The Master’s Class, Summit Church
WHO IS JESUS CHRIST TO YOU? (John 8:24-41)

WHO IS JESUS CHRIST TO YOU? (John 8:24-41)

June 2, 2019

This is the single most important question that each of us must answer. No other question has your eternal destiny in the balance. It is the one question that Jesus will look at when you stand before Him to be Judged.

John 5:22-24
22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
KJV

Today’s message is one with three powerful statements by our Lord Jesus.

The first one is a declaration that Jesus is God, and if you fail to believe that He is God, then you will die in your sins.

John 8:24
24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
KJV

The second is that if you truly accept Jesus, the Son of God, as the Lord and Master or your life, then that truth will set you free from the bondage of sin.

John 8:31-32
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
KJV

The third statement is that if you commit sin, then you are the slave of sin. If you do the works of Satan, then you are the slave of Satan.

John 8:34
34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
KJV

With these three statements, Jesus Christ is laying out the gospel message of the Bible right here in this set of verses. These are powerful statements that are meant to convict the hearts of each of us.

Click on the link below to hear a powerful testimony as to who Jesus Christ is. Jesus declares Himself to be God. You may want to call Jesus a good man, a prophet, a teacher, or a healer, but until you call Him God, Jesus says “that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” If you refuse to accept Jesus as God, then you are still without a passport to an eternity in heaven. Deny Jesus as God, and you will spend an eternity burning in the fires of Hell. Is just doesn’t get any plainer, any more powerful, than that.

Amen.

LIBERTY TO DO AS YOU WANT (2 Peter 2:19-22)

LIBERTY TO DO AS YOU WANT (2 Peter 2:19-22)

January 22, 2017

Liberty to do as you want, that is the promise of the false teacher and the apostate. It is a lie that is as old as mankind. No more following the rules of your parents. No more following the rules of your religion, the church, God, or the Bible. It is a lure that draws people within its trap doors, and once there, they find themselves deeper and deeper into the bondage of sin.

How many alcoholics feel free from the bondage they are in? How many drug addicts feel free from the bondage they are in? How many sexual addicts feel free from the bondage they are in? They were free to choose, but they were not free to choose the bondage brought on by the consequences of their sin.

People who are trapped in sin often try religion out for period of time. They commit to cleaning themselves up. It becomes their New Year’s resolution. How many New Year’s resolutions have you kept? My guess is not many. So, they fail in their cleanup efforts and then they go back to their lives of sin and they are worse off than they were before. They are trapped, they are in bondage.

Let me tell you something, I sin all I want to. You say, really? If I sinned all I wanted to, I would be deep in sin. My answer to that is you need to get your wanter fixed, in fact, you need a brand new wanter. You need to be saved. A child of God can sin. They can lapse into sin, but when they do they loathe it. When a lost person sins, they love it.

This is the reason that Peter has instructed us to make our calling and election sure. It is not enough just to go to church, or to be baptized. You must be sure that you are sure. You must be truly born again. One does not become a child of God by cleaning up his life. If we try to clean up our life without filling it with the Holy Spirit, Satan will fill it with many more sins than we had before. Knowledge of salvation is not salvation. In order to live in the Father’s house, you must accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord. You must make certain that you have authentic Christianity.

If you are not sure that you are sure, then you come find me, or find a pastor of the true gospel of Christ, such as we have at this church, and you make sure that you have the authentic Jesus Christ in your heart as your Lord and Master.

Listen to this podcast to learn that Jesus Christ can give you the liberty to do as you ought, rather than to do as you want.

DO I REALLY HAVE TO HONOR MY BOSS? (1 Peter 2:17-18)

DO I REALLY HAVE TO HONOR MY BOSS? (1 Peter 2:17-18)

June 12, 2016
But my boss is moody, unfair, unjust, corrupt, and just plain awful to me.  You can’t be serious; do I really have to honor my boss?

In our lesson today, Peter will talk about how we treat those around us.  The good people and the bad people.  The popular people and the social misfits.  Our brothers and sisters in Christ and those who have rejected Christ, and even those who we work for.  God wants us to win others to Christ, that is our mission.  We won’t do that if we treat people poorly, or if we are in an adversarial relationship with them.  People respond to those who treat them with respect.  You don’t have to like them, or what they stand for, or even what they have done to you or others, but you can still treat them with respect and honor.  

I have a son who works as a prison guard in a maximum security prison.  This is a place that houses the worst of the worst in our state penitentiary system.  Some guards use their position of authority to abuse the prisoners and treat them with despite.  The prisoners react to this treatment with violence and it endangers all of the guards and other prisoners.  My son has learned that if you treat them with respect, always watchful for deception, that the prisoners will generally respond with obedience and a level of respect in return.  This is not to say that the prisoners would not harm you in a blink of an eye, but people, even really bad people, respond to being treated with respect. 

God wants His ambassadors to be seen as law abiding, caring people, who treat others with respect, even in the face of persecution.  

Peter says that we are to do this, For so is the will of God.  This is not optional.  To do otherwise is to be out of God's will.  Our first priority is unto God.  This applies to all of our relationships.  

Sounds a lot like what my father told me, and what I told my own kids.  There are just times that a parent must say to their child, I want you to do this, because I said so.  I don’t have to explain myself, just do it because I want you to.  

Now, fortunately, God is in the process of giving us a further explanation for His command to obey, but He starts out with, you are to do this because it is my will for you.  Pretty simple. So simple, even I can understand it.  Be obedient to the laws of man, or be out of God’s will.  My dad would expect my response to such a statement from him to be, yes, sir.  God expects the same thing.  
WHY SHOULD WE OBEY THE LAWS OF MAN? (1 Peter 2:15-16)

WHY SHOULD WE OBEY THE LAWS OF MAN? (1 Peter 2:15-16)

June 5, 2016
So, last week we continued the theme of submitting to the ordinances of man in order that we might bring glory to God.  We know that we are going to be persecuted unjustly.  The secular world hates Christianity, and they will do everything they can to destroy us.  They will tell horrible lies about us.  To know this is true, you have only to look at the headlines of our own country.  The democratic party, and its progressive agenda, is focused totally on removing God, those who worship Him, and His morals about what is right and wrong from the public square, and for the most part, they have succeeded by telling lies about us.  

So why would God command us to obey the laws that these corrupt governments create?  

Our submission is limited only by our adherence to God’s laws in priority over man’s law.  But, we are to obey man’s law right up to the point that it violates God’s law, and that is difficult to understand why.  It is, of course, contrary to our natural desire for justice and fairness.  And believe me, nothing is more distasteful that being forced to obey the laws of the moral degenerates who are pushing their progressive agenda.  But God says I must.  I can and should fight for what is good and moral by God’s definitions, but I must do it within the law.  

The key to understanding this seeming paradox is that we must remember that we are the ambassadors of the almighty God, and all of our words, our actions, and our fights, must bring glory to His name, or we have failed Him.  Our mission is to change the spiritual hearts of people by introducing them to our Lord Jesus Christ, and let God take care of the rest.  Revival can only occur when the heart is changed by God.    

In our lesson today, Peter begins to give us an explanation for our submission.
THE QUESTION OF SUBMISSION (1 Peter 2:13b-14)

THE QUESTION OF SUBMISSION (1 Peter 2:13b-14)

May 29, 2016
If I were to ask you to give me a list of so-called Christians or Christian groups that give others a bad impression of Christians, and Christianity as a whole, who would you list?  My list would include churches that protest military funerals, and violent anti-abortion groups and people. Make no mistake about it, God does not support this type of activity, and it does not bring glory to His name.  When one of these groups protest the burial of war veteran, nobody is thinking positive things about the people of God.  When an anti-abortionist walks in and shoots people, nobody is thinking positive things about the people or groups that this person represents or the God they claim to worship. 

If I were to ask you about the top lies the secular world says about Christians, what would you say?  My list would include “They are all a bunch of hypocrites” or “They hate _____people,” fill in the blank with whatever sin you want, be it gay people, drunk people, abortion doctors, or adulterers. While these are certainly lies of the greatest magnitude about true Christians, people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, they are unfortunately true of a large group of people who claim to be Christians.  Once again, make no mistake about it, God does not condone hypocrisy, or hatred of any person, on the part of His true followers.  Some of the most vehement words that Jesus spoke while He was on this earth were directed at the hypocritical Pharisees and Sadducees.  The Bible does not teach it, nor does God command His followers to behave in this way.  In fact, He commands just the opposite.

Mark 12:29-31
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
KJV

You cannot love your neighbor as yourself, and hate them at the same time.  God didn’t say love only the good people, He said to love thy neighbor.  We are to recognize and proclaim sin for what it is, rebellion against God.  We are to recognize those who commit sin as rebels against God.  We are to preach and teach people to obey the commandments of God.  To behave in a way that is in accordance with God’s definition of good and moral, and to abstain from those things that God calls evil and amoral.  

We are to do this with a spirit of love and because we know the eternal consequences of rejecting Jesus Christ and rebelling against God are real and permanent.  Hell is real and it is forever.  God’s judgment is real, and because we love our neighbors as ourselves, we do not want this for anyone.  Our mission is to preach and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ so that He can change the heart of that person, and provide them with eternal life.  

The world is going to make up enough lies about us as it is.  We are going to be persecuted unjustly.  The only defense we have is that our behavior does not match the lies.  If someone wants to look for the truth in your life, they should find a law abiding citizen who respects the law of man.

Yet, when we, as Christians, violate man’s laws and become labeled as criminals, when we lie, or steal, or fail to pay our taxes, drive a vehicle while we are drunk, when we commit violent acts, or when we violate God’s commandments, we bring dishonor to the God that we serve.  We bring dishonor to the name of those who serve God and we taint the gospel message that we preach.  Our actions have to match our words.  This is what our lesson is about today, behaving in such a way that when the world tells lies about us, our behavior can set the record straight and bring glory to the God we serve.  
TO BE ELECTED BY GOD (1 Peter 1:1b to 2a)

TO BE ELECTED BY GOD (1 Peter 1:1b to 2a)

January 10, 2016
The Bible emphatically teaches the doctrine of election, and this is a doctrine that has caused endless debates and disputes throughout the ages.  People will either go off the deep end into hyper-Calvinism with this doctrine, or they avoid it like the plague because they don’t understand it.  When it really is quite simple to understand.  Man complicates it by assuming that God cannot know anything that man does not know.  That really is the heart of the problem for man in understanding this doctrine.  

However, the truth is that man’s mind is limited, and God’s mind is unlimited.  Man’s capacity to know things is finite, and God’s knowledge is infinite.  Man’s knowledge is bounded by the constraints of time, it encompasses what has happened in the past and what is happening right now.  Man can only guess at the future.  

God created the concept of time so His knowledge is unconstrained by time.  He knows all things from before time began until well past the day when eternity makes time irrelevant, and He knows it all at the same time.  God cannot learn anything, since by definition He already knows it all.  

In today’s lesson, Peter gives us his own inspired insight into the subject.  He bluntly declares that our election is based on God’s foreknowledge.  Without hesitation, or qualification, Peter says that God has elected a certain company to become members of the royal family of heaven.  However, God does this and never violates our own volition, or our own right to choose.  God woos, He does not ravage.  He does not endow His creations with wills of their own, with the power of choice and personal accountability for their behavior, and then act as though they had no such thing.  

God’s election of certain members of the human family to become members of the royal family takes into account the response of each individual when confronted by the Holy Spirit with the offer of salvation.  While this may sound difficult to understand, the simple truth of it is that if you want to be a part of the elect of God, then choose Christ when the Holy Spirit presents salvation to you.  

Salvation boils down to one question, will you accept or reject Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master.  

If you say yes, then you will become part of the elect of God, and you will spend eternity in heaven with Christ.  

If you say no, then you will not be part of the elect of God, and you will spend eternity burning in the fires of Hell, forever without the light of God.  

Listen to this powerful Biblical doctrine of God’s foreknowledge and how it can bless you because God knows who you are, where you are, what you are going through, and He has a plan for you.  If you are believer, then God will empower you to deal with any persecution or trial that you may be going through.  He knew about this before it ever occurred and He has prepared you for it, and He is with you every step of the way.  
HOW FAR WOULD JESUS GO? (Romans 15:1-7)

HOW FAR WOULD JESUS GO? (Romans 15:1-7)

October 25, 2015
Over the last two chapters of our study, Paul has certainly made it clear that part of lovingly exercising our religious liberty to do the debatable things, the things not clearly defined as wrong in the Bible, is knowing when not to do something, or knowing when it might cause harm to someone else.  

I believe Paul would sum up his argument in this chapter by saying the spirit of charity, or the spirit of love, outweighs all of our other concerns.  If we truly love our neighbors as ourselves, then we will not do anything that will harm them.  Just as we would not do anything to harm ourselves.  

Paul has told us that in the area of essential beliefs, or the things clearly defined in the Bible, we are to have unity.  How do we have that unity?  By moving closer to Christ.

In the area of non-essential beliefs, or the debatable issues, we are to have liberty.  How do we express and enjoy that liberty?  By moving closer to Christ.

In all things we are to have charity towards our brothers and sisters in Christ.  How are we to show this charity?  By loving God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and spirit.  How do we show God that we love Him this much?  By moving closer to Christ.  

If we do the first commandment, the second commandment will take care of itself.  

If we do the second commandment, then we will be our brother’s keeper, and we will do, or not do, what it takes to help build our brother and sister in Christ, spiritually.  

So this is the spirit of charity, or love, that we are to have towards our brothers and sisters in Christ.  But Paul has not finished yet.  I think he knew that if he left it here, depending only on our love for our neighbor, we would respond as we have.  So, he has an even higher ground to map out for us.  It is a great thing to treat a weaker brother in the spirit of charity, or love.  It is a far greater thing to treat them in the spirit of Christ. 

In this lesson, Paul will basically ask the question of how far would Christ go in building up a fellow brother or sister in Christ, and then he will tell us that is how far we should go.  
HOW FAR SHOULD WE GO?  (Romans 14:22-23)

HOW FAR SHOULD WE GO? (Romans 14:22-23)

October 18, 2015
We spent a lot of time last week asking the question of whether or not we are to be our brother’s keeper, and we said that Paul would tell us that yes we should be.  We defined the term my brother’s keeper from a Biblical perspective as generally meaning to be responsible for the care of someone.  We said to think of the roles of a shepherd or a vine keeper.  That our role was to edify our weaker brothers and sisters in Christ.

So let me ask the question, how far are we to go to edify our brother or sister in Christ?

If your brother in Christ believed that handling snakes was a testament of the power of the Holy Spirit in you, in other words, it proved that you were saved, would you go up front in the church and handle a deadly snake so as not to offend them?

If your sister thought that wearing slacks to church was disruptive to the service, would you stop wearing slacks?

If a brother and sister couple that you did a lot of things with thought going to the movies was a sin, would you stop going to the movies?  Would you stop, only with them, or all together?

Is there anything that you would say, No, that is just too far for me to go to help my brother or sister in Christ out?

So let me change the question, and you knew this was coming, how far do you believe Jesus would go to help you?  Is there anything, like dying on a cross for you, that Jesus would not do for you? 

Paul is going to tells us in our lesson today that selfishness has no part in the Christian life.  Yet, Paul is going to tell us that we do not have to continually modify our behavior just to satisfy the weaker brother’s desires.  Rather, we are to act in a way which will be to his lasting benefit.  We are to help him carry the cross of his weakness until he has matured spiritually as a Christian.  

We are our brother’s keeper and, in the spirit of love, we are to look to Christ to determine how far we are to go in order to ensure the spiritual growth of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  The question becomes, not how far will you go for them, but how much do you love them, and what does that love tell you to do?  Is there anything too far for someone you love as much as you love yourself?
ARE WE OUR BROTHER’S KEEPER?  (Romans 14:15-22)

ARE WE OUR BROTHER’S KEEPER? (Romans 14:15-22)

October 11, 2015
Where does the phrase my brother’s keeper come from, and what does it mean?  We see the first Biblical use of the phrase in:

Gen 4:9
9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?
KJV

Now, when Cain gave this reply to God, he was clearly trying to be sarcastic to God, which is never a really good thing to do.  But Cain was essentially telling God, How should I know where my brother is, is he my responsibility?

From a Biblical perspective the phrase generally means to be responsible for the care of someone, think of the roles of a shepherd or a vine keeper.  But does that mean that we are responsible for the sin that others do?  No, the Bible is clear that we have no excuse for our own sin.  So with this said, when it comes to the debatable issues that we have been talking about, those not clearly defined in the Bible, are we our brother’s keeper?

Is the answer the same towards our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ as it is towards a lost person?

Did Christ live a life here on earth that could be described as being His brother’s keeper?

What does Christ mean when we say that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, and how does that fit in with the concern that Christ would say that we need to have about our brothers and sisters in Christ’s walk in faith?

How far are we to go before we say, well I have tried to tell him and show him what is right, but eventually he has to make his own decision?

How do we know that whatever we are doing will not be a stumbling block to someone, but will be a stepping stone, because really anything we do might offend somebody else?  We see it everywhere in our politically correct world today, somebody is offended by anything related to Christianity.  So should we just totally shut down any outward religious activity in the fear that it might offend somebody?

The answer to all of these questions is to move closer to Christ.  The more we conform our mind and spirit to the will of Christ and fully surrender our lives to Christ, then He will control our lives, and we will be our brother’s keeper.  

The more we move toward Christ, the less we will have to worry about offending a brother or sister in Christ.  

How do we enjoy our full liberty in Christ?  By moving closer to Christ.  

How do we educate our conscience about what the word of God says about certain activities?  By moving closer to Christ.

How can we truly be our brother’s keeper in the way that Christ would have us do?  By moving closer to Christ.
THE RESPONSIBILITY OF LIBERTY (Romans 14:13-14)

THE RESPONSIBILITY OF LIBERTY (Romans 14:13-14)

October 4, 2015
THE RESPONSIBILITY OF LIBERTY

We live in a country where our liberty to pursue our lives as we choose is a cherished right.  It is such a cherished right that many of our men and women have fought and died so that we could keep that right.  Yet, that same liberty requires that we regulate our own behavior in a manner that does not harm others.  Self-government requires self-regulation.

For example, I have the liberty to purchase the car of my choice.  I could buy a convertible Honey Bee yellow 1970 Hemi Plymouth Cuda that can go from 0-60 in less than 5.8 seconds or top out at a speed of 160 mph, but if I want to drive that vehicle on the road with others there are limits to what I can do with that liberty of owning such a powerful vehicle.  Our traffic laws have been put in place to help me from doing something that might harm someone else, but even acting within these laws my behavior can potentially harm others.  

We choose to limit our liberty because we value the lives of others and we protect their rights to choose how they want to live their lives.  

We also have to be careful how others see us and what we do.  I used to ride motorcycles when I was 15 to about 17.  I really enjoyed it, in fact, I still have a motorcycle designation on my driver’s license just in case I ever get a wild feeling and decide to ride again.  So why haven’t I ridden a motorcycle since I was young?

It is because I got married, and had then I had two boys who watched everything that I did.  Getting married meant that I had someone else depending on me to go to work every day to provide a place for us to live.  Having sons meant setting an example of the kinds of behavior that would keep us, and them, safe.  It is not that riding a motorcycle is bad or evil, in fact, it is a lot of fun, nor, am I concerned with my own ability to ride safely.  What I am concerned about is riding on a small, two wheel, fully exposed vehicle, in amongst a bunch of 2,000 lb. heavy metal vehicles driven by people who do not even see a motorcycle rider coming down the road, and hit them on a regular basis.  

So I have the full liberty to do something that is not evil, yet I choose not to do that activity because of what the impact may be on those around me.  I choose not to exercise my liberty because it may impact my ability to be a good provider, and it might set an example that would cause someone else around me to stumble, or to get hurt, just because they saw me doing something.  

We choose to do, or not do, certain things because we love Christ and we want to be more like Him.  We also choose to do, or not to do, certain things because we are to love our neighbors as we do ourselves and we do not want to be a stumbling block to them. 

This is what our lesson is about today, being, or not being, a stumbling block to others. 
WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU? (Romans 14:7-12)

WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU? (Romans 14:7-12)

September 27, 2015

So if I were to ask the question, what are the important things in the life of a believer, what would you say?

Is it the church that they go to?

Is it the type of worship service they have on Sunday mornings? Whether it is contemporary in style or traditional?  Does the preacher teach the whole word of God vs. just the gospels?

Is it the witness the believer has before the world, is that important to you?  What about how they live before their brothers and sisters in Christ?

What if I were to change the questions and ask what are the things that Christ would judge as important in the life of the believer, would they be the same things?  Are the things you have done in your life, worthy of being judged by Christ?  Would they be considered important to Christ?

The fact is that we as Christians cannot live our lives apart from Christ.  Whether you live, you will have to live to Him; whether you die, you will have to die to Him.  To live to Christ means that it is how Christ looks at our lives that is most important to how we live.  What is important to Christ is what should be important to us, and nothing else.  Our Christian conduct is not gauged by the foods spread out on the table, but by the fact that our lives are spread out before Christ.  That is the important thing.  

All of these differences of opinions on debatable things, which seem so important to us now, will fade into insignificance when death enters the picture. There are those who doubt the Lordship of Christ before they die, but beyond the grave the Lordship of Christ will not be in debate at all.  

As a believer, Christ will judge the things we have done and give us rewards or loss, and as believers, it will be our greatest joy to cast the crowns of our rewards at the Lord’s feet.  Paul’s message to us is that if every believer maintains in his own life the Lordship of Christ, if it is Christ that we look to for approval, and not man, then true unity will not be impossible, in fact, it will happen without us even having to worry about it.  

 

HOW TO DEAL WITH DEBATABLE ISSUES (Romans 14:5-12)

HOW TO DEAL WITH DEBATABLE ISSUES (Romans 14:5-12)

September 20, 2015
Last week we began a section of study on how to handle debatable issues, and we said that there are going to be issues of Christian behavior where the Bible does not specifically say you must do it, nor does it clearly prohibit that activity either.  We asked the question about whether or not uniformity in thought about these debatable issues was imperative within the membership of a church, and Paul has advised us that, no it is not.  

In fact, while a lack of complete uniformity on debatable issues can be frustrating, Paul has told us to welcome the Christian brother and sister with various ideas.  He encouraged the brother who is stronger in the faith to embrace the weaker brother.  

Now, just to be clear, I will state that on issues where the Bible is clear, the church must not allow intentionally false doctrines to exist in the church.  People may have differing opinions even on these issues, but the Bible is to be final arbitrator on such an issue.  

If the Word of God proclaims homosexuality to be a sin, and it does, then it is a sin. Period. 

If the Word of God says that salvation is by grace alone, and it does, then salvation is by grace alone.  Period.  

God’s Word is final.  

But on issues that are not clearly defined in the Bible, such as some of the social issues, diets, and special worship days, we can disagree on things and remain in fellowship together. This is what our lesson is about today, how to deal with debatable issues and have unity in the church.
THE CHRISTIAN AND DEBATABLE ISSUES (Romans 14:1-4)

THE CHRISTIAN AND DEBATABLE ISSUES (Romans 14:1-4)

September 13, 2015
THE CHRISTIAN AND DEBATABLE THINGS

Without question, there a certain issues in our faith that are non-negotiable.  An example is the inerrancy of the Bible, for if the Bible is not true in every respect, then it is false in every respect and our faith is worthless.  

Another example is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, He was born of a virgin, He died on the cross, He was buried in the tomb and He physically, bodily, rose from the grave on the third day, just like He said He would.  These truths are non-negotiable.  To be a born again believer, you must believe these things.  Uniformity in thought is demanded by God on these issues if you want to be a child of God.  

However, are there issues in the Christian life where uniformity in thought is not necessary?  In other words, are there issues about our faith that we can disagree on and it is ok?

What about eschatology?  The fact that certain events are going to occur, like the second coming of Christ, is not debatable.  The Bible is clear that Jesus is coming again.  However, the order of certain events, and various details about each event, while I may feel it is important, is it ok to have different opinions on these things?

What about social issues?  Like drinking, dancing, or the clothes we wear and how we wear them?  I remember when if a woman wore slacks to church she would likely be asked to leave.  I can also remember when wearing shorts in the sanctuary was not allowed.  Is it ok to disagree on these issues and it not become a faith issue between believers?

The answer to these questions is what our lesson is about today.  
SHOULD A CHRISTIAN SUBMIT TO A GOVERNMENT THAT REJECTS GOD? (Romans 13:1-2)

SHOULD A CHRISTIAN SUBMIT TO A GOVERNMENT THAT REJECTS GOD? (Romans 13:1-2)

August 16, 2015
Now, I have to admit that this is an interesting question as we see the political races begin to escalate.  Without question, our current government, including the democrats and most republicans, have rejected the role that God has played, is currently playing, and will play in our nation and our world.  

So, the question is, should a Christian submit to a government that rejects God?

What role should the believer play in fighting against this type of lawlessness?

Do we stand by and do nothing, or actively fight against it?

Paul is going to tell us in our lesson today that human government derives its authority from God, and that governments are appointed by God.  Evil men may be elected to power or they may seize power.  They may have no thought of God at all, but the very fact that God permits them to seize the reins of power means that God has a purpose to fulfill even in their cruel and evil ruling.  

It is a saying well worth considering that people get the kind of government they deserve.  If you vote in a socialist tyrant, then you are going to get a socialist tyrant as your leader.  If you reject God’s truths about right and wrong in your lives, then you are going to have a government that rejects God’s truths about right and wrong, and that means the concepts of greed, corruption, dishonesty, cruelty, and lawlessness will control your government.

Governments may be weak or strong, just or oppressive, benevolent or cruel, wise or foolish, but in each case God has His way and moves His own plans forward.  We may not see God’s plan and purposes in an evil government, but God has a plan nonetheless, for God is in control.

Paul is going to tell us in our lesson today that disobedience to governmental authority is disobedience to God and will be judged accordingly.  We are going to see that the believer has their citizenship in heaven, but they are also a resident in the world down here, which gives them a twofold responsibility.  If there is a conflict between the two, then our first responsibility is always to our Lord in heaven.  We have a responsibility to human government, but our first responsibility is to always obey the law of God.  

I don’t believe that the Word of God declares the role of the believer is to fundamentally change our nation.  It is to preach a gospel that is the power of God unto salvation which will bring into existence individuals like the men who signed the Declaration of Independence and gave us a government of laws.  If there is to be a fundamental change in this country, then it will be God that will bring it about by working in the hearts of man.

The truth is that there is nothing is wrong with our form of government; there is something wrong with the individuals who are in positions of power.  We need to remember this as we choose the people who will fill these positions in the next election.  

Should we as believers run for political office?  Absolutely, we need people in these offices that understand the spiritual heritage of our founders.

Should we as believers support those candidates that respect the Word of God and the role that God plays in our society?  Absolutely, we need to discern what the true beliefs of a candidate are and support those who respect the will of God.

Should we as believers, lawfully, and actively, stand against the murder of innocent children, and the corruption of the God instituted concept of marriage?  Absolutely, we need to stand against lawlessness in the world.

Should we as believers submit to a government that is corrupt and rejects God?  The Bible says that we must, and my prayer is that God will grant us the power and the wisdom to do as the Word of God demands that we do.  
WHO ARE YOU CONTROLLED BY?  (Romans 12:1)

WHO ARE YOU CONTROLLED BY? (Romans 12:1)

July 3, 2015
If you were to ask the general population of this country, Who are you controlled by?  Many, if not most, would declare that nobody controls me, I control myself, for this is the land of the free and the home of the brave, right?  However, the truth of the matter is that there are likely a number of entities and people that we submit ourselves to be controlled by.  For example, the government bodies that we live under, both nationally and locally.  We submit ourselves to the authority of, and the rules and procedures of, these men and women who say they have the authority to rule us.  

There is your employer, you submit to their authority.  Your spouse.  Your peers.  Your religion.  Law enforcement.  So there are lots of entities and people we allow to control us.  We submit to their authority, and what they tell us to do, we do.  We are controlled by them.

Now, most Christians would immediately reply, Well Keith, obviously I am controlled by God.  And my reply would be, do your actions match your words?  Considering the way society’s shift in morals is moving at breakneck speed today, Christians are going to be faced with some difficult decisions.  For many years, in this country, the general moral and ethical principles of the country were based on Judeo-Christian values, so the Christian in this country had it fairly easy.  

Yet, we stand today at a crossroad in this country.  Nine men and women in black have decided that marriage is defined by what they say it is and that it is not defined by God.  Never mind that it has been defined by God as one man and one woman, and for almost all of history, and in almost every civilization, as one man and one woman.  Man’s definition is that marriage can be two women, or two men, or three women and men, or ten women or ten men, or in other words, anything goes.  For without the absolute truths of right and wrong as established by God, anything does indeed go.  

This decision by the U.S. Supreme Court has set the stage for the U.S. government to criminalize Christianity.  If you choose to say what the Word of God says about homosexuality, it will be deemed as hate speech.  The consequences of this will be that you can be fined, arrested, or have your business, your home, and your job taken away from you for stating what God says.  

If you are a Christian, you will then have a choice of submitting yourself to the authority of the government, or to God.  While the Bible is clear that we are to submit ourselves to local authorities, which are established and allowed by God, it is also clear that this obligation only goes until they dictate you violate God’s Word.  So this question of, who are you controlled by, will quickly transform from an intellectual exercise to a reality.  

Now, as for me and my family, our choice is that we are controlled by God, and no government, especially 9 people in black robes, is going to change that.  While I understand that those are brave words, and that they will very soon be tested, therefore, we are depending solely on God to empower us to live those words in our lives as we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to God, wholly controlled by Him.  

THE UNSTOPPABLE WILL OF GOD (Romans 8:28-30)

THE UNSTOPPABLE WILL OF GOD (Romans 8:28-30)

March 18, 2015
If someone were to tell you that God already knew whether you would go to heaven or hell before you were even born, in fact He knew it before He formed the universe, your reaction may be one of saying “Well, that’s not fair, I should get to choose.”  You might also say that “If God already knows what’s going to happen, then we are just robots going about the things that God has already determined for us.”   

Predestination and election are two biblical concepts that have divided theologians, churches, and religions, for centuries.  How God can be sovereign with an unstoppable will, and man can have a free will is simply beyond our capacity to understand.  For it is a concept difficult for man to accept that everything that God planned from the dawn of time has happened, is happening, and will happen.  There have been no changes and no surprises.  There are no emergency meetings in heaven between the Holy Trinity to react to something man has done.  Man can try as hard as he wants, but nothing that man has done, is doing, or will do, can change the purposes, the plan, or the will of God.  If man could, then man would be sovereign and not God.  

Predestination is the biblical teaching that declares the sovereignty of God over man in such a way that the freedom of the human will is also preserved.  It is only when we accept this truth that we can begin to completely surrender our lives to God.  

Yet, it is important to emphasize that God's predestination of human events does not eliminate human choice.  We cannot bypass verses such as:

Romans 10:13
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

A simple key to the concepts of predestination and election is that if you want to be a member of the called ones, or the elect, then accept God’s calling to be one of the whosoever ones that call upon the name of the Lord.  It really is that simple.

Listen to this podcast to learn what Paul really means when he tells us:

Romans 8:28
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
KJV
THE ROLE OF GOD’S LAW IN OUR LIVES (Romans 7:1-9)

THE ROLE OF GOD’S LAW IN OUR LIVES (Romans 7:1-9)

January 27, 2015
What is the role of God’s Law in our lives?

Is it to establish the absolute truth about what the Creator of all things, including man, declares as right and wrong?

Is it to define the punishment for violating God’s Law?

Is it to define sin in the eyes of God so that man can know that he has missed the mark of the holiness and glory of God?

Is it a tool to reveal the sin in your life?

The answer is yes to all of these, but the most important role of God’s Law in our lives is to bring us to an awareness of our need for a Savior.  That Savior is Jesus Christ.  The Law says that all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God and the penalty for that sin is death and eternal separation from God.  The Law says that we are hopelessly lost and doomed forever.  Yet God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. 

The role of God’s Law in the life of a non-believer is to bring them to Jesus Christ for salvation from the condemnation of the Law.

Listen to this podcast to find out that the role of God’s Law in the life of a believer is to demonstrate the wonderful love of God for a sinful man.  As a believer you no longer need to fear the power of the Law.  As a believer you no longer need to be dismayed by your inability to meet the perfect standards of the Law.  When Jesus Christ died on the cross He broke the power of the Law over the believer.  He paid your penalty.  He satisfied all of the demands of the Law so that you are now free from the Law.  He died and rose again so that you might have eternal life.
HOW CAN YOU DEFEAT SIN? (Romans 6:1-5)

HOW CAN YOU DEFEAT SIN? (Romans 6:1-5)

December 4, 2014
As a believer, would you say that you are in a constant battle with sin in your life?  

Every Christian should answer yes to this question, for Satan has never given up on destroying you, especially once you became a Christian.  But the wonderful good news that God has for us is that each believer has the power of the Holy Spirit of God to defeat sin in their life.  They can be victorious against sin.  

The process of sanctification is the ability of God to make sinners, whom He has declared righteous, actually righteous.  Paul will tell us that the justified sinner cannot continue in sin because he died and rose again in Christ.  This does not mean the believer will not sin, but it does mean that they will not continue live in sin.

To continue in sin leads to slavery.  Believers have been freed from the slavery of sin.  There is no reason for them to go back to it.  The believer has a new nature now, and he is to obey God.  

Union with Christ in His death and resurrection means that He is now our Lord and our Master.  He gives us freedom, but that freedom is not a license to live in sin.

Today, we are going to begin a series of lessons that talk about the power that we have, as Christians, to be freed from slavery.  The slavery that a lost person has to Satan and sin.  We are going to see how the power of God frees a believer from the dominance of sin in their lives and empowers them to live a victorious Christian life.
TO BE PATIENT TO THE END (James 5:8-11)

TO BE PATIENT TO THE END (James 5:8-11)

June 15, 2014
We live in a world today where more Christians are being killed for their faith than at any other time in history.  Countries in the Middle East, like Pakistan, Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia daily beat and execute Christians just because their faith does not match their own Muslim religion.  Places of Christian worship are destroyed by the religious intolerant.   What is sad is that the mass media and the other governments of the world have, for the most part, ignored what is going on in these countries. 

The U.S. is also following this trend.  While it is currently possible for preachers and teachers of the Word of God to tell what God has defined as the absolute truths of right and wrong, I see a time coming very soon when these same sermons will be considered as hate speech by our own government.  Preachers will be silenced from telling the world what the Bible teaches, even in their own churches.  Imprisonment, lawsuits, and persecution, will be applied to those who choose to preach and teach Biblical truths.  Our government has systematically removed God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible, from our government meetings, our schools, our universities, and the public square.  

I believe as Ronald Reagan once said, "Without God, there is no virtue, because there's no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we're mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." -- Remarks at an Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast in Dallas, Texas, 23 August 1984 (President RONALD WILSON REAGAN)

Listen to this study of the book of James to learn that even in the face of the harshest persecution, God has a happy ending for us as believers.  We have the promise of the Lord’s return.  

We have the promise that the Lord will come in power and judgment.  

We have the promise of an eternity in heaven with the Lord Jesus welcoming us with the words well done.  

We have the promise of joy, unspeakable and full of glory.  

This is why we can be patient.  Why, when we are subject to religious intolerance and persecution, we can be still, and why we can be strong, for we know the day of the Lord is coming soon.  
THE PERFECT LAW OF LIBERTY (James 2:8-13)

THE PERFECT LAW OF LIBERTY (James 2:8-13)

February 11, 2014
What is the perfect law of liberty?

Have you ever considered what it would be like to go someplace where there were no laws, and no police officers to enforce those laws?  To be totally free to do whatever you wanted, for as long as you wanted, and in any way that you wanted to do it?

Sounds pretty good doesn't it?  If I don’t want to get up in the morning, I don’t have to.  If I want to drive my car as fast as it will go, then I can.  

This is pretty much what it was like for the early pioneers who opened up the western part of the United States.  When they stepped out into that wilderness, they were free from the laws and those that would enforce it.  They lived by their wits, their strength, and their courage, for even though there were no societal laws, there were always the laws of nature, and the laws of the strongest shall prevail.  

So the question is, are you truly free when you step out of the boundaries of the laws of a civil society?  Is this true liberty?

Without laws, is there such a thing as criminal behavior?  To be a lawbreaker there must be a law to break.

God, as our Creator, knew that man needed laws to establish the absolute truths about right and wrong, so He gave us His Word that we call the Bible.  It contains the Mosaic Law, The Sermon on the Mount, and it contains Christ’s Law, which is the perfect law of liberty.  These laws identify what is sin for man.  They let man know that he has broken those laws, that the penalty of that sin is death, and that man needs a Savior.  The very Savior named Jesus Christ who died on a cross to pay the penalty for man’s sin.  

As a believer we are no longer under the Mosaic Laws, but our behavior is to be controlled by two commandments.  

The first is, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.  This is a believer’s responsibility to God.  

The second is, To love thy neighbor as thyself.  This is a believer’s responsibility to others.

How do we find perfect liberty?  Listen to this podcast to learn that the answer is to be redeemed, released, and ruled by Christ.