AS LONG AS IT TAKES

October 19, 2021

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We have very many prayer requests today, some of these folks I have known personally as their pastor for years. Some we have never met face to face, but they follow scumlikeuschurch.wordpress.com. we are blessed to have some very dedicated prayer warriors that take very seriously a sacred duty to pray for you at least once a day, some several times a day. We say, “God Bless you all”.

A common question I get asked often about prayer; “pastor, how long am I supposed to pray for this person or for this request”?

I have a couple of answers; one, until the prayer is answered, two, until the person is healed or passed away, three; God removes the burden to pray for the person, place or thing. fourth; God answers with a no.

I am sure there are more answers, but I feel like these are the most common ones.

Pray for Ray M. almost died of covid, only by getting Hydroxychloroquine did he recover, one more day and he probably would have died. He is a high-risk person and is fearful of getting a variant and is very fearful. So keep him in prayer.

Larry A, just diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Pray for Margie, still hanging in there dying what and when the doctors are saying about her dying, still smiling and still singing.

Keep Matthew in prayer, they are now saying a birth defect is what is causing all his hip pain.

Pray for Steve H, encouragement, guidance, a blossoming of his gifts. For his wife Pam, healing of her knees. pray the bid they put in for a home is accepted

Salvation for Lauren, Tara, Anne, Cheyenne, Cristina, Norma Perales, Hunter, Garrett, Tavon, Philip, Drew, Lubbock, Rick Perales and son Rick Jr. Oscar.

Allen says thank you for the prayers and the new pastor has been given a new spiritual heart.

Larry R, healing of cancer.

Dave I, as he battles his 5th cancer battle.

  1. C. Hickman, healing from cancer.

Pray hard, for Caliste Burt, problems with the last 2 brain tumors. This a great Christian warrior, surround her with prayer.

Pray for the Happy Zion Church in Missouri, looking for an exceptional pastor, fit just right for them.

NOT REALLY A GHOST

September 28, 2021

I read a staggering statistic this morning, “only 6% of evangelicals believe the Holy Spirit is real.”

WOW

6% of evangelicals, part of me wants to say how is that possible, but I know why. We are no longer a Christian nation and the church has failed miserably to be both salt (preserving) and light (evangelism) to the world. The United States is now a pluralistic nation. We are a nation of relativism. Hey, you believe what you want to believe but do not push your beliefs on me.

Well here are the Facts.

As early as apostolic times, false teachers doubted or denied the personhood of the Holy Spirit. Some pictured the Spirit as a force or influence exerted by God rather than a person. This tendency may derive in part from the word “spirit,” from the Latin spiritus, which means “breath.” The Greek word pneuma and the Hebrew word ruach both have the same meaning of “breath” or “wind,” as well as “spirit.” If we think of the Holy Spirit as merely the “breath” of God, then it is possible to perceive Him as an impersonal force rather than a distinct being having a separate identity from the Father. However, divine revelation is specific in its explanation that God is spirit (not material or physical). Like the wind, God exerts power and force while being invisible by nature. Observe the following proofs from Scripture (of which there are many) of the personhood of the Holy Spirit, as well as His separate identity from the Father:

  1. Personal pronouns are used in relation to the Holy Spirit: In spite of the fact that the Greek word for “spirit” is in neuter gender, the demonstrative pronoun ekeinos, “that One,” was used in John 16:13–14 to refer to the Holy Spirit. Paul used a masculine, relative pronoun to refer to the Spirit in Ephesians 1:13–14.

  2. Personal characteristics are ascribed to the Holy Spirit:

  3. a) Intelligence: The Holy Spirit is one who reveals the things of God (1 Cor. 2:10–12). Furthermore, “the word of wisdom” and “the word of knowledge” are gifts given by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:8).

  4. b) Emotion and feeling: The Holy Spirit loves (Rom. 15:30) and is grieved (Isa. 63:10; Eph. 4:30).

  5. c) A will: Gifts are distributed to people according to the will of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:11).

  6. Personal actions are attributed to the Holy Spirit:

  7. a) He speaks (Acts 13:2; Acts 21:11; Rev. 2:7; Rev. 2:11; Rev. 2:17; Rev. 2:29).

  8. b) He testifies (John 15:26).

  9. c) He teaches (John 14:26).

  10. d) He intercedes (Rom. 8:26–27).

  11. e) He guides (John 16:13; Acts 16:6).

  12. f) He gives commands and ordains (Acts 13:2; Acts 20:28).

  13. g) He works miracles (Acts 8:39; Rom. 15:19).

  14. Personal reactions are ascribed to the Holy Spirit: The feelings resulting from certain human actions reveal the personhood of the Holy Spirit:

  15. a) He may be tested (Acts 5:9).

  16. b) He may be resisted (Acts 7:51).

  17. c) He may be lied to (Acts 5:3).

  18. d) He may be insulted and blasphemed (Mark 3:29–30; Heb. 10:29).

  19. Personal relationships are maintained by the Holy Spirit:

  20. a) With the Father: In the baptismal formula, the Spirit is associated on an equal plane, in name and personal identity, with the Father and the Son (Matt. 28:19).

  21. b) With Christ: The Holy Spirit is to glorify Christ and declare truths that relate to Him (John 16:13–14).

  22. c) With believers: The apostles sought the will and good pleasure of the Holy Spirit in forming the policies of the local church (Acts 15:28).

  1. Additional names of the Holy Spirit

It was observed earlier that God’s names portray His character. The names of God are not mere designations or identifications; they reveal a facet of God’s nature, attributes, or works. This same concept holds true with the names of the Holy Spirit. There are about 350 passages in the Scripture that reference the Holy Spirit in which more than 50 names or titles are discernable. The list below, while not comprehensive, is intended to provide an overview of the titles that add to the understanding of the Spirit’s nature or activity:

    The Spirit of God (1 Cor. 3:16)

    The Spirit (John 3:6)

    The Spirit of the LORD, Yahweh (Isa. 11:2, ASV)

    The Spirit of the living God (2 Cor. 3:3)

    The Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9b)

    The Spirit of His Son (Gal. 4:6)

    The Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19)

    The Spirit of holiness (Rom. 1:4)

    The Spirit of truth (John 16:13)

    The Spirit of glory (1 Pet. 4:14)

    The eternal Spirit (Heb. 9:14)

    The Holy Spirit of promise (Eph. 1:13)

    The Helper (John 16:7)

I hope this helps you understand more of the nature of the Holy Spirit and that your faith and knowledge allow you to believe in the very real personhood of that part of the trinity known as the Holy Spirt.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Please pray for Jac Spruce, she was taken to the emergency room today very ill and doctors are not sure what is wrong with her.

Keep in prayer Mary A, her husband is also quite ill and his family have never taken to her and are treating her horribly.

Remember to pray for Steve H, vim and vigor, guidance and encouragement. Keep his wife Pam in prayer, complete healing of her knees is our prayer.

Pray for Cheyenne, salvation and a better self image.

PERFECT LOVE MAKES IT WORK

September 23, 2021

   The Trinity models an infinite love in perfect relationship that produces a oneness beyond our comprehension. It is not a relationship with a leverage of power and authority. It is not some hierarchical chain of command. It is a circle of relationships that looks out for the best in each other because of a deep abiding love for one another. In their infinite love, the three persons of the Trinity are so intent on pleasing one another that the very essence of their beings is indistinguishable.

   We tend to think of relationship in terms of position, hierarchy, authority, and who is responsible to whom to fulfill what roles. But in the Trinity we see this loving relationship between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit played out.

   The Father perfectly anticipates the needs of the Son and meets them. He sends angels to minister to him during Jesus’ wilderness encounter with Satan. The Son understands perfectly the desires of the Father. He does everything to please his Father without obligation or pressure. The Holy Spirit perfectly shares in the joys and pain of the Father and Son. He comes to offer comfort, healing, and saving grace to the Father and Son’s lost creation. The Father so loved the world that he gave his Son. The Son so loved his Father that he gave his life. The Holy Spirit so loved the Father and the Son that he gave himself to God’s children. And this relational three-in-one God invites us to experience their kind of love with him and in relationship with one another.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Keep Margie in prayer as she goes on battling cancer, no chemo or radiation doctors told her a month to live, today is one month. I do not see her giving up. Still cracking jokes.

Remember Mikaelah in prayer, 18 years old, good kid (I know, young adult) battling depression and anger over her dead beat dad. Who has broken every promise ever made.

Keep Steve H in prayer, blessings and an extra measure of grace and patience. Plus vim and vigor. Adjusting to change. Pray for Pam his wife, continued prayers for the complete healing of her knees.

OH, LORDY I’M SO TIRED

September 15, 2021

I’m So Tired, I want To Get Home

by E.M. Bartlett

1922, Stamps Baxter music

  1. 34 in Favorite Songs and Hymns

1 I am on my way to the land of day, I am going there I know,

I have journeyed long in this pilgrim way, I have suffered here below,

Now my time has come to enter in, Soon on earth no more I’ll roam,

I have come so far on this gospel road, I’m so tired, I want to get home.

chorus

I’m so tired, I want to get home, To that land of rest and peace,

Where I’ll live with loved ones forever more, ‘Mid the joys that never cease;

I have come so far on this gospel road That I long for Heaven’s dome,

I have borne these years, such a heavy load, I’m so tired I want to get home.

 

2 Long has been my stay and my work for God, He has blest me in the way,

He has kept me straight in the narrow road, Has been with me ev’ry day;

Now my voice to me is sweet indeed As He calls for me to come,

I am ready, waiting to leave this world, I’m so tired, I want to get home.

 

3 I have fought the fight, I have kept the faith, And my course is finished now,

This tired soul of mine longs for rest, sweet rest, To His will I can but bow;

Jesus calls for me and I must go, Soon I’ll land in Heaven’s dome,

These tired feet of mine will find sweet relief, I’m so tired, I want to get home.

Weariness, it is the curse of those in the ministry, first responders, nurses and doctors. Who refreshes us?

We hear a lot today about stress and burnout, especially in ministry. It’s a complex problem that includes many factors that I cannot delve into in this message. Sometimes burnout stems from faulty time management or from being over-committed. Sometimes it results from trying to do it all yourself and not delegating properly. Our text does not deal with these aspects of the problem, nor will I. But it does give us two principles that offer significant help in preventing spiritual burnout:

The work that God gives us is to be His lampstand, both corporately and individually. The only way that we can fulfill that task is by depending on the continual supply of the oil of God’s Spirit. In that way, we will burn for God without burning out.

Zechariah’s fourth vision (chapter 3) encouraged Joshua the high priest with the message: “God will cleanse His chosen people through Messiah and use them to serve Him.” His fifth vision (chapter 4) encouraged Zerubbabel, the civic leader, with the message: “The temple that you have begun will be completed and My people will become a light unto the nations under Messiah. This will not be accomplished by human effort, but by My Spirit.” In the fourth vision we saw the cleansing that is necessary before anyone can serve God. In the fifth vision we see the testimony that results from a cleansed and Spirit-filled life. While our text will ultimately be fulfilled with Israel in the Millennium, it also applied to God’s people in Zechariah’s day and it applies to us as we seek to be God’s light to the nations.

Zechariah saw a lampstand of gold with seven lamps and a bowl at the top, which served as a reservoir for the oil. Two olive trees, each with a branch, stood beside the lampstand. A golden pipe extended from each branch to the bowl so that the golden olive oil poured from the tree. Out of the reservoir or bowl (according to most commentators) came 49 spouts or pipes, seven to each of seven lamps on the lampstand. This lampstand was similar to the one that stood in the holy place of the tabernacle, with three exceptions: (1) the bowl on top of it; (2) the seven pipes to each lamp; and, (3) the two olive trees. These additions point to the abundant, continual supply of oil to the lamps. In the temple, the priests had to keep the lamps full of oil, but in this vision, the supply of oil flowed constantly without help from any man.

The lampstand signifies the important task that God gives to His people to be a light to the nations, to reveal God and His truth to those who walk in darkness. The oil that flows in continual abundant supply so that the lamps can go on burning symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The two olive trees represent the priestly and kingly offices in Israel, with the two branches being Joshua and Zerubbabel. Together these two anointed ones were a type of the Lord Jesus Christ in His offices of Priest and King. Jesus is God’s Anointed One (that’s what “Messiah” or “Christ” means), who provides the Holy Spirit in abundant supply to His people.

The Lord encourages Zerubbabel (4:7-9) by assuring him that in spite of the mountain of problems in rebuilding the temple, he would finish the task. This would confirm to all of God’s people that He had sent His Messiah-Servant (“me” in 4:9b), in the person of the angel of the Lord, to His people. The old timers, who were disparaging this temple in comparison to the former one, should not despise the day of small things (4:10). Under God’s perfect providence (the seven eyes of the Lord, which range over the earth to watch over His people), the project will be completed.

We tend to burn out when we lose motivation, and we lose motivation when we lose perspective on the importance of the work to which God has called His people. That work involves being God’s lampstand to the world (see Rev. 1:12-20). It involves building God’s temple where His light shines forth. The world ought to see Christ, the light of the world, both in Christians individually and in the church corporately.

We burn out when we run out.

The oil of God, the anointing work of the Holy Spirit, being filled with the Spirit.

  1. Vernon McGee said it best, “sin will keep you from your bible and the bible will keep you from sin.”

I have a weird collection of antique yard sticks (rulers). Every hardware store in the nation had a yard stick with advertisements on them. Portable billboards.

Keeping a constant awareness of how full we are keeps us from burnout. An honest assessment, do we do devotions, do we do bible study, do we go to church, do we give generously to God, do we witness. Each one of those statements could have been a question. They are all increments of our spiritual life.

To me witnessing is the touchstone of all measurements. If you are full of the Holy Spirit, your mind filled with bible verses, an active and vibrant relationship with your Savior, then you will be overflowing with encouragement, and you cannot help but be witness to Christ.

One task of being a minister that I sincerely disliked was doing funerals for strangers. I did not do them often but occasionally it would happen. I had a family I did not know, who said they attended my church years before I came there, said their grandfather died and here was $200 to preach him into heaven.

You know you are in trouble when you have the mourners passing by saying things like; “did you know he was a Christian?”

So is your cup running over or is it half full or completely dried up?

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for salvation for Anne, Drew, Oscar, Cristina, Tara, Lauren, Cheyenne, Nicole, Tavon, Philip, Lubbock, James, Hunter, Garrett.

Pray for Caliste Burt, 4 brain tumors, 2 removed, 2 inoperable, for the first time in 5 years she is not smiling and unwillingly to talk about what is happening. Think about how well you would be doing with a time bomb in your brain.

OH, NO HE CAN’T

August 30, 2021

Can Satan and/or his demons read our minds? No. First Kings 8:39 says that God alone knows every human heart. There is no one else who has that ability. God knows what we will say before we can say it, while the thought is still formulating (Psalm 139:4). Jesus, being God incarnate, exhibited the divine quality of knowing men’s thoughts: “He knew what was in each person” (John 2:25; cf. Matthew 9:4; John 6:64).

The Bible does teach us that Satan is powerful. Likely he was the highest of all the fallen angels, as he was persuasive enough to convince one third of the angels to join him in his rebellion (Revelation 12:4). Even after Satan’s fall, not even Michael the archangel dared to confront him without the Lord’s help (Jude 1:9). Satan is the “the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 2:2b). However, Satan’s power has its limits, and reading our minds seems to be beyond his ability.

It would take omniscience for Satan and his demons to read our minds, which they do not have. God is the only One who can know our thoughts. However, Satan and his demons have been observing and tempting human beings for thousands of years. Surely, they have learned a few things about us over the years. Even without the ability to know our thoughts, they can make a well-educated guess as to what we are thinking and then attempt to use that to their advantage. That is why we are commanded to “submit yourselves, then, to God” (James 4:7a), before we are told to “resist the devil” (James 4:7b).

And since the devil can only be in one place at a time it would be very presumptuous to think he was always after you, (aren’t you special).

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for the Happy Zion Church in Missouri, a member of the General Baptist organization, they are looking for a new pastor. We believe in prayer that God is moving to bring the right man to this church.

Pray for Lauren, first for salvation, second, self destruction as she burns down the world and herself with it.

Keep praying for Steve H, encouragement, strength and endurance, blessings during a stressful time. Pray for his wife Pam, she has very painful knees.

Keep in prayer Bill and Lois, not dealing well with being old.

Pray for Paul C, accountability.

UNTIL THE DAY THAT I DIE

August 24, 2021

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If we are to grow spiritually, we must be able to discern how we avoid God. One o pattern of avoidance is the “just a minute” syndrome. When I sit down to read Scripture, my eye will catch a magazine article that I want to read. I put down my Bible, telling myself I’ll get back to the Scriptures in just a couple of minutes. But somehow I never do. Another pattern is the “I’m too busy” syndrome. Initially, my excuse is that there is too much to do today, and I’ll get to it tomorrow. But “tomorrow” turns out to be a couple of weeks.

A.W. Tozer observed that “contemporary Christians have been caught in the spurious logic that those who have found him need no longer seek him.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. The paradox of the Christian faith is that those who know him are those who seek him. Tozer writes, “Come near to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel the heat of their desire after God. They mourned for Him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for Him day and night, in season and out, and when they found Him, the finding was all the sweeter for the long seeking.

You must have a plan, read any book on warfare, the art of war, chess strategy, Clausewitz on War, all great battles have a plan. Yes, you can adopt someone else’s plan, but it really helps if you come up with one of your own.

I will make one promise to you, and this is bullet proof, the deeper you go into the Word of God, the more of a spiritual hunger and thirst you will develop. Some people complain they don’t have the drive, or the ‘want to’ this is one area where only by developing the discipline will you get the reward.

It is a lot like the “katas” of martial arts, the only way you can prove to your sensei that you have progressed is to do the exact ‘steps’ of each move to show proficiency. If we must do that to show physical progress, how do we show spiritual progress?

Bible memorization is one, knowing your way around a bible, all the books of the bible, basic content of each book. If I can know a person is proficient just by how they handle a gun or a knife, I can know by the way you handle your bible. It’s ok to start your bible walk with giant gold tabs for each book or an indexed tab bible in order to learn your way around the bible.

If during a sermon I say “let’s all turn to 2 Hezekiah chapter 3” you know I am joking or testing you.

How many churches no longer have prayer meetings? Again, lack of proficiency, if people have not learned to pray then do not expect them to show up for a prayer meeting. And if they have not learned to pray then shame on the pastor.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Ethan who feels like he has lost his way.

Pray for Carrie Ann, battling prescription addiction.

Pray for Anne and Drew, salvation, but also pray for them as parents of a normal 5 year old boy that does normal 5 year old boy stuff in school but the school frowns on that kind of behavior and the punishment is harsh.

Remember the others on our salvation list; Cristina and Oscar, Hunter and Tara, Lauren, Nicole, Olivia. Norma Perales and husband Rick and adult son Rick Jr.

I sometimes get asked how long do you pray for their salvation, until either you die or they do or they get saved.

ONLY THE LONELY

August 16, 2021

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Lonely, But Not Alone

Loneliness. Even the word sounds sad, doesn’t it?

What does it mean? Is being with people a solution? Is being married a remedy? Is having lots of friends a sure cure? Is being alone the same as being lonely?

“Loneliness is a feeling of separation, isolation, or distance in human relations. Loneliness implies emotional pain, an empty feeling, and a yearning to feel understood and accepted by someone.”

Here’s another interesting “Loneliness is not the same as being alone. Loneliness is feeling alone . . . no matter how many people are around you. It is a feeling of being disconnected, unplugged, left out, isolated.”

This means that we can be in a crowded room and feel isolated, locked in a bubble of our own. We can be married and lonely, yearning to be accepted as we are. This is one of the saddest kinds of loneliness there is. We can be at family gatherings and feel at a distance from other relatives. Loneliness is a feeling, not a circumstance. And all of us have felt it at some time because I don’t think it’s possible to find anyone who feels completely understood and fully satisfied all the time.

Some of us experience isolation and distance from husbands, mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers, just because we are believers and are living in obedience to God. Perhaps you aren’t invited to family gatherings. Maybe your husband is angry because you won’t do some of the things he wants to do. Or it could be that some of your friends have dropped you since you’ve begun to be serious about living according to Scripture. Jesus knew this would happen to those who trusted Him. He invited us to take an eternal perspective on what happens to us here for His sake, saying, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:11-12).

There are three basic causes for feelings of loneliness or alienation: separation from God, from others, and from ourselves. Let’s examine each of these causes and consider ways to ease the pain of loneliness.

SEPARATION FROM GOD

God created us to live in fellowship with Him, but sin broke that fellowship. As human beings, we are born with a capacity to know God; but we are also born without the knowledge of God and without a relationship with Him. God loved His fallen race so much that He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, to die for our sins so that we might be restored to fellowship with God through faith in Christ.

Even those of us who have trusted Him and have been given new life experience times when we feel alienated from our heavenly Father. Fortunately, we’re always the ones who have moved away—sin breaks our fellowship with God. That’s why He has provided a way for us to be continually cleansed and forgiven when we confess our sins to Him. He doesn’t want us to be lonely for Him.

We may be lonely for people, for friends, for a mate, but if we have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ, we never have to be lonely for God again. We have His constant assurance that He is always with us and in us. Augustine rightly said, “Our hearts are restless, O God, until they find their rest in Thee.” In order to grow closer to Him, we need to cultivate our fellowship with God. There are some practical ways we can do that:

Quiet Time. Take just fifteen minutes at the start of your day to read some Scripture and pray.

Memorize Scripture. During the day, when you have to wait in a doctor’s office or even at a traffic light, work on memorizing a verse you have in your purse or taped to your dashboard. Have verses available in your office desk so you can work on them at lunch or during your breaks. You’ll be surprised at how many lost minutes you can recapture in a day.

Practice the Presence of God. Send up “arrow prayers” all day. Keep the spiritual “phone lines” open. This will cause you to be more responsive to the nudging of His Spirit. You will be more sensitive to sin. You will be more obedient to His Word. And you’ll find that your close fellowship with your heavenly Father will ease the loneliness, which is the worst of all, that sense of separation from God.

SEPARATION FROM PEOPLE

God also created us to have relationships with other people. When He first created Adam, He said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” But every relationship has its times of stress and disappointment. We all want to be perfectly free to be ourselves and to be accepted as we are, but that never works 100 percent of the time. There are times, for various reasons, when close friendships are disturbed. Occasionally, we even feel a distance from those we love the most.

It’s very lonely to know a lot of people who are just acquaintances. We all put on happy faces when we meet. But how do we establish the kind of friendships in which we can be ourselves? How do we connect at a meaningful level? There are some steps we can take.

Reach Out to Others. Instead of waiting for the phone to ring, take the initiative. Many times the friend you want to know better is waiting for someone to call her. Suggest lunch or a casual dinner at your place. Plan an outing together, if you are both interested and compatible.

Share a Common Interest or Service. Another way to make friends is within church groups. Women get better acquainted when they share studies or serve in an outreach together. As we work side by side, share our needs, and pray together, we find other women who are drawn to us, and vice versa. Women need each other. We accomplish more as a team than we could ever accomplish alone.

Accept Others As They Are. Don’t make friends to reform them. This doesn’t mean that friends can’t help each other overcome bad attitudes and flaws. But it can’t be done within the context of condemnation. Love is the great motivator. When I know that I am loved and appreciated, it’s not as painful to hear someone advise me that I should try a different approach to a situation.

Share Your Thoughts As Your Confidence Grows. Friendships deepen when we realize we can trust another person. Once trust is established, we are able to open our hearts to each other, drop our masks, and be real. Many times we struggle with loneliness because we keep our problems and real feelings all bottled up inside. But when we begin to talk about them, they are whittled down to size. Even if a friend has no solution, just talking about a difficulty helps. Knowing that someone else cares and is praying for us often eases our sense of isolation. We need to recognize that pride is often what keeps us from being honest and real, adding to our sense of isolation.

Sometimes our feelings of loneliness indicate a sense of alienation from ourselves. When we are completely honest, we’ll admit there are things in our personalities we don’t like. There are times when everything seems to be going wrong and we are frustrated and discouraged. When we dwell on our failures and shortcomings, we generate our own loneliness. And this usually leads to more problems.

There are some positive efforts we can make to change our sense of self-alienation:

Respond to God’s Love. Choose to believe that God loves you, and receive His love. You are His unique creation. He will give your life significance. When you and I accept God’s evaluation of us, we won’t be controlled by our own feelings of inadequacy and loneliness. We will have confidence in His ability to make us the person He wants us to be. We will be free to be ourselves, controlled by His Holy Spirit. When you know you are loved, it changes the way you feel about yourself.

Jeremiah’s isolation and loneliness were eased when he remembered who God is and when he believed His promises. Jesus experienced the worst separation in time and eternity so that we could have the love, fellowship, presence, and guidance of God forever. The psalmist said it well:

Yet I am always with you;

you hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel,

and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever . . .

As for me, it is good to be near God.

I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;

I will tell of all your deeds. (Ps. 73:23-26, 28)

The psalmist’s words are as true today as they were then. We may be alone, but we don’t have to be lonely all the time.

Knowing God loves us and has control of our lives should give us an assurance that He will meet our needs. He may not give us all we want, but He will give us what we need. If you have been living with a feeling of loneliness and you’ve put your life on hold until things change, stop it today! Tell the Lord that knowing Him is more important than any other relationship. Tell Him you want to get out of the spiritual playpen and grow to maturity. Emotional immaturity will hinder your spiritual maturity. Your feelings aren’t the most important part of you.

Act with Your Will. God gave you a will so you can make choices, and He intends for you to act with your will. He wants you . . .

To choose to obey Him.

To choose to be satisfied with the life He’s given you.

To choose to be thankful for the way He has made you.

To choose to accept the love, forgiveness, peace, joy, and fellowship He offers you in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Every blessing of God is wrapped up in Jesus. When we act with our will to receive Him for our salvation, He comes to live within us, bringing with Him all the promises of God. We don’t have to look anywhere else to find joy, peace, acceptance, security, and significance. We must simply act with our wills to receive whatever we need from Him. Provision for our every need is offered to us without cost, through the mercy and grace of God. But it isn’t really ours until we take it for ourselves—by faith.

God bless you from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Feel free to reach out to us with your questions, comments or wanting counseling, I have been a counseling therapist for over 40 years with a PHD in psychology and counseling and it is free.

Pray for those that are walking among us yet feeling isolated. We are called to be loving and friendly. Just saying hi to someone might be what it takes for them to reach out.

markedup-bible

My conviction is, the more the Bible is studied, the more there is found in it to be studied. Fresh light, assurance, power, joy, help, grace, and blessing, break out from it. It is like the dawn, ever new in its light; like the air, ever fresh in its vitality; like the food, ever nourishing in its feed; like the flowers, ever beautiful in their variety; like the body, ever unifying in its organism; like the blood, ever pulsating in its energy; and like the electric current, ever powerful in its movement.

This is why Satan does all that he can to keep us from even a cursory reading, let alone a constant deep perusing and study of scripture. As I have often opined, how amazed I am that after 45 years of daily bible study, bible college, seminary, doctrinal work, pastor, being a student of the bible, every day I am surprised at what new light is discovered.

I look at my preaching bible that I have had from the beginning, the tabs, the highlighting, the underlining, pages glued in, post it notes taped in, and yet I will read one of these heavily marked passages and something new jumps out.

The bible is alive, powerful, a discerner of spirits and two edged sword it is life it is vitality. The highest compliment ever given to me was by a pastor from South Africa who introduced me once at a bible conference as a man who if pricked with a needle would bleed bible.

“I adore the plenitude of the Scriptures, in which every letter is a word, and every word is a verse, and every verse is a chapter, and every chapter is a book, and every book is a Bible; in which every twig is a branch, and every branch is a tree, and every tree a forest, in which every drop is a rivulet, and every rivulet is a river, and every river a bay, and every bay an ocean, and every ocean all waters.” Tertulien.

We believe in the plenary inspiration of Scripture. The word “inspiration” is equivalent to “inbreathed” There is a quality there which is found to the same extent and in the same manner nowhere else, and it is self-evident.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable” (2 Tim. 3:16).

The heart of Scripture is “the Word of God.” As our Lord became incarnate in human flesh, with the weakness and needs of human nature, though not its sins, so He is—so to speak—incarnate in Scripture. There is a sense, therefore, in which we may say that in the Holy Scripture, the Word has become flesh and tabernacles among us.

The late Hudson Taylor (read any and all biographies on him and you will be both challenged and blessed) used to kindle his little lamp, and spend two hours at night reading his Bible, while the Chinese who shared the inn with him lay around asleep. He said that it was only by the written Word that he could feed on Him who is the Spirit and Life of Scripture. “The connection between the written Word and the Incarnate Word is so close and intimate that you can no more separate them than you can separate body and soul, or soul and spirit.”

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Remember August 8th, 2021 a day of fasting and prayer for Revival in America.

I would ask that you pray for me, I live daily in worsening, crippling chronic pain. I will be at the VA hospital all day tomorrow getting more xrays, tests, prodding and poking as they try to figure out a new regimen of medicines, acupuncture, massage therapy, water therapy. Anything and everything. This is one reason I ask my friends to send me as many jokes as possible. Besides being lost in the spirit, laughing is really the best medicine.

FAIR AND BALANCED???

June 20, 2021

at the cross

Where is the balanced Christian?

Not dependent upon circumstances or emotions.

Not constantly looking for mystical connections.

But also not afraid of God stirring the emotions to direct or guide or simply bless.

There are people so afraid of feeling anything during a church service that if indeed anything emotionally charged would instantly brand the group as a cult.

So they go to church with an emotional corset on. Clapping hands during a service is scandalous.

If someone spoke in tongues, they would run screaming out the door.

Yet there must be a balance.

Having been a pastor of a Pentecostal church for many years I know the abuses, shams, fake, stirred up kind of stuff that gives the movement a bad name. but I have also pastored non-Pentecostal churches that ice would never melt in the sanctuary as the hearts and minds are as cold as ice.

So where is the balance.

For every book that “proves” Pentecost is dead I can give you a dozen scholarly works on why it is not.

For every bible verse that proves “the Holy Ghost movement”is over I can give you one to dispute it.

It is the same for eternal security versus being able to ‘lose’ one’s salvation.

So to be balanced we should not toss the baby out with the bath water and at least keep an open mind. Now I know a dozen well known bible scholars that would instantly label me an eccentric just because I refuse to shut the door completely on the Pentecostal experience.

My problem is all these loving, caring, deeply devoted Christians that are afraid to believe that God still does miracles, all because ‘getting excited’ is forbidden.

Having said that let me say this. Spiritual growth is not a result of emotional experiences, or “signs and wonders.” Rather, it comes through the realization of our spiritual position. “Believers do not depend upon signs, because they are believers.” As we abide in the Lord Jesus the Holy Spirit faithfully manifests His fruit in the life quietly, normally, and for the Father’s glory.

“Grace be to you, and peace, from God, our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,

“According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him, in love

“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, through which He hath made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:2–6).

Martin Lloyd Jones probably wrote the greatest commentary on Ephesians and the ‘riches’ that are to be enjoyed by Christians. Yet what I see is unbalanced Christians either over the top just plain nuts chasing experiences and then the frozen chosen that if Jesus actually showed up in person and did a miracle they would stone him.

Where is the balance?

Am I advocating that everyone should have a Pentecostal experience? NO. I’m just saying do not condemn them and do not doubt their true and genuine salvation and faith in the Lord Jesus.

I think it is interesting that a man like Chuck Swindoll will adamantly tell you no to Pentecostal experiences. Yet in the same breath tell you the most godly man he knows is his Assembly of God, Pentecostal, preaching brother.

So, where is the balance. Are there more unbalanced Pentecostal churches than good ones, possibly yes, because anything that is dependent upon a display by the flesh, is going to be abused, faked, possibly satanic, just because it is of the flesh. After all the bible says the most unruly part of the whole body is the tongue.

Feel confused?

This is just a cautionary note. If you are in a Pentecostal church do not let anyone condemn you or your salvation. If you are not in a Pentecostal church you are probably right where God wants you. I think God places us where are temperaments need to be.

Demons, Mormons, and cults speak in tongues, does it make it wrong, no, just that it is the most abused spiritual gift there is.

Just be cautious. Have questions, feel more confused, email me and I will gladly respond to anyone that is wondering, searching or confused about the topic. But this is not a debate, I will not respond to that kind of email.

Am I the final authority? Heck NO.

But I am a resource.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Assurance of Security

May 25, 2021

art board carpentry carved

Photo by Mikes Photos on Pexels.com

I know this is a lot of information I am throwing at you, but if I break into smaller parts it does not flow and would be 10 times longer. So bear with me please.

Assurance Versus Security

SECURITY

When we trust in Jesus Christ, our eternal security in Christ becomes a spiritual reality whether we understand it or believe it. Ones belief in security in Christ does not make it true or false. If we have trusted in the person and work of Christ for personal salvation, security is a fact.

ASSURANCE

Assurance is the confident realization of that security. It is the realization of what we have in Christ such as eternal life, forgiveness of sin, and being the object of God’s personal care as his children. Assurance has to do with our comprehension of the facts and provisions of salvation through faith in Christ. This is a crucial doctrine because, properly understood, it will touch the believer’s life in several areas. Not only does it give assurance of salvation, but with that also comes a greater assurance of God’s provision in all areas of life.

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

When people do not have assurance, we should always begin by sharing the gospel to be sure they have truly trusted in Christ. Once this is confirmed, then move on to the matters of assurance.

Reasons Why People Lack Assurance

(1) People often lack assurance because they cannot remember or point to a specific time when they received Christ. Some doubt or wonder if they were ever really saved. There is a specific point in time when salvation occurs—the point when regeneration takes place. The issue for people is to know if they now really trust in the person and work of Christ.

(2) People often lack assurance because they question the procedure they went through when they accepted Christ. Many evangelists and preachers emphasize the need for some form of public confession of faith like going forward at the end of a service or raising your hand. If people receive Christ privately, they may wonder if they should have made a public confession or prayed a different prayer.

(3) People often lack assurance because of struggles they have with certain sins. They wonder if a true believer would have these kinds of problems. The real problem is ignorance of man’s sinful nature, the spiritual warfare we are in, God’s means of deliverance, and the need to grow and mature in Christ.

(4) The primary reason behind a lack of assurance is doctrinal misunderstanding and the consequent lack of faith in the finished work of Christ. This means a failure to understand the Word and its teaching regarding mankind, his sin and inability to work for or maintain his salvation, God’s perfect holiness, and the finished nature and sufficiency of the work of Christ.

(5) Finally, people often lack assurance because they have erroneously been taught that they should look to themselves and their works as the primary proof of their salvation. This is a major issue today. Robert Lightner writes:

Those who think the sinner must make Christ Lord of his life, or at least promise to do so, before he can be saved make assurance rest on the evidence of a surrendered walk. MacArthur cites this as the only way a believer can be assured of his or her salvation. ‘Genuine assurance comes from seeing the Holy Spirit’s transforming work in one’s life, not from clinging to the memory of some experience.’7

So what is the proper basis for assurance? Should we look to some experience or our works?

Foundations for Assurance

THE WORD OF GOD

The Word of God is God’s witness to the believer (1 John 5:11-13). The Greek text includes the article with the word “life.” Salvation in Christ is not just the gift of life, but of “the life,” the one which comes only through faith in God’s unique Son. The clear declaration of Scripture is that the one who believes in Christ’s person and work on the cross as God’s provision for his sins has:

(1) Eternal life.

John 3:36 The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him.

1 John 5:11-13 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, andthis life is in his Son. The one who has the Son has this eternal life; the one who does not have the Son of God does not have this eternal life. I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

(2) Forgiveness of all sin.

Acts 10:43 About him all the prophets testify, that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.

Colossians 2:13 And even though you were dead in your transgressions and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he nevertheless made you alive with him, having forgiven all your transgressions.

(3) Freedom from condemnation.

John 5:24 “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who hears my message and believes the one who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to life.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

(4) Justification (declared righteous by God).

Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 4:1-6 What then shall we say that Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh, has discovered regarding this matter? 2 For if Abraham was declared righteous by the works of the law, he has something to boast about—but not before God. 3 For what does the scripture say? “ Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his pay is not credited due to grace but due to obligation. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in the one who declares the ungodly righteous, his faith is credited as righteousness. 6 So even David himself speaks regarding the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

Romans 4:25 He was given over because of our transgressions and was raised for the sake of our justification.

(5) Salvation.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 it is not from works, so that no one can boast.

(6) A child of God by faith.

John 1:12 But to all who have received him—those who believe in his name—he has given the right to become God’s children

Romans 8:14-17 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ)—if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him.

John Calvin emphatically warned against looking to ourselves, that is, to our works or the fruit of the Spirit, for certainty of our salvation. He taught that we should look to Christ as the objective basis for assurance. To look to ourselves produces doubt and detracts from the saving work of Christ. He rejected the exhortation to self-examination as a dangerous dogma.8

Contrary to MacArthur’s comment quoted above, this is not a matter of clinging to some experience, but the sure witness of the Word of God. Earl Radmacher writes:

Many wise pastors have insisted that the basis for knowing that I am a Christian is not what I do but what God’s Word says about what Christ has done and continues to do for those who have believed (John 1:12; 1 John 5:13). I know I belong to Christ because I have believed in Jesus Christ as my only Savior and Redeemer from eternal destruction. It’s not the evidences of my life that are my basis for knowing that. It’s the Word of God. God said it. That settles it. I am fearful of those today, who because of a genuine, valid concern about the lack of growth and the lack of evident Christian lifestyle, are willing to try to prop up the Gospel by adding to it.9

THE WORK OF CHRIST

To properly understand the work of Christ (Christ’s substitutionary death, dying in our place and bearing our sins on the cross) is another vital need tremendously important to assurance. This too, of course, is based on the statements of Scripture, but the emphasis is on understanding the sufficiency, finished nature, and accomplishments of the death of Christ. There are two prominent aspects here which Scripture emphatically teaches:

(1) Salvation is not by our works or merit (cf. Rom. 4:1-7 above).

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 it is not from works, so that no one can boast.

Titus 3:5-7 He saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 And so, since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life.”

(2) Salvation is solely by Christ’s person and work as a gift of God.

1 John 5:5-12 Now who is the person who has conquered the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 Jesus Christ is the one who came by water and blood—not by the water only, but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7 For there are three that testify, 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three are in agreement. 9 If we accept the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, because this is the testimony of God that he has testified concerning his Son. 10 (The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has testified concerning his Son.) 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 The one who has the Son has this eternal life; the one who does not have the Son of God does not have this eternal life.

Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.

Philippians 3:8-9 More than that, I now regard all things as liabilities compared to the far greater value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things—indeed, I regard them as dung!—that I may gain Christ, 9 and be found in him, not because I have my own righteousness derived from the law, but because I have the righteousness that comes by way of Christ’s faithfulness—a righteousness from God that is in fact based on Christ’s faithfulness.

THE WITNESS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

(1) The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth.

John 14:17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it does not see him or know him. But you know him, because he resides with you and will be in you.

John 15:26 When the Advocate comes, whom I will send you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me,

John 16:8-13 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong concerning sin and righteousness and judgment— 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. 12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come.

1 John 4:6 We are from God; the person who knows God listens to us, but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.

(2) The Holy Spirit is called an anointing. Both of these descriptions portray the Holy Spirit’s ministry of teaching believers God’s Word.

1 John 2:20, 27 Nevertheless you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. … 27 Now as for you, the anointing that you received from him resides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, it is true and is not a lie. Just as it has taught you, you reside in him.

(3) The Holy Spirit opens the Word to our hearts.

Acts 16:14 A woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, a God-fearing woman, listened to us. The Lord opened her heart to respond to what Paul was saying.

(4) The Holy Spirit takes the things of Christ and gives us understanding.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16 Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things that are freely given to us by God. 13 And we speak about these things, not with words taught us by human wisdom, but with those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. 14 The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The one who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is understood by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to advise him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Ephesians 3:15-19 from whom every family in heaven and on the earth is named. 16 I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, 18 you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

(5) The Holy Spirit assures our hearts through the Word that we are children of God. The witness concerning life in the Son through believing in the Son as promised in 1 John 5:11 is really the message to which the Holy Spirit bears witness in the Word.

Romans 8:15-16 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children.

1 John 5:7-11 For there are three that testify, 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three are in agreement. 9 If we accept the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, because this is the testimony of God that he has testified concerning his Son. 10 (The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has testified concerning his Son.) 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 The one who has the Son has this eternal life; the one who does not have the Son of God does not have this eternal life.

Principles for Assurance

Principle 1: We need to draw our assurance from faith in the facts of Scripture and not from our feelings. Our faith and thus our assurance must stand on the sure promises of the Bible rather than on our feelings. The biblical order is: FACTS ——>FAITH ——>FEELINGS. Feelings are the responders of the soul or heart. They are to follow and respond to our understanding of Scripture, but they are never a safe guide to what we should believe or of the state of our salvation. This leads to the next point.

Principle 2: We need to draw our assurance from faith in the facts of Scripture and not from our works. Works or the biblical changes that occur in our lives as a result of the grace of God can confirm the reality of our life with God. We must be ever so careful, however, in making such subjective ground the basis of our assurance, for when a believer is out of fellowship he or she can have the appearance of an unbeliever especially if the condition lasts for any length of time.

1 Corinthians 3:1-4 So, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but instead as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready. In fact, you are still not ready, 3 for you are still influenced by the flesh. For since there is still jealousy and dissension among you, are you not influenced by the flesh and behaving like unregenerate people? 4 For whenever someone says, “I am with Paul,” or “I am with Apollos,” are you not merely human?

If we depend on works or obedient living to prove our salvation then we are faced with the following dilemma: If we are living obediently now (the supposed proof of salvation), the possibility exists that could change in the future. If later on we cease to live obediently, then that would prove (based on the above premise) that we are not now true Christians in spite of our obedient lifestyle. So present obedience can never really prove our Christianity and thus, we could never have assurance.

Post-generation performance is not a trustworthy basis for assurance of salvation. Scripture clearly warns against basing assurance or true relationship with God on performance. Note Matthew 7:13-23, for an example. The false prophets typically come in sheep’s clothing. Catch that—they look good! They do all the right things. They appear to be ‘model Christians,’ pillars of the church. (Fruit here refers not to the behavior of these people but to their teaching—see Matt. 12:31-37.) But they’ve never trusted Christ; they have no vital relationship with Him (v 23). Instead, at the bottom line, they are trusting in themselves (v 22). Their performance looks good. In fact it leads them to conclude that they are right with God. And yet they are deceived. They learn too late that assurance of salvation cannot properly be based on performance.10

Proper Christian living should never be the fundamental grounds for assurance of salvation. Rather, assurance of salvation which should rest in the merit and sufficiency of the Savior and the believer’s new life in Christ, must be the fundamental basis for proper Christian living.

Colossians 3:1-4 Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, 3 for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ (who is your life) appears, then you too will be revealed in glory with him.

As John shows in 1 John 1:6-7, Christlike behavior is an evidence of genuine fellowship and that a person is truly walking with the Lord in the light.

1 John 1:6-7 If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth. 1:7 But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

However, proper Christian living is not necessarily an evidence of genuine relationship because when believers are out of fellowship for any length of time they will manifest the works of the flesh and may look very much like an unbeliever. As mentioned earlier, the apostle Paul speaks of this when he described carnal Christians as “behaving like unregenerate people” in 1 Corinthians 3:3-4.

3 for you are still influenced by the flesh. For since there is still jealousy and dissension among you, are you not influenced by the flesh and behaving like unregenerate people? 4 For whenever someone says, “I am with Paul,” or “I am with Apollos,” are you not merely human?

The apostle was not questioning or denying the fact of their salvation. He affirmed his conviction of their salvation, but they were walking according to the flesh rather than according to the Spirit of God. This made them behave so they looked like natural men, like men who were without the saving power of Christ, when in reality they were in Christ with the Spirit indwelling them.

1 Corinthians 1:2-9 to the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, and called to be saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours. 3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! 4 I always thank my God for you because of the grace of God that was given to you in Christ Jesus. 5 For you were made rich in every way in him, in all your speech and in every kind of knowledge— 6 just as the testimony about Christ has been confirmed among you— 7 so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into fellowship with his son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Corinthians 3:1 So, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but instead as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.

Sometimes a passage like 2 Corinthians 13:5 is used to support the necessity of examining our works to prove our salvation. This is unfortunate because this is mere proof-texting and misses the context and the actual meaning and purpose of this passage in the argument of Paul in 2 Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Put yourselves to the test to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize regarding yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you—unless, indeed, you fail the test!

MacArthur is an illustration of this. He writes: “Doubts about one’s salvation are not wrong so long as they are not nursed and allowed to become an obsession. Scripture encourages self-examination. Doubts must be confronted and dealt with honestly and biblically.” Then, after quoting 2 Corinthians 13:5 he concludes, “That admonition is largely ignored—and often explained away—in the contemporary church.”11

But is this the correct interpretation of this passage? Is Paul calling these believers to examine themselves for the purpose of assurance of salvation? The context says no! The following are some reasons for this position:

(1) Again, as in 1 Corinthians, Paul affirmed his conviction they were saved. He does not question their salvation for a moment as is clear from the passages mentioned above.

(2) Even if Paul were telling them to examine themselves for assurance, he does not tell them to examine their works for assurance. In light of the plain teaching of Scripture, if anything needed to be examined, it would be the object of their faith. Had they truly trusted in Christ rather than in some system of works?

(3) He does tell them to examine themselves, but he had another purpose in mind according to the context of verses 3-7. Some were questioning the validity of the ministry of the apostle because of the influence of certain false teachers. Compare 2 Corinthians 11:1-12:21 where the apostle defends his ministry against their accusations. They were demanding proof in verse 3 that Christ was speaking through Paul. In verse 5 Paul shows them that the proof they were looking for was in themselves because he had been their father in the faith.

1 Corinthians 4:15 For though you may have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, because I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

The sure way to prove Paul’s ministry was to examine their own faith since their belief in the genuineness of their faith carried with it the proof of the genuineness of Paul’s ministry as a spokesman for Christ. Did they know the Savior? Yes. How did they come to know the Savior? Through Paul’s ministry. He did not believe they were counterfeit and knew they were unlikely to come to a different conclusion about their faith which only proved he too passed the test. This is the point of 2 Corinthians 13:6, “And I hope that you will realize that we have not failed the test.”

Remember that the basis God gives us for assurance of salvation is His record or witness to us as clearly declared in 1 John 5:11-13:

11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 The one who has the Son has this eternal life; the one who does not have the Son of God does not have this eternal life.

The Bema

(Judgment Seat of Christ)

Does the fact that we are confident of our salvation because of the finished work of Christ mean we can be indifferent about our lifestyle? Does assurance of salvation promote promiscuous Christian living and faulty stewardship? No, not if one understands the whole counsel of the Word.

Every believer as a child of God is a steward to whom God has entrusted stewardships of time, talents (spiritual gifts included), God’s truth, and treasures. A steward is someone who manages the property or equipment of another. What does this mean? The apostle Paul teaches us “it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” God holds us responsible for what we do with our stewardship, and a day will come when we will be held accountable for what we have done with the life God has given us. This is the point of 1 Corinthians 3:12-15:

12 If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 each builder’s work will be plainly seen, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire will test what kind of work each has done. 14 If what someone has built survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

Note the contrast here. The believer is in heaven because of what Jesus did, but accountable reward-wise for what he did with the life and gifts God gave him. Again, listen to Radmacher’s comments on this:

As I write these words, I stand in God’s sight faultless and perfect because God Almighty sees me through Jesus Christ. There is no compromise to that. No one who knows Jesus Christ will ever appear at the Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20. Believers shall appear, however, at the Judgment Seat of Christ (the Bema) and will be judged by their works (2 Cor. 5:10). It is significant to note that both the unregenerate and the regenerate will be judged by their works. The unregenerate will be judged by their works at the Great White Throne Judgment and the results of that judgment will be degrees of eternal punishment in hell. The regenerate will be judged by their works at the Bema and the result of that judgment will be either be reward or the lack of it.12

In lesson 7 we will cover the Judgment Seat of Christ in detail, but for now, it is sufficient for us to realize that while we are secure in the Savior as far as heaven is concerned, we have a wonderful stewardship for which we are each responsible. Our need is to be disciplined through God’s grace unto godliness which has a promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

1 Timothy 4:7-8 But reject those myths fit only for the godless and gullible, and train yourself for godliness. 8 For “physical exercise has some value, but godliness is valuable in every way. It holds promise for the present life and for the life to come.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Please keep my wife Sharon in prayer, spinal surgery June 11th, and she is in chronic pain.

Keep Caliste Burt in prayer, 14hour brain surgery coming up in September.

Steve H and the church, believing God that He has the right and perfect man to come to them to be their pastor.  Strength, and encouragement. For his wife Pam, relief from chronic knee pain.

Mikaelah,  18 years old and suffering from betrayal by her father and his walking out of her life and mistreating her. Depression and anger.