The Master‘s Class, LifeChange Church Wichita
JUDGMENT IS COMING (2 Peter 3:7-9)

JUDGMENT IS COMING (2 Peter 3:7-9)

February 6, 2017

Jesus Christ is coming again, and when He arrives the time of judgment will begin. The Great White Throne of Judgment will deal with all who have rejected Christ. Satan and all of his antichrists, false prophets, apostates, demons, fallen angels, and followers, will be cast into the lake of fire. A new heaven and a new earth will be created, and Christ will reign in power for all of eternity. This is the promise that the Bible has given us as believers. The whole purpose of the Gospel message of Christ is so that man can avoid this judgment and live with Christ in the new heavens and on the new earth for eternity. God’s plan of salvation for the corrupted human race has been planned by a loving God from the foundation of the world.

Rev 13:8
8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
KJV

God knew that we would reject Him and His Son, but He loved us anyway.

1 John 4:19
19 We love him, because he first loved us
KJV

God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross for the sins of the world.

John 3:16-21
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
KJV

Christ has done all of the work of salvation for us, all we have to do to have everlasting life with Christ is accept His free gift of redemption. Yet, there are those who still reject this gift. They deny these truths, and they claim that Jesus Christ was not the Son of God. He was a good man, a teacher, and a prophet, but He was not the Son of God. The apostate rejects Christ, and claims that he cannot find Christ. They shout, where is He?

The apostate cannot find Christ for the same reason that a thief cannot find a policeman. Because he doesn’t want to find Him.

The only hope of the salvation of any soul rests in the patience, longsuffering, and self-control of God. God is long–suffering; He is patient; He is not rushing things. After all, He has eternity behind Him and eternity ahead of Him. But this almighty, merciful, and patient, God has promised that the final judgment, the dissolution of the earth and the heavens, is coming. God cannot lie. The day of judgment is coming.

In the meantime, He is giving men everywhere a further opportunity to repent and accept His gift of grace. This is the reason you and I need to get the Word of God out. It is the only thing that can change hearts and lives. It is by the Word of God that man is born again:

1 Peter 1:23
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
KJV

It is not God’s will that you should perish. God does not want you to come into judgment; He wants you to pass from death unto life. And you can do that—you can turn to Him and receive the wonderful salvation that He has for you.

Did you know that you cannot keep God from loving you? You can reject His love, but you cannot keep Him from loving you. Neither can you keep it from raining, but you can raise an umbrella to keep the rain from falling on you. Also, you can raise the umbrella of indifference, or the umbrella of sin, or the umbrella of rebellion, so that you won’t experience God’s love, but you cannot keep Him from loving you.

My friend, you can slap God in the face; you can turn your back on Him; you can blaspheme Him, and you can shake your fist in defiance at Him, but you cannot keep Him from wanting to save you. You cannot keep Him from loving you, for He provided a Savior, His own Son, to die in your place. The Lord Jesus will save you if you will receive the free gift of salvation that He offers. My friend, things are not going to continue as they are now. It is coming to an end, and judgment will come. You and I are living in a world which is moving toward judgment.

We tend to think in terms of “balance scale” justice. God thinks in terms of mercy. He wants everyone to accept His gracious forgiveness so as not to pay the ultimate penalty for sin. Especially since it has already been paid for them! Listen to this podcast to learn of the promise of God that a day of judgment is coming for all who reject Christ.

CHRIST IS COMING AGAIN (2 Peter 3:1-6)

CHRIST IS COMING AGAIN (2 Peter 3:1-6)

January 30, 2017

With each new presidential campaign, comes a new catchphrase. President Trump’s catchphrase is “Make America Great Again.” President Obama’s catchphrase was “Hope and Change,” other presidents have had the New Deal, A thousand points of light, and a New World Order. Each man promised something new by mixing up what exists in the world today, and restacking it. Someone once said that you can’t make a good omelet out of bad eggs, and you can’t make a new world using the corrupt world that we live in today as the material for the new world.

I believe that there will be a new world order, but it won’t come from the hand of man, or the politicos in Washington, or Paris, or London, and certainly not from the UN. Jesus Christ is coming again, and He will indeed establish a New World Order. In fact, the Bible says that there will be a new heaven and a new earth.

Rev 21:1
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
KJV

So, not only will there be a new earth, Jesus Christ is going to create a new heaven, as well. It will not just be a remixing and a covering of the old, it will all be brand new. The old will be consumed in fire, and the new will be created.

This is the fervent hope of every believer, the Second Coming of Christ. No matter how difficult it gets, no matter how full of sin the world becomes, we have this promise from our Lord. We don’t have to worry about what the world is coming to, because we can look forward to Who is coming to the world. Jesus Christ is coming again in power to judge the wicked, to reward the saints, and to create a brand-new world.

Satan hates the teaching of the second coming of Christ because he knows that all of his power and all of his kingdoms will come crashing down in the judgment of the Lord. Satan knows this and so he marshals all of his cohorts to deny and disgrace the idea of the return of Christ.

Listen to this podcast as we find the apostate’s argument against the second coming of Christ. Next week, we will have the apostolic response and confirmation of the second coming of Christ. This is an exciting and incredibly important chapter of the Bible to study. Every believer needs to learn and apply these promises in their hearts.

WILL GOD JUDGE THOSE WHO LIE ABOUT HIM? (2 Peter 2:6-9)

WILL GOD JUDGE THOSE WHO LIE ABOUT HIM? (2 Peter 2:6-9)

December 12, 2016

It is easy to get discouraged when we look at the trajectory of the world around us. To wonder if God is really going to judge those who lie about Him. The news media, the entertainment media, and the social media, would all have us believe that Christianity is on the decline. That God’s definitions of right and wrong are outdated, hurtful, and bigoted.

But I do not believe that is the case. God’s purposes are on track to be completed, just as God planned it from the foundations of the world. God’s people are steadily marching toward the goals that God has laid out for them. The Word of God is being shared all around the world. People are coming to know Jesus Christ as their Savior by the millions around the world. It is important for us to remember, that in spite of all the bad things that surround us, God is still on His throne, and He is still in control of all things. God’s will, will be done on this earth and in heaven.

Isa 46:9-10
9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
KJV

Isa 14:22
24 The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:
KJV

Not one promise that God has made will fail to come true. Not one.

Not one reward that God has promised the believer will fail to come true. Not one.

Not one judgment that God has promised for those who reject Christ as the Son of God, and their Lord and Savior, will fail to come true. Not one.

The message that Peter has for us in this letter is that in spite of all of the persecutions that Christians face in this world, God knows how to deliver the righteous from temptation, and to judge those who lie about Him.

TO HAVE ITCHING EARS (2 Peter 2:2-5)

TO HAVE ITCHING EARS (2 Peter 2:2-5)

December 6, 2016

Why do people listen to false teachers? What is the appeal that they bring?

Certainly, nobody likes to hear that they are living a life that is displeasing to God. Most people’s first reaction to that message is that they live good lives, they help other people, they don’t do any bad things like steal, or lie, or hurt others. So, how could that be displeasing to God? People would rather hear that man is inherently good, that the meter which determines right from wrong, and good from bad, is an evolutionary thing, that it changes as society’s morals change. That which was wrong in our parent’s day is no longer wrong today, and they want to hear someone tell them that is a good thing. That those who preach and teach otherwise are homophobic, racist, and hateful.

People who want to have followers, lots of followers, know that this is true, and so they deliberately say the words people’s itching ears want to hear. We see this in the pulpits of our churches, and in politics, on every side. We see it in our colleges. We see it on our media, TV, movies, and social networks. If you want to get a bunch of likes in social media, say the politically correct things, say the things their itching ears want to hear.

However, the gospel message of Christ is not a negative message, it is a joyous message. It is not a message about do’s and don’ts, it is a message about life, eternal life. It is a message about the unconquerable love of God for His creation, man, even when man totally rejects Him. It is a message about the sacrifice that Jesus Christ gave for the ruined human race. How He chose to die for the sins of the world so that man might find eternal life. How salvation from an eternity in Hell is a free gift of God, by the grace of God alone, through faith in Christ alone, and by Christ alone.

Yet, this is not the message that tickles the ears of those that want to hear the popular message, the feel good message, and the socially correct message. People want to hear that their destiny is within their ability to earn, by what they do, and by how much they give. The false teacher, or the predator teacher, knows this and gives that person tasks to perform, and places to send their money. They can then look at their fellow members and say, See what I have done, see what I have given. They feel good about themselves, right up to the point they stand before God on Judgment day.

We said last week that it is wrong to tell a lie, it worse to teach a lie, but it is monstrous to teach a lie about God. These false teachers know that the words they share are a lie about God. They know that their lies are drawing people away from the true gospel of Christ, and they know that people will spend an eternity in Hell because of their lies. They know this, and they count the money they have earned by these lies all the way to the bank. That is their motive. They covet wealth, power, and an immoral lifestyle.

Listen to this podcast to learn about how these false teachers, who are ever present, are deceiving many, and God’s assurance that He will judge them for their lies.

THE CAUSE OF SUFFERING (1 Peter 4:3-7)

THE CAUSE OF SUFFERING (1 Peter 4:3-7)

August 23, 2016
Last week we began this section on why we suffer for our faith.  Peter has told us that we are in enemy territory, and we cannot expect to get through it unscathed.  Jesus tells us that since He was persecuted even unto death, then His servants will be persecuted as well.  But the wonderful good news of this chapter is that we can get through it victoriously, and in fact, God expects us to do just that.  We are not to spend the rest of our lives giving way to our flesh or to our fears.  We are to live in harmony with God's will, whatever that may be.  We preach the gospel message of Christ because of the coming Great White Throne Judgment, where all of those who reject Christ will be judged.  It is God’s desire that this gospel is preached to each person before they die, and if they don’t respond to the Gospel, then God makes it very clear that they are already dead in “trespasses and sins.” But if they accept Christ, they can then “live according to God in the Spirit.”  The Bible repeats this message of death and life over and over again.  When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we pass from death to life.  

John 5:24
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

Jesus is the resurrection, and the life.  When we believe in Him, we are no longer dead, instead we have life.  

John 11:25-26
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
KJV

We know that we are raised from the dead to walk in the newness of life.

Rom 6:4
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
KJV

Paul continues with this message in

Eph 2:5
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
KJV

In other words, before you and I were saved, we were dead in trespasses and sins.  We were spiritually dead.  Peter is saying the same thing here in this verse.  The gospel is being preached, and when the gospel is being preached, two things happen.  Some accept it, and if they accept it, they are going to live for God and live throughout eternity.  Others reject it, and those who reject the gospel are the men who are dead in sins and are dead to God throughout eternity; that is, they have no relation to Him whatsoever. 

The cause of suffering for a believer is the sinfulness of the world that we live in.  We are not of this world, and because we stand against the sin of this world, we will be persecuted.  We will have lies told about us.  We will face judgment at the hands of the ones in leadership positions of this world.  Peter did.  Paul did.  Jesus did.  Therefore, we will also.  The wonderful good news is that on the other side of the grave is a Savior with His hands outstretched saying “Welcome thou good and faithful servant.”  

Listen to this podcast to learn the true cause of the suffering that a believer encounters as he stands for Christ.
A HEALTHY FEAR OF GOD (1 Peter 1:17-18)

A HEALTHY FEAR OF GOD (1 Peter 1:17-18)

March 20, 2016
Do you fear God?

Your answer to this question says a lot about whether or not you truly believe that there is a God, that He is the Creator of all things, including you, and that a day of judgement is coming for you.  It also says what you believe about heaven or hell and how God will determine who joins Him in heaven, and who spends eternity in hell.  

When we have a healthy fear of the things of this world, it is because they have the ability and the authority to deprive us of our life and the lives of our loved ones, our liberty, and our possessions, although I would define liberty as including our wealth and possessions.  For example, I have a healthy fear of the IRS, not because I have ever failed to pay my taxes as required, but because they have an almost unlimited ability to change my life by taking things away from me, and they have a very spotty record of being accurate in their judgments.

It is a sad statement that man has more fear of the institutions created by man, than they do of their own Creator.  Some of this can be attributed to the immediacy and the visibility of the institutions created by man.  We can see them, we know they exist, and the judgment date can be established as a day on the calendar.  But it can also be attributed to the love that man has for sin.

John 3:19-20
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
KJV

Man does not live a holy life because he does not want to believe in God.  To believe in God, means that you must acknowledge His sovereign right to declare what is sin and what is not.  Instead, man wants to decide for himself what is sin and what is not, so he denies the existence of God.  

Man does not live a holy life because he does not want to believe that there ever will be a judgment day for that sin.  If man denies the existence of God, then man can deny any type of judgment by God.  Man loves sin more than he fears God.  

In today’s lesson, Peter will tell believers that this is a fallacy that we should know better than to believe.  As our Creator, God has the sovereign right and the ability to deprive us of our life, our liberty, and any of our possessions.  While a believer knows that their eternal destination has already been decided when they made Christ their Lord and Master, they also know that a day of judgment is coming for the determination of how our actions will either be rewarded or lost.  Our salvation is secure, our presence in heaven is secure, but our standing in heaven is yet to be determined.   
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION TO DEATH?  (Romans 5:12-14)

WHAT IS THE SOLUTION TO DEATH? (Romans 5:12-14)

November 14, 2014
There is no question that one of the greatest trials that we will face in our lifetime is the loss of a loved one.  As we face that event we often begin to ask God questions like, why did my parent, or spouse, or child have to die?  Even more difficult is the day the doctor tells you that you are going to die.  When faced with the death of a loved one, or even our own death, we ask God, Why must everyone die?  

Why do innocent babies die?  Why do good people die?  Why is it that bad people are not the only ones that die?  According to the way that man thinks, if it was a just world, good people would live forever, and bad people would die at a young age, in a horrible way.  But that is not the way it works in our world, everyone dies.  Little children die, moral people die, and even religious people die right along with the bad people.  Death is universal.  The question is why, and is there a solution to the problem of death?

For a universal effect there must be a universal cause.  That cause is a state of universal sin, but what was the cause of this universal state of sin?  The direct answer is that we all die because the first man, Adam, rebelled against God by violating God’s direct commandment.  

The consequence of Adam’s sin was that a universal state of sin was given to all of Adam’s descendants.  As the descendants of Adam all men must now die, even innocent children.  There is the saying that only two things are certain in this life, death and taxes.  Until the day Jesus comes, each of us will certainly face death because of sin.  

Well you say, Keith that is not fair.  Why must I die because of something Adam did?  Actually, not only is it fair, but it is to our advantage to have sin enter the world through the acts of one man.  

Listen to this podcast to learn that the wonderful thing about God’s love for man is that it is because sin and death entered as a result of one man’s sin, that the solution is provided by the death of one Man as well.  Jesus Christ is the world’s solution to eternal death.  

The death, burial, and resurrection, of Jesus Christ means that everyone who has ever lived can have eternal life if they have, or will, believe in Christ’s completed work of salvation.  We can have eternal life with Jesus in heaven because He was divinely capable of being the One man who could pay the universal penalty of our sin, and Jesus volunteered to do this for you and for me.  
WE ARE MORE THAN JUST A LITTLE GUILTY (Romans 3:13-20)

WE ARE MORE THAN JUST A LITTLE GUILTY (Romans 3:13-20)

September 19, 2014
When your religion demands that you do more good than bad, you must always ask yourself, Have I done enough? The problem is that you will not know the answer to that question until you stand before the judgment of God.

You must ask yourself, how many right things does it take to outweigh a really bad thing? Is there ever a way to earn enough good things to overcome a violent crime, such as a rape, or an armed robbery, or even murder?  Is there anything that a person can do that can overcome these things in a religion that says that the good a person does must outweigh the bad things that a person does?  

This is the question that most people are asking themselves, have I done enough to please God?

What if I told you that there was a simple answer to this question?  The answer is, no, you have not, and you never will.  That is probably not the answer that you were expecting, right?  Well, right here in this question and answer is the key to what makes Christianity, God’s true plan for salvation, so much better, so much more practical, and so much simpler, than all of the religions that rely on the scales of right and wrong. 

The gospel message of Christ presents a much different scenario for man.  We do not have to wait until we die to find out where we shall stand in the judgment.  We can know right now.  Paul says that there is none righteous, no not one.  Then he says that through God’s law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.  Every mouth, not some mouths, but every mouth shall be stopped from protesting their innocence.  For by the law all the world, not some select group of do gooders, but everyone, all the world becomes guilty before God and therefore we all need a Savior.  You know this now, not when you stand before Christ on that judgment day, you know this now, and your opportunity to do something about it is now.  

John tells us that He that believeth on him (Christ) is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18

If you fail to accept Jesus as your Savior, the verdict that you will hear from Christ at the Great White Throne judgment will be that you rejected Christ.  That none of your good works are good enough, they are as filthy rags before a holy God, and that you are condemned to spend eternity burning in the fires of hell.  

It is a vain belief in any religion that says you should hang on to hope that somehow, even still, that your good deeds can outweigh your bad deeds.  That maybe somehow you will be able to do something that God will judge as acceptable to Him.  If you believe this, then this lesson is for you.  The best, the most sincere, and the most strenuous attempts to please God by keeping His law will fail.  It cannot be done.  Truly, man is not only helpless in his condition, but he is hopeless in his case before a Holy God.  

Yet all is not lost.  The wonderful good news of the gospel is that if man is to be saved, then God must save him.  God loves you, and His most sincere desire is that you join Him in heaven for all of eternity.  If you are willing to accept His free gift of salvation, then you can indeed do just that.  This week’s lesson tells us that we are all guilty before God, that we all need a Savior, and that Savior is Jesus Christ.
ARE YOU GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOD? (Romans 3:9-12)

ARE YOU GOOD ENOUGH FOR GOD? (Romans 3:9-12)

August 28, 2014
Almost everything in our secular world has a level of performance that is judged to be good enough to obtain a benefit from that action.  

For example, under our criminal justice system a person’s intent is often considered when making a judgment about whether they are guilty of a crime, or of the punishment for a crime that is committed.  A person who accidentally bumps into someone and knocks them down is judged differently than someone who intentionally pushes somebody to the ground in order to intimidate them.  A person’s intent is considered in making this judgment.

Our education system is built on a grade point system.  A student can pass a course by getting at least a 2.0 grade point in the class.  The person who scores a 2.0 may not have tried very hard when they studied, but they were just good enough to pass the course.  They get to pass the course and move on to the next level, as opposed to someone who received only a 1.9 grade point in the class.  

The religious world has the same type of grading system for a person’s intent.  Almost all of the world’s religions have what is called the scales of good and bad.  A person is deemed to be good enough for the god of that religion, if the number of what the religion calls good actions outweigh the number of bad actions. 

The person’s entrance into heaven often depends on that scale of good and bad.  So a person lives their lives with this mental scale in their minds.  They know that they are not going to be good all of the time, but if they can only be good enough to tip the scale toward the good side, then they will be determined to have been good enough for god.  

True, Biblical, Christianity is the only religion that says that man can never be good enough for God.  Best intent does not matter.  The fact that you have a well documented religion, full of rituals, and rules, and procedures intended to show your intent is to be a good person, is meaningless to God.  

In the area of criminal law, the term illegal per se means that the act is inherently illegal.  Therefore, an act is illegal without extrinsic proof of any surrounding circumstances such as a lack of knowledge or other defenses. It doesn't matter what your intent was, it doesn’t matter that you have more good than bad on your record, if you are guilty of a crime that is illegal per se, you will be judged accordingly.

This is the standard that God has set for man’s righteousness when he stands before a Holy God on that judgment day.  The fact that you have committed any sin, regardless of intent, regardless of how many other so-called good things that you may have done, you are guilty of sin and cannot be judged righteous before God.  

No one can pass this bar.  No one can live a life without committing a sin.  Therefore, God tells us in our lesson today that there is none that are righteous, no, not one.  We all need a Savior.  We all need to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Master.  All of us, every single person who has ever lived, or will ever live, needs the blood of Jesus to make them righteous before God. 

Listen to this podcast to learn why you need a Savior, and His name is Jesus Christ. 
THE RESPONSIBILITY OF KNOWLEDGE (Romans 3:1-8)

THE RESPONSIBILITY OF KNOWLEDGE (Romans 3:1-8)

August 23, 2014
Knowledge is power.  When you know something that others do not, you have an advantage over them.  That is why gossip is so enticing.  For that moment when you know something nobody else does, it makes you the smart one, the one on the inside, the one who has control of where that knowledge goes.  You get to choose who you will allow to join you in this exclusive club for those who have this knowledge.

At the workplace, knowledge is a leverage point.  When people refuse to share knowledge at work, it makes the company less efficient and less productive, but it can be viewed as job security for the person who has the knowledge.  If you are the one with all the knowledge of how things work, it makes it more difficult for the company to let you go.  It makes you more valuable than somebody who does not have this knowledge.  That value gives you leverage.  

Scientific knowledge is often the deciding factor in war time.  The country with the best weapons, the best training, and the best strategy, is usually the one who defeats the other.  Knowledge of how to make a nuclear bomb was the deciding factor in ending the war with Japan in WWII.  The country who got the bomb first was the victor.  

Knowledge is also power in the religious world.  When the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity, most of them did not know how to speak Hebrew anymore.  They spoke Aramaic which was the official language of the Babylonians.  This meant that the priests and the scribes would have to translate the Scriptures during the worship services for the people.  If the priests could declare what was right and wrong, regardless of what the Scriptures really said, then they had power over the people.  Nor could the people challenge their interpretation of the Law for they could not read the Scriptures themselves.  The religious leaders used this power to control and to mislead the people.

As Christians we have been given knowledge the world does not understand.  We have been given the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This is tremendously powerful knowledge, for it is the secret of how to have eternal life with Jesus Christ in heaven.  The Holy Spirit lives within our hearts and He shares the knowledge of God with us.  He opens the Word of God and He explains it meanings, it promises, and most all what God has done for our salvation.  God wants us to use that knowledge to lead others to Christ.  He has tasked us with the awesome responsibility of being His ambassadors on earth.  We have the knowledge that can help bring others into this group of believers that God calls His own.  

Our lesson today is about how those with that knowledge failed to share it with the world.  When God gave the Mosaic Law to the Jews, He gave them the knowledge of right and wrong.  He gave them something more valuable than gold or silver.  He gave them the light of God.    
THE VANITY OF RELIGIOUS RITUAL (Romans 2:17-29)

THE VANITY OF RELIGIOUS RITUAL (Romans 2:17-29)

August 15, 2014
As I have gotten older I have found comfort in the status quo of things.  Some people may call it a rut, but my life is fairly regimented between work and study and teaching.  Each week is just about the same as the last, never having enough time to get everything done, but making do with the time that I have.  

People tend to approach religion in much the same way.  Our services are regimented with rituals and procedures.  There will be periods of singing, standing, greeting each other, taking up an offering (we can’t forget the offering), and the preaching followed by an alter call.  

But we find comfort in our religious rituals when we know what to expect and we can be obedient to them.  It makes us feel like we gain a special place with God if we perform these rituals, or that they must please God in some way, or why else would we do them?

We certainly must be in better standing with God than the person who only comes to church on Easter and Christmas, if even then.  Right?  That has to be worth something, right?

However, these rituals are certainly not described in the Word of God.  We are commanded to gather together and worship, and there are certain ordinances given by God, such as the Lord’s Supper, and Baptism, but sitting, standing, and singing 4 choruses, before the preaching is not in the Bible.  I know, I have looked for it.  

Now, do not misunderstand me, I am not condemning a structured service.  Like I said, I find comfort in the regimintation of things.  What I am condemning is the condition of the heart of those who are participating in these services.  

If you come to church on Sunday, and then live like the devil on Monday through Saturday, then these rituals are just that, rituals.  But if you come to church on Sunday to truly worship God, and you live the rest of your life in the will of God, then God loves the singing of praises to Him, even if it is just the first, third, and fourth verses.  

Our lesson today is about the vanity of the religious ritual.
GOD’S JUDGMENT IS REAL (Romans 2:7-16)

GOD’S JUDGMENT IS REAL (Romans 2:7-16)

August 8, 2014
Sometimes it seems that the only things we feel are real are those things that we can instantly put our hands on and control.  It must come to us instantly, or it is not worth worrying about.  Our world is a world of instant gratification.  There are fast food, fast cars, and fast planes.  We can drive up to a little kiosk and get hot coffee handed to us through our car window.  We become impatient if we have to wait in line for anything.  We expect restaurants to provide quick and efficient service or we take it out of our tip to the waiter.  

Many people suffer from what I call the tyranny of the moment.  This is when your entire focus is controlled by the things immediately in front of you.  You know you need to plan for things, like retirement, but the car payment is due, the mortgage is due, the kids need braces or college, and so you take care of the things of the moment and let the things of the future go unattended.  

When things are promised to us at some unknown point in the future, then they fade into the backs of our mind, and if we try hard enough we can imagine that they will not happen.  

Like God’s judgment.  We are told by God that it is going to happen.  The preacher proclaims that God’s judgment is coming.  All of creation tells us that God is real, and if God is real, then His judgment must be real as well.  But we live our lives like that judgment is never going to happen.  

Can you honestly say that the way you live your life today would not change if you knew for a fact that Jesus was coming tomorrow and you would have to stand before Him?

The world behaves as if God does not exist.  But God’s judgment is real.  

Listen to this podcast to hear the Bible tell us that each person is guilty of sin, there are no exceptions, Jew or Gentile.  God would be perfectly just to condemn each of us based on our works.  Yet God has provided us with an alternative.  God has provided the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ to cover our sins, so that we can have righteousness imputed to us.  A person who has made Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior can stand before a Holy God in righteousness found in Christ.
THE MORAL HYPOCRITE (Romans 2:1-6)

THE MORAL HYPOCRITE (Romans 2:1-6)

July 30, 2014
We live in a world where man does not like to admit that his sinfulness and rebellion against God are at the heart of the problems of society.  We talk easily about how men are naturally good and that it is society that makes them bad.  We have a hard time taking responsibility for our actions in our society.  We are much more comfortable discussing imperfections, weaknesses, mistakes, and errors in judgment as the cause for our faults.  These terms are more socially acceptable, and almost everyone identifies with them, for we all have weaknesses.  

But an outright acknowledgment of guilt before a holy God, a 100 percent acceptance of responsibility for wrongdoing, is difficult for most people to do.  Yet, it is this kind of honesty that is the first step to the freedom from sin and guilt that God longs to give us and has provided for us in the death of Jesus Christ. 

It is easy to see the fault in others, to consider yourself as better than the other person.  It is even easier to praise the punishment of somebody else, but we become horrified when we are the subject of the punishment for doing the exact same thing.  When we judge others, there is no excuse for doing something wrong, but when we are judged ourselves our excuses are intended to exempt us, to explain our sins.  

God sees through our excuses and sees the sin. 

Listen to this podcast and learn how God condemns the moral hypocrite.
HOW GOD IS REVEALED (Romans 1:17-20)

HOW GOD IS REVEALED (Romans 1:17-20)

July 19, 2014
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.”

I don’t know how anyone could look at the rings of Saturn, or the moons of Jupiter, and not feel in awe of the power of God to create these things for us.  The idea that all of these stars, all of these individual galaxies, black holes, quasars, and the sheer unfathomable distances of space, could be in existence just by happenstance, is the epitome of man’s ideological arrogance.       

It takes an incredible amount of assumptions based on theories that are derived from the miniscule amount of knowledge that man has about the universe and how it works for us to deny the existence of an all powerful Creator.  Yet, man makes these assumptions, calls them facts, and then proudly proclaims that there is no God.

Romans 1:20 declares For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 

Listen to this podcast to learn how God continuously reveals Himself to man, and how man has intentionally, with forethought and deliberate effort, walked away from that revelation and began to worship pagan idols and his own greatness.  

We will discuss that man is lost in sin, that he needs a Savior, and that God has revealed Himself to man so that there can be no excuse for man to turn away from God.
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.  
WHEN WILL THE WICKED BE JUDGED? (James 5:7)

WHEN WILL THE WICKED BE JUDGED? (James 5:7)

June 5, 2014
Do you ever look at the world around you and see people who are not even trying to be obedient to God, who are only looking to satisfy their own needs, and say “Lord, why do you allow the wicked to be so successful?”

It is easy to look at countries like Pakistan where Christians are being persecuted to the point of killing them by the thousands, and ask “Lord, why do you allow this to happen?”

When you find yourself working for someone who is deceitful, dishonest, and whose sole purpose is to make your life at work miserable, and ask “Lord, why are you not judging this person?  You promise that you will judge the wicked, so when are you going to do it?”

While it is true that God will reward the obedient believer and punish those who are disobedient, the Bible tells us that it will happen on God’s timeline and not ours.  

In our podcast this week, James tells the believer to be patient until the coming of the Lord.  God will judge all men, the believer and the unbeliever.  In fact, Nothing is more certain from Scripture than the fact of God’s judgment to come.

The Bible is clear that all of us are to be judged, we are simply not going to be judged all at the same time.  Just as there are several resurrections, there are several judgments.  They are distinguished by the subjects of the judgment, the time of the judgment, the place of the judgment, the basis of the judgment, and the result of the judgment.  

If you knew the Lord was coming tomorrow to judge you, how would it change your behavior?
Who Is My Judge? (1 Cor. 4:1-5)

Who Is My Judge? (1 Cor. 4:1-5)

March 27, 2011

Who is it that can judge you?  Who has a voice that can make a difference in the way you act, the things that you work on, and the things that you feel are important?  Who is it that establishes for you the absolute truths about what is right or wrong?

Is it your conscience?  Is it your wife or husband? Is it your friends?

In today's lesson, Paul is going to talk about who his judge is and who the Christian should be allowing to determine what is right or wrong for them.

This study is a verse-by-verse study of 1 Corinthians 4:1-5. 

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