The Bible is not an ordinary book…

Dr.-D.-Martyn-Lloyd-Jones

“…the Bible is not an ordinary book, it is God’s book, and it is a book about God and about man’s relationship to Him. And therefore every time we consider or study the Bible we should of necessity be worshipping…”

-Martyn Lloyd-Jones

 

Advertisements

He chose her…

Last night at Choir practice we were witnesses to His calling someone out of darkness. He brought her up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He has set her feet upon a rock making her footsteps firm. This was her first time to attend one of our Choir practices.  She’s the one who would walk the yard causing fear to all those who saw her. Her name was an evil name to those who knew her inside the gates.

chosen

She told us her story, “ I was evil, really evil. I was so bad, angry, hateful, broken and I hated God. I blamed God. I hated anyone who believed in God. I hated fake Christians.”

Let me go back to my childhood. I grew up in a very strict so-called “Christian” home. This God stuff was beaten into me.”

Long story short…

“I ended up in prison and thought, OK, I will try to pray to this God I’ve always heard about. So I did. Shortly afterwards my daughter was murdered. Is this what happens to people who pray to you God? What kind of God are you? My anger and hate just increased.”

Meanwhile one of her good friends inside got saved and started sharing the gospel with her. She’d just pray for her. She would invite her to Bible studies and church services but she refused to go.

“I knew this anger and hate was literally destroying me. I’d heard about forgiveness and knew I had to forgive those who killed my daughter. So I wrote them a letter. I chose to forgive people. I than started asking my friend a lot of questions about God.”

I was great with this whole “finding God” thing…but than when Jesus was brought into the picture that’s where my real battle started.”

“I wasn’t even searching for Him. I want you all to know I didn’t do anything to deserve this.  I read His word that night and wept. I woke up the next morning and had an incredible peace and knowledge. I can’t even begin to explain the joy I have.”

“I know some of you who know me are looking at me like I am crazy. It all sounds crazy but Jesus is real ladies. He is real. Nothing else matters. Believe on Him. He saved me! Even all of the officers here think I am nuts.”

Her friend, as mentioned earlier, had been attending our studies, was saved, and  began sharing the gospel with her. Her friend asked us all to pray for her. We know it was Christ who changed her hard heart, she repented, and believed.

2 Thessalonians 2:13&14 says, But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 14 It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What a comfort these words are for all of us who pray for our loved ones and those we minister to.  Yes, we teach the gospel and love them but Salvation is of the Lord. It is a comfort to know He chose her for a new name from the beginning. He provides the increase. We get to rejoice with her but our God gets all the glory for what He has done.

Essential Christian Doctrines

Essential Christian Doctrines: absolutely necessary; extremely important.

 

Monotheism – There is only One God.

The Trinity – The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.If you don’t believe in the Trinity, then you don’t understand who God is.

Genesis 1:26Genesis 19:24Deuteronomy 6:4Psalm 110:1Isaiah 6:8Isaiah 61:1Matthew 3:16–17Matthew 26:39John 1:1-2John 10:30-33John 14:16-23John 17:5Romans 8:9Romans 8:26Romans 15:16-301 Corinthians 3:162 Corinthians 1:21–22Ephesians 2:181 John 2:1

The Deity – “Who do you say that I am?” It’s a question everyone must answer, and we need Scripture to tell us how.   The Deity of Christ is a biblical defense of Jesus’ divinity—the cornerstone of Christian doctrine.  That is why the apostle Paul said, “We preach Christ, Christ only, Christ alone, and Christ crucified.”

“If you’re believing in a false Jesus, you’re damned. You preach any other Christ than the true Christ, you’re damned, that’s Galatians 1. If you fail to love the true Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Corinthians 16, you’re cursed. We have to be loving and believing in the true Christ, not a false Christ, not a Christ of our own imagination, not some sentimental Jesus, not the Jesus of liberalism, not the Jesus of liberation theology, not the Jesus of Mormonism, not the Jesus of Islam, not the Jesus of private invention.” – John MacArthur

Virgin Birth  – Jesus was born of a virgin, conceived in Mary by God Himself the Holy Spirit. If someone knows about the virgin birth and says, “I deny the virgin birth,” then he is simultaneously denying the deity of Christ, and also the Trinity.

Matthew 1:18-25

Resurrection of Christ – Christ’s rising from the dead

The Gospel – Make sure we get the gospel right. “The gospel we present has eternal consequences. If it is the true gospel, it can direct men and women into the everlasting kingdom. If it is a corrupted message, it can give unsaved people false hope while consigning them to eternal damnation.” – John MacArthur

Salvation by Grace – For truly it is “by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9).

 

Show Thyself Approved

For the sermon this week Pastor Joel taught the women how to show thyself approved.

IMG_1931

FOUNDATIONS

1. Faith in His word; seeking Him through His Word.

2. Believe His Word; He is a God of communication and tells us who He is through His word.

3. Testimony of His Word; Knowing God and seeing His son. We know Him through a relationship with Christ. His word points to Christ.

4. Obedience of His Word; We must submit to, give, and humble ourself to Him.

*DO NOT EVER USE THE WORD FOR YOUR OWN BENEFIT!

HANDLE HIS WORD CORRECTLY.

1. READ His word to have a relationship with Him.

2. KNOW His word and let His word define His word. Let the plain text be the main text. Only His word defines His word.

3. DO NOT DEVIATE from His word. Do not add to it. Do not take away from His word.

4. Scriptures are a TESTIMONY of Christ but are not what saved you. CHRIST ALONE saved you.

Conduct yourself worthy.

Walk worthy…

 

“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel…”

Philippians 1:27

 

FullSizeRender

This morning Pastor Randy preached on the practical and important part of applying scripture to our daily lives, praying wisely according to Thy will, and having fellowship with other believers.

  1. Scripture: We should be reading, rightly dividing, memorizing and proclaiming scripture as commanded to us in His word. This will equip us to combat the enemy, overcome temptations, and to be equipped to proclaim His truth to others.               (2 Cor. 5:21, John 4:10, Genesis 1, Romans 10:17, John 3:36, Psalm 119:11, John 14:6, 1 Chronicles 29:11, Galatians 5:16, Romans 8, Matthew 28, 1 Peter 1:7)
  2. Prayer: Is how we communicate with God. We should be imitating the examples Christ gave us in prayer.  We should not use or heap up empty phrases. We need to thank God, praise Him, praying Thy will to be done, and asking Him to daily feed us physically and spiritually. May we want Jesus to supply us with all our needs and daily confessing our sins while also forgiving others. A.C.T.S. = Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication.  (1 Thessalonians 5:17, Luke 5:16, Matthew 6:9-13, Psalm 52, Luke 11, 1 Peter 1:7)
  3. Fellowship: We are all from various backgrounds, experiences, races, cultures etc. but we have one thing in common as stated in Malachi 2:10 Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us? Let us come together to encourage and exhort one another as we are of One Father.

In the book of Acts His Word shows us how they, too, did these exact things.

 

A Contrite Sinner’s Prayer for Pardon.

Psalm 51

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;

According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.

 

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins
And blot out all my iniquities.

 

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will be converted to You.

 

Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation;
Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
That my mouth may declare Your praise.
For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

By Your favor do good to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices,
In burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar.

Mt. Nebo Prison Ministry

Today, I was greatly encouraged to talk with Chuck Holmes, the director of Mt. Nebo Prison Ministry. R.O.C. is excited to find another prison ministry teaching the truth of the gospel.

Check out their website; http://mnpm.org/

ChuckHolmes Chuck Holmes – Directory of Mt. Nebo Prison Ministries

About Mt. Nebo Prison Ministry
Sharing the Gospel without compromising it’s Truth!

“We are grateful and excited for this opportunity to share with you the vision God has given Mt. Nebo Prison Ministry. It is our prayer that we might bring you, your church or organization, a unique opportunity to be involved in impacting the incarcerated believer with the truth and love of Jesus Christ. Our role, by desire and design, is to be a “tool” in the hand of our Lord as He accomplishes His work within the prison system.

This ministry is committed to sharing the Gospel without compromising its truth. We are committed to seeing our great God and Savior glorified through sound biblical teaching. This is done primarily through the books, tracts, materials and tapes that reflect the teaching of our Historic Christian faith. These “tools” are sent to chaplains, religious libraries and individual inmates throughout the prisons in this country.

We offer a 13-chapter workbook called, “Fundamentals of the Faith” that begins to ground believers in the Word. Upon completion they receive a MacArthur Study Bible and an array of materials on how to study Scripture. We also do one-on-one correspondence with inmates for the purpose of discipleship, encouragement and instruction in living a changed life for the glory of God. (*Materials are only available to state and federal facilities. We are not involved at the county or city level.)”

Letter from John MacArthur
From: John MacArthur

To Whom It May Concern:

Very seldom does a ministry come along that captures my heart like Mt. Nebo Prison Ministry. With all the groups in our world that label themselves “Christian,” Mt. Nebo is a breath of fresh air. The difference? A clear, non-compromising commitment to God’s Word. That’s what sets Mt. Nebo Prison Ministry apart. This ministry drives prisoners into the Word of God, and that’s something that is very dear to my heart. I have spent most of my life in a relentless pursuit of knowing what the Bible says. And for over 35 years I have dedicated myself to preaching the Bible and nothing else. So Mt. Nebo’s loyalty to the truth is something that has thrilled my heart from the first moment I met Chuck Holmes.

What a choice servant of the Lord! Chuck is a living testimony to God’s grace and the power of the gospel. He loves Christ, loves truth, and lvoes ministering to prisoners. In fact, his excitement over biblical ministry in the prisons is contagious. Chuck’s love for the Word of God and his desire to see prisoners growing in their knowledge of truth has been an encouragement not only to me, but also to our staff and elders at Grace Community Church. We see Chuck and Mt. Nebo Prison Ministry as important allies in reaching this world for Christ.

The prisons are a tremendous mission field. My hope is that you will be gripped by the potential that prisons offer for the spread of the gospel and the building up of the saints. And I trust that you will consider partnering with Chuck as Mt. Nebo gives prisoners what they need most – the truth that is found only in God’s Word.

Yours for the Master,

John MacArthur
Pastor-Teacher

Be not quarrelsome.

snoopy

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome,

but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged (not resentful).

2 Timothy 2:24

“Teaching, not persecution, is the Scripture method of dealing with those in error. The same God who gives the discovery of the truth, by His grace brings us to acknowledge it, otherwise our hearts would continue to rebel against it.” ~ Matthew Henry

As His servants we must be willing to humbly serve.

 

What is SALVATION?

salvation

SALVATION

We teach that salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redemption of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works (John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-10; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

Regeneration. We teach that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24) when the Holy Spirit makes the dead unbeliever alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:4-6).  This union results in man being made a new creation, in which by his very new nature, places his faith in Jesus Christ alone. Genuine regeneration is manifested by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Good works are the proper evidence and fruit of regeneration (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:10), and will be experienced to the extent that the believer submits to the control of the Holy Spirit in his life through faithful obedience to the Word of God (Ephesians 5:17-21; Philippians 2:12b; Colossians 3:16; 2 Peter 1:4-10). This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Such a conformity is climaxed in the believer’s glorification at Christ’s coming (Romans 8:17; 2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:2-3).

Election. We teach that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:1-2).

We teach that sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11; John 3:18-19, 36; 5:40; Romans 9:22-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12; Revelation 22:17). Nevertheless, since sovereign grace includes the means of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift itself, sovereign election will result in what God determines. All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith, and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John 6:37-40, 44; Acts 13:48; James 4:8).

We teach that the unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not related to any initiative of their own part or to God’s anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Ephesians 1:4-7; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Peter 1:2).

We teach that election should not be looked upon as based merely on abstract sovereignty. God is truly sovereign, but He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Romans 9:11-16). This sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 11:25-28; 2 Timothy 1:9).

Justification. We teach that justification before God is an act of God (Romans 8:33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; Isaiah 55:6-7) and confess Him as sovereign Lord (Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5; Philippians 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20; 4:6) and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ (Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21). By this means God is enabled to “be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

Sanctification. We teach that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and is therefore identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. This sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing, not his present walk or condition (Acts 20:32; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 2:11; 3:1; 10:10, 14; 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2).

We teach that there is also, by the work of the Holy Spirit, a progressive sanctification by which the state of the believer is brought closer to the standing the believer positionally enjoys through justification. Through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:17, 19; Romans 6:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 5:23).

In this respect, we teach that every saved person is involved in a daily conflict—the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh—but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended. All claims to the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. Eradication of sin is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:22-24; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 3:9-10; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9).

Security. We teach that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 5:24; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-10; 8:1, 31-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24).

We teach that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God’s Word, which, however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an occasion for sinful living and carnality (Romans 6:15-22; 13:13-14; Galatians 5:13, 25-26; Titus 2:11-14).

Separation. We teach that separation from sin is clearly called for throughout the Old and New Testaments, and that the Scriptures clearly indicate that in the last days apostasy and worldliness shall increase (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).

We teach that, out of deep gratitude for the undeserved grace of God granted to us, and because our glorious God is so worthy of our total consecration, all the saved should live in such a manner as to demonstrate our adoring love to God and so as not to bring reproach upon our Lord and Savior. We also teach that separation from all religious apostasy and worldly and sinful practices iscommanded of us by God (Romans 12:1-2, 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11).

We teach that believers should be separated unto our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; Hebrews 12:1-2) and affirm that the Christian life is a life of obedient righteousness that reflects the teaching of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-12) and a continual pursuit of holiness (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14; Titus 2:11-14; 1 John 3:1-10).

I don’t think I’m a bad person.

Luke 18:9-14
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

To some who were confident of their own righteousness (I don’t think I’m a bad person) and looked down on everyone else,Jesus told this parable:  “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ (I don’t think I’m a bad person)

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ (The one who has nothing to offer to God-no self-righteousness)

 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

This parable is rich with truth about the doctrine of justification by faith. It illustrates perfectly how a sinner who is utterly devoid of personal righteousness may be declared righteous before God instantaneously through an act of repentant faith. The parable is addressed to Pharisees who trusted their own righteousness (vv. 10–11). Such confidence in one’s inherent righteousness is a damning hope (Rom. 10:3; Phil. 3:9), because human righteousness—even the righteousness of the most fastidious Pharisee—falls short of the divine standard (Matt. 5:48). Scripture consistently teaches that sinners are justified when God’s perfect righteousness is imputed to their account (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:4–5; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:4–9)—and it was only on that basis that this tax collector (or anyone else) could be saved.

We have all become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
    and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

Isaiah 64:6

All our righteous acts are considered filthy rags.  And these people had an illusion of their own self-righteousness. They told themselves, “I’m not a bad person.”

There is not one person whose heart (in themselves) is good enough to earn their way to heaven. We only are made righteous and meet the requirements through Christ alone! May true humility be stamped upon our hearts.

humility

 

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. May we only boast in what Christ has done and not in anything we are doing in our own flesh.  (I’m not a bad person, I go to church, attend Bible Study, don’t drink, tithe a lot of money, am nice to people etc.)

To wash and dress a corpse is a far different thing from making it alive: man can do the one, God alone can do the other. —Spurgeon

We are nothing without Christ. Nothing! Our hearts are wicked. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?  Christ is the only Hope we have for redemption.

Those who trust to their own righteousness and strength, and think they can do without Christ, make flesh their arm, and their souls cannot prosper in graces or comforts. ~ Matthew Henry

I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:3

We are bad, sinful, and wicked in our own flesh. Each one of us has fallen short. It is only through Christ alone that His grace is provided for us and we are saved.

Don’t boast in what you have done. Don’t list off all of your accomplishments and services like the Pharisee. Repent, humble yourself, and give thanks to Him always pointing to Christ in all you say and do. Don’t do it for self-approval or self-gratification. May Christ be the One who is being glorified in your life.