Friday, May 27, 2016


PAPER POPE – An Interview

Today the Christian Ledger is interviewing Brother Levi Sandals.  We have had serious differences with him in the past.  But we want to give him a fair chance to explain.  Jesus said to go first to your brother.

Ledger:  Thank you for speaking with us.  We thought it important to hear from you personally.  Things have a way of being distorted when passed on from one mouth to another.

Sandals:  I certainly have been misunderstood in some things I now deeply regret having done.  It did cause me problems.

L: Did you do it?  What we heard, that is.  We were in Christian College at the time.  We were all properly scandalized!  And shocked!

S: Yes.  To my regret I did.  In a fit of emotion I got carried away.  Perhaps you have done this too. 

L: You actually threw your Bible on the floor and said: “I will not be bound by a paper pope.”

S:  In my defense I ask you to listen to what Jesus said.  “Beware the leaven of the Pharisees.”  That is what I had intended to do. 

L:  Then you do accept the Bible?

S:  I believe that holy men of God wrote just exactly what God intended.  My problem is with some who READ INTO IT things that are not there.  That is what I intended to protest.

L:  But you spoke of a “paper pope.”

S:  Paul wrote: “The letter kills but the Spirit gives life.”  I believe Paul was speaking about the way in which some use the Bible.

L:  But isn’t what Paul said a contrast between Law and Gospel?

S:  Listen to Paul.  “But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.”  2 Cor 3:14 (NKJV)   Again, Listen to Christ Himself.  “You search the Scriptures, for in them you THINK you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.”  John 5:39-40 (NKJV)

L:  So you are saying with Jesus: “Take heed how you hear.”

S:  That’s what I had intended to say.  But you know preachers.  Sometimes we get too involved in what we are trying to communicate.

L:  We remember when a young preacher was trying to emphasize how Naaman had to dip seven times.  “If Naaman had dipped only six and a half times he would not have been saved.”

S:  No, he would have drowned.  That is just my point exactly.  We use the laws of language when we read the newspaper.  We should read the Bible using these same laws of language.

L:  Alexander Campbell said he tried to approach the Bible each day as if he had never seen it before.

S:  Certainly this is impossible.  But we do want to let the Bible speak for itself.  That is, to use the laws of language and context to deduce what the Bible is actually teaching.

S:  This is how Karl Barth describes the shift towards Biblicism that took place in much of Protestantism after the Reformation: The Bible was now grounded upon itself apart from the mystery of Christ and the Holy Ghost. It became a "paper Pope," and unlike the living Pope in Rome it was wholly given up into the hands of its interpreters. It was no longer a free and spiritual force, but an instrument of human power.” (CD I.2, p 525)
Here is where Barth finds the great sin of Biblicism. Rather than submitting to the Word made flesh revealed in the Bible (i.e. Jesus), we have all-to-often submitted simply to the book, to the Bible. Which ultimately takes the authority away from Christ and places it into the hands of the interpreter of Scripture.  And Peter the Apostle said some had twisted the words of Paul the Apostle.  [2 Peter 3:16.]

L:  We hear you saying that some by their actions seem to say: “We have the Bible – we have no need for Christ anymore.”

S:  Yes.  And some deny the Holy Spirit as did some Jews in Christ’s day.  They said Jesus did miracles by the power of the devil.

L:  What then do you see as the power of the Bible?

S:  I Think Luke said it in the first verses of his Gospel.  “…that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.”  Luke 1:4 (NKJV)   As eye-witnesses of JESUS the disciples saw and heard the things which He did and taught.  And Paul (Luke’s mentor) was given these things by inspiration.

L: We sing: “The Light of the World is Jesus!”  Red letter editions emphasize the words Jesus spoke.  And Jesus said we would be judged by the words He has spoken.

S:  I liked the way Rob Lacey emphasized Isaiah 9:6.  “It’s a boy! And He’s ours! He’ll grow up to carry the government on His shoulders. His titles will include Wonderful Wise One, Awesome God, Father Who Stays, Peace Prince. His tranquil rule will just keep on spreading. He’ll sit on David’s throne and run a kingdom full of justice and goodness right into eternity. God’s burning enthusiasm will see this is done.”

L: And we say Amen!  We are pleased to be able to join with you as brothers in Christ to proclaim the everlasting Gospel!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016



Today the Christian Ledger is interviewing Brother Levi Sandals.  We have had serious differences with him in the past.  But we want to give him a fair chance to explain.  Jesus said to go first to your brother.

Ledger:  Thank you for speaking with us.  We thought it important to hear from you personally.  Things have a way of being distorted when passed on from one mouth to another.  We want to continue with things you said in our former interview.

Sandals:  I am always happy to talk about Jesus!  He is so important to me.

L: You said something about people wearing blinders when they read the Bible.

S: Yes.  Paul spoke of this.  “But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.”  2 Cor 3:14 (NKJV)

“But when we turn our lives back towards the Boss, the mask is taken off. The Boss is the Spirit of God, and wherever God’s Spirit is, there’s freedom. We’ve got our masks off and God’s brilliance is bouncing off our faces; it’s changing us – our features are evolving; we’re looking more and more attractive as God’s Spirit puts plastic surgeons out of work by the thousands. Only our Boss makes us truly beautiful.”  2 Cor 3:16-18  Lacey

I like the way Lacey worded Jesus and the Pharisees in John 5:39-40.  “You got your degrees in the sacred books, PhD’s in books about the sacred books, and you’re convinced they’ll get you into heaven. But for all the points you score – you miss the Point: it’s all about ME! It’s jam-packed with huge stomping clues about ME. But you can’t admit it, ’cos then you’d have to ask ME for the limitless life you want.”

L: We note you are using the NKJV.  What is your reasoning?

S: We fault the Catholics for Latin.  But we have done the same with the ancient language of King James.  The NKJV is a good balance of traditional language and accuracy.  I use many translations and also languages in my study.  But I mostly use the NKJV in the pulpit.  And Paul did say: “he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,”  1 Tim 6:4 (NKJV)

L: And who is Lacey?  You quote him.

S: Lacey was British and had an interesting way of saying things.  He was dying of cancer when he wrote “The Word On The Street.”  This is a commentary on the Bible. He offers a unique insight at times into the original text.

L: Does that conflict with inerrancy?

S: Not at all.  Those inspired writers used the languages spoken on the street in their day.  Surely they wrote just what God wanted them to write.  God speaks all languages and we read them to understand.  Paul said: “There are many different languages in the world, and every language has meaning.  But if I don’t understand a language, I will be a foreigner to someone who speaks it, and the one who speaks it will be a foreigner to me.”  1 Cor 14:10-11 (NLT)

We need a “poetic soul” to understand the Bible.  Books like Revelation use figures familiar to the Jewish readers of the First Century.  “Babylon” was the Roman Empire, but also the “world that is passing away” (1 John 2:15-17).  I like the way the NLT words this.   “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions.”

Lacey uses this poetic soul.  “I only pull you up and back into line ’cos I love you. So get serious. Turn your life back round to God. I’m waiting here outside your front door. I’m pressing the buzzer. If you hear my voice on your intercom and press the ‘Enter’ button, I’ll come in with a full-on takeaway and we’ll have a great meal together and put our world to rights.” Rev 3:19-20

Rich Little, an Australian, wrote of this.  “In the months preceding the death of my dear friend, mentor and “American” mum, Barby Smith, she spoke from her heart to a well-known faculty member with whom she differed on many things. She said, “You know, when you’re dying, the things you once thought were most important are not as important anymore, and I’ve wasted a lot of time.” The vision of Christ her King was fixed in her eyes. May He be so in ours as we unite around a common love and service for Him for all who will come and for all to whom we go.” 

L. On a different subject, some are saying science has driven a stake into the heart of the "god delusion."  We watched a video of the science of Dr. Who.  Science is amazing.  Our grandson is learning to program welding robots.  Do you consider this a Bible subject?

S. You must consider everything the Bible does say.  Some “proof-text” the Bible and ignore many things.  Or they do not think through the implications of the Bible.  God created people in His own image.  Anything that science finds is something which God already placed there.  God has given us almost unlimited creativity.  God has given us a mind that can leap ahead to a conclusion that has not followed a complete process of logical development.

L. How do you arrive at this?  What is your reasoning?

S.  The tower of Babel.  Genesis 11.  The NLT brings this out.  “But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them!  Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.”  Gen 11:5-7 (NLT) 

I believe God gave all the variety of physical characteristics that divide us.  But there is a default value which stabilizes humanity.  Paul said: “From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.”  Acts 17:26 (NLT)

And Paul mentions this to the Corinthians.  “For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.” 1 Cor 11:19 (NKJV)

L. Factions, you say.  How do you understand this?

S.  Paul the Apostle said to the Corinthians: “for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? 1 Cor 3:3-4 (NLT)   Some seek to justify their factitious actions as “Standing For The Old Paths.”  Jesus warned about the “leaven of the Pharisees.”   But we demonstrate by our actions our true love for God and for one another.  1 John 3:23.

We are actually workers on the same team.  Paul said: “Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.  I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.”  1 Cor 3:5-6 (NLT)

L. This has certainly been interesting.  Let’s get together again soon and continue our interview.


     Unity should always be on the minds of New Testament Christians.  Jesus prayed: "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”  John 17:20-21
     We go back in time to interview Barton W. Stone about his thoughts on unity.  This interview exists only in the mind of the writer.  We have updated the language at times to make this to be more easily understood. 
     Christian Ledger.  Brother Stone, we understand that unity was of great concern to you.  You wrote about this and we want to compare notes with you.
     Barton W. Stone.  Yes.  We must work together to promote the Cause of Christ Jesus.  Too often the church has worked at cross purposes.  When Islam was in progress, those who considered themselves to be Christians fought each other rather than promoting the Plan of Christ.  The devil wishes to turn our attention away from the Gospel.
     CL.  You put into print some things about unity.  You said some try to build “Book unity.”  What did you mean?
     BSBook union.  By this I meant creeds written by men, and also the unwritten creeds some follow.  Creeds are meant to be a pattern of faith and were intended to be helpful in standing for Truth.  But they become tests of fellowship.  Thus they tend to divide rather than unite.  A “tribe” of Christians may unite around a “creed” but shut out all those who see things differently.  And then the Holy Meal is closed off from deserving brothers & sisters.  When Thomas Campbell invited all to join in the Holy Communion, he was censured by the church leaders.
     CL.  Today we practice “open communion” where the bread and cup are passed through the congregation.  Each one is allowed to judge for himself and so eat the bread and drink the cup.  But we do follow an unwritten creed in church matters while strongly denying that we do so.
     BS.  We have been too long engaged with defending ourselves, rather than the truth as it is in Jesus.   But we use the slogan:  No Creed But Christ.  Yet some twist Christ into an unrecognizable form.  As did Nicodemus, we tend to confuse flesh and Spirit (John 3:3-5).
     CL.  You spoke of “Head unity.”  How do you understand that?
     BS.  I meant how we understand the Bible.  Alexander Campbell said he approached the Bible each day as thought he had never seen it before.  But this is impossible since we have the gift of memory.  We must struggle to give the Bible a fair hearing.  Campbell thought language was the barrier and issued a new version, “The Living Oracles.”  But each one believes his opinion of certain texts to be the very spirit and meaning of the texts - and that this opinion was absolutely necessary to salvation.  [Compare Romans 14:1-6.]  One said in frustration that the New Testament is the Book we divide over.  Yet certainly God did intend us to understand and so we compare Scripture with Scripture and read the context with care to gain understanding.  And we pray that the Holy Spirit of Christ will open our minds and guide us.  He leads us into the Truth.
     CL.  You spoke of “Water Unity.”  We put great emphasis on water baptism and that this is baptism into Christ Jesus.  Certainly we read Paul in Romans about being baptized into Christ’s death.  All who have been baptized into Christ are one in Christ.  Yet of course some say that unless one is baptized by someone who has the proper credentials the baptism is not valid.  As time passes each one may examine himself to the validity of his/her baptism.
     BSWater union is defined to be a union founded on Christian baptism - immersion into water (as we practice it).  But fact proves that this union is easily dissolved, and that immersion will not keep those who are immersed, united.  How vain are all human attempts to unite a bundle of twigs together, so as to make them grow together and bear fruit! They must first be united with the living stock, and receive its sap and spirit, before they can ever be united with each other. So must we be first united with Christ, and receive His Spirit, before we can ever be in spirit united with one another. The members of the body cannot live unless by union with the head—nor can the members of the church be united, unless first united with Christ, the living Head.  His Spirit is the bond of union.  Men have devised many plans to unite Christians - all are vain. There is but one effectual plan, which is, that all be united with Christ and walk in Him.
     CL.  So you said that true unity is to be found in “Fire Unity.”  How do you see this? 
      BS.  I am thinking of what happened at the Cane Ridge Revival.  The results prove that this was an act of God.  At the Cane Ridge Revival, people came expecting a three day Gospel Meeting climaxing on Sunday with the Lord's Supper.  In preparation the preaching was:  REPENT!  AVOID HELL!  JESUS DIED FOR YOU!  GOD WILL FORGIVE YOUR SINS!  TODAY IS THE DAY OF SALVATION!  And many did obey with weeping and howling as James wrote.  Lives were changed!  The Gospel of God’s Act In Christ to save the world echoed across the Nation!  We were shocked by some things that happened.  But as Jesus said: “Believe the works that I do.”  The works showed God’s Hand.
      Fire union.  This is the only way to be faithful to Scripture. "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit" (1 Cor 12:13).  The Spirit of God welds us into Unity.  The church I read about in the New Testament had a “charismatic dimension.”  Paul wrote Timothy that God wants all men to be saved.  Perhaps not all will answer God’s call – but all shall be taught by God (John 6:5).
      CL.  So you see Unity coming through the presence of the Holy Spirit of God.  A “fire union” through the Holy Fire of the Holy Spirit.  The church will be united because of the presence of the Holy Spirit of Christ.
      BS.  Exactly so.  Paul wrote: "Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3).   The Greek can be translated: "Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together."  The Holy Spirit unites us.  We have been too long engaged with defending ourselves, rather than the Truth as it is in Jesus.  Let us trust our little selves with the Lord; and rest not, till by faith in the promised Spirit and by incessant prayer we receive and be filled with it, like they were of old in the Ancient Order of things.” 

Monday, May 23, 2016


adapted via Christianity Today 1990?

However, to many believers in England, the traditional denominations seem irrelevant. Those believers do not feel particularly bonded to others by virtue of a historic set of beliefs that would define them as Baptist, Methodist, or (Plymouth) Brethren so much as by special events and transdenominational movements.
        House church movement is a misnomer, for only a few of the churches meet in houses. They have quickly expanded into rented halls and then into their own buildings. Several number at least 1000 worshipers.
        The emphasis of the Ichthus Fellowship are representative of this restoration theme: They emphasize fellowship, structuring the church to encourage deep interpersonal sharing; mission, making evangelism and social action central rather than peripheral to church life; and training, using on-the-job learning to produce an army of well-equipped Christian workers. And they stress three attitudes: love, by which all people are to know Christ's disciples; humility, which allows them to learn from failure; and openness to the Holy Spirit, by which they are "determined not to get bogged down by dead traditions and sterile rituals." ["Rough and ready evangelism" resulted in tremendous church growth in territory that had for centuries remained obdurate to the witness of the historic churches.]
         Any student of church history would recognize those themes and attitudes as being characteristic of many manifestations of renewal through the centuries. And any student of church history knows that the green shoots of renewal can bear the thorns of elitism and authoritarianism.
Our desire is to release women as much as we can. We've been like an army fighting with one hand tied behind our back. Within evangelical circles, there's very little left of the intuitive gifts and abilities. This may sound like a sexist comment, but men tend to be more logical than women, while women are more intuitive than men. Generally speaking, because we've silenced women, we've pushed out the intuitive area of life, the vision, the leading of the Holy Spirit. Certainly Philip's daughters, Phoebe, Lydia, Dorcus, and a host of other women were active in a Spiritual way in the life of the First Century Church.
        Perhaps because pre-millennial eschatology has never flourished in England the way it has in America, British evangelicals are much more optimistic about their potential impact on society.
Charismatic worship style (although not necessarily charismatic theology) has penetrated nearly every corner of evangelicalism, shifting the focus from the liturgical and kerygmatic role of the pastor and preacher to the joyful participation of the congregation. Is this a sign of the democratization of evangelicalism???
         This charismatic-flavored evangelicalism also tends to have a strong social concern component, with activity on behalf of the poor and the unemployed viewed as an essential part of the Christian life. Is this not a people's religion?
Mike Yaconelli in "The Door": "Let's - all of us - decide to stop trying to convince the world that Christianity is true because Jesus makes us prettier, happier, thinner, wealthier, bigger, more successful, more popular, healthier, more powerful, brighter, stronger, and more influential than everyone else. Do we actually believe that the world is impressed with our fancy new churches, 12,000 in Sunday School, five services each morning, the "millions" who are watching on TV, converted beauty queens and professional athletes, our book sales, or our crusades? The world is laughing at us - mocking us and the 'Jesus' we supposedly are serving. Jesus said: "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto Me."


How to reach people: Paul on Mars Hill, Acts 17:16-34
Paul was an Apostle, inspired and directed by The Holy Spirit.  The things he said and did at Athens were just right under those circumstances.  At the meeting on Mars Hill (Areopagus) he was speaking to people who did not know anything about Jehovah.  He did not use the same approach he would use with Jews who did know God.
Acts 17:16-18 NKJV  "Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols.  Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there."
The city was a junkyard of idols!  He discussed this with the Jews and other like-minded people who meet in the synagogue for worship.  And every day he went out on the streets and talked with anyone who happened along.  He got to know some of the Epicurean and Stoic intellectuals pretty well through these conversations.  In order to influence people, it is important to be on speaking terms with them, and to "speak their language."
Acts 17:22-23 NKJV  "Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus (Mars Hill) and said, 'Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.  Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you.'"
Andy Butcher writes in "When It's Hard To Believe":
"Christians tend to think of non-Christians as hard-core pagans having no level of receptivity to the gospel - maybe even antagonistic toward the church, if not belligerent.  Many active Christians tend to think in black & white terms."
"People are very open to Jesus, there's a record number of books about Him.  Everybody wants a piece of Jesus, but they drive a wedge between Him and the Church and between Him and traditional Christianity.  They don't want that other stuff."
"But with widespread ignorance about even the most basic Bible stories and teachings, we have an opportunity to introduce it (the Bible) as a new book.  The Good Book is often judged unfairly by its threatening black cover.  Some publishers are making the Scriptures more culturally relevant."
Note that Paul was in the habit of preaching in a frame of reference that respected some of the scruples of the people he approached (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).  Paul could: live like a Jew among the Jews (respecting their customs); live as a Gentile in order to win the Gentiles; live among the weak in faith (who had very strong personal opinions, doubts and fears, Romans 14:1-2; 15:1).  Paul could respect their prejudices also.  But in every case Paul's goal was to "by all means save some."

Paul's sermon:
1. Let me tell you about GOD who is Lord of heaven and earth.  Acts 17:24-25
a. God made the earth and everything in it.
b. God does not live in man-made temples.
c. God does not need anything that we can supply.
d. God gives life and breath and everything.

2. Let me tell you about yourself and all of us humans.  Acts 17:26-27
a. God created us all from one man (Adam).
b. God spread us all over the earth.
c. God wants us to look and search for Him.
d. Yet God is not far from any of us as you might think.
"In Him we live and move and have our being."
"For we are also His children."

3. Because we are God's children, His offspring:  Acts 17:29-30
a. We should not think God is like an idol made of gold,
silver or stone, made and shaped by the hands of men.
b. God once overlooked the times of our ignorance.
c. God now commands everyone to repent and turn to Him.

4. God will judge the world in righteousness!  Acts 17:31
a. God has appointed a Day.
b. God will judge the world through a Man (Christ Jesus).
c. God gave proof of the Judgment by raising this Man
from the dead.  Note Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:20-22.

5. Some obeyed with just this one sermon.  Acts 17:34.
a. Some mocked Paul and laughed at the idea of a resurrection from the dead.  (They thought of man as just a soul trapped in a disposable body.)
b. Some believed in the Risen Christ Paul spoke of.  Since the crucifixion ties in with the Day of Atonement and the whole Jewish idea of "sacrifice," not all would understand.  But Rising from Death is a clear statement.  Note Acts 4:3.  "being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead."
c. We would expect that those who did believe would say, like the Ethiopian Eunuch: "See, here is water.  What hinders me from being baptized?"  

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Can Anyone Be Saved?

Can Anyone Be Saved???  Yes!!!        R.D.Ice
About 200 years ago, Raccoon John Smith, one of our pioneer "restoration" preachers, preached a sermon which he said was not "true" yet which helped to clear the air about salvation.  He preached: Universal Damnation - that no one at all could be saved.

Using logic:
The righteous are scarcely saved.
There is none righteous.
Therefore no one can be saved.
Offend in part, guilty of all.
We all offend in part.
Therefore we each are guilty of all.

Logically, then, no one can be saved and all are lost!

This helps us understand the scripture which says: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 6:23  What we could not do because of sin and sinfulness, God did in Christ Jesus.
"So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit." Romans 8:1-4 (NLT)
Jesus died as God's Lamb not only to forgive our sins, but to save us from sin's penalty - death.  The Law said (Ezekiel 18:20): "The soul (individual) who sins shall die."  This death penalty of sin shows how destructive sin really is.  After Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, they tried to cover their shame with fig leaves, which began to perish the moment they were picked.  They did not know what death meant, but they were about to learn its sad terrible meaning.  They didn't know that those leaves were going to wither and die, and that their sin would be exposed again.  But God intervened.  "And the Lord God made clothes from animal skins for Adam and his wife."  Genesis 3:21 NLT  This implies that God Himself made the first animal sacrifice for sin - the innocent atoning for the guilty.
"For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law.  But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe."  Gal. 3:21-22
Paul explains in Phil. 3:8-11.  "I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God's law, but I trust Christ to save me.  For God's own way of making us right with Himself depends on faith.  As a result I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead." NLT
Faith = I believe!
I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Acts 8:37).
I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and that HE is alive forevermore!  (Romans 10:9-10).
I believe that God for Christ's sake has accepted me (Romans 5:6-11; 2 Cor. 5:17-21).
I believe that I must accept the fact that He has accepted me and that I must reach out in faith to "obey the gospel" and live a new life.  (Romans 10:13).
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable (sensible, true worship) service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove (experience) what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."  (Romans 12:1-2)

Saturday, May 14, 2016


The Mystery of Pentecost
    “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"  Rev 7:9-10 (NKJV)
    It is the Holy Spirit who moves the Church but for many Christians today, the Holy Spirit is a stranger.  Many who believe in Jesus do not know the Holy Spirit.  But Jesus said to baptize “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy
    “And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers.” Acts 2:4-6 (NLT)
    “No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants—men and women alike— and they will prophesy. And I will cause wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below— blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon will turn blood red before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives. But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ Acts 2:16-21 (NLT)
    1. Peter preached the Gospel on Pentecost.
    “This is the first of about thirty speeches in Acts and one of the most important, standing as it does at the very inception of the church. It is a typical example of the preaching of the apostles, who proclaimed (1) that the OT promises had been fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is the promised Messiah; (2) that the apostles themselves were eyewitnesses of Jesus' entire public ministry and were his chosen representatives; (3) that people are called to repent of their sins and have faith in God through Christ; and (4) that salvation and the presence of the Holy Spirit are promised to those who respond affirmatively to this message of Good News. This basic message is echoed in the sermons of Acts chs 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, and 13. The same themes characterized Paul's preaching (see 1 Cor 15:3-9). This message was repeatedly preached to both Jews and Gentiles throughout the Mediterranean world; all people are summoned to repent of their sins and turn to God through faith in Jesus Christ.”  —NLT Study Bible
    Christian life is not just a moral life: it is our meeting with Jesus Christ.  And it is thanks to the Holy Spirit that this holy event takes place.  But we keep the Holy Spirit as a ‘prisoner’ in our hearts.  We do not allow the Spirit to push us forward, to move us. The Spirit does everything, knows everything, reminds us what Jesus said, can explain all about Jesus. There is only one thing the Holy Spirit can’t do: make us ‘Sunday’ Christians.
    "O Ephraim, what shall I do to you? O Judah, what shall I do to you? For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud, And like the early dew it goes away.”  Hosea 6:4 (NKJV)
    The Holy Spirit cannot make us look like ‘virtual’ Christians when we are not virtuous. The Holy Spirit makes us real Christians. The Spirit takes our life as it is and prophetically reads the signs of the times pushing us forward, the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity (Matt. 28:19-20).
    “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.   And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:26-28 (NKJV)
    Neither the Spirit nor Christ plead with God for men in general, but only for those who are united to Christ - his people. Only Jesus brings God and men together [mediator] (1 Tim. 2:5), but others can plead with God for us (compare Gen. 18:23-33). Even though we cannot find words to pray, or are ignorant of the true nature of things (such as in a crisis), the Holy Spirit is our prayer-partner, and pleads with God for us.   And in accordance with God’s will. This is explained in the next verse. 28. We know that in all things. God is able to use suffering, sadness, poverty, imprisonment, death, etc., to call His people to Eternity. “Every problem contains an opportunity, and every opportunity contains a problem.” Compare 2 Cor. 7:9-11; Acts 28:16 and note. Those whom He has called. The best comment on this is 2 Thess. 2:13-14.
      “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  2 Thess 2:13-14 (NKJV)