Archive for August, 2010

29
Aug
10

Just Believe?…Really? That’s it? #3


Ok. Let’s talk about this foundation I have mentioned. Are repentance, baptism, and speaking in tongues necessary steps to complete in order to make it to Heaven? This is a big debate between denominations. Some believe you have to be baptized but not speak in tongues, some believe you have to do both, and some believe you dont have to do either. So what is correct? I guess we will truly find out when we go or don’t go to Heaven. But the one thing all the denominations believe in is “believing.” In this blog, I will give my opinion on what I feel is the way to get to Heaven.

First I want you to read a number of scriptures.

Mark 16:16-17    16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;

John 3:14-16   14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:18   18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

John 3:35-36   35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

John 5:24   24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

John 6:35   35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

John 6:40   40 “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

John 11:25-27   25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

John 20:30-31   30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Acts 8:36-37   36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”37 And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

Acts 16:30-31   30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Romans 1: 16   16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Romans 10: 8-10   8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

1 Thessalonians 4:14   For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

1 John 5:13   I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

Ok… So why is there a debate? If you read the scriptures above I think it clearly states what salvation consists upon. Believing! There are no extra steps in salvation. Just believe! Some that are reading this are going to say look at Mark 16 (the first scripture I listed). It says those who believe and are baptized will be saved. Well let’s keep reading. Right after saying that, it says only those who don’t believe will be condemned. So apparently the point the author was trying to make was the fact that you have to believe. John said that he wrote the book of John so that we would believe in Jesus Christ and by believing have life in his name. That was his whole purpose behind the Gospel according to John.

I think it is clear to what I feel like the Bible clearly lays out. Baptism and speaking in tongues are just part of the Christian life. I truly feel like Jesus is looking down and thinking to himself: “I have done the hard stuff already. I have come and suffered that you might have life. You can have eternal life by believing in me. Why are you making it so hard on yourselves? Just believe. John layed it out perfectly in John 3:16. Come on guys, just believe in me!”  But remember that the demons believe in Jesus and they tremble at the mention of his name. Therefore believing has to be lifestyle. The lifestyle that Christ lived, and the lifestyle in which the entire New Testament teaches us how to live.

First we believe in Christ. Upon believing I feel we should be baptized. This is the example laid out throughout Acts. Baptism is symbolic of the death and resurrection of Christ. Romans 6 clearly lays this out. To close this blog out I want to you to read what Romans 6 says. This is what I mean by it is a lifestyle. (It won’t hurt you to read a chapter out of the Bible, so keep reading. It will explain everything I think believing means.)

Romans Chapter 6:

6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. 20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

15
Aug
10

Just Believe?…Really? That’s it? #2


I ended part 1 of this series by asking and answering a question. “So what is believing? It is believing everything that the New Testament teaches us about Christ, the Old Testament, and how to live our lives.” In this blog I want to lay a foundation to build upon the teachings of the New Testament. I think that Acts 2 is a good spot to start. This will help us lay a foundation to three essential parts of a Christian life.

Acts 2: 36-41 

36 “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

To get a better understanding of what is going on here , it would be best if you went and read all of Acts chapter 2. But I will try to give a little background to what is going on here. The disciples were told by Jesus not to depart from Jerusalem, but wait on the promise from the Father. So the disciples went to Jerusalem, and with some others  waited in an upper room  for this promise of the Holy Spirit. While devoting themselves to prayer, they suddenly began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave the utterance. While this was going on, some other people heard them speaking in their own language, telling about the mighty works of God. Since these people were not of their native tongue but speaking their language, they asked what was going on. Others were saying that they were just drunk with wine. So, Peter stands up and tells the crowd about the prophesy of Joel.(That in the last days God will pour out his spirit on all flesh) Then, Peter tells them how Jesus has been exalted to the right hand of God. Now, we are picking up at verse 36, which is above.

Peter declares to them that Jesus is Lord. After hearing about Jesus and hearing the disciples(which were already believers) speaking in their language, they asked Peter what shall we do? Peter gives them an outline of what the christain life should consist of: Repentance, being baptized, and recieving the gift of the Holy Spirit. These are the three essential parts of a Christian life in which I spoke about earlier.

Also, above is a great example of witnessing. Peter first tells these people about Jesus. Then after “being cut to the heart” they ask the question, “what shall we do?”… Notice, they were cut to the heart after hearing about Jesus. Does this mean they believed and then asked what’s next? It sure seems that way. If they didn’t believe what Peter was saying, then why would they ask what they should do? So, in this passage of scripture, we see what to say when telling about Jesus. Then, when they become curious, tell them about the rest of the Christian life.

In the next blogs, I am going to break down each of the three things mentioned by Peter. I am going to talk about whether or not they have to be completed to make it to heaven using scripture. So, don’t think this series is over yet.

08
Aug
10

Just Believe?…Really? That’s it? #1


John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Ok. So, I have started out with probably one of the most popular verses known to mankind. Alot of Christians witness to nonbelievers with this verse. They tell them,” All you have to do is believe in Christ and that He died and rose from the dead to cover our sins, and you will go to heaven.” Guess what! They are right.

Acts 16 : 30-31

30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

 But so many times we fail to explain what “believing” really means. “Believing in Christ” means believing in everything that Christ stood for. What did He stand for? He stood for everything that is good. The whole New Testament is filled with teachings of how we should live our lives. Where did these teachings all originate from? They came from Jesus Christ.

Matthew 28: 19-20

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Notice verse 20, Jesus told them to go and teach what He commanded them. So now we know that what is coming from the authors of the New Testament is straight from the teachings of Christ. Yes, I know Apostle Paul was not one of the original disciples and he wrote alot of the New Testament, but Christ chose him, and actually spoke to him also.

 Acts 9:1-22

The Conversion of Saul

9:1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened.

Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues

For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.

There are two things I want you to notice in the passage of scripture above. First, is verse 15 and second, is the end of verse 19. Paul was chosen to teach to the Gentiles and also, he was with the disciples.

So in this blog, I wanted to bring out two things. First is the fact that simply believing in Christ is more than a belief. It is a lifestyle. It is believing in His teachings. And if you believe in His teachings, that means you will live them. Second is the fact that every author in the New Testament was inspired by the Holy Spirit, and/or was with Jesus to hear His teachings, or with the disciples to hear the teachings from them. So what is believing? It is believing everything that the New Testament teaches us about Christ, the Old Testament, and how to live our lives.

This blog is part one of  a series of blogs. I want to talk more on the question “Just Believe? … Really? That’s it?” in more blogs coming up. If you read this blog please know that I am not finished with the complete answer and there will be more to come.

03
Aug
10

How to Answer: “What church do you go to?”


So how do we answer this question when someone asks it? Well, I was looking at a church and how they believe the other day. The way they state what they believe is almost spot on with how I think we should answer this question, if in fact your church follows these guidelines. I took the church’s name out of it so that no one would say, “I can’t be that way because they aren’t my denomination.” Here it is below…

(Church name) doctrine is not defined by a particular denomination or creed. Instead, we look to the Bible for our source of truth. We strive to be a church that majors on the core teachings of Scripture and minors on less essential points of theology and practice. Because of this commitment, our congregation has grown to include people from many different religious backgrounds and walks of life.

(Church name) embraces important evangelical values, such as the inerrancy of Scripture, salvation by faith in Christ, and the need to live a godly and upright life. We strive to be a church where the supremacy of Christ is declared and His Gospel is faithfully proclaimed. In all things, (Church Name) exists to bring glory to God as we endeavor to make our lives “All About Him.”

We teach that all people have sinned against God, and therefore all stand under His just condemnation without defense or excuse. While this judgment will ultimately result in everlasting, conscious separation from God’s blessed presence, salvation is possible because of Jesus Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. Through His substitutionary atonement, Jesus paid the divine penalty for sin so that people might have their sins forgiven and be restored to a right relationship with their Creator.

Salvation is freely given when individuals, through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, receive the gift of faith, repent of their sins, and believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Believers are immediately made spiritually alive and receive the gift of eternal life. They are forever adopted into God’s family, and as such, display evidence of God’s sanctifying work throughout their lives.

01
Aug
10

Which is the Correct Denomination?


Have you ever thought to yourself, why are there so many denominations?  And if so, have you ever thought which denomination is the correct one? Well, I know I have. I grew up thinking that my denomination was going to be the only one in heaven. Then about two years ago, I started wondering; why so many denominations? Are all the other denominations really going to Hell? Then I realized it’s not about the name on your door. It’s about Christ. Let’s look at what the apostle Paul said in the first letter to the church in Corinth.                                                                                                        

1 Corinthians 1 : 10-17

10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

 Ok… Maybe Paul, Apollos, and Cephas weren’t teaching different denominational things,  (or maybe they were) but it is the same concept now days. Alot of people will not even listen to what someone from another denomination says just because they say, “I am a baptist” or “I am a methodist” or “I am a pentecostal.” Let me ask the same question Paul asked, “Is Christ divided?” The focal point of the entire New Testament is Christ. Let’s look at one of my favorite quotes from the Apostle Paul.

Philippians 1:15-18

15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

Paul is rejoicing in the fact that Jesus is proclaimed, even if it is in mockery! Lord, let me keep this concept!

I don’t really know why or how all of these denominations formed. Maybe it is because we interpret things differently. Or maybe it could be that we just listen to what people say all our lives and never search anything out for ourselves. Maybe some people need to feel the hype to know God is real, so they join in with that type of congregation. Maybe some people can just believe in Christ without ever feeling the hype at all. Or maybe some people need to just feel His touch just ever so often to assure themselves that He is real. But the focus has to be leading people to Christ and showing them how to study. Then leave it in God’s hands and let Him do the rest. But teach them how to study the Bible.

Philippians 2: 12-16

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.