Month: March 2016

Resurrection Sunday, 2016

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This year our teens participated in the music and did a powerful reading. Pastor Steve finished his series from Isaiah 53.

 

No Prejudice; this was Christ’s example

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John 4

1 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John

2 (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples),

3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.

4 But He needed to go through Samaria.

5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.

6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”

8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

My love for this passage begins with this narrative. Jesus is up north and faces the ire of the Pharisees for his baptizing.   He decides it is time to leave and go back to Galilee. To do so requires them to walk through Samaria. A normal Jew would have added hours to his trip by bypassing Samaria lest he be contaminated with those half-breeds. Prejudice ran high as Jews believed themselves better than Samaritans. Jesus acted in a manner of love for all people, especially for the Samaritans.

 

Verse 4 tells us that Jesus “needed” to go through Samaria. When most Jews bypassed this unclean place, Jesus needed to go through it. Jesus’ love for people bypassed race and prejudice at every turn. He here made a huge statement to the disciples who would one day take the gospel to the “dogs,” the Gentiles. The disciples would have to overcome their prejudice but Jesus set an example for them.

 

You see, Jesus knew that the woman was coming to the well at noon. He also knew that she had a great spiritual need. He also knew that the whole town needed Him. In the sovereign will and plan of God the people of Samaria were ripe for the Lord Jesus.

 

We must be more like Christ in this matter. We must see all people as people who need the Lord Jesus. We must look past their income levels, backgrounds, criminal records, or any other prejudice causing element and see them as people who need Jesus. This is what Jesus did. We can do no less.

 

Tonight we will gather for our prayer time and Bible study. There will be youth group but there will not be any Kids4Truth. Join us at 7:00.

Saturday morning is our men’s prayer breakfast at 7:30 at Denny’s. Join us for a time of encouragement in the Word and in prayer.

 

Sunday is our church dinner day after the morning service. Remember to bring enough food for your family and a little more. We always enjoy our times together and this week will be no different.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

 

PS

The Son has authority to grant eternal life

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John 3

35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

I hope that after our study of Isaiah 53 this passage will be better understood.  The Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, is loved by the Father.  This love is a love from eternity past.  John 17:24  Before God loved us He loved the Son.  God demonstrated His love by sending the Son to pay for our sin while we were still sinners.  When we comprehend that God sent Him whom He loved the most to pay the eternal price for our sin the gift of salvation is even more precious.  Thus, God also loves us.

Since the Son in obedience to the Father accomplished our salvation He is now exalted. Isaiah 53:11 speaks of a victory parade where the Son was exalted above all others.  Colossians 2 speaks to the same exaltation.  Thus the Father has placed all authority in heaven and on earth into the hand of the Son.  Jesus deserves this ultimate authority for He paid the price of it with His blood and then He paid the price of justice for our sins so we could be set free.

Now, read verse 36.  Eternal life is in the hand of the Son.  Those who believe in the work that He accomplished for them have everlasting life.  He gives live to those who accept, by faith, the gift that He bought and paid for on the cross and through the empty tomb.  Christ wants to give eternal life and gives freely to all who believe on Him.

However, those who live to reject Christ will not see life but will see the wrath of God for their sin.  Either, one accepts the work of Christ on their behalf, or they face the wrath of God and pay their own justice for their own sin.  We believe in telling people about Christ because we believe the promises and warnings of this chapter of the Bible.   We want the light of salvation to shine through our good works so those around us might see those works and glorify God with us.  1 John 5:12 “He who has the Son has life.  He who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

Resurrection Sunday was another year marked for Grace for Life Bible Church.  Celebrating the resurrection of Christ together was a glorious event. The youth who led the worship did a wonderful job and we are grateful for their work to bring us to exalt the Savior together.  Thanks to all who worked to make the music and sound come together.  The study from Isaiah 53 was a highlight for me.  How awesome a God and a Savior that we have!  To so clearly describe His work on our behalf and to complete it so well that there was nothing left to accomplish is more than amazing.  We will ever read Isaiah 53 with a more clear understanding of Christ and the Father working together to save us.

Many of our kids are off of school this week.  Some of you are on vacation with your kids.  Enjoy some well needed family time.  We will be going up to Victory Academy Thursday and Friday. 

A week from Sunday, April 10th, the Men’s Glee Club is having a concert focusing on Heroes past and present.  It will be a great concert with much variety of music.  Pastor Bill is going to be recognized as a hero of peace.  I have tickets available. 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Christ’s Message, Christ’s Attitude, the Treatment Christ Received, 
and Christ’s Glorious Actions – pt 2

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Part 2 from Isaiah 53:3-10 looks at the treatment Christ received to pay for our sin before the Father. He did not just die with His people but He died for them becoming their substitution bearing their sin and the corresponding sorrows.  Hallelujah!

 

Christ’s Message, Christ’s Attitude, the Treatment Christ Received, 
and Christ’s Glorious Actions

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Jesus Christ is the only Key to unlock all of the tumblers of Isaiah 53.  (I misplaced the word “theocracy” with the word “theophany.”  When you get there just make the change in your mind.)

 

Why do we believe Jesus?

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John 3

31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. 34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.

 

When we hear people speak how do we establish that they have authority?  Where does their authority come from?  Does it come from their own study or from the person they are talking about?  When Jesus came He spoke from the authority of His own background, which was heaven with God.  The testimony of Jesus was true for it was what He knew from His own first-hand experience.  For Jesus to speak anything different would not have been true.  The people wanted a different message but that would have made Jesus a liar.

When people received the message of Jesus they confirmed in their hearts that God is true.  All of the words that Jesus spoke were truth and overlaid exactly parallel to the Word of God.  Jesus did not speak nor do anything contrary to the OT laws and prophesies.  In fact, Jesus expounded on them and fulfilled them.  When people today reject the teachings of Jesus they too are rejecting the words and the authority of God.

Our faith system is far more than a religion to be debated for what we believe has come from God Almighty.  The Jehovah of the Bible is the God of all gods.  Those who worship a lesser god because they need to see their god but think they are worshipping the God of all are mistaken.  Our message has authority because it came from God Himself.  When Jesus confirmed the words of God He also confirmed His own authority as God in the flesh.  God gave the Spirit to Jesus to confirm all that He said was true.

Be wary of those who twist the words of Jesus to fit their religious system.  They are twisting the very words of God.  Rejoice in the realization that God has revealed Himself to you and then faithfully study His words so you don’t become snared by the false teachers and the false religious systems.  Only Jesus can fill us to satisfaction, enjoy Him.

Tonight we will be back studying Isaiah 53.  Jesus Christ life and death and future ministry were clearly prophesied 700 years before he was born!  This is truly amazing. What is more amazing is how Isaiah clearly laid out the very work of Christ on our behalf.  It is more than a depiction of Christ on the cross but is a commentary on what Jesus did and how God Himself was behind it all.   Join us at 7:00 tonight for a time of worship, praise and study of the work of Christ for us. 

Sunday morning we will begin serving breakfast at 9:00.  The Resurrection morning service will begin at 10:30.  The resurrection of the Savior and His continuing work define our faith and our very lives.  I will be back in Isaiah 53 to show us just how blessed we are for time and eternity because of the work of Christ for us. 

Sunday’s sermon is available on the church website.

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS

Our “normal” game time 

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Hockey with pool noodles and a ping-pong ball

Our focus 

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We take prayer and the Gospel very seriously  

   

Having fun 

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A normal week here at GFL youth group 

Rejoice in the Groom, not the best man

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John 3

25 Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”

27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

 

John the Baptist understood his position.  He understood that his fame was going to be replaced by Jesus Christ.  He understood that all that he did was to prepare the people for the Christ.  So when Christ came and the people told John that Jesus was increasing in popularity, John was OK with this.  They expected John to defend himself and to proclaim to the people his greatness.  They did not expect what John told them.

In vs 27 we read that John told them that all he had came to him from God.  John knew who he was and who he came to testify of.  In vs 28 John makes it clear that he was not the Christ but came to bear witness; as an announcer announces the famous speaker and we forget the announcer, so John came to announce Jesus and John was OK with his job.  When we do a job for Christ and no one remembers us are we OK with that?  Do we want some of the credit when people’s lives are changed because we think we did something to help God make the change?  Are we OK with being a nameless announcer preparing the way for the Savior in people’s hearts?

John then gives an example of the best man at a wedding.  Do people come to see the best man?  During the wedding is the best man jealous that his friend, the groom, is getting the bride and lights?  Of course not and if the best man felt this way we would all say that he was out of place.  John knew his place was beside Jesus exalting and rejoicing in Him.  In that position John’s joy and ours too, was fulfilled.  When Christ is exalted we all rejoice.  He must increase but we must decrease.  Rejoice in the work of Christ and be thankful when we are able to stand next to Him exalting Him.  We will not steal His lime-light and we must be OK with being second.

Tonight at 7:00 will be our prayer time followed by our Bible study time.  Kids4Truth begins at 7:00 and is a great time for our children to get grounded in the Word of God.  Youth group starts at 7:00 and is vital for our teens as they gather to have fun, prayer, and Bible instruction.  See you then.

Friday night will be a time of reflection on the Cross of Christ.  The death of Christ has been called the “Darkest night in history” and we will, from Isaiah 53, examine the work of God that took place on the Cross.  We will also be exalting Christ in song.

Saturday’s prayer event, from 12:30-4:30 will be a time focusing on the responsibility of the church to be the light of Christ.  Join us for the whole time or for any part of the time that you can come. 

Have a great day in the Lord

PS

Love the Light!

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John 3

19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

It is a bit ironic that Nicodemus came to Jesus by night and Jesus closes the conversation with a teaching on light and darkness. Nicodemus came to the Light of the world. He was not aware of who Jesus was in His fullness so Jesus taught him a lesson he would never forget. Nicodemus came to the Light but he came in the darkness obscuring his deeds before the other Pharisees. Jesus tells him that when he is willing to come to Christ as his Light, Nicodemus will no longer be ashamed of the Savior. This came true in Nicodemus’ life at the death of Christ when Joseph of Aramthea and Nicodemus took Jesus off of the cross and beg to have His body given to them for a proper burial. Finally, Nicodemus did not care what the others thought; he was going to do right by Jesus. (John 19:38-42)

Why do men love darkness? Why is so much of sin done in the night? Why are places of sin dimly lit? Men don’t want their evil deeds broadcasted but they want them hidden. Therefore, men love darkness as the best place of their operation.

But, when we do works for God we want the lights on, we want the deed exposed, we want God glorified through our works. No longer are we lovers of darkness but we are now lovers of light. Our Lord is the Light of the world and we are in Him and He is in us. His glow surrounds all that we desire and do. There is no glory in the hidden things of darkness, the things of which we were ashamed. There is great glory in living in Christ’s light and letting our deeds for Him be known.

Love the Light!

I am off to Sunrise Assisted Living in a few minutes for a service there. Please pray for that service. Last week I was wondering if I should continue this service until some of the people in the service let me know just how much they appreciated my coming and bringing God’s word to them. It was God’s confirmation to me.

This afternoon is my library study time and I am looking forward to more time in Isaiah 53. Read this everyday this week with me. Prepare your heart and mind to learn all that God can teach you from it. Friday night and Sunday morning will be special to all of us who prepare our hearts and minds from this great text.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Who is responsible for salvation and who is responsible for condemnation?

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John 3

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

What primary actions do you see God doing in these verses?

  1. Loving mankind
  2. Granting eternal life
  3. Sending His Son

What primary actions do you see men doing?

  1. Believing
  2. Not believing
  3. Loving darkness

When people have a wrong view of God they will develop a wrong view of their own responsibility toward God.  Then from that wrong view sinful mankind will blame God for condemning them.  I have heard this often.  People ask, “Why does God send people to hell?”  “Why does a good and loving God condemn people forever?”  As we carefully examine the scriptures where salvation is taught, we find God loving mankind, granting eternal life to all who believe and reminding them that He sent His Son to provide their salvation.  What a great and good God He is to demonstrate His love so fully and to offer it so freely.

In return to God’s love, men often don’t believe because they love the darkness of their sin and don’t really want to believe to the change of their lives.  They know the options but love their sin to the rejection of God’s offer.  This passage tells us that men are condemned because they do not believe in Christ.  At this level, who is responsible for those who go to hell?  Is God responsible for this or does the responsibility lay in the rejection of those who refuse God’s offer?

A careful reading of Christ’s teaching here shows us clearly that men and women are responsible to God and to God alone for their acceptance or rejection of His offer of eternal life.  God has clearly provided a wonderful alternative to a life filled with sin and an eternity of paying for that sin.  Jesus paid the price and offers us full forgiveness and eternal life.  No, God does not send mankind to hell for their sin, their rejection of God’s offer is their condemnation.  Pray with me today for those who need to be saved to come clearly to the Savior to find eternal life in Him.

Yesterday was a great day for our church.  We enjoyed the music as we lifted up our hearts and hands to the Savior.  We enjoyed our fellowship with one another.  We enjoyed the church family as we planned for the future events including Good Friday service an Saturday prayer time.  I brought the first in s series of three messages from Isaiah 53 on Christ who is the only key that fits all of the tumblers of this great chapter.  I am still rejoicing in this great teaching.

This morning there is a ladies Bible study led by Sandy Petrelle at 9:00.  If you are free do join them.

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

Encouraging One Another to Christlikness, Ephesians 4:1-7 By Ben Schroeder

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Each member of a church has a Christ given ability and responsibility to equip one another in Christlikeness. As each member faithfully uses their Christ given spiritual gifts the entire church grows and becomes more like Christ . The measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ is attained through a properly functioning church body.

 

The clearest call to salvation

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John 3

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

 

The clarity of this teaching by Jesus, lets all people of all time know that the only way of salvation is through Him.  Jesus could not have made it any clearer than this.  He references Numbers 21:19 for clarity.  The people of Israel had rebelled against God and complained against Him so much that God sent poisonous snakes into their encampment to bite and kill the people.  As the people were suffering and dying Moses interceded and God told Moses to make a snake out of bronze and put it on a pole.  He then promised Moses that all who looked on the bronze snake would live.  That look would have been a look of faith.  I am certain that there were those in the camp who refused to look at the bronze snake thinking it just wouldn’t work. But all who looked with faith upon that snake were healed of their snake bite.

Jesus used this illustration to prophesy His being lifted up on the cross.  One day, all who looked to Him with the look of faith, would live.  We have been bitten by the snake of sin, just as Eve was, and the bite is deadly.  We are going to die in our sin unless we look to Jesus for life.  When we do look to Jesus for life we gain eternal life.

Why does God do this? Because He so much loves us that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him will not, will not, perish, that is, they will not die in their sin, but will have eternal, everlasting life.  With all of this love and salvation on display why won’t more people look to Jesus and live?  Pray with me for more people this year in our community to look to Jesus and live.

What did God do? God sent His Son to give us life.  He did not send Jesus to condemn us, our sin does that, but God send Jesus to give us life.  God wants us to be saved from our sin, to rise from that snake bite of sin and to live in Him both here and forever.  If you have never looked to Jesus with the look of faith to save you from the snake bite of sin, will you look to Him today and find life abundant and life eternal in Him?

Ben’s message from last Sunday will be on the church website today.  I am thankful for Ben’s competence with the Scriptures and the clarity with which he delivered this message to our church. 

If you are struggling with this election, read Psalm 2. 

A young man named Derek died of an OD this week.  He was a work friend of Ron.  Pray for his family as the funeral is tonight. 

We had a blessed time of prayer and Bible study last night.  What a thrill to gather with brothers and sisters around God’s word.  I am so thankful for our Wednesday night times. 

Have a great day in the Lord, PS

There is more than the perspective we know

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John 3

9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”

10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?

11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.

12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?

13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.

Nicodemus only had eyes for this world. He was desperately trying to understand the words of Jesus from his own perspective. Verse 11 tells us that we only speak that which we know and we only testify what we have seen. So until the Word of God becomes real to someone they will not be able to understand what that Word is teaching them. This is why people of a different faith have so much trouble converting to Christianity: they are speaking what they know and testifying what they have seen.

 

Jesus wanted Nicodemus, and all people of all ages, to understand His words. His words alone are true words. However, since we are of this earth we only see through the glasses of this life. Jesus wants us to take a look at His teaching from His point of view, through heavenly glasses, as it were.

 

Then in verse 13 Jesus tells us why His witness is true, He came down from heaven. His witness, that is, what His eyes have seen, is different from ours for He has seen what He is talking about. When it comes down to faith and to belief we all place our faith in something. We follow someone’s teachings, some church’s view of life. Jesus wants us to look at life through His glasses. He wants us to trust His words for they are true and come from a different perspective. We cannot see Jesus’ perspective so we have to accept it by faith as being true. Do you?

 

Tonight is our prayer and Bible study. Tonight is more important than yesterday. We will be looking at Psalm 2 for a few minutes. If you have questions about the elections, read Psalm 2.  

 

Pray for one another. Pray for a friend named Sande. Pray for the work at Victory Homes. Pray for our children in school and our young adults in college. Pray for Friday night’s movie outreach. Pray for people to come and for people to be saved.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,

PS