What We Believe: Article 3 Original Sin
3- We believe in the doctrine of original sin; we believe in man's impotency to recover himself from the fallen state he is in by nature by his own free will and ability.
In today's post, we will begin to dig into the question all Christianity seeks to answer: How are we saved? It is a question that evryone ponders, and is at the core of everything we believe and teach in the church. Our Articles of Faith approaches this teaching in a systematic way. We want God's people to know and understand more than just, "here's the answer" and move on. A full faith in, and understanding of, our salvation must be deeper than the short and sweet to stand up to the trials and doubts in this world. I consider it much like mechanicing. In my secular life I am a heavy truck technician. In my field, there are two types of people I work with. There are the parts changers, and the technicians. The parts changers simply see a truck come in with turbo codes, and quickly push to changing the turbo. The technician sees there is a truck with turbo codes and looks at the history of the truck, the symptoms the truck has, and gets a full picture of the problem. Looking at all of this, they find a history of turbo and fuel issues. In checking the fuel system, they find low fuel pressures, causing low exhaust temps, and there by, poor turbo performance. They repair the fuel issue and fix the truck. Our understanding of salvation can be taught the same way, and often is. We are simply taught we are sinners, Jesus is the answer, and what more do you need to know? There is so much more to this teaching than that. What is sin? How are we sinners? What does it mean to be a sinner? How can we change? If Jesus is the answer, why? What was it about Him that changed anything? Why did He have to die? Let us start at the beginning.
The first thing we need to know and believe is, where does this all start. That begins in Genesis. Though we do not have an Article addressing this truth let me share one belief that we Primitive Baptist hold to strongly. We believe that the Genesis account of creation is literal. That meaning, God, all by His triune self, created everything from absolutely nothing in six literal days. We believe that God created everything good and perfect. We know that because in Genesis 1:31 God records that He looked at everything He created and declared it to be "very good". This decleration was speaking of heaven, the universe, the earth, every creature, every vegetation, commandments, work, and even man. Good in this context, and most all scriptural points, means as it should be. God declared all of these things to be exactly as He desired them to be. Man was perfect and good at this point. We believe that in this state, Adam would have lived forever. We believe this because in the book of Romans chapter 5 we find: "12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come". This tells us that without sin there is no death. This leads us to our next needed understanding.
What is sin, and how did it get here? When we look at Genesis 1 and 2, we get the full picture of God creating humanity. Humanity began with one man, and his name was Adam. When God created Adam, He planted a garden in Eden and placed Adam there. In this garden, God gave the man everything he could ever need or desire. The one thing lacking was a help meet for him. God remedied this by taking one of Adam's ribs and creating Eve, Adam's now wife. God gave Adam a commandment in Genesis 2:16. He commanded Adam to freely eat of all things in the garden except the tree of "Kowledge of Good and Evil". This commandment came with a declared punishment if Adam broke this commandment. That punishment, or cost, was death. We will look more at that in a bit. When God did this, giving the commandment, He explained what sin is. Sin, in its simplest understanding, is the wilfull breaking of God's command and will. Up to this point noone, or anything, had done this in the earth. We know this because God declared at the end of this day that all was "very good". Sadly, though, we know that this did not last. We find in the next Chapter that Adam was tempted and failed to stand up to that temptation and willfully ate of the forbidden fruit. Scripture declares that in when Adam ate both of thier eyes were opened. This is what is known as "Original Sin". The moment that sin entered into the world. Sin is the problem in this world. Sin is the cause of our seperation from God. Sin is real and MUST be understood.
What we need to understand next, and the last point we will look at today, is what was the result of Adam's sin. In looking at the Genesis passage of Scripture we will find a multitude of results of Adam's sin. We will split these results into two fields of understanding. Those being first, the eternal, or spiritual, cost, and the timely, or worldly, cost. God promised that "in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die". Now, anyone that has read the bible much knows Adam lived to 930 years old. So, how do we hold to the literal teaching of "in the day"? We believe that the moment Adam ate of that fruit he died a spiritual death. This death was a complete and utter seperation from God. We believe he fell into a state we call "Total Depravity". A state Scripture calls "Dead in tresspasses and in sins", see Ephesians 2:1. As of that moment, Adam lost any, and all, hopes of living eternally with God. Sin is the thing that seperates us from God. We find in Scripture that man in this condition can not hear God's word (John 8:43-44). We believe they can not understand the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:18). We believe they can not do these things because they have no spiritual life in them. Just as I need life in me to feel, hear, taste, see, or experience anything in this world, I need spiritual life to do the same with things of God. Adam was dead in tresspasses and sin at this point and, by Scripture, deserves only one thing and that is death and eternal seperation from God. That is the spiritual cost of sin. The wages of sin is death. The timely, or worldly, results of sin in Adam's life is a longer list. If you look in Genesis 3 we find that Adam's sin caused his food to come from hard labor. It caused his marriage to be problomatic. It caused the ground and the earth to give him thorns with his efforts. It even, with time, caused his literal death. We see this in our lives as well. Sin seperates us from God eternally. It also, as we allow it in our lives, causes marital problems, work problem, finacial problems, health problems, and even death.
So, knowing sin is now in the world and a part of Adam's life, what now? How can this be changed? How does sin become a part of our life? We will look at that in the next post. God bless you all is my prayer.
Article 1: We believe in the one true and living God, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one.
As we begin our study of what we believe there can only be one starting point. The beliefs of our church should work like Scripture. What I mean by that is that Scripture builds itself line by line and precept upon precept. (See Isaiah 28:10-13) Every word, and teachings, in Scripture builds to a full Revolation of God and His teachings. Our Articles of Faith are to hold the pattern of precept upon precept, line upon line. When considering that example and mold there can be no better place to start than with God himself. Scripture itself starts with "In the beginning God". It has been said that if you have issue with that you will have issue with everything else found in that book. That is absolutely true. God is the beginning, the fullness, and the end of our beliefs at Salem.
We believe in the One True and Living God. This point should be without contreversy, but sadly in this world there is nothing without contreversy. Let's start with the first point of this Article. We believe in the "ONE" God. In a world that tries to sell coexistance and acceptance of all things, you will find that God is not that way. Because God is not that way we can not be either. We do not believe that God, Allah, Budda, and all the other sundry named gods are the same God with differently understood names. Jesus, as He taught, in His ministry stated the Lord is "one" Lord. (See Mark 12:29) In our opening proof text, God declares there is no other God beside Him. We, in this world, make a god of many things. We see people doing this with jobs, money, popularity, self identity, and the list can go on and on. We have also over the ages made religion based off these other named gods; Such as Allah, Budda, Zues, and the such like. These little "g" gods are not God, and are not the God that we strive to worship at Salem. We believe in the One God the Father and none else. The God we believe in is the God of the bible. He is an omnipresent God. He is an omnipitant God. He is a creator God, not just an orchistrating God ruling over evolution. We believe in the God that created everything that is in existence. He is the God that is soveriegn and does what He wills. (See Isaiah 43:13) We believe in the God that has a nature that we can count on. His nature is an unchanging nature. (See Malachai 3:6) The second part of this statement speaks to His nature. We believe in the "Living" God. Unlike Egypt in Scripture, and all the other false gods of the world, He is not an imaginary friend we talk to. In Psalm 115, the writer makes a plain arguement comparing our God to the idol gods of the world. We believe in a God that has a mouth and has and does speak to us through His word. We believe in a God that has eyes and sees the lives of His people. We believe in a God that has ears and hears our prayers. We believe in a God that has a nose and smells the sweet savor of our worship and the stinch of our failures when they come. We believe in a God that has hands. His hands work and never tire or get tied. We believe in the living God of the Bible. He is alive and well today. Many question this because we try to make Him like us. We make statements like "If God is so good why doesn't he do A,B,C?". In misunderstanding these things we assume this means that God isn't there or doesn't care. We believe in a God Who's ways are so much higher than our own. (See Isaiah 55:8-9) We belittle God when we do these things. The reality is if we can fully understand God then He is not God.
We believe in the Triune God of the Bible. We believe in the biblical teaching of the Trinity. Genesis 1:26 is probably the first and clear teaching of a plurality in the Godhead. It says in the beginning God said "Let US make man in OUR image". This is a conversation being had prior to man's existence. It is being had in what we call the Godhead. This term is used to describe the unity found in the three in one God. The Godhead consists of God the Father, God the Son (The Word, or Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost). We beleive these three are equal in mind, power, nature, calling, and stature. John chapter one tells us in the beginning was the Word. This Word here is speaking of the second in the Godhead Jesus. It tells us Jesus was with God and Jesus is God. When it comes to the three in one God I am thankful that my full understanding is not required for my full belief. While we do not fully understand how this beautiful concept is true, we believe it to be so and defend that truth. Through-out Scriptue you will find this truth spoken of. One of our opening texts tells us that there are 3 in heaven bearing record and these three are one. They completely and whole heartedly agree one with another. As we continue our study we will see how this truth affects our beliefs in so many other things.
This is far from an exhaustive definition and explanation of the God that we believe in. However, I hope it explains who we believe the God that will never leave or forsake us is. I do hope this has been a blessing and possibly caused you to think a little. I look forward to sharing the remainder of our beliefs as we continue in this study. Please be in prayer and be sure to subscribe to our blog to get the most current updates. God bless you all is my prayer.
From the beginning of the New Testament church there have been efforts to set in order the things we believe. Here in our opening text we see that the Apostle, Luke, was inspired of God to do that very thing. He desired to not only tell us what the church believed, but also rank them as the most important things believed. He also wanted to set them in an understandable, easy to follow format. We can follow Luke as he begins with Jesus's lineage, His birth, His youth, His ministry, His miracles, His death, and His resurection and ascension into heaven. Since this time men have worked to continue this effort. The biggest differnce between the Apostle Luke's effort and the rest is simple. Luke was inspired of God, and is therefore flawless and is part of Scripture itself. The rest are works of men. Most all of these are very good and do a good job, but are not Scripture. We will discuss this point in more detail in coming posts.
These efforts of men have taken many differnt forms. They have been done by many different denominations, and many different styles. Among the Baptist, we have many to look to. One format has been in confessions of faith. These are very detailed expressions of the points most surely believed. Some of the most well known are the: 1644 First London Baptist Confession - revised in 1646, 1689 Second London Baptist Confession - originally written in 1677, and the 1900 Fulton Confession of Faith. These works were used to explain in great detail the things the historical Baptist have held to be true in Scripture. The other main format has been Articles of Faith. The Articles of Faith are a simplified summary of these same truths. Every church historically has had articles they were founded on as believing. They have been used as a way to quickly answer the question, "What do you believe?" They have been used also to defend against false teachings that have, from the first century, tried to come into the church. They have also been used as a litmus test for men who feel the call to preach. While they were not ever intended to take the place of Scripture, and never should be, they did make the job of sharing our faith easier.
The reality is that God, thru His infinite goodness and wisdom, has given us the perfect laying out of those things we believe. It is called the Holy Bible. Every word of it is pefect and breathed by the mouth of God. However, it would seem vague and be overwhelming to answer the big question, "What do you believe?", with just handing them a bible. It would be true, but every church could answer the same way and never really answer the question. This was the purpose that was on the mind, and in the heart of the church, in taking the time to write these confessions and articles. These works have stood the test of time and we still hold them in high regard today.
I would like to over the next few weeks begin going thru our Articles of Faith here on our website. I do this in hopes that it gives you the tools to quickly share those things we believe. I also do so in hopes to answer the question some have of: Who are the Primitive Baptist and what do they believe? Please be in prayer for this effort and share these efforts with those that need answers.
God bless you all is my prayer.
Elder John Staten, Pastor
What We Believe: Article 2 We Believe In Scripture
We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the word of God, and the only rule of faith and practice.
In our last post we discussed that we believe in the True and Living God. Let me begin today by posing a question: What good would it do us to believe in God if anyone can define Him however they see fit? If the God we believe in never explained anything to us and was just some benevolent being ruling over all things? We would be lost and have nothing to connect us to this god. We do not believe in that type of god. We believe in the God that loves us and cares for us enough to share with us. He shares with us who He is, how He works, and what He has, is, and will do for, and among, us. We believe just as Hebrews 1:1 tells us God has in sundry times and divers manners spoken to us. We believe that His word is found in the Holy Scriptures. We believe that the bible is perfect in every way. There are no contridictions, mistakes, over abundances, or missing pieces in Scripture. To understand and learn about an unchanging God, we need an unchanging standard. That standard is the word of God.
With this article, we are going to start with the second point. We, as Primitive Baptist, believe that Scripture is our only rule of faith and practice. There can not be divers standards. This is found even in Scripture. Proverbs 20:23 tells us that divers weights are an abomination unto the Lord. If you build a house using multiple tape measures, all claiming a foot is a different length, what would you end up with? You would end up with a house that can not stand. The same is true about an understanding of a Holy God. There must be an unyielding standard. Our Articles of Faith are excellent writings and have stood the test of time and false doctrine. However, they are not the standard. Confessions of faith are great writings and have stood the test of time as well, but they are not the standard. They are study guides to learn your way around the standard. Personal beliefs, generational beliefs, and story books are not the standard. Scripture, and Scripture alone, is our standard in understanding God. It is the rule by that we judge Articles of Faith, confessionals, preaching, and all other teachings. We must not ever get it the other way around. This is why God so often, in His word, encourages us to study His word. The more of it we know, the more we know of Him.
The reason that we strive to follow Scripture above all other teachings is, we believe they are the word of God. Our final proof text shares one of my personal favorite teachings. The bible is not just a gathering of stories, history, and fables. It is perfectly inspired and kept by God. When we are told in Timothy that the Scriptures are inspired; that literly means God breathed these words. We believe that God used these men to write perfectly the things that we need to know. All other teachings are just the words of men. That is not to belittle writings such as this, Articles of Faith, confessionals, or even preaching, but they are not inspired. Therefore they are not our rule. God has kept His word recorded for us perfectly. God has truly given us everything that we need to know. May we spend our days striving to learn these things.
We believe the Bible is the only rule of our Faith. What we believe about God is found in the pages of the Bible. We find our beliefs of God, in both the Old and New Testament. It is often said there are two Gods in Scripture. The mean judgemental God of the Old Testament, and the soft and gracious God of the New. The reality is, there is only one God. He is the jealous, judgemental, loving, and gracious God of the bible. We can not turn our backs on the Old Testamnet and pretend it no longer exists. It is a common false doctrine that the Old Testament has been done away with in the New Testament era. The New Testament will not allow for that. In our opening text of Romans 15, the Apostle is telling the New Testament church that comfort of the Old Testament was given for our blessing and teaching. Fully understanding the true and living God includes the understanding of a creator God. It includes the clear teaching of a people choosing God. It includes a clear teaching of a God that cares and directs how, when, and where we worship and follow Him. These things among many others are taught clearly in the Old Testament. God clearly tells of His moral standing on marriage, family, authority, and personal sacrifice in the writings of the Old Testament. Our faith, or here to mean understanding of, God would be very small without these things. This is why we need both to fully understand the God we serve.
We also believe that the Bible is our only rule of Practice. Living in the New Testament era, we strive to follow the teachings of Jesus and His Apostles on how we come together to worship. We are not against modern day worship music. We are not against small group teachings. We are not against men's and women's devotional gatherings. However, we do believe they have their place. As we study the New Testament we find why and how we are to worship as the church of God. In today's church,in America, we can see a strong push towards entertainment and show in worship. While we understand the drive behind this, we believe it is misplaced in church worship. We find, in Scripture, directions to come together for singing, praying, and preaching in a family intergrated way. This practice is what we follow today. We strive to not follow other teachings and thoughts towards practice. We also believe Scripture directs us in our personal worship and practice. Scripture tells us to pray without ceasing. It tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. It tells us to love God with all our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. There is enough recorded in Scripture to spend generations of lifetimes studying and perfecting. We believe this is the goal of our personal study and the teaching of the ministry. Study and learn our standard as we strive to love, follow, and share God more perfectly day by day.
May God bless each one of you in your study.
In this series of blogs I have been trying to get us to correct our focus on who we are, how we got here, who God is, and why this matters. We are not just empty vessels mindlessly floating through time and space waiting on the inevitable end. Neither are we just sentient beings able to feel, think, and do just as we see fit. Today's youthful generation has been lost to the thought that I am all that matters and I am right in everything I think, say, do, or feel. If anyone differs in thought or feeling and chooses to express that then it is due to hate and bigotry. They are lost to this thought because today's parenting generation, and the world at large, has taught them that. Our compass needs major realigning. The thought of my truth and my reality is foreign to scripture and even to society as a whole until just recent time. There is truth and there is reality and it is not flexible to individuals. So far we have covered two basic fundamental truths. First is that this world, universe, and everything in it was created by God. Second is that mankind was created in the image of God. These truths must not be adjusted. They must be understood, taught, and defended. Our view of this world and humanity must be based on these truths if we expect to get anything right. The next truth and point on our compass is why God created us. Why are we here? Again we can find this truth in Scripture, and if you don't like that we can see it even in nature around us.
In our last blog we looked at the creation of humanity. We are told, and should understand, that we were made on purpose and for a purpose. Genesis 1:27 states, So God created man in his image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. To answer the question of why did God create us, the simplest answer would be because He wanted to. Let me tell you a great truth about God: He has not ever tried to do anything. Consider that when it comes to our salvation. God does what He wants, and who can stay His hand? God wanted us to be here and the reality is He created the earth and the universe because He wanted us to be here. He wanted us to be here and be His image bearer in this earth. God even explained this to us plainly so that we could understand why He made us. Genesis 1:28 is God's explanation of the purpose of humanity and is His fundamental calling of us all. It states: And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replinish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. God created us and even commanded us with a task. Be fruitful and multiply and conquer the earth.
When God created this world it was full of creatures and brought forth all manner of plant life. God looked at all He had created and declared it was good, even before man was here. God's creation was perfect and needed no help in being good in His eyes. However, in Genesis 2:5 God said there was not anyone here to keep His creation. God created man to be His hands and feet to keep this world and show forth His glory. What a blessing to be the one to take what God has given and keep it and share it with all around us. What a blessing and what a daunting task as well when we consider everything God has given us. In the beginning, just as now, God had given every source of food needed, everything needed for shelter, everything needed to sustain and even bring about abundant life. Adam was created to use that, tend it and make it prosper even further. What are we doing with what God has given us? Often times we tend to get so caught up in our needs, wants, and desires that we waste it all away and just consume it all. That comes from us falling into the self centered trap that is taught so widely today. God saw this issue coming and declared something very early on that can not be over looked. In Genesis 2:18 God said "It is not good for man to be alone". We are not able to do the work that is laid out before us alone. The idea shared by so many of, "You just be you and do what makes you happy, it is what you deserve", is designed to undo God's decree.
From the beginning it has not been all about "do what you want to do". God did not say look at all I have given you and just enjoy. Man, that being all humanity, has from the beginning been expected to yield to authority and follow commands. We are here to honor God and keep His commandments. That is the whole duty of man, Ecc. 12:13. We can and should choose our path and go where we desire to go. However, we are to do so only in accordance with God's will so it will honor God. Is the path we are choosing honoring to God? Is it keeping His provisions or wasting them? Is it totally selfish or is it seeking God's direction or will? Let me give you one tell tale sign. Does your path lead towards or away from family? God saying it is not good for man to be alone doesn't mean we need good friends or a house full of cats, dogs, or whatever pet you desire. The biggest lost point of focus in honoring all God has for us is the loss of the focus on marriage and family. We are designed for marriage and we will not be fully fulfilled without it. Marriage is designed by God and is His answer for how we can do what we are called on to do. Marriage is, by Scripture, one man, one woman, for one life time. The loss of this focus is destroying us from the inside out. The destruction of the home has influenced every major problem we have in this world. And, the destruction of the home has come from forgetting that it's not all about me. We must get back to this focus. The only reason given by Scripture for a man and/or a woman to leave father and mother is marriage. What that means is the only way to be no longer under direct authority of mom and dad is to yoke up with your spouse and begin the authority of your own marriage. Do not fall for the lies of this world! Marriage is not a ball and chain. It is not a prison house. It is not just a business transaction. It is a blessed union that is great fulfillment.
Inside marriage we can find the help that we need to get through this life and properly raise another generation. There is so much more that could and should be said about this topic, but I won't try to put it all into one blog post. Look to the word of God and see the importance of marriage and family. It is the center of all things in this world. As goes the family, so goes the church. As goes the church, so goes the community. As goes the community, so goes the nation. I truly thank you for taking the time to read these blogs. If you are enjoying them or have questions please contact me on our contact page, shoot me an email, send me a message on facebook. May God bless you all as we find our center and begin to teach these truths again.
So far in our study we have established the necessity of a biblical world view. Understanding the importance of a God that created and rules the world can not be overstated. This world was created by the mind of God. It was established as He saw fit and He holds it in His control. I have no intention of discussing this again, but need us to have our mind in this place. Our love of God, understanding of God, and appreciation of His authority is based on this understanding. How we care for and view this world needs to be thru this lens. However, it doesn't stop with how we view nature and this universe as a whole. A proper biblical world view includes a proper biblical view of humanity. God was on purpose when it came to the creation of man, and we as His people MUST defend this truth.
Today there are many debates in main stream America and even Christianity that would be settled with a proper understanding of these things. We argue over the sanctity of life, gender fluidity, and many other honestly foolish things. The world wants badly to teach us things that are completely contrary to the word of God. However, we need to remember it didn't start at this point. When we allowed the foundation of who we are get hijacked by so called science it is a down hill run from there. As we discussed in our last study main stream understanding of humanity is that we are the result of chance and circumstance. We are nothing more than high mammals, or more directly a bunch of really smart and advanced apes. This removes all moral control and responsibility for the future. It leaves us up to be defined however and whenever it seems handy. The loss of this foundation has begun an avalanche that must be curbed.
When we look at the creation of this world we can see His hand in all things in this universe. It was performed by the power of His voice, at His time, in His order, and by His control. Over and over it is said "let there be", and it was. God viewed His creation and declared it to be good. Then on day six the pattern changes. When you look at our text for today's study we see a bit of a pause in the story. A conversation is had in heaven. This is the first time in Scripture we clearly see a plurality in the God head. It is said "let US make man in Our image". Man was made to be the image bearer of God on this earth. God went even further in stating our purpose here. To have dominion over the earth and every creature here. Man did not just happen to wind up on top of the food chain. We were placed there by God. Our value towards humanity is based on this truth. We are to value each other and find connection with each other based on this truth. Our connection with each other is not based on the color of our skin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, financial status, or any of these empty ever changing statuses. Our connection and value of others is found in we are all created in the image of God. I understand that image was broken and marred by sin, but scripture doesn't remove this basic fundamental truth. Genesis 9:6 tells us this plainly. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." A full understanding of this settles the argument- is abortion wrong. Every child is created in the image of God and it is completely wrong to kill or damage that life. God values our life and design. I love to consider how we were created. God did not simply say let the ground bring forth man. In Genesis 2 we get a more complete telling of the forming of humanity. We are told when it came to man God himself came down and got hands on with us. We are the only creature this is said of. God took the time to come down and form us personally as He wanted us. If God saw us as important enough to be hands on, should we not see each other the same way? We should be hands on in caring for one another. We need to teach ourselves and our children to have this concern for our fellow man.
We see further in our main text an answer for the latest argument. Humanity, as every other mammal, comes in two options. "Male and Female created He them". I honestly have a hard time understanding how this has become a point of discussion. Even with biblical truth removed and we see ourselves as nothing but smart apes. Apes come in two sexes and they don't change. Are there genetic mutations and problems? Yes, but they are extraordinarily rare. In this world a species exists to continue its self. Humanity, of late, is the only one that has seen fit to lose sight of this truth. That's just from the natural side. Scripture is plain that God only made two sexes. Please don't let this foundation be lost. This is where the loss of our creation becomes important. If we are evolved by chance it can be argued that this is next. I have seen of late some suggesting this line of thinking. Allowing evolution to become mainstream has brought us to this point. If we don't stop it here it will get worse.
Our compass of truth has to be guided and centered on this common point of truth where we find out so much about ourselves and God. Humanity has tremendous value and we must defend this truth. We see so much about this just in our creation. We will see much more about this in His commandments, and calling on us as well. I do hope you are enjoying our study on these things and hope you will continue to study along with us. As Scripture tells us, be strong and courageous. Stand firm in His truth and He will stand with you. God bless you all is my prayer.
When we consider the most basic truths that form the foundation of our walk and life as a Christian, what do you consider? Possibly the basics of our salvation. The truth that Jesus came and lived the perfect life and died the substitutionary death for each of His children. Perhaps, you consider the 10 commandments. Or, perhaps, you consider the importance of the church. All of these things are points to consider, learn, teach, and defend. However, they are not the most fundamental of truths. In this list of things you consider, where does our creation fall? Tip top of the list, somewhere in the middle, or what does that have to do with it? One of the most destructive losses of truth has come from allowing the world to control our world view.
The world's most common view allows for too much, and I believe for selfish reasons. The world would have you to believe that the earth and it's universe were created by chance, time, and zero intelligent design. It all started from a miraculous chance- somewhere a ball of energy couldn't hold itself together and so somehow exploded into everything we see. Then in another miraculous wonder, somewhere, somehow, life began all on its own. Humanity itself is nothing more than a glorified mammal. Personally, I don't understand how anyone can believe this line of thinking. I do, however, believe I understand the reason behind accepting and/or pushing it. If this is true we owe nothing to no one for our shear existence. There is no rule of law outside of nature's survival of the fittest. We are indeed the supreme being simply because, by chance our ancestors evolved into the smart primate. We control our lives, morals, and view of all things. This mindset is seen clearly in so many people pushing the thoughts of "my view trumps all". This teaching has become mainstream and is very tempting to fall for because we want to feel right. I have seen many fall into this excuse for any lifestyle. This teaching is at the core of today's agnostic and atheist teachings, and we are losing our children to it at an alarming rate.
We must get back to basic fundamental truths. We must stand for and teach the biblical world view. Some inside Christianity have tried to blur the lines in the name of science, so called. They try and teach a divinely guided evolution. They do not hold to the biblical truth taught in the book of Genesis. Scripture, and our proper world view starts off simple, "In the beginning God". Creation is not over millions of years. It is not a process of time and evolution. Genesis tells us plainly that this world and it's universe were created by an all powerful, all knowing, superior God. When you look at this universe and how intricate it is and how it keeps perfect time, that is from the mind of God. This world belongs to God. This universe belongs to God. It was created from nothing in six literal days. There is not a lost eon of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. There is nowhere in scripture that endorses that teaching. This teaching is important to our world view, and our view of salvation. I'll save the salvation points for another day, but trust me, it matters. Understanding God as the creator at His will, by His design, at His time brings God into this world. He is not just some supreme being over a world. He made this world as He saw it needing to be. He tells us in His word that He made it as it needed to be for us. He is in control because it is His. The world wants people to earn their respect and see them as deserving of following. How much more deserving can He be for creating and giving us everything? The abundance of food, environments, plant life, and experiences come not from chance, but by His design. God truly deserves our all because He has given us all. We must teach ourselves and our children to respect God for who He is. He is the creator. He is the ruler. He is in control and we must bend to follow Him and not the other way around.
This is only the beginning of the teaching of the importance of creation. Next week I hope to show the importance of the creation and beginning of humanity. God bless you all, and God bless us in teaching these things.
Right now we look around the cultural reality we live in today and find no shortage of issues. A nation arguing over basic biology, all while screaming trust the science, arguing over weather the concepts of the mind trumps truth and reality, arguing over weather or not its right or wrong to kill babies in the name of women's rights, and the list can go on and on and on. We stand back and wonder how all this can be and join in the fight trying to over come these problems. However, this is like focusing on focusing on the pain in our back, and ignoring the cancer inside. All of these things are just symptoms of the true problem. We as a people have lost our compass. We have forgotten our directions and are largely as Christ put it, the blind leading the blind and all headed for the ditch. I would like to over the next few weeks look at some of these things. Consider what God would have us to do, and what we must do if we want this to change.
Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes. This is largely how we live these days. We act as if authority exist but it is all according to me, myself, and I. There has got to be a standard! And, that standard can not be us. Standards do not change. Truth is truth and it does not change. Truth is not relative. Truth does not care about feelings, care, concerns, or yes buts. We all want a government, protection, and guidance, but when it doesn't agree with us we riot, protest, fight, and scream. Current circumstances change and everything we thought yesterday is out the window. We are all fickle and change our minds. This is why we can not be our own standards. We need something bigger than us. A compass only works because North never moves. How would we get around or find our way if the compass decided one day West is North? We all trust and follow google, and apple maps blindly because they are based on a standard. How effective would they be if every time we thought something was a different direction and it moved according to our thoughts? When you go to fill up your vehicle how would you like it if the station's owner decided for themselves how much fuel was in a gallon? Station X sold a gallon for 3.50 but you only got a cup and he called it a gallon. Would that work? Everything in our lives needs a standard. Funny how we don't get upset or argue against these little standards. We honor them and are glad they are here. However, the big ones we get angry over and want them to change all the time. Whether we like it or not life requires a standard!
Let me tell you what is not our standard. I've already told you that you are not the standard. There are good people and good intended people in this world. They may be good role models, but not standards. I hope as a father, husband, and pastor that I am a good role model to others. However, I am not your standard. Public opinion is not the standard. Many want to turn to the majority as the standard. We used this excuse often as kids. "Everyone else is doing it", we would shout as if that excused our actions. The problem with public opinion is it made up of groups of us, and we are not the standard. Five years ago things that are accepted today by public opinion would have been mocked and shunned by the same public opinion. There is not a single person in government, on either side of the aisle, that has not spoken out of both sides of their mouth on something. Those that have spoken out against free border policy, same sex marriage, and abortion, now speak out against those that oppose the same things. Those that used to be for these things, now oppose the same. Those that last week couldn't tell us what a woman was, now scream about women's rights. Public opinion is tossed about to and fro with every change of the cultural wind. We are called on to not be this way. Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. The argument over sex, gender, and the such has found its strength in our willingness to have no standard. Right now it is popular to be a part of these things and that is why we are finding more and more of it daily. Public opinion is being influenced. We need a standard. Government is not the standard. It is chosen and put in power based on the wind of culture and is far too influenced by power hungry people. It changes all the time. We need a standard! We have been reminded as of late that Science and education are not the standard. Basic biology that has been accepted as truth for generations is now mocked and ridiculed. The basis of the founding of this country is under attack and is being changed as we speak. These thing sadly are affected by cultural winds as well, but they should not. That is not to say all of these things are negative and completely bad. God set up government and gave us the ability to communicate one with another so that we could influence and work with each other. However, they are not the standard.
We have a standard. We have an unchanging, unyielding, unmovable standard. His name is God. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has given us His word, and we are to honor it. God's rules and judgements have not changed from the beginning. He does not care and will not change according to your feelings about it. Jesus told us He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. There is not multiple choice on these things. Everything in our life is to move and yield according to Him and will not work the other way around. We don't like that because it means we have to listen and change. His truths are truth and will not change. It is this standard that I am going to use as we look at these things. We need to calibrate our cultural, religious, and personal compasses to this true North.
The world has lost its direction and it is our fault because we have not taught this. We have forgotten to teach our children that you must yield to the standard. There is no compromise with God. We must teach our children this truth. We must as our proof text says, "set our affections". We have allowed ourselves and exampled to our children, and they are learning it, that money, fame, fun, prestige, toys, and self worth are the goal. We have followed these things away from His word. We have followed these things away from His church. We have followed these things away from Him. We have foolishly done this and we have taken our children with us. We can do better. We must yield to Him ourselves. We must do so in All things. We must teach our children to do so as well. They may stray and wonder from time to time, but if we teach them and show them. They will not depart them. Ever noticed as you get older how much like your parents you tend to be. We aren't carbon copies, but we find pieces of them in us all the time. That because we were trained up in them and we can't depart them. God help us to do better. God help me to do better. God bless you all as we study the standards that God has given us.
Isa 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; KJV
What a wonderful promise of God!
It has been a while since I have made a post to this blog. Sadly, I have allowed too many things to get in the way. It may be surprising to some, and come as a "well, duh" to others, but did you know preachers and pastors get overwhelmed by this world too? I want in no way to come across as poor me, but rather, as an encouragement to pray for your pastor and ministers. We need it daily; the same as we pray for you all daily. Many of us are bi-vocational, have families and struggle to find balance between all the things we are called on to do in this life. I have fallen victim to this as of late. Our text today is one of my favorites in helping me pull my head back up and start fighting again.
The more things, activities, groups, and goals you have in your life the easier it is to get overwhelmed. It would be easy for us to just sit at home and cocoon ourselves into our personal bubbles and just pretend the world doesn't exist. Or, at least we would like to think so. The reality is, even if you tried that, you would find that the same stress and troubles find their way in. Jesus spoke plainly when He said that in this world you will have troubles (John 16:33). Not to mention Scripture is plain that idleness has no good end (Pro.24:33-34). The problem, however, with getting to the other extreme and being overwhelmed is that it leaves us stressed and vulnerable. Scripture tells us plainly that our enemy seeks whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8). Satan, as a lion, doesn't go for the big, the strongest, and healthiest. He picks on the weak and wounded. Stress and feeling overwhelmed can lead to you being in this place. He comes only to steal, to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10). He, and his little cohorts, use every trick in the book. Lies, stress, blatant attacks, friends, family, doubts, and the list can go on and on. As of late, I feel as if I have been slammed with these things and I have allowed them to win. I find myself, and I don't believe I'm alone in it, reading less, studying less, and being available for those that need me less when I get stressed and overwhelmed. The world's weapons to pull us down and backwards are nearly endless. Our text, however, came to me just when I needed it. It has become, and always has been, in times like these a pep talk I give myself over and over through the day.
No doubt, the world and Satan finds and forms weapons abundantly. However, they may be formed against me, but they will not prosper. Doubts form in my mind and creep to my heart, but by faith and the grace of God, I will not listen. Fears may come, but I have been given the spirit of a sound mind and power (2 Tim. 1:7). God has indeed given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. We need only be reminded we are not alone in this world. We need to put on the whole armour of God and pray diligently that we can see Him in our lives. Satan is a liar and only knows that life. He can use our life against us, but we don't have to fall for it. May God bless us all to help one another, and may God bless us all to understand that Satan's weapons will not prosper against us. God will protect us! God will keep us! God will provide!
Often times we feel like we need someone on our side. Perhaps you can remember in your youth needing help with something. Maybe you felt out numbered, weak, insecure, or just nervous. Some big bully had been picking on you and you felt you had no way out. Unfortunately, I can remember many times like that in my youth. Maybe as you got a little older and you began to see something that needs changed, but you wanted others to step up with you. Most commonly I can think of times like that at the workplace. You know the old saying they can't fire all of us. I'd remind you really they actually can. If someone else would have your back you would find the courage to move forward, but you just find yourself feeling alone. Have you ever experienced that feeling? How awesome did it feel when your friend showed up and faced the bully for you? Maybe you stood up to the boss, and unlike all the other times, someone actually stuck around to have your back. That wave of they care, relief, strength, and everything is going to be ok. It makes it even better if the one stood up mattered to them. Your friend proved himself to be bigger than the bully, and your coworker had the authority that the boss listened to him. You have a friend. What a relief.
Often times in our spiritual walk we can find ourselves in these shoes. Many times its of our own doing. Either we fell for the same old temptation and trap and walked right into this mess. Or, we feel shame in our life and don't want to bother others with our problems, so we don't allow anyone in. The Christian life can be daunting and over whelming at times. This is especially true for a young new believer. We can feel so alone in our walk with Christ. I want to remind you that feeling alone in your walk because no one would understand is a mistake. Your pastor and your church family are there to help you with these times. Even more importantly our text for today is one of my favorites for times like these. Who better to have on your side than the God of the universe? Can you imagine God on your side? Paul tells us consider the things that are said in Scripture. These things he is speaking of are these.
God has always loved His people. Those that He foreknew, that is to say always loved. God created this universe to house a people that He knew and loved. The fact that we exist and the world is this amazing, beautifully created world exist is because He knew us, loved, us and provides for us. God is for us. He is on our side. He created abundantly for us. He knew us before this world existed. That means His love for us is not based on how good we are, what we do, what we believe, or what we bring to the table. We are told in Scripture this is based solely on his free will and grace.
Not only did He know us, He acts on our behalf. Those He foreknew, He predestinated to be conformed in Christ image. God is on our side. He is for us. He is on our team. He stood up for us in the face of sin and death. He proved Himself bigger than that bully, because He is bigger than that bully. He predetermined that those that He loved will be changed to be like Christ for an eternity. He determined that to be the case and He saw to it that it comes to pass. He sent His son to die the perfect death. His son gave up His life to remove the sins of all God's people. How much more proof of Him being for us can we ask for? Well not only did He successfully pay for all the sins of all God's people, He also sends His Spirit to quicken all of them into a life of being able to know and love Him. He does this without missing even one of His children. That is awesome.
Paul goes on to tell us that this same number of people that He loved before the world, are the same ones that is predetermined the destiny of, are the same number that He calls, justifies, and glorifies in this life. He works with us and provides for us on the day to day level. God is for us 100%. Paul says, what can we say then? If God be for us? Who can be against us? The implied answer here is NO ONE. No one is equal to God to face Him toe to toe. Paul goes on to say that there is nothing that can separate us from His love. Nothing of this world, in this world, around this world, in heaven or on earth can separate us. No one is His equal to challenge Him. When we feel alone this verse is awesome to remind us that we are never alone. God is with us! Who can stop us? That includes you and your doubts, fears, weaknesses, sins, and rebellions. God will never leave or forsake us in this life. Whom shall we fear?
I hope that this verse finds a lodging place in your heart and mind. Memorize it. Study it weather it be true or not. Use it in you times of needs. There is nothing you will face alone, and there is nothing that God can't pull you through. May God bless you all is my prayer.