Christ Opens Heaven

2019-01-01T11:23:36+00:00 January 20th, 2019|

What is the value of your home or your car? We can spend a lot of money on a home or a car. As a former employer frequently reminded his elderly clients, “You can’t take it with you.” Material possessions have no eternal value. This is true even if we work very hard to make our mark on the world.

Our so-called good works have no eternal value either. We cannot work our way to heaven. Why? The requirement for entrance into heaven is perfection. None of us are perfect. “So you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the Lord” (Leviticus 18:5). God sets the standards.

God also provides the perfect life of Christ to open the door to heaven. Christ did what you could never do. Christ was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). He is the only man to perfectly obey God and fulfill His requirements for entrance into heaven. “Through the obedience of the One [Jesus] the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).

Those who believe in Jesus Christ have His perfect life placed in their heavenly bank accounts. When God looks at them, he does not see their sin, their imperfect lives. Instead, He sees the perfect life of Christ. This can be true for you if you trust in this perfect life of Christ to take you to heaven. Christ’s sinless life becomes more precious than all you own. It becomes much more important than your own life.

To help you understand this better, take some time, click here, and listen to “Christ’s Righteousness.”

The Cross between Heaven and Hell

2019-01-01T11:21:41+00:00 January 19th, 2019|

We are all going to the same place although there are many paths to life in the hereafter and many different names by which we call upon God. Do you believe that? Well, you are not alone.

Did you know that the teaching of the Bible is quite different? The Bible lays out two distinct paths. Listen to what Jesus said. “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Yes, the alternatives are the way of life and the way of destruction. There is no third path. Only these two alternatives exist.

As to the path leading to destruction, the Bible says it is followed by those who live in careless disregard for God’s commandments. “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

There is only one alternative to this terrible judgment for sin. That way is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). You must trust and follow this Jesus! He said, “I came that they might have life, and might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). This is the wonderful Good News. The alternative to facing judgment for sin is eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.

To help you understand this Good News better, click here to listen to the Good News about “The Cross between Heaven and Hell.”

God’s Spirit in Your Heart

2019-01-01T11:20:40+00:00 January 18th, 2019|

There is honor among thieves; so the saying goes. And it’s true. The thief takes a dim view of stealing. And so you had better not steal from a thief. You could loose your life. All of this goes to show there is a sense of right and wrong within each of us.

The Bible maintains this truth when it says, “They show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending themselves” (Romans 2:15). Yes, even if you have never been to a church service or ever read one line from the Bible, you cannot escape Gods’ Ten Commandments. The requirements of God’s Ten Commandments are written on your heart. That’s why you have a conscience and why you sometimes feel guilty. That’s why you sometimes have a debate in your own mind over what is right and what is wrong. You can’t ever escape God’s Ten Commandments.

But why has God put His requirements for living into your heart? The answer is quite wonderful. The Bible says, “The law has become our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ” (Galatians 3:24). In other words, when you begin to see yourself in the light of God’s Commandments and when you being to feel guilty because of your sin, you also begin to see your need for Jesus Christ. Christ is the way of salvation from the penalty for sin. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). So if you really understand God’s Ten Commandments, you also understand your need of salvation.

To help you get a better hold of this, click here and listen to a message called “God’s Spirit in Your Heart.”

Feelings in Place?

2019-01-01T10:25:03+00:00 January 17th, 2019|

When parents ask their children to do the chores, the children often refuse because they don’t feel like it. As adults, we sometimes take the same position. We cannot bring ourselves to begin a task because we really do not feel like it. We fall into a trap. We think good feelings must precede our work. We think a lack of good feelings is an excuse for avoiding work. But what is the result? As the work piles up, depression overtakes us.

Here is the problem. We have things backward. Listen to what Jesus says. “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them” (John 13:17). The word “blessed” may be translated “happy.” Jesus is talking about the human emotion of happiness and the context of this human emotion is service. Jesus has just finished washing the disciples’ feet. He explains that joy and happiness will come in doing similar tasks of service. Do you get the point? Good feelings are not required before our work. In actuality, they come after our good deeds.

So don’t be fooled. If you are blue because of the work before you, get busy. Joy is found in doing your work not in avoiding it. Avoiding work will only lead you into depression. “If you know these things, you are happy if you do them.”

To help you understand this better, you can click here and listen to a message called, “Think, Act, Feelings Follow.”

Accept Christ’s Invitaion

2019-01-01T07:53:59+00:00 January 16th, 2019|

When a youngster receives an invitation to a friend’s birthday party, that invitation is accepted with a good deal of joy and excitement. There is another invitation which should be received with even greater excitement. It is the invitation of Christ. Listen, “Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

Perhaps you are weary from the daily struggles of life. Long hours on the job have sapped your strength. And yet, you are still weighed down with financial worries. Not only so, your heart is heavy and your conscience is torn because you have not lived up to what you know is right and good and honorable. When it comes right down to it, you need rest for your soul. You need a sense of inner peace.

Well, this is where the great invitation comes in. Jesus says to you, “Come to Me…and I will give you rest.” The open invitation given by Christ is to come to Him, to accept Him for who He is, to believe and trust in Him, and to worship Him. And what does Jesus promise? “I will give you rest,” He says. And again, “You shall find rest for your souls.”

You see, peace of heart and soul, call it contentment, does not come from owning more in the way of material things. Peace of soul is something which is deeply spiritual. And it comes from knowing a very special person. That person is Jesus Christ. And so dear friend, it is time for you to joyfully accept the invitation of Christ when He says to you, “Come to Me.”

To help you accept this invitation, click here and listen to a message called “The Great Blessing.”

True Conversion

2019-01-01T07:51:34+00:00 January 15th, 2019|

Have you ever wondered about people who convert to a particular church or religion? Perhaps you view these conversions as religious acts which simply involve joining a religious group or organization. Well, true conversion is a lot more than joining a church. In fact, true conversion is conversion to Christ. It has two parts. Those two parts are called repentance and faith.

If you are truly converted, you repent of sin. That is, you turn away from doing the things you know are wrong. You stop doing them because you realize they are displeasing to God. In other words, you change your mind about bad conduct and you now see it as evil.

Because you see the evil of sin you also feel guilt, guilt because of bad conduct. To heal your guilt torn conscience, you turn to Christ in faith. You believe in and trust Christ. Because you understand Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins. And you understand you receive full forgiveness for these sins when you trust in Christ as your Lord and Savior.

This is what true conversion is all about: repentance and faith. A person converted to faith in Christ is then alive to God. This is the power of the message of the Bible. Listen: “Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away” (Acts 3:19). “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31). Or to put it more simply, “Repent and put your trust in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Have you repented of sin and put your trust in Christ? Are you alive to God?

To help you understand this better, please click here to listen to a message called “Alive to God.”

The Touch of God’s Word

2019-01-18T14:42:36+00:00 January 14th, 2019|

“God’s word cannot rightly thrive in us unless we have clearly understood what is presented to us unless we are deeply touched by it …” (John Calvin’s Sermons on Genesis 1-11, 607).  Yes, sitting under the preaching of the word of God, we must be touched by the Word coming to us in the power of the Spirit.  As Calvin urges, we should, “when we come to preaching, let the word of God touch us and awaken us” (Ibid., 634).  Westminster’s “Directory for the Public Worship of God” agrees and indicates that the application of the Scripture in preaching ought to be carried out in such a manner that we “feel the word of God.”  In speaking about the Flood, Calvin also declares, “But when the events are made specific for us, we get a vivid picture of God’s wrath and are touched even more … ” (Op. cit., 642).

T.H.L. Parker quotes Calvin similarly on the word of God preached: “It is a living reality and full of hidden energy which leaves no part of man untouched” (Calvin’s Preaching, 30).  Parker quotes Calvin’s first sermon on 2 Timothy  more extensively: “It is certain that if we come to church we shall not hear only mortal man speaking but we shall feel  (even by his secret power) that God is speaking to our souls, that he is the teacher (meistre).  He so touches us that the human voice enters into us and so profits us that we are refreshed and nourished by it” (Ibid., 42).

Each time you sit and listen to your pastor, listen actively and with the anticipation that God, by His Spirit, will touch your soul by His word and change you, making you conform more closely to the image of Jesus Christ, your savior.

Now, listen to today’s encouragement, “Preach Simple Truth.” Click here.

 

Your Work or Christ’s Work

2019-01-01T07:39:22+00:00 January 13th, 2019|

Turn on the evening news and what do you get? The judgment calls of the producers of the news determine the content of the reports we hear. And so we hear about the latest terrorist attack, hijacking, mass murder, fire, explosion, and natural disaster. The judgments as to what is newsworthy are plain.

The Bible gives us something interesting along this line. Psalm 19:9 says, “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” I wonder what God’s judgments about the news would be? But that’s not exactly the point of this Bible text. What are God’s true and righteous judgments about you and me? Does God see you and me without sin? The Bible says, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). So none of us can say we are without sin. God’s judgment about you and me is that we are sinners. There you have it. Bad news again.

But there is a lot of Good News. The Good News is that there is an alternative to that ultimate judgment of God that we are sinners. You see, Jesus Christ went to the cross to pay the penalty due to others for their sins. He stood in the place of others when He died on the cross. Christ suffered all the pains of death and hell for others. And so what must you do to be saved from that adverse judgment of God? “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31). Yes, this is the Good News. When you trust in Christ, God looks at you and says, “Not guilty.” God no longer judges you to be unworthy of heaven.

Would you like to hear more about this Good News? Sure you would. Click here and listen to a message called “Your Work or Christ’s Work.”

Praying for the Spirit

2019-01-01T07:37:01+00:00 January 12th, 2019|

When you have a telephone call, it’s easy to say, “Tell them I’m not here.” The kids get the idea. Why tell the folks the truth about last night? After all, you lie to your friends. The seeming innocent lack of truth spurs them down the same path. What’s the answer?

Listen to what Jesus Christ promises, “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. When He enters the lives of human beings, He guides them into truth. Unfortunately, there are also “deceitful spirits” in the world (1 Timothy 4:1). When you hear a lie, when someone is trying to deceive you, the “spirit of error” is at work (1 John 4:6).

You need to pray for the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:13). If you are without the Holy Spirit, ask God to give you this great gift of His Spirit. You know how to give good gifts to your children. God knows how to give the most precious of gifts to you too, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will revolutionize your life. Truth will become important to you. It may become so important you will see your own sin and get right with God. Are you up to the challenge? Then pray for the Spirit to come into your life.

To help you, I’ll send you, I invite you to click here and listen to a sermon called “Pray for the Spirit.”

The Problem of Guilt

2019-01-01T07:35:50+00:00 January 11th, 2019|

I recall having a debate with the manager of a radio station. He took a common position. “You cannot legislate morality,” he said. Although this man was a professing Christian, he thought it was improper for one segment of society to impose its moral standards on the other parts of society. The position is quite popular, but it does not make a whole lot of sense. After all, there are laws against murder, rape, and robbery.

This position is based on the thought there is no absolute standard of morality. Everything is relative. Whatever you believe is right is right. Because everything is relative, there is no sin! There are no sinners.

However, there is one problem with this theory, the problem of guilt. The Bible speaks of people who “show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them” (Romans 2:14). You know what the Bible is talking about. You’ve had the experience! You do something and suddenly you feel guilty. Your conscience bothers you. Then you start arguing with yourself. At first, you agree with your bothered conscience. Then you defend your actions. So the argument goes.

The Bible says all of this internal arguing proves God’s Law exists. It proves sin is real. It proves guilt comes as a result of sin. “And sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).

To help you understand this better and perhaps help you find relief from your guilt, click here to listen to s sermon called “Defining Sin and Guilt.”