The Book of Acts, a book of conversions

Conversions in the Book of Acts

A mistake that is made in learning what we must do to be saved is by consulting only the books written to the saved without looking at what else is said in Scripture.

For example, many will quote the book to the Roman Christians; (Rom 10:9) without considering what Paul taught the Romans when he dwelt there for two whole years. [Acts 16:30]

They will quote the book written to the Ephesian Christians; (Eph 2:8-9) without considering what Paul taught the Ephesians [Acts 19:1-5].

These two examples show us why we must look into the book of Acts to see what lost people did. Those who heard the gospel and either obeyed it or rejected it. This is why it could be called the book of Conversions.

Let’s examine just a few of the conversions in this book to see how they responded to the preaching of the Gospel as commanded by Christ Jesus. [Mat 28:18-20]

Jews at PENTECOST [2:14-47] This represents the first gospel sermon after the DBR of Christ. The beginning of the church that Jesus promised to build [Mat 16:18] and the first example of those being saved. “Be saved from this perverse generation.” What happened? They HEARD the gospel [22-36]. They believed [37]. It must be inferred that they CONFESSED Jesus as the Christ the Son of God [Mt 10:32]. They were told to ‘REPENT & be baptized’ [38]. They were BAPTIZED into Christ [41] and 3,000 were added to the church. Then we see them ‘CONTINUING steadfastly in the Apostles Doctrine, which is from Christ [42; cr. John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13; 1Cor 14:37].

THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH [8:26-39] This man is reading from Isaiah and struggling with its meaning. Philip approaches him and is invited by the Eunuch to explain the passage. We then are told, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.” What Happened? He HEARD the gospel of Jesus [35]. He BELIEVED [36-37] It is inferred that he REPENTED [Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30]. He CONFESSES that Jesus is the Christ [37]. He is BAPTIZED with water, by immersion, into Christ [38-39 cr. Rom 6:3-4; Gal 3:27]. He went away REJOICING [39].

The Apostle PAUL (Saul of Tarsus) [9:1-18; 22:6-16; 26:12-19]. While on his way to persecute the church of Christ, Saul saw Jesus risen from the dead. He HEARD & BELIEVED [9:5-6]. He was REPENTANT [9-11]. He CONFESSED [5-6]. He was BAPTIZED [18]. When retelling of this event, he states that baptism was the moment his sins were washed away [22:16].

CORNELIUS [10:1-11:18] This story tells of the first Gentile conversion. We must read chapters 10 & 11 to get the full picture. They were told to HEAR and they HEARD [6, 22, 33-43; 11:14]. It is inferred that they REPENTED & CONFESSED [Luke 13:3; Act 17:30; Mat 10:32]. They were BAPTIZED in water [47]. They received remission of sins [43].

Chapter 11:1-18 contains the retelling of this event by Peter to those of the circumcision who contended with him about being with gentiles. This retelling is necessary to show that God had made the same gospel plan of salvation available to every nation [Mat 28:18-20]. Up to this point, the preaching had been only to the Jews. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” [Rom 1:16] The “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” only occurred twice, here and at Pentecost. It was done to show God’s approval at the beginning.

As you can see, the book of Acts shows people obeying the Gospel. The same method can be applied to…

LYDIA [16:14-15]

THE JAILER [16:25-34]

THE CORINTHIANS. [18:8]

THE EPHESIANS [19:1-5]

The same Gospel requires all after Pentecost to HEAR, BELIEVE, REPENT, CONFESS, be BAPTIZED in water & have FAITHFULNESS. God shows no partiality, no bigotry. The Gospel is for all and all must obey the Gospel in the same way. God is no respecter of persons.

He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,” [Hebrews 5:9; cr 2Thess 1:8-9; 1Cor 15:1-4] –Spencer

What made the Wise Men WISE?

What made the Wise Men WISE?

FOLLOWING THE STAR…

We know not the date of His birth

We have no command to celebrate it.

We have no idea how many Wise men.

Mat 2:1-12 Wise men following the star

Following the star, what made these…

WISE men? Matt 2:1-12

What can we learn from these WISE men?

It’s WISE to

WORSHIP. Mat 2:11.

When Christ was born, all the angels of God worshipped Him. (Heb 1:6)

John 4:24 must, in spirit and in truth.

It’s WISE to

INVEST in Christ. Mat 2:11; 6:20

GIVE. Gold = King; Fran = Priest; Myrhh = Burial.

GOD has always required it.

Deut 14:22-29 (1st Tithe, Lev 27:30-33; 2nd & 3rd Tithe Deut 14:22-29

Abraham gave; [Heb 7:4].

Give of yourself first! 2Cor 8:5

INDIVIDUALLY, directly. Luke 10:33.

The judgment scene, Mat 25:31-46

VOLUNTARY. 2Cor 8:12, 9:7

EVEN a cup of water. Mr 9:41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name,

It’s WISE to

SEEK Christ. What GUIDE to use?

Those with lessor wisdom seek the perishing things. Col 2:22-23 perish with using.

They had a divine GUIDE, the star.

Mat 6:33 seek ye first. Col 2:1-2 seek, set…

Emotionalism. Deceived, joy or hurt. Consider Jacob about Joseph. Gen 37:34; 45:26

A painful or joyful falsehood, if believed by us, will affect us in the same way.

Wise men depend not on uncertain guides.

DIRT man wisdom.

Mars Hill Men’s IGNORANCE. Act 17:22,23

Man’s wisdom doesn’t know God. 1Cor 1:21

The wisdom from above is not within man. James 3:17; Jer 10:23. Judges 21:25

INSIDE your conscience? consider Paul.

Ac 26:9 I verily thought with myself, contrary

His conscience was perfectly clear. Act 23:1

A Conscience trained in the truth urges.

A conscience untrained cannot bear the truth.

Rom 2:15 conscience accusing or excusing

Weak (1Cor 8:12), Defiled (Titus 1:15), Seared (1Tim 4:2), Evil (Heb 10:22).

Wise men depend not on uncertain guides.

UNIVERSE, nature?

While the heavens declare (Rom 1:20; Psa 19:1)

Nature as a sole guide makes sun, river, moon, animal worshippers. EGYPT.

We can learn from nature… Prov 6:6

Nature alone doesn’t lead us to know God.

Wise men depend not on uncertain guides.

NOT… Emotion, Dirty man, Inside us, Universe…

The wise men followed a divinely created star, the only divine guide for today’s wise man is

GOD’S revealed, inspired word.

Ps 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Pr 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

John 8:33 The truth shall make you free. John 17:17

2John 1:9 abide not… hath not God.

Mat 7:21-23; Luke 6:46

It’s WISE to go the

ENTIRE way.

The wise of the east did not stop until they reached.

Far too many stop SHORT of reaching Jesus…

SCRIBE was close. Mar 12:34 Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.

HARD sayings stop some short. Joh 6:60-66

One w/ greater sin, Judas. Mat 26:14-17; John 19:11

RULER so young, lacked one thing. Mark 10:17-22

TURNING back once the hand is at the plow… Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

ENDURE unto the end.

“But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13

What is WORSHIP on the 1st day of the week?

 

WORSHIP on the Lord’s Day is on the 1st day of the week when the saints gather together.

2 Types of worship.

  • Daily Glorification of God in our godliness. Cr. Acts 16:25
  • 1st Day of the week with 3 unique things.
    • Lord’s Supper. 1Cor 11:17-33; Acts 20:7
    • Contribution. 1Cor 16:1-2
    • Gathered Together in one place. 1Cor 11:17,18,20,33

ONE Another is together. 1Cor 11:17-33; Acts 20:7; Heb 10:25; Eph 5:19; Col 3:16

REQUIRED of God. John 4:24, Heb 10:24-25 (with exception to CRISIS)

  • Control is not yours. Paul in custody Acts 27
  • Real, not made up. ‘my ox fell in the ditch.’ Who pushed it in?
    • Lu 14:5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?
    • Ex 23:5; De 22:4; Lu 13:15
  • Illness, Lev 13:46 outside of the camp.
  • Storms & other dangerous events
  • Infectious, Lepers.
    • Lev 13:45-46 face covered.
  • Sometimes, not habitual or customary
    • Heb 10:25 manner of some

SUPPER of the Lord has 2 elements [Exo 12; Luke 22:14-21 & a few conditions [tarry for one another 1Cor 11:33]. 1st Day, together, Spirit & Truth.

  • How do you forsake assembling of ourselves together if it’s incidental? Heb 10:25
  • How do we sing to one another? Eph 5:19, Col 3:16
  • How do we tarry for one another? 1Cor 10:33

HAVE no fear, some say. Does being fearless also include being reckless? Consider Paul who was not afraid to die, but avoided death on a few occasions. [Acts 9:23-25, 21:13; 23:11-22]

  • “God’s in Control” & “If it’s my time to die…”
  • Then play with rattlesnakes in the freeway.
  • “don’t tempt God.” EXACTLY! Don’t tempt God by being reckless. If you wish to be reckless, do it for yourself!

INDIVIDUALLY together. We come together, but God examines each heart individually. cf. Rev 3:4; Heb 4:12

PLEASING to God has to first be authorized. Gal 1:10; Mark 7:7; Phil 3:19; Col 2:23. 2Sam 7:1-7

It’s not necessarily Pleasing to God when it just feels good in our heart.

 

CLOSE; 1Cor 1:10 Paul Pleading with a divided church.

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Watch video here.

I Don’t Keep Any Of The Ten Commandments

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I Don’t Keep Any Of The Ten Commandments
William J. Stewart | Odessa, Ontario, Canada
 
When speaking with folks about the distinction between the Old and New Testaments, I will, to make a vivid point, often declare, “I don’t keep any of the Ten Commandments.” You ought to see the look such a statement elicits on the face of some people. Now, what do |I mean by that statement? I acknowledge the God of heaven and worship Him alone. I do not serve false gods. I do not misuse the name of God. I worship on the day which God has prescribed. I render the appropriate respect to my parents. I do not murder. I do not commit fornication. I do not steal. I do not lie. I do not covet other people’s goods. And yet, I earnestly say, “I don’t keep any of the Ten Commandments.”
 
The Ten Commandments (and indeed, the whole Law of Moses) were not given for me to keep, but for the people of Israel (Deuteronomy 4:44-45; 5:1-3). As we consider the testimony of Scripture, it ought to become evident that we are not under the Law of Christ, not the Law of Moses. Consider:
 
MATTHEW 5:17-18
Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
 
Many will use this text to affirm that the Law would never cease, but the careful Bible student will realize that Jesus is saying just the opposite. In verse 17, the Lord states unequivocally that He came to fulfill the Law. In the next verse, He plainly indicates what would take place once it was fulfilled – it would pass away.
 
A parent may tell a child not to get off a chair until his “time out” is over. A union leader may tell management that the workers will not return until all their demands are met. There are countless statements where a given result will occur once a condition has been met. Shall we leave the child on the chair even after the “time out” is completed? Shall the workers forsake their jobs even after their demands have been satisfied? Of course not. Neither should we affirm the perpetuation of the Law, for the Lord has fulfilled it.
 
ACTS 15:1, 5
Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved. … It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.
 
These two statements were made by some first century Jewish Christians with regard to the Gentile converts to Christ. They, like some today, were proponents of the Law, and sought to bind it upon believers. Notice what the apostles had to say of them and their position:
  • Peter asked, “…why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither you nor your fathers were able to bear?” (15:10)
  • James, considering the coming of the Gentiles to Christ, in view of prophecy, stated, “…we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God…” (15:19)
  • The apostles distinguished themselves from the Law proponents, declaring, “…we gave no such commandment…” (15:24)
  • The apostles, inspired of God, wrote to the Gentiles, saying, “…it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.” (15:28-29)
Those who affirm that we are still subject to the Law of Moses today set themselves against the apostles of Christ and the Holy Spirit himself.
 
GALATIANS 3:23-26
But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
 
Paul revealed the purpose of the Law of Moses. It guarded the hearts of the Jews until faith came. Not personal faith, for personal faith has existed since creation began. The faith spoke of is the law of faith, which would be revealed in Christ. But notice, when the faith came (ie. the New Testament Law, the Gospel), then “…we are no longer under a tutor.” The purpose of the law had been served. Now, we are God’s people, not by the Law of Moses, but “…through faith in Christ Jesus.” (NOTE, it was only the Jews who had been kept under guard by the law, the Gentiles were never under the law)
 
HEBREWS 8:7-13
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says, ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah – not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the days when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’ In that He says, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
 
Two covenants are under consideration here, the first being established through Moses, the second, through the Christ. In bringing forth a new covenant, what did God plan for the former? Was it to remain, and be kept in conjunction with the second? The Hebrew writer uses words such as “obsolete,” “growing old,” and “ready to vanish away” to describe the Law of Moses. We are not subject to the covenant established by God with Israel at Mount Sinai. We are subject to the law established with the entire world through the Christ at Calvary.
 
GALATIANS 5:1-4
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed, I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 
 
Those who contend that we are still subject to Moses’ law today fail to be consistent with their own claim. Paul indicated that if one presumes to keep part of the law, they are indebted to keep the whole law (v 3). Do those who claim to keep the law today continue in the sacrifices prescribed? Do they observe the feasts in the way they are commanded? Do they hold to the penalties instructed for crimes and offences under Moses’ law? Some who claim we should keep Moses’ Law even fail to keep the Sabbath day as instructed in the Law. Their claim fails support through their actions.
 
In Galatians 5, Paul wrote to Gentile Christians whom Judaizing teachers pressured to receive circumcision in obedience to the Law of Moses (the same issue which existed in Acts 15), Paul’s message was clear – don’t do it! You have been made free in Christ, why would you turn to a law of bondage (cf. Galatians 2:4)? To seek to be justified by Moses’ law is to separate oneself from Christ.
 
COLOSSIANS 2:14-17
…having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
 
What was the handwriting of requirements that was against and contrary to us? It is the law of Moses. Recall Peter’s statement in Acts 15 – the law was a yoke “…which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear.” It was “taken out of the way … nailed to the cross.” The Law of Moses had “become obsolete” and was “ready to vanish away” (Hebrews 8). That being the case, Paul urged the disciples not to allow people to judge them in matters related to the Law – food, drink, festivals, new moons, sabbaths. The disciples of Christ are not subject to these laws or any laws from Moses. He identifies the Law as a shadow – the reality, the true, is found in Christ and His law, the gospel.
 
Well, hang on. I said earlier that I acknowledge the one true God, worship Him alone, I don’t misuse His name and I worship on the day He prescribed. I have respect for my parents, I do not murder, commit fornication, steal, lie or covet my neighbour’s goods. By definition, am I not keeping the Ten Commandments? Nope, not a one. All of the commandments (except the Sabbath law) are repeated in the New Testament (Matthew 4:10; 1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:1; Colossians 3:20; Romans 13:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Ephesians 4:28; Colossians 3:9; Hebrews 13:5). The Sabbath is not repeated, for the prescribed day of worship in the New Testament is the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1-2; John 20:19; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2).
Friend, we are not subject to Moses’ law. It was not and is not our law, not even the Ten Commandments. We are subject to Christ, to the message of the gospel as revealed through the New Testament.

7 MYTHS about Prayer

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The misunderstanding of prayer is hurting people. It’s leading them astray into frustration and faithlessness. It’s not uncommon to hear of people’s exasperation at ‘unanswered’ prayer. Still others are ‘on the outs with God’ because their prayers are unfulfilled.

Not only that, but mockers are using it against the faithful when they see evil in the world. They say things like, “your thoughts and prayers are meaningless.” In one sense they’re right because they’re attacking the MYTHS about prayer that many believers are telling!

We must understand prayer. We need to teach it to people. To this end, here are the top 5 MYTHS about prayer.

 

The first MYTH is that MONEY & prosperity shows up without effort. I’ve heard people say, “if God had meant for me to be rich, I would be rich.”

He does want us to be financially secure and has given us laws about money that we can follow to become financially secure. Laws like…

Debt: “…borrower is servant to the lender.” [Prov 22:7]

Work: “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” [Eph 4:28]

People pray for financial prosperity while simultaneously break the rules of God about finances.

The 2nd MYTH is that God will say YES to every petition. Experience should show them this is wrong and scripture says it directly.

If you doubt, “For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” [Jas 1:7]

And, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” [Jas 4:3]

God gives no guarantee when we ask amiss.

A 3rd MYTH is that God will TAKE away all pain & evil. Where did you get that? This is the one the MOCKERS cite in their criticism of God. “Since there’s so much evil in the world God is either powerless, unkind or non-existent.”

This myth assumes that heaven is on earth. It’s never taught that way in scripture. Heaven is a place prepared for the obedient faithful (but I repeat myself) after the destruction of the world & it’s evil. [2Pet 39-10; Rev 21:4]

The 4th MYTH about prayer is that God will HEAL everyone everywhere of everything. That’s absurd. This myth misses the teaching about the purpose of miraculous healing done by Christ and the Apostles in the first century.

Miraculous healing (1 of 9 spiritual gifts) were for the express purpose of showing God’s confirmation of those who were teaching the Gospel and the New Covenant of Christ. In one instance, Jesus said, “Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.” [Mark 2:9-11, emph mine seb]

This is just one of many proofs to show that the miraculous healing of that day was for the purpose of confirming the word of God.

Does God want good health for us today? I believe so because the bible teaches it, but not in the way MYTH tellers say. We need to learn about this and teach it accurately.

The last MYTH about prayer is that God will just beam SCRIPTURE into their mind without study. It’s true that God gave inspiration to some for the purpose of revealing His will and they wrote it down for us today [Eph 3:3-4]. It IS NOT TRUE that you should expect that same inspiration today. When you read what is written you can;

BELIEVE, UNDERSTAND, PROFIT, PLEASE GOD, & KNOW GOD’S WILL.

[John 20:30-31; 2Tim 2:15; 3:16-17; 2Pet 3:15-16]

Misunderstanding prayer is making spiritually weak and lazy believers. God wants us to pray to Him, but He also commands it be done “according to His will” [1John 5:14] which means we must know what He wants and be obedient to His will.

This morning’s sermon will cover this and more about Godly prayer.

—Spencer

4 Consequences if you don’t believe hell is REAL

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Hell is a serious subject, that is if you believe it’s a REAL place. If, however, you’re one of those who don’t believe hell is REAL, then everything in this article will be ignored.

I HOPE YOU DON’T IGNORE THIS TOPIC. If you do, there are serious consequences to YOU if you don’t believe that hell is a real place.

It matters what one believes as our beliefs drive our actions and attitudes.

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” [Prov 23:7a]

WHAT ARE THE FOUR CONSEQUENCES if you don’t believe that hell is REAL?

First, you will have little to no REGARD for the gravity of sin. You have a lowered view about sin and you underestimate the purity of God.

Sin is a direct disregard for God and His sovereignty. There is no sin in God, not one drop.

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent:” [Num 23:19a; cr Titus 1:2]

From the very beginning this lesson is taught. In the garden, when Adam & Eve took of the fruit of the KOGAE tree, they had to be separated from God.

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” [Isaiah 59:2]

Sin is that bad.

The next thing that begins to change in you is that you will lessen your EVANGELISM.

The magician Penn Jillette, an atheist, said it this way;

How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.”

When we fail to realize the reality of HELL, we fail to take it seriously and fail to warn others about it.

The third consequence is we begin to believe that the lost are simply ANNIHILATED from existence. While this may be palatable to our senses, this too is a mistake.

If we believe in annihilation of the lost, we belittle the justice of God. He has said,

Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” [Romans 12:19]

Where is the justice for the rape, murder and every manner of wickedness that man has done to other men?

We have no problem with the idea of Hell for the Hitlers, the rapists and the pedophiles, but we have a problem when it comes to those who sin against God. (I refer you back to the first point.)

Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” [Jude 7; cf Heb 2:1-3]

Which brings us to the final point. We start to rationalize by saying, “a LOVING God would never send anyone to hell.”

This last point encompasses the previous three. Many denominational preachers have said that they won’t speak about sin or hell as it’s too negative. One said, “”No, I really don’t, because it’s a different approach.” This is a direct contradiction of how Paul preached;

For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” [Acts 20:27; cr v20]

We ought not project what we want onto our Creator; “”For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” [Is 58:8]

HELL IS REAL. As these scriptures describe.

Lake of fire (Rev. 20:10)

Furnace of fire (Matt. 13:42)

Flaming fire (2Thess. 1:7-9)

Baptism of fire (Matt. 3:11-12)

Unquenchable fire (Mark 9:43)

Brimstone (Rev. 21:8)

Wailing & Gnashing (Matt. 8:12; 13:50)

Prepared for Devil (Matt. 25:41)

Outer darkness (Matt. 25:30)

Torment (Rev. 14:10-11)

Friends, Hell is real and we don’t want anyone, even our worst enemy to go there.

—Spencer

4 Signs of a DEAD church

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A previous post noted 4 shortcuts we THINK are Bible study but really are not, they are…

  • LOOKING over the text but not studying it.
  • Reading AUTHORS other than God.
  • CLASS attendance without studying at home. I
  • KNOWLEDGE in Social media memes which sound right but are very wrong.

Are our Study Habits Killing the Church? God warned the LACK of knowledge was destroying His people. [Hosea 4:6] It was true then and remains true now.

John was told to write the church at Sardis about this very thing. “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” [Rev 3:1]

Taking Bible study shortcuts may leave us also spiritually DEAD. Malnutrition of the bread of life will weaken us spiritually, making us unable to discern between good & evil.

 

But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” [Heb 5:14]

 

Is it any wonder that many congregations claiming to be the Lord’s church are ‘progressing’ into many strange activities? When the church becomes spiritually malnourished, they’ll begin to die, or worse be called DEAD.

What Is A Dead Church? A church isn’t dead only when it no longer has any members. Nor is it dead when the young people are no longer present. A DEAD church is one that is no longer faithful to its Founder, Christ Jesus [Rev 3:1]. A church can be growing numerically, having lots of fun, have plenty of money and doing all types of works, but still be dead spiritually because they’re no longer following their Leader [Rev 3:17]. Our country is full of spiritually dead mega-churches.

Appearances can be deceiving. What matters is when every part of the body does its share, “causing growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” [Eph 4:16b] Note 4 signs that a church might be DEAD:

4 SIGNS a church is DEAD:

DOCTRINE gets replaced by TRADITIONS. “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” [Mark 7:7]. Paul warned Timothy that the time would come when they would not endure ‘SOUND DOCTRINE’ [2Tim 4:3]. When tradition becomes doctrine, then the church of Christ becomes a denomination rather than the church built by Christ at Pentecost [Mat 16:18, Acts 2].

EDIFICATION replaced by ENTERTAINMENT. Paul asked, “What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?” [1Cor 11:22] So many churches are moving from biblical Edification, which is based on education [Eph 4:11-12], toward FOOD, FUN & FROLIC. The church is not in the entertainment business, it’s the ‘GROUND & PILLAR of the TRUTH.’ [1Tim 3:15, cr. Eph 3:10]

AUTHORITY of the word is replaced with FEELINGS. These feelings come from their own belly, not from the word of God. [Phil 3:19, 2King 5:11]. Children do what ‘FEELS GOOD,’ whereas the mature do what IS GOOD. [Eph 4:14]

DISCIPLINE is replaced with TOLERANCE. Toleration of sin is sweeping across this country like the whirlwind that destroyed Job’s family. We are told, ‘to just love,’ ‘to not judge,’ and ‘let people live as they are.’ These are false teachings from confusion about the love of God. God does love us, but He also requires us to repent. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” [2Peter 3:9]

Paul commanded the church at Corinth to DISCIPLINE an adulterous man [1Cor 5:1-2]. When they obeyed the Lord, they rescued the one in sin, for he repented (the whole church did) and was restored [2Cor 2:6-11; 7:9-10].

Let us be on our guard with the sword of God [Eph 6:17] to fight the good fight of faith [1Tim 6:12] so that our lampstand remains and shines bright in this dark world [Rev 2:5].

—spencer

The Restoration Plea

 

IT’S BEEN WRITTEN, BY THOSE WHO lived closer to the time, that there were 6 causes leading up to the RESTORATION MOVEMENT in the United States.

  1. DISSATISFACTION with human creeds: The first was a product of the REFORMATION movement that sought to transform the Catholic church. The Protestant denominations and their leaders had been forcing creeds upon the world as tests of fellowship. These creeds became sources of strife and were at best the opinions of men. Many of the creeds contained ideas that were objectionable to thinking people. The creeds set aside the authority of Christ and kept Christendom divided.

Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” [1Cor 1:12-13]

  1. TEACHING babies were lost because of the false teaching of total depravity. The error was taught that a person was born a sinner. That meant that babies were lost spiritually from birth. Infants were doomed at birth if ‘unbaptized.’ The dogma goes onto teach that a person was eternally lost or eternally saved as God elected them regardless of their faith. This made man a mere toy in the hands of his Maker.

Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” [Mark 10:14]

III. THE MYSTICAL conception of conversion. Calvinistic theory teaches that every conversion had to have ‘miraculous accompaniments,’ such as a dream, vision or some other sort of mystical occurrence. It can be easily seen that this mystical theory of conversion appealed only to people who were temperamentally emotional.

Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” [Acts 8:35-36]

  1. NEGLECTING BIBLE STUDY. Strange as it is to say, but Protestants knew very little about the bible. JD Tant, a Presbyterian preacher before becoming a Christian, was criticized for using too many scriptures in his sermons. The protestants had effectively hidden the scriptures behind their speculations as did the Roman Catholic church did with her traditions. The average denominational exhorter would more likely send you to the Psalms of David or Jeremiah to find out what to do to be saved over the book of Acts.

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” [Acts 22:16]

  1. RAMPANT SECTARIANISM. Not only were they ignoring the Lord’s prayer for unity, they were defending denominationalism. The arguments were that denominations were needed to suit the style preferences of the people. They became blind to the theological mess their reasoning had created.

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” [1Cor 1:10]

  1. RELIGIOUS STAGNATION and a widespread decline of morals. Perhaps because of the aforementioned problems in denominational religion, the world grew skeptical and attacks against the bible and against the Christian faith increased. Skepticism was seen in the colleges & universities of the United States and the spread of irreligious activity was enhanced. Public morals dropped, intemperance, gambling and even debauchery prevailed to an alarming degree, even among their own clergy.

It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are puffed up,” [1Cor 5:1-2a]

WHAT WAS THE SOLUTION?

The pioneers of the RESTORATION movement stood on plain & simple high ground, the word of God.

  • “Where the scriptures speak, we speak; where the scriptures are silent, we are silent.”
  • They opposed anything that could not be supported with the Authority of Christ.
  • They rejected all sectarian names and creeds. During a debate over creeds, they petitioned an unbiased Frenchman who had heard the entire debate to decide who was right. The Frenchman asked the man with the New Testament who made his creed. “Jesus Christ” was the answer. Turning to the man debating for a creed he asked the same question. The creed holder said, “it was adopted in the city of Philadelphia, in the year 1742.” The Frenchman said, “Very well gentlemen, that is enough. If you follow your creed, Mr. Christian, when you die, it will take you to Jesus Christ. Follow yours, Mr. Baptist, and when you die, you will go to Philadelphia.”
  • “Nothing ought to be received into the faith or worship of the church, or be made a term of communion among Christians, that is not as old as the New Testament.”

The ‘pioneers’ of that day were only coming to the truth that many others had already been practicing in this country. Whenever someone takes the seed of the Kingdom, the word of God [Matt 13:19] and understands it, they too can become just a CHRISTIAN when they obey the Gospel of Christ.

References: adapted from, “Sermon Outlines on The Restoration Plea” by C.C. Crawford, 1927 second edition 1956.

The Moon Landing

Image result for moon landing

FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY, TWO MEN SET FOOT ON THE SURFACE OF THE MOON. “One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” It was a moment of international attention with nearly 500 million people watching it on live TV.

Very little of our day draws that kind of unity or interest, nothing positive anyway. It was a time of national pride that got behind the accomplishment of a national goal. A goal set by President Kennedy during a speech in Houston Texas on September 12, 1962.

As fantastic as that accomplishment was, it wasn’t the first time that man attempted to reach the heavens. As a matter of fact, the whole world got behind a movement to not only reach up into the stars, but attempted to reach into heaven itself. You know it best as the TOWER of BABEL.

THE STORY is found in Genesis 11:1-9, and goes like this: The whole world had one language and they tended to stay grouped together. One day, an idea developed saying, “let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” [11:4].

There are 3 takeaways about the people that we can draw from this one idea:

  • PRIDE ruled their hearts when their primary goal was to make a name for themselves. This was an afront to God their Creator for He had already given them the top place among all the creation of the earth. Man was made in the image of God. Gen 1:27
  • ARROGANCE in that they thought they could prevent or otherwise thwart God’s will and stay together. In Genesis 1:28 man was commanded to “fill the earth.”
  • DISOBEDIENCE was the result of the first two. By building the tower, they were in willful disobedience to God. Sin of commission and the sin of omission. They added to and took away from God’s word.

It doesn’t go well for man when he seeks to disobey God. As the building program was under way, God saw what they were doing and put an end to it. It’s interesting how He did it. Rather than destroy the tower, He simply confused their language so they could no longer effectively communicate. This got them back on the right track and they scattered all over the earth, abandoning their silly building scheme.

There are 5 things we can learn from this pivotal event:

  1. BUILDING schemes of man, no matter how popular they are, will never get man into heaven. Jesus said that, “I will build my church” [Mat 16:18]. That is the only place where God will meet with us.
  2. ALWAYS do what God commands, it’s the only way. God gives us free will, but He also gave us commands to follow that will lead us back to him. We cannot even do good without His authority. [Mat 7:21-23; Is 59:2]
  3. BODIES of FLESH cannot go into heaven. Only Spiritual bodies may, and that spiritual body is provided by God to those who are in Christ. [1Cor 15:50-58]
  4. EARTH is only a temporary dwelling place, and no matter how successful we become, or how great a name we try to make for ourselves, the result of this life is death. Man has a tendency to plan only for his EARTHLY future. We ought to be mapping our lives into our ETERNAL future. It will either be in Heaven or it will be in Hell. These are the only 2 choices, and it is our choice. [Mat 25:31-46]
  5. LANGUAGE UNIFIES. It can unify us for good or for evil. The breakdown of relationships comes from a failure to communicate. In a figure, we’re not speaking the same language. Paul urged the Corinthians to; “that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” [1Cor 1:10; John 17:17]

The next time The Lord comes down to earth, it will be with His Holy angels to gather up His church, to destroy the earth and then the judgement. [1Thess 4:16-18] Will He find us “making a name” for ourselves, or will He find us doing His will? [Luke 12:43]

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” [2Cor 5:10]

How does The Holy Spirit work on your heart?

While talking with a denominational preacher about reaching the lost he said, “Some people just aren’t interested in spiritual things, they don’t study and don’t have many conversations about spiritual things. In these cases, all we can do is let the Holy Spirit work on their heart.”

This man would say that he doesn’t accept Calvinism, but he was vocalizing the false doctrine. To remind you of what Calvinism teaches allow me to summarize…

  • Total Depravity: All mankind is born into sin, including babies.
  • Unconditional Election: God picks and chooses who will be saved or lost and it’s unchangeable.
  • Limited Atonement: That God picks only a few individuals to be saved and all else will be lost and you can’t change it. Including babies.
  • Irresistible Grace: That if you’re among those being chosen to be saved, then you cannot prevent it nor resist it.
  • Perseverance of the Saints: Once God saves you (even if against your will) then you can never lose your salvation ever, no matter how sinful a life you lead or even if you change your belief.

Now this is my summary of their belief and if you asked a Calvinist, he will spin it so it sounds better, but the result will be the same; IT’S UNSCRIPTURAL. Another thing you might find is that there are denominations that accept all or part of the above. Belief (faith) comes from hearing the written word of God [John 20:30-31; Rom 10:17].

A partial belief is what this preacher had accepted. He rejects most of Calvinism, but his statement, that the Holy Spirit will work on a person’s heart even as they have no interest in spiritual things, no reading, nor studying with others from the bible, proves it.

HOW DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT CONVERT?

No Bible believer questions the fact the Holy Spirit saves sinners (John 3:5), the question is HOW? We only have 2 options a) direct operation of the Spirit or b) through the influence of a medium (the Gospel, Romans 1:16).

The Scriptures teach us that the Holy Spirit’s work, in the redemption of mankind, is the work of divine revelation. God originates, Christ procures, the Spirit reveals.

Review the chart on the next page to see HOW the Holy Spirit works to save sinners. What you will find is that people are converted through the Holy Spirit revealed word of God that utilized teaching, preaching or reading of the scriptures. Yes, the Holy Spirit does work on our hearts, but He does it through our diligent study of God’s divine word.

ILLUSTRATION: When a person says, “my spouse made a nourishing dinner,” who did it? Were they nourished by the spouse or the food? If a person and an instrument perform the same task, the person is working THROUGH the instrument.Thus, the Holy Spirit saves through the influence of the written word of God [John 3:5; 1Pet 1:22-23].

The Holy Spirit converts a person when they engage in seeking the Kingdom of God, Bible reading and a diligent study of God’s word, rightly divided. [Matt 6:33; 2Tim 2:15]