The Master’s Class, Summit Church
TO EXPAND THE WORK OF GOD (Romans 12:8-13)

TO EXPAND THE WORK OF GOD (Romans 12:8-13)

August 11, 2015
As believers, we have each been given a spiritual gift from the Holy Spirit in order to perform the kingdom work of God.  In our lesson last week we covered the spiritual gifts that are to be used to expound the Word of God.  

There are those members who meet the spiritual needs of our fellow members by teaching and preaching the Word of God in a way that they can apply it in their daily lives.  

Then, there are those who do the service work of the church.  They have the gift of ministering.  They voluntarily make sure the church is clean, the grounds are mowed, and there is food for the fellowship times, for we all know that it is impossible for church members to fellowship without food.  

They are the ushers, the ones who prepare the Lord’s Supper, who help prepare the baptismal, work the sound and video systems, and maintain the building.  A church can survive without deacons, or even a preacher for a period of time, but it cannot survive without those who have the gift of ministering.  

Then there are those with the gift of exhortation.  They seek out those in need and minister to them, they lift their spirits, and they encourage us to get out and get to work for Christ.  These are the people we call on when tragedy strikes, and these are the people who you want near you when you need to be motivated for God.  

The gifts of prophesy, ministering, teaching, and exhortation are gifts that are used by members to meet the needs of the church by expounding the word of God.  

Next, Paul describes those gifted to expand the work of God.  These are the gifts of giving, guiding, and going.  These are the spiritual gifts that God has given us to help our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to expand the work of God. 

All seven of these gifts of God’s grace are given to members so that they can function as a body member.  Therefore, they are for the benefit, and belong to the whole body and not the individual member.

Listen to this podcast to learn how your spiritual gift is to be used to accomplish the kingdom work of God.
THE CHRISTIAN’S RESPONSIBILITIES TO OTHER CHRISTIANS (Romans 12:6-10)

THE CHRISTIAN’S RESPONSIBILITIES TO OTHER CHRISTIANS (Romans 12:6-10)

August 11, 2015
If I were to ask you if you had a responsibility to meet the needs of your family, most of us would say, absolutely.  When our family is in need, we will respond.  

If I were to ask you if you had a responsibility to meet the needs of the world, most of us would say, that depends on what you mean by meeting their needs.  The world is a pretty needy place and it is unlikely that we have the means or the resources to meet the needs of the world.  

Somewhere in-between these two extremes there are other groups that we could point to and ask the question of whether or not we are responsible for meeting the needs of that group. Yet, even with most of these groups, I would expect your answer to be, it depends.  It might depend on how you feel about the various groups, or it might depend on the level of resources you have.

What if I were to change the question to, do you believe that God has mandated that you meet the needs of these various groups, what do you think the answer should be?  In my opinion, the answer is again, it depends, but this time the critical deciding factor for whether or not we march forward, is not what we decide is important, but what God has told us to do.  If it is God’s will that we do something, then resources and our feelings about that group do not matter.  We will have all of the resources we need.  

Our lesson today is about how we use the spiritual gifts that God has given to each of us to meet the needs of our fellow Christian brothers and sisters.  
WHY CAN’T CHRISTIANS GET ALONG WITH EACH OTHER? (Romans 12:3-5)

WHY CAN’T CHRISTIANS GET ALONG WITH EACH OTHER? (Romans 12:3-5)

July 29, 2015
WHY CAN’T CHRISTIANS GET ALONG WITH EACH OTHER?

To be honest, this is a question that at first you might say, well of course we can.  We believe in the same God, and we all have Jesus as our Lord and Master, at least this is the case if you are a true believer in Jesus Christ.  The problems begin when you start talking about how you go about being saved, who can be saved, and then once you are saved whether or not you can lose your salvation, or even what the word saved really means.  

But let’s make it simpler than trying to make all of the various Christian religions get along, because that hasn’t happened in over a thousand years, and it is not likely to happen any time soon.  Let’s ask the question of whether or not members of the same church should be able to get along?  Now it is even more obvious that we should be able to get along with those who attend the same church that we do, but if you look at the statistics of how many churches split, we would have to say that getting along is not happening the way that it should.  

So the question is why?  Why can’t members of the same church get along?

The answer is really simple, but hard for people to do.  The reason people fail to get along is that they take their eyes off of what God wants them to do, and how God wants them to behave, and they begin to act as the world around them behaves, and they do the things that they think is right.  

Paul has given us the basic first steps for members to get along with each other in the first two verses of this chapter, surrender to God, and then let God transform you into the image of Christ.  It really is that basic, that simple, but so hard to do.  If we are all allowing Christ to show through us, then we will get along with each other.  

Listen to this podcast to learn the way Christians are supposed to relate to each other to complete the kingdom work of God.  
HOW DOES GOD’S WILL CHANGE THE BELIEVER? (Romans 12:2)

HOW DOES GOD’S WILL CHANGE THE BELIEVER? (Romans 12:2)

July 16, 2015
What is God’s will for our lives, and how does that change us?  Finding God’s will is accomplished by sacrificing our whole being to God as a living sacrifice.  This means that we surrender our life to God.  He is ours to command.  He is the Master and we are the slave.  We obey Him.  

Jesus commanded that we are to be salt and light to a dark world.  Salt is a preservative, an antibiotic, and a flavor enhancer.  It is applied externally and it draws attention to something different.  A believer is to be a preservative of the absolute truths about right and wrong that God has established.  We are to stand up when the world decides to call that which is wrong, right, and that which is right, wrong.

The believer is also to be a light unto the world.  One of the great facts about light is that darkness is simply the absence of light.  No matter how deep the darkness, the simple candle will chase that darkness away.  No amount of darkness can overpower the light of that candle.  When there is light, darkness goes away.  Light for the believer comes from within.  Salt is external, and light is internal.  Light emanates from the core of the believer.  We are to be a light to a dark world.  We are to show the world that there is an escape from the deep darkness of the world.

In order to be salt and light, the believer must be changed from what they were before.  If we look and act like everyone else, then we are neither salt nor light.  Yet, this change in who we are does not happen all at once for most of us.  Most believers will spend a lifetime having their body, soul, and spirit conformed to the image of Christ.  But the world needs to see this difference.  It needs to see the light of God’s Word shining through us.

In order to accomplish this us we must consecrate our body so that the Holy Spirit, who has made it His temple, might have free access to all its members, and free control over all its activities.  The believer who presents his body in this manner is changed.

Romans 12:2
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
KJV

Listen to this podcast to learn how a believer is not to be conformed to this world, but is to be changed morally and mentally to show the world that the will of God is truly good, acceptable, and perfect for each of us.
WHO ARE YOU CONTROLLED BY?  (Romans 12:1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOD’S PURPOSE IN RESTORING ISRAEL PART II (Romans 11:27-36)

GOD’S PURPOSE IN RESTORING ISRAEL PART II (Romans 11:27-36)

July 3, 2015
Over the last couple of weeks of our study, Paul has declared that it is certainly within the power of God to not only temporarily remove Israel from the place of religious privilege as a result of their rejection of Him, but it is also within the power of God to restore a believing Israel to that place once again.  The almighty Creator of all things, has the power to do as He has promised.  

Not only is it within the power of God to restore Israel, Paul also tells us that it is within the purpose of God to restore Israel.

Paul has left no question that God will fulfill His promises to Israel.  God will restore Israel, for it is God’s purpose to restore Israel.  God planned these events from the foundations of time, and nothing that man has done, or can do, will change God’s plan and purpose.  God chose Israel to be His channel of truth and righteousness to the world, and that is what they will be when He restores them.  

What is God’s purpose in restoring Israel?  It is to show His power and His glory to a world that has rejected Him.  He is telling the world that there is but one true God, and that He alone is deserving of our worship.    
GOD’S PURPOSE IN RESTORING ISRAEL (Romans 11:25-26)

GOD’S PURPOSE IN RESTORING ISRAEL (Romans 11:25-26)

June 10, 2015
God has declared in His Word that He will restore Israel to it place of religious privilege.  In this week’s podcast we discuss when God says this event will occur.  It is not a specific date, for no man knows this date, but the Bible tells us that it will occur when the Fullness of the Gentiles is complete.  

Listen to this podcast to learn about the difference between what the Bible calls the Times of the Gentiles and the Fullness of the Gentiles.  When God has finished using the Gentiles to spread His message of eternal life, He will turn again to the Jews.  He will judge them, and then He will bless them.
ISRAEL WILL BE RESTORED (Romans 11:16-24)

ISRAEL WILL BE RESTORED (Romans 11:16-24)

June 10, 2015
In last week’s lesson, we discussed God’s judicial blinding, or hardening, of the nation of Israel for their rejection of Christ as the Messiah and their subsequent rejection of the gospel message.  Paul described for us the place of special religious privilege the Jews had been granted by God as the channel of God’s message of salvation for the world.  But their rejection of God’s plan and His Son, Jesus, as the Promised Messiah caused God to remove them, temporarily, from this place of religious privilege.  Since the day of Pentecost, it has been the church, that body of true believers, who have now occupied the position of being God’s channel of the gospel message to the world.  

So, Paul has given the Gentiles a warning that they should not be proud of the fall of the Jews and their own rise to a position of religious privilege, for this is but a temporary state of affairs, as well.  Without a doubt, God’s plan for dealing with Israel includes their restoration to the position of being the channel of salvation for the world.  

In this podcast Paul uses the illustration of the olive tree to explain to the believing Gentiles what God is doing by dealing with Israel during this period, the relative positions of the Jews and Gentiles in God’s plan, and the power and purpose of God to restore Israel to its place of spiritual privilege.
TO BE BLINDED TO THE TRUTH (Romans 11:7-15)

TO BE BLINDED TO THE TRUTH (Romans 11:7-15)

June 7, 2015
Our lesson today is about how Paul describes the way God is dealing with Israel today.  They are a nation that God has temporarily set aside from their place of special religious privilege for their rejection of Jesus Christ as the Promised Messiah.  For this rejection of God’s plan and purposes, the Jews are now divided into two groups.  The unbelieving blinded majority, and the believing minority.  

The unbelieving Jew who makes up the blinded majority rejects Jesus Christ as the Promised Messiah that their own Scriptures proclaim Him to be.  They reject God’s gift of salvation through the cross and depend on their religion for the righteousness they seek.  Paul describes this search as something that they have not obtained, for the righteousness of God can only be obtained in one way, and that is through the faith in Christ. 

The believing minority have found favor in the sight of God and have been added to the body of true believers called the church.  

Listen to this podcast to learn how God is dealing with Israel today.  
  
UNRELENTING DISBELIEF (Romans 10:16 to 11:6)

UNRELENTING DISBELIEF (Romans 10:16 to 11:6)

June 2, 2015
When presented with the simplicity of the gospel message, that salvation, eternal life in heaven, and God’s acceptance, are the gifts of God, freely given to anyone who will make Jesus Christ their Lord and Master, why do people dogmatically, stubbornly, and unreasonably, refuse to believe?

The answer is different for each person, but many simply prefer their lives as they are.  They are happy with their life.  They find fulfillment in their work, in their social life, or in their hobbies.  They are not in need of anything, certainly not a Savior, and they ask what do I need to be saved from?  Eternal life is a sketchy, made up thing, so why do I need to worry about it?  Is heaven or hell even real?

Others might say that they simply don’t want to give up the way they live their lives.  Religion is a bunch of “No’s”, don’t do this, don’t do that, essentially don’t do anything that is fun.  I can’t believe in anything that says I can’t be happy.

Still others would say that they don’t like the idea of owing something to a Creator.  For if a Creator does exist, and that Creator made them, then that Creator has the sovereign right to establish the absolute truths about right and wrong.  He decides what is a sin, and what is righteous behavior, and the social morals of today are not valid.  If this is true, then God has the right to decide the path to eternal life, and nothing made up by man will get the job done.  It’s God’s way or an eternity in hell.  

A large number would probably say that they have their own faith, their own idea on eternal life, and this is just too simple to be true.  Nobody does anything for free.  You have to earn your way into heaven.  Jesus was just a prophet, so who is He to be my Savior?

Jesus was absolutely right when He said:

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

This podcast describes the unrelenting disbelief of the Jews in Jesus Christ as the Messiah and the consequences they face as a result of that disbelief.  But this message has just as much application to anyone today who has heard the gospel message of Jesus Christ and they simply refuse to believe it.  The Bible declares that eternal life can only come to those who accept God’s free gift of salvation by believing that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God, and that He died on cross for all our sins, and that He was bodily resurrected by God.  God’s way says that the only path to heaven is through making Jesus Christ your Lord and Master.  

The question is, will you believe God or not?
CHRIST RECEIVED AS SAVIOR (Romans 10:6-15)

CHRIST RECEIVED AS SAVIOR (Romans 10:6-15)

May 24, 2015
Many religions teach that the type of righteousness needed to go to heaven and have eternal life can be only be obtained through obeying a set of laws or following some type of religious ceremony.  In the book of Romans Paul points out that in order to be saved by the law a person must live according to all the precepts of the law without violating a single one. Should a person be able to do this, he would have earned his title to heaven.  

However, there must come a time for everyone where they realize they are unable to live an absolutely perfect life in thought, words, and deeds.  Nobody can do this.  So Paul points out the obvious, it is not the law that you must appeal to for righteousness, it is the Lord.  It is not Moses, it is Christ.  

The righteousness which is of faith provided through God's grace, says that if any man tries to attain righteousness in any other way, he is in effect, saying in his heart, “I am not satisfied with what God has done, I will try to provide the incarnation, or the coming of Christ, by human effort, and I will provide the resurrection by human effort.”  Yet, this is not only impossible for man to do, it is not necessary for each of us to do again what God has already done.

Only the power of God could accomplish the incarnation and the resurrection.  Therefore, salvation is God’s work.  Man cannot produce it, or earn it by effort.  It is given freely by grace through faith in Christ. The gospel message requires no impossible task of the sinner to complete such as bringing Christ down from heaven or bringing Him up from the abyss.  The word of faith includes the whole message of the gospel with the good news that Jesus Christ has already come down from heaven.  It also says that Christ has already ascended from the region of the dead.

The gospel message says that these two miracles only have to be believed in the heart.  Therefore, the Scripture, which is the word of faith, is very accessible to man.  You don’t have to search for it, it is nigh unto thee.  

The gospel message of Christ says that the righteousness that comes by faith is right in front of you.  It says "Man, it is so close to you, it is right there in your heart, and it is on the tip of your tongue!"  Righteousness by faith is the gospel message that we preach!  And that gospel message tells us that not only is the word of faith accessible, so is the Savior as well.   

The gospel message says that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  It really is that simple.  Christ is waiting for you to call.  He has done all of the work required for your salvation, for you to have eternal life, all you have to do in believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He was crucified, and that He was raised from the dead.  Make Jesus your Lord and Master today.
ISRAEL’S NEED OF A SAVIOR (Romans 10:1-9)

ISRAEL’S NEED OF A SAVIOR (Romans 10:1-9)

May 16, 2015
Since the day that God called Abraham from the Ur of the Chaldees, the Jews have been looking for a Messiah, a Savior.  Today’s podcast discusses Israel’s rejection of God’s plan for obtaining righteousness, and how they tried to establish their own righteousness through dedication to keeping the law and other religious ceremonies. We are going to see a how a people can be dedicated to the ritual of worshipping God and still be lost.  This is a message that should resonate with everyone who is dependent on their religion to worship God and to obtain eternal life in heaven.

The key to God’s present dealings with Israel is His salvation.

Today, God is offering salvation to the Jew on exactly the same terms as He is to the Gentile, and He makes no changes whatsoever based on the nationality of the lost person.  We must all find God through His grace and His plan of salvation.  If a Jew wants to come into God’s favor, he must come to Calvary as a lost sinner and accept his Messiah as Savior and Lord. This is the message of our podcast today.
GOD IS SOVEREIGN (Romans 9:19-33)

GOD IS SOVEREIGN (Romans 9:19-33)

May 10, 2015
What does it mean when we say that God is sovereign?

We begin with the statement that God is the Creator of all things.  God has made each of us in the manner that He chose to do so.  God can make one person for honor, and one person for dishonor, by the sovereign will of the Creator.   He has the sovereign right of the Creator to do so.

God reaches into the same lump of humanity and takes out some clay to form Moses.  Again, He reaches in and He takes out of the same lump the clay to make Pharaoh.  That clay was all ugly, unlovely, sightless, and sinful at the beginning and God used it to make Moses and to make Pharaoh.  

God’s mercy then makes a vessel unto honor, that is, a vessel for honorable use.  

Then, it is the Potter's right to make another vessel for dishonor or common use. 

The Bible describes some people as being vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.  Those marked for destruction are fitted to destruction, but, and this is important, it is not stated that God so fitted them, as if God had prepared those vessels for wrath in contrast with those He prepared for mercy.  

God does not create people in order to damn them.  However, when people behave like Pharaoh, God so deals with them that their inbred wickedness reveals itself in such a way that they become fit objects for His punishment, or they are fitted for destruction.  

2 Timothy 2:20-21
20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
KJV

God created both Moses and Pharaoh.  God knew that Moses would be a vessel unto honor when He created him.  God also knew that Pharaoh would be vessel unto dishonor when he created him.  

Moses chose to believe in God and, therefore, he was prepared by God unto glory.  Pharaoh chose to reject God and, therefore, he was fit for destruction, or fitted to destruction.  

God is sovereign, and man is granted a free will by God.  God chooses those whom He will show mercy to, and man is free to choose Jesus Christ as His Lord and Master, or to reject Him.  As the Sovereign Creator, God in His mercy has offered eternal life to anyone who will call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and make Him their Lord and Savior.  
THE SOVEREIGN WILL OF GOD (Romans 9:14-18)

THE SOVEREIGN WILL OF GOD (Romans 9:14-18)

April 25, 2015
What does it mean when we say God’s sovereign will?

Does it mean that God, and God alone, determines the absolute truths about what is right and what is wrong, or does the concept of right and wrong depend on the social values established by man?

Does it mean that no matter what man does, God’s predetermined series of events, or God’s plan for the universe, will be completed?  In other words, will God’s will be done, no matter the choices that man makes?

Does it mean that God can show mercy to whom He chooses to show mercy to, and wrath to whom He chooses to show wrath to?  Do the actions of man determine whether they will receive God’s mercy, or God’s wrath?

God’s actions toward man are always just and righteous because God defines the meaning of the words just and righteous.  If this was not the case, and man decided what was just and righteous, then God would not be the sovereign God.

Does the creation have the right to question the actions of the Creator?  Can a potter make one vase cherished and special and the other vase ordinary and common?  Does the potter’s creations have the right to challenge the work of the potter?

These are the questions that Paul will answer in our lesson today.  Certainly the sovereignty of God is one of the more difficult concepts for a stiff-necked, willful, and arrogant, mankind to accept.  But God is sovereign, God is also merciful, and we have much to be thankful for that both of these facts are true.  

Listen to this podcast to learn about the sovereign will of God.  
THE CHILDREN OF THE PROMISE (Romans 9:4-13)

THE CHILDREN OF THE PROMISE (Romans 9:4-13)

April 17, 2015
What made God choose Israel as His special people?

What made God choose Abraham over the other pagan worshippers in the land of the Ur of the Chaldees?

Why would God choose Isaac over Ishmael for the promise of the covenant?

Why would God choose Jacob over Esau to be the father of the children of the promise?

God in His sovereign wisdom made the Jews a peculiar treasure unto Himself, and it is through them that God has communicated to the whole world His absolute truths about right and wrong.  Every single prophecy of the end times that we have, and every single Scripture we have, has come from God through the Jews.  And with God there is no changing.  His words were true then, and they are true today.  What was sin then, is sin today.  

Listen to this podcast to understand that God’s dealings with Israel were based on His divine wisdom.  By His divine wisdom, God knows those who are the children of the promise.  

But, God's promises were not for everyone just because they were a natural born Israelite! Rather, they are for one who has the faith of Abraham.  The father of faith! 

Romans 4:16
16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
KJV

In other words, not all the offspring, the natural offspring of Israel, are the real Israel.  Paul is telling us that there has always been a remnant within the nation of Israel, and that remnant, whether natural or not natural, has been a spiritual offspring.  These are the children of the promise.  These are the real Israel.  These are the ones whom God will fulfill each of His promises to.    
IS GOD THROUGH WITH ISRAEL? (Romans 9:1-4)

IS GOD THROUGH WITH ISRAEL? (Romans 9:1-4)

April 4, 2015
Is God through with Israel?

God is very clear in the Bible about His intentions for Israel.  He tells us that not one single promise that God has made to Israel will fail to come true.  God will keep every single one, and it won’t be because Israel deserves it, but it will be because God is gracious and merciful.  

It is important to understand that God’s reason for dealing with the nation Israel in the past did not derive from their exceptional qualities or superior efforts.  On the contrary, all of God’s actions are found in His own sovereign will.  He functions through mercy in His dealings with Israel and all others, including when He deals with you and me.

Listen to this podcast to learn what God’s Word says is the answer to the questions that so many Christians ask today, What about all of those ancient promises?  Are they cancelled now?  Where does the Jew stand in relation to God in this new dispensation?
HOW SECURE IS THE BELIEVER?  (Romans 8:31-39)

HOW SECURE IS THE BELIEVER? (Romans 8:31-39)

March 27, 2015
What is the security of your faith based on?

Is it how much good you will do versus how much bad you will do?  If this is what your faith is secured by, then you have already failed, for no man can be good enough to meet the perfect and righteous demands of God.  

Is it how faithful you are to your church or religion?  If this is what your faith is secured by, then your faith is in your religion and not God.  A faith based on anything but God will fail because God will accept man on one basis only, faith based on the completed work of Jesus Christ which provides for our salvation.   

Is it based on your performance of certain religious rituals?  If this is what your faith is secured by, then your faith is based on the works of man, and nothing that man can do is sufficient to meet the demands of God.  

For the true believer in Jesus Christ, our faith is based on the power, the complete sovereignty, and the grace of God.

Paul says:

Romans 8:38-39
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
KJV

The closing verses of this magnificent chapter of comfort for the believer explores all of the possible ways that man can think of to try and mess up our salvation and separate us from the love of God.  In our lesson today, Paul refutes each one of them and states that they are blocked by the grace of God.

Once you have made Jesus Christ your Lord, then nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate you from the love of God.  Your faith secure because your faith is in God.  
THE UNSTOPPABLE WILL OF GOD (Romans 8:28-30)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 8:28
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
KJV
THE YEARNINGS AND THE HOPES OF THE BELIEVER (Romans 8:23-27)

THE YEARNINGS AND THE HOPES OF THE BELIEVER (Romans 8:23-27)

March 14, 2015

Think about the things that you yearn for.  These are the things that start as a desire deep in your soul and well up into your heart and mind.  These are not our simple wants, but the things that are so passionately desired by our soul that we groan for them.  Now think about how you could ever go about obtaining these things.  Are they even within your power to obtain?

Next, think about the things that you hope for.  Are they the same things that you yearn for?  To hope for something is to look forward to something that you have not seen or realized yet.  Do you hope for a body that is free from disease and pain?  Do you hope for an end to loneliness?  Now think about how you could go about obtaining these things that you hope for.  Are they even within your power to obtain them?

Our lesson today is about the yearnings and the hopes of the believer.  What are the things that a believer wants so badly that they well up from the bottom of their soul?  And what are the hopes of a Christian?  Are they different from a person who has rejected Christ as their Savior?  And best of all, what is the solution for how a believer goes about obtaining these things.  

TO BE A CHILD OF GOD (Romans 8:15-22)

TO BE A CHILD OF GOD (Romans 8:15-22)

March 6, 2015
When I think of the dreams of a child that lives in an orphanage, I think of the loneliness they must feel because they are alone in this world without parents to care for them.  They don’t understand why they don’t have parents.  They just know that they are different from other kids.  They see other children with their families and they want to be like them.  They want what they have.  They want a close personal relationship with their parents.  They want to be able to call someone Daddy, or Father.   They want to feel secure in the arms of a father who will protect them and love them.  They want to feel confident as they face the world because they have parents who will support them.

These same feelings exist within many people who are not a born again, regenerated, adopted child of God.  They look at a true Christian and they notice a difference in them.  They don’t know what it is, but they see the Christian handle the problems and trials in their lives in a more confident way.  So the non-believer will ask the Christian how they can face trouble with more confidence, and their reply is that it’s because they are a member of the family of God.  They have a close personal relationship with God.  They have the authority to call our heavenly Father, Abba, Father.  The word Abba is an Aramaic word that is the equivalent of the English word Daddy, or Papa.  It speaks of the close emotional relationship that a believer has with God.  They know that God loves them and will provide for them.  They feel secure in the arms of the almighty God.  This is their confidence.  This is how they face adversity in their lives.  

If you are looking for a close personal relationship with God, then listen to this podcast to learn what it means to be a true child of God.