Biblical teaching

Missions in Myanmar

by Dr. HL Champion on February 27, 2014

My Calling to the Burmese People Part I –  Dr. HL Champion

After two years of intercessory prayer from Samuel Lian a Burmese pastor in Kalamyo, Myanmar with his small church and college their request was granted from God. After being friended on Facebook from this insidiousness and persistent man of God, Pastor Lian rallied his prayer troupes every week in prayer for me to come and minister among his people.

After several exchanges of prayer emergences on both parts, his and mine. We grew to become true Pastor Friends. Yes, may online requests are made from third world preachers of the Gospel for those who have to come and minister to them who have little of this world’s goods. Many in other lands are fraudulent as the ministry of Christ is merchandised to receive funds mainly for the use of the ministry leader. Such as it is in America.

But, great numbers are legitimate. While many invitations come to most of the ministers on Facebook to ”come and see”.    This short page introduces to you a vast mission field so unlike other third world countries and the mission strategies of so many Christian groups. Bible Believing preachers of the Gospel have used the boarders surrounding Myanmar to cross over and provide a semi-underground evangelism. It is to the Glory of God for all that has happened in this manner.

God has allowed me to come into this Mission field directly as an American Independent Baptist by invitation which is developing into  life calling for the rest of my days! Blessings on you who follow Burmese Missions.

If you wish to participate with World Missions in any form or field contact Dr Champion at [email protected]

 

 

Dr. H.L. Champion, Editor Dr H.L Champion Editor


H.L. Champion presents the latest declarations

of the Houston Media Pastor, Joel Osteen.
“It is so clear now for all Bible Believers as to who this
man is. And it is clear as to he is not. “

Having pastored in Houston and following his father, John Osteen’s ministry, it is apparent that Joel Osteen is no progenitor of the his father John Osteen. While his dad did make a transition from Southern Baptist to Pentecostal of sorts, that change was nothing as how Joel has changed the message of Lakewood Church. Of course technology played a huge part in a ‘modern morph’ of production, but it was the doctrines of the Bible that has dramatically changed from the elder to the younger.

JoelOsteen66

According to Joel Osteen – Pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, these first century apostles are wrong and outdated and he has come out boldly to infer indirectly that Apostles Paul, Peter, and John whom wrote much of the New Testament were wrong and need to be corrected and rebuked.

When asked directly if people whom are openly practicing homosexuals are accepted into the Kingdom, Joel Osteen responded with “Absolutely, anybody is.”

We all need to listen carefully to the words that this “man of God” speaks as he goes on interviews so we too can find the errors in the preaching of the first century apostles.

Joel does acknowledge that some things are “sin” but says, “I don’t address these things from the pulpit. They only come up in interviews.” When asked if openly practicing gay/homosexual people will be accepted into heaven, Joel Osteen responded, “I believe they will.”

He makes no mention of the need for repentance. For none has sinned that bad as to have to repent.

Joel Osteen Brings Us Universalism

The doctrine of universalism is the belief that all people are “saved” no matter who you are or what you’ve done.

This is a new version of the “good news” that is MUCH BETTER than the message the Jesus and the Apostles preached 2,ooo years ago which was far too narrow according to the way Joel Osteen explains his “message.”

“I’m for everybody” says Joel Osteen, “I’m not into excluding people. Jesus can reveal himself to anybody.”

The idea is that since no one would be accepted if we are called to be “holy” then all have to be accepted. So goes this logic. This doctrine also believes that all roads lead to heaven so there is no one “way, truth, and life that leads to the father.”
According to Joel, “sin means to miss the mark” which, while technically correct, stands in contrast to the teachings of many writers of the Bible that teach that sin is violation of God’s Holy Laws so if by missing the mark Joel means violating God’s ways, then yes, sin is missing the mark.

According to the out of date writers of the Bible, the “wages of sin is death” for which blood is required and for which a sacrifice was presented.

It sounds a lot more harsh to say SIN is TREASON punishable by death than to say it is “missing the mark” which is a bit incomplete. Sin is also “to incur guilt, incur penalty” which according to the scripture is death.

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

When asked about people who live in open sin, Joel smilingly said, “I’m not going to bash those people. I’m not going to be against those people. They’re good people.”

So by contrast, Apostle Jude is “bashing people” when he said:

Jude 1:14-16 “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.”

Joel’s wife recently said to Piers Morgan. “It’s the people that we’re after. We’re not trying to judge their sin. We want to encourage them and love them. You’re only going to win people by reaching out to them.”

Isn’t that so awesome! They are all about the people! They want you and I be accepted without having to discuss anything like repentance or righteousness. These are “judgmental” subjects that we just don’t need.

These modern day ministry giants have gone on national television to essentially correct Apostles Peter, John, and Paul to say … they are wrong … if you listen to Joel Osteen. So many across the nation are so proud of this Pastor and his courage in confronting the church fathers!

According to Joel Osteen, Apostle Paul erroneously stated to the Corinthians …

1 Corinthians 6:8-10 “Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

In saying this, according to Joel Osteen, Apostle Paul is being “exclusionary” and should be rebuked and corrected. He is obviously wrong and should never have said these things to the Corinthian church.

Corinth was known for its sexual openness and promiscuity so for Paul to “condemn” all these “good people” was completely out of order and he needs to be rebuked.

When Paul wrote to the Romans he also was in complete error in stating the following in the first chapter of his letter, according to Joel Osteen.

“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

According to Joel Osteen, Paul was absolutely incorrect and to state that being a homosexual is a sin is being “judgmental” and should not be tolerated. It is just wrong according to Joel Osteen. Many people agree with Joel Osteen today and so, Apostle Paul is apparently misguided and incorrect in his letter.

Joel goes on to point out the additional errors in the words Apostle Paul wrote.

“Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Paul went on to write in the first chapter of Romans, which according to the words of Joel Osteen, he is deeply misguided and mistaken.

Apostle Paul should repent for saying such things according to Joel Osteen. A growing number of people in America agree with Joel that Apostle Paul should be rebuked for ever saying such things because Paul isn’t accepting of people like Joel Osteen is.

Equally misguided and incorrect according to Joel Osteen is Paul’s words to the Galatian church. In his writings, Apostle Paul made stunning comments that were clearly exclusionary statements concerning the Kingdom and those whom are accepted, and in so doing has made grave error according to Joel Osteen.

joel-osteen 67See if you can detect the absolutely false statements that Apostle Paul made to the Galatian church according to the stated doctrine of Joel Osteen.

Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

You can clearly see what has Joel Osteen so unhappy that he’s gone on national television to correct this! It is this type of rhetoric, according to Joel Osteen, that is completely false and misrepresents the God he serves.

Joel Osteen’s God loves everybody and there are no exclusions because then, according to Joel, “none of us would be saved.” So again, Apostle Paul was completely incorrect and should never have written such harsh and insensitive words to the Galatian church according to Joel.

I imagine Joel Osteen would say “shame on Apostle Paul for ever writing such hateful words!”

Now, not only is Joel out to correct the misguided Apostle Paul, but Apostle Peter was also brought into serious question for clearly being exclusionary when he wrote these words.

1 Peter 1:14-16 “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

According to the doctrine Joel Osteen has now shared with us all as “his message,” being clearly more evolved and enlightened than the archaic Apostle Peter, no one can be holy. We are left to conclude that Peter is misguided and is being judgmental. What a terrible yoke and condemnation Apostle Peter is trying to put on the good people he is writing to.

Additionally, Apostle Peter goes on to say things that are completely against the Lakewood Church Pastor’s God when he stated the following.

2 Peter 2:6-8 “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)”

According to Joel Osteen’s public comments, one could conclude that Apostle Peter was in complete error and deceived when he wrote such things. What a terrible condemnation. He clearly did not know the doctrine that Joel Osteen preaches or he would never have said such awful and critical things.

Joel Osteen indirectly implies (subtly) that these apostles were false and were critical and judgmental and should NOT be listened to in America today. We all need to listen instead to Joel Osteen and Oprah Winfrey.

Now Apostle John made even greater errors if the benchmark is Joel Osteen’s “message” when he stated some of the thing that he wrote which, according to Joel Osteen, is just plain and simply not true.

Additionally, in his letter, Apostle John says things like …

1 John 3:8-10 “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”

Now according to Joel Osteen and the thousands that agree with his “message,” this entire passage should be removed from the pages of the bible and no one should be saying such things. In fact, Joel goes on to share that it is this exact kind of preaching that will hinder “church growth.”

Apostles Paul, Peter, and John listen up. Joel Osteen rebukes you all.

Now listen, Joel Osteen and his ministry in Houston are all about people. He is standing up for your rights! He is taking a REALLY BIG RISK because … if he’s wrong, and Apostle Paul is right … then he stands to be cursed! So he needs your support in prayer NOW!

Galatians 1:9 “As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”

Instead, you all need to listen to his message of universal acceptance and lawless living without any condemnation so we can all “lift our spirits” and be “encouraging and loving” to all people no matter what lifestyle or choices they make. After all, according to Joel, God loves us all and everyone is going to heaven so lighten up!

There is no exclusive path to the Kingdom. According to Joel Osteen, we need to hear this message because it’s the right message and anyone that says that there is an exclusive path to God is wrong.

Joel would know, look at the size of his church! He is clearly telling you the truth more than anyone in history.

John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Exactly how much error is too much?

Sources:

  • Overview of Joel Osteen/Oprah deceptions:http://youtu.be/weEWl52wevI
  • Joel Osteen meets with Larry King … Here’s the link: http://youtu.be/KwL1DThtxYg
  • Joel Osteen meets with Piers Morgan … Here’s the link: http://youtu.be/tgCpRNfBzys
    • To his credit, in this interview Joel does call out sin, however, he softens it and backs away from talking about repentance … and when he is asked “what would you say” his comment is that he doesn’t understand. You’re leading the largest church in America and you don’t understand REPENTANCE?

The quotes are taken right from what Joel himself has spoken. He positions himself on his own without being told how to answer. On the one hand he wants to appease his Christian followers by saying “the bible says” but on the other he clearly fellowships with darkness and facilitates those whom deny the power thereof.

2 Timothy 3:1-7 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

It takes a lot of courage for Joel to stand against these writings but he believes strongly in his “uplifting and encouraging” doctrine that does not endorse such harsh and judgmental statements as written by these ancient Apostles. But, for the Bible Believer, Joel is just another false prophet, albeit the most successful one to come along in a long time.

Baptist. org stands against the Lakewood Church and their Pastor’s teaching. We encourage participants to  . . .”come out from among them . . . .”

 

The Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press, Tom Strode, gives an excellent review of this moral act from the House of Representatives. Pray that Americans will regain their sanity about sanctity of life. Rep. Trent Franks, R.-Ariz is to be commended as a faithful Christian, and member of the North Phoenix Baptist Church. In this article Strode reports that 32 Baptists voted for the Ban on Abortion after twenty weeks and two voted against it! We at Baptist.org commend this action although it does not go far enough according to the Word of God!.
Posted on Jun 19, 2013 | by Tom Strode
WASHINGTON (BP) — The U.S. House of Representatives has approved landmark legislation that would prohibit abortions during the last half of pregnancy.In a roll call Tuesday (June 18), the House voted 228-196 for the Pain-capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 1797), which would ban abortions nationwide on babies 20 weeks or more after fertilization. The ban is set at the developmental stage based on scientific evidence that a child in the womb experiences pain.

The House’s support of the bill, however, is unlikely to translate into approval by the Senate or endorsement by President Obama. The measure will face stronger opposition from senators, and Majority Leader Harry Reid may not bring it to the floor for a vote. The White House has threatened a veto if the bill were to reach Obama’s desk.

Nonetheless, pro-life advocates applauded the House’s passage of what some see as the most important legislative protection for unborn children in years.

“Unborn children aren’t issues to be debated. Issues can’t feel pain and issues can’t die. Unborn children are persons, our neighbors,” said Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

“A compassionate society would demand mercy and justice for those in the dawn of life,” Moore said. “The House was right to recognize such compassionate justice, and I pray our senators and our president will as well by passing and signing this legislation.”

congress-abortion_marr Trent Franks, AZ-R Baptist influencing Congress

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Trent Franks, R.-Ariz., said the vote “marks the first time in history, in either chamber of the U.S. Congress, that affirmative protection has been extended to unborn children. It is my prayer that today also marks a day when America finally opens her eyes to the humanity of these little victims and the inhumanity of what is being done to them.”

Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), called it “the most significant piece of pro-life legislation to come before the House since the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2007.”

The White House, however, issued a policy statement expressing its strong opposition to the bill. Senior advisors would urge Obama to veto the bill if the Senate passes it, according to the statement.

“This bill is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade and shows contempt for women’s health and rights, the role doctors play in their patients’ health care decisions, and the Constitution,” the Obama administration said.

The Supreme Court’s 1973 opinion in Roe, coupled with a companion ruling in Doe v. Bolton, had the effect of legalizing abortion throughout the country for any reason at any point in pregnancy.

Franks’ bill would alter the dynamic regarding abortion, calling on the courts to consider whether the pain experienced by an unborn child should receive some weight in deciding on a woman’s right to an abortion.

Supporters of the legislation frequently cited the trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell in advocating for the bill. In mid-May, a jury convicted Gosnell of the first-degree murder of three born-alive babies, as well as 21 counts of violating a state ban on abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Gosnell, 72, received three consecutive life sentences without parole for the murder convictions.

Four days after Gosnell’s conviction, Franks announced he would expand the effect of his bill to the entire United States. Prior to that action, Franks’ legislation affected only the District of Columbia, which the U.S. Constitution has granted Congress authority over. Last year, Franks sponsored a similar ban in D.C. but it failed to gain congressional approval. The House voted 220-154 for his measure but it required a two-thirds majority under the rule by which it came to the floor.

The latest House vote on the proposal broke down nearly along party lines. Only six Democrats voted for it and only six Republicans opposed it.

Among Southern Baptist members of the House, 32 voted for the bill, while two voted against it and one was unable to vote. A Southern Baptist, Franks is a member of North Phoenix Baptist Church.

The bill provides exceptions for endangerment to the mother’s life, rape and incest.

A public opinion survey in March by The Polling Company showed 64 percent of American voters would support a law that fits Franks’ proposal with only a threat to the mother’s life as an exception.

Nine states have enacted bans similar to Franks’ bill, according to NRLC.

In the Gosnell case, the three children whom he was convicted of murdering were only some of hundreds at least six months into gestation who were killed outside the womb after induced delivery at a clinic criticized for its unsanitary and unsafe conditions, according to a 281-page report issued by a grand jury in 2011. Gosnell, who destroyed the records in most of those deaths, or a co-worker typically killed the living children by a technique he called “snipping” — jabbing scissors into the back of a baby’s neck and cutting the spinal cord.
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The homosexual political agenda has gained a momentum that may overwhelm Baptist churches. Most pastors are just attending to their congregational priorities without paying too much attention to the potential of law suits that could jeopardize local church autonomy as well as every member’s First Amendment  There is a lot of conversation among Southern Baptist leaders that local church bylaws should define Marriage and Sexuality.
This conversation is one that is important for all churches who have incorporated with their states.  Most Associational Baptist churches as well as Independent churches have a statement of their bylaws registered with their incorporation. Attending to this subject and amending church bylaws now may save heart aches
later. 
You may access Dr. Champions Facebook and post comments - www.Facebook.com/brochampion
  Every Baptist Church should heed this  article and schedule Church Wide Meetings on this issue.
 
 

NASHVILLE (BP) — With the U.S. Supreme Court set to take up gay marriage and potentially legalize it this summer, churches that host wedding ceremonies or other events for traditional couples should examine their bylaws and shield themselves from the impact of possible litigation, says an attorney who specializes in religious liberty issues.

“We’re in a day where every church needs to have a statement in its bylaws of its doctrinal beliefs on marriage and sexuality.” – ADF attorney

The justices are scheduled in March to hear two cases concerning gay marriage, and by June could either uphold the traditional definition of marriage or legalize gay marriage in all 50 states. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) — a religious liberty legal organization — is hoping for the former but preparing churches for the latter, just in case.

A number of situations could place churches in legal trouble, such as congregations who would:– allow a traditional couple but not a same-sex couple to use their facility for a wedding ceremony.

– allow a traditional couple but not a same-sex couple to take part in a marriage class or retreat.
– terminate an employee involved in a same-sex wedding.

Bylaw language defining marriage in the biblical sense doesn’t mean a church won’t face a suit or a complaint, but it does mean the church would be in a much better situation legally, said Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for ADF.

“I think we’re in a day where every church needs to have a statement in its bylaws of its doctrinal beliefs on marriage and sexuality,” Stanley told Baptist Press. “This is a proactive approach that churches can take to head off any claims of discrimination in the future, should they occur. There’s no magic language for such a bylaw statement, but it should be some form of a statement of the church’s religious beliefs.”What that does is it allows for a good defense of a church to any type of discrimination claim that may arise, by saying, ‘Look, this is part of our religious beliefs.’ When we fight on the ground of protecting a church’s religious belief, then we have a lot of ammunition in our arsenal from a constitutional perspective.”Even without gay marriage legal nationwide, there have been lawsuits against churches.

In 1999 a woman who had worked as a youth minister at a Colorado Episcopal church was terminated after it was learned she was a lesbian living with another woman. She sued in federal court, but the lawsuit was dismissed, with the court ruling her suit was barred by the First Amendment. (The case was Bryce v. Episcopal Church in Diocese of Colorado.)

In 2001, a California church’s worship minister, Bob Gunn, was let go when it was discovered he was gay. He sued the church, primarily because the pastor told the congregation why Gunn — who was popular with members — had been fired. The church won in court. (The case was Gunn v. Mariners Church.)

Some churches have affirmed the Baptist Faith & Message 2000, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman and calls homosexuality sinful. Asked whether the BF&M would be sufficient, Stanley replied, “That would be just fine for churches to adopt the BF&M 2000 in their bylaws on this issue. But the BF&M 2000 does not necessarily address the issue of human sexuality in depth, especially the issue of homosexual behavior. Churches may want to consider adopting a fuller statement regarding their biblical beliefs on human sexuality.”

ADF has listed on its website suggested bylaw language for churches. (Read the two ADF articles on the subject – http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/content/docs/issues/church/Suggested-Lang-Church-bylaws.pdf andhttp://www.speakupmovement.org/Church/Content/userfiles/Resources/church_seven_bylaws.pdf. Also, read the suggested language at the end of this article.)

“What we tell churches is that the clearer and the more explicit you can make your religious beliefs about those issues, the better off you are going to be in defending yourself against a claim of discrimination,” Stanley said. “Because then it becomes: You’re not discriminating against an individual based upon their sexual orientation or marital status. You’re making a decision to abide by your religious beliefs. And that’s protected by the Constitution. The more that we can move this from the ground of a claim of discrimination based on sexual orientation or marital status to the ground of ‘We are simply abiding by our deeply and sincerely held religious beliefs,’ the better off a legal defense is going to be.”

The legalization of gay marriage, Stanley said, will impact religious freedoms.

“Religious liberty is on the chopping block any time same-sex marriage is legalized or normalized in the culture,” he said. “But we’re not defenseless and we’re not left hopeless. If same-sex marriage is legalized by the Supreme Court, these types of cases that we see pop up, they’re just going to become more commonplace.”

In January, Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, urged Southern Baptists and other Christians to pray for the Supreme Court as it takes up the issue of marriage. Read his column here.

Following is ADF’s suggested language on marriage and sexuality for church bylaws:

“We believe that term ‘marriage’ has only one meaning and that is marriage sanctioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture.

“We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman who are married to each other. We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.

“We believe that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God.

“We believe that in order to preserve the function and integrity of the church as the local Body of Christ, and to provide a biblical role model to the church members and the community, it is imperative that all persons employed by the church in any capacity, or who serve as volunteers, should abide by and agree to this Statement on Marriage and Sexuality and conduct themselves accordingly.

“We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

“We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with scripture nor the doctrines of the church.”
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Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

One of the dynamics of church growth is member retention. Keeping Christians engaged in attendance has become a task of entertainment for too many congregations. Discipleship according to the three facets of the Great Commission has become just a theory and not a practicum.  I am featuring this article to be one of many of those who are addressing Church Absentee-ism.

 

Thom S. Rainer  - President, LifeWay Christian Resources Feb 1, 2013 - http://tnbaptist.org/BRARticle.asp?ID=4636

Church folks leave and others come for the same reasons.

 

Numbers of gifted persons and organizations have studied the phenomenon of the church “back door,” the metaphorical way we describe people leaving the church. And there will always be the anticipated themes of relocation or personal crises. We should recognize those issues, though we can respond to the latter more than the former.

But all the research studies of which I am aware, including my own, return to one major theme to explain the exodus of church members: a sense of some need not being filled. In other words, these members have ideas of what a local congregation should provide for them, and they leave because those provisions have not been realized.

Certainly we recognize there are many legitimate claims by church members of unfulfilled expectations. It can undoubtedly be the fault of the local congregation and its leaders.

But many times, probably more than we would like to believe, a church member leaves a local body because he or she has a sense of entitlement. I would therefore suggest that the main reason people leave a church is because they have an entitlement mentality rather than a servant mentality.

Look at some of the direct quotes from exit interviews of people who left local congregations:

• “The worship leader refused to listen to me about the songs and music I wanted.”

• “The pastor did not feed me.”

• “No one from my church visited me.”

• “I was not about to support the building program they wanted.”

• “I was out two weeks and no one called me.”

• “They moved the times of the worship services and it messed up my schedule.”

• “I told my pastor to go visit my cousin and he never did.”

Please hear me clearly. Church members should expect some level of ministry and concern. But, for a myriad of reasons beyond the scope of this one column, we have turned church membership into country club membership. You pay your dues and you are entitled to certain benefits.

The biblical basis of church membership is clear in Scripture. The Apostle Paul even uses the “member” metaphor to describe what every believer should be like in a local congregation. In I Corinthians 12:12-31, Paul describes church members not by what they should “receive” in a local church, but by the ministry they should “give.”

The solution to closing the back door, at least a major part of the solution, is therefore to move members from an entitlement mentality to a servant mentality. Of course, it is easy for me to write about it, but it is a greater challenge to effect this change.

May I then offer a few steps of a somewhat practical nature to help close the back door by changing the membership mentality? Here are five:

(1) Inform church members. Though I do not have precise numbers, I would conjecture that more than half of church members do not have a biblical understanding about church membership. Providing that information in a new members’ class can move an entire congregation toward a servant mentality.

(2) Raise the bar of expectations. We have dumbed down church membership in many congregations to where it has little meaning. Clarify expectations of members. Again, doing so in the context of a new members’ class is a great way to begin.

(3) Mentor members. Take two or three members and begin to mentor them to become biblical church members. After a season, ask them to mentor two or three as well. Let the process grow exponentially.

(4) Train members. Almost 100 percent of pastors agree that their role is to train and equip members. But almost three-fourths of these pastors have no plans on how they will train them (see Ephesians 4:11-13).

(5) Encourage people to be in small groups. Those in Sunday School classes and small groups are more likely to be informed and functioning church members. In others words, there is a much greater likelihood of a member with a servant mentality to be in a small group than not.

What are you doing in your church to close the back door?

What are you doing to move members from an entitlement mentality to a servant mentality?

___________________________________________________________________________________________

President, LifeWay Christian Resources

On Feb. 1, 2006, Dr. Thom S. Rainer became the ninth president of LifeWay Christian Resources.

Before coming to LifeWay, Rainer served as the dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served as pastor of churches in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky and Indiana prior to joining Southern in 1994 as founding dean of the Billy Graham School.

He has served as a church consultant and church growth conference speaker for several years and is in frequent demand as a speaker today. Rainer is author of more than 23 books, including Simple Church,Transformational Church, and The Millennials.

Rainer was founder of the Rainer Group, one of the nation’s leading church and denominational consultant organizations. He led the Rainer Group until assuming LifeWay’s presidency.

He and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons: Sam, Art and Jess, who are married to Erin, Sarah and Rachel, respectively.

By Robert J. Thomas;  Director of Calvary Ministries to Catholics

As we begin this study let me first state that part of our ministry is to examine the doctrinal differences between Roman Catholicism and Biblical Christianity by comparing official Catholic doctrines with the clear teachings of the Bible. The world needs to know that the majority of Catholic doctrine is at variance with the clear teachings of the Bible. The Catholic Church pronounces anathemas (curses) on all who oppose their false and heretical teachings.. For instance Council of Trent SIXTH SESSION CANONS ON JUSTIFICATION CANON 9 “If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification, and that it is not in any necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will, let him be anathema.”

My dear friends, what the Catholic Church has actually done in this Canon and others is condemn the very Gospel. I am reminded of what Paul clearly stated in Galatians 1:8-9

“But though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him by accursed. As we said before, so say I again. If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that which ye have received, let him be accursed.”

Having been born and raised in a Roman Catholic Church, I learned at an early age that attending Mass and receiving the Eucharist was the most important sacrament a Catholic could receive. It is the Mass and Eucharist that the Church of Rome points to with great pride to distinguish herself from other denominations. The very life-line of the whole religious system rests upon the Mass. I was taught that it was the foundation-the pinnacle- the very heartbeat of Catholicism. In the Book, The What and Why of Catholicism, the Mass is described as follows: “The Sacrifice of the Mass forms a pivot upon which all else turns. If it is what Catholics believe it is, then here is the greatest external manifestation of the love of God for man and the most magnificent testimonial to the validity of Catholicism; but if it be false, it is the worst farce and blasphemy ever perpetrated upon God or man and the Catholic faith collapses into nothingness.”

John’s Gospel has a total of seven “I am’s.”

John 10:9-“I am the door.”

John 15:1-“I am the true vine.”

John 8:12-“I am the light of the world.”

John 10:11-“I am the good shepherd.”

John 11:25-“I am the resurrection and the life.”

John 14:6-“I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

John 6:48-“I am the bread of life.”

All seven of these I am sayings are clearly figures of speech. It is interesting that our Catholics friends will usually readily admit that the first six are figures of speech; however, they insist that the last one “I am the bread of life” must be taken literally. All seven of these statements are figurative or symbolic statements and are meant to convey literal truth regarding the Lord Jesus; that He is the source of spiritual life and salvation. So, let’s examine John 6 and see if this chapter establishes the Mass.

Roman Catholics refer to verses 51 to 58 to try to prove the Mass.

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove amongst themselves, saying, How can this man give us 

his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread that came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.”

Let’s once again remember that Scripture always reaffirms Scripture. Our Catholic friends pull this passage of Scripture out of its context and use it in an attempt to establish and prove the Mass. In order to fully understand what Jesus is talking about in verses 51 to 58, we must look at the context of the entire sixth chapter of John. Taken as a whole, John chapter six has both literal and spiritual aspects.

In the Old Testament, there are many examples of God speaking figuratively in regard to eating and drinking. For example, in Hosea 10:13, we see, “ye have eaten the fruit of lies.” Again we read in Proverbs 4:17-“they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.” Isaiah 30:20-“The bread of adversity, and the water of affliction.” Psalm 34:8-“O taste and see that the Lord is good.” One final passage is Psalm 60:3-“Drink the wine of astonishment.”

Let me set the stage by looking at several Old Testament passages dealing with the drinking of blood.

Leviticus 3:17-“It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.”

Leviticus 7:26-“Moreover ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings.”

Leviticus 17:10-12-“And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

Therefore, I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.”

Deuteronomy 12:16-“Only ye shall not eat the blood; ye shall pour it upon the earth as water.”

Deuteronomy 12:23-“Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh.”

Deuteronomy 15:23-“Only thou shalt not eat the blood thereof; thou shalt pour it upon the ground as water.”

I Samuel 14:33-34-“Then they told Saul, saying, Behold, the people sin against the Lord, in that they eat with the blood. And he said, ye have transgressed: roll a great stone unto me this day. And Saul said, Disperse yourselves among the people, and say unto them, Bring me hither every man his ox, and every man his sheep, and slay them here, and eat; and sin not against the Lord in eating with the blood.”

How often does God have to say not to eat or drink blood before it is so?

JOHN 6 occurs Twelve Months Before The Death of Jesus.

To set the stage for John 6, we need to first examine that miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 in verses 1 -14. There was a lad that had five barley loaves and two small fishes. Jesus performed a miracle and fed the 5,000 with loaves and fishes. The Jews were all filled; they had their needs met; and that was all they cared about. They were not even aroused by the fact that Jesus had performed a miracle. They had gotten a free meal and that was all that was on their mind. Next in verses 15-21, Jesus sends the apostles across the sea of Galilee and he comes to them walking on the water in the midst of a storm.

Beginning in verse 22, the Jews are searching for Jesus the next day for one purpose and one purpose only. They want another free meal. This is very evident by the words of Jesus in verse 26-“Jesus answered and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.” This statement of Jesus is literal.” In verse 27, Jesus speaks to the Jews on a spiritual basis. “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the father sealed.” These Jews that Jesus was speaking to had absolutely no spiritual understanding. They were unregenerate individuals and therefore they could not understand the spiritual aspects of what Jesus was teaching.

Romans 8:7-“Bccause the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

I Corinthians 2:14-“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

In verse 28, the Jews inquire as to what they need to do to please God. In verse 29, Jesus addresses their spiritual condition. “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” What does Jesus clearly state the solution to their spiritual problem is? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Plain and simple! They were lost in sin and needed to believe on Jesus. They needed to be saved

by grace through faith alone. Why? Because salvation is in Christ and Christ alone. Their Jewish religion would not save them. No religion has ever saved a single person. That is why the Roman Catholic Church is in error when she makes the statement, “The one true holy mother church without which there is no salvation.” Please don’t waste my time by telling me that the Catholic Church does not teach this. I can post multitudes of official information from the Catholic Church including direct quotes from Benedict XVI that will prove my point. In fact, I am looking at a statement that Benedict XVI made on July 7, 2007: “All non Catholic congregations are not true churches in the Biblical sense of the word. There is absolutely no salvation outside of the Holy Catholic Church.”

In verses 30 and 31, the Jews once again show their obvious lack of spiritual understanding. They want Jesus to give them a sign (another miracle). They remind Jesus about the physical manna that their fathers had received while they were wondering forty years in the wilderness. The Jews were merely looking at the literal aspects of the manna for food and not the spiritual significance that God had provided the manna. In verses 32 and 33, Jesus reminds them that God gave them the manna and not Moses. This manna from God took care of their physical needs. However, Jesus wants to take care of their spiritual needs. In verse 34, the Jews still with no spiritual understanding, desire an everlasting buffet. They want to be provided with literal food on a daily basis just as their fathers were in the wilderness. They were completely missing the spiritual aspects.

The pivotal part of the entire chapter is in verses 35 and 36. “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.” In verse 35, Jesus is speaking spiritually. In this chapter Jesus is clearly teaching about salvation. Jesus is referring to the spiritual hunger in man for salvation. He promises to everyone who will “come to him” that he will satisfy their spiritual hunger for salvation forever. Likewise, we also drink to satisfy thirst. A one time coming to Jesus and believing on Jesus will satisfy man’s spiritual need of salvation forever. This is accomplished by grace through faith alone. (Rom. 10:9-10, 13: Eph 2:8-9; John 3:16) According to verse 36, the Jews have seen Jesus and all the miracles that he has done (including the feeding of the 5,000); however, they are still spiritually ignorant.

Jesus once again in verses 37 to 39 is speaking about the results of salvation. All who come to Jesus by grace through faith alone seeking eternal life will receive eternal salvation. Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life, and no man cometh unto the Father except by me.”

Now let’s look at verse 40 very carefully and compare it with verse 54.

John 6:40-“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 6:54-Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

According to verse 40, anyone who sees the Son and believes on him has everlasting life. This verse is literally true. All who come to Christ by grace through faith alone have eternal life. According to verse 54, all who eat the body and drink the blood of Jesus also have eternal life. If verse 54 is to be also taken literally as our Catholic friends insist, we have a real dilemma. I often put the following situation to my Catholic friends and have yet to receive a satisfactory answer. According to verse 40, I have seen the Son and I have laterally by grace through faith alone believed on him. Therefore, I have eternal life and will never perish. I do not accept the Roman Catholic premise that I must literally eat Christ’s flesh and literally drink his blood to experience eternal life (the Eucharist). According to Catholic teaching then, I do not have eternal life. However, according to verse 40, I have eternal life because I have believed on Christ unto salvation. Solve my dilemma. No, my dear Catholic friends, verse 54 is not to be taken literally, Jesus is merely conveying a spiritual truth. The only possible solution to this dilemma is for us to understand that Jesus was speaking figuratively or spiritually in verse 54 to explain what he had literally taught in verse 40.

In verses 43 to 47, Jesus is very clearly speaking about salvation and once again the Jews don’t have a clue. Verse 47 sums it up, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” In review, Jesus very clearly told the unbelieving Jews in verses 28, 29 and 30 that they needed salvation. Next, in verses 48 to 51, Jesus is speaking spiritually again and comparing Himself spiritually to the manna that came down from God in the wilderness. Just as the Jews physical needs were met by the manna in the wilderness; just as their physical needs were met the day before when the 5,000 were fed, Jesus can and will meet their spiritual needs if they will believe on him unto salvation.

Verse 52 once again clearly demonstrates the lack of spiritual understanding on the part of the Jews. They were only thinking about physical food when they asked, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” In verses 53 to 58, Jesus is comparing the physical manna in the wilderness to his spiritual flesh and spiritual blood. We must remember that this event occurred one year prior to his death. According to verse 58 the fathers ate the literal manna in the wilderness and are all dead. However, if anyone believes on Jesus and experiences eternal life by grace through faith alone, they can spiritually partake of his flesh and blood because they have eternal life. Remember that the Jews certainly knew and understood the Old Testament warnings against drinking blood!

It is quite interesting that beginning in verse 60, many went away because they did not want the spiritual aspect of Christ’s ministry and only desired the physical bread. They had the wrong motives. Let’s finally look at verses 68-69: “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” The disciples had correctly understood the teachings of Christ because they had eternal life and therefore had spiritual discernment. They understood completely that salvation was in Christ and in Him alone.

Calvary Ministries to Catholics  
132 Powder Springs Dr.   Duncan,SC 29334

(864)9491375
E-mail [email protected] 

Website: http://excatholic.baptist.org 

January 25th, 2012 | Buen Consejo | for http://www.baptist.org

The right book!

1, 8, 3, 1…  which are you?  What is this about?  Read on and see –>>

   In the scriptures, in Matthew 26:36-46, we read about 13 people that I want to address.  Jesus and 11 of his disciples when to a place called Gethsemane.  At this time Judas was off betraying his Lord for some money.  Jesus brought Peter and the two sons of Zebedee closer and gave them an assignment to watch with him.  Jesus went on a little further and prayed to the Father.
   Here is our break down: 1 person is off betraying.  8 people are given no assignment. 3 are given an assignment and struggle with it.  1 goes on to the presence of God and perseveres.
   In our churches, Bible study groups, cell groups or gatherings we find within Christianity this same break down. Which are you?
   The bad 1.  Are you the one off running your mouth? Judging, condemning, running others down with your words?  Is there sin in your life that turns others away from the Lord? Are you giving non-Christians ammo to destroy confidence in Christ?  I saw a bumper sticker once that said, “Lord protect me….. from thy followers!” 
  The 8.  Are you just a pew-filler?  Are you one of those Christians that attends church or Bible study? You support financially, and there is no actual fault in your doings.  You just don’t actually do anything much for the Lord.  You’re just… there. This is the largest group.

The 3.  Are you a worker? Do you tell people about the Lord and his free gift of salvation? Do you actively do what the Lord wants in your life? Yes, you might struggle and mess up, but do you try to serve God? Do you take what you learn in your daily scripture reading and try to apply it? Do you actually do what you hear in church or read in the Bible? Or do you fall asleep and fail the Lord?  Do you serve God or expect to be served by him?

  The good 1.  Are you the one who goes on into a deeper relationship with God?  Not the work of the Lord only, but the Lord of the work.  Are you hungry for the presence of God in your life?  Do you continue in prayer, not to bring your shopping list of what you want from him, but to surrender yourself to him?   Do you want that closeness with God more than anything? Do you pray earnestly from the heart, honestly… until you are heard by him? Is loving him more important than anything else?  Are you willing (as Jesus was) to separate from the others enough to get alone with God and really focus on him and his will for you?

Are you a 1, 8, 3, or 1? 

  Here are the verses:
Matthew 26:36-46  “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.  And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.  Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.   And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 
And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?   Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 
  He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.  And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.  And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.” 

Straight ahead!

  December 12th, 2011 | Buen Consejo| for http://www.baptist.org
 Under the law securing an eternity with the Lord and not spending eternity burning in the lake of fire was set up differently than it is now under grace.
A confusion enters here: Someone asked Jesus (while under the law):  Matthew 19:16, 17  “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?  And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”  You might say, this was a trick question. He did not ask what is needed to have eternal life. He asked, “what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” That is where confusion starts.
  It might seem well founded, if you don’t know enough about the scriptures. Simple requirement under the law: Leviticus 18:4, 5  “Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.  Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.”
  These are the “works” to do. But the works or deeds of the law are not going to get you to heaven. (I’m still talking old testament, under the law) Romans 3:20  “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”  The deeds or works did not and will not get anyone into heaven.
  Habbakuk 2:4  “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”  The law had to be “attempted” to be done perfectly as a demonstration and exercise of truly seeking him and his ways.  But it had to be done by faith.  Not the faith that says, “Jesus died for me, I’ll trust him.” But a faith that said, “God said to do these things, so I will try and live in them, trusting that, though I will fail, he will have a way to get me to him.”  But if you would not try to do the works and live in the holy law, you were not really seeking him.
  Under the law blood sacrifices and offerings of many kinds were prevalent.  They did not save anyone.  Hebrews 10:4  “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” These sacrifices did not take away sin, but covered it for the time being.  That is also why, when the old testament saints died they went to paradise in the center of the earth, not heaven. Their sin was covered, not taken away.  
   John 1:29  “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”  When Jesus paid the price of his precious blood (and presented his risen body to the Father), the salvation of old testament saints was complete.
   So under the law eternal life came by walking in the law of God by faith, trusting his sacrifice system and mercy to not give you what the law showed you you really deserved.
  Works are not “Wow, you built an orphanage, you deserve heaven!” Works are showing you trust the LORD, seek him and want his ways. But it’s still his grace that keeps anyone out of the lake of fire!
Buen Consejo | October 24, 2011 | for http://www.baptist.org
 
What is the difference between Redemption, Remission and Forgiveness?  Did you even know that they are different?  Which one saves you?? Can you have one of the other two and still be lost?
Many people say that if you ask God to forgive your sins, you’ll be saved. That is not how it works. Forgiveness only restores the relationship that wasthere before.  If some neighborhood kid breaks your window with a baseball, then comes to knock on the door to apologize, you might forgive him.  But that will not make him your son. That will not fix the window. If a lost sinner asks God to forgive him, his life will improve. He will not become God’s child or have his sin washed away.
  Remission means to be covered up or retained to not spread, increase or be in the way. But it is still there. Like a cancer in remission is still a cancer.
  Redemption means to actually buy something and go pick it up.  That is what saves you. Jesus Christ died for  your sins to purchase you and own you. He will also one day come and pick us up.
Let’s look at some scriptural evidences-  First came preparation. Luke 1:77  “To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,”  Through remission of sin (to get it out of the picture, but not gone) the way is prepared to receive knowledge.  Jesus cleared the way for your understanding of salvation so you could chose it, if you want. Matthew 26:28  “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”  Acts 10:43  “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
Next he would actually offer himself to take away that sin. John 1:29  “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” He would pay the price to buy us out- redemption.  Leviticus 25:51  “If there be yet many years behind, according unto them he shall give again the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for.”  Numbers 3:49  “And Moses took the redemption money of them that were over and above them that were redeemed by the Levites:”
  Romans 3:24  “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” Ephesians 1:7  “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”  Ephesians 1:14  “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (earnest means- down payment)
  We also get free forgiveness of sins.  Colossians 1:14   “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”   Romans 4:7  “Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.”  Acts 5:31  “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”  Forgiveness is only in there because of the repentance that allowed you to submit to him for redemption.
  After salvation remission is irrelevant and redemption is permanently fixed, but forgiveness to maintain and sustain a close, blessed walk with the Lord is a continual process.  It has nothing to do with going to heaven or  hell. It has to do with the personal relationship between you and the Lord.  If you have a son and he behaves poorly (imagine that!), you might punish him.  If he wants a new bike, you might deny him that. If he needs help with something, you might not help him…. but does not cease to be your son.
  In your personal walk as a Christian forgiveness is a daily, if not hourly process, even moment to moment, depending on the individual. You will not receive forgiveness with blanket prayers like, “Lord, forgive my sins..”, “Lord, forgive me for not doing what I should have and for doing what I should not have, and where I failed you…bla, bla..” The scriptures are clear: 1 John 1:9  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  You don’t ask for forgiveness. You confess your sins to the Lord.  Confessing sins means enumerating  them, that is, name and itemize them.  “Lord, I lied.”, “Lord. I knew I should read my Bible and did not.”, “Lord, I felt I should talk to that person about you, but chickened out.”  This way, when you have agreed with the Lord that these items are sin, you get forgiveness and can’t claim next time that you did not know it was sin.
Summary:  Remission prepares the way for you to receive the knowledge of salvation.  Redemption gives you the actual salvation. Forgiveness is thrown in to start the relationship at a new beginning.  

 September 23, 2011 | Buen Consejo | for  http://www.baptist.org

Faith or Works?

Romans 4 says Abraham was justified by faith without works. Yet James 2 says Abraham was justified by works. Both refer to the same incident. They are both right and they both agree. How can that be?

Now, this issue of James’ verses has many theological britches on a knot.  It is so simple that people miss it.  Firstly, in order to not miss what the scriptures teach, one must not approach reading with fears and religious prejudiced.  Between the Catholics making people fear unless they have good works and the Baptists swinging the pendulum so far from works many feel they must choose sides.  Well, both are imbalanced views.

Number one method for a prayed-up Christian to understanding scriptures:  Re-read it, don’t re-write it.  Don’t change it, it changes you.  Let’s read it:

James 2:20-26  “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?   Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?  And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.  Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.  Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

First a basic understanding of faith and works in a generic definition:  If I had faith that this post would write itself, it would not.  I would have to put work to it.  If I assume by faith I will go to be with the Lord when I die, what is the work or function to bring me there?   In this case it is simple.  The post did not write itself.  I did the work and hoped God would lead the knowledge and give direction, being his work (especially with such a poor vessel).  In salvation Jesus supplied the work when he died, was buried and rose again.  Then, he did more work in presenting his risen body to the Father.  So, faith and works together saved me.  My faith… his works.

As to James’ verses specifically;  he is not referring to what most people claim he is.  Here’s the thing and the proof:   He said: “…Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? …”   Right away every insecure, religious person jumps up and cries out that he can’t be justified before God without works!   Yet James said, “….And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness..”  So you have to weasel, twist and, as Peter said, wrestle the scriptures to your own destruction to connect this to our eternal salvation.   2 Peter 3:16  “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

Ok, ok, Proof?  Let’s look at scripture compared with scripture in the light of scripture: Romans 4:1, 2  “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?  For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.”    Did you catch that?  “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.”

Attempting to be justified before God by works is foolish and it won’t happen: Romans 4:4-8  “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.   Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

So then, what is James saying?  As Paul said: “…”What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?…”  John 3:6  “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”   “…he hath whereof to glory; but not before God…”  That would leave…. before men.

James said, James 2:18  “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”  You show me, I show you.  That’s what James said.  James is talking about showing your faith to other people and being justified before people that your faith is real.  “pertaining to the flesh… not before God.”

Wanna do the works of God?  Listen to what Jesus said to do: John 6:28, 29  “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

James and Paul are on the same team and on the same page.

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