The Master’s Class, Summit Church
LESSONS FROM FOOT WASHING-PART I (John 13:1-13)

LESSONS FROM FOOT WASHING-PART I (John 13:1-13)

October 13, 2019

Our messages over the next couple of weeks are going to be about the story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. Now, I have heard many sermons on this portion of Scripture, and the majority of those sermons focused on being humble servants of the Lord, and we will talk about that, as well. But, I am also going to talk about what the Bible has to say about foot washing, and how that applies to us in this day and in this age.

In the Lord’s day, foot washing was a common practice. It was not a religious service, or ritual, but it was a very common practice. It was just something everybody did on a regular basis. There were public baths, and going down the street, if your feet were tired and dirty and dusty, you could go in there and a slave, or a servant, would wash your feet. If you had a wealthy home, generally there would be by the door a basin of water, and if you were receiving guests into your house, the first thing they would do would be to slip off their sandals and step inside the threshold of your house. Again, if you had a servant, that servant would be there with a towel and a basin. You would put your feet in that basin. There'd be a little stool there, and this servant would wash your feet, give them a gentle massage, and dry them with a towel.

Now, this exercise wasn’t just a luxury, or for show, there was a practical reason why they did this foot washing. What was that reason? Well, think about it for a moment. They didn't have paved sidewalks like we have. They didn't have asphalt or concrete streets either. Only the busiest streets were paved with bricks, but most were just hardened paths. This means that everything was dusty and dirty, and the people, for the most part, wore sandals. They didn't have leather shoes like we have today to keep out the dust and the dirt. Therefore, foot washing was a practical thing, but it was also a mark of hospitality.

Now, there are some great lessons here for us to learn in this portion of Scripture, and I would pray to God that we can all learn it. Today, I am only going to get to one lesson that we can learn, but next week we will cover several more lessons concerning foot washing.

Click on the link below to hear a lesson concerning salvation. We need to know that salvation is essential. Today, you may be sitting a church with an open Bible in your hand, taking notes, but you've never been saved. You may be reading this blog, or listening to the podcast message, but you have never been saved. When Jesus said, "Ye are clean, but not all of you," He's teaching us that salvation, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, is essential. If your desire is to live with Jesus in heaven for all of eternity, then it is absolutely necessary.

Amen.

FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD (INCLUDING ME) (John 3:16)

FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD (INCLUDING ME) (John 3:16)

October 14, 2018

What was the very first Bible verse that you can remember memorizing?

It would be John 3:16 for me. In fact, with my memory going away in my old age, it is probably the only verse I still have memorized. I know lots of verses by their context, but if it wasn’t for the internet search engines and the Bible concordance on my computer, I would have a hard time finding them. But John 3:16 is one I still remember.

So, why do you think that is? Why would this verse stay with me so readily, when others do not? It is because it tells me of God’s love for the whole world, but it is written in such a way, that it seems like He is talking to just me. God loves the world, but the word whosever means including me.

Who does the verse say loves this poor lost world? The one, true, almighty God. The eternal, self-existing, uncreated, and having need of nothing, God. It is God, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. It is God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. It is God, who takes the initiative. It is God, who loves and gives. It all begins with God.

That God is “not willing that any should perish” is a great Biblical truth that is revealed to us. John tells us in 3:16 that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” That is God's earnest desire for all the children of Adam. The gospel invitation is extended to all. If you want to make the invitation of this verse personal, then put your own name in the verse. For example say, For God so loved the world (including Keith Martin), that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever (including Keith Martin) believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. God’s plan for salvation, includes me, even me. God does not want me, or you, or anybody else to perish.

The word Perish is a word that should make us all tremble as we think of the consequences of our sin against God. The word perish reveals the other side of God's character. He is not only a God of immeasurable love, he is also a God of infinite holiness. It is the finality of the word that terrifies us. Death, and what occurs on the other side of death, is a mystery to the lost person, but John 3:16 brings clarity to the mystery. In it, God puts a choice before us. He says, “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.” The choice that God gives us is to believe in Jesus Christ or perish. If we reject Christ, then God will allow sin to complete its work beyond the grave of condemning the soul to an eternity in torment.

But that is not what God wants for us. God would have every person come to repentance. That is why the invitation of John 3:16 is universal, hinging on believing in him. Those who do, become heirs of everlasting [eternal] life. God created us with eternity in mind. We have an immortal soul and spirit that will exist for all of eternity. This great verse, which summarizes the whole gospel story, begins with God and ends with everlasting life. It begins with one who had no beginning. It ends with that which has no ending.

The fact that Jesus Christ has come into the world provides each person with the ultimate test of believing or disbelieving, of choosing whether to continue in their sins and surely perish, or whether to believe in him and pass from death to life. The coming of Christ into this world is the single decision point of eternal destiny for each of us.

This great verse is the essential foundation of the gospel of Christ. God loved the world, including me, so much that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever, including me, believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Don’t walk away and reject such a gift. Choose Christ. Choose eternal life.

Click on the link below to learn just how much God loves you.

Amen.

WHY YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN - PART II (John 3:1-7)

WHY YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN - PART II (John 3:1-7)

September 23, 2018

In the first part of this series on why you must be born again, we talked about the deficiency of our natural birth. Why is it deficient? Because we are born into the natural world, we are bound to the sinful world, and we are blind to the spiritual world. So, why did Jesus come as God in man? Because of the deficiency of our natural birth.

How did Jesus Christ come into this world? He came through the portals of a virgin's womb. He is the only begotten Son of God. There never was, nor will there ever be, another like Him. He is the God man. He is God's only begotten Son. That which was conceived in the womb of Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit of God, and He is the only begotten of Son of God. He is the virgin born Son of God. That is what it means when we say He was virgin born.

He came as He did, born of a virgin, to be what He was, sinless. He was what He was, sinless, to do what He did, die for our sins. A sinner could die for nobody's else's sin except his own. He had to be sinless to be a substitute. He came as He did, to be what He was, to do what He did, that we might be what we are, sons and daughters of God. He came to earth that we might go to heaven.

He was born of a virgin that we might be born again. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but should have everlasting life." That is redemption. Thank God for the virgin birth. Don't think it's incidental. Don't think it's mythological. It is the foundation stone of our faith that God became man. This is the incarnation, the Second Adam from above, who came to reinstate us in God’s love.

Click on the link below to hear a message on the three types of miracle births that we are studying about in this third chapter of the Gospel of John. The natural birth, the virgin birth, and the new birth. All three are miracle births created by God.

Amen.

WHY YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN (John 2:24-3:7)

WHY YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN (John 2:24-3:7)

September 16, 2018

Let me ask you a question, how many of you were born as a baby? Imagine that, I will bet that this is the only question that I could ask and get a 100% positive response to. Everyone that is reading this post, and listening to this lesson, was born as a baby.

Next question, was your birth a product of man’s scientific prowess, or was it a miracle of God? Who is your creator? Your mother and father, a scientist with a test tube, or God? Is it possible to create a living body, soul, and spirit, without God? If the answer to this last question is “No”, and it is, then God is your Creator.

In our lessons over the next couple of weeks, we are going to talk about three different kinds of miracle births, and let me be very clear, only God can create a miracle birth. But, today, we are going to focus on the fact that our natural birth, even though it is a miracle birth, is deficient, and, therefore, we must be born again.

Click on the link below to hear a message on why Jesus had to come. Why the agony of Gethsemane? Why bloody Calvary? Why did Jesus come to this earth as God in human flesh? Why you must be born again.

Amen.

THE PERFECT SACRIFICE (1 Peter 2:22-25)

THE PERFECT SACRIFICE (1 Peter 2:22-25)

July 3, 2016
If I were to ask you to describe something in your life that was absolutely perfect, what would you say?

I would say a big round plate, with three buttermilk biscuits, made from scratch, piping hot from the oven, split open with steam coming off of them, and then multiple ladles of sausage gravy filled with pounds and pounds of spicy sausage poured all over those biscuits.  And then me with permission to eat the whole plate, bite by bite, until it was all gone.  Now that is the absolutely perfect meal.

How about the love of my wife for me, now that is absolutely perfect.  Why she loves, I don’t know, but she does, and in my eyes it is perfect.  

Unfortunately, as good as those things are, we really have no concept of the absolute perfection of the living, true, almighty, God.  That sausage gravy may be too thick or runny, and as perfect as my wife is, she still gets mad at me from time to time.  Yet, God’s perfection is total and complete.  

God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is perfect.  He came to this earth and He remained absolutely perfect.  He died on the cross for our sins, even though he was totally pure of sin in any form. He had no reason to do this other than His love for us.  No other sacrifice could do what His did.  No other sacrifice could be good enough to meet the demands of God’s holiness. This is why no amount of good behavior can grant you eternal life in heaven.  We simply cannot be good enough, there is nothing on this earth that is truly perfect.  But Jesus Christ was and is, and He chose to suffer for us.  At Calvary, all of the sins of the world, past, present, and future were placed upon this perfect sacrifice.  The Lord Jesus his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.  He died so that we might live.

Last week we described the Jesus Christ who willingly chose to step down from His throne in heaven and come to earth as God incarnate in man in order to suffer for us because sin raised its head in the universe and was transplanted to Earth.  Adam fell.  Sin entered, and death by sin.  Now the Creator must become the Christ.  Prophet after prophet arose to foretell the coming of a Kinsman-Redeemer, a Savior which is Christ the Lord.

So God's Son became the Seed of the woman, the Seed of Abraham, the Seed of David.  He was to be the Lion of the tribe of Judah.  He was the Child born and the Son given.  He was called the Wonderful Counselor, the Father of eternity, the Mighty God, the Prince of peace.

He was born of a virgin in Bethlehem, the Lord's Anointed, Prophet, Priest, and King.  Page after page of the Old Testament told the story.  Book after book was written, all about Him.  Detail added to detail increased the wonder of it all.  He stood apart from all others, robed in majesty, the altogether lovely One, and the chiefest among ten thousand, the One who suffered for us.  He was the perfect sacrifice.
GOD’S PLAN OF REDEMPTION (1 Peter 1:19-21)

GOD’S PLAN OF REDEMPTION (1 Peter 1:19-21)

April 3, 2016
God has a plan for your redemption.  God was not taken by surprise by the fall of man.  It was foreknown by God.  If God acted in creation, He knew He would eventually have to act in redemption.  He also knew that all three persons of the Godhead would have to be involved.

So, before God ever spoke the words that began creation, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit conceived the plan to redeem Adam's ruined race.  It was foreordained before the foundation of the world that, when the fullness of the time was come, God the Son would enter into human life.  He would become the Babe of Bethlehem and then, in due time, the Lamb of Calvary.  Our redemption was no afterthought with God.  It was part of a plan.  

Christ was the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world because God knew that you and I would need a Savior, and He loved us enough to provide that Savior.  The Biblical concept of foreordination is just that simple, we only needed a God with a great big heart of love who provided redemption by His grace. 

John 3:16-18
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.
KJV

This is God’s plan of redemption.  God loves you enough to offer salvation by grace.

Revelation 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

Whether man wants to acknowledge the existence of God or not. Whether man wants to accept God’s plan of redemption, or not.  God’s plan states that from the foundation of the world, God planned for all mankind, saved or not, to worship Him.  If you want to find God’s salvation, then the object of your faith must be in the Son of God, Jesus Christ.  God very reasonably declares…

1 John 5:9-12
9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.
10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
KJV

Our redemption has been a part of God’s eternal plan.  Our response to that plan demands that we accept the redemption offered by God, to live a holy life as set out by the Scripture, and to do the work that God has sent us here to do.  

Listen to this podcast to learn about God’s plan for your redemption.
REDEMPTION THROUGH GRACE (1 Peter 1:2c-d)

REDEMPTION THROUGH GRACE (1 Peter 1:2c-d)

January 24, 2016
So when we are facing times of terrible persecution, or difficult trials, when things are so bad that they are out of our ability to control, what are you most grateful for?

Certainly, I am grateful for a loving God who cares for me, watches over me, and provides for me.  I am grateful for the power of the Holy Spirit living within me.  I am grateful for the promises of God that we find in His word, such as, that we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

So this verse is interesting because it doesn’t promise that all things work together for the good of all men, it puts a qualifier on this promise.  What is that qualifier?

You have to be someone who loves God, and someone who is called according to His purpose.  This means that if you want to claim the promise of this verse, that no matter what you are going through, that it will work out for your good, then you must meet the requirements of this promise.  And in order to meet those requirements you must be saved, a born again child of God.  

So, the first thing that you need to have in order to face persecution, trials, or difficult times in your life, is the certain knowledge that you have been redeemed by God, and that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Master.  This is the basic minimum for this promise to be true.   

The next most important thing that I believe we need is the grace of God.  When I am facing a difficult time, the one thing that I cherish most from God is His grace.  It is His grace that allows me to be forgiven.  It is His grace that allows me to be justified freely before God.  It is His grace that allows the blood of Christ to wash my sins away, in spite of the sin in my life.  That is God’s grace.  

This leads us to the third thing that we must have to face persecution.  The result of knowing that we are saved, and that God’s grace has been bestowed on us, is the peace of God in our hearts.  When we have God’s peace in our heart, we have comfort in the knowledge of God’s provision for us.  

So salvation, grace, and peace, are what I consider the three most important things that I must know, claim, and be sure of, when I have hard times.  Everything else that God is going to do for me flows from these three Biblical truths.  The presence and power of the Holy Spirit resides in my heart because of the redemption and grace that God has given me, and it is because I am redeemed, and that I am the recipient of God’s grace, that God’s peace is there, as well.   

Listen to this podcast to learn what it means to be redeemed by God, and to have God’s grace and peace, to give us comfort during times of persecution. 
GOD’S GIFT AND GOD’S GRACE (Romans 5:16-21)

GOD’S GIFT AND GOD’S GRACE (Romans 5:16-21)

November 28, 2014
Each day that I live I am grateful for the gift of God and the grace of God.  It is by the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, that I can have eternal life in Heaven, and it is the grace of God that makes it all possible.

Nothing can stand in the way of God’s grace.  It is absolutely sovereign.  Eternal life through Jesus Christ is assured.  God’s abundant grace will reign through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, for all who believe on Him, unto everlasting life.  That is our security as a believer.  It was God’s gift and God’s grace that allowed us to have salvation, and nothing can stand in the way of God’s grace.  Absolutely nothing.  We are secure in God’s grace.  

This whole concept of sin and death, and of God’s gift and grace, is so amazing that it is hard to believe.  Yet, it is also so simple and direct that it truly brings out the divine nature of God, His omniscience and omnipotence, and most of all His love for each of us.  His desire that none should perish but that all should have everlasting life is one of the great promises of the Bible.  I know that God loves me because the Bible has told me so.

On this week of thanksgiving, I praise God that:

John 3:16-18
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.
KJV
JESUS IS THE SOLUTION (Romans 5:15)

JESUS IS THE SOLUTION (Romans 5:15)

November 18, 2014
Sin has caused the death of every human that has ever lived.  So you might ask Is there a solution to the problem of sin and death?

The answer to this question is found in the love and grace of God.  God loves us so much that He planned the solution to the problem of sin and death before the world was ever formed.  

The answer is where one man created the problem, a second Man is the solution, or a last Adam.  Jesus Christ.  The One who through His obedience to will of the Father restored all that the first Adam threw away by his willful rebellion against the command of God.  
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.  
HOW SECURE IS GOD’S LOVE? (Romans 5:6-11)

HOW SECURE IS GOD’S LOVE? (Romans 5:6-11)

November 7, 2014
We live in a society where everything changes, where nothing is permanent.  A majority of people in our state can define marriage as being between one man and one woman, and yet a set of activist judges, with no regard for the constitution of the U.S., can overrule the will of the people.  

We can live in this nation for hundreds of years with clearly defined morals about what is right and wrong based on the absolute truths established by God, and then suddenly anything that God says must be disregarded.  Where man is involved, everything changes, nothing is secure.  

So it is easy to understand why people have a hard time accepting God’s gift of salvation as permanent.  Surely there must be things that we can do to take that salvation away, or perhaps God will change His mind as He looks at the depravity of man in our current world.   

This is the way man acts, right?  Our love towards others is generally dictated by how that other person treats us.  It is easy to love someone who loves us back.  It is much harder to love someone who intentionally harms us.  So this is man’s concept of love, do unto others as they have done unto me.  

However, God’s concept of love is very different from ours.  In our lesson today, Paul will tell us that God loves even the ungodly.  He loves us even if we have rejected Him.  He loves us even if we have done things that He has established as evil and wrong.  God loves us in spite of what we do, say, or even if we do not love Him back.  Paul will go on to say that it is because God’s love for us does not change that our salvation, once accepted, is unchangeable.  Once we have become a reborn, sanctified, justified, and adopted child of God, we cannot be unborn, nor can our adoption to the family of God be revoked.  Once we are in the hand of our Lord, nothing can remove us.  Our salvation is secure, because God’s love for us is secure.  

It is the love of God that guarantees our eternal security.  That same love that planned our redemption at the foundation of the universe, that sent His own beloved Son to die on a cross, will be the same love that will fling wide open the gates of glory to welcome us home. 
WHO DO YOU TRUST FOR YOUR SALVATION?  (Romans 4:16-25)

WHO DO YOU TRUST FOR YOUR SALVATION? (Romans 4:16-25)

October 22, 2014
Have you ever looked at the work that you asked somebody to do for you, or even hired them to do it, and ultimately said, If you want a job done right, then do it yourself.

Finding people to do quality work is difficult in a society where excellent craftsmanship is so expensive, that we have learned to settle for less.  Contractors, plumbers, service technicians, arrive late, or not at all.  The work that many of them do is poorly done, or mediocre at best, with little pride in what they have accomplished.  My father had another saying that he instilled in me, if you are going to do a job, do it right, or don’t do it all.  

Our schools teach our children that competing to win at sports, on the playground, in academics, or even at life, is degrading to those that lose.  A grading system that rewards the hard work, or natural ability, of some, discourages those who do not get those grades, so they do away with the grades.  They teach kids that not excelling is ok, when they ought to be telling our kids, that success in our society is obtained by hard work, excelling at what you do, having desire, passion, and intelligence about what to work hard on.  

When faced with the failure of so many in our lives to do the things that we ask them to do, we often stop trusting in others.  We decide that when something is really important, then we can only trust ourselves to get it done right.  This is probably a true statement when our faith is in the things of this world, or man.  

But what about our eternal lives?  Who do you trust with your acceptance by God?

Do you trust your preacher with your eternal destiny?  Can you trust your friends or family to make sure you get into heaven?  Your parents have always worked hard at the church, so you must be ok, right?

Or, do you say, If I want a job done right, or if I want to be sure I am going to heaven, then I better do it myself?  

Well, this is the question that Paul has been answering over the last several weeks of lessons.  Are you going to believe in salvation by trying, or doing it yourself, or salvation by trusting?

Paul has said that no matter how hard we try, we cannot be good enough to meet the perfect standards of righteousness that a Holy God demands.  That salvation by trying is not even possible, no matter how hard you try.  Therefore, the only reasonable alternative is to depend on salvation by trusting, or salvation by faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ towards our salvation.  

Listen to this podcast as we discover who the Bible says you should trust with your eternal life.
ARE YOU TOO BAD TO BE SAVED?  (Romans 4:6-15)

ARE YOU TOO BAD TO BE SAVED? (Romans 4:6-15)

October 17, 2014
Many of us have lived lives where we have done things that we regret today.  Things that have had terrible consequences to our own life, and the lives of those around us.  Prison, a ruined marriage, a lost career, and personal finances that were wasted.  The question that comes to mind when you are confronted with religion, salvation, eternal life, heaven, or hell, is have I been too bad to be accepted by God?

Are there things that a person could do that would be just too bad, too ugly, or too horrific, that would make them unacceptable for God’s plan of salvation?  

What about a murderer?  Is murder the unpardonable sin?  Can a person who has committed a vicious act of murder ever hope to be saved?  

What about suicide?  Can a Christian commit suicide and still go to heaven? 

How about someone who commits adultery?  A man and a woman have been married for years and the man decides to look for a younger woman.  Can he be saved?

Can a drunk, or a thief, or name the worst sin that you can think of, can they be accepted by God?

Many of the people that I converse with on my web-pages argue that justification by faith makes no sense at all if it allows really bad people to be saved.  Are they right?

The Bible tells me that a career thief who hung on cross next to Jesus was able to join Jesus in heaven.  The Bible also tells me that there is no act of murder which is too great.  There is no act of adultery which is too awful.  There is no unpardonable act of sin, not even suicide.  

The key to your salvation is not what type of sin, or how much sin you have committed.  The key to your salvation is what you do with Jesus Christ.  If you make Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior, then you can be saved.  I am not going to say that people whose hearts have been so seared by evil can do this easily, or would even want to do this, but God says that by the power of the Holy Spirit, it can be done.

God’s plan of salvation says that we must have faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God in order to be saved.  It requires that we accept the fact that we are hopelessly guilty of sin against God.  It requires that we repent of those sins by agreeing with God that it was wrong and then choosing to change our lives, to never do those things again, and then make Jesus Christ the Lord of our lives.

If we do this, if a person who has committed murder can actually do this, then I believe that the Bible is clear when it says that Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  The Bible does not say Whosoever has not done evil, or Whosoever has done more good than bad, it says Whosoever, meaning anyone who accepts God’s plan of salvation by calling upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.  

Listen to this podcast to learn that the only unpardonable sin that a man can commit is to reject the completed work of Christ for your salvation and to reject Jesus as the Son of God.   
IS GOD’S PLAN REASONABLE? (Romans 3:27 to 4:5)

IS GOD’S PLAN REASONABLE? (Romans 3:27 to 4:5)

October 11, 2014
Is God’s plan of salvation reasonable?  That is an interesting question, for if we are to consider whether or not God’s plan of salvation is reasonable, then we have to ask is God reasonable?

I have to admit that I have never thought of the word reasonable in relation to God.  God is divine, therefore, He doesn't have to be reasonable.  God is gracious, God is loving, God is our judge, He is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent, but is God reasonable?

Is God reasonable as He judges our works?  What are His standards?  Are they reasonable?

The word reasonable is defined as rational, in accord with common sense, not expecting more than what is possible, not exorbitant, and fairly good.  So with these words in mind, if you believe that you will be accepted by God based on your works, or how much good versus how much bad you have done, then will God be reasonable in His judgment of your works?

To answer this we have to ask what is the standard that God will use to judge us by? And the Bible tells us that our works must meet the standard of God’s own perfect righteousness and holiness.  Is it rational for God to expect perfection?  Is it in accord with common sense, and is it not expecting too much? 

Most people would answer that God knows that we cannot be perfect so it would be expecting too much for Him to demand perfection.  My response is that God created Adam and Eve in perfect bodies and placed them in a perfect environment called the Garden of Eden.  God expected Adam and Eve to keep that perfection.  It was man who willfully chose to sin and corrupt the perfection that God had created.  So it is certainly reasonable for God to expect man to be as perfect as He created him.

If this is true, then that leaves those who believe in salvation by works with a problem.  How can they meet the standards demanded by God when man is no longer capable of perfection?  

Does God have to change His standards?  The Bible says there is no changing in God.  What God demanded in the past, God demands today.  What God expected from Adam in the past, God expects from us today.  The bottom line is that I would not trust the best five minutes of my life to meet the perfect standards of God.  So if man’s plan is not possible, what is God’s plan?

God’s plan is salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.  In man’s plan of salvation by works, everything depends on the sinner.  In God’s plan of salvation by faith, everything depends on the perfect work of salvation performed by the Son of God, Jesus Christ.  

Listen to this podcast to learn that if you want to plead not guilty and demand a fair trial, then God will give you one, a trial where your works must meet His standards of perfection.  The more reasonable approach is to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, plead guilty, and depend on God’s mercy and grace that He is able to grant us through the perfect work of Christ.


HOW CAN WE BE RIGHTEOUS? (Romans 3:24-26)

HOW CAN WE BE RIGHTEOUS? (Romans 3:24-26)

October 2, 2014
For the believer who has Christ as his Savior, words like justified, freely, grace, redemption, propitiation, faith, and blood all have very specific meanings to their faith.  Yet how many Christians can define these words in a way that allows others to understand how God’s plan of salvation has changed their lives?  

For example, as you relate God’s plan of salvation to someone you know, can you tell them how it meets their need of being seen as righteous before God because of the redemptive price that was paid by Jesus on the cross.  How it grants them redemption?  How it serves as propitiation, and how the means of this salvation is our faith in Christ?  How the redemptive price for this salvation was so high, that it cost the shed blood of the Son of God?

The wonderful good news about God’s plan of salvation is that a holy and perfectly righteous God devised a plan of salvation that reaches down into the depths of sin and darkness that man has fallen to, and yet does not compromise God’s own inherent holiness, justice, and righteousness.  Listen to this podcast to learn what these words mean to your salvation, and to the salvation of those who want eternal life with Jesus in heaven.
IF MAN IS TO BE SAVED, THEN GOD MUST SAVE HIM (Romans 3:21-23)

IF MAN IS TO BE SAVED, THEN GOD MUST SAVE HIM (Romans 3:21-23)

September 25, 2014
When we accept the apostle Paul’s statement that we are all hopelessly guilty before a holy God, and that we are  helpless to redeem ourselves, the natural questions that might be asked are, What then?  If I cannot help myself, then who will?  Am I too bad, have I done too many bad things to be saved?

This is exactly the question that Paul wants us to ask, because this tells him that we are ready to hear about God’s plan for the justification and salvation of man.  Paul is going to tell us that we have a God that loves us, and He has a plan for us.  

God’s plan is a simple plan, yet it is a difficult plan for many of us to accept.  We do not easily admit that we cannot do something, or that we are dependent on others to something for us.  The more successful in life that you are, the more difficult is for you.

God’s plan is a complete plan that stands ready for us, when we are ready for God.  Jesus has done all of the work for our justification, redemption, regeneration, and salvation.  You only have to accept it.

God’s plan costs us nothing, it is free to us, but it cost God the Father, the most precious thing that He has, His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  

God’s plan tells us that if man is to be saved at all, then it is God that must save him, and it is by God’s plan, and only God’s plan, that man can be saved.  

Listen to this podcast to learn that God has a plan of salvation for sinners, even the worst of sinners.  There is nothing that you could do, other than rejecting God’s plan, that would be too bad for you to be saved.  This makes God’s plan unique among other religions.
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 POWER OF SALVATION (Romans 1:8-16)

THE POWER OF SALVATION (Romans 1:8-16)

July 9, 2014
If you believed someone was about to go into a dangerous situation, what would you do to help them?

Would you tell them about the danger?  Would you try to stop them if you knew the danger was imminent and very real?  What if they still wanted to go, would you ask others for help in stopping them?  Would it depend on if it was a loved one, or a stranger?

Most of us would go to great lengths to keep someone, even a stranger, from walking into a dangerous situation like a fire, or stepping in front of a train, or stopping a robbery in progress.  Much of our reaction would depend on how serious we believed the danger to be and how well we knew the person.  

As a believer in Jesus Christ, you know of the imminent danger that much of the world faces once they die.  If you truly believe that heaven and hell are real, and that the only way to avoid spending eternity in hell is to find Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then what are you willing to do to save the people you know, or even a stranger, from that certain danger?

Listen to this podcast to learn the power of the salvation provided by God for those that call upon His name.  Listen to the words of the apostle Paul as he tells us that believers are indebted to the whole world because of the grace of God and what Jesus did for us on the cross.  
THE GOSPEL MESSAGE OF GOD (Romans 1:2-7)

THE GOSPEL MESSAGE OF GOD (Romans 1:2-7)

July 5, 2014
Each of us make important decisions that will have an impact on the direction that our lives take.  For example, the career path that you choose determines what kind of training, education, and work that you will do.  

Your choice of career determines your financial position in society, how you will spend your work day, whether it is on a construction site, in a hospital, or in an office for the next 40 years of your life.  

Choosing the person whom you will spend the rest of your life married to is an important decision as well. Choosing the mate that God has for you will lead to a relationship that is only excelled by our relationship with Jesus.  

On the other hand, choosing the mate that satisfies your earthly desires will lead to a life full of sorrow and pain. When you are ready to dedicate the rest of your life to being one with another person, you must consider that choice very carefully.

But the single most important decision that each one of us will make is what we will do about Jesus Christ.  All of the other decisions that you make, career, marriage, or education, will have an impact on your life here on earth, that brief period of about 70 years that you live.  

The decision you make about what to do with Jesus Christ will impact your life for all of eternity.  It will decide where you will spend eternity, either heaven or hell.  It will decide whether you will spend eternity either with God, or separated from God.  

The decision of whether you will spend eternity in heaven or hell has nothing to do with how good or bad you are.  It rests solely on your acceptance or rejection of Jesus Christ as your Savior.  The penalty of sin is death.  We are all sinners and we are all going to die, unless the Lord comes first.  However, not all of us are going to heaven.  In fact, many more are going to hell.

Jesus tells us 

Matt 7:13-14
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
KJV

The critical decision that determines which gate you will go through, and therefore, where you will spend eternity must be made while you are still alive.  God has given you a finite time to make your choice about Jesus Christ.  

This is the gospel message of God.  It tells you that you must make a decision about Jesus Christ.