Thursday, December 22, 2016

What the Bible Says About Purgatory?





According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Purgatory is “a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God's grace, are not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.” To summarize, in Catholic theology Purgatory is a place that a Christian’s soul goes to after death to be cleansed of the sins that had not been fully satisfied during life. Is this doctrine of Purgatory in agreement with the Bible? Absolutely not!

Jesus died to pay the penalty for all of our sins (Romans 5:8). Isaiah 53:5 declares, “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Jesus suffered for our sins so that we could be delivered from suffering. To say that we must also suffer for our sins is to say that Jesus’ suffering was insufficient. To say that we must atone for our sins by cleansing in Purgatory is to deny the sufficiency of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus (1 John 2:2). The idea that we have to suffer for our sins after death is contrary to everything the Bible says about salvation.

The primary Scriptural passage Catholics point to for evidence of Purgatory is 1 Corinthians 3:15, which says, “If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” The passage (1 Corinthians 3:12-15) is using an illustration of things going through fire as a description of believers’ works being judged. If our works are of good quality “gold, sliver, costly stones,” they will pass through the fire unharmed, and we will be rewarded for them. If our works are of poor quality “wood, hay, and straw,” they will be consumed by the fire, and there will be no reward. The passage does not say that believers pass through the fire, but rather that a believer’s works pass through the fire. 1 Corinthians 3:15 refers to the believer “escaping through the flames,” not “being cleansed by the flames.”

Purgatory, like many other Catholic dogmas, is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of Christ’s sacrifice. Catholics view the Mass / Eucharist as a re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice because they fail to understand that Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice was absolutely and perfectly sufficient (Hebrews 7:27). Catholics view meritorious works as contributing to salvation due to a failure to recognize that Jesus’ sacrificial payment has no need of additional “contribution” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Similarly, Purgatory is understood by Catholics as a place of cleansing in preparation for heaven because they do not recognize that because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we are already cleansed, declared righteous, forgiven, redeemed, reconciled, and sanctified.

The very idea of Purgatory and the doctrines that are often attached to it (prayer for the dead, indulgences, meritorious works on behalf of the dead, etc.) all fail to recognize that Jesus’ death was sufficient to pay the penalty for ALL of our sins. Jesus, who was God incarnate (John 1:1,14), paid an infinite price for our sin. Jesus died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 2:2). To limit Jesus’ sacrifice to atoning for original sin, or sins committed before salvation, is an attack on the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. If we must in any sense pay for, atone for, or suffer because of our sins – that indicates Jesus’ death was not a perfect, complete, and sufficient sacrifice.

For believers, after death is to be "away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:6-8;Philippians 1:23). Notice that this does not say "away from the body, in Purgatory with the cleansing fire." No, because of the perfection, completion, and sufficiency of Jesus' sacrifice, we are immediately in the Lord's presence after death, fully cleansed, free from sin, glorified, perfected, and ultimately sanctified.

IS THERE LIFE AFTER DEATH?


 by Pastor Mike Taylor

John 11: 25, " Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:"

Of all the trials of this life, when they are ended, there is nothing that gives the average man on the street more anxiety than thinking of his own death. Most don’t want to think about that time. The young never think about it, as they are full of life, and to them, they are virtually immortal. Sadly, many come to the realization too soon, that life is fleeting and very fragile and must be guarded with caution and utmost regards as to it’s safety. Every man and woman alive wants to put off that inevitable outcome of being alive. That is the finality of death.

Men in their darkened hearts deny the existence of God. They are called atheist, as they see no need for God. They believe in themselves only, and deny a life after this one.
Psalms 14:1, "
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good."

Paul reprimanded such thinking in Romans chapter 1:20,
"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"

So men seeing the world and it’s creation, and clearly see the wonders of an intelligent design that many atheist have proven by science could not have happened by chance, or evolution. Then there is no explanation for what we see with our own eyes, but a Supernatural presence in our universe that made the earth, heavens and all that exist in this world by One author, we call God., namely the God of the Bible. If we are honest with ourselves and acknowledge that we have been gloriously made, how do we discover this Supernatural Power that has it’s beginning with Him? We begin with the only written Revelation of His power and authority, and that is found in your bible. It is God’s only communication with man during the times we live in that He has chosen to reveal Himself to a sinful creation that we have become.

The Bible is a collection of Holy Spirit inspired books that deals with One subject and is about One man, Jesus Christ. God’s creation was stolen because of the will of man to sin against the commands of God and believe the lie of Satan, “You will become as gods” But God had a plan from the very beginning, knowing all things, He put into action the plan to redeem His creation and draw men unto Himself. He knew that men could not save himself, it was impossible. There had to be a way to satisfy the requirements of pardoned sin. God is Holy and without sin, and will not allow it into His presence so sin must be covered by a perfect sacrifice.  Paul speaks of this requirement for forgiveness of sin in Hebrews, 9:22:
"And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."

But it must be a sinless offering, not an offering of sheep and bulls, but a sinless offering, which required that God come and offer Himself, as a ransom for many. He was to be our Kinsman redeemer, born of woman, born of God, sinless and undefiled to take our place. John 3:16,
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
v.17, For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

So the greatest manifestation of eternal love laid down His life willingly for the redemption of all who believe on the name of Jesus Christ, in faith to cleanse them from their sins and lead them into a new life of becoming transformed into His image, His likeness and model the way He lived while here on earth. This is the beginning of the greatest story ever told and believed by millions of people unto salvation, but the last part of the story is even greater. On the third day, Jesus was raised to life to receive a resurrection body, and became the first fruits of those “born of the dead”.  Let us now turn to the chapter in the bible that some call the “resurrection chapter” found in your bible in 1st Corinthians chapter 15.

RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD?

Paul tackles this question head on, as many had come to believe that there was no resurrection. Paul gives one of the clearest, most concise definitions of the “gospel” found anywhere in the Bible. He shows how a denial of the resurrection of the dead is a denial of the gospel itself, and how believing in the gospel gives one hope for the next world as well as for the present.
1st Corinthians 15,
12 " Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?"

This heresy had come into the congregations in Corinth, as the pagans surrounding this church in the Greek citizens did not believe in a physical resurrection. Paul reminds them of the many witnesses that saw the Lord Jesus in the flesh after His resurrection. v.3
"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
v4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
v.5, And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
v,6, After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
v. 7, After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
v. 8,  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time."

Paul goes onto affirm by witness accounts the bodily resurrection of our Lord and  Savior Jesus Christ, but He makes an even more astounding pronouncement in this chapter.

v. 12, "Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
v. 13, But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
v. 14, And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
v. 15, Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
v. 16, For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
v. 17, And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
v. 18, Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished."

Paul is testifying that if Jesus was not resurrected, and by extention, we will not be resurrected, then His sacrifice meant nothing. For if Christ is not raised, we are not raised, if He be still dead, then we are dead as well. The resurrection of Jesus Christ to life, a well documented historical fact seen by hundreds of witnesses who actually touched Him, ate with Him, and listened to His Words and untold hundreds into the thousands in this near time period that went to their death with the knowledge of His resurrection and their own future resurrection to eternal life as well.

Paul goes onto explain that there is an order of those born of the dead. Jesus Christ, the first of the first fruits and the 1st resurrection at Jesus Coming for His church. 1st Corinthians 15
v. 20“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.”
v. 21, For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
v. 22, For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
v. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.”

Paul goes onto explain that we will be same as Jesus is, in the same resurrection that He experienced.
 “But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” (I Corinthians 15:38-44)

John wrote about what we can expect, when we finally see Him in our glorified bodies. 1 John 3:2,
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."

This is the final fulfillment of our eternal lives that begin right then. But some say, what about the dead in Christ now? What are they and where are they?

THE DEAD IN JESUS CHRIST.

Of one aspect of the life hereafter, many interpretation have been made of what our dear departed love ones are enjoying, or not enjoying right now...All of us have seen the depictions of winged spirits floating on clouds playing a harp, or walking around on streets of gold, or people alive contacting long dead relatives in a forbidden act called “necromancy”. The plane of existence between spirit world and the world of flesh is a parallel existence from what I can gather from reading our bibles. A war goes on in the spirit world that is played out in a mirror image of the fleshly and material world we live in. Paul warned us of this spiritual warfare when in Ephesians he encouraged each of us who call on the name of the Lord, to take on the whole armor of God, Ephesians chapter 6:
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

A brother  in Christ gave a very good analogy of this spirit world that surrounds us and is populated with the power and the prince of the air. To speak to souls departed, is most likely speaking with demons and is forbidden. From scripture we can learn several things and that is, people go one place or another, one is good, the other is bad. One is with God, the other is devoid of everything that is God. In the Old Testament, it was called Paradise and the souls that departed this life dying in faith believing the coming of the Messiah, found peace in the “bosom of Abraham” as noted in the Parable about the rich man and Lazarus. Some try to make this just a parable that Jesus spoke of to make a point, but Jesus used real life examples to state a spiritual truth. In this we see Lazarus who died a poor man in the bosom of Abraham comforted, and the rich man who had everything enduring torment in Sheol, called hell. Jesus mentions flames that torment and needing only a drop of water to quench his thirst. In picturesque terms a very graphic picture of lost hope.

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon speaks of the grave. v. 5, " For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten."

If you speak of that material body, that is correct. That flesh turns back to dust and knows nothing...but what of the spiritual part that man is made of? v. 7 of the same chapter,
"Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."
II Corinthians 5:8, "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."

So according to scripture, the body which is flesh goes to dust, but the spirit that God gave goes back to Him. In what form? That is when the bible goes silent. We are not told, but glimpses of the glory we will share. We are told of the City of God, but that is after Jesus Christ comes back and God lives with us. There are many testimonies of experiences of seeing a glimpse of the life on the other side. I have in my library, the book by my brother, Terry James, who I believe experienced glory in an all too brief encounter that he wrote about in his book, “Heaven Vision”....It will bring a sense of awe that a person can experience just a taste of what we can expect when we are with the Lord for all eternity. I go back to the explanation that Jesus gave of those who are found in Jesus Christ, when He spoke to the thief on the cross. “Today thou shalt be with me in paradise”.  We cannot fully comprehend, apart from what the bible describes of the glory that will be found in us at the end of this age, to understand what transpires at the last breath we take, and the angels of God usher us, those that be found in Jesus Christ, to be with God.

Yes, I can hear the naysayers quoting scripture, and I am aware of those as well. Jesus made mention of that,
 John, 3:13, “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.

But does that limit God? Who are we to say what God does with the spirit that belongs to Him? Ephesian 4
v. 8, "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
v.9, (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
v. 10, He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things)."

If manifestations were mentioned in the parable of Lazarus, would it not make sense that when Jesus rose from the dead, that He released captives who were captive and brought them with Him? Brought them where? Scripture does not say definitively, but we are left wondering about life after death. For one thing we know for sure, life does not end with physical death. But let us make an assumption, just for the sake of argument for your naysayers of the concept of the resurrection of the dead, and life after death....

BELIEF VS.  UNBELIEF IN GOD

Scenario one....."Billy” is an atheist and has lived like the devil for most of his natural life. He relies on no one, but Billy and proclaims no god but the god of his flesh, which he satisfies in any ungodly manner he can think of....when he dies, he is like the cock roach, or the animal who dies in the wilderness. He goes to nothing, nobody remembers him, and his time of glory is over. The Christian who dies, “Joe”  about the same time, believed and followed a God of the Bible. He has attempted to live a life that was taught by Jesus Christ is whole life. He also dies, but as the atheist, there is nothing out there and he goes to be as the animals...to the dust. Both have lived their life of their own free will, and both have received the same reward....NOTHING.

Scenario two- “Billy” finds out one second after his death, that his belief in their being no resurrection, no life, no nothing after death, finds out he was terribly, and horribly mistaken. He finds himself in a black pit. There is no light, no laughter, no joy, sounds of anguish fill his ears. He is bumped once in a while by someone in the dark that he can’t see, but feels. He senses total loss, total hopelessness, total despair and wonders, is this real? His throat is dry and parched. His mind is in a whirl of what is happening and he screams out in emotional pain of total loss. At the same time, the Christian “Joe”  opens his eyes a peers back at loving eyes holding his  hands pulling him up, standing him on his feet. Light is all around, people are laughing. Children are running and playing. The sights and smells are most intense than he ever experienced in the life he just left. He feels joy, everlasting hope, and an intense emotions of gratitude washes over Him, as the loving eyes, are his Lord and Savior welcoming him home. Where is this place? He doesn’t know, but doesn’t care, as he knows he will be taken care of, as His Lord is by his side.

Tell me reader, in the conjecture of each scenario starting with number one...what has each lost? Nothing, if there be no resurrection, and no life after death. They are both equal. They lived their life and the result is blackness...nothing...void...

But what of scenario #2? If the Christian “Joe” who believed on the Only Begotten Son of God is correct, what has he gained...? Answer....everything!! And conversely, what  has the atheist lost.....again......EVERYTHING!!

Jesus rightly said in Matthew 16: 26
"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"

You who are reading this, you don’t like to think of yourself as a “fool”, nobody does. But the bible says those who do not believe in God, or His Son, are just that. Me, I’m not a gambling man. Never did well at betting on an unseen or unknown quantity. I sure am not so foolish to play Russian Roulette with my eternal destination for all the tea in China, let alone fleeting pleasures of this world. That is an over simplification of what I have spoken of. Who amongst you are so SURE in your belief that there is no God, that you would risk your very soul for all eternity, when this life is but a vapor in the wind, and gone so quickly? If you knew that if I am right, and I have testimony of countless millions outside the bible, and thousands insides of its pages that say I’m right, that eternity is forever either with God, are apart from Him forever, would you go one more day denying your need for putting your faith in the Only Begotten Son of God? . One is pure joy and the other is pure ...well, for a lack of a better word...HELL and all that it implies.

Ladies and gentleman, citizens of this fast dying world, where will you spend eternity? If the grim reaper came calling tomorrow, would you be “Billy” or “Joe” in my scenarios? Will you bet your soul on it?

This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying the salvation of Jesus Christ find it’s way into your life. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at realteam1999@sbcglobal.net,. God bless you all.

                       TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET. 

RAPTURE NOT FOUND IN THE BIBLE???


By Pastor Mike Taylor


"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

4:17  Then we which are alive and remain shallbe caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."(
1st Thessalonians 4:1-17) 




A very familiar verse for all prophecy writers and readers alike, has been the subject of much debate and confusion over the last 100 years. Many critics believe that this verse is talking about the church being taken up in the air at the seventh trump that the seventh angel blows to signal the bowl judgments. I made a study over misconceptions concerning misunderstood passages in the bible, and you may check them out at this address on my website:


http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2016/09/confusion-over-end-time-events.html


 (copy and paste if not clickable). To summarize that article before moving on with this message, people confuse the two trumps and I point out a often missed concept as related to customs of the nations of ancient Israel, and what Paul was referring to. Take a moment to read this prior message...but moving on.




I had a brother in Christ, who at the very mention of the word “rapture”, became very irate and bellowed, quote “there is no scripture in the bible that points to a rapture.” endquote. But is he right, or just ignorant of the fact that Paul and many writers pointed to a “catching away” of the church and there are many instances in the bible that support that doctrine? Let's take a journey through biblical chapters and see what we find, shall we?




Noting the above verse quoted in the start of this message, note the underlined words to “be caught up”. Are there any other verses in the bible with the same words that mean the same thing as this verse does? The Greek word for this phrase is “harpazo” #726 in Strong's Concordance that was translated into the Latin Vulgate as “rapiemur” and came from the derivative of the Greek word #138 in Strong's Concordance “haireomai” which literally means “to seize, catch away up, pluck, pull, or take by force”, hence the modern English word “rapture”, that often maligned word, that many in the conservative church movements equate with some type of emotional display. Getting back, are there any other verses that use the exact same word used here of “harpazo”? Turn with me now to


 "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

12:3  And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)

12:4  How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. (

2nd Corinthians 12:2-4)

Paul is speaking of himself being caught into paradise and heard things, that I believe he shared with the church during his days when he wrote his epistles. He calls it a mystery...what is the word he used....? Correct, it was harpazo. Paul was snatched in the spirit into heaven. Paul uses the word twice.

Now let's turn to another verse that speaks of this same snatching away, but in a different context.

Matthew 11:12 , "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence , and the violent take it by force ."

Matthew 13:19 "When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side."


Different context, but same meaning...to be snatched away, by force. Now another, found in Gospel of John it is used four different times.

6:15 "When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force , to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone."

John 10:12

12 "But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming , and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth : and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep."

John 10:28-29

28 "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish , neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is ableto pluck them out of my Father's hand."

Again, in Acts 23:10, Jude 1:23, Revelation 12:5 “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her childwas caught up unto God, and to his throne."

Let's not forget Phillip the apostle when he had baptized the Ethiopian eunuch, Acts, 8:39  "And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing."




If you've been keeping count, that is 13 times in the New Testament including the ones I didn't quote , but gave reference to, that pne word “Harpazo” is used and it means in every instance to be removed by force, without warning being snatched away.





WHAT ABOUT THE OLD TESTAMENT?




Good question. Is there anything that can point to a parallel word that has the same meaning used in Greek in these passages found in also in the Old Testament.? Matter of fact, there is. There a examples of men being “snatched up” and removed from this earth. Let's start with the earliest known example...Genesis 5:23,

"Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. v.24, Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away."

Here the word for the underlined phrase “took him away” is the Hebrew word #3947 in Strong's, “leqach” which means to “receive, reserve, seize, send for, take away, or fetch”.

Paul speaks of Enoch this way, Hebrews 11:5 of the NIV,
By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away (translated him). For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.” The word used for “translated, or taken him away” is the Greek word, metatithemi, Strongs #3346, which means “transport, exchange, change sides, carry over, change, remove”. Scoffers will use the passage in verse 13 of that same chapter,11:13  "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”




But to use that verse contradicts verse 5, and the bible cannot contradict itself. So Enoch was “snatched away, removed” from this earth alive and did NOT see death, but verse 13 applies to all others who lived by faith.




Another example is the prophet Elijah and we will turn to 2nd Kings chapter 2,

2:1  "And it came to pass, when the LORD wouldtake up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal."

Reading down:

2:11  "And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."

What is the Hebrew word for the phrase “would take up” in verse 1. Yes, again, it's “Leqach” also used to describe the snatching away of Enoch. Some will make a convoluted argument that both men are dead and died in faith, but they use logic that is beyond their grasp of the infinite, not believing that God is Sovereign and He can do whatever He wishes to do, apart from their finite analogies. They will use “did not see death” and try to explain the second death. That's stretching the meaning of the text and we have no clue to do so. It's best to take what the Word says and not add your own meaning, by adding or subtracting from God's message. They will say that he lived 365 years and no longer, but you can't count eternity, because it's without time. So again, they try to rationalize their preconceived ideas to support their doctrine.




Note that we have covered Enoch, Elijah, Phillip, Paul, our Lord and Savior, and finally the Church itself, the bride of Christ being described with the words “snatched up, or plucked by force” from the earth.




But still the critics will not believe. I point them to some passages that mirror each other and tell us why these examples were given to us. First is Isaiah 26:19,

"Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

26:20  Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.

26:21  For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain."

And her companion verse, spoken of by my Lord, John chapter 14,

14:2 " In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

14:3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

14:4  And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know."

What do these companion verses say to you? They tell me that Jesus will bring us unto Himself and we will be rewarded a mansion in the New Jerusalem, as He promised. There we will wait for the indignation, or His wrath to be overpast or to subside. These verse speak of resurrection, changing from mortal to immortal, and not being present when His wrath comes upon this earth, both the resurrected dead in Christ, and the living who are both changed as Paul spoke of in the very first verses of this message.




THE DOCTRINE OF THE RAPTURE IS A MODERN ONE
?




In recent years, many opponents of the pre-tribulation rapture view have made dogmatic assertions that this view was never taught before 1820 A.D. There have been attempts to attribute the origin of this view to John N. Darby.... but this is false and misleading. Ephraem the Syrianwrote, in 373 AD, 


"For all the saints and Elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins." ... revealing that the early church fathers themselves were indeed teaching this.

This text was originally a sermon called On the Last Times, the Anti-Christ, and the End of the World. There are four existing Latin manuscripts (the Parisinus, the Augiensis, the Barberini, and the St. Gallen) ascribed to St. Ephraem or to St. Isidore . Some scholars believe this text was written by some unknown writer in the sixth century and was derived from the original Ephraem.

The sermon describes the events of the last days, beginning with the rapture, the Great Tribulation of 3 1/2 years duration under the Antichrist's rule, followed by the Second Coming of Christ. In Ephraem's book "The Book of the Cave of Treasures", written about 370 A.D., he expressed his belief that the 69th week of Daniel ended with the rejection and crucifixion of Jesus the Messiah. Although this does not prove that the doctrine of the Rapture is correct, it does show that even early Church theologians were teaching this and it is NOT a modern device of an immature girl and John Darby, as some claim, but doctrine of the early church.

The glorified Jesus, the Great I AM, that I AM spoke of this in the His precious Word, as Ephraem the Syrian did, in Revelation 3:10,

"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth."

Paul echoes what Jesus spoke to John years later, when he penned these verses,

"But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

5:9  For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

5:10  Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him."(1st Thessalonians 5:9-10)




POINT AND COUNTERPOINT!!


The Church is a specific group of believers in Jesus Christ.   It is not a building ... nor is it any particular denomination or religion.   Also known as the Body of Christ, the Church is something that began at Pentecost -- see Acts 2:1-4 and culminates at the rapture -- see 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.   It does not include anyone who was a believer prior to or after the two above-mentioned events.   The terms saints or elect refer to another specific group of believers.   This group includes all the Old Testament saints, as well as those who become believers in Christ after the rapture. I've made many references in past messages that the Tribulation is designed for two things, and two things only and that is:

-Pouring out of God's wrath on an unrepentant, and rebellious world,

-refining Israel as silver is refined in the fire....and we are NOT included in that refining.

There is a marked difference in the Bible when you look at references to the Church compared with references to the saints or the elect.   The Church is always refered to in very narrow and distinct terms, whereas the saints or the elect are always refered to in very broad terms.   More pointed, however, is the fact that the word Church never appears again after Revelation 3:22 -- you'll only see the saints or the elect mentioned throughout the rest of the book -- and this is directly after a very significant reference to this “catching away by force” , in Revelation 3:10.

What is the tribulation? It is the wrath of God. When does it start? When the first seal is broken in chapter 6 of Revelation. What are not appointed to? We are not appointed to wrath, but salvation. How will the tribulation begin to commence? When the Church of God is removed out of the way. Isaiah 26:19, and 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2 below:

"For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let ( the Holy Spirit), until he be taken out of the way.

2:8  And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

2:9  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

2:10  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved."

God has given us example after example. He has given us story after story to show the children of God being removed out of the way. He has given us words to show that HE WILL remove the church before His wrath is poured out on this earth. How much more clear does He need to be? When someone remarks, “the rapture is not found in the bible”, then my reader, you can direct them to passages that show they misunderstand. And if they still don't get it, then that's Ok...you can explain it to them on your way up to meet the Lord in the air.

This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying God's salvation in your life. If there is anything I can help you with, pray with you about, or just listen, email me at realteam1999@sbcglobal.net. God bless you all, 


till we meet at Jesus Feet.

THE GREAT MYSTERY...UNLOCKED


A great commentary written by the late, great Jack Kinsella...I had to share.


By Jack Kinsella



During His First Advent, the Lord Jesus unlocked many mysteries for the Church, not the least of which is what happens when we die.  The Old Testament doesn't provide a lot in terms of specifics, since OT believers operated under the terms of a different Dispensation.
 
During the Dispensation of the Law, believers were not immediately whisked into the presence of the Lord at the moment of death.   The blood of bullocks and lambs was insufficient to cover their sin.
 
Old Testament believers expected to stand in the Resurrection at the Last Day, but had no expectation of eternal life in the sense that the Church understands it.
 
"As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more." (Job 7:9)
 
"For in death there is no remembrance of Thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?" (Psalms 6:5)
 
"For the grave cannot praise Thee, death can not celebrate Thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for Thy truth." (Isaiah 38:18)
 
Until Jesus defeated death at His resurrection, death was still pretty much a mystery. The general understanding was that first a man dies, and then he awaits the resurrection of the dead at the last day.
 
The Book of Job, chronologically the oldest book in the Bible, spoke of the resurrection of the dead even before the time of Abraham, confidently saying;
 
". . . all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. . . " Job awaited the call of the trumpet at the Rapture, thousands of years before it was generally known as doctrine. "Thou shalt call . . ." (Job 14:14-15)
 
"For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me." (Job 19:25-27)
 
The Lord Jesus filled in the missing details about death and the grave under the Dispensation of the Law when He told the story of the rich man and Lazarus.    I want you to note that Jesus did NOT say, "learn the parable of the rich man."   He began with a definite statement of fact: "There was a certain rich man. . "
 
And Jesus says that there was a "certain" beggar named Lazarus.  The rich man and Lazarus were real people; this is not a parable or Jesus would have identified it as such.  
 
"And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried.  And in hell, he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom."
 
 Let's stop there for a second and examine this newly-revealed truth.   Until now, OT believers thought that when they died, they stayed in the grave until the Resurrection.   They had no expectation of continued consciousness - until Jesus revealed the truth to His Disciples.
 
Jesus told them that the rich man went immediately to hell.  Lazarus was immediately carried by the angels into a place called "Abraham's bosom."
 
 This was a totally new revelation.   The Lord revealed that hell was divided - there was a place of comfort for the righteous dead with Abraham on one side.
 
In the middle was a great gulf or chasm, and on the other side was hell, a place of flames and torment and loneliness.  Moreover, the Lord reveals that those in hell could see across to Paradise.
 
There are several other things we learn from Jesus about hell, and about those who are condemned to it. First, the rich man has no name, whereas Lazarus is addressed by name throughout the passage. The rich man needs no name. Nobody will ever call it again.
 
He is eternally separated from God; to all intents and purposes, he is 'dead' to God, and to everyone who ever knew him. He is only alive to himself. But the rich man is cognizant of his life, how he ended up in hell, and those he left behind. His memories of his earthly life are intact:
 
"Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment." (Luke 16:22-28)
 
Jesus teaches us that those condemned to hell are; a) in fiery torment, b) are self-aware, c) are nameless and without hope of reprieve, d) are conscious of their situation, and, e) their memories of their earthly lives are intact.
 
The Book of the Revelation teaches that what we call 'hell' is more analogous to a county jail, where prisoners are held pending trial and conviction. Once a county jail inmate is convicted, he is transferred to a state penitentiary to serve out his sentence.
 
"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." (Revelation 20:13-14)
 
When John describes the judgment against the devil, he writes: "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
 
Note two things. First, the beast and false prophet 'are' - present tense -- in the lake of fire. They were not consumed. Secondly, it is a 'lake of fire and brimstone' and its inhabitants 'shall be tormented day and night forever and ever'.
 
Thus is the fate of those we fail to reach in our effort to discharge our Great Commission.  It's a sobering thought.
 
Jesus taught specifically and incontrovertibly that, when the moment of death comes, our conscious spirit lives on, AWAITING the resurrection of the dead, which is when our spirit is united with our new and improved physical bodies.
 
At the Cross, Jesus told the repentant thief, "Verily I say unto thee, TODAY shalt thou be with Me in paradise." (Luke 23:43)
 
When Jesus descended into hell after His Crucifixion, He went to Paradise to "lead captivity captive", the Scriptures say.   He went to Paradise to preach the Gospel and to present Himself as Savior and bring them from Paradise to Heaven.
 
Our spirits exist and have substance, and they are not only conscious after death, they are completely self-aware.  Death is not the end of our existence.
 
Death does not, evidently, even impair our consciousness.
 
Assessment:
 
During the Dispensation of the Church, the Apostle Paul noted that for believers to be 'absent from the body' meant to be 'present with the Lord.'
 
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." (2nd Corinthians 5:10)
 
The Apostle Paul wrote of physical death as it pertains to believers, saying; "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope." (1st Thessalonians 4:13)
 
But yet we do sorrow when a loved one dies. Even when we know that our loved one is now safely resting in the arms of Jesus.  We know that our loved one's race is run and their burdens have been lifted.
 
They are now where we all wish to be - but that does little to dry our tears. It is one of the conundrums of Christianity - everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.
 
Why do we sorrow when we know the truth?  Would we be sad if our loved one had won the lottery?  Of course not.  But Heaven is the ultimate winning ticket.   When your number comes up, you win.
 
And all your family and friends cry.
 
Why is that?  Does that mean that their faith is weak?   Are they really secret doubters?   Paul intended to offer words of comfort  -- indeed, the chapter closes; "Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
 
Paul offers words of comfort because of the sorrow that comes with losing a loved one.  Being sorrowful at the loss of the loved one is not evidence of a lack of faith.   If you think about it, your sorrow isn't because you have any doubt that your loved one is safe in the arms of Jesus.
 
You haven't betrayed the faith.  You sorrow because they aren't here.  Our loved ones are a gift from God given to us to make our sojourn on the Big Blue Marble bearable.   The gift is deliberately temporary, which is what gives it its value.
 
When a loved one dies, we lose the gift of their companionship.  Even though we know loss is also temporary, which mitigates the tragedy - it does little to ease the pain of loss in this life.
 
Our sorrow is not for our loved one - it is for ourselves. Their gain is our loss.  It's just that simple. 
 
There's nothing selfish in that - if one of my children got a fabulous job on the other side of the world I would be very happy for him - but personally devastated by the loss of his companionship.
 
The fact that I know I would see him again would mitigate the sense of loss. But it wouldn't keep me from missing him while he was gone.  Or wishing he was still here.  (Or make me feel guilty because I did.)
 
Death comes to us all - we know that.  But death doesn't come to us once.  It comes to us all the time - death is the one certain part of this existence.   Our own death is simply the last one we have to endure.
 
At the Rapture, some believers will not yet have experienced death. They will be instantly changed into their incorruptible bodies. Those who have experienced physical death will be reunited with their bodies, which will be raised and changed.
 
But their spirits and consciousness are already awake and alive and in the presence of the Lord. Those who are 'asleep' in Christ are those who have experienced PHYSICAL, but not conscious death.
 
At the Rapture, the "Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise (physically incorruptible) first: Then we which are (physically) alive and remain (in our natural bodies) shall be caught up together with them (changed and incorruptible) in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17)
 
Our loved ones who have gone home to the Lord are ALREADY in His Presence, enjoying Heaven and its unimaginable joy and riches. They are NOT mouldering the grave, unconsciously awaiting the call of the Trumpet.
 
They are alive and aware and eagerly anticipating the opportunity to meet with us in the air and embrace us once more.   We will see them again.   We will recognize them and they will recognize us.
 
". . .  and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words." (1st Thessalonians 4:18)

Monday, December 19, 2016

JUSTIFIED BY THE LAW?




By Pastor mike Taylor



23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatian 3:23-26)

21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain”. (Galatians 2:21)

We have a discussion going on a Christian website kicking back and forth the question “Are works of the law required for salvation?” We have one young man who tries to use scripture ( out of context) to prove the point that we are required to keep the Law. He is right? Do we HAVE to keep the law in order for salvation to be found in us? Let us go to what Paul wrote concerning what was going on in his time.



GRACE AND LAW



The Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians to address a heresy that put him into direct confrontation with the Apostle Peter. Let us give an historical background of this differences between two of the Apostles of our Lord Jesus.

Paul describes his recent trip to Jerusalem in which he was accompanied by Titus. Titus was not a converted Jew, but rather a converted (and uncircumcised) Greek, which had created quite a stir among Jerusalem's Messianic community. Those whom Paul addressed as "false brethren unawares" were 'brought in' as spies, hoping to "spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage." (Galatians 2:4)



Paul was offended that his fellow brother was being isolated by the Jewish Church, and he blamed Peter for his obvious hypocrisy to allow it.



11 “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

12For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

13And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.

14But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

15We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,

16Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Galatian 2:12-16)


Peter whose hypocrisy was called out by Paul, was afraid of offending the Jewish Authorities and allied himself with “Judaizers”, who believe faith came through grace, but also demanded the keeping of the Law of Moses.

Here Paul reminded Peter that the wall of partitions had been torn down that separated Jews from Gentiles. When the Jewish brethren from Jerusalem were not around, Peter ate with the Gentiles to prove his belief in that belief.



14For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

15Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

16And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:” (Ephesians 2:14-16)



8“ For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: 
it is the gift of God:

9Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them”. (Ephesians 2:8-10)


But when certain Jews came as emissaries from the Apostle James, Peter withdrew from the Gentiles, acting as if the law was still in force and the distinctions between Jew and Gentile should be maintained.

12For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.

13And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.” Galatians 2:12-13)



Paul called this doctrine "dissembling". "Dissembling", according to the dictionary, means to "disguise or conceal one's true nature, motives or feelings behind a false appearance."

Paul's main complaint had little to do with the specific subject at hand. He accused Peter of subverting the Gospel, and replacing it with legal requirements that amounted to keeping the Law, but claiming salvation by faith.

Paul spoke the plain truth of the Gospel noted above:

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatians 2:16)

Even shedding more light onto law vs. grace:



5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.(Ephesians 2:5-7)


HOW DOES THAT APPLY TO US TODAY?

Let's stay with that statement for a minute. "A man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ."



If it was true in Pauls day, then it is equally true for us today. God has not changed in the last 2000 years, and neither have we. It's just as active today of the heresy of works to produce salvation as it was then.
16Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Galatians 2:16)


Note that Paul says a man is justified by "the faith OF Jesus Christ." Christians place their faith, first and foremost in the fact that Jesus Christ will keep His promises. Our faith is in His faithfulness. Understand that many believe in the past historical figures, such as Abraham Lincoln, or as George Washington in our culture. Those who believe their history, know that Jesus was an historical person, but one can believe Jesus existed and not be a Christian. The Muslims believe that He existed, but Islam is hardly a believer by faith in Jesus Christ and are not part of the Christian experience.


Christians are justified by “faith OF Jesus Christ” to keep His promises when He said in John:

37 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

38For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

39And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” (John 6:37-39)


Many in the Church today impose certain legal requirements as being contingent on salvation, just as did the early Church.
They make all kinds of rules to address how you should dress, or the place of women in church services, or how you should wear your hair. But when you speak of many who profess “law keeping” as much of the Sabbath Keeping denominations do, then it is easy to elevate even the Sabbath high and lifted up as an object of worship and the laws that surround the Old Testament covenants with Israel as coming close to idolatry...they worship the creation and not the Creator. Now that is not to say that the Law and the Sabbath are done away with, not at all. They are good and Holy and are appropriate for the person who follows Jesus Christ. But you must make it plain in your own Christian life, that Jesus is “the Way, the Truth and the Life”
6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.' (John 14:6)



But is the Law sin? God forbid!!

6“But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and notin the oldness of the letter.

7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” (Roman 7:6-7)


The Law has been our school master of our need for a Savior. There is no man that can keep the law, not long as he is mortal. Paul laments this in the same chapter of Romans 7:

14 “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

15For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

16If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” (Romans 7:14-17)


So from this, it is evident that we can't keep the Law...even after we accept Jesus as personal Savior. Paul writes of even his inability to keep the whole of the Law, in it's spiritual intent as preached by Jesus on the “Sermon on the Mount”. But that doesn't stop some of these denominations from taking scripture out of context to prove the need to keep the Law. They claim salvation plus Law keeping is the combination for eternal life. But let us take some of these restrictions that they impose on their memebers for Law keeping.

1. smoking-those that continue to smoke are not really saved or they would overcome this nasty habit.

2. Those that drink, even a beer are not realy saved, because “drunkards will not inherit the Kingdom of heaven”.

3. What if the person is hooked on a presciption drug, are they saved? Not according to law keeping beliefs.


These few sinful behaviors disqualifies them from salvation because they are supposed to be free from bondage and not fill the Temple of God with things that defile. They are accused of having only a head knowledge, not a heart knowledge. I can't speak for anybody else but me, but my head knowledge tells me I'm still a sinner, and in need of a Savior...my heart tells me that I'm not as bad as that other Joe Blow that does all these things, because my “secret sins” are more socially acceptable.

The point is, being a Christian does not dis-qualify me from never sinning again. So I put my trust in Jesus to save me from even these more “socailly acceptable” sins that none of us, if we be honest with ourselves, can fully escape. Because sin is sin, any sin and we can't escape. At least while we are alive in this body of flesh, we can't.

So we put our trust in Jesus Christ, as we can't trust our flesh to remain sin free.
Trust is defined as “putting our faith in something committed into the care of anothers charge. To have or place confidence in; depend on."


If smoking and drinking and drugs are evidence that a person is not really a Christian, then what about obesity? Being fat in today's culture is not seen as sinful, despite the proven health risks associated with being overweight.

How is that less defiling of the temple of the Holy Spirit then the other, less socially-acceptable examples of self-indulgence? Logic and Scripture both demand the recognition that lustful self-indulgence would be the relevant sin, not the object one lustfully self-indulges oneself with.

I am not making a case that it is acceptable for Christians to smoke, drink, use drugs, or indulge in riotous living. I am simply using extreme examples. Sin is sin.
You can substitute swearing, cheating on your taxes, lying about your age, wishing evil on some guy who just cut you off in traffic, or envying your neighbor's new car.

(The more socially-acceptable 'substitute list' above breaks five of the Ten Commandments.) I'm not making a case to say as a Christian I'm free to live the devil.

I am making the case that our salvation is not contingent on our works. Every Christian is a work in progress, the Scriptures tell us.

6Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

7Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.” (Philippians 1:6-7)


Personally, I can attest to this Scripture and so can you if you be honest with yourself. I am not the same man I was 20 years ago...or even when I first got saved 50+ years ago. Each of us have gone through transformations over a number of years. I would hate to have been judged for the man I was even 20 years ago. Why? Becaues I'm a work in progress...YOU are a work in progress, because God is not done with any of us, till He calls us home or we are changed into spiritual beings at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ for His Bride at the Rapture. I doubt He is done with me yet, or with you. There are more changes to be made according to His will.


(And the same applies to you. No matter where you are in your walk with the Lord, right now, it will only get better.)

28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to beconformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified”. (Romans 8:28-30)


I started this message with the scriptures noted above "I do not frustrate (or work against) the grace of God." Pardon for sin comes by and through the grace of God, not our own inherent goodness. Paul goes on to make his point in the difference between Law and Grace through Jesus Christ:

19For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:19-21)


Historically speaking, the law pre-existed the First Advent by a thousand years. If the law had been sufficient, then Jesus went to the cross for nothing. I say all this before to say this:

Salvation is immediate and eternal, but our sanctification in this life is a PROCESS. No matter where you are in your walk right now, that process is still underway. Being saved DOES NOT take away your sin nature...you are still mortal having been sold under sin. The grace of Jesus gives you the courage that when you fail, when you sin no matter how small it may seem in this world's eyes, it gives you the courage to keep getting back up when sin knocks you to the ground.

7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1st John 1:7-9)


CART BEFORE THE HORSE




I spoke of this young man on that Christian Forum, who in good conscience..but deceived conscience, believes we have to have works to be saved. He quotes the Apostle James speaking of faith without works is dead.
17Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
.” (James 2:17-19)

As a plum tree cannot help but produce plums, we as the Children of God, if we follow after our Lord Jesus and believe that we are being transformed into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ..(Romans 8:29) we cannot help but produce good works. It may take one person longer than another. They may not produce on the same level as that other Christian, as God gives us each according to our abilities but there will be fruits, it's almost like we can't help it. But the point is, salvation produces fruit and not the fruit, (our works) produces salvation. Many who believe such will be sorely deceived and found not amongst those who are called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Those that sit on the fence, or just can't make that commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, or think erroneously that the Law will save them, or their church, or confession to your priest...or tithing to the Church, or any other Church going activities and have not Jesus, the True Jesus in your heart, receiving Him by faith.

27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:

30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” (Romans 3:27-31)




Note that last part, we establish the Law!!....they go hand in hand....not one before other...salvation through faith and keeping God's Commandments., not the other way around....John proclaims this truth:
3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
4For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1st John 5:3-4)

We are all striving to do our best for the Lord who saved us. We get knocked down, and some get afraid that the world will persecute us for our stand for Christ and produce not much for the Kingdom of God...But works are for rewards, not salvation...When we stand before the judgment seat of Christ...it will be a rewards banquet to give those things done in our body...those that are for Christ will stand, the rest will be burned up. Paul wrote this truth:

10According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

13Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

14If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

15If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” 1st Corinthians 3:10-15)

The person who suffered loss will be there, saved as through the fire. Only thing they had was mercy and grace applied to their lives through the blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Their reward will be eternal life, but they lost out on eternal rewards as a King over a portion of the inheritance that belongs to Jesus Christ...or a Priest to guide others to salvation through Christ in the Millennial Kingdom. The first is good, we want eternal life, but the last makes it even better to be in God's service and be given responsibilites to further His Kingdom, all to His glory.

16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthyto be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:16-18)



So, when life knocks you down because of your sinful nature and you mess up...and folks, each of us do...then get back up and get back in the battle on the front lines. God will reward you for your service to Him. Because we are justified by grace, not the Law.


"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in HIM, should not perish, but have everlasting life. 


God sent not His Son, to condemn the world, but that the world through HIM might be saved." (John 3:16-17)


This is Pastor Mike Taylor praying that grace will be found in your life, and the mercy of God to save you for all eternity...If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, send me an email to realteam1999@sbcglobal.net, God bless you all

                           TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET