Hebrews

The Christian life and the Church

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In this message from Hebrews 10, Pastor Justin Schroeder carefully shows us how the Christian and the church are intertwined. Being a part of a local church is not an option for a child of God but something absolutely necessary.

Outside of the city

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Hebrews 13

10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.

 

You are going to have to think with me on this one.  When the sin offering was brought to the temple and the sin of the people was symbolically transferred from the people to the sacrifice lamb, that lamb, filled with the sin of others, was to be taken outside of the camp and burned.  It was not to be eaten by the priests but taken out away from all others.  In this passage today we learn that Jesus, once filled with our sin, was taken outside of the city suffering apart from others.

The writer of Hebrews then makes a careful analogy for us: As Jesus did not belong in the city because of our sin upon Him, so we bearing the reproach of Christ do not belong in the city of this world.  Those crucifying Jesus did not want Him crucified inside their city; crucifixion was a nasty work to be done outside of their “fair” town.  Jesus suffered away from the crowds He cared for as He bore their reproach and ours.  In essence, Jesus did not belong in the city; He did not fit there.  He was too righteous for them and they wanted Him out.

We, those who have given Christ our sin, now bear His imprint upon our lives.  We no longer fit in the city of this world.  Our lives, imitating Christ, are a reproach to the people of this city. We are OK with this because we are looking forward to a heavenly city, our eternal home with Christ.  Are we OK with not being a part of the city of this world?  Are we OK being outside of the mainstream of society as we identify with our Savior?

Pray for a neighbor of the church who is having cancer surgery this week.  Pray for my friend Tom who is undergoing cancer treatment.  Pray for the souls of those around you who need the Savior.  We must, as light-bearers, be aware of the darkness in other’s souls and care for them. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Our Lord never changes, we are secure

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Hebrews 13

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.

What great confidence we have in the unchangeableness of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Every attribute of Him always has been and always will be. When we go to our Lord we know what to expect because in His holiness, He never changes.  In this Christ is always truth, He is always just, He is always merciful, He is always forgiving, He is always kind and gentle, He is always light to show us the way. Jesus never changes.

As such, the Word of the Lord Jesus never changes neither is it open to man’s freedom of interpretation.  The Word of God means what God meant when He gave it.  It never changes. The truths found in its pages are timeless and don’t need to be made relevant for they have always been relevant.

The religions of man morph with society.   Edicts come down from the top, the leaders of the religions, with new allowances, new interpretations or new revelations.  That which was dogma can be set aside for  new dogma. Not so with Jesus Christ.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  I find far greater security in a Lord/Leader who never changes.  Therefore, we are not carried about with various doctrines establishing foods and days to make us more spiritual. No, we are established by grace, the grace of our Lord Jesus who never changes and desires that all be saved and brought to the truth.  Be secure today in the unchangeableness of our God.

Be aware of the louder voice of the minority.  Realize that in a pure democracy, the rule of the people, the mob can be wrong.  Remember that one day a mob decided to crucify an innocent Man and the mob overruled the wisdom of the authority in charge.  I am not in favor of the mobs of people thinking that they represent the majority of the country nor of all of our values.  Be a person of wisdom who thinks above the mob. 

Ken’s mom went to be with the Lord last night.  The last time he was down to see her she gave Ken a clear testimony of having trusted the Savior.  Pray for Ken and his family as they work through the grief and the funeral. 

Join us in church tonight for prayer.  We are storming the throne of God to give us men and women and young people this year who leaving their sin will come to the Savior. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Is your whole life content?

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Hebrews 13

5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

The word “conduct” indicates our entire life. This is not limited to Sunday mornings, or special retreats of the church. No, the conduct of our lives is to be how we live every waking hour of our lives. And so the Lord instructs here that we live our entire lives without covetousness. Covetousness is a general discontent with what we have and a regular desire for what others have. Covetousness is, in essence, telling God that His plan for your life is not sufficient for you, you want more or different than He has chosen for you.

 

In the heart of the follower of Jesus Christ there is to be contentedness in Christ. He has not left us nor has He forsaken us. Are you content in Christ? Are you at peace with what God has given you and has enabled you to make and provide? Are you at peace with your gifts and your abilities from God? Are you content with all that God has given you?

 

Those who have more of this world often have less of Christ. Please know that the riches of Christ are more tangible than the riches of this life. To be content in Christ is to live without covetousness. To be content in Christ is to be content in what He has given us. To be content in Christ is to live in the reality of His abiding presence. So that we may boldly say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

 

I must say that I am thankful for our church. Our annual meeting was so peaceful, so God-honoring. I am thankful that we do not have a spirit of discontent in our church nor is there a spirit of division. We are all working together to know God, to love God, and to serve Him with the gifts that God has given to us. We are seeking God this year to save souls of men and women and teens and children right here in Naperville. Join us in this prayer today and every day. Labor in this prayer. Beg God to save the hard cases. Let us see God do what only He can do this year.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Serve God acceptably

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Hebrews 12

25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” 27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.

For all of us who love the mercy of God and the love of God this chapter of Hebrews ends abruptly and harshly.  So let’s take a look at it.  Earlier in the chapter the writer reminds the readers of the day when God brought the Law at Mount Sinai. It was a great day for Israel but the most fearful day of their history.  The mountain shook, the skies darkened, smoke ascended from the mountain; they were in the fearful presence of Almighty God.  Today, he says, we are called to Mount Zion, the heavenly city of God which stands in stark contrast to Mount Sinai.  Zion is a place of victory, peace, and grace.

However, we who enjoy God’s grace and peace must never forget who God is and what He had to do to those who refused to hear His word at Sinai.  If you remember, those who built the golden calf and worshipped it were killed.  Others who rejected the word of God had the earth open up and swallow them.  As we read earlier, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

You see, God wants to show us mercy.  James wrote that mercy triumphs over judgment and boy are we ever glad for that!  But those who take advantage of mercy and use mercy as a cloak for their disobedience to God need to wake up and realize just Who they are disobeying.  God does not take disobedience lightly for yes, when it comes to judgment, He is a consuming fire.  Therefore, we must serve God acceptably with reverence and with godly fear.  The works of faith are the works that God calls us to.  Here God calls us, the people of faith in Him, to serve Him in full understanding of who He is.  This is acceptable to Him.

Sunday is our annual meeting for the church.  We will be voting on the budget for 2017 and will be voting on the slate of officers presented last Sunday.  If you have questions about the budget you can call a deacon or an elder.  If you have a question about the slate of officers call an elder.  During lunch, which the church is providing, we will hear reports from the different ministries of our church.  Please plan to stay and enjoy the lunch and the reports. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Pursue peace, treat others with holiness, fight bitterness

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Hebrews 12

14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

Pursuing peace with all people and pursuing holiness are in the same sentence as not falling short of the grace of God and letting bitterness spring up within, cause trouble and defile us.

I have trouble going to meetings that don’t end up with action plans. Meeting just for the sake of having a meeting is boring and a waste of time. Meetings should have an agenda and then something to do after the meeting.   Prayers for peace without acting toward holiness and greater forgiveness are wasted prayers. I can pray all day for peace with my wife but if I don’t change how I act toward her and continue to hold bitterness against her my prayers won’t do any good.

Hear me on this, if you want to follow this teaching from Hebrews 12 and if you want to be at peace with as many people as possible, then you must act in holiness toward them and practice a forgiving lifestyle every day. There is no place for unkindness, arrogance, selfishness, self-will, nor revenge in the Holy Spirit led life. Spirit-filled living treats people as Christ treated those in His lifetime.

Then, if you want to be a peace with others, you must life a daily life of forgiveness toward all people. Any time that you hold a grudge, hold anger, refuse to forgive, or just let an offense fester, you are harboring bitterness.   I think that bitterness is Satan’s grand tool to destroy Christian’s lives. For while the grace of God is eternal, its effects can be lost when someone let’s their bitterness control them, trouble them, and defile them.

Pursue peace with all around you, strive to treat them in a holy manner, and never go to bed with a bitter spirit toward another person. Satan will be defeated, God will be honored, and we will have greater peace.

 

This Sunday is Pro-Life Sunday. I am 100% pro-life! There is only one Author and only one Taker of life and that is our Creator God who made every one of us in His image to bear His likeness in this life. Taking lives either in the womb or out of the womb is something that God himself calls “murder.” I stand with all groups that are fighting abortion and am thankful for this current opportunity to defund Planned Parenthood (which is the biggest oxymoron of the day – they do not provide prenatal care, they do not provide breast exams, their biggest cash-cow is killing infants inside their mother’s wombs thus taking would-be moms away from being parents).   Pray for the abolition of abortion in this country first and others to follow.

 I, for one, my wife, my children, Victory Academy, and New Life Baptist Church are all glad that my mother did not abort me. Who is glad that your mom did not abort you? All lives matter, all races, all ages, and all lives in the womb. Thank God for being the Supreme Life Giver that He is.

 Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

Chastening to peaceable fruits of righteousness

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Hebrews 12:7–11

7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?

8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.

9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?

10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.

11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Those whom God loves He chastens. As a dad I really understand this. Before I was a dad disobedient kids were a nuisance. Why didn’t their parents correct them? What was wrong with those people who let their kids pitch a fit in public? I know what I would do if I were their parent. Humph.

 

Then I had children of my own and then I understood how love for my children was behind my correction. I understood that my embarrassment in public wasn’t the issue; their hearts were the issue. In my embarrassment I might change their actions but in my love I desired to change their hearts.

 

God loves us far more than we could ever love our children. This is evidenced in God sending His Son for the sacrifice for our sins while we were still sinners. In God’s love for us He wants our hearts changed, not just our behavior. So we might embarrass God in public and get away with it but in private He is going to speak to our hearts.

 

God’s chastening of us is never abusive nor excessive but it is what we need. When He chastens us it is with His full loving heart and with the exact chastening we need to bring us to partake with His holiness. “Thank you Lord for your loving chastening.”

 

No, chastening is not a blessing, it is painful and is meant to be. But the end of it is the training of our hearts to produce the peaceable fruit of God’s righteousness. Thank God for His corrective hand and let Him shape you into the child that He wants you to be.

I hope to see you tonight for prayer.  We sure do need the Lord to step in and to do His miraculous work of salvation in many hearts. 

 

Pray for Mike as he prepares a message for our teens and for the kids4truth as we seek to impact the hearts of our children.

 

Sunday is our annual meeting.  Please plan to stay with us for lunch as we hear reports from the different ministries and consider our church plans for this year.

 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

 

 

For some great short clips on why women should have their children, go to this link and scroll through.  It will take you two minutes and will encourage your pro-life position.

http://thefederalist.com/2017/01/24/meet-women-abortion-industry-doesnt-want-know-about/

 

 

Consider Him

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Hebrews 12

1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

In the last devotional we looked at those who have lived for Christ before us as examples of how we are to live the life of faith.  While their examples are very helpful for us, the writer of Hebrews goes beyond their lives to the life and death of Christ as our ultimate example of living by faith.

Because of those who have lived for Christ by faith before us, we know how to lay aside every weight and the sin that besets us.  But human examples are flawed.  As great as David was, we often think of his greatest sin, not his great faith. As great as Abraham was, he lied twice about his wife to a king and his faith faltered when he had a son through Sarah’s handmaid.  If we only looked at human examples we might also justify a little failure on our part.

Let us look unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of God.  The Lord Jesus, God in human flesh, had every opportunity for sin that we have.  He had every temptation that we have.  He had every trial that we have. And yet, the God-Man resisted every fleshly opportunity in order to obey the will of the Father and go to the cross as the spotless Lamb. Consider Him.

Look unto Jesus, who for the joy set before Him…  There is no joy in beating, in shame and in crucifixion.  By looking at the joy our Savior looked past the trials and the pain to us, the redeemed of the ages, and knew that when His work of redemption was complete we would be with Him as His eternal bride forever. The foreknowledge of Christ enabled Him to finish His work with joy.  He who loved us eternally did all that He needed to do to save us eternally. Consider Him.

Look unto Jesus, who is now seated at the right hand of the Father. When we come to Christ in humility and in faith we find His arms open to receive us.  He who shed His blood for our sins takes our sins and gives us His righteousness and does so forever.  We who are born in sin can walk in faith-filled righteousness and through Christ can be at His right hand forever.  Consider Him as you walk by faith in all that you do today.

 

Pray with me that the Word of God that goes forth in our church will be clear to all who hear it.  Pray that the clear Word of God will bring conviction of sin and repentance to righteousness.  We have men and women and teens every week who come and hear and leave without repentance. Pray with me for the miracle of salvation to happen in our very church building.

If you would like a Christian view of the women’s marches that took place last week, go to IFI’s website and read Laurie Higgens’ commentary on it. Laurie is a woman of great insight and looks at this march from a historical and a Christian viewpoint. 

Bobbi came home last night.  We were all glad to see her.  Jared was really glad to see her.  He always shows his gladness by hugging and holding on.  She had a great time and was glad to be able to serve Ben and Anna and Emilia.

Ed Green is having knee replacement starting at 10:00 today. Keep him and his doctors in your prayers.  He will be at CDH through tomorrow.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

 

 

We are people of faith following people of faith

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Hebrews 11

32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again.

Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.

12 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

There are some activities in life that don’t have a whole lot of instructions with them.  We have often jumped into something hoping we were doing it right and wanting a good outcome.  The life of faith is not like that.  Hebrews 11 has been called the “Hall of Fame of Faith.”  We are called to consider the lives of men and women who trusted God at major points of their lives.  When these people obeyed God by faith and through faith amazing things happened!  Did you read verses 33-35?  Great things happened through ordinary people.

Verse 39 speaks of all of these men and women as being people of a good testimony.  The words “good testimony” are one word in the Greek language and in 12:1 is translated “witnesses.”  When people trust in God during their lives they become known as witnesses of God’s power.  Their very lives become testimonies of the God of heaven and of His faithfulness to His own.

Friends, we have good witnesses to look to.  These normal people did amazing things when they took God at His word and fully obeyed what He said.  At that point their lives testified, gave witness to the will and the power of God.  We are surrounded by those who obeying God by faith set an example for us to follow.

Today we are having a funeral for a faithful woman, Nancy Hall. Ken and Nancy Hall were people of great faith in their great God.  We have examples of what this life of faithful obedience looks like both in Scripture and all around us.  Ask God what steps of faith He has for you to take, then through faith join those whose example we have to follow, and do all that God is leading you to do.

With Bobbi at Ben and Anna’s this week and planning for Nancy’s funeral it has been a very different week for me. Pray with us and the Hall family for those who come to the funeral to see Christ and to come to Him as Savior and Lord.  I will be bringing a message looking at the peace and grace that Nancy and Ken lived and pointing us to the Lord who wants to give His peace and grace to all.  The wake is from 10:00-1:00 with the service at 1:00.  This will all take place at Calvary Church on Rt 59 in their south chapel.

We are all praying for the inauguration of our new President today.  Pray specifically for the salvation of President Trump.  What if he came to Christ and trumpeted out His message for four years!  May Christ be exalted.  Pray also for the safety of all of the people in D.C. today.  It is a strange inauguration, to say the least.  I heard last night that 37 permits have been given out for groups against the new President and one permit was given out for a group in favor of him.  Last night there was a riot where police used pepper spray to calm down a crowd.  Join me in prayer for the protection of people and for the salvation of the lost.

How do I feel?  I am ever thankful that God is in control, that He is sovereign over the affairs of men and that He will accomplish all that He wants accomplished this day as always.  “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”

Have a great day in the Lord ,
PS

Invested Faith brings great security

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Hebrews 10

37   “For yet a little while,

And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.

38   Now the just shall live by faith;

But if anyone draws back,

My soul has no pleasure in him.”

39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

I am so thankful for the promise of Christ’s return!  From the day of His ascension and the promise of His return, the church of Jesus Christ has longed for Him to come back and to lead us to the Father.  We long for our King to take over His earth and to reign as King on the throne of David.  We long to see Satan defeated and righteousness as the ruling Constitution.

In this passage we see that the Lord is coming back for them who remain in faith.  We are justified by faith and Ephesians 2:8 tells us that God gives us the faith to be justified.  Once we become people of faith we are to maintain that faith.  Faith is like an investment for when it is well taken care of it grows but when it is abused it diminishes.

The writer of Hebrews defines this well and lets us all know that when we draw back from our faith the soul of God does not have pleasure in us, that is, He is not well-pleased.  Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith we cannot please God therefore when we do live by faith ever investing it into greater actions by faith then God is pleased with us.  There is nothing greater in this life than the smile of God upon our lives.

In verse 39 we learn that we, the people of faith in God, those justified by faith, are not of those who draw back to perdition or to destruction.  We are not going to be destroyed with those who have no faith.  On the contrary, we are those who believe and the object of our belief is our salvation.  Hallelujah! What a Savior.  He gives us the faith to believe, we invest that faith in Him, our faith increases and with that increase of faith comes an increase in our eternal confidence.  Our souls are saved. My friends, I will be going to two funerals this week.  The body dies. The soul lives.  Those who by faith become followers of Jesus Christ and throughout their lives invest that faith into greater acts of trust will know that this faith of theirs will result in the salvation of their souls.

No wonder Paul could write, “We sorrow not as those who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again then we also believe that God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.”

It is a heavy week for our church. We have lost a dear friend and a faithful servant of Jesus Christ.  Nancy Hall went to be with Jesus Sunday evening around 6:00.  Her funeral will be this Friday at Calvary Church in their south chapel.  There will be a wake from 10:00-1:00 with the service at 1:00.  The ladies of our church, Grace for Life Bible Church, have been asked to provide cookies and bars for up to 200 guests.  If you can help with this please send me an email or a text letting me know how many you can bring. I have been asked to bring the gospel message at the funeral. Pray for this to be a time when God will be exalted and any there without Christ to be drawn to Him.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

 

Saved, sanctified, for what?

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Hebrews 9

21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. 22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

As I was dwelling on sanctification this morning the thought of the Temple furniture came to mind.  This furniture, the golden laver, the candlesticks, the alter, the basins for washing, the instruments of sacrifice and so on, were all made of gold or overlaid with gold.  We can’t really imagine the beauty of this room in the Temple of God.  Each of these pieces in the Temple had to be sprinkled with blood to sanctify them, to make them holy, for use. What was their use?  This golden furniture was used to make sacrifices of atonement for the sins of the people.

So, as God, who designed all of this furniture, saw it was it more glorious to Him when it was glistening in the sun or when it was being used?  Of course, we know this answer; God wanted this beautiful furniture used to make atonement of sin so that man could be close to God.  So then, was the furniture more beautiful when it was glistening and clean or when it was blood covered accomplishing the purpose of its creation?  Yes, the answer to this question depends on the perspective.  Since we are interested in God’s perspective then the right answer is that it was most beautiful when covered in sacrificial blood and atonement was being made.

During the Babylonian exile all of this furniture was seized as the plunder of war and was taken to warehouses in Babylon.  While there it would have been greatly admired, maybe in some sort of museum or show room, by all who walked by.  But to God this furniture in Babylon was useless.

Why does God save and sanctify us?  Are we made holy by God through the anointing blood of Christ to be on display or to be used?  How then are we to be used?  Are we more beautiful to God with our hands clean or with our hands dirty in His service?  Christ came to sanctify us, to make us holy, to be vessels of pure service to Him.  When we are in God’s service we are pointing others to the Savior so their sins can be atoned, justified before the Father.  Let’s get out of the showroom and into the workroom where God looks on us and sees us beautiful doing His sacrificial work.

Sunday night was an amazing prayer service.  The Pray Chicago service at the Progressive Baptist Church in the shadow of Cellular Field, was one of the most powerful services I have ever attended. (I wish all of you had been there.) For two hours we sang, prayed, listened to the plea of the heart of Dr. Martin Luther King, had the Scriptures read, gathered in small groups for prayer, wept, and rejoiced.  At one point, Roy Patterson had a four year old girl brought up,  a truly beautiful little girl, who had been shot twice.  He then asked how many in this room of over a thousand people had a loved one shot.  More than a hundred and fifty people stood including a grandmother right behind me.  He then asked how many personally knew someone who had been shot and a third of the audience stood.  I wept.  These are people like me, Christian brothers and sisters who have personally felt the pain of violence in Chicago.  Dr. Irwin Lutzer spoke briefly about the necessity of unity in the body of Christ.  We prayed again and again.  Folks, my heart was touched and my life changed.  Join continually for a movement of the Holy Spirit of God to save souls all around us.  Salvation is the only answer. 

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS

 

The Faith to Obey

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Hebrews 10

38   Now the just shall live by faith;

But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.”

39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

If you have read my devotionals for a while you know that we are to obey the Word of God by faith.  Yes, we are saved by faith and we know that the faith to be saved is a gift from God, not of our works lest any of us should boast that we did something to earn our salvation.  Grace is God’s gift and so is the faith to be saved.

Once we are saved and enjoy the faith and the grace and the new life that follows God wants us to increase our faith by taking it into other areas of our lives.  Here in Hebrews 10 we learn that God takes pleasure in those who live by faith and has no pleasure in those who don’t.  Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God.  (Stay with me here.)

The Christian life is above all a life of faith.  We are saved by faith, we follow Christ by faith and we live in obedience to God’s word by faith.  None of this makes sense to our flesh.  On any given day my flesh will tell me to chuck it all and live by sight.  “Get what I want, do what I want, and go where I want” is the cry of my flesh.  At the same time, and with greater authority, the Holy Spirit tells me to get what God wants, do what He says and go where He wants me to go.  Because I have been given the faith to believe and be saved I also have the faith to believe and obey.

Obedience to the Word of God and to the Spirit of God goes against my senses of sight, touch, and so on.  Therefore, to obey God is to do so by faith.  Believing that God knows what is right, that He is a good and wise God, and that He truly has my best for now and forever in His mind, I do what He says.  This is a continual act of obedience and submission by faith.  The battle comes when my flesh convinces me that I deserve “better” or I shouldn’t have to “give up” something.  When it does not feel right to me but is clear from God it takes faith to set aside what I “see” to do what God says.

God takes pleasure in us when we agree with Him and by faith do all that He says.  Let us be faithful to His word by ever submitting to His Lordship by faith fully believing that when we see Him it will be worth it all.  On that day, when our faith becomes sight, when God rejoices in welcoming us home, we will be eternally glad that we lived by faith in this life.

Last Sunday someone asked me why we don’t do testimonies in church anymore.  We have had some full services but this Sunday should be fairly normal.  So, if you have a testimony of God’s working His grace in you or through you bring it with you this Sunday.  We will take time to hear from you. 

I will be bringing a message from 2 Corinthians 3 this Sunday about the glory of the law and the glory of the New Covenant.  The God of the Old Testament had the same glory as the God of the New Testament.  We will look at the passing glory and the eternal glory and then question why we would ever want to live apart from God’s glory.  Pray for God to use this message in our daily lives.

Have a great day in the Lord,
PS