Category Archives: Faith/Spirituality

Wine or Welch’s?

July 6, 2018

I received this email from the former Deacon in my church:

Dear Brother,

What is happening with our Communion cup? Someone asked today, What did we drink? I also wonder. I have talked to at least 5 people at DHBC (not counting you) about Communion, and they all know that Jesus used wine, and think we ought to do the same. NONE can explain why we don’t. You haven’t either. As one person said, Why don’t we use the good stuff like the Roman Catholics? My question is, Why are the Roman Catholics more Biblical on the cup than we? Why is our cup a mystery drink? What is your objection to being Biblical? One person thought alcoholism might be the reason. My response is, why should an alcoholic compel Christ’s Church to be unbiblical? Is alcoholism a sin more powerful than the grace of Christ? Some churches put both (unmistakable) grape juice and wine in the tray, one on the inside, the other on the outer. Jesus did not do this. But at least that allows some believers to worship Biblically. At DHBC none of us can. Please apply God’s Word to this continuing problem.

WoW! Interesting points. But let’s first look at the history of this debate.

I. History

For 1,869 years, the church used only wine. The concept of using grape juice was born out of the temperance movement in the United States in the 1800’s. It wasn’t until the year 1869, that Thomas Welch (yes that guy) who was adamantly opposed to the buying, selling, or use of intoxicating beverages. He discovered that Louis Pasteur’s method of pasteurization (it wasn’t until the 1880’s that pasteurization came into practice) prevented the natural fermentation of grapes.

Welch peddled his idea to churches in the area, who were quick to adopt this means of celebrating the Lord’s Supper.

We know from history, and the Bible itself, that Jesus did NOT turn the water into grape juice! (See John 2 for details). The biblical and historical precedence of using wine for communion was established at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:17-30).

II. What does Scripture say:

Biblically, we can’t make an argument for grape juice. It’s conversion into wine is a natural by-product of squeezing grapes. Mark 2:22 and Matthew 9:17 reminds us that no one puts new (unfermented) wine into old wineskins. The process of fermentation produces carbon dioxide gas, which causes expansion, and bursting. You really could not stop the conversion of grapes into wine. Until 1869. Which historically, is recent.

III. The controversy

The controversy then becomes one of conscience. Shakespeare reminds us in Hamlet: “…thus conscience doth make cowards of us all.” How perfectly candid, did Shakespeare understood the human condition.

So do we upset the order of things (traditions of man) to bring us back in harmony with the Word of God?

Yes…but. And this is my opinion. The Bible is replete with scriptures on causing others to stumble.

Romans 14 :13-23 is a strong warning against stumbling a brother. Here is the text:

13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (ESV)

Strong warning from Scripture. Do we serve wine, which is the Biblical order, or do we serve grape juice because of someone’s conscience?

Ay there’s the rub. Two diametrically opposed thoughts. The quandary is completed.

I offer this solution. For those of us who are able, wine. For those because of conscience sake, grape juice. Yes I know that grape juice is a MAP. (Methodist Approved Product).

Would this cause further dissension? I am one guy. What say you?

For further consideration: Wine or Welch’s


An Overview of Worship

An Overview of Worship
by Wayno Guerrini
May 10, 2018

Full Disclosure:

The outline for this talk was taken from:

(Francis Schaeffer Institute, God’s Pattern for Worship as viewed on May 10, 2018)

It is a very comprehensive article. I used the article as a template and interwove my comments with theirs. Direct quotes are so noted in the text.

This is a rough draft. I apologize if the transitions are choppy.

An audio version of this lesson is also available, if you want to listen.


Worship conjures in the mind stirring renditions of music, emotionalism, and gushy sentimentalism. Worship is none of these. It is perhaps the most mis-understood aspect of Christianity today. We have preconceived notions of what worship is, and what it is not. If hard pressed, very few could adequately define its meaning, let alone grasp its importance to the life and well being both individually, and corporately to the church at large.

Let’s start with what Worship is not. Worship is NOT routine. It is not something we do to occupy time on Sunday mornings between 9 am and 10:30. It is not mundane. It is not ordinary. Yet to many, it is the only time of the week, when the concept of worship enters our minds.

Worship is NOT for unbelievers. A worship service is designed for believers who have been redeemed by Christ to praise Him. An unconverted person (one who has not surrendered their life to the Lordship of Christ) is incapable of of worship. How many wait in joyful anticipation of a Sunday Worship Service? Certainly fellowship is part of the reason many attend church. But our focus is on me, and not Christ. What is the reason you attend church on Sunday morning?

Worship should be relational. And it should be impacting. Let’s delve into those aspects in more detail.

Many of us seem to have the concept that God is somehow a cosmic bell boy. He waits for our call to do whatever we command. It’s not like that. God is personal, not distant. Worship is a call to express our gratitude and gratefulness for God’s un-merited favour bestowed freely on us. The worship dynamic involves relationship between the Creator and the created. The relationship starts when a person surrenders to the Lordship of Christ (Rom 10:9-10).

Worship is centred in relationship. We come with no expectations save to acknowledge our need for a Saviour. Psalm 100 serves as an ideal focal point to begin our discussion:

A Psalm for giving thanks. / Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100:1-5 ESV)

I like what verse 2 says: “Know that the Lord (or Self-Existant One), is God.” What is the first step? Psalm 46:10 reminds us: “Be still, and now that I am God.” It means removing ourselves from the thoughts and cares of the world, so that there is a singularity of thought. God. Remove the clutter and distractions of this temporal existence, into the realm of knowing God personally. That requires relationship; not lip service. Verse 2 later states: It is he who made us, and we are his. Does your life and attitudes reflect a dedication to the Saviour, or the world? Matthew 6:24 reminds us that “no one can serve two masters.” Whom do you serve. The World, or Christ?

The promise of God is found in the Old Testament. Ezekiel 36:26-27

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:26-27 ESV)

Worship only takes place in context of relationship. God will circumcise our heart of stone, and give us in return a heart of flesh, that yearns to worship. This relationship requires a commitment on our part to the honesty and veracity of Scripture itself. What is the Bible then? It is the story of a trustworthy God revealing himself, in a trustworthy manner. Our focus needs to be anchored in eternity (Ecclesiastes 3:11) not this world. Where is your focus? The World or God?

Why is an eternal perspective important? If our hearts are not focused on things that have an eternal value, then life becomes dross and becomes meaningless; devoid of both meaning and purpose. Our focus must be vertically oriented (Heaven-ward), not horizontal. Heaven not the world. Our focus gives definition to our purpose and goals. Larry O. Richards said it best: “We must live in a post-Christian world, but God wants to inoculate us, from its value system.”

Worshiping God requires a daily commitment to truth renewal. You won’t grow as a Christ Follower if your Bible remains unopened on your desk. Truth renewal is daily. Romans reminds us:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 ESV)

A living sacrifice. You know what the problem is with a living sacrifice? We crawl off the alter. We are enticed by our desires and a penchant to glorify our flesh. Did we forget the words of the Disciple’s Prayer. Matthew reminds us: Your kingdom come, your will be done, (Matt 6:10 ESV). His will, not ours.

I would be remiss if we didn’t talk about music as an aspect of worship. Today, as John Mac Arthur said: “We have people with no talent, playing music with no meaning, except to debase the culture.” It is a testament of how far removed from God, society really is. Music is NOT worship.

But it can be a component of worship. Worship is the heart of man ascending to God in thanksgiving and gratitude. Music is music. Worship is worship.

David Hart was both my Pastor, and my friend. Dave and I carefully did research for Dave’s book: “It’s all Rock and Roll to Me.” I was his research assistant. All of the pull out quotes you see in the book, are ones I gleaned from reading countless magazine articles on each band and compiling a profile based upon that research.

Dave said this: …”Today’s music shouldn’t be so easily dismissed by Christians. It invades every portion of our lives and affects every aspect of our being: body, heart mind, soul and spirit. Anything with his much potential power in our lives should be examined more carefully for its spiritual impact. After all, the Bible says we are to take every though captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor 10:5) (Hart, David S. (1996). It’s All Rock-n-Roll to Me. (pp 7) New Song Publishers)

The original intent of music is to uplift the soul and spirit and to bring praise to the Self-Existant One. That purpose seems lost today. Youth Specialties co-founder Wayne Rice and I were part of the National Network of Youth Ministers in San Diego, California. He had this to say:

Jesus forsook the beautiful music of the heaven-lies to become a man and endure the music of sinful humanity. He couldn’t save us from a distance and he didn’t. In the same way, we who do youth work believe in incarnational youth ministry. That means we believe it is important to enter the world of today’s youth and try to speak their language. Otherwise they wouldn’t hear what we have to say….But we can’t do that by remaining aloof. We can’t do it from a distance. We must show kids [and others] that we are interested in their world, and one good way to do that is to pay attention to the music they enjoy.

Many people today lament the “power” of rock music over our kids. Some like to blame the music for all sorts of problems and attitudes that are so evident in today’s youth culture. But if rock music and other forms of entertainment have any power at all, it is the power by default. It only flies the void left by the absence of significant [relationships] in their lives.

[People] won’t listen to us when we simply criticize and scold. But when we listen to them – and their culture – they become much more receptive to the guidance and direction that we offer. (ibid, Hart, pp 5-6)

For me, I have found if I can get a kid to talk about the music they listen to, I have a window to their internal world. I created a bridge into their life. What’s going on in the inside. I am going to date myself here. Groups like Van Halen and Madonna promote hedonism. That is the “eat, drink and be merry philosophy.” Materialistic, and self-centred. Sound like anyone you know.

Groups like Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails promote Nihilism. Destroying something, until there’s nothing.

If life is meaningless you can respond in two ways: you can give them despair, or your can make them laugh. Groups like Anthrax and Gwar. Or perhaps the philosophy of or rage and rebellion. Groups like Metallica, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Morbid Angel, Ice-T.

What are you feeding your soul? Are you feasting on the world’s music, or music that transcends and brings glory to God? Lamentations 3: 21, 24, 26) reminds us: This I recall to my mind and therefore I have hope…the Lord is my portion, saith my soul, there fore I will hope in Him. It is good that a man should have both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.

This can only occur if our focus is on the eternal, not the temporal. Music needs to be evaluated as to its impact, spiritually and morally. The deeper meaning of music is not just tune, lyrics or beat, but we need to carefully examine the lifestyle that created the music. What does it say?

Worship means we are to Glorify our Lord.

There is no place in scripture that talks about boredom and worship. If our focus becomes detached from Christ, we will be bored. We must first engage our hearts. Form is not as important as function.

What is the chief purpose of man? To sit around and grumble and complain about life’s lot? Or as the Westminster Confession reminds us, the chief purpose of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. We must be laser beam focused on His will, and not ours. It means surrendering.

People will ask, how should we begin to evaluate what we do? What criteria would you use? Should we use the old mantra of What Would Jesus do? While that may sound like the right platitude, it is not. This puts God in situations that are not biblically based. Instead we should ask: Soli Deo Gloria? How does what I propose to do, bring honour and glory to Christ?

As some of you know, I recently abandoned Facebook. Why? I was tired of all the vitriol and acerbic commentary played out on my Facebook Wall everyday by those of political extremes. Stop for a moment (and I am preaching to myself here). How does making snide comments about politics on my Facebook Wall, bring Glory to God? I am reminded of these words from Proverbs:

When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise. (Proverbs 10:19 NASB)

Unless you are talking about praying for leaders (as we are commanded in 1 Tim 2:1-2) my opinions do not bring God the Glory. It’s all about Him. NOT me. That’s one of the reasons why I nuked 100 vitriolic contacts from Facebook last night. So I can focus my attention on God, and not the world.

I have done something that I don’t normally do. I put my phone into airplane mode. No internet. No messages. No charming bells or whistles. I can begin focusing my attention on serving God and his people, not divisive politics. Life is again, wonderful.

Let’s focus on what unites us. Our common belief that there is salvation through Christ alone.

Worship means we are to Fear our Lord

Fear in the old testament (yir’ah) is perhaps better translated as reverence with trembling. Proverbs 9:10 might be better translated: “The [holy] reverence of the Self-Existant One, is the beginning of wisdom.” If we have reverence for God, we not only have respect for the person, but it means we also have a relationship. But the flip side of that is we also know that God judge’s righteously, and our disobedience, results in death (Rom 6:23). Not just physical. Spiritual. I like the way the New Living Translation puts it:

“Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28 NLT

Let’s continue on the sojourn of worship. Worship means we are to fear Our Lord. We come to God in humility (1 Peter 5:6). The fear helps us realise God’s holiness and our unworthiness. It means God first; me second.

Worship is to be Real

I like what the Francis Schaeffer Institute had to say: “We need to know Him before we can truly honour Him.” The purpose of a gathering is to worship Christ. He wants our heart, not our abilities. “The congregation is the performer. The worship team is the leader. God is the audience. Don’t mix that up!” (opcit Schaffer)

We worship out of a heart of gratitude to Christ. It is not about me, it’s about Him. Soli Deo Gloria. To the glory of God alone. How many people fall into the pattern of worshiping God with their lips, and not their hearts? (Matt 15:8 “‘This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;” ESV). The “fake it to you make it” is never a part of worship.

 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24 KJV)

Remember the words of Christ:

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt 22:26-40 ESV)

What is our attitude? Do we pay lip service, or do we worship because of who God is, and what he has done for us? (Rom 2:4 – God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance ESV).

Worship is to Praise God

Hebrew 13:15-16 reminds us:
15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (ESV)

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise ⎯ the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:15-16)

Our offerings today are not about dragging our livestock or pets to be sacrificed. Jesus was our sacrifice. So then, what do we bring? We bring ourselves! We bring a heart that desires Him, a will that is surrendered to Him, and a life that is dedicated to Him. Our sacrifice today is what flows from our heart, our love and adoration of our Lord. We are to be so full of love for our Lord that it flows to those around us. Our praise, as drawn from this text, is a peace offering of thanksgiving. This means our Lord wants us to be devoted to Him with our whole being, all the time and in all that we do.

There should be no circumstance we could ever face where praise does not flow from our lips. Our
praise is to acknowledge Christ alone, by faith alone, and by His grace alone. There should be nothing from us but that faith. What we have to sacrifice is our person, ability, and availability to His purpose. When we first give ourselves, everything else will be easy because pride and hoarding will be eliminated as well as materialism. We can sacrifice our wallets and purses to His service. Time, talents, and treasures should flow willingly from us to Him in service with joy and gladness. This involves our intellect in knowing Him as well as our emotions in praising Him.

The biggest praise is what flows from our lips. The thanksgiving for His saving grace should flow with passion and conviction. The primary testimony that we are effectively praising God is the result our praise has on our friends, family, and neighbours. When we are in a healthy relationship of praise, the church reaps benefits of health and vitality. This beckons to the world who our Lord is and what He does. This is the sacrifice of praise because it distracts from our ego and self and points toward His presence. True praise places our focus on our Lord and helps remove us from our sin and selfish nature. (op cit Schaffer)

Impacting Worship

When we hear the word impact, most of us think about cars being impacted. But in this case, impact becomes a change agent. God impacts us, and we in turn impact the world around us. It continues the relationship we have with God, re-affirming His sovereignty and Lordship in our lives. A life committed to the Kingdom which is yet come, and not the vane trappings of the world. Again, our focus must be eternal, not ephemeral.

How much of what Christ has done for us, do we give back to God? A fraction, or as Romans reminds us, a living sacrifice. Romans 13:10 tells us: Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (ESV)

If love is the fulfillment of the law, then how to begin to let God use us to change our corner of the universe? “No Christian, no matter what the education or an their job title, can grow, mature and lead purpose driven lives, if we do not have the correct reverential view of God (Hebrews 11:6: And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. ESV). (op cit Francis Schaeffer)

Real impacting worship will help us connect to God, then to one another, and then to the community. When we are not impacted, we are not worshiping rightly, and our connections with God and others will be skewed and messed up. (op cit Schaeffer)

Finally, lets examine our priorities in Worship.

Priority One – Commitment to Christianity

Love. Worship. Praise God. Psalm 42 reminds us: As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God,     for the living God. (Psalm 42:1 ESV)

Abide. To remain. We know who God is. We need to be rooted in Christ, otherwise, as it says earlier, we will die. Only when we are rooted in Christ are we receiving our sustenance from Him, and can continue to mature. How do we abide? Prayer is our connection. Our link that like a chain, is forged. Our obedience to the commands of Christ, result from a focus on worship.

Are we worshiping out of obligation, out of social reasons, or out of habit? Or do we worship out of a response to His deep love for us? Is our worship so formatted that we never see his presence, or is our worship so hard that we are as dry as the effort we put into it? Spurgeon wrote “We ought to be Prevalent pleaders, and not formal worshipers.” (op cit Francis Schaeffer)

Priority Two – Commitment to the Body of Christianity

Are we committed to serving the needs of others…or do we focus upon self? A commitment to the body of Christ, embraces the idea servant-hood. What did Christ say? The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matt 23:11-12 ESV)

In a post-Christian era – we tend to forget other people have needs. Maybe it is helping a neighbour who is infirm go to the store. Running errands for them. Cooking a meal. Spending time. Listening to a heart that has been touched by the heartache of loss, grief, or loneliness.

I believe it was Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables who said: “Grief is the price we pay for love.”

Often we will find that: The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people smile the brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest. All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer they way they do.

We are ambassadors of the King. Do we display that to others…or do we prejudge based upon some external value system? God gave us 2 ears, and 1 mouth. Listen twice as much as you speak.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. (Galatians 5:13-15 ESV)

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Romans 12:16 ESV)

Minister to the needs of those around you. This too, is a form of worship; taking care (ministering to) of the body of Christ.

Priority Three – Commitment to the Mission of Christ

The church, of necessity MUST be evangelical. What do I mean by that? If we are to change our corner of the universe (notice I did NOT say the world), we must focus on Christ’s command: Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Mark 16:15 ESV That doesn’t mean occupancy in a pew only on Sunday morning. It means the Gospel gets out of the chair, has 2 legs, and can walk and talk.

Our lives are a reflection of our commitment to Christ, and to worship. Through us, and our lives, we have a place in the ministry to others. Not by people seeing our mouths flapping. By people seeing our life working. We are the only testament someone will read. How important is it to have Christ’s compassion indwell us, so that we can minister to those in need? Our mouths will not convince anyone of God’s love. Your life, will.
How is your life working these days? Does it send a warm inviting tone to people, or are they blasted away through our judgmental attitude and prejudices? Make it a priority in your life to be amongst those who bless people, (Romans 12:14) and don’t curse them.

Let people see …the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)


I purposely did not define worship earlier. Because I want you to leave with this singular thought: Worship (proskuneo in Greek) has the idea of turning and kissing. Like a dog that laps its owner’s face. That is what worship means. The dog doesn’t care about food. He doesn’t care about the needs he might have. He is focused upon one thing and one thing only: His Master.

Is your heart turned toward Heaven, or the value system that the world proffers? If these words have spoken to your heart today, please come and see me, Pastor Dan, Tim or Michael afterwards.

A Reformed view of Theosis: Can man become like God?

While the concept of theosis (man becoming God) is a hallmark belief of the Mormon Faith, I was surprised to find out, that it was a part of another groups religious beliefs.

The Shema, which marks the beginning of a section of the Torah: Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! Deut 6:4 (NASB)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Heb 13:8 NASB)

This passage establishes the immutable (unchanging) nature of God.

The character and nature of the Godhead, has not, will not, and forever will be the same. But I think it necessary to define terms.

Theosis to me, means the deification (elevating man to the level of God) of man to a state equal in stature with the Godhead.

This has many problems. When it says that man was created in the image of God (Gen 1:26), what does that mean? Tsehlem in Hebrew means resemblance. How do we resemble God? I believe we resemble God in: Spirit, Intellect, and Morality (a free moral agent – which is NOT the same as free will). Psalm 8 reminds us that God created man a little lower then then angels. (Psalm 8:4-5)

Who was the first that “want to be like the most high?” We know the story from Isaiah 14:12-21. It was Lucifer. And who was the second? We don’t have to turn far:

 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Gen 3:4-5 NASB

And thus was the fall of mankind. We inherited a sin nature from Adam and Eve. Those who have tried to “be like God” have never, and will never succeed.

The incarnation of Christ is crucial. The hypo-static union – the union of God and man was crucial to satisfying the full wrath and anger of God. Most people don’t like to hear about the wrath and anger of God.

Man can never be God. Hear, O Israel! The Self Existent one is our God, the LORD is one! Deut 6:4

There is no room in the Godhead for man. The immutable nature of God makes that clear. The deification of man (elevating man to the same level as the Godhead) is inconsistent with the nature and character of God. What do the first two commandments say from Exodus 20?

3 “You shall have no other gods [b]before Me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself [c]an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Exodus 20:3-6 NASB)

You will have no other gods before me. That means we can NEVER be on the same level as God. God after all is a jealous God.

But let’s look at the passage cited by the article in 2 Peter 1:3-11 (NASB)

seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us [d]by His own glory and [e]excellence. 4 [f]For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral [g]excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

Again it is necessary to define terminology. What is meant by partakers of the divine nature? The word “divine” (theios in Greek) is used in verses 3-4 means God’s nature. The word does NOT mean essence. It refers to God’s moral character, as verses 5-11 go on to explain.

We need exegesis, not eisegesis. Full and complete context.

Colossians 2:8 reminds us:

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. (NASB)

Let’s cut to the quick. Where in God’s Holy Writ does it say: God became man so that man might become a god? (St. Athanasius of Alexandria)

The passage does NOT mean the elevation of man on equal par to the Godhead. This is not an ontological issue. The problem is NOT that man is a creature and needs deification. The issue is that man is a sinner. As R. C. Sproul Jr. said: (They) believe that the glory of Christ is not that he atoned for our sins, but the incarnation. That God became man. We don’t have that problem. Not in the reformed world. We don’t think that our problem is that we are creatures. But do we really believe that our problem is, that were sinners?

Theosis is scripturally inconsistent with the character of God as revealed in Scripture. Perhaps now you can see why Reformed Doctrine (and l) place an emphasis on Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone).

Refocusing Priorities in a Post Christian Era. Why I abandoned Facebook’s vitriolic political debates.

Okay.. This is going to trend toward being a {rant/rave}.

I spoke with my friend Chris last night. And I think our priorities are askew. We tend to forget we are servants of the King. We do HIS will; not ours. (Matt 6:9-13)

Don’t ask the question: What Would Jesus do? That to me is heretical. It puts God in situations that are not biblically based. Instead the question should be: Sola Gloria Deo. How does what I purpose to do, bring Glory to God alone?

Stop for a moment (and I am preaching to myself here). How does making snide comments about politics on my Facebook Wall, bring Glory to God? I am reminded of these words from Proverbs:

When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise. (Proverbs 10:19 NASB)

Unless you are talking about praying for leaders (as we are commanded in 1 Tim 2:2) my opinions do not bring God the Glory. It’s all about Him. NOT me. That’s one of the reasons why I nuked 100 vitriolic contacts from Facebook last night. So I can focus my attention on God, and not the world.

I have done something that I don’t normally do. I put my phone into airplane mode. No internet. No messages. No charming bells or whistles. I can begin focusing my attention on serving God and his people, not divisive politics. Life is again, wonderful.

And while there is debate as to the origin of this quote, I will continue to attribute it to Philip Melanchthon. Without Melanchthon, there probably would have been no Martin Luther.

He said: “In essentials, unity; In non-essentials, liberty; In all things, charity.”

Let’s focus on what unites us. Our common belief that there is salvation through Christ alone.

Our second priority should be, “How may I pray for you this week?”

{end rant/rave}


Sola Scriptura — Scripture Alone

Sola Scriptura

Wayno Guerrini

August 22, 2017

Revised October 23 & 24, 2017

I. Introduction

The five planks of the reformation are:

By Grace Alone (Sola Gratia)

Through Faith Alone (Sola Fide)

In Christ Alone (Sola Christus)

According to Scripture Alone (Sola Sciptura)

For God’s Glory Alone (Sola Deo Gloria)

Imagine for a few minutes what things where like in the 1500’s. Feudalism was the politics of the day. You were one of 3 things:

You were Nobility and part of the ruling aristocracy of the day. You kept your people and the land safe, but usually by going to war with your neighbour. This made up maybe 3-4 % of the population.

Another choice was Clergy. You interpreted the Word of God. You were well educated. No one else had the skills necessary to read the Holy Writ. You may have been involved in selling indulgences. A way to buy yourself (and others) out of suffering that was necessary to try to make it in Heaven. You remember the rhyme, right? When a coin in the coffer rings, a soul from Purgatory springs. Your allegiance was to the Papacy. God never entered into the equation. The clergy constituted 5-6 % of the population.

Finally was Serfdom. The 90% who did the labour for the other 10%. Life was grim, gritty, weary, tiring. Day after day you did the same thing. Except on Sunday when you went to mass. It was a grand building. The biggest in the town. It was replete with statues and pictures of the saints, stained glass, and holy relics and iconography everywhere. A beauty to behold. You waited patiently to confess your sins, receive absolution, do penance, and finally receive the Eucharist.

Let’s travel further back for a moment. To the 3rd century. Augustine of Hippo. From the wikipedia article we learn: After his baptism and conversion to Christianity in 386, Augustine developed his own approach to philosophy and theology, accommodating a variety of methods and perspectives. Believing that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom, he helped formulate the doctrine of original sin.

The seeds of the Reformation were born here as he read from Romans 13:13-14

Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. (op cit)

Augustine fully understood the transformative power of the Gospel.

Let’s set our way back machine to 1384. John Wycliffe. You may have heard of him. He wrote the first English Language translation of the Bible into common English. Heretic! The word of God is the exclusive domain of the Roman church. We shall interpret the Bible, certainly not you. Wycliffe died of a stroke on December 31, 1384. His works were burned. His grave dug up from consecrated ground, at the order of Pope Martin, and his body burned, and the ashes scattered in the River Swift.

Wycliffe’s writing would have a profound effect on Jan Hus. He devoured Wycliffe’s writings and became the first of the Reformers. He spoke out against indulgences. Paying for sins. That hurt the pocket book. He said this about the Roman church:

[They are] worldly, proud, mercenary, pleasure-loving, and hypocritical…. They do not regard their sins as such, do not allow themselves to be reproved, and persecute the saintly preachers. There is no doubt that if Jesus lived among such people, they would be the first to put him to death.

We cant have this! Off with his head! And Jan Hus was executed on July 5, 1415. His ashes were scattered in the Rhine River.

Hus was a few decades before our next stop. 1440. Johannes Gutenberg invents a printing press with movable type. Suddenly the cost of books, which were hand copied, became cheap and affordable to the masses. This was perhaps the most important invention known to mankind. Education became available to not only the clergy and the ruling class, but to common, ordinary serfs. This single invention revolutionized education and learning to this day. The Bible we hold in our hands today, is a direct result of this man’s incredible invention.

What sparked the Reformation? What made a difference in the life of an insignificant monk, nearly 500 years ago? It wasn’t sudden wealth. It wasn’t a man. It was an encounter with the truth. The power of Scripture comes not merely from what is written, but it comes from the experiential encounter with the truth.

This isolated monk, though well educated, was cutoff from the world. He was pious. He was penitent, but he was still mired in the guilt and shame of sin. Nothing he could do, would ever please God. And he was absolutely right.

He was reminded of that passage from Isaiah: But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isa 65:6 KJV)

Nothing he did of himself, would appease the wrath and anger of a just God. He was doomed. Condemned to walk the earth as a vagabond. Heaven wasn’t a goal. The justice of God demanded a sacrifice, an atonement, which he could never make. (Atonement means a payment in full, that is acceptable to the offended party). How could man ever do this? The answer: he cannot.

But Christ. The Monk read the words, that transformed his life:

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Rom 1:17 KJV

This was the answer Martin Luther had been looking for. The Gateway to Heaven had at last been opened. The answer did not lie with anything he could do. The answer lay with what Christ had already did. God is both the just, and the justifier. (Rom 3:26) A truth encounter.

Righteousness. righteousness: (dikaiosone) Righteousness involves much more than imputation and is NOT an exchange.

We receive righteousness as a gift without any trade in or exchange. We not only receive right standing, but a new heart that gives us the ability to not only do the right things, but to do them to God’s glory rather than our own credit. With an attitude of love and service that does not look for reward either now or in eternity. This righteousness is selflessness. Both law and grace define righteousness; and grace cannot be revealed or understood apart from the law. Paul carefully and systematically lays out these distinctions through the book. Defining righteousness is what this study is all about. Tim Poelstra

II. Sola Scriptura today

Let’s talk about Sola Scriptura. Only Scripture.

How does the Bible begin to shape our understanding about the nature of God? Why do we believe the Bible is a true and accurate? After all it contains 66 books written over approximately 1400 years, by 40 different authors. It can’t be true. It is inconsistent. It contains contradictions. It’s hard to understand.

The Bible does have 66 books, written over 1400 years, by 40 authors. It is ONE story written by the Holy Spirit. It is the story of a trustworthy God, revealing himself, in a Trustworthy manner.

Author Michael C. Horton said it best: “The character of God is at stake in the character of Scripture. Why is Scripture in-errant? Because we know that God does not lie.”

The in-errancy of Scripture then, rests with the nature and Character of God. Who is the author of Truth?

1 Timothy 3:16-17 tell us: All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (NASB)

The word inspired in Greek is: theopneustos. Theo meaning God, and pneustos meaning breathed. Literally, God Breathed. As Dr. James White said: “The Bible is the only God breathed possession of the Church.”

III. Accountability to the Truth

Now that we have a basic understanding of the truth of Scripture, we are all fully accountable, not only to God, but to each other, as to how we handle the ultimate source of Truth. No one escapes accountability. Romans 14 and Isaiah tells us, no one escapes judgment before God.

I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. (Isa 45:23 NASB)

An important aspect of avoiding temptation, is accountability. Small groups provide a safe environment, so that we can obtain the support, help and prayer that we need.

Right now you are asking, what is accountability? Why, then, criticize your brother’s actions, why try to make him look small? We shall all be judged one day, not by each other’s standards or even our own, but by the standard of Christ. It is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God’. (Romans 14:10-12 JB Phillips)

It is to God alone that we have to answer for our actions.

I like this from Chuck Swindoll on accountability:

What do we mean by accountability? In the simplest terms, it is answering the hard questions. Accountability includes opening one’s life to a few carefully selected, trusted, loyal confidants who speak the truth—who have the right to examine, to question, to appraise, and to give counsel.

People who are accountable usually have four qualities:

Vulnerability—capable of being wounded, shown to be wrong, even admitting it before being confronted.

–a willingness to learn, being quick to hear and respond to reproof, being open to counsel.

—accessible, touchable, able to be interrupted.

Honesty—committed to the truth regardless of how much it hurts, a willingness to admit the truth no matter how difficult or humiliating the admission may be. Hating all that is phony or false.

That’s a tough list! As I look back over those four qualities, I am more than ever aware of why accountability is resisted by the majority. Those with fragile egos can’t handle it. And prima dona types won’t tolerate it. They have a greater desire to look good and make a stunning impression than anything else. I mean, “the very idea of someone probing into my life!”

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not suggesting for a moment that accountability gives the general public carte blanche access to any and all areas of one’s private life. If you will glance back a few lines you will notice I referred to “a few carefully selected, trusted, loyal confidants.” They are the ones who have earned the right to come alongside and, when it seems appropriate and necessary, ask the hard questions, to serve in an advisory capacity, bringing perspective and wisdom where such may be lacking.

In our society, where privacy is a reward of promotion and a life of virtual secrecy is the prerogative of most leaders, a lack of accountability is considered the norm. This is true despite the fact that unaccountability is both unwise and unbiblical, not to mention downright perilous!

Today we need others to hold us accountable. Sometimes an objective opinion will reveal a blind spot. Sometimes we may simply need a sounding board to help keep us on target. Just remember—not one of us is an island. We need one another.

III. The Role of Sola Scriptura today

How do we apply the truth in our life today?

You may ask, is Sola Scriptura meaningful in a culture and in a society that is fastracking away from the sound principles and teachings of the Bible? The book of 2 Timothy gives us a sure footing.

2 Timothy is Paul’s Swan Song. He knew he was about to die. He penned these final words to his young protégé Timothy, from the cell of the Mamertine Prison, in Rome. It was dark. Dank. Foul smelling. A rat infested dungeon. He wrote by candlelight. Words take on a different meaning, when me understand the context in which they were written. We do not see Paul complaining. We see him focused on the task of reminding Timothy, what his duties and responsibilities were, and that of every person that names the name of Christ:

I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Tim 4:1-5 NASB

We apply truth to our lives, everytime we open the Bible. 2 Cor 4:16 reminds us:

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. (2 Cor 4:16 NASB)

Truth renewal is a daily encounter. Got it? It’s not something we learn once for all eternity. It is DAILY coming before the throne of Grace. The Truth, the Bible is applied daily. Not weekly. Not month, not yearly. Not at weddings or funerals. Everyday that God graciously allows us to suck breath.

Finally, Paul pen’s warns a shy and timid Timothy (see 1 Tim 4:1) about false teachers.

Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. 2 These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead. 1 Tim 4:1-2 NASB

We find many false teachers today: Joel Osteen, Beth Moore, Pat Robertson, Mormons, The Roman Church, Joyce Meyer. The list goes on. When was the last time you heard Joel Osteen preach about sin? Or maybe the Resurrection? Or Christ? But Osteen, Moore, Meyer’s and others, were not the first to challenge the truth. Who was the first to challenge the Truth? Satan. We see the story unfold in Genesis Chapter 3. The doctrine of demons, must fully be met, with the doctrine of truth.

Why did the Roman Church push so hard against Luther? Was the truth at stake? Absolutely! Luther, in writing the 95 theses, challenged the authority of the Papacy (is that even scriptural?) and indulgences. I especially like # 47: Christians are to be taught that the buying of pardons is a matter of free will, not a commandment.” That hit them where the pocketbook was.

Paul warns us in Romans 1:25 what happens when you exchange the truth, for a lie:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

How many of you saw the Solar Eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017? Do you need further proof of God’s invisible attributes, eternal power and divine nature?

The Gospel reminds us: and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. (John 8:32 NASB)

How do you get the truth, how do you know the truth, if you can’t read it? One of the greatest influences on the reformation, was Luther’s tedious translation of the Bible into the language of the people, and subsequent distribution by Gutenberg’s printing press. The Truth was no longer sequestered and held hostage by the Roman Church, even as they continue to do, today. There is no replacement for having the Truth, the Word of God, in your own language.

You want to argue doctrine? Theology? Traditions? Sola Scriptura. Now we can separate truth from lies. We have a reliable source. The Bible.

Dr White writes: “Scripture is the sole infallible rule of faith, the sole instrument of Justification, to the Glory of God alone by Christ alone.”

Justification by faith was the gateway for Luther. As a church, we must proclaim it loudly for all to hear.


Maybe the words I have spoken have reached your heart. It is not something I did. It is the Holy Spirit, taking the message from your ears, to your heart.

If God has spoken to you today and you would like to discuss this, Pastor Dan, Michael, Tim or I stand ready to help you.

Restore Such an One — The Ministry of Reconciliation


Restore Such an One
Wayno Guerrini

If you have been a Christian for awhile, you learn that tucked into every corner of the Gospel is Reconciliation. I like this definition from “Reconciliation involves a change in the relationship between God and man or man and man.”

The heart of the Gospel is the reconciliation of man with God. If reconciliation is the heart of the Gospel, the reconciliation of man to man is also paramount.

This week, I have been endlessly barraged with gossip from neighbours. Talking about: “Oh I just found out that Bill, whom I thought was a Christian, was caught up in this heinous sin.” Sin is heinous. So is gossip.

We are going to look at the ministry of reconciliation between man and man.

First lets address the issue of gossip for a moment. Words mean things. Proverbs 11:13 reminds us:

He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.

2 Timothy 2:16 (Pastor Dan will get there in a few weeks) says:

But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, (2 Tim 2:16 NASB)

Further, James tell us:

But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. (James 3:8 NASB)

Got it? The first step in the reconciliation of man to man involves, shutting your mouth.

Our direction from God is simple.

Even if a man should be detected in some sin, my brothers, the spiritual ones among you should quietly set him back on the right path, not with any feeling of superiority but being yourselves on guard against temptation. (Gal 6:1 JB Phillips)

Gossip does nothing towards restoration, and reconciliation. It can’t. It’s powerless.

The seconds step: Don’t believe all you hear. The truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.

Jesus reminds us:

“But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.” (Matt 15:18 NASB)

Be very careful what you say, or how you react. If someone has a juicy tidbit about someone, excuse yourself, and walk away. It’s that simple. Refuse to listen to gossip. Yes it’s hard. But someone’s reputation is at stake.

I will talk about the steps of reconciliation in a few moments.

Reconciliation – changing the relational dynamic, either between God and man, or man and man, involves forgiveness. We want to believe that tasty tidbit of tantalizing tales…but often we fail to see the need to forgive.

Again Jesus reminds us:

‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.’ (Matt 6:12 NASB)

Most likely you have heard this before. It’s taken from the Disciples’ Prayer in Matthew.

Forgive our debts….what debt? Our sin debt:

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 6:23 KJV)

If we expect God to forgive our sins (1 John 1:9-10), we MUST learn to forgive others. Tell me, what sin did Jesus NOT pay in full on Cavalry’s Cross? Past. Present. Future.

Jesus reminds us in Mark 12:

29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31 NASB)

The fulfillment of the Law….love.

Finally. The prescription for reconciliation:

“15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Matt 18:15-17)

The steps then are:

1. Go to that individual and say to him her PRIVATELY – “so and so said this about you, is this true?”

Yeah. Nobody wants to do this step. When I heard the juicy tidbits from my neighbours, I immediately went to him and asked: “Is this true?” It is hard, but this is the first step towards restoration. How many of us choose to believe half truths, without ever going privately to the individual first? Oh? Did you remember that we are NOT to repeat anything outside of this conversation? Privately. Not publicly.

2. If the private conversation does not work, we proceed to step 2. We confirm things in the presence of other witnesses.

3. Step 3…if that does not work – tell it to the church.

4. Treat him as a tax collector and a gentile. In other words shun this person.

But look at the steps closely. We want to go to step 4 and shun this person, rather than going first privately to the individual.

If we claim the name of Christ as our Saviour…we MUST also be involved in the ministry of reconciliation. Our priority is always: “How do I let God use me to change the relationship of this person to God, or how do I change my relationship to someone else? Relationships are at times difficult.

As I went to this person in absolute humility, I said: “Is this rumour about you that is going around true? I began to weep. I felt like I had been kicked in the gut. Because God had been kicked in the gut. He said: “Some of it is true, some of it is fabricated.” (Made up). Again the truth always seems to lie somewhere in the middle. I choose to forgive this person. I told him:

“Brother, I want you to know that I’m committed to you. You’ll never knowingly suffer at my hands. I”ll never say or do anything, knowingly, to hurt your. I’ll always in every circumstance seek to help you and support you. If you’re down and I can lift you up, I’ll do that. Anything I have that your need, I’ll share with you, and if need be, I’ll give it to you. No matter what I find out about you and no matter what happens in the future, either good or bad, my commitment to your will never change. And there’s nothing your can do about it. You don’t have to respond. I love you, and that’s what that means.”

Jerry S. Cook Love, Acceptance, & Forgiveness, (Ventura CA: Regal Books, 1979) p. 13

The Eternal Security of the Believer


The Security of the Believer

Wayno Guerrini
August 27, 2015

I. Introduction

One of the most essential doctrines of the faith, is the security of the believer. Are we eternally secure in our salvation? Can we lose are salvation? Is “once saved always saved even biblical?” Tough questions to answer.

The Bible assures the Believer of the security of their salvation. Let’s look at some of the scriptures and remind us of the rich heritage we share.

II. The main argument against Eternal Salvation: Hebrews 5:9

“And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” (Hebrew 5:9 KJV)

That looks like there is a condition put on eternal salvation (aionos soteria in Greek), the condition of obedience. Having been raised as a Christian in a denomination that did NOT believe in the security of the believer, I wrestled with this scripture for over 20 years.. It wasn’t until I had taken a year of Greek in college, that I was able to render my own translation of this passage.

You really have to resort to the Greek here. hupakouo is translated obey. A better translation is listen intently:

Hupa in Greek, means under. Hupakouo means to listen attentively, as under someone in authority.

The verse then is perhaps better translated:

Hebrews 5:9 NIV “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”

Or my translation: Having been made perfect (teleiothesis), he became (past tense) the source (aitios) of eternal (aionois) salvation (soteria) to all who attentively listen to him.”

Changes the meaning. There is NO condition put upon Eternal Salvation, is there?

How does that mesh with other scriptures?

John 10:27 says: My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me (NIV)

Hmm. Our old familiar akouo. We get our word acoustics from this word. LISTEN. We listen attentively for the shepherd’s voice.

The only condition placed upon salvation that we can find is in Ephesians 2:8-10

“ For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (The faith to believe, is a free gift.) We can’t earn it. We can’t change it. It’s totally, and completely a work of God. Nothing we can do can add or subtract from our salvation. (Eph 2:8-10 NIV)

III. A bit further – Evidences of Salvation (From Pastor Bob Beeman’s Intense Studies Course, Redondo Beach, Ca. Circa 1991)

The indwelling Spirit. “When you are saved, the Holy Spirit moves in and makes His home in your life.” (Romans 8:9).

The Holy Spirit gives evidence of Salvation: Romans 8:16 “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (NIV)

Desire to Please God: A willingness to follow God’s Word and do his commands.

3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God[a] is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. (1 john 2:3-6 NIV)

The desire to obey through Christ, the proof of salvation is obedience. John 14:15 tells us simply: “If you love me, keep my commands.” (NIV)

Discipline – The dreaded “D” word

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:5-11)

“A lack of God’s disciplining hand in the lives of those who claim to be saved, yet persist to live in sin, should be seen as an indicator that he has most assuredly NOT been saved!” (Pastor Bob Beeman)

God calls us to be fruit inspectors. Remember that fruit takes time to produce, and to grow.

22-23 But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. (Galatians 5:22-23 The Message)

More familiarly: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:22-26 NIV)

Affection for God’s people. “All who are saved below to God’s family. It’s natural that those who belong to the same family, love one another. (Pastor Bob Beeman)

14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. (1 John 3:14 NIV)

“Notice how this love became evident in the life of the jailer at Philippi after he was converted.” (Pastor Bob Beeman)

At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptised. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household. (Acts 16:33-34 NIV)

IV. Once saved, always saved? (Or the Perseverance of the Saints)

Bible exegesis teaches, that we often use easy-to-understand passages, to cultivate the meaning of hard-to-understand passages. Such is the case with the Hebrews 5:9 passage.

Let’s look at John 3:16-18 (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18 NIV)

Eternal Salvation does NOT depend on anything man does. I have to power to rescind.. To declare my trust in Christ alone, as null and void. That doesn’t sound like Eternal Salvation to me.

Ephesians 1:13-14 tells us:

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. (NIV)

The Holy Spirit that indwells every believer, is the deposit – the arrhabon (Earnest Money which purchases a pledge or down-payment that the full amount will subsequently be paid. (Strong’s concordance) guaranteeing our inheritance.

It is completely a work of God, as Ephesians tells us. Our salvation rest firmly on what the word of God says.

Once saved, always saved? John 6:29 answers the question:

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29 NIV)

How about this: 2 Cor 4:16-18

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. (2 Cor 4:16-18 The Message)

Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24 NIV)


Some people believe, only to get their grace ticket to Heaven punched. The feel they can live and do anything they want. It’s grace.

So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we’ve left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn’t you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace—a new life in a new land!

3-5 That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we’re going in our new grace-sovereign country.

6-11 Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. (Rom 6:3-11 The Message)

Gal 2:19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. (The Message)

Chuck Swindoll in “The Grace Awakening” said it best:

Journey down the path to freedom

The word grace is a short, simple word. But understanding the biblical depth and meaning of grace can take a lifetime of study and application. It’s almost a shame that a word describing suppleness of movement or a short, quick prayer before a meal is the same word we use to describe God’s unfathomable love for sinners. Nevertheless, it is grace that moves Him to offer us the free gift of salvation and forgiveness.

Grace is what compelled the apostle Paul to write of a mystery never understood before (1 Corinthians 2:7–13). Grace is also what allows us to relax into another’s accepting embrace as he or she gives us the freedom to discover our unique journey laid out by God. So relax as we journey together down the path toward freedom and the wonderment of the surpassing riches of God’s grace!
“Grace is NOT a license to sin. Grace is the power to live free from the bondage of sin.”

The King James said it best. I do NOT frustrate the grace of God. Stop that! We’re to live lives completely dedicated to the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Do our lives reflect His grace, or do we have one foot in the Bible, and the other on a banana peel in the world? STOP.

Is our life a reflection of Jesus, and the grace given to us, or does it have the same consistency of the world.

“God requires us to live in the world. But He inoculates us from its value system.” (Larry O. Richards)

Are you inoculated, or do you continue frustrating God’s grace.

“God’s choice is to let man choose there own eternal destiny, because the invitation is given to all.” (Larry O. Richards)

What’s your individual choice, on where you will spend eternity?

Need more proof? Pastor Bob Beeman’s notes on Eternal Security.

The Silent Witness of the Christmas Star


The Silent Witness of the Christmas Star

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,

what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them? (Psalm 8:3-4 NIV)

Many of us will glance at the Heavens above, and see the vast expanse of the universe for a brief moment. One day, God wrote a message of love in the stars.  “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matt 2:2 NIV)

The Creator of the universe used his finger to announce to a weary and sin soaked world, that He has extended His mercy to mankind.

God’s offer of reconciliation is announced each and every day, by the presence of the stars and the moon. We don’t have to wait for a special one-of-a-kind event to appear in the Heavens. We can claim God’s offer: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)

Many see the little Lord Jesus in the manger, at Christmas time, and never give a second thought.

Sharpen your gaze into eternity: “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:10 NIV)

The Moon and the Stars, bear a silent witness of God’s mercy which is extended to all, each and every day. The true message of Christmas is reconciliation with the Creator of the universe.

A reply to November Islam’s letter of hate


As Christians, our mission is always reconciliation of man with God.

Col 1:20 tells us: “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (NIV)

Christ tells us in Matt 5:44 “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (NIV)

An example of this can be found in the parable of of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:25-37). A little historical background is in order. The Jews hated the Samaritans, and vice versa. A Priest and a Levite happen upon the man, and miss the opportunity. Their priority was to get home.

The Samaritan on the other hand, saw opportunity. He in-convenienced himself, and became involved in this man’s life, even though they were enemies.

Proverbs tells us: “In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.” (Proverbs 25:22 NIV)

Today is Reformation Sunday. Sola fide. In faith alone. Because of Christ’s atoning sacrifice of Himself on Calvary’s Cross, I am restored to a right relationship with God.

I choose to live my life by faith, and not by sight. (2 Cor 5:7)



On 10/23/2015 07:23 PM, Paul Christian wrote:
> To:
> Webmaster
> Name:
> Paul Christian
> Email:
> Subject:
> November ISLAM 2015
> Message:
> Dear Christian leader,
> We are asking Christian leaders across America and around the world to
> teach the truth about Sharia law during the month of November and
> offer Christ as the only way to defeat Islamic tyranny (see
> and
> If you decide not to participate, we would like to hear from you in
> hopes that we can convince you to change your mind. But if you already
> know the truth that Islamic tyranny is currently the greatest threat
> to the Church and freedom, you need not inform us of your
> participation – unless our assistance is needed or you wish to go the
> second mile in supporting November ISLAM. Either way, we trust that
> God will cause you to do your part of our mission…and invite other
> Christians to join the network.
> Thank you for overcoming the fear and political correctness linked to
> Islam and Sharia law. Please pray for our awareness month and we shall
> pray for you and your outreach.
> Blessings.
> Paul Christian
> A Representative of the Guardian Faith
> 1-310-801-9247
> P.S. – We are also asking Christian leaders to encourage their members
> to vote according to God’s Word against Sharia law legislation and
> anti-freedom politicians (see
> If you represent a
> non-profit organization, wise and careful planning will protect your
> non-profit status.
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The Day the Universe Changed — A perspective on the Supreme Court’s on Gay Marriage


Relatively few of us, are used to becoming eyewitnesses to history. Many watched with reverent awe, as history unfolded on the day of the JFK assassination. We can remember precisely where we were when Man first landed on the Moon. Or the sombre days of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Regardless of age, most people in the world were eyewitnesses as the events unfolded, and become part of the collective: American Experience.

That experience reverberated today, when we as a nation, witnessed the Supreme Court of the United States, declare same-sex marriage as the law of the land. This is a day, not unlike previous events that sharpened our character and resolve. We inextricably witnessed a paradigm shift in the nature of who we are as a society, and a nation.

The decision today, underscores how far this nation has fast tracked from God’s Grace and tender mercies.

Chief John Roberts dissent on Gay Marriage voiced these concerns, which should be a clarion call to all (excerpted):

“If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”

“People of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.”

“The majority graciously suggests that religious believers may continue to “advocate” and “teach” their views of marriage. The First Amendment guarantees, however, the freedom to “exercise” religion. Ominously, that is not a word the majority uses. Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage—when, for example, a religious college provides married student housing only to opposite-sex married couples, or a religious adoption agency declines to place children with same-sex married couples… Unfortunately, people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.” – Chief Justice John Roberts

Scotus declared: Gay marriage is now the law of the land.

For Christians, this is a reminder that we need to be firmly rooted in God’s word, each and every day. Who am I to declare what God has firmly established as sin, now socially acceptable?

The body of Christ MUST come together and embrace sound teaching:

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:3 NIV)

Do not enter the apostasy of today’s decision.

My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. (James 2:1 The Message)