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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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Salvation and Grace

Everybody Loves a Parade!!!

Yes, they do and they come out in droves still in small-town America for a good parade. I don’t know if our town’s is good or not; but, tonight is the County Fair Parade. Our youth are entering a float, along with the sponsors, and hope to have a good time. We will, of course, hand out candy like folks expect. They will also get a small bonus gift of a Bible or Gospel Tract. We will have folks walking alongside just in case anybody wants to talk more….whatever they want to talk about. Be in prayer that we will honor God, be good citizens of our community and perhaps even see a soul or two come to Salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ! Thanks in advance. Prayer works, my friends; let’s make it work today.

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Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Jesus Paid It All and You Really Don’t Want to Pay Your Own Way (Part Four)


jesus saves

Let’s get serious for a few moments now. Based on the standard of the law, we are all guilty of breaking it. I am; you are, every single one of us is. Someday we will all stand before God and the only possible verdict is a resounding GUILTY! This, however, is not armed robbery, and the penalty is not simply imprisonment. What, then is the penalty? God’s Word tells us the answer to that question:

Romans 6:23 The wages of sin is death………

That’s right, the penalty prescribed in God’s Law for violation of that law is the death penalty. The penalty is not penance, or purgatory, or a monetary fine or any sort of good works to make up for what we have done. The penalty for our sin is death. What does this mean? Well, after the first sin, it meant physical death. If Adam and Eve had not sinned, they would have lived forever in their physical forms, in harmony with God. Their sin brought into the world all the sickness and death as we know it today.

Death also means spiritual death.  Even though we all eventually die physically, we are are all eternal in our spirits. Our spirit or soul will exist for all eternity.  So, again, what is it to spiritually die? Spiritual death is eternal separation from God in a place of torment we call Hell. It’s really that simple. When God says the wages of sin is death, that is the death of which He speaks.

The penalty is due; we all owe it, for we have all sinned and transgressed God’s law.  And each and every one of us can pay that penalty ourselves if we want to. We each owe it, and we can each pay it. I could have paid for my own sin; you can pay for yours if you wish. But that’s the point of this article. We don’t really want to pay our own way; we don’t want to suffer eternal death in a place called Hell.

Although we can certainly pay our own way, we do not have to. The title of this article is Jesus Paid it All, and He did. The Good News of the Gospel is that even though a penalty is was due and payable, it has already been paid! We need to go back to Romans 6:23 and look at the rest of that verse, as we only showed part of it earlier:   

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

God has given us a gift. Even though we owed the penalty of death for our sin, He gave us His Son, Jesus Christ as a way for that debt to be satisfied. God became flesh, in the form of Jesus Christ and became incarnate on this Earth for that very reason. Jesus Christ was fully human so He could pay the price humans owed for their sin; He was also fully God so He could pay the infinite price of the sin of all humanity past, present and future. Despite how He hates the sin, God loves us deeply and completely.

John 3:16 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.

It is a gift, we do not pay a thing for it; Jesus paid it all. We do not deserve it and we do not earn it.  All we have to do is accept it. How do we do this? Let’s look at what the Bible teaches about this:

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

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

It’s simple really. We have to confess Him. Basically, we have to agree with Him that our sin is wrong and understand we should have paid for it. We agree with God that our sin is wrong and turn away from it. We call that repentance. We also need to believe that Jesus paid the price we should have paid ourselves, and to trust Him as our Savior and Lord.  And finally, we do have to call on Him. Romans 10:13 teaches that. The gift is available, and it is free; however, God will not force it on anybody. He does require that we call on Him and ask for that gift.

Jesus paid it all. Four words full of meaning.  We all have a choice. We can pay our own way or we can accept that Jesus has already paid our way if only we repent toward God and believe in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Paid It All and You Really Don’t Want to Pay Your Own Way (Part Three)

jesus saves

Off to Jail!

Last time we talked about God as a judge. What if we tried some of the things in an earthly courtroom we try with God?

“Judge, it wasn’t really a big robbery. I didn’t even use a gun! And I only got a little bit of money anyway.”

The law says the penalty for armed robbery is imprisonment, no exceptions. “Off to jail!” says the judge. God likewise does not care about the size of our sin. God is perfect and Holy, remember? A small sin makes us just as guilty as a big one in the eyes of a perfect God. James 2:10 teaches us that a man can keep the whole law and yet offends in one point is still guilty of a violation of the entire law.

“Judge, I may have committed that robbery, but I never killed anybody!”

The law says the penalty for armed robbery is imprisonment, no exceptions. “Off to jail!” says the judge. God is not going to look at all the things we could have done but did not do. Once again, a violation of the law is a violation of the law.

“Judge, I may have committed that robbery, but did you know I have been working down at the food kitchen helping the homeless for years? What about all the money I gave to charity?”

The law says the penalty for armed robbery is imprisonment, no exceptions. “Off to jail!” says the judge. No matter how many good things we may do, they do not make up for our violation of God’s law. We cannot cover our penalty due by doing anything good.

“Judge, look what THAT guy has done!”

The law says the penalty for armed robbery is imprisonment, no exceptions. “Off to jail!” says the judge. God is not comparing us to each other to decide our innocence or guilt. He only compares us to the standard of His perfection and Holiness. It only matters what we have done, not what anyone else has done.

“Judge, I’m really, really sorry for committing the armed robbery.”

The law says the penalty for armed robbery is imprisonment, no exceptions. “Off to jail!” says the judge. The idea that we could tell a judge we are sorry and expect to be released is really absurd. The law says what the penalty is, and the penalty must be paid. Why would God be any different?

Coming up…..part 4 (the conclusion)

Jesus Paid It All and You Really Don’t Want to Pay Your Own Way (Part Two)

jesus saves

God Hates What?

Let’s start with something basic. God hates sin. That is an uncomfortable truth, but a truth nonetheless.

Why does God hate sin? There are many reasons, and we will cover a few of them.

First and foremost, God hates sin because He is Holy and sin is unholy. Sin, simply put, is outside the character of God and it offends Him. Like we said before, the Bible teaches that God cannot lie and that God is love. It flows from His character naturally then, that He would hate liars and those who do not love. God hates our sin because it separates us from Him. Before they rebelled and ate the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve walked in the Garden of Eden daily with God, as we learn in  Genesis 3:8. After The Fall, they were physically expelled from the Garden of Eden and the presence of God. The Prophet Isaiah was inspired to write the following:

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Our sin separates us from God, yet He created us to commune with and worship Him; therefore He hates anything which separates us from Him.

God hates sin because we will love our sin more than we love Him. God is love, loves us and wants our love. He hates anything which diminishes that love. James covered this in his epistle:

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

God hates sin because sin is a sign of our rebellion toward Him.  In the Garden of Eden, God only made one rule for Adam and Eve, and that was that they not eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve succumbed to the temptations presented to her by Satan, and she and Adam ate the fruit anyway. God’s plan was for Adam and Eve to live forever in harmony, in communion and in the worship of Him. They chose, however, the things that appealed to them rather than the things that mattered to God. That is what our sin represents to God today. When we sin, we are simply saying to God that we think our way is better than His way.

No Exceptions

So, God is the Creator of the Universe and the supreme lawgiver. He is entitled, by virtue of that position, to make the guidelines by which we live; falling short or refusing to comply with those guidelines offends God’s character and He hates it. Obviously, it seems, any violation of His law makes us guilty of being lawbreakers. Nonetheless, many come up with various defenses of their actions in attempts to say they really are not guilty. We are going to look at some of those defenses, and we are going to compare what God might think with what any judge in any courtroom in the world would say if these defenses were presented to him or her. That seems fair; we would understand a human judge responding in accordance with the law. It seems we would expect no less of the Supreme Judge of the Universe! For this scenario, just envision being before a human judge, say for the crime of armed robbery and that the penalty for that is imprisonment.

This is the law, no exceptions.

Coming up…Part 3 What God thinks of our excuses.

 

Giving Thanks-Psalm 100

Psalm 100 is a great one. Okay, they are all great, but right about now it seems extra great!

So, just what should we be thankful for? The answer is all things whether good, bad or indifferent. Did you put your feet on the floor this morning under your own power? Give thanks. Were you only able to open your eyes and look up at the ceiling? Give thanks.

Thank Him for the fact that we are even here. Remember that little verse, In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth?If He had opted not to do that, we would not even be here.

Obviously, thank Him for the blessings in our lives. Food, clothes, jobs, family and this list goes on and on. If we believe what we say we believe, then we have to acknowledge they all came from God. Remember this?

James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

Thank God for the not so seemingly blessed things. In other words, thank Him for the trials. They likely have a purpose, even if we don’t understand it. Again let’s go to the Book of James:

James 1:2-4  My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

Finally, the thing for which we should be most thankful is the gift of salvation God offers through His Son Jesus Christ. Did you know that God loves you? Did you also know that without His Son we are all doomed? Did you know that the famous John 3:16 actually doesn’t stand alone but has some very important information following? Read and see:

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 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.

God loves us with all of His divine heart. If fact, He loves us this much; knowing from eternity past we would be rebellious sinners, He made away for us to be saved anyway:

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Yes we have all failed Him and we are all sinners by nature and choice:

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

The outlook is grim, “For the wages of sin is death“, but God made us a solution,”but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” That was all Romans 6:23. It’s easy, confess your sin, repent of it, and ask for His salvation. It’s that easy. Who can be saved? See Romans 10:13,For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

I would say that is something to be thankful for; that is, if you have it. If not, you can today, just read above my friend.

Let’s go back to our Psalm briefly.

Psalm 100

 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.

 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Lazarus a Living Testimony

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John 12:7-11

John 12:17-23

The non-believing world in the day of Jesus was hostile to our Lord, and got more and more hostile as His ministry continued. It seems fairly amazing that, in light of the clear and evident fact that Jesus raised Lazarus that the Pharisees still refused to believe in Him. Instead of believing, they were angry that others were choosing to believe in and follow Jesus. The solution of the Pharisees was to eradicate the evidence! Clearly, many of these men had seen the miracle of the raising of Lazarus and that many of those who chose to believe also had; yet, their response was to not simply ignore the evidence but to attempt to make the evidence go away. “If we only kill this guy Jesus raised from the dead, then our problems are solved;” this seemed to be the rather convoluted logic of the non-believing Pharisees.

Guess what, friends? Not a thing has changed. Even today, the non-believing world thinks if only they can erase the evidence of God, then God will cease to exist. Eternally sadly for them, that simply will not work. Just like the Pharisees could not actually erase the fact that Lazarus died and came back, the clear evidence of God and our Lord Jesus Christ likewise can never be erased. The only question is: who will we choose to believe?

Be Set Free

freedom in jesus

Luke 4:18

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

This, of course, is part of the first recorded sermon of Jesus preached in the Synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth. Shortly thereafter, his hometown “friends” took Him to the Brow of the Hill and attempted to kill Him for the very first time; that’s not really our story here, though. What see see above is Jesus preaching from Isaiah Chapter 61 concerning the impending captivity in Babylon of Israel. The prophet was telling the nation of their impending judgment, and most importantly, their also upcoming restoration and freedom.

When Jesus had finished reading the words of the prophet Isaiah, He said something truly amazing, “And he began to say unto them, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” Luke 4:21.

Wait, you say, what does being taken to Babylonian captivity have to do with Jesus then and us today? We have to assume it has everything to do with it, since Jesus both preached it and stated He was the fulfillment of it, so the only question is what He meant.

This passage has particular significance to me, as it was preached during the sermon the day I came to salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. In the midst of all the things racing through my mind, I heard words like “brokenhearted,” and “bruised,” and “deliverance.”

Judgment, of course, is part of any message concerning the Gospel. We are judged by the Law and are accountable to it. Judgement, however, is not the desired outcome. God is “…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.2 Peter 3:9. The desired outcome is that we all be set free from captivity and restored to fellowship and communion with God.

We can be set free from our captivity. If we are still held in the bondage of the penalty and judgment for our sin, God will set us free today, for “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Acts 2:21. Today, as this is read, anyone reading can be release and freed.

Being released from the eternal penalty of our sin does not always result in complete freedom from its presence and effect of our life; that process can take some time. Are you still trapped by the things of  the past? Are you still tied down by guilt and doubt that you are free forever through the payment of Jesus Christ? Jesus has come to set us free from that as well. Don’t let the bondage of continuing sin and past guilt  hold you back in your new life with Jesus.

Will you be set free today?

 

Salvation Is for Everyone

The path is narrow to eternal life, but that NEVER means we all cannot have it. A great post here on Salvation by Desiray. Comments closed here, so head over and share your thoughts. Blessings and enjoy!

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Titus 3:5 says” He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

The word “Salvation” appears in the King James bible 164 times, that’s a lot of times. What is salvation and why are some people afraid of it? I am not one to argue over God’s word and so I am not going to start today. Some of you might disagree and you are entitled to your opinion. Let’s go to scripture and see that the word of God says, shall we?

Read the rest here: Salvation Is for Everyone

Throwback Thursday-‘Left Behind:’ Will There Be a Rapture?

From October 2014

throw back thursday

I read the article below earlier and it really started me thinking about some things. I hope readers are not disappointed, as we really are not going to cover any debate on whether there will or will not be a rapture. One might call this a bait and switch article. The article that got me thinking was written by Jim Denison, a columnist for Christianpost.com

The Left Behind series is a publishing phenomenon, with 16 books and $65 million in sales. Three movies have been based on the series; today’s Left Behind makes the fourth. In it, Nicolas Cage plays a pilot who attempts to calm his surviving passengers high above the Atlantic after the believers have been raptured. Other well-known actors include Lea Thompson, Jordin Sparks, and Nicky Whelan.

The movie is based on the doctrine of the “rapture” (from the Latin rapturo, to take out). There are various versions of the rapture, but they have in common the belief that Christians will be removed from the world by God during the “end times

via ‘Left Behind:’ Will There Be a Rapture?.

As I said, reading the above article really made me think. The writer made some great points, and I want to expand on them here. There are many views on the timing and particulars of the return of Jesus Christ. I happen to believe the Doctrinal Statement of the American Baptist Association represents Biblical truth; however even within that there is room for debate on the timing of the Rapture.  We all believe the Rapture will take place, but not all agree whether it will be before, in the middle of or at the end of the Tribulation.

The truth is, not all believe the same things concerning the Rapture, the Tribulation or the Millenium. There are many compelling arguments to support different viewpoints on the subject. We can believe differently on these issues without anybody being branded as a heretic. The one thing that remains true, and must remain true if we are to be considered correctly believing Christians:

Jesus is coming back!

I need to say up front, there is nothing wrong with scholarly study of the Bible. In fact, Scripture is crystal clear that we are to study and meditate on the inspired writings it contains. The study of Scripture, however, is not the end goal; it is simply a tool we use in order to reach the real objective. If our lives are full of study with no application, then it has been wasted time. Scripture is to change us, not just make us smarter and more knowledgeable about it. James taught us this idea clearly in James 1:23,24. If we look into the mirror of God’s Word and do nothing, it is like a man looking in a mirror and seeing what needs to be fixed but walking away without fixing it.

Jesus took one last opportunity to teach His disciples on the Mount of Olives shortly before His ascension; He was asked by them if The Kingdom would be set up at that time.  His answer? “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons.”

It was shortly thereafter that Jesus ascended into Heaven. Even then, the disciples simply stood there staring until two angels appeared and reminded them that they had work to do, and also that Jesus would return just as He had left.  Read the whole story here.

Now on to the actual point of this article. This quote from the original article I read simply captured me and provided the jump off point for this article.

“Here’s what matters: Jesus is coming back. No one knows when. We have only today to be ready. Whether he raptures the church before (or during, or after) a Great Tribulation, or returns to begin the millennium, or simply returns to end history and begin eternity, is not the practical question. You and I have no say in the matter. We are on the preparation committee, not the planning committee. Our job is to be ready when he comes, however he comes.”

What, then, are we to be preparing for?

  • We have a wedding to prepare for. Revelation 19:7-10 describes John’s vision of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. It is here that The Lamb(Christ) will marry His bride, the Bride of Christ. We aren’t going to discuss here who is and is not the bride, as it’s really not important to this discussion. Verse 7, however does say “His wife hath made herself ready.” How are we to be making ourselves ready? These verses give us some clues.
  • We have a judgment to face. We all know the judgment of God will pass onto all unbelievers for their unbelief. Believers will be judged also. We will not be judged to determine our final destination; that determination is made only while we are still living. We will be judged to give an account of our lives and how we lived them for Jesus.
  • We have a world to evangelize. God has not left us here simply to enjoy ourselves. He wants us restored to him and that is why He patiently waits until His chosen time. See 2 Peter 3:9 for Peter’s teaching on this idea. Back in Acts 1, right after all of the questions on His return, Jesus had told them their mission was to “be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

There is a commonly quoted saying, “Some people are so Heavenly minded that they are no Earthly good.” Is that true for us? Are we so busy debating and considering the times, places and events surrounding the return of Jesus Christ that we have forgotten what the real issue is? He is returning, that is simply not debatable. The question is: Are we ready?

  • Are you lost? If you are not saved, you are not ready. Repent today; turn from your sin. Accept Jesus’ payment for your sin and His role as Savior and Lord of your life.
  • Are you saved? Remember what is coming. Are you preparing to be a good Bride? Will you be told “Well done, good and faithful servant” when you face Jesus? Are you reaching out to a lost and dying world with the Gospel?

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