heart and understand that I am no rookie when it comes to pain and suffering. This time however, I am being prompted to consider that at this point in this poor woman’s life she has not given any thought to anything but her pain. She isn’t worried about how she raised her children (who are seated next to her with smiles). She isn’t worried about her place in this community and whether or not she made a difference. She isn’t concerned with her looks, hair, shoes, or her etiquette.  She isn’t concerned with her social and spiritual spheres and whether or not her book club or Sunday School class is prepared for the week. She exists, in all likelihood, at the end of her life and this season of death will reveal what her life really meant.

Her daughter jokes with her and says to her, “It won’t be long before they take you for surgery and you’ll be able to dream without pain and you can dream about all the things we used to do.” Whether this woman lives another 10 years or returns to the Lord in the next few minutes, her life is a measure of many things, but in reality, all of our lives are only a measure of what is eternal. Otherwise, all we have accomplished will die with us. To that end, here is a brief summary of statements that reflect a deeper involvement with my own mortality.

  1. We are temporal in this Earth so all that we do, if not of the Gospel, will eventually turn to dust.
  2. Nothing we do will live in perpetuity if it is not the fruit of the gospel.
  3. Our social and political platforms and efforts will eventually die as God will destroy all crowns and nations. (No King but Christ)
  4. Our financial prizes and glory will take us to the grave and even those God gives and He can take away.
  5. Education apart from teaching others the glory of Christ will account for nothing.
  6. Satisfaction from anything that was not Christ will fade away in time.
  7. Future hope is vain if not in the cross.
  8. Our friendships outside the body of Christ are vain if they do not point to the cross.
  9. Defending anything in this life that doesn’t point to the ultimate glory of God in Christ is a fool’s errand.
  10. If we are not growing relationships with God’s people for the sake of the gospel then when we rest at the end all we will have is either a small group of mourners or a large group of hopeless secular pals.
  11. Our lives in the end should reflect a Gospel Powered fruitfulness:
    1. Joy in us and others through Christ alone.
    2. Diversity in thoughts and interests while being one mind and one Spirit.
    3. A circle of brothers and sisters from all tribes reflecting the TRUE gospel of Christ.
    4. A testimony of others that our lives mattered because we lived as aliens in a foreign land pursuing the glory of God at the cost of ALL that we were.
    5. Memories that would transcend anyone in any place in the world for the sake of the name of God almighty!

What else could be said? While these quick and fleeting thoughts are written, they too will be just a whisper one day. What are we really doing?  What are we really causing? Who are we really reaching and with what? What will we do today to transform our mind? What will we do today to repent of our idols? What will we do right now to reflect the power of Christ? Huh?  What are we still sitting here reading these words?  Be ready. Sober. Active for the sake of Christ, who is concerned with the Glory due His name. Amen.

Pastor James

Screen Shot 2014-01-25 at 12.35.09 PMThis discussion and debate has and will always be with us. Let’s just be sure that the church of Jesus Christ knows how to be prepared and properly respond; biblically; in the power of God through the Holy Spirit. Watch this, it will help you.

Over the summer, many of us have been tired and exhausted from everything going on in life and in the life of the church. Some of us are tired because of just not having the physical rest that we need while others are not in good health to begin with. All across the country I have rec’d requests for prayer for many brothers and sisters in the Lord for energy, healing and hope. As I reflected on this for our congregation and looked deeply at my own life, I have concluded that this is normal. Normal in every sense because our flesh is weak and dying because of the fall and yet our spirit is being renewed in Christ each day. Although we pray for rejuvenation and healing, and God does give both, these answered prayers are only temporal, they will only last for a season because all of us are just facing another trial, another sickness or something else.

Although this may seem like bad news, the good news is that the suffering of this life is temporal and that our promise from God is undeniably real and forever! A few passages of scripture that teaches us about our current condition and our future glory might help you as it has helped me.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.”
(2 Corinthians 4:7-12 ESV)

Paul is talking about the treasure of the Gospel of Christ and that it is in our bodies as broken and fragile vessels. It is in the suffering of life that we fill up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions to each other and the world. Look at this verse: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”
(Colossians 1:24-29 ESV)

Notice Paul’s zeal in the face of suffering for the cause of the Gospel. His hope does not rest in the securities of this life or the desire to see his earthly life as an easy “retirement” life of leisure but looks for that “day” when he is renewed in Christ forever! God has made Himself a people for His own glory, the church that is saved by the Grace through Jesus Christ alone! You, as a child of God, are part of this family of God, you have an eternal and amazing inheritance as Christ Himself is your treasure! Do not be dismayed but be alive in Christ with the fulness of joy knowing that your life is in His hands. I will leave you with Peter’s words to the suffering saints of old:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
(1 Peter 1:3-9 ESV)

Our hope and our joy lies in the promise of God, not the problems of this life.  Rest well oh weary saint!

Soli Deo Gloria,

James Tippins

Throughout my short life I have always had idols in my heart. They are everywhere, and just when I think they’re licked, poof, another one pops out of my heart.  At times I wonder if I am just a joke when it comes to my profession of believing in Christ, being I am such a continual idol factory. The question of the security of my salvation is always on the forefront of my mind and recently has been a topic of heated debate amongst my peers and colleagues.  Throughout the last few years, (two years in VA and now almost a year in California) the Lord has given me the gift of a deep depression and the greater gift of His mercy through it, so that now I can rest in the assurance of Christ more and more each passing moment. Before that I realized that, my hope was in a forever tug-of-war with my mind and what I knew as truth.  Let me explain.

Early in my life I felt the call of God’s good news and have loved Him for as long as I can remember. During my adolescent years I remember harboring great fear because there was very seldom an hour that went by that I didn’t find some sin in me. At 9 years of age, this seemed out of the norm, but for me, it was a daily struggle. Each evening I labored in prayer, asking God to secure me in Heaven through Jesus Christ alone and each morning I awoke with a sense of mercy and hope that would last me a very short time. After many months of this internal debate, I realized that my hope was in Christ, not in my ability, not in my holiness, not in my sinlessness and could not be found in “me” at all!  That same week I was confronted with my continued struggle by a family member who assured me that “all I needed to do” was “receive Jesus”.  This language was different from what I had read in scripture, but in over an hour, I was led to believe that my salvation could be secured if I just “prayed” the right prayer.  While it was the same prayer I prayed every day, that the Lord would save me, seal me and keep me through eternity in Jesus Christ and His work, this small and maligned meeting would steer my “hope” into idolatry quickly.

For many days I didn’t doubt. I found my life centered on Christ and my joy was full; that is until temptation tapped my shoulder at school. Temptation for me came in the form of anger, pride, self-glory and a very high view of myself, especially when bullied or confronted with what I referred to as “stupid” investments. Then the doubt and “joyless” mindset began to creep back in. But this time I had an anchor!  I prayed for salvation, I prayed the prayer, I said the magic words and ALL IS WELL! My salvation experience had become my newest idol.

For nearly 15 years this was my motion. I would put my FAITH in my FAITH!  I found I had a love affair with my salvation experience (as it was called) and not my savior!  This was a devastating curse in my life that caused great pain and strife, because while I had hope in my actions, they didn’t produce any power of confidence (with faith) in my eternal life. So even when seeking counsel I was reminded that I had “done what was required to be saved” and I should be “at rest” while the Lord was working on me.

There are 400 pages of personal journals and stories that center on this very thing, but I will say to you this: Having faith in your faith; faith in the fruit of your faith, or faith in anything but Jesus Christ is no faith at all and worse, it is a condemning faith that is misplaced and non-effectual.  Beloved, turn from the self-reliance, the cultural questions and the blatant disregard for the truth of scripture. Run to Christ Jesus alone for salvation, rest in His work, His righteousness, His Good news, His love, His mercy, His grace!  Believe on Christ and not the ways of the world. Stop measuring your assurance on the “day” of your believing, but on the faithfulness of the one in whom we have life! Regard your abilities as nothing and realize that all good that is done is done because God has worked in you.  No man will stand justified before God because of His works; but all who are justified before God are so because of the works of Jesus Christ – nothing else saves.

My heart has been troubled for many seasons, and while I am still working through a lot of this, even my own darkness, I know that my hope and light comes only through Jesus Christ, not my work, but His. The GOSPEL is for us, it is only for those who believe… while it brings dead men to life and unbelievers to faith, it is for us first to salvation, then to daily hope and power!  Preach the gospel to yourself when you doubt. Preach the gospel to your heart when you sin. Preach the gospel to your mind when you grow weary. Preach the gospel to your household, your neighbor, your enemy!  Proclaim the good news that Jesus Christ completed the work of redemption once for all!  Stop slaving away at a false hope, the bad news stays bad when we do!

With all the foolishness and all the affection of Christ!

Staying Stupid,

James