Monday's Mini-Messages Archive 2012

Daniel 1:8 - "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself..." As a young boy Daniel made, what you might call, a New Year's Resolution. He determined to keep himself pure and undefiled by the Babylonian culture. He was in the world (a Babylonian captive) but not of the world. May God's people recognize their true citizenship is in heaven and that they are only pilgrims and foreigners in this present world. "This world is not my home, I'm just a passing through. My treasures are laid up, some where beyond the blue." (This World Is Not My Home, Jim Reeves).

Galatians 2:21 - "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." According to this passage, when someone teaches you can work your way to heaven, they are frustrating (setting aside, making void or neutralizing) the grace of God. In addition, if you could be declared righteous by your good works, then there was no reason for God to send His Son to die on the cross. But we cannot be saved by our good works. Instead, we are saved by trusting in the substitutionary work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Put your confidence/faith in Him, not your own good works.

Galatians 2:20 - "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me..." It appears that many people view God as a means of accomplishing their goals, rather than BEING a means by which God can accomplish His. Luke 9:24 - "...whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."

"...for that day (Jesus' Return) shall not come, except there come a falling away first..." The Greek word translated ‘falling away' in this passage is apostasia, where we get our English word apostasy. And the Bible declares there will be a great apostasy (a defection from the faith) before the return of Christ. It appears we have been in the midst this falling away for the past 60-100 years. Therefore, it is not surprising when statistics show an increasing number of atheists in America and a decreasing number of professing Christians. This supports the Bible's assertion. In the end will you be a part of the remnant still standing for Christ and His word, or of the multitudes who departed from the faith.

Matthew 1:18 - "...she was found with child..." The Bible never uses the word pregnant, but instead calls a woman "with child." If we believe the Bible, we must believe life begins at conception and therefore, when a child is aborted, it is the murder of an innocent being. Some contend they are personally against abortion, but don't believe in imposing their views on others. Even Joe Biden stated this in the recent VP debate. But no one would allow a parent the liberty to decide whether or not to kill their 3 month old child. And likewise, we should not allow it just because the baby is in the womb. May God forgive us!

Matthew 15:19 - "For OUT OF THE HEART proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:" Some appear to think capitalism is the source of greed, socialism is the source of laziness and guns are the source of murder. But the real source of these sins is the heart of man. Therefore, the solution to greed, slothfulness, murder and others sins is not new laws, new policies, nor new restrictions ,but NEW LIFE in Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 - "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:"

1 Thessalonians 5:18 - "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God..." I greatly enjoy the Thanksgiving Season and reading and listening to what everyone is thankful for in their lives. During the last few Thanksgiving seasons, I have often asked myself the question, "Doesn't thankfulness require an object?" In other words, shouldn't there be someone, or something, to whom our thankfulness is directed? I agree with one man's assessment when he wrote, "...genuine thankfulness has the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe as its object, while counterfeit thankfulness directs its gratitude toward fallen man." May we all be thankful to the Creator and Redeemer of the Universe this holiday season.

Acts 9:5 - And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou (Saul of Tarsus) persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. When God begins to deal with someone about their need for salvation, He begins by bringing conviction (a sense of guilt) for their sin. Many people will fight this and even exhibit anger towards preachers and other believers. This is what Saul was doing when he was persecuting Christians. If you become overwhelmed with a sense of guilt for your sin, do not fight it. Instead, repent of your sin and believe that Jesus Christ died for you and rose again. He will then remove the burden of sin you carry.

1 Corinthians 11:31 - "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." If we would proactively judge our sin, agreeing with God that it is wrong and turn from it, then God would not have to judge us for it. But if we justify and excuse our sin, we will give an account for it. 1 John 1:9 - "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

1 Corinthians 6:3 "Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?" Everyone Judges, Everyone! Even those who are often citing, "Judge not," make judgments about the conduct of others. They condemn Jerry Sandusky, racists, and others, and they are not incorrect in doing so. Because God does not condemn righteous judgments. And calling something wrong which He labels sinful, is not improper. So, the real issue is not whether or not it is correct to pass judgment upon certain behaviors, but whether or not we judge the behavior to be appropriate.

Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil..." Often when God delivered a message of judgment to Israel (as He did in this chapter), they accused Him of being unloving. However, God makes it clear in this passage, that was not the truth. His intentions towards them were good; He desired for them to repent and restore their fellowship with Him. Likewise, though God declares us to be guilty sinners deserving of His condemnation, His design is to lead us to Jesus Christ, who can forgive us of our sin.

Luke 15:11, 18-19 - "Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me... Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son:" The story of the prodigal son in one of Jesus' most familiar parables. The son in this account starts with an entitlement mentality and ends recognizing his worthlessness. Like the prodigal son, each of us must first realize our own sinfulness and worthlessness before we can be saved. But like the father in the story, God is ready, and eager, to forgive us and shower us with blessings.

Proverbs 10:17 - "He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth." When we are instructed by others for our sins and faults, our nature is to become defensive and justify our actions. But the Bible says we are in error when we do this. Instead, we should heed the instruction, which demonstrates we are on the right path (i.e. in the way of life). This passage also demonstrates the folly of some who say it is universally unacceptable to judge someone's conduct.

"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee..." Revelation 2:4 - Many people think that loving someone and making a judgment about their conduct are contradictory, but when you study the entire Bible, you discover this is not true. The Apostle Paul rebuked Peter for his behavior in Galatians 2:11, the church in Corinth was told by Paul to discipline one of its members for committing fornication in 1 Corinthians 5 and Paul harshly rebuked the church in Corinth because of their carnalness, and yet he loved each of these persons. Jesus rebuked most of the 7 churches of Asia in Revelation 2-3. He also, at times, rebuked the disciples, the scribes and the multitudes. This did not mean He did not love them, but quite the contrary. He loved them and therefore He rebuked them for their ungodly words, deeds and attitudes, all of which would ultimately bring upon them the judgment of God, if they did not repent.

Proverbs 28:23 "He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue." In order to rebuke someone, you would have to make a judgment upon their conduct. Yet, the Bible does not condemn this, instead it indicates doing so would ultimately merit thanksgiving from the person who was rebuked. This is because the person later learns the rebuke was in their best interest. May we all learn to embrace biblical instruction from others. Proverbs 9:9 - "Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser..."

Ephesians 1:3 - "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:" The book of Ephesians is divided into two sections: chapters 1-3 speak of the believers wealth in Christ, while chapters 4-6 speak of the believers walk. It is the believers wealth in Christ that should motivate his walk. Ephesians 4:1 says, "I therefore (because of your spiritual blessings)...beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called." Another way of saying this is, "Live like you are saved." Is your conduct consistent with someone who has professed faith in Jesus Christ?

Matthew 27:45-46 - "Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Have you ever pondered why there was total darkness for 3 hours as Jesus hung on the cross? The words Jesus cried out may give us a clue. Jesus died in our place and took the punishment each of us deserve, which is eternal separation from God (i.e the second death). Since God is light, the darkness demonstrates an absence of the presence of God, which fits perfectly with Jesus' words, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Praise God that Jesus tasted death, both physical and spiritual, for every man that we might not have to be separated from Him eternally. Accept His free gift of salvation today.

Judges 21:25 - "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes." One of the results of America rejecting the absolute truth of the Bible has been a secular culture where diversity and pluralism reign. Both of which are considered virtues by academia, liberalism and secular minded individuals. In light of this, it is also no wonder a nonjudgmental attitude permiates our culture. Because if there is no such thing as right and wrong, then no one has any justification for judging the actions and beliefs of others (even Hitler, KKK, jihadists, etc). However, there is such a thing as absolute moral truth and it is found in the Bible. Therefore, we would be wise to judge everything according to its truths. Paslm 119:128 - "Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way."

In the Midwest this year, we experienced the driest summer I can recall. Towards the end of July I wondered whether or not the grass and vegetation would grow again if it began to rain. Well...In August it began to rain and everything has grown green and tall. Likewise, America appears to be in the greatest spiritual drought it has ever known (licentous living accepted, homosexuality viewed as normal, selfishness, greed, and one major political party desirous of removing God from its platform). As a result many of God's people are asking whether or not there is any hope for America spiritually. I for one believe there is the potential for revival. If God's people will "...humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways...(2 Chron. 7:14)," God can send the showers of blessing and our nation can experience revival. The real question is not whether or not God can send a great awakening, but will we do what is necessary for Him to send it.

Ephesians 1:3 - "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:" A lot of people say "God is good," and He is good, but I often meditate upon why, specifically, He is good. Ephesians 1-2 speaks of God's goodness to believers: He has adopted us, redeemed us, forgiven us, quickened us (Made us alive spiritually) and loved us. But just as noticeable in these chapters is what is NOT stated as reasons for God's goodness: wealth, fame, family and physical health. Are we thankful for God's spiritual blessings?

In Mark 9:45-46 Jesus described hell as, " that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." He said multiple times that it was "...profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." He also used the following words and phrases to describe hell: darkness, torments, punishment and everlasting punishment. Does our view of hell match that which Jesus described? If it does, it is certain to affect our attitude towards evangelization.

Matthew 26:58 - "But Peter followed him afar off..." After Jesus was betrayed by Judas and taken by the soldiers, Peter followed Jesus, but he followed Him AFAR OFF. Peter was afraid of what might happen to him if he followed Jesus too closely. Likewise, many people today follow Jesus, but they follow him AFAR OFF. They fear what might happen to them if they follow Jesus too closely. They fear 1) Being out of the main stream, 2) Being lied about (called intolerant, narrow minded, old fashioned, etc.) and 3) Bearing shame and reproach. Hebrews 13:13 exhorts us to "...go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach." Jesus suffered shame for you, don't be afraid to do the same for Him.

Galatians 4:16 - "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" Have you ever heard your child exclaim, "You don't love me!" A child sometimes thinks his parents do not love him because they reprimand him or forbid him to indulge in something he greatly desires. But this is not a lack of love. The parents know that it is in the best interest of the child. Likewise, political and theological liberals will often claim bible believers don't love someone because they warn them of what they consider to be a behavior detrimental to their physical and spiritual well-being. This is only a lack of love to those who reject the truths of the Bible.

The power of negative preaching! Jonah reluctantly marched into a city, whose people he hated, and preached a message of judgment, "Yet forty days, and Ninevah shall be overthrown," Jonah 3:4. Then he went to the top of a hill to wait for their destruction. While the Bible does not condone the attitude displayed by Jonah, it makes me wonder what type of results we might see if there was more hell-fire brimstone preaching!

How to make enemies and alienate people! "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets," Luke 6:26. "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you," John 15:18. "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution," 2 Timothy 3:12. No one sets out to make enemies and alienate people, however, when you preach the whole Bible, faithfully follow the teachings of Christ and live godly, you will make enemies and alienate some people! But be comforted brethren, Jesus did the same thing.

The Late Lester Roloff preached a message entitled, "Dr. Law and Dr. Grace." In the message he described Dr. Law as an austere man, who seldom smiled and was very to the point. Dr. Law always diagnosed his patients correctly, but had NO REMEDY for their illness. To obtain a remedy, Dr. Law took his patients to see Dr. Grace, a very approachable man, who was very friendly and eager to help. Dr. Grace had a 100% success rate in heart transplants, but you always had to have a referral from Dr. Law. Have you been to visit Dr. Law? Romans 3:19 - "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God."

Ecclesiastes 7:3 - "Sorrow is better than laughter..." This verse may seem strange to the generation which has give us positive only preaching and the smiley preacher. However, this truth is reiterated in James 4:9 and even Jesus said, "Blessed are they that mourn," Matt. 5:4. While meditating on these truths it occurred to me: No one has ever been saved when frolicking about, no one has ever consecrated their life to Christ when dancing in celebration, and no has ever made a true life changing decision to follow Jesus Christ while laughing hysterically. No, rather these things happen when the soul is quiet, during thoughtful meditation, and many times when we are under the heavy burden or our sinfulness.

Romans 12:2 - " not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind (by changing the way you think to conform to His Word)...". The moral views of some are based upon their culture or their own personal opinions, therefore, it is not surprising that their views collide with what the Bible teaches. But shouldn't the moral views of professing Christians be consistent with the Bible? Take for instance homosexuality. Romans chapter ones uses the following words to describe it: uncleanness, vile affections, against nature, unseemly and not convenient. Yet, some "Christian" denominations and professing believers support homosexuality. Many professing Christians are just as inconsistent with their views of sex outside of marriage, divorce, modesty, drunkenness, etc. Christian, what dictates your moral views?

Psalm 8:4 - "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" One of the most damaging philosophies of modern times is that of the self-esteem movement, as it strikes at the heart of the gospel message. Man is not in need of a better self-image, but a Savior who has paid the price for his sin. In light of my sin, rebellion and unrighteousness, I, too, ponder the question in this Pslam: "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" While I am not worthy of God's grace, mercy and love, I am sure glad He has bestowed it upon me.

Matthew 22:38-39 - "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God...This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Many people reverse these two commandments and place their love for others above their love for God. Then as a result of this, they embrace behaviors in people that God does not approve of, all in the name of love. Even President Obama recently did this in his attempt to justify homosexual marriages. "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me," Matthew 10:37.

Psalm 90:10 - "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years..." I have noticed many of my fb friends have turned forty this year, which caused me to ponder the significance of the number forty in the Bible. It rained for forty days during the time of Noah's flood, Moses was on the back side of the dessert for forty years before leading Israel out of Egypt, Israel wandered in the wilderness for forty years, Moses was on Mt. Sinai for forty days, and Jesus was tempted of the devil 40 days. There are many other references to the number forty in the Bible, and while the number does not appear to be representative of just one thing, it does at times appear to represent a period of testing. So, now that our testing period is over, having reached the ripe age of forty, what will we do with our lives? Serve mammon, self or Jesus Christ. Make the last half of your life count for the glory of God.

John 15:13 - "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Romans 5:7-8 - "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." The height of man's love is to die for his friends, or someone he loves, but God's love extends way beyond that by dying for us while we were contrary to Him.

1 Peter 1:16 - "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." It is common for someone who teaches the need for believers to live holy lives to be called legalistic, a Pharisee, or accused of "spending too much time in the Old Testament." But this New Testament verse takes an Old Testament principle and applies it to believers. God's people are to be holy (set apart from sin).

Matthew 20:28 says that Jesus came to "give his life a ransom for many." A ransom is a price paid to set a prisoner free. 1 John 2:2 says Jesus "is the propitiation for our sins." A propitiation is the act of appeasing the wrath of an offended person (i.e. God). 2 Corinthians 5:18 says God has "reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ." To reconcile is to remove the enmity between a sinner and God. Praise be to Jesus Christ who has paid the price for our sin, appeased the wrath of a holy God and removed the enmity between us and God.

"I love Jesus but Not the Church." I have heard this type of statement a few times recently. Consider it in light of what JESUS said and felt about the church: "I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved," "Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;" "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:" "the church (is) the pillar and ground of the truth." Jesus loved the church and said we are not to forsake its assembling. So, in conclusion, you can't Love Jesus and NOT love the church. The Greek word translated "church" in our English Bible is ecclesia, which literally means "a called out assembly." A church is not a structure, nor a denomination, but a people. Therefore, to hate the church is to hate God's people.

Luke 6:26 - "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets." The false prophets of the Old Testament were liked by the people and the leaders because they told them what they wanted to hear. However, the true prophets of God were vilified and persecuted for speaking the truth. If your highest aim is to be liked and accepted by everyone, you can just tell them what is socially acceptable and accomplish this end. However, if your goal is the glory of God and the true good of your fellow man, there will be times when you have to say things that will not make you popular.

Proverbs 13:24 - He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (early). Recently my daughter was reading a policy manual at the day care where she works. It stated that spanking children is harmful to them and will cause them to be violent. This is the popular thought among psychologists. God disagrees! He says if you spare the rod you hate your children! Proverbs 29:15 - The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

Proverbs 10:17 - "He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth." You can tell a lot about someone's spiritual condition by the way they respond to biblical instruction. If they attack the messenger, the motive or the manner in which it was given, they are in error. However, if they heed the instruction they are "in the way of life." Proverbs 9:9 - "Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser..."

Hebrews 13:13 - "Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach." The believer's "old man" does not like to be out of step with the mainstream (i.e. rejecting its pluralism, immoral lifesytles, immodesty, drunkenness, cursing, Hollywood, etc. ), because it brings reproach and alienation. So, when this occurs, believers are often tempted to move in the direction of the world to avoid such alienation. But it is far better to receive scorn from the world and meet with God's approval, than to be received by the world and be met with God's scorn.

Genesis 9:6 - "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." While it is a great injustice to put an innocent man to death for a crime he did not commit. It is just as much of an injustice to NOT put a guilty man to death for a crime he did commit.

"Thus saith the Lord," Exodus 4:22 (and 414 other places in the Bible). Why is murder wrong? Why is fornication wrong? Why is drug use, abortion, homosexuality, infidelity, pride and envy wrong? If you answer with all of the statistical data that highlights the negative consequences of such actions, you might be a pragmatist. If you answer, "Because the Bible says so," You might be a Biblicist?

Psalm 126:5-6 - They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. If you are against sinners unnecessarily going to hell, then don't bother to repost this. Instead weep over them, pray for them, love them and preach to them!

I've heard others say they don't want to be preachy. And it makes me wonder if they have ever examined what the Bible says about the subject of preaching. In 1 Corinthians 1:21 it says, " pleased God by the foolishness of PREACHING to save them that believe." And yet professing Christians don't want to be "preachy?" Let us not follow the popular trend of minimizing preaching, but instead heed the scriptures admonition to "PREACH the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine," 2 Timothy 4:2.

Acts 26:28-29 - "...Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am..." In essence, Paul is saying, "I wish everyone was saved, just like me!" I concur with his sentiments and also desire for all of my facebook friends to be saved.

Proverbs 19:21 - "There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand." There will always be those who formulate new methods and techniques for performing the ministry and living the "Christian life" (though none of them are new, Ecc. 1:9). Some will even claim they are essential for 21st century Christianity. However, there is one only thing that is needed to effectively perform the ministry and live the Spirit filled life, and that is the "counsel of the LORD," the Bible.

1 Corinthians 15:33 - "Be not deceived (don't fool yourself): evil communications (bad associations) corrupt good manners (destroys virtue/character)." If Christians, and even political conservatives, want to reverse the moral decay in society, they will need to avoid the immoral movie and television industry, the godless rock-n-roll culture and the humanistic education system. Do not fool yourself, these things corrupt godly character.

Hebrews 13:7, 17 - "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God...Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls..." In order to be obedient to this command, you must first be a member of a local bible believing church. The Bible takes it for granted that believers will join themselves to a local assembly. And what child of God would not want to be a member of a Bible believing church and have the privilege of a pastor watching out for their soul?

2 Thessalonians 2:3 - "...for that day (Jesus' return) shall not come, except there come a falling away first." In the 1950s the Christian community almost universally condemned rock-n-roll music, but it is almost universally accepted today. The same could be said about numerous other things. What has happened? Is the Christian community more enlightened today, or have they greatly compromised sound Bible doctrine? I fear it is the latter and that popular Christianity is a part of the great falling away described in the Bible (2, Thess. 2:3, 1 Tim. 4:1, 2 Tim. 3:1).

Romans 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death..." The Bible speaks often about salvation and the need to be saved, and this may cause someone to ask the question, "What do I need to be saved from?" We need to be saved from the punishment we deserve for of our sin, which is death. And in the Bible death always speaks of separation. Physical death is when the soul is separated from the body and spiritual death (or the second death, Rev. 21:8) is being eternally separated from God in the lake of fire. The means by which someone is saved is faith in Jesus Christ and His substitutionary death and resurrection. "Flee from the wrath to come," Luke 3:7.

Matthew 17:8 - "And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only." At night we see the moon and the stars and welcome the light they shed on our path; we even marvel at their beauty. But as the morning begins to appear, the moon and the stars begin to fade. Then the Sun appears and it is all we see, THE SUN ONLY! So it is with Jesus. In the OT we see Abraham and Jacob, Moses and Joshua, Elijah and Elisha. We see David and Solomon, Jeremiah and Isaiah. We see Gideon, Eleazar, Samson and Joseph. And as we turn to the New Testament and are introduced to John the Baptist. Oh what men! What Great Men! But oh how all of these men fade into the background, yea and disappear all together, when Jesus comes into sight. May we, like the disciples, see JESUS ONLY!

Romans 10:2 - "...they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge." The Bible has numerous examples of people who were sincere in their beliefs, but they were sincerely wrong. The Jews in this verse incorrectly thought salvation could be earned, and most people today believe the same thing. They think baptism, church membership, sacraments and good works will merit God's grace and earn them heaven. But the Bible declares faith ALONE in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ saves. If you think salvation can be earned, even in part, I implore you to study Romans chapters 3-4 and 10.

Matthew 16:22 - "...for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." When Jesus spoke these words to Peter, he, and the other disciples, had their own agenda, which included prosperity, position, power and popularity (Acts 1:6 and Matthew 20:21). However, these are the things "that be of men." The "things that be of God" include: self-denial, sacrifice and service. Do you savor the things of God or the things of men?

Proverbs 19:21 - "There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand." There will always be those who formulate new methods and techniques for performing the ministry and living the "Christian life" (though none of them are new, Ecc. 1:9). Some will even claim they are essential for 21st century Christianity. However, there is one only thing that is needed to effectively perform the ministry and live the Spirit filled life, and that is the "counsel of the LORD," the Bible.

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