Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tribute to Andy Davis

It all starts with that unexpected phone call.... something tragic has happened. One of our loved ones has been in an accident and was rushed to the hospital in grave condition. Within a day or so, the loved one is dead.

The video below was filmed days before this tragic accident. Andy Davis has died leaving behind a wife and grown children. He was only 53. The young man who was responsible for this senseless death will have to live with the fact that he took someone's life, took someone's husband, took someone's father, took someone's son. He will always have that innocent blood on his hands.

Andy seemed to be at the pinnacle of his career. So many people had put their faith in him to complete a sculpture memorial of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was just getting started and experimenting with ideas because he wanted this memorial sculpture to come alive and be everything that the civil rights leader and movement represented. He was pouring his heart into it. Andy was so engulfed with his project that he decided to work late at the studio. After leaving the studio on his motorcycle late Friday night, Andy was struck by an underage drunk driver, who also left the scene of the accident but was later found and identified..

How does one start to process this tragedy? Shock and disbelief are very tall hurdles. And those very people in shock and disbelief have to make so many decisions within a short period of time, typically in just a few short days..But the worst part is that we don't even get to say good-bye. We have to hold on to those last few words we said to each other, and cherish our last embrace.

Tragic deaths help me to re-evaluate my own life. This cliche comes to mind: "You don't know how much more time you have here on earth, so make the best of it." Am I aligned with what's really important or am I just meandering through life aimlessly? And it never fails that I come to the conclusion that I have strayed from the path that God wants me to lead.

We offer all our love and support to Andy's immediate family. We have prayed for God's comfort on them like only He can. We also prayed for the young man who was responsible for this avoidable death. We must forgive him as Jesus commanded us.

So is it possible that something good can come of this tragedy? Absolutely. Something so wonderful was accomplished at the death of Christ. While Andy's death can't possibly compare, we are reassured that Andy is with the Lord. What a peace that brings! In addition, we are afforded an opportunity for forgiveness. The young man responsible may not be a Christian. He needs a Savior now more than ever. We have an opportunity to reach people with the Gospel that we might not have been able to reach before. And to our family members who haven't thought much about the afterlife, they will be more open to discussing these matters.

It would be such a beautiful thing if even one person becomes a child of God through this tragedy. Sometimes it takes a tragedy for people to realize that "life and death" in this life and "heaven and hell" in the next life are real, and that this is not a game.

"...Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So Peter went out and wept bitterly."
Luke 22:60-62 (NKJV)

Peter denied his Lord and Savior and wept bitterly. He realized how inadequate he was.. He was destitute and wept that he was such a failure. From those tears came a man ready to be led by Christ and dependent on Him only. That is a beautiful thing.

What's your rooster? If you haven't knelt at the foot of the cross to repent of all your sin what are you waiting for? Jesus loves us so much and desperately wants a relationship with each and every one of us. Surrender your life to Christ today and allow the Holy Spirit to be born and live in you. Tragedy can strike at any time. Don't delay as you may not have another chance. Andy's story should be a testament and wake up call. Dying without Christ's robe of righteousness is a terrible thing. Accept that free gift of eternal life today.

Andy, we love you and will miss you. We are so happy you are with the Lord and look forward to the day we can see your smiling face in our glorious state with our Lord Jesus, the rest of the Saints, and all the angels and other celestial beings.

Monday, July 1, 2013

What is Faith?

One of the challenges that many people tend to question about Christianity is the issue of faith. Some ask why faith is so important. Others think a faith-based religion is ludicrous. So let's look at a true biblical understanding of faith to make sure we are all talking about the same thing. I'd like to start by defining faith. Here's a good one from

Faith - confidence or trust in a person.

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." Hebrews 11:6

So the first point is that we have to have faith that God exists. Now some people like to go off on a tangent and start berating Christians with ridiculous assaults, such as "What about the Spaghetti Monster?" These types of assaults are just that.... assaults, with no merit whatsoever. However, to add credence to what the Christian believes versus all the other religions of the world, we have Jesus, who was God in the flesh. We are not talking about a mystical being somewhere out there that only a certain few have the power to connect with. We are talking a living, breathing God who came in the form of Jesus Christ in the flesh to take all our sins away, not with a word of forgiveness, but with His very own blood sacrifice. Jesus walked and talked with humanity in human form. He was born, and lived a life of about 33 years on earth. Jesus said He would return to earth to take the believers home with Him.

The Christian's faith is in the very person of Jesus Christ and His words that He will return. We have put our faith and trust in Him, and in Him alone.

The second point is that we are not talking about a blind faith, which is one with no evidence whatsoever. We are talking about a childlike faith, which is one that sees a little bit and trusts Jesus with the rest of His promise. This is the exact same faith a child has with a parent. The child believes in the parent, that the parent plans to bless the child. The child trusts the parent to make decisions and to give direction, and the child obeys. Obedience shows love. Because God is love, our obedience shows God how much we love Him. We are not saved because of our good works; we are saved to do good works.

Trust in Jesus today! He is your only hope!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Is Abortion Wrong? Is It Ever Justified?

Please consider watching this powerful 33 minute video. Maybe you will do a 180 degree U-Turn on an issue about which you might have felt strongly the other way or at least for "special cases. "

Keep in mind what Scripture says.

"There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community."
Proverbs 6:16-19

I pray for our country and the souls of those who do not seek God's will in every thought, word, and deed. May God bless you for watching!

For more information, go to

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Why Is God So Good?

The question itself is framed up to be one that implies that the person asking is enjoying his/her life or at least his/her temporal circumstances. Do circumstances dictate whether we feel that God is good to us? Or do we relish in the fact that God has given us each new day to breathe in and out, to experience life, and to carry out His ultimate purpose, which is to 1) Worship Him, 2) Nurture Believers, and 3) Evangelize the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the unbelieving world?

Could it be that there are some people who question God's goodness? There clearly are those that doubt God's very existence. Even so, we are reminded in Psalm 53:1 that "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" Excluding atheists for a moment, are there people that feel that God is out to get them? Do they live each day as if God is going to punish them yet again for their sins? Do they feel that they have a little "black cloud" that is notoriously hanging over them ready to rain on their every potentially good outcome in life? Maybe life circumstances have gotten some people down. Certainly there are some temporary setbacks that legitimately will cause people to mourn, question, and/or regroup.

Could it be that any black clouds we cook up or circumstances that may not have gone our way are really just a way we attempt to rationalize ("rational lies") that God isn't good? Maybe we are simply looking at the glass half empty instead of half full. Maybe the question we should be asking is, "Why is God good to me at all?" Think about it. You and I are both rotten, no good, sinners who have turned our backs on God and lived our lives according to our wills and not His. Before we repented of our sins and accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we were enemies of God. Romans 8:7 tells us that ". . . the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."

What is it that brings you joy? For me, it used to be gaining respect from my colleagues and family. Making enough money to pay all the bills and have some left over to enjoy some nights on the town were part of that equation. But what happens when a layoff happens? Not only does the money supply dry up rather quickly, but we can lose tremendous respect from people even when the events were not of our own making. Life can change directions quickly, and if we root our joy in worldly things, we can lose that joy as quickly as we attain it.

We should place our joy in the unchangeable. Our joy should be in the goodness of God and the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us. Individually we should say, "God, thank you for giving to me even when I was your enemy. I have rejected your will, ignored your sacrifice, and taken for granted your goodness. Please forgive me. Each day when I wake up, I will praise your name for giving me another day on this earth to live. Each meal I eat, I will praise your name for filling my stomach with food. Each time it rains, I will praise your name for sending water for me to drink and for my trees, plants, flowers, and grass to be refreshed. Whenever I need to get somewhere, I will praise your name for the transportation that you've afforded me. Whenever I'm sick, I'll praise your name for the doctors that I can visit to help me to feel better. Whenever I'm cold, I'll praise your name for the warmth of a home and a heater. Whenever I'm hot, I'll praise your name for air conditioning. Regardless of circumstances or situations, as Psalm 86:12 states, 'I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.'"

God is the source of goodness. Every good gift comes from God. If you have ever received anything good in your life, consider it a gift from God. God owes you nothing, and you owe Him everything. If you have that correct perspective, you will find joy in most everything. We are also commanded to "be joyful always" in 1 Thessalonians 5:16.

However, you cannot possibly have joy and peace outside of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He is your only hope for salvation. Without Him, you and I are doomed and can have no real joy. If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, please repent of all your sins and trust in Him today, right now. If you have any questions about starting a relationship with Jesus, please feel free to contact me.

My prayer for you my brother/sister is this: Romans 15:13.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Can Christians Lose Salvation?

This question is one that can be difficult to answer. People will attempt to take a snippet of Scripture to make it say whatever they want. This problem occurs when people use a single Bible passage and attempt to adopt it as an element of a teaching without reviewing similar passages for consistency. However, when we have multiple passages that provide a pattern, then we can infer the truth of the Bible from that pattern. The following information was copied almost verbatim from Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology, pages 794-803. Rather than attempt to make the points myself, Grudem has already provided very clear explanations of passages that have tended to confuse people, so there was no need to start my own independent assessment.


Is it always clear which people in the church have genuine saving faith and which have only an intellectual persuasion of the truth of the gospel but no genuine faith in their hearts? It is not always easy to tell, and Scripture mentions in several places that unbelievers in fellowship with the visible church can give some external signs or indications that make them look or sound like genuine believers. For example, Judas, who betrayed Christ, must have acted almost exactly like the other disciples during the three years he was with Jesus. So convincing was his conformity to the behavior pattern of the other disciples, that at the end of the three years of Jesus’ ministry, when he said that one of his disciples would betray him, they did not all turn to and suspect Judas, but they rather “began to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” (Matthew 26:22, Mark 14:19, Luke 22:23, John 13:22). However, Jesus Himself knew that there was no genuine faith in Judas’ heart, because he said at one point, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” (John 6:70). John later wrote in his gospel that “Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him” (John 6:64). But the disciples themselves did not know.

Paul also speaks of “false brethren secretly brought in” (Galatians 2:4), and says that in his journey he has been “in danger from false brethren” (2 Corinthians 11:26). He also says that the servants of Satan “disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:15). This does not mean that all unbelievers in the church who nevertheless give some signs of true conversion are servants of Satan secretly undermining the work of the church, for some may be in process of considering the claims of the gospel and moving toward real faith, others may have heard only an inadequate explanation of the gospel message, and other may not have come under genuine conviction of the Holy Spirit yet. But Paul’s statements do not mean that some unbelievers in the church will be false brothers and sisters sent to disrupt the fellowship, while others will simply be unbelievers who will eventually come to genuine saving faith. In both cases, however, they give several external signs that make them look like genuine believers.

We can see this also in Jesus’ statement about what will happen at the last judgment:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Although these people prophesied and cast out demons and did “many mighty works” in Jesus’ name, the ability to do such works did not guarantee that they were Christians. Jesus says, “I never knew you.” He does not say, “I knew you at one time but I no longer know you,” nor “I knew you at one time but you strayed about from me,” but rather, “I never knew you.” They never were genuine believers.

A similar teaching is found in the parable of the sower. Jesus says, “Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it had not much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil; and when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root it withered away.” (Mark 4:5-6). Jesus explains that the seed sown upon rocky ground represents people who “when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.” (Mark 4:16-17). The fact that “they have no root in themselves” indicates that there is no source of life within these plants; similarly, the people represented by them have no genuine life of their own within. They have an appearance of conversion and they apparently have become “Christians” because they receive the word “with joy,” but when difficulty comes, they are nowhere to be found – their apparent conversion was not genuine and there was no real saving faith in their hearts.

The importance of continuing in faith is also affirmed in the parable of Jesus as the vine, in which Christians are portrayed as branches (John 15:1-7). Jesus says:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does not bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. . . . If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.” (John 15:1 2, 6).

Arminians have argued that the branches that do not bear fruit are still true branches on the vine – Jesus refers to “Every branch of mine that bears no fruit” (v2). Therefore, the branches that are gathered and thrown into the fire and burned must refer to true believers that were once part of the vine but fell away and became subject to eternal judgment. But that is not a necessary implication of Jesus’ teaching at this point. The imagery of the vine used in this parable is limited in how much detail it can teach. In fact, if Jesus had wanted to teach that there were true and false believers associated with him, and if he wanted to use an analogy of a vine and branches, then the only way he could refer to the people who do not have genuine life in themselves would be to speak of branches that bear no fruit (somewhat after the analogy of the seeds that fell on rocky ground and had “no root in themselves” in Mark 4:17). Here in John 15 the branches that do not bear fruit, though they are in some way connected to Jesus and give an outward appearance of being genuine branches, nonetheless give indication of their true state by the fact that they bear no fruit. This is similarly indicated by the fact that the person “does not abide” in Christ (John 15:6) and is cast off as a branch and withers. If we try to press the analogy any further, by saying, for example, that all branches on a vine really are alive or they would not be there in the first place, then we are simply trying to press the analogy beyond what it is able to teach – and in that case there would be nothing in the analogy that could represent false believers in any case. The point of the imagery is simply that those who bear fruit thereby give evidence that they are abiding in Christ; those who do not are not abiding in him.

Finally, there are two passages in Hebrews that also affirm that those who finally fall away may give many external signs of conversion and may look in many ways like Christians. The first of these, Hebrews 6:4-6, has frequently been used by Arminians as proof that believers can lose their salvation. But on closer inspection such an interpretation is not convincing. The author of Hebrews writes:
“For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt.” (Hebrews 6:4-6).

The author of Hebrews continues with an example from agriculture:
“For land which has drunk the rain that often falls upon it, and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed; its end is to be burned.” (Hebrews 6:7-8).

In this agricultural metaphor, those who receive final judgment are compared to land that bears no vegetation or useful fruit, but rather bears thorns and thistles. When we recall the other metaphors in Scripture where good fruit is a sign of true spiritual life and fruitlessness is a sign of false believers (for example, Matthew 3:8-10, 7:15-20, 12:33-35), we already have an indication that the author is speaking of people whose most trustworthy evidence of their spiritual condition (the fruit they bear) is negative, suggesting that the author is talking about people who are not genuinely Christians.

Some have objected that the long description of things that have happened to these people who fall away means that they must have been genuinely born again. But that is not a convincing objection when we look at the individual terms used. The author says they have “one been enlightened” (Hebrews 6:4). But this enlightening simply means that they came to understand the truths of the gospel, not that they responded to those truths with genuine saving faith.

Similarly, the word once that is used to speak of those who “have once been enlightened” is the Greek term hapax, which is used, for example, in Philipians 4:16 of the Philippians’ sending Paul a gift “once and again,” and in Hebrews 9:7 of entrance in the Holy of Holies “once a year.” Therefore, this word does not mean that something happened “once” and can never be repeated, but simply that it happened once, without specifying whether it will be repeated or not.

The text further states that these people “have tasted the heavenly gift” and that they “have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come.” (Hebrews 6:4-5). Inherent in the idea of tasting is the fact that the tasting is temporary and one might or not decide to accept the thing that is tasted. For example, the same Greek word geuomai is used in Matthew 27:34 to say that those crucifying Jesus “offered him wine to drink, mingled with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.” The word is also used in a figurative sense meaning “come to know something.” If we understand it in this figurative sense, as it must be understood here since the passage is not talking about literally tasting literal food, then it means that people have come to understand the heavenly gift (which probably means here that they had experienced some of the power of the Holy Spirit at work) and to know something of the Word of God and the powers of the age to come. It does not necessarily mean that they had (or did not have) genuine saving faith, but may simply mean that they came to understand it and have some experience of spiritual power.

The text also further says that these people “have become partakers of the Holy Spirit” (Hebrews 6:4). The question here is the exact meaning of the word metochos, which is here translated “partaker.” It is not always clear to English-speaking readers that this term has a range of meaning and may imply very close participation and attachment, or may only imply a loose association with the other person or people named. For example, the context shows that in Hebrews 3:14 to become a “partaker” of Christ means to have a very close participation with him in a saving relationship. On the other hand, metochos can also be used in a much looser sense, simply to refer to associates or companions. We read that when the disciples took in a great catch of fish so that their nets were breaking, “they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them.” (Luke 5:7). Here it simply refers to those who were companions or partners with Peter and the other disciples in their fishing work. Ephesians 5:7 uses a closely related word (symmetochos, a compound of metochos and the preposition syn [“with”]) when Paul warns Christians about sinful acts of unbelievers and says, “do not associate with them.” (Ephesians 5:7). He is not concerned that their total nature will be transformed by the unbelievers, but simply that they will associate with them and have their witness compromised and their own lives influenced to some degree by them.

By analogy, Hebrews 6:4-6 speaks of people who have been “associated with” the Holy Spirit, and thereby had their lives influenced by Him, but it need not imply that they had a redeeming work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, or that they were regenerated. By similar analogy with the example of the fishing companions in Luke 57, Peter and the disciples could be associated with them and even to some degree influenced by them without having a thoroughgoing change of life caused by that association. The very word metochos allows for a range of influence from fairly weak to fairly strong, for it only means “one who participates with or shares with or accompanies in some activity.” This was apparently what had happened to these people spoken of in Hebrews 6, who have been associated with the church and as such associated with the work of the Holy Spirit, and no doubt had been influenced by him in some ways in their lives.

Finally, the text says that it is impossible “to restore again to repentance” people who have experienced these things and have then committed apostasy. Some have argued that if this is a repentance to which they need to be restored again, then it must be genuine repentance. But this is not necessarily the case. First, we must realize that repentance (Greek metanoia) does not need to refer to inward heart repentance unto salvation. For example, Hebrews 12:17 uses this word to speak of a change of mind that Esau sought concerning the sale of his birthright, and refers to it as repentance (metanoia). This would not have been a repentance for salvation, but simply a change of mind and an undoing of the transaction regarding his birthright. (Note also the example of Judas’ repentance in Matthew 27:3 – howbeit with a different Greek word).

The cognate verb “to repent” (Greek metanoeo) is sometimes used to refer not to saving repentance, but just to sorrow for individual offenses in Luke 17:3-4: “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents forgive him; and if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times, and says, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” We conclude that “repentance” simply means a sorrow for actions that have been done or for sins that have been committed. Whether or not it is a genuine saving repentance, a “repentance unto salvation,” may not be always evident right away. The author of Hebrews is not concerned to specify whether it is genuine repentance or not. He is simply saying that if someone has a sorrow for sin and comes to understand the gospel and experiences these various blessings of the Holy Spirit’s work (no doubt in fellowshiop with the church), and then turns away, it will not be possible to restore such a person again to a place of sorrow for sins. But this does not necessarily imply that the repentance was genuine saving repentance in the first place.

At this point we may ask what kind of person is described by all of these terms. These are no doubt people who have been affiliated closely with the fellowship of the church. The have had some sorrow for sin (repentance). They have clearly understood the gospel (they have been enlightened). They have come to appreciate the attractiveness of the Christian life and the change that comes about in people’s lives because of becoming a Christian, and they have probably had answers to prayer in their own lives and felt the power of the Holy Spirit at work, perhaps even using some spiritual gifts in the manner of the unbelievers in Matthew 7:22 (they have become “associated with” the work of the Holy Spirit or have become “partakers” of the Holy Spirit and have tasted the heavenly gift and the powers of the age to come). They have been exposed to the true preaching of the Word and have appreciated much of its teachings (they have tasted the goodness of the Word of God).

But then in spite of all this, if they “commit apostasy” and “crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt” (Hebrews 6:6), then they are willfully rejecting all of these blessings and turning decidedly against them. Perhaps all of us have known in our own churches people who (sometimes by their own profession) have long been affiliated with the fellowship of the church but are not themselves born again Christians. They have thought about the gospel for years and have continued to resist the wooing of the Holy Spirit in their lives, perhaps through an unwillingness to give up lordship of their lives to Jesus and preferring to cling to it themselves.

Now the author tells us that if these people willfully turn away from all of these temporary blessings, then it will be impossible to restore them again to any kind of repentance or sorrow for sin. Their hearts will be hardened and their consciences calloused. What more could be done to bring them to salvation? If we tell them Scripture is true they will say that they know it but they have decided to reject it. If we tell them God answers prayer and changes lives they will respond that they know that as well, but they want nothing of it. If we tell them that the Holy Spirit is powerful to work in people’s lives and the gift of eternal life is good beyond description, they will say that they understand that, but they want nothing of it. Their repeated familiarity with the things of God and their experience of many influences of the Holy Spirit has simply served to harden them against conversion.

Now the author of Hebrews knows that there are some in the community to which he writes who are in danger of falling away in just this way (see Hebrews 2:3; 3:8, 12, 14-15; 4:1, 7, 11; 10:26, 29, 35-36, 38-39; 12:3, 15-17). He wants to warn them that, though they have participated in the fellowship of the church and experienced a number of God’s blessings in their lives, yet if they fall away after all that, there is no salvation for them. This does not imply that he thinks that true Christians could fall away – Hebrews 3:14 implies quite the opposite. Be he wants them to gain assurance of salvation through their continuing in faith, and thereby implies that if they fall away it would show that they never were Christ’s people in the first place (Hebrews 3:6: “We are his house if we hold fast our confidence and pride in our hope”).

Therefore the author wants to give a sincere warning to those in danger of slipping away from their Christian profession. He wants to use the strongest language possible to say, “Here is how far a person can come in experiencing temporary blessings and will not really be saved.” He is warning them to watch out, because depending on temporary blessings and experiences is not enough. To do this he talks not of any true change of heart or any good fruit produced, but simply about the temporary blessings and experiences that have come to these people and have given them some understanding of Christianity.

For this reason he immediately passes from this description of those who commit apostasy to a further analogy that shows that these people who fell away never had any genuine fruit in their lives. As we explained above, verses 7-8 speak of these people in terms of “thorns and thistles,” the kind of crop that is brought forth on land that has no worthwhile life in itself even though it receives repeated blessings from God (in terms of the analogy, even though rain frequently falls upon it). We should notice here that people who commit apostasy are not compared to a field that once bore good fruit and now does not, but that they are like land that never bore good fruit, but only thorns and thistles. The land may look good before the crops start to come up, but the fruit gives the genuine evidence, and it is bad.

Strong support for this interpretation of Hebrews 6:4-8 is found in the verse immediately following. Though the author has been speaking very harshly about the possibility of falling away, he then returns to speak to the situation of the great majority of hearers, whom he thinks to be genuine Christians. He says, “Though we speak thus, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things that belong to salvation” (Hebrews 6:9). But the question is “better things” than what? The plural “better things” forms an appropriate contrast to the “good things” that have been mentioned in verses 4-6: the author is convinced that most of his readers have experienced better things than simply partial and temporary influences of the Holy Spirit and the church talked about in verses 4-6.

In fact, the author talks about these things by saying (literally) that they are “better things, also belonging to salvation” (Greek kai echomena soterias). In this way the Greek word kai (“also”) shows that salvation is something that was not part of the things mentioned in verses 4-6 above. Therefore, this word kai, which is not explicitly translated in the RSV or NIV (but the NASB comes close), provides a crucial key for understanding the passage. If the author had meant to say that the people mentioned in verses 4-6 were truly saved, then it is very difficult to understand why he would say in verse 9 that he is convinced of better things for them, things that belong to salvation, or that have salvation in addition to those things mentioned above. He thus shows that he can use a brief phrase to say that people “have salvation” if he wishes to do so (he does not need to pile up many phrases), and he shows, moreover, that the people whom he speaks of in verses 4-6 are not saved.

What exactly are those “better things”? In addition to salvation mentioned in verse 9, they are things that give real evidence of salvation – genuine fruit in their lives (verse 10), full assurance of hope (verse 11), and saving faith, of the type exhibited by those who inherit the promises (verse 12). In this way he reassures those who are genuine believers – those who show fruit in their lives and show love for other Christians, who show hope and genuine faith that is continuing at the present time, and who are not about to fall away. He wants to reassure these readers (who are certainly the great majority of the ones to whom he writes) while still issuing a strong warning to those among them who may be in danger of falling away.

A similar teaching is found in Hebrews 10:26-31. There the author says, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left” (verse 26 NIV). A person who rejects Christ’s salvation and “has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him” (verse 29 NIV) deserves eternal punishment. This again is a strong warning against falling away, but it should not be taken as proof that someone who has truly been born again can lose his or her salvation. When the author talks about the blood of the covenant “that sanctified him,” the word sanctified is used simply to refer to “external sanctification, like that of the ancient Israelites, by outward connection with God’s people.” The passage does not talk about someone who is genuinely saved, but someone who has received some beneficial moral influence through contact with the church.

One other passage in John’s writings has been claimed to teach the possibility of loss of salvation. In Revelation 3:5, Jesus says, “He who conquers shall be clad thus in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life.” Some have claimed that when Jesus says this He implies that it is possible that he would blot out the names of some people from the book of life, people who had already had their names written in it and were thus already saved. But the fact that Jesus emphatically states that he will not do something should be taken as teaching that he will do that same thing in other cases. The same kind of Greek construction is used to give an emphatic negation in John 10:28, where Jesus says, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” This does not mean that there are some of Jesus’ sheep who do not hear his voice and follow him and who will perish; it is simply affirming that his sheep certainly will not perish. Similarly, when God says, “I will never fail you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5), it does not imply that he will leave or forsake others; it just emphatically states that he will not leave nor forsake his people. Or, in even a closer parallel, in Matthew 12:32, Jesus says, “Whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” This does not imply that some sins will be forgiven in the age to come (as Roman Catholics claim in support for the doctrine of purgatory) – that is simply an error in reasoning: to say that something will not happen in the age to come does not imply that it might happen in the age to come. In the same way, Revelation 3:5 is just a strong assurance that those who are clad in white garments and who have remained faithful to Christ will not have their names blotted out of the book of life.

Finally, one passage from the Old Testament is sometimes used to argue that people can lose their salvation: the story of the Holy Spirit departing from King Saul. But Saul should not be taken as an example of someone who lost his salvation, for when “the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul” (1 Samuel 16:14), it was immediately after Samuel had anointed David king and “the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:13). In fact, the Spirit of the Lord coming upon David is reported in the immediately previous sentence to the one in which we read that the Spirit departed from Saul. This close connection means that Scripture is not here talking about a total loss of all work of the Holy Spirit in Saul’s life, but simply about the withdrawing of the Holy Spirit’s function empowering Saul as king. But that does not mean that Saul was eternally condemned. It is simply very hard to tell from the pages of the Old Testament whether Saul, throughout his life, was a) an unregenerate man who had leadership capabilities and was used by God as a demonstration of the fact that someone worthy to be king in the eyes of the world was not thereby suited to be king over the Lord’s people, or b) a regenerate man with poor understanding and a life that increasingly strayed from the Lord.


So how do we know if we have a genuine salvation? See related link HERE.

Friday, January 2, 2009

What's the Big Deal About Jesus Anyway?

If you are asking this question, you are probably not a Christian. Any person can claim to be a Christian, yet fail in his/her understanding of who Jesus really is.

Jesus was NOT:
1) Just a prophet as the Muslims claim.
2) A heretic and apostate as the Jews claim.
3) Equivalent with Muhammad, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, and others as God's prophet as the Bahai claim.
4) A reincarnation of Elisha as some Hindus claim.
5) Simply an enlightened being as some Buddhists claim.
6) A false prophet as the Mandaeanists claim.
7) A Master Jesus who had previous incarnations as some New Agers claim.
8) Just a good teacher as many others claim.

Jesus was and is:
1) 100% God/Man (God: John 20:28, Titus 2:13, 1 John 5:20, Hebrews 1:8, John 10:30, John 14:9; Man: Matthew 2:1, Luke 2:52, Mark 11:15, John 11:35, Matthew 4:1-2, John 19:28, Luke 22:44, Mark 15:37)
2) Creator (Isaiah 40:28, Colossians 1:15-16)
3) Savior (1 Timothy 1:1, Titus 1:4)
4) Shepherd (Psalm 23:1, 1 Peter 5:4)
5) I Am (Exodus 3:14, John 8:58)
6) First and Last (Isaiah 44:6, Revelation 1:17)
7) Forgiver of Sins (Jeremiah 33:8, Acts 5:31)
8) Perfect in Every Aspect (Perfect birth by virgin birth, perfect sinless life, perfect death as a sheep to slaughter, perfect burial through fulfilled prophecy, perfect resurrection on the 3rd day, perfect reconciliation for mankind)
9) Alive On the Throne (See link: Jesus is Alive)

Arise My Love

If you haven't repented of your sins and accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord of your life, He awaits you to humble yourself before Him today. When you put your trust in Christ, you will cross over from death to life (John 5:24).

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Did Jesus Know As A Boy That He Was The Son Of God?

This is a good question. Can you imagine being told that you were God as a child? How would you react? While we don't know exactly when or how Jesus was told or informed that He was the Messiah, we do know that by about age 12 He was already amazing people with His answers and His incite (Luke 2:47). He also responds to His parents who were looking for Him that they should have known that He'd be in His Father's house (Luke 2:49).

A good discussion on Jesus being the Son of God can be found at this link:

Thanks for the question Bob M.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Do I Show Them Jesus?

Jesus instructed us by saying, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Matthew 28:19-20

Everybody is so busy these days. Schedules are saturated with work, school, childrens' activities, errands, meetings, shopping, etc. Many of these activities even spill over into Sundays, which are supposed to be our day of rest and corporate worship. Do any of these activities have any eternal value? Some might have some small contribution, but for the most part they don't. In our daily routines, how many times do we think about our eternal future? To get to the point, when is the last time you talked with someone outside of Church about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? If we claim to be Christians, nothing should take a higher priority in our lives than to talk to others about Jesus. We should be disciples and make disciples. We are disciples by obeying our Lord Jesus, and we make disciples by sharing Jesus with those that aren't Christians.

I'm amazed at how people claim to not know what to say to someone about Christ. Speak straight from the heart. What does Christ mean to you and why? Why did you decide to follow Christ? Did you know that the entire Bible can be summed up in one verse? Here it is.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

Left on our own, our wages (what we deserve) have earned us death because of our sins. But God who is gracious has given us the gift of eternal life, if we choose to accept the gift of Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. While God extends the gift, it only goes to those who accept the gift willingly. It's not enough to understand the gift; it must be a personal, proactive acceptance decision. This decision must include repentance, that is turning away from sin and turning to Christ Jesus.

If you don't know what to say to someone about Christ, feel free to use Romans 6:23 shown above or some other method. Otherwise, join a Bible study to learn more or take an evangelism class. The main thing is to do something! Get prepared. Are you involved in a small group Bible study, such as a Sunday School class? If so, think of all the benefits of being a part of that group and write down your Sunday School Testimony. Memorize it, then invite people to join your small group study. Invite people to Church and to Church-related socials. You don't have to know all the answers, but get them around people who are a little more knowledgeable than you.

Above all, check your heart. Is Christ really your highest priority? If He's not, then please don't evangelize. You can't do Christ justice if He's not your heart's #1 priority. I pray that after you read this post and watch the short music video below, you will be motivated to do whatever it takes to get prepared to share Jesus with others.

If you're not a Christian, I pray that God has led you to this site for a reason and that you accept Christ as your personal Savior and Lord. If you need more information about what this means or how to secure eternal life, please don't hesitate to email me.

Show Them Jesus

You can almost see / On a cloudless night
When the air is still / And the moon is high
It’s written in the stars / Painted with their light
Spelling out a Name across the sky

Like a signature / On a work of art
Eternity is there / in every human heart
So many do not know / How loved they are
Will you be the one to

Show them Jesus, show them real love
Let His heart beat on in you
Live out the message with all that you’re made of
Let your life unveil the truth
And all the world will see Him in us
Show them Jesus

Who will bear His Name / All across the Earth
To the countless souls / Who have never heard
Of the One Who made / All the universe
Will you be the first to show them Jesus…

Friday, July 25, 2008

Am I Lukewarm?

It is extremely hard to be an effective witness for Christ when we are lukewarm. As a matter of fact, it actually hurts the church because most non-Christians will see no difference in the lives of Christians from the rest of the world. An important question we should ask ourselves is, "Am I lukewarm?" If my answer to this question is "Yes," then I should be very concerned.

Please watch these two videos. The messages cut right to the point.

"So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth."
Revelation 3:16

Lukewarm (about 40 mins)

Lukewarm Follow-on (about 50 mins)

If you consider yourself a lukewarm Christian, I pray that God would lead you to do whatever you need to do to get on fire for Him. I pray that He would convict your heart to repent and start anew. I also pray that if you are an unbeliever that God would lead you to Christ today. Repent and accept Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Please don't delay. We never know when the last trumpet will sound.

Friday, May 9, 2008

What Is the Purpose of the Church?

The purpose of the Church can be summed up in three distinct areas, which are all equally important as we will see.

1) Ministry to God: Worship.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."
Colossians 3:16

"In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory."
Ephesians 1:11-12

". . . making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord . . . ."
Ephesians 5:16-19

Some people think that the "music portion" of the Church service, usually the first half of the service, is a warm up for the pastor. Some even equate it to a pep rally. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the Scriptures show above, we are commanded to praise our Father in heaven with songs of thanksgiving and praise. The "music portion" is our worship! We should be committed to participating in corporate worship at least once per week.

2) Ministry to Believers: Nurture.

"We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ."
Colossians 1:28

". . . to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."
Ephesians 4:12-13

It is so important to be part of a small group Bible study. Sunday School is a great opportunity to meet people in similar circumstances (age group, marital status, age of children if any, etc.). No one (including Sunday School teachers, deacons, and pastors) is exempt from participating in spiritual growth opportunities.

3) Ministry to the World: Evangelism and Mercy.

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"
Matthew 28:19

"But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."
Luke 6:35-36

"When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them."
Luke 4:40

People tend to think that they have to hold a Billy Graham Evangelism Crusade in order to participate in evangelism. Not true. Everyone is at different levels in their faith. Some have Scripture memorized; others don't but know the salvation concepts. While there are many "techniques" of presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to unbelievers, a simple invitation to attend a Church service or participate in a Bible study is a great way to introduce unbelievers to other believers that might be more experienced with questions that might come up about Christianity.

All three of the above distinct areas are commanded by the Lord in Scripture; therefore, a strong Church will have effective ministries in all three areas. Since all are commanded, all are equally important. While the Church should be strong in all areas, individual believers are different as they have spiritual gifts that might lead them to participate in certain areas more often than others. In other words, everybody would not be expected to distribute their time 1/3 to each area, unless that distribution would be consistent with the person's spiritual gifts. Regardless, like a strong Church, a strong/mature Christian would be participating in all three areas.

{Related Link: Why Should I Be a Member of a Church?}