Archive for August, 2009


I had a call this week from the daughter of a couple that lives near our church. Many of you would recognize her parents name. Seems her parents have been living together the last 20 years or so and never got married. Now they are thinking about making it legal and are looking into having a quaint church wedding. She said that because I was the priest they would want me to do the wedding. I corrected her of course, but I said that as Pastor I take marriage very seriously.

For Your Information I have four prerequisites that must be met before I will bless the marriage of a man and woman.

  1. The couple must believe that marriage is a Covenant Vow before God
  2. They must not be living together
  3. They must go through premarital counseling before I agree to marry them.
  4. They must have the blessings of both sets of parents.

We see the church out of focusSome of you are thinking, Brother Jim, that seems pretty harsh. After all, they have been living together and need to make it official. Plus they are our neighbors, and this is a chance to reach out to them. I understand your thoughts, but consider this: Do we ever have an excuse to take God for granted? NO! God is Holy, He is Righteous. He has standards and He reigns in Heaven whether we acknowledge Him or not. One day everyone will have an appointment with the God who created them and will answer for why they took Him for granted. If we can’t ever take God for granted, then we can’t take Jesus for granted. And if we can’t take Jesus for granted, we can’t take His wife for granted. And the church is His wife. Now when it comes to the church, the bride of Christ, we see a Universal application, but we also see a local application.

I believe Pleasant Prairie Baptist can be a great church. I believe we are sitting in a mission field. And we need to start taking our church more seriously. We can not take it for granted, just as we wouldn’t dare think of taking God for granted. I believe the community around Pleasant Prairie takes us for granted. They see us as a qaint little country church instead of seeing us as the powerful Bride of Jesus Christ. I think that is because we have failed to be a church, we have failed to be a bride, we have taken the Word of God for granted.There seems to be a couple problems in America:

  • We are extremely self-loving.
  • We dishonor the Word of God.

Because we love ourselves we tend to do what we want when we want it. Because we dishonor God’s Word, we dishonor God, we dishonor the church, we dishonor preachers, we dishonor pastors. When you dishonor God’s Word, you start to dishonor everything about God and what God says is important. We dishonor marriage, we dishonor the family, we dishonor our relationships with each other.

So for the next two weeks I want us to see from God’s Word Why Pleasant Prairie Baptist Church was put here on the corner of 215th & Y, and then I want to see from God’s Word what we should be doing so that we do not take God’s Word for granted. To do so we need to answer 2 Questions:

  • What Makes a Church?
  • What is Membership All About?

First, let’s look at Black’s Law Dictionary and see what our Courts say a church is.

A body or community of Christians, united under one form of government by the profession of one faith, and the observance of the same rituals and ceremonies. Black’s Law Dictionary 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th eds.

jesus keys to peterLet’s see how this meshes with how Jesus Views His Church:

  • He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, THOU ART THE CHRIST, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, THAT THOU ART PETER Petros (stone), and upon this rock petra (Christ is the great foundation, the “chief corner-stone,”—Vincent’s) I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:15-19

1. Jesus says the church is something He is Building.

  • Jesus is the Architect, the owner, the developer, the reason there is a church.

2. Jesus says His church has Great Power.

  • Stronger than Hell, Able to Bring Heaven down to Earth

3. Jesus says His Church is built upon Stones that all Declare the same Message.

  • Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. The Church is all about Jesus and His Living in us, empowering us to reach out to those who are without Jesus.

1. The Church is a Living Building of “Called out Ones”

Jesus says “I will build my church”

  • Church Universal
  • Church Local

Church made of Living StonesChrist appears here, not as the foundation, but as the architect: “On this rock will I build.” The church is a collection of pieces of living rocks that when combined by the power of God are impenetrable. Peter was the first, just as Abraham was the first.

A. Jesus Selects Living Materials:

  • John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
  • John 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
  • What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19

church is an altarB. Jesus Transforms “called out believers” into “LIVING STONES”

  • To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious. Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:4-5
  • And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 2 Corinthians 6:16

The church is to be like the altar of stones upon which the Jews sacrificed to Holy God.

  • Exodus 20:24 An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt offerings, and thy peace offerings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.

C. Jesus Uses Special Stones to Build the Church

  • And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: Ephesians 4:11-1

2. The Church is the Power of Christ to an Enslaved World

We have the AUTHORITY & POWER of our King.

  • King Jesus Will ReignMatthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
  • Ephesians 1:22-23 And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but [that] the members should have the same care one for another.

We follow an unseen King, and obey His commands. That obedience keeps us in His Kingdom and not in the devil’s. As long as we obey our King, we have our King’s Authority in this world.

reconciliationWe are ON MISSION to be Ambassadors to the World

Since Jesus is reigning in an undisclosed location, and since He is still seeking more living stones to keep building His church, He needs you and me to be Ambassadors to this enslaved world.

  • Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 jesus pierced cross

We are always on mission. This world is always watching the King’s people. We are to go into all this world and hold up the Good News of Jesus Christ. But we are not to merely say it, we are to show it!

3. The Church consists of Believers in a Covenant Relation with Jesus Christ.

  • We Have a Responsibility to Each Other because We are in Christ.

We are not a collection of lonely islands. No we are a collection of stones that are made into a huge rocky peak, by the power of God through our Belief and Confession of this Blood Covenant.

  • From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:16

I can’t see it, I can’t even feel it sometimes, but there is a bond that is stronger than anything else I’ve ever faced. That bond is my marriage with my wife. That bond may be just a piece of paper filed in the Jackson County Courthouse. But it is a bond designed by God to be so tough, that if you ever break it, it will mess your life up and leave scars that only Jesus can heal.

God_cuts_covenant-abrahamWhen you come to Jesus because His Holy Spirit has convicted you of your sin, and has spoken into the wee small crevices of your heart, a bond was forged between you and God. God says that bond will never be broken because He places the seal of His Holy Spirit within your life. You may not feel it, you may not sense it, but GOD LIVES IN YOU! And if you turn away from God, you neglect His word, it will mess you up! If it doesn’t mess you up to ignore Jesus Christ and neglect Him, there never was that bond.

It’s like marriage, you know it when you neglect it and turn away from it.

Now because of this Bond we have with God through Jesus Christ, we have a responsibility to love and pray and support others who have entered into this relationship with Jesus. The easiest way to take care of one another is through a local Bible Believing, Bible Preaching Church. The local church is built by Jesus on the Power of our Communion with Him through our Covenant Confession with Him.communion-WITH-JESUS-HANDS

I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. 1 Corinthians 10:15-17

My wife and I have experienced the Power of our Covenant Relationship in Joining in the care of our Children and now our grandchildren. We have begun our own body of Tompkins, and I pray that we will all be built upon Jesus Christ.

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 1 Corinthians 12:12-26

  • We Have a Responsibility to Build Strong Marriages and Families because they Reflect the Power of Christ to the World.

The Church is the Bride of Christ:

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. Ephesians 5:21-33

The Church (those written in the Book of Life) is the Bride of Christ

bride christ marriageAnd there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 21:9-27

We See that as far as God and His Plans are concerned, the Church is central, it is key.

So Why is it important to Join a Church? When we are born again we become members of the church universal, we are baptized into one Body. Why do we need to join a Local Church?

How Important is Church Membership?

The leadership of Pleasant Prairie Baptist Church considers membership to be important from a polity and relational perspective.

  • Polity: only members are allowed to have a say in the direction of our church by voicing their concerns and by voting.
  • Relational: Membership enjoins us to certain responsibilities and obligations as detailed in our church covennt.

We believe church membership is very important for our Spiritual Well-Being, as the following illustrates:

Five Proofs of the Mandate for Membership in a Local Church

Each of these proofs reveal that lack of membership would minimize or deny our spiritual growth in Christ.

1) The Metaphor of the Body

Church membership is implied in the metaphor of the body in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. The original meaning of the word ‘member’ is member of a body, like hand and foot and eye and ear. That’s the imagery behind the word ‘member’ in the text. Verse 12: “Just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”

So the question this imagery raises for the local church that Paul is describing in 1 Corinthians 12 is: Who intends to be treated as a hand or foot or eye or ear of this body? There is a unity and organic relationship implied in the imagery of the body. There is something unnatural about a Christian attaching himself to a body of believers and not being a member of the body.

2) Christians Required to Submit to Their Leaders

Church membership is implied in the biblical requirement of Christians to be submitted to a group of church leaders, elders, or pastors. The point here is that without membership, who is it that the New Testament is referring to who must submit to a specific group of leaders? Some kind of expressed willingness or covenant or agreement or commitment (that is, membership) has to precede a person’s submission to a group of leaders.

Consider the way the New Testament talks about the relationship of the church to her leaders.

  • Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. (Hebrews 13:17)
  • We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)
  • Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17)

How is this leadership and this submission going to work if there is no membership defining who has made the commitment to be led and who has been chosen as leaders? If we downplay the importance of membership, it is difficult to see how we could take these commands to submit and to lead seriously and practically.

3) Shepherds Required to Care for Their Flock

shepherds care for the flockChurch membership is implied in the way the New Testament requires elders to care for the flock in their charge. Of course elders can extend their love to anyone and everyone, and should, within the limits of their ability. But the question is whether the Bible tells elders that they are to have a special responsibility and care for a certain group—a group of members. Consider Acts 20:28 where Paul tells the elders how to care for their flock.

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. Acts 20:8

This verse does not say elders cannot visit unbelievers or those who are not yet members. But it does make clear that their first responsibility is to a particular flock. How are they to know who their flock is? Who are we as elders and pastors responsible for? For whom will we give an account to God?

The way Peter speaks to the elders in 1 Peter 5 is even more clear on this point. Verses 2-3: “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.”

“Those in your charge” (your portion, your lot) implies that the elders knew whom they were responsible for. This is just another way of talking about membership. If a person does not want to be held accountable by a group of church leaders or be the special focus of the care of a group of church leaders, they will resist the idea of membership. And they will resist God’s appointed way for them to live and be sustained in their faith.

4) The Church Is to Discipline Its Members

Church membership is implied by the way the church is supposed to discipline its members. Consider the implication of Matthew 18:15-17 where “the church” (ekklesia) appears to be the final court of appeal in matters of church authority as it relates to membership.

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

If there is no church membership, how can you define the group that will take up this sensitive and weighty matter of exhorting the unrepentant person and finally rendering a judgment about his standing in the community? It’s hard to believe that just anyone who showed up claiming to be a Christian could be a part of that gathering. Surely, “the church” must be a definable group to handle such a weighty matter. You know who you mean when you “take it to the church.”

5) Excommunication Exists

Church membership is implied by the simple fact that excommunication even exists. Paul implies this in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 where he deals with the necessity of putting someone out of the church. He says, “What have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you.’”

There are two implications here: One is that there is an “in the church” group and an “outside the church” group. Being in the church is definable. The other implication is that a person can be removed from being “in the church.” Such a formal removal would not be possible if there were no such thing as a clear membership—who is an accountable part of this body, and who is not?

Expectation for All Believers

So for these five reasons and more we believe that membership is a New Testament expectation for all believers. Each of us should be a member of a local body of believers.

  • We should take responsibility to discipline those of the body who do not repent from public sin that brings reproach on the name of Christ.

  • We should declare ourselves part of the body so that if we are wayward, we ourselves would be liable to such exclusion.

  • We should take our position under the leadership and authority of our church leaders.

  • And we should find our place in the organic whole as a body part—a member—of a local body of Christ.

That is God’s plan for us and for Pleasant Prairie Baptist Church. That is what we mean by membership. All of those aspects of membership are rooted in the truth that the local church is an expression of the universal church. Part of what it means to belong to the body of Christ is to belong to a local body.

A Blood-Bought Gift of God’s Grace

Church bought through the crucifixionThe New Testament tells of no Christians who are not accountable members of local churches in the sense that we have just seen. “Lone-Ranger Christians” are a contradiction because becoming a Christian means being united to Christ, and union with Christ expresses itself in union with a local body of believers. It seems to us that in the New Testament, to be excluded from the local church was to be excluded from Christ. This is why the issue of membership is so important.

Are you an accountable member of a local church? Not just: Is your name somewhere? But, are you committed to discipline and being disciplined according to biblical standards? Have you publicly declared your willingness to be shepherded and to be led by the leaders of a local church? Do you see yourself and your gifts as part of an organic ministering body? Do you show by your firm attachment to Christ’s body that you are attached to Christ?

Church membership is a blood-bought gift of God’s grace. More than most of us realize, it is a life-sustaining, faith-strengthening, joy-preserving means of God’s mercy to us. We urge you not to deprive yourself of this blessing.

Jim and Clare TompkinsWhen I was about seven years old, my mom went away for a while. I did not know what was going on, but I found out later that there was problems between my mom and dad. Dad was a traveling salesman, gone 4 and 5 days a week, and Mom was raising three rambunctious boys. I think something serious happened, because Mom went away to Texas to live in a Psychiatric Hospital. She had a nervous breakdown. She went through electro-shock therapy. I had to go live with a strange family for a while because my Dad still travelled. My Mom and Dad almost didn’t make it. Somehow, Mom came back home and started dragging us to the Prairie Baptist Church down the street. She started making friendships with good caring friends. A couple men started visiting my dad. Glenn and Merl faithfully called on my dad, and didn’t judge him when he smoked and drank in front of them. They just kept inviting him to church. Finally he went, and went and went. Something different was going on in my family. Mom and Dad weren’t fighting like before. Before I knew it, Mom and Dad joined the church. Dad started taking a leadership role. He was different! It was that church and Jesus Christ that made a difference in our family, and the same has continued to make a difference in my family and now my kid’s families.


The church is Vital and Powerful and is used by Jesus Christ to transform sinners into the children of God!

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Congratulations! You have made a life-changing decision! Perhaps you are asking, “Now what? How do I begin my journey with God?” The Six steps mentioned below will give you direction from the Bible.

1. Make sure you understand salvation.

1 John 5:13 tells us, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

God wants us to understand salvation. God wants us to have the confidence of knowing for sure that we are saved. Briefly, let’s go over the key points of salvation:

  • We have all sinned. Our sinful nature means we are separated from our Holy Righteous Creator God. (Romans 3:23).
  • Because of our sin, God has declared us “guilty” and the punishment for our sin is eternal separation from God in Hell. (Romans 6:23).
  • Because God loved us, He sent His only son Jesus to die upon the cross to pay the penalty for our sins (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus died in our place, taking the punishment that we deserved. His resurrection proved that Jesus’ death was sufficient to pay for our sins.
  • God grants forgiveness and salvation to all those who place their faith in Jesus – trusting His death as the payment for our sins. Faith means that we have opened our heart to believe that which is unseen, yet we know in our hearts is true. (John 3:16; Romans 5:1; Romans 8:1).

Jesus-Salvation-in-No-One-ElseThis is the message of salvation! If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are saved! You have entered into a Covenant with God sealed with the blood of Jesus His Son. God will not break His Covenant. All of your sins are forgiven, and God promises to never leave you or forsake you (Romans 8:38-39; Matthew 28:20). Remember, your salvation is secure in Jesus Christ (John 10:28-29). If you are trusting in Jesus alone as your Savior, you can have confidence that you will spend eternity with God in heaven! Salvation is entirely because of what Jesus did for you. It is a totally free gift. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

There is nothing that you can do to make you good enough or worthy enough to enter into heaven. You are “saved” ONLY by what Jesus Christ did for you on the cross. When your heart is opened to believe in Jesus as your personal Savior, you are born again and the proof of you being a new creation, a child of God, is the seal of the Holy Spirit who now lives within you.

And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

2. Find a good Church that teaches the Bible.

churchDon’t think of the church as a building. The church is the people. It is very important that believers in Jesus Christ fellowship with one another. That is one of the primary purposes of the church. Now that you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, we strongly encourage you to find a Bible-believing church in your area and speak to the pastor. Let him know about your new faith in Jesus Christ.

A second purpose of the church is to teach the Bible. You can learn how to apply God’s instructions to your life. Understanding the Bible is key to living a successful and powerful Christian life. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

A third purpose of the church is worship. Worship is thanking God for all He has done! God has saved us. God loves us. God provides for us. God guides and directs us. How could we not thank Him? God is holy, righteous, loving, merciful, and full of grace. Revelation 4:11 declares, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”word

3. Set Aside Time each day to focus on God.

prayerintimacyIt is very important for us to spend time each day focusing on God. Some people call this a “quiet time.” Others call it “devotions,” because it is a time when we devote ourselves to God. Some prefer to set aside time in the mornings, while others prefer the evenings. It does not matter what you call this time or when you do it. What matters is that you regularly spend time with God. What events make up our time with God?

(a) Prayer. Prayer is simply talking to God. Talk to God about your concerns and problems. Ask God to give you wisdom and guidance. Ask God to provide for your needs. Tell God how much you love Him and how much you appreciate all He does for you. That is what prayer is all about.

(b) Bible Reading. In addition to being taught the Bible in church, Sunday School, and/or Bible studies – you need to be reading the Bible for yourself. A good place to start is with the Book of John. John presents the majesty and beauty of Jesus in the flesh. In John you will discover the Love of Jesus for His disciples.

The Bible contains everything you need to know in order to live a successful Christian life. It contains God’s guidance for how to make wise decisions, how to know God’s will, how to minister to others, and how to grow spiritually. The Bible is God’s Word to us. The Bible is essentially God’s instruction manual for how to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to Him and satisfying to us. You have a new Teacher living within you – the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to teach you as you read the Bible.

4. Develop Relationships with people who can help you spiritually.

friendswalking1 Corinthians 15:33 tells us, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” The Bible is full of warnings about the influence “bad” people can have on us. Spending time with those who engage in sinful activities will cause us to be tempted by those activities. The character of those we are around will “rub off” on us. That is why it is so important to surround ourselves with other people who love the Lord and are committed to Him.

Try to find a friend or two, perhaps from your church, who can help you and encourage you (Hebrews 3:13; 10:24). Ask your friends to keep you accountable in regard to your quiet time, your activities, and your walk with God. Ask if you can do the same for them. This does not mean you have to give up all your friends who do not know the Lord Jesus as their Savior. Continue to be their friend and love them. Simply let them know that Jesus has changed your life and you cannot do all the same things you used to do. Ask God to give you opportunities to share Jesus with your friends.

5. Be Baptized.

baptism pictures death burialMany people have a misunderstanding of baptism. The word “baptize” means to immerse in water. Baptism is the Biblical way of publicly proclaiming your new faith in Christ and your commitment to follow Him. The action of being immersed in the water illustrates being buried with Christ. The action of coming out of the water pictures Christ’s resurrection. Being baptized is identifying yourself with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:3-4). Baptism also makes you a part of a local church, and assures you of the watch care of a group of believers who will have your best interests at heart.

Baptism is not what saves you. Baptism does not wash away your sins. Baptism is simply a step of obedience, a public proclamation of your faith in Christ alone for salvation. Baptism is important because it is a step of obedience – publicly declaring faith in Christ and your commitment to Him. If you are ready to be baptized, you should speak with one of the Pastors at the church you attend.

6. Allow Christ’s Holy Spirit to Control Your Life.

Realize you can chose how you will live your Christian Life. These two diagrams illustrate in a simple way the struggle we will have to allow Jesus to lead our life, or to follow our own ways:Christ-Directed-versus-Self

In order to live a Christ-Directed Life you need to be filled (controlled) by the Holy Spirit. We must realize that this is what God designed us for when we are “Born Again”.

1. God Has Provided For Us an Abundant and Fruitful Christian Life

  • Jesus said, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10).John10_10
  • “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
  • “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22, 23).
  • “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
  • The Spiritual (Holy Spirit Controlled) Man – Some spiritual traits which result from trusting God:Holy-Spirit-Directed-Life

    The degree to which these traits are manifested in the life depends upon the extent to which the Christian trusts the Lord with every detail of his life, and upon his maturity in Christ. One who is only beginning to understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit should not be discouraged if he is not as fruitful as more mature Christians who have known and experienced this truth for a longer period.

    • Why is it that most Christians are not experiencing the abundant life?

    2. Christians who follow the Flesh Cannot Experience the Abundant and Fruitful Christian Life

    The self-directed man trusts in his own efforts to live the Christian life: He is either uninformed about, or has forgotten, God’s love, forgiveness, and power (Romans 5:8-10; Hebrews 10:1-25;1 John 1; 1 John 2:1-3; 2 Peter 1:9; Acts 1:8).

    • He has an up-and-down spiritual experience.
    • He cannot understand himself – he wants to do what is right, but cannot.
    • He fails to draw upon the power of the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life. (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Romans 7:15-24; 8:7; Galatians 5:16-18)

    The Fleshly (Self-Directed) Man – Some or all of the following traits may characterize the Christian who does not fully trust God:Self-Directed-Life

    The third truth gives us the only solution to this problem…

    3. Jesus Promised the Abundant and Fruitful Life as the Result of Being Filled (Directed and Empowered) by the Holy Spirit

    The Spirit-filled life is the Christ-directed life by which Christ lives His life in and through us in the power of the Holy Spirit

    • One becomes a Christian through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, according to John 3:1-8. From the moment of spiritual birth, the Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit at all times (John 1:12; Colossians 2:9, 10; John 14:16, 17). Though all Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, not all Christians are filled (directed and empowered) by the Holy Spirit.
    • The Holy Spirit is the source of the overflowing life (John 7:37-39).
    • The Holy Spirit came to glorify Christ (John 16:1-15). When one is filled with the Holy Spirit, he is a true disciple of Christ.
    • In His last command before His ascension, Christ promised the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to be witnesses for Him (Acts 1:1-9).

    How, then, can one be filled with the Holy Spirit?

    4. We are Filled by the Holy Spirit by Faith

    Then We Can Experience the Abundant and Fruitful Life Which Christ Promised to Each Christian.

    holy_spirit1Please remember that this does not mean your life will always be great. The Holy Spirit will take you through times of testing and tribulation, just as He did Jesus, but always with the goal of producing the Character of Jesus Christ in your life. Faith holds on when things are darkest. But whatever God takes you through, He will never abandon you there. He will bring you through the valley and you will find increased faith and strength of character that is more precious than the purest gold.

    You can experience the filling of the Holy Spirit right now if you:

    • Sincerely desire to be directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 5:6; John 7:37-39).
    • Confess your sins. By faith thank God that He has forgiven all of your sins – past, present and future – because Christ died for you (Colossians 2:13-15; 1 John 1; 2:1-3; Hebrews 10:1-17).
    • Present every area of your life to God (Romans 12:1-2)myjobmyrelationshipsmyfinances
    • By faith claim the fullness of the Holy Spirit, according to:

    1. His Command – Be filled with the Spirit. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

    2. His Promise – He will always answer when we pray according to His will. “And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14, 15).

    Faith is expressed through believing prayer:

    We are filled with the Holy Spirit by faith alone. Sincere prayer is one way of expressing your faith. The following is a suggested prayer:

    “Dear Father, I need You. I acknowledge that I have been directing my own life and that, as a result, I have sinned against You. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I now thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit.”

    worshipBeing Filled and Controlled by the Holy Spirit is not a one-time event like being Born Again (Becoming a Christian). It is a daily, moment by moment walk with the Holy One who lives within you.


    God-Asks-Hard-QuestionsToday I want to open the Word of God and answer Four Hard Questions that I believe God wants us to ask ourselves.

    1. How Do We Deny Jesus Christ?
    2. How Do We Become Vessels of Honor?
    3. How Do We become Ensnared by the Devil?
    4. How Do We Worship a god of our own making?

    The answers that we discover are essential in answering the overall question facing us this morning – Do We Need a Revival?DO We Need a Revival

    When asked about which Book of the Bible most Christians would like to know more about, the answer is usually the Book of Revelation. We all have a natural curiosity about what will happen during the last days.

    • “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?”
    • For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Matthew 24:7-13

    Jesus said this of the last days-many will fall away, there will be betrayal and hatred between brothers. There will be false prophets that lead many supposed brothers astray. Lawlessness will increase, and the love of many will wax cold. Peter described the last days in this way: knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3:3-4

    In the last days people will scoff at God and His Word, they will cause many to doubt the coming of Jesus Christ. They will present a god that is without power and without the ability to keep his word. In other words, man will fashion a god who is non-threatening and merely to be used as a security blanket for the old and the weak. Before you get all curious about the Last Days, and about God’s Judgment, I want you the heed the Lord’s reaction when some other curious people wanted to know what a recent happening meant.

    There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:1-3

    (What Jesus Meant) “These men are not signal examples of divine vengeance, as ye suppose; but every impenitent sinner — ye yourselves, except ye repent — shall be like monuments of the judgment of Heaven, and in a more awful sense.Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

    Jesus wants us to realize that each of us is only a heart beat away from being a monument to the judgment of God. Either a Monument to God’s Grace, or a monument that will burn for all eternity in the bowels of hell.

    Jesus said no matter what happens, consider your own heart. Make sure you have repented. See if there is a need for repentance. In the fine print Jesus says “Never take your salvation for granted!” I believe in eternal security. But I would never never assume that God owes me anything. I am nothing without Jesus Christ. Any boldness I have is solely because I am hid in Jesus Christ. But one thing Jesus wants us to know-our hearts are evil and so deceptive. We can be fooled so easily into thinking we are OK, even better than most of the folk around us simply because we prayed some prayer 20 or 30 years ago. Well if that prayer of salvation did so much for you why haven’t you told someone about it? If what you did was so life transforming, why are you afraid to tell even your good friend or a sister about what Jesus did for your life?

    If President Obama was coming to your house to discuss health care with you and a few select friends, you would not hesitate to start calling so and so. Well, Jesus is coming very soon and you are afraid to tell those you love about it!

    I’m afraid that too many of us are trusting in what we once did instead of repenting daily of our cold, careless hearts. There is a judgment coming for ALL mankind and we are just curios lookie Lou’s wanting to figure out who the antichrist is. If you want to know who the antichrist is, try looking around you. John says that there are many antichrists among us, in fact they begin as Christians sitting with you at church:

    • Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 1 John 2:18-19

    Who is an Antichrist?

    antichrist obamaAnyone who denies Jesus Christ as Lord of their life. Continue with John:

    • But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 1 John 2:20-22

    What does it mean to deny? It doesn’t mean to reject, as those who reject the free gift of salvation. It means to refuse, such as Moses in Heb. 11:24 – “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter”. It also means not to know or recognize someone such as in Matt 10:33 “But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.  If you are a born again Christian, and yet continue to hide Jesus from your friends, from your loved ones, you’ve got to do some soul searching – because the Scriptures seem to say that you have the spirit of antichrist.

    If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:12-13

    reviveRevive comes from the Latin word revivere – to live again. In order to live again you had to be alive at one point, but now you are comatose or in a drunken stupor of some sort. A verse we will look about in a minute is 2 Timothy 2:26 “and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil” May come to their senses comes from a Greek word meaning “To awake out of a drunken sleep and become sober”CWSD. If we need reviving it means we are not dead, and need to become alive. How can we be dead if we have been born again. But if we need reviving, it is because we have allowed this world or the devil to get us in a spiritual state that our eyes are clouded and our head is foggy because we are in a drunken stupor. We need to come to our senses, we need to awake out of our drunken sleep. Once we wake up and clear our minds and hearts long enough to see, we must look long and hard and Holy God. We must look long and hard at His Holy Word. And then we must look long and hard at our love for Jesus, and then we must be honest before God and weep and mourn.

    revelation of JohnI’m not a believer in being slain in the spirit, but would to God that some of us might get slain in the spirit like John did when he saw the real Jesus! We need to see the real Jesus, the one who will judge us for every word we speak. We need to see the real Jesus, the one who one day will reveal that He knew all along what you did to Him – whether you have neglected his bread of life, neglected His water of Life, denied Him before your friends, failed to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, give water to the thirsty.

    Revelation of HellMy greatest fear is not being eaten alive by rats or falling headlong into a pit of venomous snakes…my greatest fear is that one day I’ll look through the crystal portal of heaven (Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. Revelation 4:6 ) and look into hell and see some of you screaming in agony for all eternity. Why didn’t you take being a Christian more seriously. Why did you not realize that being born again is a changed life, not just some tears you shed because you prayed an emotional prayer. If you are born again there will be a continual desire for this Word. There will be a continual thirst for Jesus. Just as you can’t go for many days without food and water, you will not be able to go many days with nourishment from Jesus. Even in my most backslidden state I was aware of God pounding, pounding, pounding on my stubborn heart.

    Some of you act like Jesus is no big deal. If Jesus is not a big deal to you, how can you even for a moment really think that Jesus lives in you? How can you even for a minute tolerate such a cold hard heart and even believe that the Holy Spirit tolerates it too?

    Question #1: How Do We Deny Jesus Christ?

    How Do We Deny ChristWhen we neglect him, when we forget him, when we act as if we don’t know him, when we refuse Him to be Lord over our life, our heart, our mind, our soul, our possessions, our marriage, our worship. Ask yourself this morning – How am I denying Jesus Christ in my life?

    Continue reading in 2 Timothy 2 at verse 19

    2 Tim 2:19 – But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”

    Understand first of all, Paul is speaking of Christians.

    He says that God knows who are His. We can not judge who a Christian is. Only God knows. But Paul does say that those who name the name of the Lord will depart from iniquity. Now iniquity is the adikos, that which ought not to be, that which is wrong. It is the opposite of díkē, that which is right and fit, hence unrighteousness.

    One who takes the Name of Jesus upon their heart will stop doing that which ought not to be, that which is wrong!

    Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:19-26

    From our text we see the following: In any church there are vessels of gold and silver and vessels of wood and clay.

    “Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable”

    Now from the text you can’t say that only the vessels of gold and silver are born again. But I believe you can say that true Christians can be ensnared by the devil.

    QUESTION #2 How Do We Become Vessels of Honor?

    How Do We Become Vessels of HonorThere are things a Christian must do in order to become a vessel of Gold and Silver.

    • Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.

    1. You must cleanse yourself from that which brings dishonor in your life.

    • DISHONORABLE – Speech – attitudes –  disobedience –  thoughts –  actions

    2. You must be ready and willing for good works

    • Whatever you Say Boss!
    • For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (2 Tim says honorable vessels are prepared for every good work).
    • Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Matthew 25:31-46

    3. Flee Fleshly Desires

    • Run away from, escape from their destruction, – Pride, lust, speech, thoughts

    4. Engage in an INTENTIONAL Pursuit of the Character of Jesus Christ.

    • righteousness, faith, love, peace, and do it with others of like pure (undivided) heart. No Two-Faced Christians allowed in your life.

    5. Avoid Controversies and Quarrels.

    • And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:20-26

    6. Realize You are a Slave of Jesus Christ.

    • You have no will of your own

    • Obey the Commands of Your Master

    7. Realize Your Life Can Be Used to Rescue Christian’s From the Snare of the Devil

    QUESTION #3 How Do We become Ensnared by the Devil?

    How are We Ensnared by the DevilIt begins when we deny Jesus Lordship over some area of our life. It can be music, what we look at, what we read, what we say, but we usually know when we resit Jesus in that area. The Satan starts to work. He loves to capture Christians with wrong thinking, wrong attitudes, wrong beliefs. He loves it when Christians start quarreling over things which get us off course, get us away from our passion for Jesus. If your life is going to be used to rescue people caught up in the snare of the devil, you must:

    1. Not Argue
    2. Be Kind
    3. Be able to explain the Word
    4. Be patient with those who treat you wrong.
    5. Desire such to repent and allow God to show them His truth, that they may sober up and escape the snare of the devil, even after being captured to do his will.

    The next few verses reveal what happens to this great house, the church, when we do not cleanse ourselves from that which is dishonorable. Paul is describing what will be apparent not among the unbelievers, (although if this is in the church you can bet it is in the world) but among those in the great house!

    2 Timothy 3:1-5 – Dishonorable Christians Who Close Their Eyes to God

    This know also, that in the last days

    perilousViolent, fierce. Used of demoniacs, wild, difficult (maniac of Gadara), hard to bear, distressing, referring to the times

    times – kairos – a period of opportunity

    shall comewill set in

    2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves phílautosSelf-centered or selfish. The primary concern that things be easy and pleasant for oneself.

    Covetous – philargyros: “loving money” in Luke 16:14 (Pharisees were lovers of money)

    boasters (James 4:16-you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.)

    proud – hyperēphanos: “showing oneself above others”, always used in the evil sense of “arrogant, disdainful, haughty;” Jas. 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:5; (God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble)

    blasphemers – blásphēmos; from bláx stupid, and phémē, rumor. To be abusive, reviling, destroying one’s good name (a slanderer, blasphemer in respect to men)

    For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: Mark 7:21-22

    disobedient to parentsapeithés; Unwilling to be persuaded, unbelieving

    unthankfulacháristos; (literally without favor or kindness). Unthankful, ungrateful (Unthankful people are without grace from God)

    unholy Ἁνοσιος unholy, synonym is Βέβηλος profane. that which is trodden”. What is permitted to be trodden by people at large is unhallowed, profane. Esau is called βέβηλος in Hebrews 12:16, as one who did not regard his birthright as sacred, but as something to be sold in order to supply a common need.—Vincent’s

    3 Without natural affectionWithout family love (see Rom. 1:31).

    trucebreakers áspondos; (without offering) The absolutely irreconcilable person who, being at war, refuses to lay aside his enmity or to listen to terms of reconciliation (refusing to enter into treaty, irreconcilable). Implacable, in a state of war.

    false accusersdiábolos; from diabállō, to accuse. One who falsely accuses and divides people without any reason. He is an accuser, a slanderer (1 Tim. 3:11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.); (Titus 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things)

    incontinentakratés; (literally without strength). Unable to govern one’s appetites.

    Fierceanémeros; Not mild, ungentle, fierce, savage. Sometimes merciless.

    despisers of those that are good aphilágathos; Unfriendly, hostile, a person who may have pity but does not necessarily do anything to relieve the suffering of another through self-denial. Hostile to good men.

    4 Traitors – betrayers – Acts 7:52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered.

    Heady – means “falling forwards”; reckless, headstrong in the pursuit of a bad end under the influence of passion. Only here and Acts 19:36 -“Since then these are undeniable facts, you ought to keep calm and to do nothing rash.”(When the silversmiths in Ephesus were wanting to kill Paul)

    high-minded tuphóō; To swell or inflate with pride. In the pass. tuphóomai, to be lifted up with pride

    • (he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 1 Timothy 6:4)

    lovers of pleasuresphilēdonos: “loving pleasure” (hēdonē, “pleasure”)

    more than lovers of Godphilótheos; from phílos, a friend or loving, and Theós, God.

    5 Having a form Here, the mere outward semblance, as distinguished from the essential reality. Outward shape without the reality.

    of godlinesseusébeia;—Devotion, piety toward God. Although eusébeia in the NT is translated “godliness” (2 Tim. 3:5; Titus 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:3), the word “God” is not in it. Only in 1 Tim. 2:10 is it theosébeia, where the word Theós, God, occurs as a prefix instead of , good or well.

    but denying – to deny, decline, reject, give up (Matt. 10:33; 2 Tim. 2:12, 13)

    the powerdúnamis; Power, especially achieving power. All the words derived from the stem dúna– have the meaning of being able, capable.

    thereof: from such

    turn away – to turn away from, avoid, shun

    (These are the dishonorable vessels we are to cleanse our lives of) These verses describe people a whole lot like the people mentioned in Romans 1:

    • And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32

    We all know Romans 1 is speaking about infidels and reprobates (haters of God), so doesn’t 1 Tim 3:1-5 speak about the same people? No. In the total context, Paul is speaking of those in the great house who have allowed themselves to be dishonorable.  He is not talking about vicious Gentile unbelievers. These are not the Roman Gladiators who martyred Christians. These are not the Catholics of the Spanish Inquisition who tortured and murdered anyone who practiced any religion or belief outside of Catholic practice. This is not even talking about the Radical Muslims who will murder and burn any Christians whom they even hear make fun of the Qur’an. No, Paul is talking about you and me, Bible toting, church going, tithe paying Christians. But we have allowed ourselves to become dishonorable, and even get captured by the devil to do his bidding. It is possible for Christians to be deceived into thinking they are Christians. It is even possible for people who believe they are Christians to lead others astray.

    Let’s read 2 Tim 3:1-5 again, from the Phillips translation:

    But you must realize that in the last days the times will be full of danger. Men will become utterly self-centered, greedy for money, full of big words. They will be proud and contemptuous, without any regard for what their parents taught them. They will be utterly lacking in gratitude, purity and normal human affections. They will be men of unscrupulous speech and have no control of themselves. They will be passionate and unprincipled, treacherous, self-willed and conceited, loving all the time what gives them pleasure instead of loving God. They will maintain a facade of “religion”, but their conduct will deny its validity. You must keep clear of people like this. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 Phillips

    These people may look like good Southern Baptists on the outside. They have the Bible, they may tithe, they may say God Bless You, They may use all the churchy words, but it is just a disguise. They are wearing a mask, even a full body mask, that is empty and devoid of the true power of Godliness-Jesus Christ!!
    Just look closely at how they behave when they get home from church. Look at how they behave when they go to work, go out with friends. Look at how they talk about others, look at how they treat their wife or their husband. Look at how they treat the disadvantaged, the homeless, the poor, the destitute. Look at how tightly they hold on to their possessions, their money. Look at how greedy they really are.

    • I know most of you are going “WHEW”, that doesn’t apply to me. But remember the words of Jesus, “unless you repent”. It is dangerous to think we are alright, that we are OK, that we are safe.

    QUESTION #4: How DO We Worship a god (idol) of Our Own Making?

    How do we worship gods of our own makingThe truth is that at any point in our life we can get tripped up by the devil. These attitudes that are condemned by Paul in 2 Tim 3 can slowly creep into our lives. The danger is to accept being a common vessel. The danger is thinking that you are OK the way you are. You have made a little god for yourself, one who is not too holy, not too demanding, and not too judging. After all, my little god loves me and fogives me.  When we think this way, we are excusing our sin, we are trampling under foot that which is Holy.  We are not seeing Holy Jehovah God, but a clever looking god of our own making.

    The essence of idolatry is to get for your self.

    • Colossians 3:5 “Therefore, put to death (mortify, kill) your members which are here on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Covetousness is idolatry because it puts self-interest and things in the place of God. So a Christian who is covetousness can often be disguised as a servant that serves only for the praise or for what they think they will get from their god. But their religion, their service is all self-based.
    • Col 3:5 says we are to “KILL” our self-centeredness, our selfish wants, our selfish pleasures. A person who is born again is radically transformed, with all your focus shifted away from you and placed squarely upon God! Anytime you excuse or allow sin or selfishness or self-indulgence in your life, you are worshiping an idol god of your own making.When you excuse sin in your life, when you continue to accept wrong behavior and wrong attitudes, not only are you worshiping at the altar of idolatry, but you should check your heart out, for perhaps the devil has captured your thinking and is using you for his will, and perhaps has deceived you into believing you are a Christian.

    Anytime you are walking in your own strength, seeking your own interests, you are worshiping at the altar of idolatry.

    But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me (FORSAKEN – to NEGLECT to depart, to abandon, and to loose. —TWOT) the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:4-13

    • The truth is, that if we forsake the Lord, if you neglect or depart from the Lord God, if you refuse God as being the Lord of your life and your possessions, God will refuse, neglect and yes forsake you.
    • In Malachi 3:8, God told his people that they were robbing God because they were neglecting the tithe. Because they were neglecting the tithe, God said they were cursed with a curse. What was that curse, it was the devils access to their goods. If they would God’s rightful place in their lives and show it with tithes, God said He would rebuke the devourer.
    • The application is simple: when you worship at the altar of idolatry, you are forsaking God and are opening yourself up to the snare of the devil. Don’t presume upon God’s Protection and Blessing when you are an idolater.

    The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded, and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 2 Chronicles 15:1-2

    When you make you own little god that pleases the way you want to live your life, you are being like the Laodiceans:

    “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Revelation 3:15-19

    Now I don’t know what it means for Jesus to spit me out of is mouth, but I do not want to find out.

    Are you lukewarm to the things of God? Do you think your walk with God is OK? What god are you walking with? The little idol god of your own making, or the Holy Righteous Almighty Creator of this universe? Jesus says if you are lukewarm that you are wretched, poor naked and blind. You need to have your eyes anointed so that you can see!

    Holy Spirit You Can't Come in HereAre there secret rooms in your life that are shut off from God’s Holy Spirit? Are there rooms where the Holy Spirit has been barricaded? Is there a room cluttered with unclean pictures? Are there any skeletons hanging in your closets? Can you invite the Holy Ghost to walk down the corridors of your thought life? Can you invite him in to see the hatred in your heart toward others. Can you invite Him to listen in as you speak evil of others?

    There are three people living in each of us:

    • the one we think we are,

    • the one other people think we are, and

    • the one God knows we are.

    Unless we are desperate to enter into the Victory of Christ’s Righteousness, we are so easy on ourselves and so hard on others. Self loves self. Too often we hide ourselves from ourselves lest the sight of ourselves should sicken ourselves.

    Let us invite the searching eye of God to locate this corrupted, stinking self in us. Let it be torn from us and be “crucified with Him, that henceforth we should no longer serve sin (Rom 6:6) It does no good to call sin by another name. You can criticize someone for having a devilish temper, but say that yours is only righteous indignation. You can criticize someone for blatant gossip, but excuse you negative comments as “prayer concerns.” You can excuse your not speaking to a brother or sister or father or mother because of their “ungodly influence and lifestyle” yet God sees your Judging heart and says your are guilty of ungodly pride and an unforgiving heart.

    The Holy Spirit will neither spare us nor cheat us if we will expose ourselves to His infallible scrutiny.

    Restore My SightAnd Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” Mark 10:51 He had once seen, but now he was blind.  Some of us had once seen the Lord, but our eyes are blind. We once walked with the Lord, but now we lie in a ditch on the side of the road moaning in a drunken stupor, too blind to see the devil has captured our minds our hearts, our souls, and he has stolen our heart from loving Jesus, he has stolen our hands from serving Jesus, he has stolen our eyes from looking at Jesus, he has stolen our strength from leading others to Jesus.

    woe is meLet us pray that God will revive us from our drunken stupor of selfishness, carnal living and give us SIGHT AGAIN-upward, inward, and outward.

    • Then like Isaiah, as we look upward, we will see the Lord in all His Holiness.
    • As we look inward, we will see ourselves and our need for cleansing and power.
    • As we look outward, we will see a world perishing and in need of a Savior.

    Revival will come only when we throw off the drunkenness of Satan and this world or whatever else we have filled our heart with, and then we desire sight to see the Lord! Right now, close your eyes and imagine you are before God Himself. Not God as you hope He is, but God as His Word Reveals. Listen as He searches your heart with these probing questions:

    1. Have you denied Jesus as Lord in any area of your life?
    2. Have you done what Scripture commands to become a vessel of Honor/ Or have you trodden under that which is Holy and made it common, dirty, even profane as Esau did with his birthright?
    3. Have you in any way allowed wrong actions and attitudes to ensnare you in the devil’s plan?
    4. Have you been worshipping a god of your own making, one who accepts your sinful ways, one who excuses your apathy, your hardness, your selfishness?

    If Jesus were to ask you what you desire, would it be selfish things or would you say, Lord restore my sight that I might see you as you really are?


    sHE-LOVED-LIVER-AND-ONIONSA man loved a woman. As is common, he wooed her and courted her. During their courtship, on occasion, he met with her after she supped with her father & family on liver and onions. On these occasions, though he loved her dearly, even the scent of her breath repulsed him. He spoke to her of his illness at even the odor of liver and onions, while understanding that while she abode in her father’s house there really was no remedy.

    bride-and-groomEventually, he received her to himself as his wife. He had begun building their dream home and was not finished, so he moved her from her father’s house into a nice apartment. He often traveled  between their home he was building and their apartment, but he or his groomsmen were never too far to assist her in any and every need.

    The first Saturday evening after the honeymoon had ended, the groom approached their apartment for supper with his bride. He had been thinking of this all day and was anxiously awaiting the opportunity to again woo his bride, now his wife. As he opened the door, he was immediately sickened by the smell of liver & onions. His bride had prepared a heaping platter, presenting it splendidly … and causing him painful nausea. “Have I not told you the smell of liver and onions makes me ill? Come, come away. Let us go elsewhere and sup and later, after I am gone, please clean this away.” With this loving plea he called his bride to his side. Yet though they went elsewhere, still the scent of the liver and onions hung about her. Still, she was contrite and apologized sincerely, and he loved her dearly.

    The second Saturday … yes, it happened again. Again, his bride was contrite and apologetic.

    The third Saturday ... need I say it? This time, the bride excused herself with “It is a habit. I’m trying to break it. Be patient.

    The fourth Saturday … she explained, “In my father’s house, every Saturday night we make a platter of liver and onions and there is happiness and laughter. I want you to share in that pleasure.

    He tried to tell her he could not. There was no pleasure for him in the meal, nor in the type of happiness of her father’s house. He told her he had taken her from that house because there was no place for him in it, as he and her father were mortal enemies. She had come to him willingly and must put aside the customs of her father, even the little ones like the liver & onions.

    The fifth Saturday … yet again. This time, she did not excuse herself, explain herself or apologize. “If you loved me, you would accept that this is part of who I am.” He loved her, though she might not realize how much. By bringing her out of her father’s house, he had brought her away from the destruction soon to fall upon it.

    The sixth Saturday … she was not at the quarters when he arrived. A note on the floor said: “I’ve gone to my father’s house for liver & onions. You’re welcome to come enjoy with us.”

    Liver-aND-ONION-FEEDI wonder if the bride truly loves her groom.

    Jesus called us to Him, from the house of our father, the Devil – a liar and murderer from the beginning. We knew Jesus was Holy and could not abide sin, yet He loved us despite the stench of sin all about us.

    We know the writings of Paul to “put off the old” or to “mortify your members”, or John’s statements to “be holy even as He is holy”. Even James says “to him who knows to do good, and does it not; to him it is sin”. From Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David and the Prophets we hear continually that God desires a sanctified people … but do we continue to crave our “liver and onions”.

    Contrition, apology, explanation, excuses, rationalization, defiance, rebellion. Is this the condition of a repentant heart? As we consider Jesus Christ, is our “heart-love” like Gomer or Ruth? Both were beloved by their husbands, but only one lived an abundant, satisfying life. One became the lineage of Blessing for all people (Jesus Christ), the other a source of shame for her children and husband. Christian, you are the Bride of Christ. Do you insist on eating liver and onions?

    Thanks to Robert Kent Reed for this modern day parable of stubborn “pretend-love”. The original is here



    Isaiah VisionIn the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. Isaiah 6:1-8

    Isaiah did not have a vision until Uzziah died. Uzziah was a man of flesh, of fleshly means, of fleshly confidence. And until the flesh is dead, we cannot see a vision from God! When Isaiah saw his vision, he cried out three simple short words:

    • WOE – a word of confession

    • LO – a word of cleansing

    • GO – a word of commission

    woe is meIsaiah’s Vision was Three-Fold

    • It was an upward vision-he saw the Lord
    • It was an inward vision – he saw himself
    • It was an outward vision – he saw the world
    • It was a vision of height – he saw the Lord high and lifted up
    • It was a vision of depth – he saw the recesses of his own heart.
    • It was a vision of breadth – he saw the whole world.
    • A vision of Holiness – Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts:
    • A vision of Hellishness – I am undone
    • A vision of Hopelessness – who will go for us?

    Isaiah before throneWhere there is no VISION the people perish, but you can say where there is no PASSION the church perishes, even though it is full of people.

    • A Vision without Passion soon becomes a distant memory..
    • A Passion without a Vision becomes an emotion that fades away.
    • A Vision united with a Passion will produce a Light that fadeth not away.

    A Vision of Hell will produce a Passion for the Lost.

    Richman in HellJust think of the rich man. He was in Hades, he saw hell, and he wanted someone, anyone to run and tell his brothers about hell. No man lives beyond his vision. Your life will only have as much significance as whatever your focus is on. If you are only focused on yourself, you will be significant only to your self. If because of a VISION from God you focus on the needs of others, you will be significant in ministering to others.

    We don’t need to pray for sinners to have a vision of Hell, they simply need a vision of the reality of Calvary as seen by the way we live our lives.

    We need to see a Holy God! We need to tremble before Him. We need to let that Vision burn in our souls and ignite a Passion for Righteousness, a Passion for Jesus, a Passion to reach out to those trudging on the road to Hell. Each one of us has an appointment with God. He awaits us in eternity. We had better be at peace with Him here and be in the center of His will NOW!

    In chapters 1 through 5 Isaiah has a lot of woes for a lot of people. But in chapter 6 he sees God and sees himself as God sees him and cries WOE is ME! Satan loves to get us looking at other people and all their problems. But God’s Holy Spirit wants us to look at God and realize we are so far from Him!

    Its me, its me O Lord, in need of prayer!

    Chagall_Bible_Vision_IsaiahIn your soul there are many”rooms“. Are there secret rooms in your life that are shut off from God’s Holy Spirit? Are there rooms where the Holy Spirit is not welcome? Is there a room cluttered with unclean pictures? Are there any skeletons hanging in your closets? Can you invite the Holy Ghost to walk down the corridors of your thought life? Can you invite him in to see the hatred in your heart toward others. Can you invite Him to listen in as you speak evil of others?

    isaiah lipsThere are three people living in each of us:

    • the one we think we are,
    • the one other people think we are,
    • and the one God knows we are.

    Unless we are desperate to pursue after the Righteousness of Christ, we can be so easy on ourselves and so hard on others. Self loves self. Too often we hide ourselves from ourselves lest the sight of ourselves should sicken ourselves. Let us invite the searching eye of God to locate this corrupted, stinking self in us. Let it be torn from us and be “crucified with Him, that henceforth we should no longer serve sin (Rom 6:6).

    It does no good to call sin by another name. You can criticize someone for having a devilish temper, but say that yours is only righteous indignation. You can criticize someone for blatant gossip, but excuse your own negative words about someone as “prayer concerns.” You can excuse your not speaking to a brother or sister or father or mother because of their “ungodly influence and lifestyle” yet God sees your Judging heart and says your are guilty of ungodly pride and un-forgiveness.

    The Holy Spirit will neither spare us nor cheat us if we will expose ourselves to His infallible scrutiny.Jesus touches eyes

    In Mark 10:51 Jesus asked the blind man “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” He replies “Lord, that I might receive sight!”

    Let us pray for sight-upward, inward and outward. Then like Isaiah, as we look upward, we will see the Lord in all His Holiness. As we look inward, we will see ourselves and our need for cleansing and power. As we look outward, we will see a world perishing and in need of a Savior.Hell Fire burns for eternity