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Sun. 9:30am - 10:30am

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The Doctrine of Sanctification (Part 1)

Romans 6:1-14

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. There are 3 truths involved in most relationships with others.

  1. We choose the people with whom we establish personal relationships;
  2. we are responsible for maintaining the relationship;
  3. we determine the quality/level of the relationship. How we interact with the other person determines how strong, intimate, and detailed the relationship becomes, and how long it stays intact.

Establishing, a personal relationship with Almighty God is similar, except

  1. God chooses with whom He has a personal relationship;
  2. God is responsible for maintaining the relationship;
  3. He sets the criteria that determines the quality of the relationship. And there is a 4th truth concerning a personal relationship with God, and that is
  4. the relationship is eternal. We learn these truths from the Biblical doctrines of election, calling and adoption.

Our response to and cooperation with God in allowing Him to conform us into Christ’s image determines the quality of the fellowship we have with God. Fellowship is the way the relationship expresses itself through the lives of those involved. God has given us very clear criteria we must follow if our fellowship with Him is to be dynamic, thriving, inviting and growing. We learn what that criteria is in the Biblical doctrine of sanctification. As one theologian explains: Sanctification is the progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and more and more like Christ in our actual lives. Another way of saying this that is more practical is to say sanctification is: the gradual and progressive influence of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life that causes them to exchange unrighteousness for righteousness in their daily living. You have also heard sanctification defined as “separation” or “setting apart”. It is only to the degree we allow God to be the Sovereign Ruler of all parts of our lives that we become more and more like Christ. The only way to become more like Christ is to allow The Holy Spirit to influence us to obey all of God’s Word. Obedience is simply doing what God says, the way He says, when He says. An unsaved or unredeemed heart can’t submit to God and His Word because it is unable to let anyone else, especially God, be first or be in control. Sin can’t, and won’t allow humility! It is possible for a person to be a true Christian with much evidence of their salvation and love for Christ in their daily living, but have not come to the point in their life where they feel that can trust God to teach them humility. These people are not legalists or hypocrites, they are true men and women of God who, for some reason, have not come to the point in their Christian life where they are able to let others either show or teach them a different way to do something. Normally, such people are not arrogant or rude, they just have to do everything their way. They are telling their brothers and sisters in Christ, please be patient with me; I love my Savior, I am just struggling in this one area of sanctification. You can pray that God will open a door for you, or they will come to you and ask you to pray with/for them as they learn to trust God in that area of their life.

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

Becoming Part of God’s Family (Part 2)

1 John 3:1, 2

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. One of the most wonderful blessings we enjoy is that of family. Now I know every family has its issues. Someone once said, the trouble in most families is relative!  Today, we want to study 2 more truths concerning our adoption that will draw us deeper into this amazing salvation relationship we have with God our Creator. We are using one theologian’s definition of adoption, which, as you remember, *is an act of God whereby He makes us members of His family. I am continuing to follow one author’s outline and some of his information concerning adoption. Let’s look at:

  1. THE PARTICULARS OF OUR ADOPTION. Like all aspects of our salvation, adoption is a privilege that is a reward and result of our salvation. It is solely by God’s grace we are chosen and called or invited to be saved and adopted by Him. We are never to abuse our privilege as Sons of God. Adoption is a distinct act of God apart from all other blessings and benefits of salvation. Adoption is just one of the privileges that comes to us as a result of salvation, and it comes to us at a high price on God’s part. I like the way one author summarizes the particulars of our adoption when he says: Regeneration has to do with our spiritual life within. Without spiritual life, there is no hope of a relationship with God. Justification has to do with our standing before God’s law. Without a proper standing before God, there is no hope of fellowship with Him. Adoption has to do with our relationship with God as our Father, and puts is into a position to receive many of the greatest blessings we will know in eternity! Now let’s consider:
  2. THE PRIVILEGES OF OUR ADOPTION. We experience the privileges of adoption in at least 2 specific ways: 1st is the way God reveals Himself to us in a Father-child relationship. He does that In our prayers, In our perceptions; and in our provisions. God also reveals Himself as Father to us in Father-child fellowship. One of the 1st ways we see God relate to us in fellowship is in our practices. The 1st practice of a true Christian is prayer. Our relationship with God is eternally established through our adoption. Our fellowship is determined by our compliance and conformity to Scripture. God relates to us in Father-child fellowship in our perspectives. Read Eph. 4:1-16. All true Christians are members of God’s family the Church. As we show honor and respect to our parents and family elders, we are to show respect and honor to all others in our church family. All this doesn’t begin to explain the fullness of our adoption into God’s family. It does help us understand how important the privilege is of being related to God as His adopted child, and the ensuing fellowship that comes to us as a result. Once again it reveals to us God’s amazing grace.

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419. 

Becoming Part of God’s Family (Part 1)

John 1:1-13

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. Now that we have studied how God gives us new spiritual life in regeneration, we turn our attention now to the 6th doctrine in the systematic explanation of all that happens in our salvation, and that is the doctrine of adoption. Adoption is an act of God whereby He makes us members of His family. In all interpersonal interaction there are two “ships” that we need to understand. The 1st ship is relationship! Webster defines a relationship as “The quality or state of being related. A connection by blood, marriage, etc.”  When God adopts us into His family He is establishing a personal relationship with us. That relationship is established on the shed blood of His Son. Our relationship to God in salvation cannot be broken by us because we have nothing to do with any of the conditions that establish the adoption agreement, nor do we have any involvement in any of the conditions that hold the agreement in force. The second “ship” is fellowship. Mr. Webster defines fellowship as “friendly association; a mutual sharing, as of experience, activity, interest, etc; a group of people with the same interests; company; brotherhood.” Fellowship is the way the relationship expresses itself in the lives of those involved. The act of God in adopting us into His family, establishes an eternal relationship that is expressed to us through fellowship. With that information, let’s consider what Scripture tells us about:

  1. THE PROOF OF ADOPTION. We are related to God in Christ – Read Jn. 1:12; and Rom. 8:14-17. Read Eph. 4:1-16 where, because we are all adopted into God’s family as His children, we are also related to each other as brothers and sisters. Now let’s consider an important, though often ignored proof of adoption into God’s family; and that is proof in our daily lives. Read Gal. 4:1-7. The proof Paul is addressing is the proof of assurance, or reassurance that comes to our hearts when Satan attacks us with thoughts of doubt. Another way we see the proof of adoption through our daily lives is our obedience from our heart to ALL God’s Word! As with most everything, God gives overwhelming proof that we are adopted into His eternal family. Now let’s consider the:
  2. PROCESS OF OUR ADOPTION. have all heard people say, “I’ve been a Christian all my life”. The Biblical doctrine of adoption clearly teaches that no one is born a Christian. One writer says adoption is opposite to the idea of being born into a family. The very concept of adoption is a demonstration of mercy and grace in action. When a person is adopted it is because the one doing the adopting is compelled by the love in their heart to change the status of the person being adopted from being an orphan without a family, into the status of being a family member. In order to be saved a person must believe the truth about Christ being the Savior, and they must place their faith in Him. So adoption is one of God’s responses to saving faith. Or, faith comes before adoption. Read Gal. 3:23-30. We read John 1:12 earlier. There we learn “all who receive Christ as Savior are given the power to become children of God.” Again, notice – the power to become children of God – comes from God! Another part of the process of adoption is assurance of adoption is given by The Holy Spirit. Notice in Gal. 4:6 Paul tells us the result of being adopted children of God causes the Holy Spirit to call God “Father.” Look closely at Gal. 4:7. The manner in which God conducts the process of adoption is that we are adopted as legal heirs. Paul’s point in Galatians is that our salvation changes the way God sees us, from being viewed as His enemy, to being adopted into His family as a child. Take a few minutes to review this information and you will see how serious God is about establishing and maintaining an eternal relationship with you! How grateful we should be God chose us to be part of His family! Amen!

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

God’s Righteousness Received (Part 2)

A continuation of our previous week’s message.

Romans 3:27-31

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. Paul now brings his argument for justification by faith to a close. In so doing he asks a series of rhetorical questions and answers that prove justification is received by faith. Paul’s whole point here, and in this entire section, has been that salvation is so magnificently enormous, that no human being could ever begin to pay for it. In fact, from God’s viewpoint, to make any attempt to pay for salvation is, not just an insult, but blasphemy to Him! The idea of salvation from a human standpoint is so “big,” that to think of it as a free gift is almost beyond human reasoning! Why is it that when a gift reaches a certain point on the “WHOA” scale, we think we have to pay for it in some way? Imagine how you would feel if you gave someone a gift that was extraordinarily expensive, and they said to you, “Oh my! How much was this, I’ll pay you for it?” Chances are, you would be terribly hurt and perhaps even a little angry that they would be so arrogant as to think they had to pay for such a gift! Right? Multiply that times infinity and that’s how God feels when we think we can pay God in some way for our salvation! Let’s look at Paul’s concluding paragraph.

  1. FAITH EXCLUDES BOASTING – 3:27. In this instance, “boasting” should not be understood as one author says, “unwarranted self-adulation for meritorious achievement. Rather we should see it as justifiable pride on the part of the Jewish nation for having been chosen by God for a special role in the drama of redemption.” By its very nature, faith eliminates boasting. One author points out: people cannot boast about something they received through no merit of their own.” Boasting/bragging is the outward expression of inward doubt! A person who feels the need to tell others how wonderful they think they are, is telling you they are insecure, and unsure about the truth that God will properly reward them for their achievements! When we are feeling like God has withheld the blessings, remember this: nothing about our salvation relationship to God is based on feelings. It is always based on fact/truth! And that fact or truth is God’s truth! The lost and hypocrites “feel” God has mistreated them (or a loved one) in some way. They feel/think – If God really is a God of love, He would not have let some tragedy happen; or He would have made some situation better to show them His love. Because sin makes us feel so inadequate and undeserving before God (which in fact we are), sin causes us to think/feel we must compensate for our undeserving inadequacy before God by trying to impress Him with our own idea of what is noteworthy to Him. Your idea of covering or removing your sin, isn’t going to get the job done? Only blood can cover sin. Here is an interesting statement one writer makes concerning the relationship of faith and boasting. He says, faith implies the surrender of all self-glory. That is a great one sentence commentary on v. 27. If you believe God can save you from eternal hell, then He can also reward you more than all you can imagine or ask! All you have to do is be patient and leave the boasting to God! One day you’ll be glad you did!

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

God’s Righteousness Received (Part 1)

Romans 3:27-31

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. Paul now brings his argument for justification by faith to a close. In so doing he asks a series of rhetorical questions and answers that prove justification is received by faith. Paul’s whole point here, and in this entire section, has been that salvation is so magnificently enormous, that no human being could ever begin to pay for it. In fact, from God’s viewpoint, to make any attempt to pay for salvation is, not just an insult, but blasphemy to Him! The idea of salvation from a human standpoint is so “big,” that to think of it as a free gift is almost beyond human reasoning! Why is it that when a gift reaches a certain point on the “WHOA” scale, we think we have to pay for it in some way? Imagine how you would feel if you gave someone a gift that was extraordinarily expensive, and they said to you, “Oh my! How much was this, I’ll pay you for it?” Chances are, you would be terribly hurt and perhaps even a little angry that they would be so arrogant as to think they had to pay for such a gift! Right? Multiply that times infinity and that’s how God feels when we think we can pay God in some way for our salvation! Let’s look at Paul’s concluding paragraph.

  1. FAITH EXCLUDES BOASTING – 3:27. In this instance, “boasting” should not be understood as one author says, “unwarranted self-adulation for meritorious achievement. Rather we should see it as justifiable pride on the part of the Jewish nation for having been chosen by God for a special role in the drama of redemption.” By its very nature, faith eliminates boasting. One author points out: people cannot boast about something they received through no merit of their own.” Boasting/bragging is the outward expression of inward doubt! A person who feels the need to tell others how wonderful they think they are, is telling you they are insecure, and unsure about the truth that God will properly reward them for their achievements! When we are feeling like God has withheld the blessings, remember this: nothing about our salvation relationship to God is based on feelings. It is always based on fact/truth! And that fact or truth is God’s truth! The lost and hypocrites “feel” God has mistreated them (or a loved one) in some way. They feel/think – If God really is a God of love, He would not have let some tragedy happen; or He would have made some situation better to show them His love. Because sin makes us feel so inadequate and undeserving before God (which in fact we are), sin causes us to think/feel we must compensate for our undeserving inadequacy before God by trying to impress Him with our own idea of what is noteworthy to Him. Your idea of covering or removing your sin, isn’t going to get the job done? Only blood can cover sin. Here is an interesting statement one writer makes concerning the relationship of faith and boasting. He says, faith implies the surrender of all self-glory. That is a great one sentence commentary on v. 27. If you believe God can save you from eternal hell, then He can also reward you more than all you can imagine or ask! All you have to do is be patient and leave the boasting to God! One day you’ll be glad you did!

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

 

God’s Righteousness Revealed

Romans 3:21-26

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. After having studied Rom. 1:18-thru chapter 3, we have come to see clearly that all mankind stands condemned before God because all have sinned and come short of God’s glory. Paul now turns his attention to the very heartbeat of salvation. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul is going to explain exactly what salvation is, how it is received, and how it is revealed. When justification is used in Scripture, it means, “GOD declares a person to be legally released from all charges.” In 3:21-26 Paul explains how justification is received, and in 3:27-31 he explains

  1. HOW JUSTIFICATION IS REVEALED! Paul begins with the negative, telling us how justification is NOT revealed. Justification is not revealed through the Law, but apart from the Law. Notice how Paul wastes no time in setting the most fundamental principle of justification. There is no simpler way to say man can’t earn his salvation. Let me explain to you why the false doctrine of salvation by works is both blasphemous to God, and dangerous to those who practice it.
    1. All people are born already being guilty of breaking God’s law. Read Rom. 3:9-12, 23; 11:32 and Gal. 3:22.
    2. Salvation by works makes Man the giver of justification, not God. The bottom line is the doctrine of salvation by works is blasphemous to God because it ultimately says to Him, Your way of salvation by faith alone is not good enough, I have to add my works to my faith so You will be impressed with me! Do you see how the arrogance of a sinful nature is putting “me” first and making God’s grace secondary? Think about it!
    3. Works allows boasting. Those who have been saved longer can say, I have done more to impress God than you have, so I have a higher standing than you. God is an equal opportunity Redeemer! Furthermore He never withholds any blessing from anyone who deserves it. Even if a person comes to Christ later in life, they can receive more blessing that all they could ever ask or imagine!
    4. Works encourages or promotes bondage to others. Those who say they have been saved longer can, and do, tell others, you haven’t quite got it yet; or you have not worked hard enough, long enough to be where I am; or you aren’t as blessed as you see I am because you are still committing to many sins! Now Paul states positively how justification is received when he says in v. 22 “the righteousness of God is appropriated through faith in Jesus Christ.” Here is the easiest way to see what Paul is saying. But now the (ESV) righteousness of God has been made known, through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. You really don’t have to look all that closely to see the Law has nothing to do with justification. Read Gal. 3:1-25 where Paul explains this same truth to them. In v. 24 he tells them “the law was put in place to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.” Eph. 2:8, 9 clearly state justification/salvation is “…a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Nothing can be a gift if one has to do anything to earn it. Justification can received only as a gift of God’s amazing grace. Paul also explains justification is:
    5. Available to all as a gift. 23, 24. So just as “all” have sinned, “all” are justified as a gift. Notice that the period comes after “through redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” In order to receive God’s gift of justification you must stop trusting in your own idea of how to get on His good side and doing things you think He will like; and you must start trusting God’s Perfect Son! Paul now tells us justification is revealed
    6. As Acknowledgment of God’s judgment – 25. The 1st word is propitiation which one excellent theologian defines as “a sacrifice that bears God’s wrath to the end and in so doing changes God’s wrath toward us into favor.” God’s forbearance is defined as God restraining Himself from punishing sin to its fullest extent until Christ was on Calvary.” Because Christ hung there in your place and satisfied God’s wrath, He is now able to offer you a full pardon through Justification from God. Finally Paul brings us to the climax of this revelation:
    7. As Announcing God’s Righteousness – 26. In the truth that God’s justice and love meet at the Cross clearly helps us understand, as one writer says, “the problem of how a holy God can receive into His presence those who by nature are unholy has been solved. God offers His righteousness to those who will receive it, not as something to supplement their own good works but as a gift that alone can place them in a right standing with God.” Only a God Who is holy in all His perfections could conceive and execute a plan that would at the same time, completely satisfy the demands of His holy Law, and demonstrate His infinite love for all people everywhere – that would instantly remove their sin, clear their name, and draw them to Christ for salvation.

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

 

Bondslaves to Freedom

John 8:31-33

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. What do you think of when you think of freedom? Webster’s New World College Dict. Defines freedom as “exemption or liberation from the control of some other person or some arbitrary power.” The only way that definition of freedom can be true is for us to be God! If that definition is played out among people in the current state of fallen, sinful humanity, every person would be doing what they thought best to serve their own interests and desires. The reason that is, and must be true is that the effect of sin causes a person to be self-centered, not others centered! In our focal passage today John records Jesus’ words that simply, clearly tell us truth is freedom. Knowledge of that truth makes one free. Let’s look at:

  1. FREEDOM EXPLAINED. The political concept of freedom in secular Greek world meant “to be at one’s own disposal.” It was usually thought of in comparison to the slave. A slave was/is one who does not belong to himself but to someone else. And therein is the rub. In our focal passage for today Jesus tells us Truth is the author/give of real freedom. One very simple “theological” definition of truth is the way things really The writer of Heb. tells us in 6:18 “it is impossible for God to lie.” If God is perfect in every way, and He is, He must be a God of truth, or He cannot be perfect. Read John 17:17. This simple statement is the cornerstone to true freedom. The Bible is Divinely inspired Truth from “In the beginning,” to “the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all. Amen.” Not only that, it is absolute truth! Denying that Scripture from beginning to end is God’s truth, does not change the fact that all Scripture is God’s truth! In fact all that happens in all creation is God’s truth, whether it is good or evil. Good is the consequence of obeying God’s Word, evil is the consequence of disobeying God’s Word, but it’s all His truth!! So Jesus explains that freedom is truth, and truth is God’s truth. Let’s consider
  2. FREEDOM EMPLOYED! Jesus tells us once we understand that true freedom is found IN God’s truth the next step is to “know” the truth. Knowledge of truth comes in two conscious decisions that Jesus makes clear in His statement in v. 32. Knowledge of truth comes 1st by abiding, remaining, living in God’s Word. The 2nd step takes us to the very heart of true freedom. To be truly free a person must know the Truth! So how do we find truth? Jesus says when HE sets a person free, that person is free indeed, or truly, really, actually free! So which is it that frees a person, the truth or Jesus? Read John 14: 6. Jesus explains that He is the Way – or the path/direction/course by which a person passes from bondage to freedom. He tells us He is the way things really are, or He is Truth. He is that which can be depended on to be reality. He is also the Life that all men seek, but few actually receive because of their stubborn pride. Freedom can be enjoyed only in Christ! Let’s consider then:
  3. FREEDOM ENJOYED. Here is a paradox for you to consider: true freedom is enjoyed only in voluntary slavery! Read 1 Cor. 6:19-20; 7:20-24. In Rome a person who was a slave could work and eventually earn their freedom. When they did so, they then had a choice. They could leave and be free to fend for themselves, or they could stay and continue to be a servant by choice, and the master would continue to take care of them. Christ paid the redemption price for you at Calvary. When you asked Him to save you, you voluntarily chose to “let Him buy you” back out of the slave market of sin. Because you ask for His salvation, and He gave it to you, He now owns you. You are His servant by your own choice. As God Christ always has your best interest at heart. He is the perfect owner, and given you the perfect freedom. That freedom is the freedom from bondage in sin, death, and the freedom from eternal punishment in hell! Biblical freedom does not give us the freedom to do what we want; Biblical freedom gives us the freedom to do what we should! Doing what we should, out of desire is true freedom!

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.