Christian Liberty, What is it?

Liberty! Today many suggest Christian Liberty is social, political, economical and self promoting liberty. That is not what Jesus Christ taught about liberty. Jesus said the believer would be free.  Jesus also taught us to be a slave. The Apostle’s taught about a Christian freedom pushing the believer into slavery. The slavery I speak of today is that of being slaves to righteousness. What is Christian Liberty? Salvation! Salvation from sin, the law and superstition is the basic definition of Christian Liberty.

When a person is a regenerate believer they are set free from unrighteousness. It is not always fully recognized by the regenerate believer upon regeneration, but it is still a blessing from God imparted to the regenerate believer. Due to this new freedom we are inclined to a different lifestyle than before. The Holy Spirit working in us effectually calls us to righteousness. This is again not because we are good people. It is only by the grace of God.

To preach Christian Freedom as a means of living our own desires, doing what is contrary to the word of God and promoting our self above all other is a heresy. Jesus Christ never, “never”, taught His disciples to be first, go for your dreams or you should have all the world has to offer. That is not popular, but it is the truth. This is not my words. Jesus Himself said in the kingdom the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Too many people in the church today are falling into the trap the devil has set. He wants us to remain slaves to self and sin rather than slaves to Christ and His righteousness.

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Statements of Faith, How Important are They?

In scripture we are commanded to share the gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19 & Acts 1:8). 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us. In Acts Chapter 7 Stephen begins to give a sermon in which he tells word for word the the truth’s from the word of God. In our current age we need to be careful and discerning when yoking together with a body of “believers” (2 Corinthians 6:14). How can we be certain we are with a body who believes, preaches and witnesses the gospel in it’s truth without error?

Statements of faith help to establish the basic belief system of a church and are beneficial when new people come to join a church. If a statement of faith is known the new comer can know if he/she agrees with the basic doctrinal teachings of the church. Can you imagine how much conflict we might avert if people decided they disagree with us before they are yoked together with us.

It is obvious to me statements of faith are important in church life today. With the changing tides of modern Churches it is necessary for us to know what we believe, know why we believe it and be able to share it with confidence. A doctrinal statement or statement of faith is not a replacement of scripture it is simply a summary of scriptural truth’s that we are called to adhere to if we are to be a part of a local assembly. Outdated to some maybe but not to Christ who said, “if you love me keep my commandments”.

He Maketh Me to Lie Down in Green Pastures

The 23rd Psalm is probably the most read scripture at funerals. It is very fitting. I would like to turn your mind today from the grave to life. Great things are presented to the people of faith in this Psalm. Today we will examine the green pastures.

The green pastures mentioned are the provisions God provides for those who belong to Him (Psalm 37:25). Because He is our Shepherd we will never want for anything. He truly provides us with our every need (Matthew 6:8).

Also important to note is the lying down of the sheep. Those who recognize Christ as shepherd are at peace. A peace which passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Sheep at peace have no need to continually graze due to satisfaction through the work and grace of God.

The Lord is our Shepherd. If He leads you to the pasture you can be sure He is leading you to the place of peace, provisions and Life!

We Really Are! He Really Is!

2 Corinthians chapter 3

Ephesians chapter 2

Romans chapter 3

Today we have a number of preachers and doctrines floating around. Many want to tell us how good we are. According to many preachers we can be anything and do anything we desire as long as we believe we can. Important truths are left out of this kind of preaching. The Simple Truth is we can do nothing nor can we become something apart from God’s working.

We often make plans without considering who we really are. If we neglect this beginning the end will hold misery and disappointment for us. We are not capable of accomplishing any of our plans. You see we are a lot of things in God’s eyes. None of which prosperity preachers want to admit.

As part of the human race we are filthy. Isaiah 64 reminds us our righteousness is as filthy rags. We are also fit for punishment in God’s eyes because we have broken His laws. Romans 3 states this truth by saying all have sinned and come short of the glory of God and none of us are righteous. Not even one. The wage for our sin is death according to Romans 6.

We are not righteous and on our own we cannot obtain righteousness. In Ephesians 2 a wonderful three letter word breaks through our sin. But. But God. Those who are saved by God’s marvellous grace know God hath quickened us while we were dead in our trespasses and sins.

We really are;

  1. fallen = sinful
  2. fallible = capable of making mistakes, and often do so
  3. feeble = helpless
  4. futile = constantly changing

He really is!

  1. Faultless = sinless
  2. Flawless = Infallible. Never mistaken
  3. Foundational = the foundation of all things including salvation
  4. Faithful = Never leaves us. Forgives us when we repent. Promises are never broken.

You see we really are all of those bad things and Christ really is all of the good things. Until we understand the Simple Truth we are nothing outside of Christ we will never see who we Really are.

Real Christians

Many people claim to be Christian. We know the real Jesus Christ challenges people. Real Christians accept the challenges. First the challenge to believe. Many fail in this challenge and never completely trust Christ in all matters pertaining to life and godliness. Second the challenge of continuing well. The preceding challenge will determine how we respond to the second challenge. Unless we accept the first challenge and believe by faith in Jesus Christ we will not only fail in the end we are completely incapable of continuing. How can one continue in something he/she never really began?

Continue with Christ in the Good Times! 

  • The man who asked what he must do to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven refused to accept the challenge to sell all his possessions. Do we realize where all good things come from? Do we realize who provides all good things? Only those who know the provider of all good things and maker of all good times can continue with Christ in the good times. (Luke 18:21-23)

Continue with Christ in the Bad Times!

  • Paul suffered stoning (Acts 14)
  • Daniel suffered attempted murder (Daniel)
  • Joseph suffered in various ways (Genesis = begin in chapter 37)
  • Job (Job)

How do we Handle the bad times? Do we leave our so called faith, the church and our christian friends when bad times come. That is not continuing well!

Continue with Christ in the Last Times 1Corinthians 15:20-23)

  • We will all face death.

Many give up when they face death. For those who have trusted in the real Christ  through faith hold an understanding of the promise our risen Lord gave us concerning His return for us. Those who know Christ from a fantasy understandably fear when life comes to the end. If  they had only begun with Christ they would have finished well!

Paul returned to place where he was stoned. He encouraged the disciples to continue in the faith. As Christians we must continue well in good times, bad times and even the last times.

Real Christians trusting the Real Christ living real Christian Lives!

Taste and See That the Lord is Good! Psalm 34:8

My grandmother passed away five years ago. I remember the sad task of cleaning out her home. After all the big pieces had been removed we focused on the last thing, the refrigerator. In the freezer were two pies. These were not just any kind of pie, these were chess pies. Grandmothers chess pie has always been my favorite pie. I ate on that pie slowly for a week. I remember the last bite well, because I knew it was the absolute last bite of Grandmother’s pie I would have the privilege to taste.

God has created us with the privilege to taste the things He has created (Genesis 1:29). Our taste buds help us in our worship toward a holy and righteous God (Psalm 34:8). When I taste things I enjoy I am overcome with a thankful heart. If I taste something bitter I am also reminded of the bitter cup our Lord drank on crucifixion day (Matthew 26:39 & Matthew 27:34). When I taste other things such as bread I am reminded of the promises God made and kept with His people in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament Israel held feasts to remember the things God had done (Leviticus 23:33-44).

God gives us an infinite supply of opportunities to taste and see that He is good. He is good in that He supplies us with sustaining provisions. God is good in that Christ tasted a bitter cup so those who trust in Him will not have to taste such bitterness. God also promises us an eternal supply of fruit in Heaven (Revelation 22:2).

Maybe the next time you partake of the Lord’s Supper you might consider the bitter drink and what it means to drink it. We should worship God when we taste the bitter drink knowing our Lord drank the bitter cup of God’s wrath, and He did so on our behalf. We can even worship God in our church fellowship. The next time you attend a church fellowship and taste the wonderful food remember the Lord Himself has created such good taste. In tasting anything let us do so and see that the Lord is good! Lastly let us not forget the promised fruit in Heaven. May we gather together beside the river and taste God’s goodness.

Sights for Worship. Proverbs 20:12

Proverbs 20:12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.

God has created all of us with five senses. We are created with these senses for the purpose of worship and fellowship with God. I wonder if we consider the privilidge of seeing the beauty in worship? In an effort to explain how we can better enjoy the priviledge of sight and use it in our worship let me give you some testimony. In our church we have some things that are always in place. Often times we can walk into the House of the Lord and overlook the things that if we look at them in context we might enter into a heart of worship. I try to look at these things when I enter the church with expectations of being inspired and directed to worship and praise God.

Our church has a foyer area for information papers for ministries, tapes of sermons and gospel tracts. In this foyer area two wooden doors are pulled back. Wome people see two wooden doors. When I look at these doors I see the formal opening leading into the room where God’s people are going to worship the true and living God. When I look at these doors I see an opening leading to a place where a lost sinner can come and witness God’s people in worship. Inside the two doors waits a place God will speak to us through His word.

After walking into the sanctuary the first thing my eye is attracted to is the pulpit. For some the pulpit is a wooden book board that sits on the platform and nothing else. After realizing the proper perspective on the sights of worship I now see a sacred desk. On this sacred desk lies a copy of God’s holy, inspired, infallible and in inerrant word. This brings my heart into a state of worship. Looking at the copy of God’s word humbles me and makes me wait with real expectations knowing God will speak to the congregation in order to call sinners to repentance, saints to service and will make disciples of those who are comitted to the faith.

After ascending the pulpit I look out over the congregation and view the pews. For some these are merely seats for sitting. My eyes see the seats where God’s very own will be seated for worship. I also see fellowship of the saved. In these very pews God has convicted hearts, changed lives and taught disciples. Knowing this turns my heart toward God for worship. While on the platform my eye is captured by something else. It is the beautiful stained glass windows. The particular one I am drawn to has a picture of Jesus Christ. In the picture our Savior has outstrected open arms. As I gaze at this work of art I think of a Savior who says, “come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest”, (Matthew 11:28).I also see a Savior saying to lost sinners, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).

Lastly I view the congregation while worship takes place. We know the church is a place for the saved to come and worship God The church is also a place for lost sinners to witness (see) the worship taking place. When this happens God works in the hearts of lost sinners. Many have come to know Christ as savior when the word was preached and Christians worshipped.

What do you see when you enter the House of the Lord? Maybe the next Lord’s Day you will ask God to use your sense of sight to help you better worship Him. after all He is worthy of our full attention. He is worthy of our worship. He is worthy of our praise. And may we not forget He is worthy of our repentance.