Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Thursday

This is the fourth and last installment of our Thanksgiving Thursday series.

I'm thankful for Jesus Christ who willingly died in my place on the cross. I'm thankful that He was made to be sin for me that I might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Where would we be if we did not have a savior to save us from the awful torment of Hell forever. God is serious about the sin issue -- so serious that he was willing to go to the cross to pay the debt himself. Thank you Lord for saving my soul!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Memorization Monday - Week 12 Prayer

Here's your verse for this week's memorization and meditation.

The Christian Life – Prayer
And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive. Matthew 21:22

Have a wonderful week with your families as you thank God for all He has done.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Study With Me - Acts Lesson 3

We’re studying through the book of Acts together. In the last two sessions I have been discussing the distinctions in baptisms based on the prepositions involved. I showed last time that there is a difference between the baptism of John and the baptism commissioned to the church. The importance in all of this is to be able to understand scriptures that otherwise might lead us to the wrong conclusions. I shared one of those passages last time.

Look at this passage from Romans 6:3 “Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?”

What kind of baptism is this? Does baptism really put us into Christ? If I’ve not been baptized in water, does that mean that I am not in Christ?

Again let’s take a look at the chart I gave you a couple of weeks ago. You will notice that this passage speaks of being baptized “into” Christ. This contrasts with being baptized into the name of Christ. Galatians 3:27 uses similar terminology to say that as many as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. I Corinthians 12:13 tells us that “in” one Spirit we were all baptized “into” one body. I take it to mean that this is the same Spirit baptism that is spoken of in passages like John 1:33. In this baptism the Spirit places us into Christ. I maintain that this is not water baptism at all, but the baptism of the Spirit foretold in the gospels when the writers say that John baptized “in” water, but Jesus would baptize “in” the spirit. I Corinthians 12:13 tells us what that is.

So back to the original passage of Romans 6:3. I believe what Scripture is teaching us is that when the Holy Spirit put us into Christ at our salvation we were made one with Him and were therefore also baptized into His death. Water baptism is, of course, a perfect picture of this, but it doesn’t do it. We are made one with Christ when we are saved.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thanksgiving Thursday

On this Thanksgiving Thursday I’m thankful for all of the abundance God has given. I saw a heart-wrenching photo of refugees in Congo the other day and I thought through how I sleep in a comfortable bed, have hot water for a shower, am able to clean my teeth and enjoy good food. When my clothes are dirty we can throw them in the washer and dryer. When we want to communicate with our children and grandchildren, phones and email are right there. I have a roof over my head and warmth on cold snowy days like we’re having now. I thank God for all the benefits He has loaded on me. There is no reason I can see why I was born here rather than in the Congo.

If you care to add your thanksgiving praise to this blog, please click on comment. Let's fill this page with praise to our great God.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Memorization Monday - Week 11 Prayer

Today we start a 3-part series of verses on prayer.

The outline section is The Christian Life – Prayer

John 16:24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hymn of the Week - May the Mind of Christ

May the mind of Christ my Savior
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing
This is victory.

May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thanksgiving Thursday

On this Thanksgiving Thursday I’m thankful for the family God has given me. My wife of 39 years has been supportive and encouraging. It’s humbling to think that a young woman would choose to join with a man and trust God and him to lead in her life. I’m thankful for her courage and willingness to join me in life’s adventure. I’m thankful for my three children. Each one of them has a special and unique place in my heart. Each one is supportive encouraging and loyal. Each one desires to serve God through their life. I’m thankful for their spouses and the special man one of my children is courting. Finally I’m thankful for five grandchildren – two boys and three girls. God has wonderfully blessed and as I expressed last time, it is only through His grace because there is not one human being on the face of the earth who deserves anything from God. And yet He has given bountifully.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Study With Me - Acts Lesson 2

If you read back over the Study With Me post last week, you will find a discussion of baptism and the prepositions involved in those passages. Some of you may immediately feel that it is too complex or detailed to worry about. But I would argue that there are some basic differences among Christians that stem for our interpretations of passages related to baptism.

Take Acts 2:38 for example, this passage reads: Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Some believe that the Holy Spirit and consequently salvation is received through baptism. That’s an important question. Did the Holy Spirit come to dwell in you when you trusted Christ or did he wait until you were baptized?

If you look at the chart I explained last week, you will see that the baptism Peter spoke about in Acts 2:38 is “into” forgiveness and is associated with repentance. If you’ll look through the other passages in the gospels you will notice that this was what John’s baptism was about. This baptism of Peter is not the same as Christian baptism, it is the same as John’s baptism.

But you might ask, Isn’t it all the same thing? Look with me at Acts 19:1-5. Paul asked the disciples if they received the Holy Spirit when they believed. They said they hadn’t even heard of the Holy Spirit and Paul asked them into what were you baptized. They said they had received John’s baptism. Paul then explained the difference and they were rebaptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. If it was an important distinction for Paul, it should be an important distinction for us.

More next time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Memorization Monday - Week 10 Review

Well, this is week 10 and I thought it would be good to have another review. I’ll give the section headings, the reference and the first two words of the verse in the NKJV and you see if you can remember the verse.

The Christian Life
The Life in Christ
II Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if
Col 2:6 As you
Col 2:9, 10 For in

Christ the Center
John 15:5 I am
Phil 1:6 Being confident
Gal 2:20 I have

The Word
Matt 4:4 But He
Acts 17:11 These were
Col 3:16 Let the

Have a great day.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Hymn of the Week - Jesus Paid It All

I hear the Savior say, “Thy strength indeed is small!
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Lord, Now indeed I find Thy power and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.

For nothing good have I whereby Thy grace to claim
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calvry’s Lamb.

And when before the throne I stand in Him complete,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
My lips shall still repeat.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain.
He washed it white as snow.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Study with Me - Acts 1

One of the topics that comes up in Acts is the topic of baptism. Baptism, of course, is a topic upon which Christians sometimes disagree. I’m not so na├»ve as to think that I can clear everything up once and for all, but I have worked through some things to my own satisfaction and that is what I will be sharing here.

There are several passages in the gospels and in Acts that say something like this: “John baptized with water but Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” There are other places in Acts where it was said that certain people were baptized with John’s baptism and then were baptized again in the name of Jesus.

Sometimes there are passages that say things like those who were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death.

So is there anything that distinguishes these various descriptions of baptism?

Early on my dad suggested that I look at the prepositions involved with the word baptism. I have prepared a chart showing most of the key passages in the New Testament and some descriptions under the appropriate prepositions. You will find that chart here.

For example, you will see that John’s baptism was “in” water whereas Jesus baptism was “in” the Holy Spirit. Notice how John’s baptism was “into” repentance or forgiveness. So when you look at Peter’s preaching in Act’s 2 which doesn’t mention John at all, you will see that his message to them was similar to John’s. This is different from Jesus command in the great commission in Matthew 28 where his command is to be baptized “into” the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Take some time to study through the passages in the chart and see what you come up with. How many different baptisms do you find? What kind of baptism is Romans 6 talking about? Is the baptism mentioned in I Corinthians 12:13 the same as Jesus’ baptism in the Spirit?

Let me know what you come up with and I share some of my conclusions next week.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thanksgiving Thursday

On this Thanksgiving Thursday I’m thankful for God’s grace in my life. Grace, as you know, is often described as unmerited favor. As I grow older I recognize more clearly that I merit nothing from God except His wrath. It’s always been easy to say I am saved by grace, but as I’ve come to understand more of God’s standards I see how far short I’ve come. Sometimes we judge ourselves based on outward performance and by and large most of us can perform fairly well. But God is looking for love that comes from our whole being and attitudes that are impossible to fake.

Giving thanks today for God’s grace.

Every Thursday this month, I'd like to devote this space to abundant thanksgiving to our God. Please join me by posting comments focused on what you're thankful for.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Study With Me - Acts

One of the ways I like to use this blog is to give you the opportunity to study what I’m studying along with me. Because I don’t have the time to keep a lot of different studies going, I usually share what I’m working on in my adult Sunday School class.

My current study is in the book of Acts. My approach is going to be to go through the book looking at it from various perspectives. For example, the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit is prominent in the book so we’ll look at what Acts says about the Holy Spirit. There are many situations where evangelism is taking place and so we’ll look at the approach various people used in preaching the gospel to the lost. My goal is to post a Study With Me article once a week on Tuesday or Wednesday. This week there will probably be two posts – this one as an introduction to be followed shortly by the first study.

If you want to join in, I encourage you to read through the whole book of Acts in one sitting or at least in as few sittings over as short a time period as possible. I love to hear from people so if you agree, disagree or have comments on my understanding of Scripture, feel free to comment on the blog.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Memorization Monday

This week’s category is: The Christian Life – The Word

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Remember, if you would like to have me email this to you each week, send me your email address to be added to the list.