A short note from R.O.C.

A note from a Relying On Christ volunteerpic-with-bible     

     ROC, relying on Christ, lives up to its name. Without Him we would not be able to minister God’s truth and His love to these precious women. He is so faithful in bringing speakers, worship leaders and prayer warriors to our monthly Sunday worship services. Last month we were all so blessed to hear from a former inmate who has continued to walk with the Lord and who encouraged the ladies to continue to walk with Him especially once they are released. The ladies were elated to meet someone who made it with the Lord’s help.

Wednesday night Bible Studies are equally exciting. We have so many ladies attending that sometimes we have to turn some away because of limits on attendance due to limited space. The spiritual growth we see in these ladies is so very encouraging. Bibles and pens in hand they come ready to hear what the Spirit has to say to them. The discussions, the questions, the comments and the personal testimonies of God’s work in their lives bless our hearts to no end. We have studied the Faith chapter in the Book of Hebrews and what James has to say about faith, and we are currently going through the Book of Esther. In their weekly prayer requests they pour out the cries of their hearts and the praise and thanksgiving in their spirits, and we on the outside can see how difficult it is for these women to endure the separation from their families.

We have said goodbye to several of the ladies and continue to pray for their close walk with the Lord on the outside, reconciliation with family members, and success in finding jobs, housing, and all the appropriate necessities for living in a world without razor fences and dull green uniforms. Please continue to pray for these ladies. Most of them will be leaving us at some time and we sincerely want them to succeed in their lives, especially spiritually.

 

The Master’s Chosen Slaves

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A few notes from Pastor Dan’s sermon to the women:

The Master chooses His slaves. The slave doesn’t choose his Master.

God chose Noah to build the ark. Noah did not come to God saying I will build an ark for you God. Noah was given grace.

God chose Abraham out of his family’s idol making factory and he didn’t even know where he was going. God changed his name to Abraham. Abraham didn’t request to be chosen.

God chose Moses to go back to Egypt. Moses did not go to God and ask if he could go back to set his people free.

Pastor Dan read a true story from the 1800’s stating the desire of a slave who wanted to be purchased by a worthy master. Nothing he could do or say would make the master purchase him. The same is true for us. There is nothing in us that would cause Christ to purchase us as His chosen slave. It is by grace alone, through Christ alone and for God’s glory alone.

Master’s chose and purchased their slaves. Our Master paid a heavy price for His chosen slaves. He paid for us with the price of Christ’s blood.

He read through the beginning letters of Romans, James, Peter, Jude, Revelation and how each one opens the scriptures stating they are a slave (bondservant/servant) of God and Christ Jesus.

If we are a slave of Christ’s know we were bought with a price; may we not become slaves of men.

Who is our Master?

Serve Him!

Our Beliefs

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Sola Scripture: Scripture Alone

We believe in Sola Scriptura, or Scripture Alone, as the basis for our faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:15-4:4; Psalm 19:7-9; Psalm 119:1-176; 2 Peter 1:3-11). Within this reformed distinctive is the foundation of all we do, i.e., that the Bible is sufficient for what we do and how we do what we do. We do not believe the local church is to be a place for entertainment with skits, dramas, lights and show, but the drawing near to God in passionate worship in song, prayer and listening to the preaching of sacred Scripture, which alone is able to grow us toward the likeness of Christ.

Sola Fide: Faith Alone

We also believe salvation is by faith alone (i.e. Sola Fide), without some religious ritual or good works somehow buying our way into heaven (Ephesians. 2:8-9; Romans 3:23-31; Romans 4:1-25; Galatians 3:1-4:3). Within this reformed distinctive is the glorious good news that Jesus Christ offers salvation as a free gift to anyone who places their faith in His Person and work.

Sola Christa: Christ Alone

Central to our burden and that of the Reformers is the Lord Jesus Christ (i.e., Sola Christo), whose Person and work are at the core of all our assembled worship times (I Corinthians 2:1-5; Luke 24:25-32; John 5:39; Colossians 1:15-2:23). We believe the local church is a family where the beauty of Christ is to be set forth in the powerful explanation of Scripture, where His majesty is set before us continually and talking of Him becomes a natural aspect of our Christian lives. We believe the wonders of Christ, His centrality and our sufficiency in Him should be the theme of our praise in song.

Sola Gratia: Grace Alone

Further, we believe salvation is a free and gracious gift by God (i.e., Sola Gratia) not earned by anyone (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 2:11-13; Matthew 11:29-30; Isaiah 55:1-2). It is the favor God gives to His people, based on nothing in them but only upon HIs own love and determination. In essence, grace is shorthand for the whole wonder of a gratuitous salvation that not only forgives sin and removes our guilt but really transforms us progressively into the image of Christ by the might working of the Spirit. The Reformed distinctive of grace alone not only freed the thousands who were in Roman Catholic bondage but gave them a sense of awed jubilation, a song in their heart, a smile on their faces and a deep joy to share – salvation by grace though faith.

Sola Dei Gloria: Glory to God Alone

Obviously, the whole of salvation and life are focused toward the glory of God (i.e. Sola Dei Gloria). This is the Reformers’ conclusion of the other sola statements, i.e., as God is seen to be at the center of the whole process of gracious salvation and also at the center of all of life and eternity. Reading the sermons of Luther and Calvin, one gains a refreshing high view of their passion for the glory of God, almost a fanatical god-centeredness that consumed their hours, days, weeks, months and years.  All that they did, thought, said and taught promotes God’s glory.

Lordship Salvation

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The gospel that Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow him in submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer. Jesus’ message liberated people from the bondage of their sin while it confronted and condemned hypocrisy. It was an offer of eternal life and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but at the same time it was a rebuke to outwardly religious people whose lives were devoid of true righteousness. It put sinners on notice that they must turn from sin and embrace God’s righteousness.
Our Lord’s words about eternal life were invariably accompanied by warnings to those who might be tempted to take salvation lightly. He taught that the cost of following him is high, that the way is narrow and few find it. He said many who call him Lord will be forbidden from entering the kingdom of heaven ( Matt. 7:13-23).
Present-day evangelicalism, by and large, ignores these warnings. The prevailing view of what constitutes saving faith continues to grow broader and more shallow, while the portrayal of Christ in preaching and witnessing becomes fuzzy. Anyone who claims to be a Christian can find evangelicals willing to accept a profession of faith, whether or not the person’s behavior shows any evidence of commitment to Christ. In this way, faith has become merely an intellectual exercise. Instead of calling men and women to surrender to Christ, modern evangelism asks them only to accept some basic facts about Him.
This shallow understanding of salvation and the gospel, known as “easy-believism,” stands in stark contrast to what the Bible teaches. To put it simply, the gospel call to faith presupposes that sinners must repent of their sin and yield to Christ’s authority. This, in a nutshell, is what is commonly referred to as lordship salvation.

 

*From Grace Fellowship’s Distinctive Doctrine.

 

An offer of Thanksgiving

The Pastor shared a humbling message with the women yesterday. He spoke on Psalm 50.

Sometimes our worship services are mere ritual. Do we think we’re offering something great to God with our money, gifts and time? God already owns it all and He knows our heart’s attitude.

Ps. 50:9–13 “I will not accept a bull from your house.”
God refuses mere ritual; it is an abomination to Him. He, unlike the pagan deities, needs nothing; He created everything and owns everything.

Ps. 50:14 “Offer to God . . . thanksgiving.” Here is the sacrifice that always pleases Him.

Yes, as men we have thought more highly of ourselves than we ought. May we be humbled and bring God an offering of thanksgiving for all He has done. May Christ Jesus be glorified.

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Against Our Own Sin-Steven Lawson

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/daily-video/2016/02/06/against-our-own-sin/

The Russian novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn once wrote: “The line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.” As Christians, it is very easy to fall into the trap of seeing the enemy as “over there.” If we draw the lines clearly enough and build the walls high enough, we will be safe. Or so we think. We very easily forget that we war not only against the world and the devil, but also against our own sinful flesh.

Repentance

“The man who truly repents cries out against his heart; but the other, as Eve, against the serpent, or something else.”

~ John Bunyan

Far more than a mere change of mind or remorse, repentance involves a turning from sin to God (1 Thess. 1:9), which results in righteous living. Genuine repentance is a work of God in the human heart

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Repentance, which literally means to turn, is the activity of reviewing one’s actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs. It generally involves a commitment to personal change and the resolve to live a more responsible and humane life.

Webster’s 1828:

REPENT’ANCE, n.
1. Sorrow for any thing done or said; the pain or grief which a person experiences in consequence of the injury or inconvenience produced by his own conduct.
2. In theology, the pain, regret or affliction which a person feels on account of his past conduct, because it exposes him to punishment. This sorrow proceeding merely from the fear of punishment, is called legal repentance, as being excited by the terrors of legal penalties, and it may exist without an amendment of life.
3. Real penitence; sorrow or deep contrition for sin, as an offense and dishonor to God, a violation of his holy law, and the basest ingratitude towards a Being of infinite benevolence. This is called evangelical repentance, and is accompanied and followed by amendment of life.
Repentance is a change of mind, or a conversion from sin to God.
Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation. 2 Cor 7. Mat 3.
Repentance is the relinquishment of any practice, from conviction that it has offended God.