The Master’s Class, Summit Church
TO LOVE AS JESUS LOVES-PART II (John 13:31-35)

TO LOVE AS JESUS LOVES-PART II (John 13:31-35)

November 17, 2019

Last week we began a message on learning how to love everyone, including hard to love people, in the same way that Jesus loves us. I believe the one thing we would all admit is that there are people in this world who it would be very difficult to love as Jesus loves them, but that is what we have been commanded to do.

What does it mean to love someone in the same way that Jesus loves them? Does it mean that you are best friends, that you socialize with them, that you are going up to them hugging and kissing them all of the time? How did Jesus treat the Pharisees, or the Romans who crucified Him? Did He love them? Yes, He died on a cross for them. How did He treat the one who betrayed Him? Jesus washed his feet. He reached out to him in love. Why? To give him an opportunity to make Jesus his Lord and Savior.

I want you to think carefully about that, and I want this thought in your mind. How did Jesus show the entire world that He loved them? Jesus died on the cross for the sins of everyone. Why did He do that? So, their sins could be forgiven, and they could choose to receive the free gift of salvation. Without the Lord’s shed blood, then no one could be saved, no one would have a choice to be saved.

How can you go about offering people, even hard to love people, the same gift that Jesus offered them? Can you die on a cross for them? No. Can you witness about the gospel message of Jesus Christ to them? Yes. Can you live a life that would be different enough to make them want to be a Christian? Yes.

Jesus loved everyone so much, even hard to love people like Judas, or Pilate, or the Romans who beat Him, that He died so that they could be saved. Can you love others enough to offer them the gospel message so that they could be saved? If yes, then would that be one way that you could love them in the same way that Jesus does? Don’t misunderstand me, this is not all there is to this commandment, and we are going to talk about what type of love this is, but we need to put this into the context of why we, as believers, are even still on this earth. The reality is that once you are saved, you cannot be unsaved. So, why does God leave us here on the earth? Why not just take us to heaven right away? What is a key element in His plan for your life? Spreading the gospel message to a lost world, an ugly world, an evil world, a hard to love world. That is how Jesus loved the entire world, and it is one way that you can love others as Jesus has loved you.

Jesus said, a new commandment I give unto you that you love one another even as I have loved you. It is only men and women who are big in the grace of God, knowing that they have come from God, knowing that they're going to God, knowing who they are, that can obey this new commandment. They can do it because they tell themselves, God has accepted me. I accept that he accepts me, I accept me, and I accept you, and now you can accept me.

What does this type of love look like?
• You love them enough to lead them to Christ.
• You love them enough to not think of yourself as you are dealing with them.
• You love them enough to stand by them in the hard times.
• You love them enough to serve them.
• Most of all, you love them enough to forgive them.

Click on the link below to hear a message on how to love people as Jesus loved them. It is pride that drives wedges between people. It is a love like Christ’s love that builds bridges. “A new commandment I give unto you that you love one another, even as I have loved you.” That's how to love as Jesus loved.

Amen.

TO LOVE AS JESUS LOVES-PART I (John 13:31-35)

TO LOVE AS JESUS LOVES-PART I (John 13:31-35)

November 10, 2019

In our message today, the Lord is going to give His disciples, and all of us, a new commandment, “…to love one another, as Christ has loved us.” Now, I have to admit, for me, that is a tall order because there are people around, even some Christians, who are hard to love. But that is what this new commandment tells us to do.

John 13:34
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
KJV

Now, Jesus is not just talking about loving other Christians. He is talking about everyone. He is saying that we should love everyone as Christ loves us. Is there someone you know that you just say, Lord that is not happening, I cannot love this person? Someone who has done you wrong, perhaps, even harmed you? Friends that have betrayed your trust? Family members who may have abused you, either physically or mentally? There are likely more than just one person who may fit into this category.

Well, why is it a new commandment? Love is not new. The Old Testament certainly taught us to love. In the New Testament gospels, Jesus even gave us a summary of all the commandments when He said,

Matt 22:37-39
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
KJV

What’s new, is that Jesus said that “we are to love as I have loved you.” Never before has this world known love like the love that Jesus Christ showed and the love that Jesus Christ gave. And that is what made it radically new. We are to love others not just as we love ourselves, but as Jesus loved us. This takes the love we are to show to a whole new level.

Click on the link to below to hear a message on how to love that person, who has harmed you, in the same way that Jesus Christ loves them.

Amen.

TO WHOM DO YOUR WORKS SAY YOU BELONG TO? (John 8:41-53)

TO WHOM DO YOUR WORKS SAY YOU BELONG TO? (John 8:41-53)

June 9, 2019

A wise man once said that “Actions speak louder than words.” Do you know who that person was? According to that paragon of truth, Google, the first person in the US to say it was Abraham Lincoln in 1856. He said, “Actions speak louder than words is the maxim; and, if true, the South now distinctly says to the North, Give us the measures, you take the men.” Now, I have no clue about the context of President Lincoln saying that, but the phrase "Actions speak louder than words" essentially means that what we do means much more than the words we say.

If you combine this phrase, Actions speak louder than words, with the question of the title of the lesson, To whom do your works say you belong to, you begin to get an understanding of the Biblical truth that our message is about today. You can say that Christ is your Lord and Master, but do your works say that this is true?

Jesus said “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” Therefore, you may tell the world that you are a Christian, but when they look at your works, the things that you do each day, do they speak loudly that you are indeed the servant of Christ, or of sin? What would God say if He looked at your works, are they His, or Satan’s? There is no in between.

The lesson for us today is that you can give the best sermon that was ever preached, you can teach the best Bible study lesson that was ever taught, you can quote hundreds of verses from the Bible, or you can give the sweetest testimony about what Christ has done for you, but if your life is full of sin, then you are nothing but a hypocrite serving Satan as you master. Again, To whom do your works say that you belong to?

Clink on the link below to hear a message on how God, and the world, look that the works that you do.

Amen.

ARE YOU THIRSTY? PART II (John 37-39)

ARE YOU THIRSTY? PART II (John 37-39)

May 13, 2019

Is your life a fruitful life for Christ or is it a barren life? Galatians 5:22 speaks of the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Is there a river flowing out of you that causes fruitfulness where there was once barrenness?

This world that we live is sick and barren desert that needs life. It needs the fruit of the Spirit. It needs healing. There is a dead sea out there, and Jesus said, "If you thirst, come to me, and drink, and you'll be satisfied." As believers we need to come to Jesus and drink from Him by faith, and then where there was death, there'll be life. Where there was barrenness there'll be fruit.

The truth is that there are members of our churches today who have never been saved. If you are one of these people, then you need to come to Jesus today, and stop enduring religion, and start enjoying salvation. Then there are others who have been saved, but they have only been drinking in such a shallow way. You come each Sunday morning with a shallow thirst and you go home with a shallow satisfaction. In other words, you are only ankle deep. You need to drink deep of our Lord, and let this river flow deeply out of you.

You need to stop coming to church only seeking a blessing, and you need to come to church seeking to bless others with the river of living water that is flowing out of you. Now, don’t misunderstand me, all of us, at one time or another, need to be the one receiving the blessing, but Jesus is telling us that if we will drink fully from Him, then we will have rivers of living water flowing from us to bless all of those around us. We will be a source of life in a sick, dead, world.

Click on the link below to learn how you can be a source of living water for those around you.

Amen.

THERE IS LIFE IN THE BLOOD (John 6:52-53)

THERE IS LIFE IN THE BLOOD (John 6:52-53)

February 17, 2019

Are you in the secret service? I know a lot of Christians who are in the secret service. Now, they may be saved, but you would never know it by looking at them and the way they talk, the way they walk, the way they act, and the way they live. They do not have that power that God wants them to have. The life of Jesus Christ is not evidenced in them, and the difference is that they have never discovered the power of the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ gave Himself for us in order that He might give Himself to us. He wants to share the power and life that is in His blood with us.

This is why we are failing to walk victoriously in Christ. We can be going to heaven, and we can thank God for the shed blood, which is saving blood, but there is more to it. He gave Himself for us, that He might give Himself to us, that we may eat of His flesh, and drink of His blood. Jesus is saying that we are to do this so His life might be in you.

Click on the link below to hear a message on what it means to find life in the blood of Jesus. Just as in my human body everything that my body needs to exist is delivered to me by my blood, so everything I need to live the victorious Christian life is in Jesus. There is life, and there is power, in the blood. The life of Christ is in that blood, life everlasting, and there is power in that blood for you and me to walk victoriously in our work for the Lord.

Amen.

JESUS FEEDS YOUR DEEPEST HUNGER (John 6:1-14)

JESUS FEEDS YOUR DEEPEST HUNGER (John 6:1-14)

January 13, 2019

Our message today is about the miracle where Jesus fed the 5,000 using just five loaves of bread and two little fishes. We will see that Jesus performed a miracle, and it was a miracle of feeding physical bodies. However, if all you learn from this message is that Jesus can miraculously feed 5,000 people with five loaves and a few fishes, then you have missed the whole point of the message God has for us today. What I want you to do as we talk about this miracle is to look beyond the miracle and on to Jesus. Jesus did not come to this earth as God incarnate in man in order to feed you physically. Jesus did not come to heal you physically. Jesus did not come to solve all of your physical, material, problems. He is a Savior. He came to save you from sin, and you need to look beyond these miracles and on to Jesus. We need to believe in miracles, but trust in Jesus.

Down in your heart, down in the deepest part of your being, there is a hunger that only God can satisfy. Pascal once said, "In every man's heart there is a God-shaped vacuum that God alone can fill through His Son Jesus Christ." And that is the hunger that I want to talk to you about today, not the physical hunger that we have.

Click on the link below and learn how there is never a problem too big for Jesus to solve. In every problem you face, God already knows about the problem and He has a plan to solve it. So many times, we have a problem in our lives that we're trying to solve. We are using all of our strength, at least so we think, but there is a heavenly Father who is ready to help us with His strength in order to solve our problem. The moral of the story is, there is never a problem too big for Jesus to solve, you just need to ask Him.

Amen.

HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOU ARE BORN AGAIN (John 3:1-7)

HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOU ARE BORN AGAIN (John 3:1-7)

September 30, 2018

What does a born-again child of God look like? Can you tell someone is a Christian by the way they look, or by the way they dress? Are there certain things a born-again child of God should not wear?

How does a born-again child of God behave? Can you tell someone is a Christian by the way they behave, or by the things they do, or say? Are there certain things that a born-again child of God should not do or say?

Now, let me ask the real question that I am leading us to. Is there a way that you can look at yourself and know whether or not that you are a born-again child of God? Jesus tells us there is.

Matt 7:20-21
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
KJV

Jesus is telling us in this set of verses that you will know a Christian, a true born again believer, whether it is yourself, or someone else, by the fruit that they bear. Not by the things that they wear, or how they look, and not by the things they say or do, but by the fruits that they bear. What are those fruits?

Gal 5:22-25
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
KJV

Paul is telling us that these are the things that we should be able to see, feel, and experience when we are in the presence of a born-again child of God. There ought to be a noticeable difference in you as a believer. Not a weird difference, but a good difference in the way you treat yourself, your family, your friends, and those whom you come in contact with. We are sojourners in this world. This is not our home. Heaven is our home. We are aliens on this earth, because we are in this world, but we are not of this world.

We are twice born, redeemed, sanctified, Holy Spirit inhabited, joint heirs with the Son of God. Our outlook on this life, and our purpose in this world, is totally different from that of a lost person. There ought to be a noticeable difference about us. If we are truly born-again, then there ought to be a difference in us.

When you are saved, it brings a certainty to it. You ought to be able to say, "I know, that I know, I have been saved." If you have trusted Christ, if you have come down and trusted on the Word of God, if you have put your faith in Christ, and you know where God has put your sins, and somebody says, "Are you saved?" Then you can say, with that same certainty, "Yes, hallelujah, praise God, I know, that I know, that I am saved. God's Spirit agrees with my spirit that I'm a child of God."

Click on the link below to hear a message on the traits of a born-again believer, and on the things that will be true of you, if you are truly saved. God’s wants you to be certain that you are saved, listen and learn how you can tell if you are truly born again.

Amen.

JESUS, THE SOUL WINNER (John 1:35-42)

JESUS, THE SOUL WINNER (John 1:35-42)

August 19, 2018

What is the role of a church member, or a witness for Christ, or a soul winner, or that of an evangelist, a pastor, or a teacher?

What is the single most important role for each of these people? To win people to Christ. Anything else we do impacts people’s lives in this short time we have on earth. While that is important, and it really is important, helping them find Jesus as their Savior impacts both, their lives now, and their eternal lives. Be sure and understand that I am not saying that we all have to be great evangelists with huge crowds of people coming to know Christ through our preaching. I am saying that everything we do to care for people, love them, treat them, hold them, walk with them, talk to them, work with them, play with them, everything, needs to keep in mind that our goal is to make sure they know that Jesus Christ loves them and wants them spend eternity with Him in heaven.

Every word we speak, every action we take, it is a witness of the Lord that we claim as Master. Every time we fail, it is a witness of the Lord that we claim as Master. Every tragedy we face, it is a witness of the Lord that we claim as Master. Everything.

Jesus is to be our example. We are to be working to be more like Christ every day. We study God’s Word to know more about Christ, and so we can be more like Him. We learn from His actions, and His words.

Click on the link below to hear a message about how Jesus led people to follow Him. We will see Jesus in the first couple of days in His public ministry gathering disciples. And He won’t do it by being a fiery evangelist like John the Baptist. He will do it with His words and His actions. Just like you and me.

Amen.

WE ARE CHRIST’S CANDLE (John 1:5-9)

WE ARE CHRIST’S CANDLE (John 1:5-9)

July 15, 2018

Today’s message is about our role, as born again believers in Christ, of being a candle for Christ. We have been commanded by our Lord to allow His light to shine through us. We are to be Christ’s candle for the world.

Mark 4:21
21 And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?
KJV

When you stop and think about it, a candle, in and of itself, really is a remarkable invention. When it was created, its whole purpose was to serve as a simple instrument for dispelling darkness. It enabled man to work, or rest, in the dark. It allowed him to see the dangers that used the darkness to prey upon him. If it was put into a lantern casing, it became a mobile source of light and protection as man traveled along the road. It guided man along the pathway or trail that he was following. If you placed the candle in front of a reflective surface you could focus the light and cast it out for greater distances enhancing the protection, and utility, that it gave.

Darkness, with all of its power to frighten and bewilder, is no match for the light. The faintest gleam, the smallest candle, will dispel the deepest darkness. The function of the candle is to provide the light that dispels that darkness. But notice that the candle performs this function at a great expense to itself. It has to give itself up to the flame and be consumed. The light of the sun and stars is provided on the same principle. As they shed their light upon us, they consume the energy that is within them.

Now, the Word of God tells us that in the spiritual realm, the Lord Jesus is the Light that dispels darkness. The light that He brings has been provided at an infinite cost. Yet, when we come to Him, He kindles that light in us. The fact that we are now His light bearers means that we, too, must pay the price of shining. Our light is not to be hidden. It is not a secret light. It is to be placed where it will be seen of men. Many people hate and resent the light of Christ and will try to extinguish it. On the other hand, many other people will be drawn to it.

It is important for us to understand that it is the light itself that is the miracle, we are just the candles. We are sowers, and we are light bearers. We are to be a light unto the world.

Click on the link below to hear a message on the role of a believer to be Christ’s candle to the world.

Amen.

DEALING WITH PERSECUTION (Revelation 11:5-13)

DEALING WITH PERSECUTION (Revelation 11:5-13)

November 12, 2017

The Bible says that all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. If you live for Jesus, and your life is in obedience to the will of God, it is fruitful for God, and you are sharing the light of the gospel to a dark world, then the Bible says that you will suffer persecution.

To know that this is true, all you have to do is read the headlines of the news today. Christians are suffering severe persecution in countries all around the world. So, the question that we will look at today is, How do you deal with this persecution? What are the Biblical truths that we must apply to our lives, if we are to be successful in dealing with persecution on both a physical and spiritual level?

Click on the link below to learn the five factors that the Bible tells us in the book of Revelation about the two witnesses for God, and how they dealt with persecution. These are important lessons that we must settle in our hearts and mind if we are to be victorious in our witness for God.

Amen.

THE CURE FOR LUKEWARMNESS (Revelation 3:17-22)

THE CURE FOR LUKEWARMNESS (Revelation 3:17-22)

June 18, 2017

Last week we began a lesson on what a lukewarm Christian is and how God feels about that type of Christian. The Lord condemns the lukewarm Christian. He tells them that I would thou wert cold or hot, meaning that the Lord would rather have you against Him than pretending to love Him with a lukewarm heart. Lukewarm Christians have done more harm to the cause of Jesus Christ than all the prostitutes, bartenders, pornographers, and drug pushers combined.

Lukewarm Christians are the alibi of sinners. They double-cross Christ. Jesus would rather have you on the wrong side of the fence, than sitting on the fence. Jesus hates this condition so much that He says in verse 16, So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. God is saying that there is a sin that is so vile that it nauseates Him. What is that sin? Lukewarmness, and it is the sin that is probably the most prevalent in the church today. God is speaking to self-satisfied, half-hearted Christians. He is speaking to most of the people who attend our churches today, and that should break our hearts.

So, how did their self-satisfaction and complacency begin? How does a person, who is so excited on the day they are saved, become a lukewarm Christian?

Do you remember the fire that burned within you for the Lord on the day you were saved? The joy that filled your heart, the earnest desire to tell everyone around you about the wonderful gift of eternal life that you had just been given by a gracious God? Do you remember that at all? What happened to that person? Are you more on fire today than you were then? If not, then you have cooled down. People cool down by degrees.

Somebody has said that an average church is so lukewarm that you have to backslide to be in fellowship with all of the other members. Was there ever a time when you loved the Lord Jesus Christ more than you do right now? If so, then to that degree you are backslidden, you are beginning to cool down, and before long, you will be room temperature. And when you do, you will look around and say, I must not be so bad, because I am just like everyone else. The sad part is that if you really get on fire for the Lord Jesus Christ, people will think that you are odd.

So, how do you become lukewarm? You begin by becoming satisfied with where you are in your Christian life. You begin by assuming that you are all right because you are becoming more and more like those around you, but instead you are cooling down by degrees. If you are not a better servant of God today than you were yesterday, then you are cooling down. Lukewarmness is caused by self-satisfaction.

Click on the link below to hear a sermon about the cause of lukewarmness, and the cure of lukewarmness.

ARE YOU LUKEWARM? (Revelation 3:14-16)

ARE YOU LUKEWARM? (Revelation 3:14-16)

June 12, 2017

When we call something lukewarm, it means that it is too hot to be cold, and too cold to be hot. Now, if I were to say that you were a lukewarm Christian, what would that mean? It means that you are too hot to be a stone-cold atheist, and too cold to be a passionate soul winner for Christ.

How many people in our churches today are room-temperature, lukewarm, Christians? Actually, in most churches today, if you are not a lukewarm Christian, you will stand out and be different from the majority of the other members.

Let me ask you another question, is it a sin to be a lukewarm Christian? G. Campbell Morgan said, “Lukewarmness is the worst form of blasphemy.” If you are lukewarm in your faith, then you are blaspheming the Lord Jesus Christ.

A lukewarm Christian says, “Jesus, I believe in you, but you just don’t excite me. I believe in you, but I just don’t get anything out of hearing your Word preached from the pulpit. There just is no message. Jesus, I believe in you, but I don’t intend to serve you with fire and fervor.” When you say these kind of things, you are saying to the Lord, who is present in every church service where two or more are gathered, “Lord, I am bored with You.”

Would you sing differently in the worship service if Jesus was standing next to you in the flesh? Would you pay more attention to the sermon, if Jesus was sitting next to you in the flesh? Would you be looking at your phone for the latest post on social media while the pastor preached? Would your mind be on the work you left undone the day before? If Jesus Christ was sitting next to you in the flesh, how would you be different in the service?

We ought to be worshipping and singing as if the Lord Jesus Christ was standing right there next to us. There is nothing pleasing to the Lord about a lukewarm service, full of lukewarm Christians, singing lukewarm songs, and hearing lukewarm sermons.

Click on the link below to hear a sermon about a lukewarm church. It is the last of the seven churches that we have been studying in chapters 2 and 3 of the book of revelation. These churches are real churches, but they are also representative churches of all the churches throughout the church age. There is not a problem in our churches today, that cannot be found in one these seven churches.

A FAITH FORGED IN THE FIRES OF PERSECUTION (Revelation 2:5-11)

A FAITH FORGED IN THE FIRES OF PERSECUTION (Revelation 2:5-11)

April 30, 2017

The word Smyrna is translated from a Greek word that is also translated as the word myrrh in other parts of the Scripture. It stands for a sweet perfume that came from being crushed. It was also a substance used for medicinal purposes. What did the wise men bring to the baby Jesus? Gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It was also given to Christ when He hung on the cross. The Bible says that they gave Him wine mixed with myrrh. It was also used at the burial of Christ, where they scented His burial clothing with myrrh. Myrrh and Smyrna are translated from the same Greek word and they have the same meaning.

It is the providence of God that the suffering church would be in this city that has the name of such a perfume that was extracted by crushing it. This was a church suffering great persecution, but the Lord says I know what you are going through. It is encouraging when we are facing our darkest hours, to know that Jesus is right there with us. Jesus doesn’t promise to keep us out of persecution, but He does promise to get us through it. There is no heartache, pain, or fear that we might face that the Lord does not share. He has faced every kind of suffering, to a much greater degree than anything, that we might ever have to face. He knows about it, and He knows how to get us through it.

Click on the link to hear a sermon on a church that was poor in the eyes of men, but rich in the eyes of the Lord. The first part of this lesson we finish up our discussion from last week of the church at Ephesus, and then in the focus of this lesson, we cover the suffering church of Smyrna. Join us as God blesses the reading of His Word. Amen.

HOW DO YOU FACE PERSECUTION? (1 Peter 3:13-15)

HOW DO YOU FACE PERSECUTION? (1 Peter 3:13-15)

July 31, 2016
How we face suffering and persecution is one of the defining characteristics of the Christian faith that sets us apart from the world.  Let’s be honest, it is not hard to face the good times, when things are going your way, and when the people around you support your words and actions as they relate to living for Christ.  Christians look at the source of those blessings differently than the rest of the world does, but how they react to them is very similar to everyone else.  

Being persecuted for your faith comes in many forms, from simple disrespect on the part of someone you meet or the government that rules over us, to being excluded from something or somewhere, to serious physical harm to your body by torture, death, and imprisonment.  All because we stand and identify ourselves as Christians and live our lives accordingly.  The world reacts to these kinds of persecutions by saying “That’s not fair, I want justice!”  They get angry, they march in violent protest, or they take the baker or the florist to court and have the government shut them down.  We are going to learn in our lesson today that God wants His children to face this kind of suffering with joy in our hearts.  

Now, my first reaction to suffering is often the same as the world’s, shouting “That’s not fair,” and wanting someone to do something about setting that injustice right.  My thoughts run immediately to the fact that this nation was founded on Judaeo/Christian beliefs and the constitutional guarantee we have of freedom of religion.  So where is my government that is to support me and defend me?  Well, as we all know, that government has long gone and now believes that we are to be free from religion, instead having freedom of religion.  They now willingly persecute Christians for saying what they believe.  In many other countries, the government violently attacks and kills Christians for living a life for Christ.

The secular world turns to those around them, or to their own brand of religion, or the government for help.  As a Christian we are to turn to God and say “Lord, what am I to learn from this,” or, “Lord, who am I to be witnessing to?  Who do you have watching me to learn how a Christian faces persecution?”  The truth is that not all suffering is a lesson for the believer, sometimes it is a lesson for the persecutor, and sometimes it is just the face of evil doing everything it can to destroy Christianity.  Satan hates mankind, but he has a special hatred for Christians, and there are times that he uses evil people to do great harm to the people of God.  

The difference between how a Christian faces persecution and all others comes from their personal relationship with, and their knowledge of, Jesus Christ as their Lord and Master.  They know from personal experience that God is in control of all things.  His hand of protection is around His children, and His Spirit is in the believer’s heart providing the strength, courage, faith, and hope, to deal with whatever Satan and the world can dish out.  It is not easy, but the focus of the Christian is not to be on the short term of our lives on this earth, but on the eternity that we are going to have with Jesus Christ in heaven.  That is our promise from our Lord, and that is the reason we can face persecution and suffering with a God-given joy in our heart.  That is the defining difference in how a Christian faces persecution.  This is what sets us apart from the world.  This is what identifies us with our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.  We have the promises of the Word of God, and the Spirit of God, in our hearts.

Listen to today’s podcast to learn how a Christian is to face persecution.
OUR MISSION IS TO GLORIFY GOD (1 Peter 2:12-13a)

OUR MISSION IS TO GLORIFY GOD (1 Peter 2:12-13a)

May 22, 2016
Last week we began talking about how the believer is to live a separated life by his behavior.  In other words, people should see a difference in us by our behavior.  They are to see in us a type of behavior that brings glory to God.  

We are a chosen people, we have a special position before God, we are separated by birth because we are the adopted children of God, we are no longer the slaves of Satan, we are separated by our new birth.  

We are a people separated by our belief, our faith is in Christ, our beliefs are unlike any other man-made religion, we believe in our salvation by God’s grace and the precious blood of a risen Savior, not man’s works and efforts.  We are separated by our belief.

We are also a people who should live lives that show a new attitude toward the world around us.  We are to be strangers and pilgrims in this world that is no longer our home.  The world is defined as the society around us, with God left out.  God is deliberately not welcome in the minds and hearts of most people in our society.  Neither are His adopted children, Christians.  

We are strangers in this world.  We are away from our home.  We are in this world, but we are not of this world.  

We are also pilgrims in this world because we are on our path back home.  Our eye is on the goal of completing our mission that God has given us.  The mission of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with a dark world.  

Peter is telling us that our goodness, a goodness that is to be something beautiful to behold, is how we are to behave.  This goodness is to include our obedience of the laws of man.  Christians will be, and have been, accused of horrendous crimes, of hatred, and of violence.  These are lies on a grand scale, and God wants our behavior to prove that these things are false.  Our behavior is to be such that when the world sees a Christian, they are to say that their behavior brings glory to the God that they serve.  In other words, we are God's people in a world of lost people.  Our behavior is to reflect the goodness of God who has sent us here as His personal ambassadors.  This goodness, that is witnessed by others, is to be a result of our separation.

This is the basis for everything Peter teaches in this passage.  We are a chosen people who have been saved, reborn, and given a mission from God.  That mission is to serve God.  It is to be a witness for Him, to lead others to Christ, and to bring glory to God.  That is our mission.  Everything else takes a back seat.  

God has commanded us to live separated lives.  He has given us His definition of the words good, moral, evil, and amoral.  We do not get to change those definitions as the world has done.  Our lives are to meet His standards so that we can represent Him and bring glory to His name.  The world is to know God by what they see in us.  
DOES THE WORLD SEE GOD IN YOU? (1 Peter 2:11)

DOES THE WORLD SEE GOD IN YOU? (1 Peter 2:11)

May 15, 2016
If I were to describe someone as a good person, a moral person, what does that mean to you?  If I were to describe someone as an evil person, an amoral person, what does that mean to you?  Where do the definitions of the words good, moral, evil, and amoral come from? Are these words relative?  Are some people better than others, or more evil than others?

Do those words, good, moral, evil, and amoral, have the same meaning today as they did 10 years ago, 20 years ago, even 40 years ago?  I don’t think so, so why has the world changed the definition of what good and moral behavior means?  Why does the world want a different definition of these words?

As with all words, the meaning depends on the dictionary that you use for it.  For example, if I say the word resurrection as it relates to Christ, I mean the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  I get my definition from the Word of God, the Bible is my dictionary.  Many Christian religions, and some non-Christian religions, believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but they have a different definition for the word resurrection.  They may believe in a spiritual only resurrection, or maybe a symbolic resurrection, but not a physical resurrection.  They say the same words, but they use a different dictionary to define the word, so we have to be careful to know which dictionary we are using when we say the words good, moral, evil, and amoral.  

The answer to the question of why the world has changed the definition of these words is because God’s definition of these words, as He defines them in the Bible, are too restrictive.  They don’t fit in with the new morality.  So over time, man has chosen a different dictionary to define these words, they have moved away from God’s definitions in the Bible, to a definition of their own creation.  The further man moves from the definitions of the Bible, the more evil behavior is called good, and good behavior is called bad.  God warns us of this in His Word.

Isa 5:20
20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
KJV

We live in a society today where homosexuality and lesbianism are called good.  Men can call themselves a woman, have some surgery, and they are called brave, heroes, and good.  It was not long ago that the country had a different name for these types of behavior, but now we are told we must accept evil and amoral behavior as good and moral.  In fact, we must go further than just accepting them, we must agree with the world and call them good and moral, or face persecution.

We live in a society today where God’s definitions of good, moral, evil, amoral, and those who preach, teach, and try to live by these definitions are the ones called evil and hateful.  Jesus tells how we should react to these descriptions.

Luke 6:22
22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.
KJV

So, let me ask you, are you feeling blessed these days?

Our lesson today is about why God wants His followers to live their lives by His definition of the words good, moral, evil, and amoral.  We are to be different from the world, not weird different, but a good difference.  A difference that people will notice and be drawn to.  We will never be perfect by God’s standards, but we are to live our lives more like Christ lived His life every day.  God has a purpose in this desire for us.  We are to be a separated people, not isolated, but separated from the world’s definitions.  We are God’s special people, a peculiar people, a chosen people.  We are His ambassadors and our lives should show it.  
HOW TO LIVE A HOLY LIFE (1 Peter 2:1-3)

HOW TO LIVE A HOLY LIFE (1 Peter 2:1-3)

April 17, 2016
HOW TO LIVE A HOLY LIFE

When I was a kid growing up, my father would tell me that I needed to choose the people I hung around with very carefully because if you are part of a group, then you will be judged by the behavior of that group.  Whether, or not, you actually did whatever the group did, that was how people would think of you.  In other words, if you hang out with a group that is always getting into trouble, then people will think of you as a trouble maker.  If you hang out the smart people, then you will be judged to be like them whether you really are smart, or not.  I am not saying that is fair, it is just the way it is.  Life is rarely fair.  

I learned this lesson well, and I generally chose to do things the various groups of kids were not doing.  As the saying goes, I was country when country wasn’t cool.  I turned in my platform shoes and walked all around my college campus wearing cowboy boots.  Now, I have to admit, it was at Kansas State University, so it wasn’t all that unusual.  I gave up listening to Three Dog Night, Chicago, and Sly and Family Stone as a teenager and started listening to Willie and Waylon, Hank Jr, and Merle Haggard back in the rebel days of country music.  

After a while, I switched to traditional country music which included George Strait and the music from the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s.  People like Hank Sr., Patsy Cline, Don Williams, Danny Davis and Nashville brass, and so forth.  I even started listening to big band and 40’s club music.  Nobody was listening to these guys at that time.  It actually became a point in my life to be seen as different from all of the crowd.  But being different meant that I was not a part of any particular group.  Certainly not, the in-crowd.  This was a conscious, and deliberate, decision on my part.  I did not want to be associated with the in-crowd, and so I wasn’t.

This actually fit right in with being a Christian during my school years.  Living the life of a Christian means you will never be popular, and you will not be a part of the cool kids.  In fact, the Bible tells us that we will be hated.

Mark 13:13
13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
KJV

Even knowing that this true, there is to be a conscious, deliberate, decision on the part of a believer, to live a life that is separated from the secular world.  Not isolated from the world, for we live in the world, but we are not to be of the world.  When people describe you, they should say that there is something different about you, not goofy different, but a good difference.  There ought to be something attractive about the way you conduct yourself.  There should be a lack of anxiety about all of the things that worry the rest of the world.  There should be a humility in your words and your actions.  There should be kindness in your actions to others.  In fact, people should see Christ shining out of you.  

Everything you think about when you consider how Christ lived His life on this earth, ought to be something that you are moving toward, or growing toward as a Christian.  This is what living a holy life means.  It is living a separated life.  One set aside for Christ, dedicated to the work of Christ, and accomplishing the purposes of God in this world.  

This is what our lesson is about today, how to live a holy, or a separated life.  
HOW OBEDIENCE IS HOLY (1 Peter 1:14-16)

HOW OBEDIENCE IS HOLY (1 Peter 1:14-16)

March 13, 2016
Outside the four walls of the church, would you ever describe your life as holy?  Do you feel comfortable with the word holy when you are speaking to the general public?  Probably not.  I can’t say that I use the word holy very much outside of a church service or in a Bible study setting.

Why not?  The unfortunate reality is that we have allowed the word holy to be hijacked by those who would give it a somewhat pious connotation to it.  This is certainly true in the secular world, but even in the religious world.  Words like holy-roller, holier-than-thou, are phrases that come immediately to mind when someone claims to be holy.  

Why? It is because the world thinks of a religious person as basically a hypocrite because they see so many examples of people who claim to be a Christian, but they live a life that is no different than everyone else around them.  They claim to refrain from drinking for religious reasons, but spread gossip at every opportunity.  They say they go to church on Sunday, and then they join their friends at a bar on Monday.  Statistics would say that a Christian couple is just as likely to commit adultery or have their marriage end in divorce as a non-Christian couple.  If these things are true, then there is no wonder that the first thought that comes to mind of an average person when they hear the word holy, is hypocrite, or religious fraud.  If you doubt this is true, try describing yourself as living a holy life to one of your lost friends and then watch for the look on their face.

So, as a believer, when we say that we are to live a life that is holy, what does that mean to you?

Does it mean to live life one way while you are at church and another way when you go to work on Monday?  How about when you are behind the wheel of your car in traffic, do you live a life that is holy then?  Are your actions as you drive holy, are the gestures that you make to other drivers holy, are your words, both the ones you say out loud and the ones that you think in your mind, holy?  How about when you are watching your child, or grandchild, play in a sporting event, would somebody listening to your words that you yell at the umpire or referee consider them to be holy?

When God talks about living a life that is holy, He means that your life should be one that is distinct from the secular world.  There ought to be a noticeable difference in your life, not a weird difference, but a good difference.  Not a hypocritical difference, but a consistent difference.  I said last week that for many people, the life of a believer is the only Bible that they will ever read.  People should see Christ in your life.  Your life should be holy, just as Christ’s life was holy.  

We cannot be perfect, but we can keep trying to be more like Christ.  We cannot live a holy life by our own will power.  It can only be done by the power of the Holy Spirit having complete control of our lives.  This is the message that Peter has for us today.
HOW TO BE A LIGHT IN A DARK WORLD (Romans 12:17-21)

HOW TO BE A LIGHT IN A DARK WORLD (Romans 12:17-21)

August 14, 2015
It is a fact that God has placed us in a world full of darkness and He expects us to be a light in that dark world.  

Matt 5:14-16
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
KJV

We are to be a light in a dark world.

When Jesus walked on the earth, people were drawn to Him.  They wanted to be near Him.  Certainly, they wanted to hear Him speak, and to watch Him perform miracles, but there was just something different about Jesus that drew people to Him.  Not a weird difference, for that would have pushed people away, but a good, calm, inviting, type of difference from the normal attitude that people put on in our world.  

Jesus had compassion on the poor, and the outcasts.  He had kindness for the children, and He had absolute integrity in all of His dealings with people around Him.  Try as hard as they could, the Pharisees and the Sadducees could not find anything to legitimately accuse Jesus of.  He meticulously kept the Law as it was originally written and He hated the man-made religious traditions and rabbinical writings the scribes and burdened the people with.  

He stood for what was right in the eyes of God and He condemned what was wrong.  Christ lived the perfect example of the life that we as Christians should be living today.  In our lesson today, Paul is going to describe what our behavior ought to be like.  He is going to tells us in our relationships with the world the Christian is to follow the example that Christ laid out for us in the Sermon on the Mount.  
HOW DOES A CHRISTIAN LIVE IN A NON-CHRISTIAN WORLD? (Romans 12:14-16)

HOW DOES A CHRISTIAN LIVE IN A NON-CHRISTIAN WORLD? (Romans 12:14-16)

August 11, 2015
Over the last several weeks, Paul has been discussing with us how the believer is to work together with his fellow believers.  What is it that we are to be working together toward?  The kingdom work of God, or the sharing of the light of the gospel with a dark world.  

There are those that feel it would be nice to seclude themselves in a monastery and not have to deal with the secular world, but that is not why God has sent us on this journey.  It is important to understand that, as believers, we are not working our way to get to heaven, we are working to go to our home in heaven.  This earth is not our home, it is our workplace.  

When I go to work in the morning, it is with anticipation that I will be able to come home when I have completed my work for the day.  Returning home is not something I have to earn, it is something I already have.  It is my place of rest.  As believers, this earth is our workplace, and we come to it with the anticipation of being able to go to our home in heaven when we have completed the tasks that God has for us to do.  I do not have to earn my place in heaven, for I already own that place.  It is my place of rest when I am finished doing the kingdom work of God. 

In order to accomplish that kingdom work of sharing the gospel message of Christ, I need to go to where the people are that need to hear that message.  I need to relate with a lost world.  

So Paul tells us that the laws of Christian life deal not only with the spiritual life of the Christian, but with his social life as well.  As believers, we must sustain relationships in the world as well as in the church.  

Listen to this podcast to learn that Paul has three things to say about our daily contacts with those outside of Christ.  We are to show the unbeliever compassion and understanding, we are to take care with our attitude, and we are to live before men unimpeachable and exemplary lives.