Feb 242018
 

cross 7

” For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Corinthians 1:17).

There is explosive power in the message of the gospel-
– because Paul says, “It it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

The word “power” that Paul used in this verse originates from the Greek word, dunamis.

It is the same word Jesus used in Acts 1:8:
” ‘ But you will receive power (dunamis) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses ‘” (Act 1:8).

The English words “dynamic,” “dynamo,” and “dynamite” also have been translated from this word, dunamis.

Paul was saying that the very message of the gospel is the dynamite of God.
It is the dynamic of God.
It is explosive evangel!

We often underestimate-
– the raw power of the gospel in reaching even the most hardened heart.

We think we need to add to it, gloss it over, or even complicate it.

But there is distinct power in the simple message of the life, words, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Don’t underestimate its appeal.
Don’t be ashamed of its simplicity.
Don’t add to it or take away from it.

Just proclaim it.
And then stand back and watch what God will do.

As Paul said, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

The gospel is a simple message, one that we in the church have heard time and time again.

But we should never underestimate its power.

(PA)

Feb 232018
 

cross7

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).

You would think that, after observing the behaviour of some people, they have a verse in their Bible that says, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, go and tell as many people as possible. And then ultimately go and try to drive that person away.”

But this is not what Scripture tells us to do.

In Matthew 18, Jesus gave us the steps we should take when it appears someone has fallen into sin.
And I emphasize the word appears.

First, we must know all the facts.

When you hear something about someone,
– instead of talking about it,
– determine to go to that person and say,
-“I heard this about you. Is it true?”

Hopefully-
– you can get the issue resolved immediately.

But to fail to go to someone when you know a sin is being committed is-
– to actually cause that individual, and the church as a whole, the greatest harm.

Scripture says, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Gal 5:9).

In most cases, you will find that believers rarely approach a sinning believer or allegedly sinning believer.

Instead of seeking to help a person who possibly may have never sinned at all, they end up slandering that individual.

This is wrong!
This is sin!

If you have ever had this happen to you-
– then you know how painful it can be.

Remember, the devil wants to turn believers against each other.

He will attack us from the outside, but many times, when that does not work, he seeks to infiltrate our ranks and divide us.

Be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

(PA)

Feb 222018
 

Sunbeam from clouds

“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:17-18).

When we think of being filled with the Spirit-
– we often relate it to an emotional experience or a feeling of euphoria.

But in reality, the word, “filled,” could be translated, “controlled.”
It is a word that speaks of what happens when the wind fills the sails of a boat and guides it along.

So God is saying that-
– we are to let His Spirit fill us and control our lives.

The Spirit filled life is the Christ controlled life!

Another interesting thing about this word is that in the original language-
– it is in a tense that speaks of something that should be done continually.

So you could translate this sentence:
“Be constantly filled with the Spirit.”

This is not a one-time event.

Instead, it is something that takes place over and over again-
– just as we repeatedly fill the gas tanks in our cars to keep them running.

You may have emotional experiences.
You may not have emotional experiences.

But that has very little to do with the reality of being filled with and controlled by the Spirit.

One other thing about this phrase from Ephesians 5:18 is that-
– it’s a command,
– not a suggestion.

The Scripture is not saying, “If it works with your schedule, if you don’t mind, would you please consider maybe letting the Holy Spirit fill and control you?”

Rather, God is saying that He commands us.
He orders us, to be filled with the Spirit!

(PA)

Feb 212018
 

worship 570x300

“But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep” (2 Peter 2:1-3).

Jesus tells us that one of the “signs” His coming is-

– an increase in false prophets.

That is surely true in our day.

We hear about the Health and Wealth Gospel or Prosperity Theology-

– and the thousands of preachers saying you give to God in order to get.

Or, if you really pray hard enough-

God will heal your disease.

Give money to this or that ministry and you’ll get rich.

It’s this false idea that God won’t let you suffer and wants you to be rich.

It really should be called The Gospel of Greed.

It is false teaching that has permeated the church.

It’s taking a certain passage of scripture and building your whole life around it-

– while ignoring all other kinds of passages that give us the full picture of God’s truth.

So, how can you keep from being deceived by a false prophet or leader?

The key is in knowing Jesus and His Word.

Then ask the question:

Is what this person saying consistent with Jesus and His Word?

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26).

If you are a Christian-

– you have an added bonus:

The Holy Spirit that dwells in you teaches you how to understand the Word-

– and gives you a check in your spirit when something doesn’t ring true.

Christians!

It’s time to be careful!

(PA)

Feb 202018
 

expect 2

“Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear” (Proverbs 25:12).

Dwight L Moody, the famous evangelist, was once told by an irate church lady, “Mr. Moody, I don’t like the way you do your evangelism.”

In reply Moody said, “I don’t necessarily like all of it either, but it’s the best way I know. Tell me, how do you do it?”

“Oh, I don’t,” was the reply.

“Well,” said Moody, “I like the way I’m doing it better than the way you’re not doing it.”

It’s always easy to know what to do when we don’t have to do the job, and very easy to criticize others when we’re not doing the work ourselves.

Some time ago when I was a pastor and things weren’t going too well-

I was asked what I thought about the situation and what could be done to improve things.

I said that I didn’t feel I had the right to criticize unless I was prepared to do something about it.

I was, however, prepared to help, and several of us working together saw things greatly improve.

In this instance, as it is in many other instances-

– criticism without offering help would have only served to make matters worse and cause further dissension among the groups.

So, if we’re not willing to put our shoulder to the wheel and do our bit-

– let’s not stir up dissension through negative criticism.

Furthermore, might I add that-

-journalists, politicians, authors, and even preachers don’t have the right to name others and confess their sins in public,

-without having first confessed their own sins in public.

(PA)