413 - The Importance of Baptism

August 17, 2017

Baptism has fallen out of favor in the church today.  Many people are confused about baptism. And since there seems to be such a wide diversity of opinion about what baptism means and how important it is, many in the church have relegated it to an archaic, antiquated ritual and not much more.  And that is a grave mistake.  Why?  Because baptism is your first act of obedience as a Christian.

Many in the church who call themselves Christians have not been baptized according to the New Testament baptism.  That may include some of you who are listening to this podcast.  But think, if we are unfaithful to the first command of obedience to our Lord who saved us, it makes it much easier to disobey His other commands.  Does this describe you?

The question we ask today is why don't people get baptized?  And there are at least five reasons: ignorance, pride, indifference, rebellion, or because they are simply lost.  In this message we will look at each of these in detail.

Are you confused about baptism and why it seemed so important in New Testament times but not so much today?  If that describes you, then keep listening.

The following is a study on baptism.

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411 - We Will Not Be Equal in the Kingdom of God

July 10, 2017

We will not all be equal in heaven.  Now we're not talking about salvation, but of rewards.  All of us are equal in regards to salvation because it is a gift given freely to those who believe.  In this, there is no question.  But what we do with our salvation is another matter.  And we will be rewarded for our faithfulness to Him in this life.  Consider the following:

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 - For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if anyone builds on this foundation with (1) gold, silver, precious stones, (2) wood, hay, straw, each one’s (personal) work will become clear; (how) for the Day will declare it, (how) because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s (personal) work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures (gold, silver, precious stones), he will receive a reward.  If anyone’s work is burned (wood, hay, straw), he will suffer loss (of reward); but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Charles Stanley also spoke of this in his book, Eternal Security.  He said, “Some believers will be entrusted with certain privileges; others will not. Some will reign with Christ; others will not (2 Timothy 2:12). Some will be rich in the kingdom of God; others will be poor (Luke 12:21, 33).  Some will be given true riches; others will not.  Some will be given heavenly treasures of their own; others will not.  Some will rule and reign with Christ; others will not.  Privilege in the kingdom of God is determined by one’s faithfulness in this life.  It is true that there will be equality in terms of our inclusion in the kingdom of God, but not in our rank and privilege.”

Does this sound troubling to you?  Maybe confusing?  If so, keep listening to learn more.

The following is a study on the Judgment Seat of Christ and the Marriage Ceremony of the Lamb.

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394 - What Does it Mean to Live by Faith? - Part 1

April 2, 2017

In Acts 2, after the promised Holy Spirit came mightily upon the faithful praying in the upper room, and after Peter preached his Spirit-empowered sermon, the infant church grew from 120 to over 3,000 literally overnight.   And now the apostles had a logistics problem.  How were they to manage a crowd of over 3,000 newbies without the benefit of Christian literature or Lifeway, CCM, K-LOVE, God's Not Dead 1 and 2, WinterJam, or local mega-churches with multiple, cross-town campuses?  What were they to do?

The answer was simple.  They were to teach their new Christian brothers exactly what Jesus spent three years teaching them— how to live by faith.  That's right, faith.  Remember?

Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith (pístis) is the substance (to place under, the basis, foundation, that which underlies the apparent) of things hoped for (confident expectation, to abide still, to expect fully), the evidence (proof, conviction, assurance, supreme confidence) of things not seen.

As we dig deeper into the life of the early church, we'll discover that faith was pretty much all they had.  And it was enough for them to turn their world upside down (Acts 17:6).

Do you want to know more about what it means to live by faith?  Good.  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Acts 2:36-41.

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370 - When Our Saved Life Looks Like Our Lost Life

October 31, 2016
When we look at the chilling words of Jesus that tell us "unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:20) we are perplexed.  And rightly so.  When we then see the requirement of becoming a "new creation" in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) in order to possess the "righteousness that exceeds that of the scribe and Pharisees," we are faced with even more than questions.

Are you a new creation in Christ?
Has God changed you from the inside out?
Do you possess a righteousness that exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees?
If so, how do you know?
Can your friends and family tell?

And then one more:

Does this describe you?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law - Galatians 5:22-23

Have you ever asked yourself these questions?  How did you answer?  What does it mean if your answer to these questions are, no?  To find out more, keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 5:20.

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364 - Why Did God Choose to Save You?

September 26, 2016
Great question.  Why did God choose to save each of us?  Was it because He wanted to make our life better?  And, if so, what does "better" mean?  And "better" from whose perspective?  His?  Or ours?  Maybe He chose to save us to give our life purpose and meaning.  And what would that purpose be?  And whose purpose are we talking about?  God's?  Or ours?

See the problem?  When we view the purpose of our salvation from how it affects us, we tend to become self-centered and inner-focused.  But it's not about us, it's all about Him.  Totally for Him and Him alone.

Want to discover the true reason God chose to save you?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on total surrender.

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359 - The “You Are” Versus “You Do” Passages

August 7, 2016
Many Scriptures speak of things we must "do" as followers of Christ.  Some of them are:

You are to "take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5).
You are to "walk according to the Spirit" (Gal. 5:16).
You must "present your bodies as a living sacrifice" (Rom. 12:1).

But when we find some passages that speak about who we are (in contrast to what we do), they should stop us cold in our tracks.  These are Scriptures that define and describe us from the Lord's perspective.

In Matthew 5 we find two of these:  "You are the salt of the earth" (Matt. 5:11), and "You are the light of the world" (Matt. 5:12-14).  And the implications of these are profound.  Want to discover more?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 5:11.

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357 - Being a Peacemaker is More than You Think

July 26, 2016
Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matt. 5:9 ).   Which ponders the questions:

What is a peacemaker?
What does peace really mean?
And with whom does the peacemaker make peace?
Who is calling the peacemakers “sons of God”?
And what does this look like in real life?

Amazingly, the answer to these questions might very well change your world.  To find out more, keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 5:9.

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356 - Is Your God Too Small?

July 17, 2016
When we are overwhelmed with fear, it's usually because our God is too small and our problems are too big. 

Have you ever experienced a fear of Death?
Fear of the Future?
Fear of Failure?
Fear of Never Being Loved?
Fear of Pain or Sickness?
Fear of Financial Ruin?
Fear of Divorce?
Fear of Something Happening to My Children?
Fear of Being Victimized?
Fear of Getting Older?
Fear of Things Always Changing?
Fear of Trusting?
Fear of Confrontation?
Fear of the Death of a Loved One?
Fear of Satan?

If so, the reason for your fear is that your God is simply too small.  Way too small.  Tiny.  Do you want to know how to change that?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on 1 John 3:1-3.

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351 - Our Greatest Mission Field is the Church

June 13, 2016
One of the reasons the church is in the condition we now find it, is because many, if not a majority of those who claim Christ as Lord, are actually lost.  They have their faith placed in something other than the true, Biblical Jesus.  And their allegiance is usually to something other than Christ Himself.

But this really shouldn't surprise us.  For the mark of this church age is the simple fact that Jesus is on the outside of the church longing to come in.   And His call is not to the group, the church, or the institution.  It is to the individual.

Consider the following:

Revelation 3:20 - "Behold, (what) I (Christ) stand at the door (of His church) and knock.  If anyone (personal) hears My voice (John 10:27) and opens the door (of His church), I will come in to him (personal) and dine with him (personal), and he with Me (personal)."

Could this be you?  Could it be someone you know?  If so, then keep listening.

The following is a study on True Salvation.

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350 - What is the Kingdom of Heaven?

June 5, 2016
Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, (why) for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3).  And a few verses later He adds, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, (why) for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:10).

Which raises a few questions:

What is the "kingdom of heaven"?  
Is it the same as the "kingdom of God"?  
And, if not, how is it different?
Why is Matthew the only Gospel writer that uses this phrase?
And how does this all apply to me today?

You will find the answer to these questions will change the way you live your life from this day forward.  It will have a profound impact on your future and your eternity.

Are you intrigued?  Interested?  Maybe a little curious?  Good.  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 5:3,10 about the Kingdom of Heaven.

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