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Freedom: From God’s Perspective (Part 2)

This is a continuation of the previous message. The notes are the same.

Romans 6:5-11

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. Webster’s New World dictionary defines freedom as, “not under the control of some other person or some arbitrary power; able to act or think without compulsion or arbitrary restriction; having liberty. ”True freedom is freedom from an existence which in sin leads through the law to death. Often in Scripture the meaning of freedom is fashioned by contrast with the bondage of the slave. See Romans 6:5 – 23. According to the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT), in the NT freedom is expressed as freedom from sin, from the law, and from death. One writer says, “The great freedoms of the Christian life are: (1) freedom from the ruling power of sin in our lives; (2) freedom from guilt because our sins have been forgiven by God; and (3) freedom from the impossible obligation of attempting to earn favor with God through perfect obedience.” I’m going to use the statement from the TDNT and this last statement as my outline for today. So true freedom begins with:

  1. FREEDOM FROM SIN Read Jn. 8:31-33. Notice first that both the promise and the principal are conditional. The entire law of God is summarized, by God Himself, with the condition of personal choice. The entire summary is if (your choice) you obey Me I will bless you, but if (your choice) you disobey Me I will curse you. So if you want to reduce this entire doctrine to its simplest statement – freedom from sin is a personal choice. Notice in verse 31 Jesus says, “if you abide in My word,” John wrote, “if you continue.” The entire 15th chapter of John has to do with abiding, continuing, remaining, and enduring in Christ and His Word. John’s point is to teach us that all things concerning our salvation relationship to God are as permanent, enduring, and as unchangeable as God Himself. The only starting point is, if (your choice) you want to be free from sin and its ruling power in your life. True freedom is also:
  2. FREEDOM FROM THE LAW. Read Rom. 7:1-6. Paul’s statement here is an analogy to help us understand how our salvation changes our relationship to the law. There are at least 3 ways our salvation frees us from the law: First, we are free from the provocation to defy the law. Read Rom. 7:7-20. From the time God told Adam and Eve not to eat off the tree of the knowledge and good and evil, until the time they were tempted, was the law in effect? Absolutely! Look at v. 8. Until Adam and Eve were tempted to defy/disobey God, they were dead to sin! Remember the law – don’t eat – is in effect. And as you know their personal choice was to leave the freedom from sin in which they were created, and plunge themselves and the entire race into the slavery of sin. Second, we are also free from the perfection demanded by the law. Read James 2:8-13. God makes a very clear-cut line between right and wrong, just and unjust, and holy and unholy. From God’s perspective one is either completely righteous, just, and holy – or they are completely wrong, unjust and unholy. Here’s another way to say it: God never tolerates or allows just a little sin! A morally perfect God demands-rightfully so-moral perfection from His creation. Third, we are free from the penalty for disobeying the law. God makes the penalty for disobeying the law very clear from the beginning when He tells Adam and Eve “eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and you will die.”  As we all know, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God in the flesh, lived a perfect, sin-free life which qualified Him to be the sacrifice for mankind. This sets us free from the bondage and penalty of the law and that freedom includes what is perhaps the greatest freedom of all:
  3. FREEDOM FROM DEATH! Read Rom. 6:20-23. Paul’s central theme, not just here but throughout this chapter as well as chapters 7, 8 is that all those who are truly born again into spiritual life through faith in Christ as Savior, have been set free from the bondage and eternal death-penalty sin carries with it. To be free from death is to be free from the fearful reality of being separated from God for all eternity – that is what hell is! Our salvation gives to us the freedom to choose to do right according to God’s Word.

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

Freedom: From God’s Perspective (Part 1)

Romans 6:5-11

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. Webster’s New World dictionary defines freedom as, “not under the control of some other person or some arbitrary power; able to act or think without compulsion or arbitrary restriction; having liberty. ”True freedom is freedom from an existence which in sin leads through the law to death. Often in Scripture the meaning of freedom is fashioned by contrast with the bondage of the slave. See Romans 6:5 – 23. According to the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT), in the NT freedom is expressed as freedom from sin, from the law, and from death. One writer says, “The great freedoms of the Christian life are: (1) freedom from the ruling power of sin in our lives; (2) freedom from guilt because our sins have been forgiven by God; and (3) freedom from the impossible obligation of attempting to earn favor with God through perfect obedience.” I’m going to use the statement from the TDNT and this last statement as my outline for today. So true freedom begins with:

  1. FREEDOM FROM SIN Read Jn. 8:31-33. Notice first that both the promise and the principal are conditional. The entire law of God is summarized, by God Himself, with the condition of personal choice. The entire summary is if (your choice) you obey Me I will bless you, but if (your choice) you disobey Me I will curse you. So if you want to reduce this entire doctrine to its simplest statement – freedom from sin is a personal choice. Notice in verse 31 Jesus says, “if you abide in My word,” John wrote, “if you continue.” The entire 15th chapter of John has to do with abiding, continuing, remaining, and enduring in Christ and His Word. John’s point is to teach us that all things concerning our salvation relationship to God are as permanent, enduring, and as unchangeable as God Himself. The only starting point is, if (your choice) you want to be free from sin and its ruling power in your life. True freedom is also:
  2. FREEDOM FROM THE LAW. Read Rom. 7:1-6. Paul’s statement here is an analogy to help us understand how our salvation changes our relationship to the law. There are at least 3 ways our salvation frees us from the law: First, we are free from the provocation to defy the law. Read Rom. 7:7-20. From the time God told Adam and Eve not to eat off the tree of the knowledge and good and evil, until the time they were tempted, was the law in effect? Absolutely! Look at v. 8. Until Adam and Eve were tempted to defy/disobey God, they were dead to sin! Remember the law – don’t eat – is in effect. And as you know their personal choice was to leave the freedom from sin in which they were created, and plunge themselves and the entire race into the slavery of sin. Second, we are also free from the perfection demanded by the law. Read James 2:8-13. God makes a very clear-cut line between right and wrong, just and unjust, and holy and unholy. From God’s perspective one is either completely righteous, just, and holy – or they are completely wrong, unjust and unholy. Here’s another way to say it: God never tolerates or allows just a little sin! A morally perfect God demands-rightfully so-moral perfection from His creation. Third, we are free from the penalty for disobeying the law. God makes the penalty for disobeying the law very clear from the beginning when He tells Adam and Eve “eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and you will die.”  As we all know, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God in the flesh, lived a perfect, sin-free life which qualified Him to be the sacrifice for mankind. This sets us free from the bondage and penalty of the law and that freedom includes what is perhaps the greatest freedom of all:
  3. FREEDOM FROM DEATH! Read Rom. 6:20-23. Paul’s central theme, not just here but throughout this chapter as well as chapters 7, 8 is that all those who are truly born again into spiritual life through faith in Christ as Savior, have been set free from the bondage and eternal death-penalty sin carries with it. To be free from death is to be free from the fearful reality of being separated from God for all eternity – that is what hell is! Our salvation gives to us the freedom to choose to do right according to God’s Word.

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

Guest Speaker: Dr. James Gabhart

This week we invite Dr. James Gabhart to deliver the message that God has given to him for us.

The Love of a Husband

Eph. 5:25-33

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. From the time of the Fall in Eden when Adam blamed Eve for making him sin, men in general have continued to oppress and suppress women. Unfortunately, the maltreatment of womankind has been practiced, and is still being practiced today, by men who claim to be men of God. It seems the universal theme song of the male side of the race is summed up in a statement from the OT and a statement from the NT. The statement from the OT comes from Gen. 3:16 when God says to Eve, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” And the statement from the NT comes from Eph. 5:22, 23 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife…”Even men who don’t know where to find Genesis in the Bible will say, “It says in the Bible wives submit to your husbands.” The problem is in both cases those verses are taken out of context to make it sound like God created women to be slaves. However, you remember last month on Mother’s Day we studied the Scriptures in context to prove that God created woman to be man’s extraordinarily intelligent and imaginative equal partner. So on this Father’s Day let’s look at the role God has given to us as husbands and fathers as we consider, not just the dignity of man, as man, but also the high calling of God to the duties He has given us as His appointed head of the family. God begins with:

  1. LOVE YOUR WIVES. If you look up the word love in the dictionary inside a man’s head, love is defined as s-e-x! But when God defines love He spells it a-g-a-p-e. One of the simplest ways to define agape is to love as God loves. So the question is: what does agape love look like from a husband to his wife and children? God defines such love in these verses.
  2. A LOVE OF SIMILARITY. Men pay close attention here! God wastes no time in telling us as husbands exactly how/on what level/to what degree we are to love our wives. Do you see the parallelism here? As Christ loved – so husbands are to love! One writer says at this point, “the responsibility that is given to the man here is terrifying: to love their wives like Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for the church. ”This is not just a comparison, this statement, as one writer says – “places the husbands in emphatic parallelism with Christ.” Here the NIV makes that point very clearly by saying, “husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church…” The emphasis being on “just as. Our wives are to have the same value to us as the True, Universal Church has to Christ. The love a husband is to have for his wife and children is also:
  3. A LOVE OF SACRIFICE. As Christ gave Himself up for the church, so husbands are to give themselves up for their wives. If you thought that showing a love of similarity was terrifying – this love of sacrifice can be even more so! Why? Because the essence of the word sacrifice as it is used in this sentence means a willingness to die. Hey guys, if someone ask your wife – does your husband love you enough to give his lifeblood for you? What do you think the answer to that question is in the depths of her heart are only she and God go? In giving Himself up for the church, Christ became her bond servant or bond slave. That means He served/and still serves today, His bride, The Universal Church. Guys are you picking up on this? Sacrificial love means you submit to her, you become her servant. Now here is where this submission thing comes home to roost! This is where a real man of God will see and understand that God is teaching – if you want your wife to submit to you, then you teach her how to submit by submitting to Me as your Lord and Master 1st, then submitting to her by giving yourself up in ministry and service to/for her! Interesting how that works isn’t it? But wait there’s more!
  4. A LOVE OF SANCTIFICATION. There is an extremely important point that must be made here, and that truth is –only God can sanctify a heart. It is also true that only God can change a heart. Ladies you are not going to change our hearts, or even our minds! You might influence change – but you are not the agent that will bring about the change! Man, every word of that is true for us also. Only God can change a heart and the mind. On a much higher scale only God can sanctify, cleanse, or renew a sinful heart and make it a right heart before Him. We are given the responsibility and are accountable to God for the way we live our own personal lives in front of our wives and children. Our wives and children also need to see us studying and memorizing Scripture. Listen men, there is nothing “un-macho” about our wives and children seeing us struggle or scratch our heads or –here’s a really weird idea – seeking counsel and guidance from another man who is known to walk daily with the Lord! The result over our lifetime is that we become less stained, less wrinkled, and less blemished and more radiant. When that happens – God uses that spiritual growth to influence our wives and children to let Him sanctify them. Husbands are to love their wives with:
  5. A LOVE OF SERVICE! There are some important truths to notice in this comparison. 1st notice this love of service that cleanses and washes is a continual ministry that lasts an entire lifetime. Washing and cleansing are both continual processes. Turn to John 13:3-10. This love of service is how a love of sanctification happens. The more one reads and studies – and applies to their daily life what they have learned – the more separated from ungodliness they become because the living Word of God cleanses us deeper and deeper. Men, as we study and learn and grow, we are to share with our wives and children those things and encourage them to grow in their own personal walk with the Lord so they continually desire to become and remain washed and clean. A husband’s love to his wife is also:
  6. A LOVE OF SURRENDER. Now, guys, let me point out and explain something to you that will help you see why the love husband has for his wife must be a love of sanctification and service and what makes it so vitally important! A true man of God sees his wife (and children) as a gift from God. A true man of God also understands both his accountability and his responsibility to God for all that he has been given. Just as Christ is preparing The Church through continual sanctification and continual purification so that at His return She will be a proper bride adorned in His own righteousness and holiness for Him to present to Himself. So we as husbands are to continually nourish, teach, and lead our wives to Christ likeness, so that at our own personal judgment before Christ we can present them back to Christ as a radiant gift for Him. Read 2 Cor. 11:1, 2. You see Paul had the same idea about the Corinthians. So the question is: if you had to present your life to Christ today, would He be pleased with how you have prepared her? Another question you might consider is: how will you handle whatever time you have left to prepare her? And finally a husband’s love for his wife is to be:
  7. A LOVE OF SAFETY. A true man of God understands that not just his body, but his wife’s body also is the temple of the Holy Spirit. As such the husband is to care for and protect his wife in the same way he would care for and protect himself. Of course you understand this goes far deeper than just physical care and protection. It also includes mental, emotional, and especially spiritual nourishment and care. Again guys we have been given the responsibility for which we are accountable.  If you were to do a study of this section looking specifically for the requirements or duties assigned to the husband and the wife, you would discover the wife is told she is to submit to her husband and that she used to respect him. You can see God begins by telling husbands number 1 love your wives, and then God goes into great detail telling us 6 details that explain how we are to love our wives. So if you’re keeping score it is 2 to 7 in favor of the husband. Does that mean we win? What it means is that we have a far greater and much more detailed responsibility and accountability to our wives and children as the spiritual heads of our homes. And when you consider that God compares our wives to the church, and our ministry to our lives with Christ ministry to The Church we begin to see the dignity God has given to the institution of marriage.

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

Being Born Again (Part 2)

This message is a continuation of the previous week. The outlines are identical.

John 3:3-8

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. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching…” The word teaching can also be translated “doctrine.” Wayne Grudem defines doctrine as, “what the whole Bible teaches us today about some particular topic.” The study of just one doctrine at a time is called systematic theology. By studying Biblical doctrines individually, we are not only able to see how God teaches us that doctrine throughout Scripture; we are also able to learn how that doctrine functions as a necessary part or “ingredient” in our lives. We are studying the doctrine of regeneration. I am using Wayne Grudem’s outline because I like the way he so clearly explains the doctrine. He defines regeneration is a secret act of God in which He imparts (freely gives) new spiritual life to us.”

First, regeneration is: TOTALLY THE WORK OF GOD! Read John 1:9-13. Don’t miss that last phrase – everything that happens in verses 12 and 13 happens because God wills – or desires, or wants – it to happen. For anyone, anywhere who receives Christ as Savior, God then, immediately, instantly, regenerates, freely gives them new spiritual life! Read John 3:5-8; Eph. 2:4, 5 and 1 Peter 1:3; and you will see Scripture teaches that both God the Father and God the Holy Spirit bring about our regeneration.

There are some wonderful truths because regeneration is totally the work of God:

  1. Proves salvation must be a free gift of God’s grace. The Bible clearly teaches that all people everywhere are born dead in sin. To me the simplest and clearest proof that regeneration must find its origin in God’s grace is because dead people can’t do anything! If God doesn’t take the initiative, you will always be dead.
  2. That “regeneration is totally the work of God” provides security that cannot be broken! Paul tells us in the closing verses of Romans 8:28-33. Therefore because the new life we have is solely dependent upon God we can find great comfort that no matter what we do we cannot interrupt, cripple, or eliminate – even by mistake – the new life God gives to us in salvation.

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

Being Born Again (Part 1)

John 3:3-8

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. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching…” The word teaching can also be translated “doctrine.” Wayne Grudem defines doctrine as, “what the whole Bible teaches us today about some particular topic.” The study of just one doctrine at a time is called systematic theology. By studying Biblical doctrines individually, we are not only able to see how God teaches us that doctrine throughout Scripture; we are also able to learn how that doctrine functions as a necessary part or “ingredient” in our lives. We are studying the doctrine of regeneration. I am using Wayne Grudem’s outline because I like the way he so clearly explains the doctrine. He defines regeneration is a secret act of God in which He imparts (freely gives) new spiritual life to us.”

First, regeneration is: TOTALLY THE WORK OF GOD! Read John 1:9-13. Don’t miss that last phrase – everything that happens in verses 12 and 13 happens because God wills – or desires, or wants – it to happen. For anyone, anywhere who receives Christ as Savior, God then, immediately, instantly, regenerates, freely gives them new spiritual life! Read John 3:5-8; Eph. 2:4, 5 and 1 Peter 1:3; and you will see Scripture teaches that both God the Father and God the Holy Spirit bring about our regeneration.

There are some wonderful truths because regeneration is totally the work of God:

  1. Proves salvation must be a free gift of God’s grace. The Bible clearly teaches that all people everywhere are born dead in sin. To me the simplest and clearest proof that regeneration must find its origin in God’s grace is because dead people can’t do anything! If God doesn’t take the initiative, you will always be dead.
  2. That “regeneration is totally the work of God” provides security that cannot be broken! Paul tells us in the closing verses of Romans 8:28-33. Therefore because the new life we have is solely dependent upon God we can find great comfort that no matter what we do we cannot interrupt, cripple, or eliminate – even by mistake – the new life God gives to us in salvation.

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

Persistence in Prayer

Luke 11:5-13

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. Wouldn’t it be just wonderful if God answered every prayer with an immediate yes or no? Even an immediate “wait” would be helpful wouldn’t it? We all know that’s not the way God works! Paul told the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing. Do you know he most likely learned that from the Lord? In Luke 18:1 in the prayer of the persistent widow, Jesus is teaching that we, “ought always to pray and not lose heart.” In Luke 10:2 Jesus tells us to “pray earnestly” for people who will share the gospel with those around them. One writer says, “Persistent prayer requires patience, determination and, at times, a willingness to wrestle with God for the desired outcome.” There is a “1st truth” that must always be obeyed when offering any kind of prayer for anything! That 1st truth is: all prayer must be in harmony and accordance with God’s truth. Let’s consider some other Biblical principles concerning a persistent prayer life.

  1. SHOULD BE WITH PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE! Read 1Chron. 16. Beginning in verse 8 is David’s song of thanksgiving and praise to God because He helped David to return the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and it has been placed in a tent that David erected for that purpose. The key thought here is seek continually.” Read Psalm 40: read 1 – 3. Verse 1 describes David’s attitude concerning his prayer requests to God. David was willing to be content, waiting on God to answer his prayers. David did not put a time limit on his prayers, nor did he give God instructions on how to answer David’s prayers. If you learn to pray with patience and perseverance as did David – you will learn all the same lessons David did! Persistent prayer: Persistent prayer:
  2. IS THE PRACTICE TAUGHT BY CHRIST! Read Luke 11:5-13. In the parable, Jesus tells us the one who comes knocking and asking is impudent, or persistent. Impudent carries with it the idea of contemptuous nest or cocky boldness or disregard of others. The New Living Translation uses the phrase “shameless persistence.” The man’s attitude is, in essence, “I don’t care if you’re in bed, I’m in a bind and I need your help, so get up and give me the bread.” In verses 9, 10 Jesus teaches us persistence in prayer is also a demonstration of our uncompromising faith that God will provide for us that which we need. Notice Jesus says keep asking which is an invitation to come to The Father with our request; but is not to be taken as an order to pray. Conversation with our Heavenly Father must, like all other facets of our salvation relationship to Him, find its origin in grace – not law! As we ask we are to keep seeking = a redeemed heart in pursuit of God to secure His abundant provision. And we are to keep knocking = an indication that we will not be deterred or distracted in our pursuit of God. Persistent prayer was
  3. EXEMPLIFIED AND PRACTICED by the early Church. Read Rom. 12:9-18. If you notice beginning in verse 9 through verse 18 Paul writes a list of Christian virtues and character qualities that are all to be a way of life for the true Christian. In verse 10 we are told to be strong “in the Lord, and in His might.” Here is a truth for you to remember: The armor of God is spiritual armor – because we are in a spiritual warfare – against spiritual forces of evil! All our spiritual weapons must be rooted and grounded in prayer which is our most powerful resource. Let me give you just 4 reasons to be persistent in prayer: 1. The Bible teaches us to do so – as we have learned today. 2. It reminds us of specific petitions we have brought to God. 3. It reminds us to live in such a way that God can answer our prayers. 4. It reminds us that we cannot live independently of God and His provisions for our daily lives. So if God teaches us, and invites us, to come to Him continually with our requests, it is in our best interest to do exactly as He says!

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