Thursday, May 21, 2009

What's Faith Got To Do With It?

I've been thinking a lot about faith lately, specifically about what faith brings about...what does it cause to happen? Here are just a few of the verses I pulled up.

Romans 3:21,22
"But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;"

Romans 5:1,2
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God."

Galatians 3:13,14
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us--for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE"-- in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."

Philippians 3:9
"and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,"

1 Peter 1:5
"who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

Acts 10:42,43
"And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. "Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins."

My questions for you are:

1. If I have faith in Christ for eternal life, do I also need to have faith in God for these things (Christ's righteousness, the Spirit, peace with God, protection by God's power, forgiveness of sins) as well in order to receive them?

2. Or are these things included in the term "Eternal Life" and I receive them when I have faith in Christ no matter what?

3.Or are these things that only potential and not realized at the point of faith?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


What do you think of when someone says, "evangelism"? Maybe it's somebody passing out tracts, or preaching on a street corner. Maybe you think of giving a "testimony" of your salvation experience to someone else. But the bottom line is that evangelism is telling others the Good News, right? If it's in a tract, or a sermon, or a personal testimony, we're sharing what the Good News means.

So I have two questions for you:

1. What is the Good News that we are sharing?

2. Is there a Biblical command for us to share it?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Store up treasures in heaven, it's good for your heart

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)

If we want to know where our heart is, Jesus gives us a very easy way to find it. First, find your treasure. And wherever you find your treasure, your heart is right there with it.

I'm sure this is a passage to which many are turning due to the financial crisis right now. But that's not why I'm writing about this particular passage. I merely wanted to point out that the treasure is not the issue for Jesus. The treasure simply indicates where our hearts are. That's what Jesus is concerned about...the heart. Look how He concludes this paragraph.
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." (Matthew 6:24)

So, Jesus is revealing that where our treasure is also reveals who our master is. And we cannot serve two masters. I think it's interesting that He doesn't give a third or fourth option, implying that if you're serving anything else, then you are not serving God and God is not your master. I also think it's interesting that He describes the service as love and devotion and the non-service as hate and despite.

Which makes me think of John 14:23,24.
"Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me."

Do you love God?

If you do, then John 14 makes it clear that you will keep His word. And God the Father will love you, and both God and Jesus will come to and make their abode with you.

And James also says that you will receive the crown of life. The Lord has promised it to you, if you love Him.

Do you want to know if you will receive the crown of life, if God the Father and Jesus has made their abode with you want to know if you love Jesus? Find your treasure and you'll find your heart. What are you treasuring? What do you consider to be of extreme worth and value? That's what you're serving, loving, devoting your life to.

I pray that you will find your treasure in heaven and find your heart there firmly attached to Him.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

"...the saints will judge the world."

For some, this statement from 1 Corinthians 6:2 indicates a reward to which the faithful believer can look forward. For them, it's a reward that is either won or lost according to the believers life. Have they done good or bad? Have they been faithful enough? Have they done too much evil?

But what's interesting to me is that even though Paul is addressing some very significant issues, he doesn't use the threat of loss of this privilege in the kingdom to come as means to correct their behavior. To what does Paul direct their attention?

In verse 9 of the same chapter (6), Paul does point them to the kingdom. He says, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?" And then lists out some pretty ugly sins. And he says those people will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Was Paul indicting them? No, because in verse 11, he reminds them that that is what some of them were. What makes the difference? What's the difference between the covetous and these believers who were wronging and defrauding their brothers in Christ? Paul says what the difference is. He reminds them of the gospel. He says, "but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God."

Wow, that's powerful. He points to their sin and says it's sin. And then he points them to Christ, the source of their righteousness. And in verse 14 he gives us more powerful hope. "Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power." What a great promise.

And he reminds the believers of somethings else in verse 15. He reminds them that our bodies are members of Christ. And then he reveals to us why immorality is such a heinous sin.

And he says, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God..." A great truth, of which much can and has been said, but lets look at his closing statement to this argument against immorality.

"...and that you are not your own?" This is a statement that many do not like to hear. We want to be masters of our destinies. We want to be the one to call the shots, but Paul tells us that we have a master, and we are not that master. Verse 20 says why God is our master, "For you have been bought with a price". Paul, once again, points us back to the gospel. We were bought.

Peter talks about what we were bought with in 1 Peter 1:18,19. He says that we were redeemed, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with precious blood, the blood of Christ. What a hefty price. What an amazing price for the Creator of the universe to pay for someone like me.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:20, therefore glorify God in your body. How interesting that he's not using the argument that we should glorify God in our bodies because we might lose the reward of higher seat in the supreme court of heaven, but shore up his argument with the rock solid foundation of Christ's death and resurrection. He points us back to the master.

That's where our assurance is. That's where our security rests. Praise God, that if your faith is in Christ, you are not your own. You were bought. Bought with the precious blood of Christ. Your sins are forgiven and you can look forward to that blessed hope of the resurrection. Now go and sin no more, glorify God in your body.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Crowns and Rewards (Part 2)

Another crown that is mentioned is the “Crown of Life”, which is mentioned a couple of times in the New Testament.
“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)
This is an interesting verse to me because James is equating those who love the Lord to those who persevere under trial and are approved.  So the crown of life is promised to those who love the Lord.  We’ll talk about this more in our next post.

Crowns and Rewards (Part 1)

So, what rewards do you have to look forward to on the day when Christ returns? Paul mentions the “Crown of Righteousness” in 2 Timothy.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7,8)
Paul has no doubt that he’ll receive this crown.  Who else receives it?  “All who have loved His appearing.”  So does the award have anything to do with our good works?  Our own righteousness?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Psalm 145 - Transferring a right view of God

I will extol You, my God, O King, And I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of Your majesty And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate. Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, And I will tell of Your greatness. They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness. The LORD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD, And Your godly ones shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom And talk of Your power; To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion {endures} throughout all generations. The LORD sustains all who fall And raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to You, And You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all His ways And kind in all His deeds. The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them. The LORD keeps all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy. My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.

What an amazing view of God. The psalmist recognizes God as King. And this view is transfered from one generation to another.  How?  By praising His works and declaring His might acts.  And he ends the Psalm by saying that the LORD keeps all who love Him.  And he sets that in contrast with what happens to the wicked...all them He will destroy.  Two groups of people in the view of this Psalmist, one group loves God, the other group is wicked.

What an important task to transfer this kind of view to the next generation.  A view that places the right importance on God, reveals Him for who He is.  Because He is the One who will keep those who love Him, but the wicked He will destroy.  Oh that we will be a people who love Him.