The Master‘s Class, LifeChange Church Wichita
GOD’S GUARANTEED BLESSING (Rev. 1:3)

GOD’S GUARANTEED BLESSING (Rev. 1:3)

March 5, 2017

How many of you seek God’s blessing on your life? Well, of course, everyone would say yes to that. That may be the only time I get a 100% agreement from everyone listening to this lesson. Everyone wants to be blessed by God. In fact, I pray for the blessings of God in my life, and that of my family’s. When we think of blessings, the first thing that comes to my mind are the beatitudes. Jesus tells us that blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are meek, merciful, pure in heart, and many more.

So, these blessings are from the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount where He described the principles and the rule of the Kingdom, meaning the Millennium Kingdom. These are the characteristics of those who will be blessed during Christ’s reign on earth, but they are also the characteristics of believers in today’s world whom the Lord will bless. Our Lord is saying this is how we should be living our lives, and when we do so, we shall be blessed. In fact, He tells us,

Matt 5:12
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
KJV

It is a Biblical truth, that many of our blessings for being an obedient and faithful child of God will come in heaven and not on this earth. This is not bad news, in fact, this is really great news, because we get to have those blessings for all of eternity, not just some minor period in our today. To me, that is a blessing I want to have.

Now, what if I told you of a promised blessing from God, that would occur while you lived on this earth? I am not talking about a fortune cookie type of blessing, I am talking about a true blessing from the almighty God of all things.

Rev 1:3
3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
KJV

We are to read this book, we are to hear this book, and we are to keep this book. If we do those things, then we will be blessed. The Bible is the only book I know of that that you can study and be God-guaranteed to be blessed by. Join me as we study God’s word in this lesson. Click on the link and listen to the podcast as we learn of The certain blessing of Revelation.

WHY DO WE STUDY REVELATION? (Revelation 1:1-2)

WHY DO WE STUDY REVELATION? (Revelation 1:1-2)

February 26, 2017

 

We study it because we live in a dark world, full of persecution, sin, and evil, and the book of Revelation is about the light that is coming to this world. It is about Jesus Christ. No matter how bad things get in this life, we can be at peace, because we know Who is coming to set things right, and set them right He will.

The book of Revelation is a book of prophecy, and the first truth we must acknowledge is that only God can prophesy. Anybody else who says they can, be they a psychic, preacher, apostle, prophet, Imam, or teacher, write it down, plain and simple, only God can prophesy. If somebody else tells you they have a new prophecy that is not contained in the Word of God, be nice to them, but don’t you be led astray.

We study the book of Revelation because it is a book of certainty. That may seem like an odd statement about a book that so many people have said it is like a Chinese puzzle in that it is impossible or hard to understand. And it certainly is full of many things that are hard to understand, but God has provided this book to us in His Word because He wants us to understand it. God wants believers, and you must be a true child of God in order for this to be true, but God wants believers to understand His Words and be encouraged by them.

Even the most simple minded believer can walk away from reading the book of Revelation with four certainties. Four Biblical truths that you can know for certain and understand. The first and most important certainty in the book of Revelation is that Jesus Christ is coming again in power. Not as a Servant Savior, but as Lord of lords and King of kings. This certainty is our shining star on the other end of our tightrope of this life. This is the star that we focus on. Jesus Christ is coming again.

The second certainty is that we will be blessed because we are taking the time and effort to study this book.

Rev 1:3
3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
KJV

God has promised His blessing on those who read, hear, and keep the things that are written in this book.

The third certainty is that every man who has ever lived, and will ever live, is going to be judged. There are different judgments for different groups of people, but we will all be judged by our Lord Jesus. Those who have believed on Jesus Christ will go to live with Him into eternity, and those who have rejected Him will be condemned to live without Him in the fires of Hell for eternity. Judgement is coming for each of us, the book of Revelation is God’s proof that this is true.

The fourth certain truth is that God has a plan, and that plan is on schedule, and God will complete that plan.

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

The prophet Isaiah tells us about this truth. God has said that My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. It is the book of Revelation which is the proof that this is a certain, sure, truth. God has a purpose for all of creation. He has declared it from the beginning. His counsel will stand, and He will do all that He has purposed and planned. It is important that we as Christians have the unshakable assurance that God has an ultimate plan for the universe. The book of Revelation tells me that the future is in God’s hands, and the best is yet to come. Of that we can be certain!

Those are certainties of this book. If by the end of this study, those are the only truths that you know and can lay hand on, then you have accomplished more than most.

Listen to this podcast and then, come to this page each week for a new lesson as we learn about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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.

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.

GOD’S PROVISIONS, GOD’S PROMISES (2 Peter 1:3-4)

GOD’S PROVISIONS, GOD’S PROMISES (2 Peter 1:3-4)

October 17, 2016
What was the most solemn vow that you have ever made?

Swearing in as soldier?  Taking the oath to become a law enforcement officer, or some public office?

For me, it was the day I spoke my wedding vows.  Those words meant something very important to me, and they mean just as much today as they did 38 years ago.  I promised to love my wife, to comfort her, to keep her, meaning I would provide for all of her needs, and that I would remain faithful to her no matter what comes in our lives till death do us part.  Those are pretty powerful words.  I have promised to love my wife, protect her, and provide for her.  When she needs a home, or food, or shelter, or someone to provide courage, strength, a helping hand, or just someone to stand by her as she deals with a problem, I have promised to provide that for her.  It is my promise that I will do these things, and I have lived my life trying to keep that vow.  It is the most solemn vow that I have ever made, and most likely ever will make.  Now, lots of people get married making this vow to each other, but the problem with vows made by man is that it is a weak person making the vow.  Try as we might, we sometimes fail to meet our promises.  

Our lesson today is about the promises that God has made to provide for His children, the born again believers who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Master and, therefore, have become adopted into the family of God.  The wonderful thing about these promises is that it is the unchanging, supreme, Creator of all things, almighty God who is making them, and He will not fail. Not ever. Not once.  

Listen to this podcast to learn that we already have all the wisdom, strength, courage, power, patience, and anything else that we might need to live a victorious life for Christ.  Everything that you need is in God and God is in you.  Amen.  
GOD’S GLORY AND GOD’S GRACE (1 Peter 5:10-14)

GOD’S GLORY AND GOD’S GRACE (1 Peter 5:10-14)

October 3, 2016
God’s glory.  God’s true glory is beyond our ability to even conceive of.  Yet, we were given a glimpse of this glory in the person of Jesus Christ, who stepped out of heaven, and for a brief time made Himself a little lower than the angels, just so that we might have our sins forgiven.  Is this the quality of God that you cherish the most?

John 1:14
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
KJV

Heb 2:9
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
KJV

God’s grace.

Eph 2:4-8
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
KJV

For me it is God’s grace that I cherish the most, for it is by God’s grace that I am saved.  It is by God’s grace that I can live the victorious Christian life against all evil.  It is by God’s grace that I have anything that I have, for I deserve nothing but judgment, but it is God’s grace that allows me to call the almighty God, Abba, Father. 

It is by God’s grace that believers can live a victorious Christian life no matter what the circumstances, terror, or adversary, that we face.  Peter describes our Lord as the God of all grace.  In other words, God has absolutely total control and ownership of this amazing resource.  He has a limitless supply available at all times.  Now this is a concept about God’s grace you may not have thought of before, God has total control and ownership of this quality.  There is none other with this quality.  

God's grace provides strength enough for every situation.  Grace for living and grace for dying, grace to deal with the penalty of sin and grace to overcome the power of sin, grace to face persecution and grace to forgive the persecutor, grace to see us through and grace to get us home. 

God's grace guarantees us a share in God's eternal glory.  God's grace is sufficient to translate that into a living reality in our lives. Satan cannot win.  God's grace cannot fail, and it is ours because of Christ Jesus our Lord.  Let Satan roar and prowl all he wants.  Neither Satan, nor ten thousand Nero’s, nor the prospect of a horrible death, nor anything else can stop God's grace in Christ from getting us home.

Rom 8:35-39
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
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

This is the power of God’s grace.  It is supremely sufficient for all of our needs, and it is the quality about God that I cherish the most.   

Listen to this podcast as we learn about God’s grace and God’s glory.
THE SOURCE OF POWER IN A CHRISTIAN LIFE (1 Peter 1:22-25)

THE SOURCE OF POWER IN A CHRISTIAN LIFE (1 Peter 1:22-25)

April 10, 2016
Have you ever been told by someone in authority that you are to go do something that you don’t believe is within your capability to do?  At my workplace, we move people around to different roles a lot.  With a large part of the employees, they are moving to a different role about every two years.  This means that they have to quickly learn how to do a particular role, and then just when they get a basic understanding of how to do it, they move on to another role.  

Quite often they will move a very young, inexperienced, person into a position of greater responsibility and expect them to sink or swim.  I often hear people say that they were intimidated by the responsibility of the new role, and that they did not feel capable of doing it.  However, the company philosophy is one of if you have the right virtues, talents, and philosophies, then they can put you just about anywhere, and you will succeed.  It can be a bit daunting at times.  

The one thing the company does do is provide the right tools to help a person who is humble enough to ask for the help.  I have watched as a person will try to succeed by his own wit and knowledge, and almost always, you will see them fail, many times quite miserably.  I have watched others who were humble enough to ask for help and they can often succeed.  The corporate world can be a real meat grinder of people.  The proud can rise, but they can also fall quite hard.   

The demand that God puts on us as believers is very similar to this.  You take a brand new Christian, and you immediately give them the elevated standing of an ambassador to the almighty Creator of all things.  You then tell them all of the things that God has done for them to provide them with eternal life and redemption, much as Peter has been doing over the last several weeks, and then you tell them all of the things that this new standing, or position, requires of them.  

They are to hate sin, they are to live a life that is uniquely different from the life they led before, and the life of the lost people all around them.  They are to tell people about the gospel message of Christ, but more than that because words can be hollow, they are to live a life that is a testimony to the Christ they serve.  They are to be a light in the darkness drawing people to them so that they can lead them to the cross of Jesus.  

It is easy to be intimidated by this requirement of a holy life.  Yet, God formed His plan of redemption for us from the foundation of time.  That plan included the tools and resources that the new-born Christian could depend on to accomplish the task that God had given them.  They just have to be humble enough to ask for the help.  It is absolutely impossible to live a holy life that is acceptable to God under your own wit and knowledge.  You simply cannot do it on your own.  You must use the power and tools that God is offering you, or you will fail, and fail miserably.  

Those tools and resources are the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, and the living, indestructible, incorruptible, and eternal, Word of God.  It is the Holy Spirit and the Word of God who are the true source of power in a Christian life.  God has provided them as part of His plan of redemption, you just have to be humble enough to seek them out and use them.  This is what our lesson is about today.  Listen to this podcast to learn the true source of power for the Christian to live a holy life.   
THE QUESTION OF SCRIPTURE (1 Peter 1:9-11)

THE QUESTION OF SCRIPTURE (1 Peter 1:9-11)

February 28, 2016
We have many great promises of God that we base our faith on.  We are certain of these promises and of the truth of God’s Word.  If God’s Word is not true, then our faith is in vain.  Praise God that we know the inerrancy of God’s Word.  

2 Tim 3:16
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
KJV

John Phillips states that the great message of Scripture is salvation.  It is contained in the history books of the Bible, chorused in the poetic books of the Bible, and contemplated in the prophetic books of the Bible.  It is crystallized in the Gospels, confessed in the Acts, clarified in the Epistles, and consummated in the Revelation.  The Bible is the book in which salvation truth has been revealed.  The purpose of the Bible is not to teach us things that we can otherwise discover for ourselves.  

The Bible is not a handbook of history, although it contains a great deal of history, and the history it does record is unerringly accurate.  It is not a textbook of science, although it speaks to many scientific themes, and its astronomy, meteorology, physics, and medicine are totally inerrant.  It is not a treatise on legislation, although it contains a thoroughly comprehensive legal code that is so sublime as to be the foundation of all modern Western civilized codes. It is not a book about psychology, although it speaks with authority on all matters of human behavior. 

The Bible is a book about salvation.  It goes beyond the reach and scope of human reasoning.  It tells us truth that can be known only by divine revelation.  It tells us all that we need to know about the salvation God has given us.

Human reasoning says that we must work for our salvation.  God’s Word says that our salvation is by grace.  Christ has already done the work for us.  

Man says, Do!  God says, Done! 

Man says, Try! God says, Trust! 

God has provided us a great salvation.  Listen to this podcast to learn how God’s Word reveals the truth of this salvation
A FAITH BASED ON EXPERIENCE (1 Peter 1:5-7)

A FAITH BASED ON EXPERIENCE (1 Peter 1:5-7)

February 14, 2016
When I was a child and my Father wanted me to learn something that I would remember, he often had me experience it first, and then explain how important that concept could be in my life.  He called it character building and it usually involved me doing some type of work around the house.  For example, when he wanted me to learn that it is better to earn what you have in this world, than to steal it from somebody else who had worked for it, either by outright theft or by getting the government to steal it for you, he would put me to work.  He taught me that a benefit of hard work is the payment of something you want in return, be it money, or something else.

Learning from experience can come in a couple of ways, we can learn from our own experience, or we can learn from the experience of watching or listening to others.  For instance, I don’t have to jump from the top of a tall building to know that this is not something I want to do.  I have seen what happens to others when they contact the ground at a high rate of speed, and it is not pretty.  I learned this lesson from the experience of others.  

When we learn from our own experience, we often have a deeper understanding of what it takes to get through this type of trial.  I know that I never had a true appreciation for what a person goes through when they lose a very close loved one until I lost my father, and then my mother.  There is a deep feeling of anguish that does not come from watching others.  I have a much deeper sense of empathy for others now and it is because God allowed me to experience this trial myself.  

One of the key concepts that Peter is trying to teach us in the very first verses of this book is how certain our faith is, and how it is not based on a hope-so type of knowledge, but it is based on a know-so type of knowledge.  

When he talks of having hope, it is not a vague type of hope in the things that are to come, it is a know-so type of hope, an expectant hope, and a certain hope.  We know that Jesus is alive today because we know that He rose from the grave.  The Bible tells this is true, and secular history tells us that this is true.

We know for a fact that Jesus is coming again to reign as Lord of lords and King of kings, and we are absolutely certain that Jesus has prepared for us a place in heaven where we will spend eternity living with Him.  This is our know-so, expectant, hope.  

Peter now moves from the certain hope we have in Christ, to our faith based on experience and substance.  Faith is another weak word in the English language, but in the Bible our faith is based on the promises of God, the certainty of Christ, and the experiences we have in times of trial, and through watching others go through trials.  It is a faith based on the experience we have in Christ.  
OUR CERTAIN HOPE OF THINGS TO COME (1 Peter 1:3b-4)

OUR CERTAIN HOPE OF THINGS TO COME (1 Peter 1:3b-4)

February 7, 2016
As believers, our expectant, certain, hope looks forward to the things that the Word of God promises are to come for us.  That hope includes eternal life with our Lord Jesus in a heaven that contains wonders and beauty beyond anything that we can imagine or know about on this earth.

1 Cor 2:9
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
KJV

In times of our deepest sorrow, this is our certain hope.  

In times of our greatest tragedy, this is our certain hope.

In times of our greatest loss, this is our certain hope.

When death comes for us, this is our certain hope.  

That Jesus Christ is coming again and that He has prepared a place in heaven for us.  

John 14:1-3
1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
KJV

This is our certain hope that we base our faith on.  This is our certain hope of the things that are to come. 
WE HAVE AN EXPECTANT HOPE (1 Peter 1:3a)

WE HAVE AN EXPECTANT HOPE (1 Peter 1:3a)

February 1, 2016
What do you worry about most when you face a difficult hardship?

Being physically harmed?  Ridiculed?  The loss of a job and the financial problems that follow?  The loss of your health?  The loss of a loved one?  Loneliness? Your own death?

The word hope is commonly defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.  We say things like “I hope we have something good to eat tonight,” or “I hope my boss is in a good mood today.”  Hope is always looking forward and it is important to have hope, or a positive outlook on life, to hope that better things are coming our way.  To not have any hope during difficult times can make recovering that much more difficult or even impossible.  

The amount of hope a person has is often based on those people around them who can help them, to provide comfort, and assistance.  When you are alone, without help, it is hard to find hope.  Our hope is also based on the certainty, or uncertainty, of the future we see for ourselves.  When good things are coming in our lives it is easy to have hope.  It gets much more difficult when we see nothing but dark clouds or hardship in front of us.  This is the way the world generally thinks of the world hope.  It is a wishful desire for better things to come.

How does the meaning of the word hope change when you become a believer in Jesus Christ?  Instead of simply having a wish or desire for a certain thing to happen, the word hope means certainty for a believer in Jesus Christ.  A believer never has to worry about who will be around to provide support, for they have the certainty of the Holy Spirit living within their heart to provide strength, wisdom, power, and comfort.  This is not just a feeling, but an absolute certainty of His presence and power in their lives.  

The believer also knows with total certainty that there is eternal life in heaven that follows this temporary life on earth.  Imagine the hope that comes from knowing without a doubt that you will have endless thousands upon thousands of years of living without old age, hunger, persecution, disease, or death.  A believer knows that heaven is real and, therefore, hell is real, but this is not a concern to the believer, for they have absolute certainty that living in heaven with Jesus Christ is their next destination.   

A born again, child of God, a true believer in Jesus Christ, who has Jesus Christ as their Lord and Master, looks at difficult times with an expectant hope.  The word expectant means that they are eager for the future to come, and they are excited about what is coming.  They can be expectant because they have absolute certainty in the promises that God has provided for them.  

They can easily ask themselves, how can I fail to overcome the problems of this world with the power of the Holy Spirit of Christ in my heart.  How can death harm me, if I know what is going to happen next?  Death is nothing more than a weigh station to eternity. 

In his final words to Timothy, Paul expressed this expectant hope eloquently.

2 Tim 4:6-8
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
KJV

There was no doubt in Paul’s mind what laid beyond the grave.  He was absolutely certain of his eternity with Jesus.  He knew that Jesus would be waiting for him, ready to say, welcome home thou good and faithful servant.  This is the expectant hope of the believer.  Listen to this podcast to learn how you can have an expectant hope.
TO BE ELECTED BY GOD (1 Peter 1:1b to 2a)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen to this powerful Biblical doctrine of God’s foreknowledge and how it can bless you because God knows who you are, where you are, what you are going through, and He has a plan for you.  If you are believer, then God will empower you to deal with any persecution or trial that you may be going through.  He knew about this before it ever occurred and He has prepared you for it, and He is with you every step of the way.  
GOD’S PLAN WILL BE DONE (Romans 16:21-27)

GOD’S PLAN WILL BE DONE (Romans 16:21-27)

December 13, 2015
One of the great Biblical promises that we have as believers is that God’s plan will be done.  No matter what man does to mess things up in this world, no matter what schemes and plots that Satan has for this world, God’s plan will be done.  It will be done just like He set it up to be done before He created the universe and everything in it.  Nothing has changed in this plan, and nothing will change.  God’s plan will be done, period.  

The fact that I know this promise of God to be true is comforting to me, and that is why God gave us this promise, so that we could be comforted knowing that God was in control.  Paul closes out this epistle with a declaration of this promise.  The almighty God of the Bible is the everlasting God, and His purposes and His goals are pursued by Him from age to age.  Christians may be feeble and frail, but God is strong.  The church may look like it is weak and divided, but it is the body of Christ and therefore it is linked to Omnipotence.  Whatever else may fail, the work of God cannot.  

Paul draws our thoughts to Him whose loving counsels foresaw the fall of man, provided for it before the foundation of the world, foreknew us, foreknew you and me, loved us into the kingdom, and who arranges for all things to work together for our good and His eternal glory.  Paul also draws our thoughts to the Son of His love, our blessed and glorious Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  And having filled our hearts and mind with these thoughts, Paul says a final Amen to this great epistle.
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.    
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.  
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
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. 
THE BENEFITS OF KNOWING GOD (Romans 5:1-5)

THE BENEFITS OF KNOWING GOD (Romans 5:1-5)

November 2, 2014
We live in a world where the predominant thought in a person’s mind when confronted with a decision is What’s in it for me?  Quite naturally, if they are going to buy something, they want to know the benefits of owning that item.  For instance, owning a home provides shelter and security, stability in that your lease won’t run out and you have to move.  The down side is ownership.  Anything that goes wrong you own the problem.

This is the same way that most people approach a decision about accepting Jesus as their Savior.  They think they know all of the benefits and downsides, but do they really?  

They look at what most people think of when they consider the benefits of knowing God, which is eternal life in heaven, and then they look at the perceived downside of having to change their lifestyles.  

They ask themselves, is a life in an eternity that they cannot see right now, worth giving up whatever they are doing today that they know is not right under the rules of God.  They are asking what is in this for me right now, not later, but right now?

This is the problem that we face as we try to explain the benefits of knowing God.  They see the persecution of Christians in today’s society, so it can easily appear as if all of the benefits are out in some unknown future.  So the task that we face as Christians is what can we tell them about the benefits of knowing God right now, in our lives today?  

Listen to this podcast as we learn that it is because we know Christ as our Savior that we have peace with God, we have access to the constant presence of God, we have the patience and endurance to face trials and tribulations in our lives through the power of God, and most of all we have hope.  

Do you have hope in your life today?  For the believer, God is our hope, our hope is in God. That is the benefit of knowing God.  
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