<![CDATA[South Valley Baptist Church - Pastor\'s Blog]]>Sun, 14 Feb 2016 08:28:16 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Salvation in the Old Testament]]>Sun, 14 Feb 2016 04:40:16 GMThttp://www.southvalleybaptist.com/pastors-blog/salvation-in-the-old-testamentSalvation in the Old Testament - (Part 4 - Calling on the name of the LORD)
Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD [Yahweh} shall be saved.

Romans 10: 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that
Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

10:13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”   This is a quote from Joel 2:32 “everyone one who calls on the name of the Yahweh shall be saved”   

We are acknowledging that Jesus is Rev. 21:13  I am the Alpha and the Omega,  the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Isaiah 44:6 Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:  “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.

The confession is Jesus is the Author of Life (Acts 3:15, Heb. 12:1-2) the Alpha and Omega, the end of the law, the righteousness of God, the Yahweh or LORD of Joel 2:32 who spoke it all into existence “the Word was God” and “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”(Jn. 1:1&14)” and “all things were made through him (Jn. 1:3)” and “by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible (Col. 3:16).  

Anyone who says Jesus was created or not equal with God is basically saying he is not God (Alpha and Omega, Yahweh, Word become flesh) which according to Romans 10:9 is a necessary part of the confession Jesus is Lord!

Another necessary part of the confession that David makes is the “LORD is my shepherd”  

He makes me lie down . . . He restores my soul . . . He leads me in paths of righteousness . . .his rod and staff comfort . . . surely goodness and mercy shall follow [Hebrew: radaf - hunt you down]  and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.  

David could only make a good list of the LORD’s work with an eternal consequence of dwelling in his presence forever.  
Have you confessed Jesus is LORD!    Have you had his goodness and love (mercy - Hebrew chesed) chase you down?   
It almost like a Romans 5:8 confession . . .

Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Eph. 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  
far off - Eph. 2:11 “called the uncircumcision”  and Eph. 2:12 “alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”

John 10:26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28
 I give them eternal life, and  they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30  I and the Father are one.”

Jesus is of the same essence (one Being/Substance) as the Father - not created - fully God (Col. 1:19, Heb. 1:8) as a Shepherd he takes me “who once was a far off” and brings me near and I “listen” (Jn. 10:16) because I am His and He is mine.

check out Discipleship 2016 in the "more" tab at our South Valley Baptist menu to see the other parts of this series on Old Testament Salvation.
<![CDATA[The Purpose of The Law]]>Sat, 21 Nov 2015 02:12:04 GMThttp://www.southvalleybaptist.com/pastors-blog/the-purpose-of-the-lawGal. 2:15   We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners;  16 yet we know that a person is not justified  by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law,  because by works of the law no one will be justified
I am the LORD
I will bring you out
I will deliver you from slavery
I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment
I will take you to be my people
I will be your God
I will bring you into the land
I will give it to you for a possession
 . . .but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery  
Quotes from Exodus 6:6-9

Jude 5  Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus [identified as YWHW or Jehovah in Ex.6:6-9] , who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.

What do these verses have to do with the purpose of the Law?   
One is written before the Law (Deut. 6:6-9) and one after the Law, but both talk about the real problem - they did not listen . . . they did not believe.  

Moses knows the sinful condition of people and what they are capable of doing - so before we have Romans 3 telling us "no one is righteous"  Moses sets up a prophetic event of a very "refined" and "tender" man and woman.  This person would have been voted the most gentle person of the year but Moses says given the wrong circumstances they will do something unimaginable.

Deut. 28:54 The man who is the most tender and refined among you will . . .

Deut. 28:56  The most tender and refined woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because she is so delicate and tender, will . . .

This prophecy is set in the siege of a city where people have no food so they resort to eating their own children or afterbirth and refuse to share this "food".   The prophecy is gross and over the top but it shows what our sin really is - a means of self-preservation at any cost instead of the sacrifice of picking up a cross of humility and shame and putting ourselves and sin to death on a scandalous event of public confession.   

Matt. 3:6 and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins

What kind of sins were they confessing?

. . . “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him. (Matt. 21:31-32)
Matt. 21:28-32 is in the context of a story for those who rejected John the Baptist's ministry of baptism and confessing sin where Jesus asks them if "The baptism of John" where from men or heaven.  

The law did bear fruit for the prostitute and tax collector because they confessed and repented of their sin . . . did the law bear fruit for the Pharisee?  John the Baptist would say no . . . and the ax is ready to be laid at the root (Mt. 3:10 or Lk 3:9). 

Jesus teaches . . .
Matt. 23:25    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of  the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
Matt. 23:27    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like  whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and  all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

The People most responsible for communicating the law and explaining the law and teaching it's purpose were at the end of the day . . .
1.  full of greed
2.  full of self-indulgence
3.  full of dead people's bones
4.  full of uncleanness
5.  appeared to be righteous
6.  full of hypocrisy
7.  and the big irony of all . . . lawlessness  (they knew the law but did not live the law) they used the law to exalt themselves but the real purpose of the law is to lay us low and bring us to the cross of Christ.

Matt. 23:12  Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.  Jesus taught this in the context of teaching about a group of people who portrayed themselves as law followers but were just the opposite.    

<![CDATA[Did We Pre-exist In Heaven?]]>Fri, 13 Feb 2015 17:32:29 GMThttp://www.southvalleybaptist.com/pastors-blog/did-we-pre-exist-in-heavenDoes your religion teach man pre-existed in heaven as a spiritual being?

Follow Genesis 1
  • we have plants and trees on day 3
  • we have birds and fish made on day 5
  • we have livestock created on day 6
  • we have one other “creature” made on day 6 and it says he was created in the “image of God”- the setting is not heaven but day 6 earth and he is formed from the dust and breathed into  “. . . the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.” Gen. 2:8 
  • The flesh and bone man, made in the image of God, created on day 6 on earth is never put in heaven or seen as pre-existing in heaven
  • To teach the image bearer man was created in heaven goes against “the good” creation and order found in Genesis 1 and 2 

To teach God made spiritual man (created in heaven) as a spiritual being then God made dust man (on earth) for spiritual man to inhabit is a teaching brought to the text (pulled from another location) - it confuses the text and robs Jesus the God/man of his unique position because Jesus - not Adam, did pre-exist as God (Spiritual being) who would take on flesh.

“the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” -Gen. 2:7

The first mention of man in the Bible is not in heaven but being formed on day 6 on earth in the image of God.

Did David believe in a heavenly body (spiritual) existence before coming to earth?

Psa. 139:13  For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15  My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;  in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

David never taught you formed me spiritually in heaven but just the opposite - you formed and knitted me in my mother’s womb - Ps. 139 uses two Hebrew words for formed “qanah” and “yatzar” - yatzar is the word found in Gen. 2 for God’s activity in making/forming Adam and is used in 139:16 “the days that were formed for me” - this is talking about God’s unseen activity of making David “intricately woven in the depths of the earth” - poetic language not for spiritual heaven making but for God knowing David before he was made and even ordering and shaping his days before he was born.  This applies to all of us - God knows that much about those created in His image.  Those who will bow and submit to Christ and his teaching as Lord and those who will not - Rev. 13:8 and 18:8.  Isaiah 46:10 talks about God as being able to declare the end from the beginning.  

Did John the Baptizer believe in a heavenly body (spiritual) existence before coming to earth?
John the Baptist was also formed in the womb like Jeremiah in 1:5

Jer. 1:5  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born  I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

How did God know Jeremiah?   How did God know John the Baptist before He formed them?  Because they had a spiritual pre-existence?  -No because just like David, God is able to form and order their days before they are born- listen to the message of John the Baptist.  

John 3:30  He must increase, but I must decrease.”
John 3:31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way.  He who comes from heaven is above all.  32  He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony.  

This is John the Baptist declaring he must decrease but Jesus must increase (John 3:30) - why?   Because Jesus is from above - “He came from above” - nobody else comes from above.  Even John the Baptist born full of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:15) knows Jesus is different from regular men because his existence did not start with Adam and dust on day 6 but Jesus is from above - unique and it will be part of the reason earthly people reject Him and His message/testimony.  

The worse part of the polluted teaching of man pre-existing in heaven is they reject or pollute the unique teaching of Jesus Himself.

John 8:23 He said to them,  “You are from below; I am from above.  
You are of this world;  I am not of this world.

Does it get any more clear or precise than this teaching?

John 8:31 “. . . If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

You can not be a follower of Christ and believe and teach something other than Christ taught.  “You are from below”   “You are of this world”  -That is what Christ taught.

John 8:42 Jesus said to them,  “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here.  I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43  Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.

Today many can not bear to hear Jesus teach He is from above and not of this world - meaning He is God.  When I teach humans pre-exist in spiritual form in heaven - I teach against Christ.   I teach my godhood of pre-existence from heaven instead of my sinful manhood from the earth and womb.  I become my own personal savior and what Jesus does is just a stepping stone to get me back on my godhood path.   With all of this said, I reject Christ and His teaching and I substitute it with the pollution known as heavenly pre-existence.  

John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was,
I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

What did it mean that Jesus was from above?   
“before Abraham was, I am”

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”  -Rev. 22:13

Col. 1:16 For by him all things were created,  in heaven and on earth . . .

John 1:3  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  4  In him was life,  and the life was the light of men.  

When Jesus said He was from above he was saying, "before Abraham was, I am"  - do you want to take that teaching away because you take it from Jesus when you raise your hand I say - hey Jesus, before Abraham was - I too was."   - you just made yourself god, it would have got you stoned in the time of Jesus but today people just roll with it

What happens when I teach I am from above?
This makes Jesus out to be a liar and the truth is not in me - I cease to follow Christ and his word.   My message is no longer that of John the Baptist but something totally different:   I must increase, he must decrease.  This is our natural tendency - John 3 refers to it as darkness.

John 3:19  And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light,  lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

1 Cor. 15:45 Thus it is written,  “The first man Adam became a living being”;   the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.  46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual.  47  The first man was from the earth, a man of dust;  the second man is from heaven.  48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven,  so also are those who are of heaven.  49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust,  we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

The good news is you can repent and stop teaching false doctrine - it is amazing how many ministries out there claiming to be Christian teach our spiritual pre-existence.  On judgment day they will hear,  "I never knew you, depart from me"  these were the ones who used Jesus' name for satanic deliverance, healing, and many miracles. (Matt. 7)

<![CDATA[Good works will not get you into heaven]]>Fri, 16 Aug 2013 05:22:24 GMThttp://www.southvalleybaptist.com/pastors-blog/good-works-will-not-get-you-into-heavenSVBC Website Comment on our church sign:
Your sign out front seems to truly show that you have never fully read the bible. Perhaps you should read the Book of James to more fully understand how faith and good works are intertwined. Good works are a sign of your faith, "faith without works is dead". Truly you are not a church that tries to understand the bible but simply tries to destroy other faiths. Only the Savior saves, but the bible says we will be judged of our works, and will all fall short, and for this reason we can only be saved by the grace of our savior Jesus Christ after all that we can do. Good works show that we follow the Savior, what do your works show?

Pastor’s Response since the following person did not leave a valid e-mail:

I would like to hear your explanation of the following verses: 

Titus 3:4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs  according to the hope of eternal life.

We did not mean to offend you with our church sign but as you know we are quite different from the predominant religion in Utah.  
We believe in a different God who has always existed and was not created.
We believe in a different gospel that starts with Christ and ends with Christ giving us everything we need in His atoning sacrifice on the cross, with His death, burial, and resurrection. 
We do not apologize for our differences but make simple note of them so as not to confuse the issue. 

I believe faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17) - I believe the Old and New Testament trump anything future super apostles might have to say about God's enduring Word which brings faith.  My name is written in the Lamb's book of life because my confidence (trust) is solely in Jesus' saving work on the cross being applied to my sinful stone heart - my heart is now a beating heart for God (Ezk. 36:26) and what Jesus told Nicodemus "you must be born again" or Paul to the church in Corinth "behold the new has come" (2 Cor. 5:17) has taken place and no one can snatch me out of the hand of God because Jesus is my Shepherd (John 10)- I heard his voice and now I follow him knowing I can not repay (Rom. 11:35).  As a matter of fact, I go more in debt to His goodness and mercy everyday - I build with His resources called gold, silver, and precious stone (1 Cor. 3) so that I might receive a reward or recompense and hear well done my good and faithful servant.  Death and Hades will be judged according to what they have done, and then as it is recorded in the book of Revelation they will be thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:12-15) but I have my name written in the Lamb's book of life and will be judged differently because my faith comes by hearing the Word of God and I have no need of super apostles or restored churches that teach a different God and gospel according to false prophets who mock the Word of God as faulted, corrupted and in need of their revision.  

My testimony has nothing to do with a restored church and everything to do with Jesus simply calling me to follow Him in the power of His death and resurrected new life.  At the end of the day I look forward to bowing before Jesus and confessing that He alone is my Savior and King and Lord - I take no credit for a new life or birth that he has given me.  When left to free agency I do not choose God - when left to God's mercy and steadfast love as presented in the Bible - I beat my chest and say "be merciful unto me a sinner" and God takes care of the rest (James 4:6-10) as a new light dawns and a morning star rises in my heart (2 Pet. 1:19) in response to God's Word.  

John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 
13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 

See even our testimonies are different - it would only make sense our church sign is different as well. 

<![CDATA[The Blessed Life]]>Wed, 24 Jul 2013 01:21:28 GMThttp://www.southvalleybaptist.com/pastors-blog/the-blessed-life-of-a-stone-pillow-refugeeHis worse enemy is a brother who wants him dead (Gen. 27:41).
The day before he meets his worse enemy, God handicapps him (Gen. 32:25).
His boss changes his wages to his disadvantage not once but "ten times" in twenty years (Gen. 30:35-36, 31:7 & 41).
Right after he makes an agreement of his "wages" his boss takes it all away from him (Gen. 30:35).
He has to do a sneek escape from his boss who has grown to dislike him (Gen. 31). 
He is initially denied his first love, his oldest son sleeps with one of his wives (concubine), his father dies soon after his beloved wife dies giving birth (Gen. 29:25, Gen. 35:18, 22, 28).
His beloved daughter is raped (Gen. 34:2).
After his daughter is raped he is forced into a covenant with wicked people (Gen. 34).
Two of his rebellious sons put his life and entire family in danger by taking revenge (Gen. 34:30).
His beloved son is stripped by his brothers and thrown into a pit, kidnapped and sold into slavery but he is told his son has been killed by a wild animal (Gen. 37:23-33).
His father is deceived into giving him a blessing that asks the LORD to "give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine" yet a drought drives him to give up his youngest son to go to Egypt so they can get food to live (Gen. 27:37-40).
He finds out his sons plotted to kill his beloved son but instead sold him as a slave (Gen. 45:26).
The Pharoah of Egypt will give his family the "best of the land of Egypt, and you shall eat the fat of the land" (Gen. 45:18) but when Pharoah asks him about his 130 year old life, the summary statement is:   
"Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life"  (Gen. 47:9)

Almost over night Jacob the Momma's boy went from a smooth man who lived in tents of luxury to a stone pillow refugee without tent or pillow or Momma (Gen. 25:27, 27:11, and 28:18).

About 20 years later on his return to the homeland:
The setting in Genesis 32 starts with a very encouraging thought: 
v. 1  Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 

Then Jacob finds out his brother is coming to meet him with 400 men - Jacob has two possible responses:
1.  Trust God to deliver him like God promised at Bethel 20 years ago
2.  Get greatly afraid and distressed.  

Jacob chose the greatly distressed route - this may be why God sent a messenger to wrestle him.  

Jacob deploys a scheme of sending lots of presents ahead of him to appease his brother’s wrath, Jacob decides to set up 2 camps with the first camp going out ahead as a guinee pig test to see if they get slaughtered and enough room and time for him to run away.  Why not just trust God to do what he promised in v. 9
‘Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good,’ 

It is Jacob’s hour of desperation and he cries out something God loves to hear because it is the truth of a blessed life.  

I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant (Gen. 32:10).

After the wrestling match Jacob names the place: face of God (Peniel).

His blessed life is much different from nice cars, big houses, happy happy happy children, thinking you can petition and manipulate God with the right phrase because God owes you.   The blessed life is knowing there is a Potter and we are the clay.  The blessed life is little children who can’t take care of themselves in any way and they are completely dependent on God for everything.  The blessed life is having everything fall a part because of sin, rebellion, fickle faith and still having a “fortress” to run to and a place for a wasteful son to be embraced by his father.  

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah   -Psalm 46

The phrase "the God of Jacob" gets used many times (12 times in the book of Psalm) to show God fights for those who trust in Him.  

We see this in the New Testament and understand why God loves broken sinners and dependent little children and why the kingdom and rule of God belongs to these.

Luke 18:13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying,  “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  17  Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

<![CDATA[Glorification 101]]>Wed, 28 Nov 2012 15:15:37 GMThttp://www.southvalleybaptist.com/pastors-blog/glorification-101“Everlasting joy shall be upon their heads”

Glorification is about finding our identity in Christ and being changed by his power from corruption and dishonor to purity and honor in a new body cleansed from sin.

This allows us to embrace God as “Abba! Father! King! and sharing in His glory for all eternity.  Imagine a new body without the effects of sin or the tendency of sin to stray off the path - “even if they are fools, they can not go astray” (Isaiah 35:8).  Glorification is about a final reality and fulfilled promise: conquered sin in Christ’s power and being clothed with his provision for all eternity.  The perfect or good, made in God’s image Adam and Eve sinned - the redeemed, adopted, sealed, and glorified will not. 

2 Cor. 1:20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. 21 And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, 22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. 

While people “refused the water of Shiloah that flow gently” in Isaiah 8:6 and “have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters” in Jeremiah 2:13 there were some who went after God to find a refuge (Psalm 1, Jeremiah 17, Ezk. 47, Isa. 35) in the stream in the desert.  Isaiah 35:2 says “they shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God” and describes them as “ransomed,” “redeemed,” where the burning sand became a pool of water the thirsty ground springs of water and “everlasting joy shall be upon their heads.”  Isaiah 33 talks about a people who called “Yahweh” judge, lawgiver, and king - people who will never say “I am sick: the people who dwell there will be forgiven their iniquity.”  

Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,  provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. 

Romans 8:23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,  groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.   24 For  in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?  25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 

“Absent from flesh, O blissful thought!”  -Isaac Watt

<![CDATA[Understanding the Trinity from Christ's teaching]]>Sat, 23 Apr 2011 16:51:16 GMThttp://www.southvalleybaptist.com/pastors-blog/understanding-the-trinity-from-christs-teachingThis past Wednesday our church celebrated Christ in the Jewish Passover Dinner which turns into our Lord's Supper in the New Testament. 

It is interesting how to this day the same order and Jewish explanation of things allude to the Trinity - it was during this dinner in John 13-17 Jesus taught us most clearly about the Trinity.  When I get into conversations with people who think the Trinity is unbiblical or comes from church creeds (Apostles creed or Nicene the most famous) I always take them to John 14 and 16.  I teach the Trinity because Jesus taught the Trinity clearly and distinctly.  John 14 - I am leaving you but not as orphans (Jn.14:3, 8) - the Father will send another to comfort you (Holy Spirit Jn. 14:26) when he comes the Father and the Son will be in you (Jn. 14:23).  After Jesus teaches he will be with them no more in John 14 he gives them the command in John 15:4-5 to abide in Him. 

How do you abide with someone who is no longer around? 
 Jesus taught in Matthew 24:23 that Christ will not in the future do guest appearances.   According to Jesus' own teaching which is apart of the command in John 15 to abide - Jesus warned me ahead of time this would happen and I should not be surprised when people come up with convincing stories of Jesus visitations.  

When we do have people see Christ after the the ascension into heaven it is always visions and they keep Christ in heaven (Stephen as he is being stoned, Paul on road to Damascus, John in Revelation) proving this is a consistent biblical teaching.  When my faith comes from a man who goes against this teaching - then my faith is not abiding in Christ it is abiding in a new thing that is different from the biblical good news.  

I have been asked  who is Jesus praying to in the garden if Jesus is the Father?  Hank Hanegraaff, known as the Bible answer man says at that many confuse the What of the Trinity (One Being, Essence, Substance) with the Who of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).  The What of God gets declared in Deut. 6 - hear O Israel the LORD your God is one!  (One Substance - never created, eternal, and thus worthy of worship).  I am constantly told in Isaiah there is only one God (Isa. 45:5) in Isaiah 42 he created all the "heavens" - stars, galaxies and Isa. 43:10-11 - there was no god before me nor will there be one after me.   When my child comes and asks me who is God, my answer is - the One who was not created (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).  
All three are worthy of worship simply because they are unique to all creation - they create and are not created.  

When I meet someone who claims God was once a man and is a created glorified being who has become "heavenly Father" then we begin to see the difference between a created god (not a Christian concept) vs. a eternal God with no beginning or end (Christian concept).  
As soon as we introduce the concept of created God we have to ask the question:  who created "heavenly father"?  

The Christian concept of God starts with a God who was never created:  
Isaiah 43
7  everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”  
10   “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.   Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. 

In Isaiah 45-46 seven times God says He is LORD and "there is no other" he created the universe.Thanks to the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) we as Christians have something new to say about Isaiah.  The DSS tell us the Bible has not been corrupted over time - pretty much what we had in 250 BC is what we have in 900 AD (date of oldest complete Masoretic Text) which is what we have in 2011+ AD - it has not changed or been corrupted or had been tampered with, as some have thought and taught.  God can actually preserve His Word - He is that powerful!  Getting back to the who is Jesus praying to question - In John 10:30 Jesus says, "I and the Father are one"  Well if they are the same person then how can Jesus talk to the Father - would that not be like me talking to myself?   - Again biblical context wins out - the "one" in Greek is neuter not referring to person but to purpose and essence - this corresponds well to John 14 "whoever has seen me has seen the Father (Jn. 14:9) not because Jesus is the Father but because Jesus shows them the Father, the words he speaks are not his own, they belong to the Father (Consistent in John 5:19, 6:46, 8:38 & 42).  John 5:19   So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

John 6:46  not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father.  

John 8:38  I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”  

John 8:42 Jesus said to them,  “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here.  I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.  Jesus is God but He is not the Father - he has an eternal and perfect relationship with this person of the Trinity.  Mark 13:32 “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven,  nor the Son,  but only the Father. 

The New Testament teaching is consistent in revealing the Trinity - One God in Three persons.  When I look at Jesus I get to see the non-visible Father because He represents Him so well in word, deed, purpose and essence (Being).  Jesus miracles are performed in the Power of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12) and His teaching is done through the Holy Spirit in Col. 2:9 so that we have Christ portrayed as "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily."

The Trinity is best taught as Jesus taught it - Father, Son, Holy Spirit as distinct persons yet all fully representing each other because they are of the same Essence or Being one.  Even later on the Holy Spirit in Rom. 8 is referred to the Spirit of Christ, Philippians 1:19 the "Spirit of Jesus Christ" and in Romans 8:9 if you don't have the Holy Spirit you don't have Christ.  This is consistent with what Jesus taught in John 14-16.  The reason the Trinity is attached to the gospel is tied to many passages - 2 Peter 1:8 warns us to grow and not be "ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" - who Christ is becomes crucial to salvation - 2 Pet. 1:11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am  the way, and  the truth, and  the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7  If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.  From now on you do know him and  have seen him.”  -Quite a statement since John 1 teaches no one has seen the Father except the Son - John 1 also teaches the Word who became flesh (Jesus) created everything (John 1:3) and Col. 1:16 even indicates he created invisible angelic beings (heavenly authorities) so Satan is not a brother but a creation of Jesus. The classical way of presenting how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work is the Father has a plan or blueprint - the Son speaks it into existence and the Spirit sees it to completion.  This is the way God has worked in creation and this is also the way God works in salvation (Eph. 1).   Although the Trinity is alluded to in the Old Testament - Gen. 1 let us make man in "our" image it is most clearly taught by Jesus in the gospel of John during the Lord's Supper.  

Remember if I don't abide in the teaching of Christ Jesus teaches:  John 15:6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers;  and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.If you don't believe in the Trinity it is worth investigating - I hope as followers of Christ we would want to know what he taught about it to develop our thinking and guide our teaching.  If you believe the Christ is created you are not trinitarian, if you believe god is three seperate beings you are not trinitarian, if you believe that God is only one (Jehovah) showing up in two other modes (modalism) you are not trinitarian.  At the end of the day we know according to Matthew 7 that many did miracles and prophecy and other wonderful things in the name of Jesus and he simply says to them - depart from me, you workers of lawlessness - those are people who hear his teaching and even agree with it but do not do it.  ]]>
<![CDATA[What is the best definition of a Christian?]]>Thu, 12 Aug 2010 13:50:39 GMThttp://www.southvalleybaptist.com/pastors-blog/what-is-the-best-definition-of-a-christianAn Anointed follower of Jesus Christ.  

Anointed is in reference to what the Holy Spirit does - in Christ's teaching (John 14-16) Jesus teaches his disciples that He is getting ready to leave them but they will not be orphans - why?  Because the Counselor/Comforter (Holy Spirit) will come helping them to remember what Christ has taught and allow believers to dwell not only with Jesus but also the Father “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and  we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words." (John 14:23-24).

Notice what Jesus teaches when it comes to God showing Himself  - "He will keep my word - whoever does not love me does not keep my words."  This should be the test for authenticity in the Christian life - do we still hold to what Christ taught or do we move away from it - the Holy Spirit's task according to Jesus is to "convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment" (John 16:8).  Paul later teaches in 1 Cor. 2 that the Holy Spirit teaches "the things freely given us by God" so that we can have the "mind of Christ" which is all rooted in the crucifixion - Cor. 2:2  "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified."  - everything we need is found in what Christ did to set us free from sin at the crucifixion - the Holy Spirit takes what Christ did on the cross and applies that to us now so that we can be new people, born again (regeneration), holy and clean, no longer under condemnation (Romans 8). 

Titus 3:4-7  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,  5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,  6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,  7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 

Colossians 1:20 and  through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace  by the blood of his cross. 21  And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,  22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,  23 if indeed you continue in the faithstable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. 

What does it mean to continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting?  

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.  3 For  God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,  4 in order that  the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

Basically if your gospel goes back to a list of do's and don't (according to the flesh - what you do) instead of what God has done you are not keeping in step with the Holy Spirit but "submit again to a yoke of slavery" instead of standing firm in Christ's freedom (Gal. 5:1).   

Anointed followers of Christ are people who understand the things freely given that allow them to develop the mind of Christ through the power of His death, burial, and resurrection - it is the Holy Spirit who works the circumcision of our hearts (Isaiah 6:10, Rom. 2:29, Col. 2:11-14).  

When a person asks if you think they are a Christian you can go through the teachings of Christ and ask do you follow what Christ taught about who you are and who He is, does your salvation fully rest on Him, or do you use it as a stepping stone to another gospel that moves away from what the Holy Spirit has freely given?

<![CDATA[Jesus as founder (author) and perfecter (finisher) of our faith]]>Fri, 06 Aug 2010 21:19:23 GMThttp://www.southvalleybaptist.com/pastors-blog/jesus-as-founder-author-and-perfecter-finisher-of-our-faithThe Greek word for founder or author is archegos - a combination of the word for beginning/power and the other word to lead, bring forth, and carry - Jesus is the one who starts to lead us and just so we don't take credit for what he is doing he completes us - but what if we don't agree with his teaching and perspective?  How many teachings of Christ can I deny and still be a follower?  Are the teachings of Christ a part of the good news?  What if I don't abide in his teaching?  

10 things Jesus taught - a simple test of abiding in His Word and Gospel

John 14:23 Jesus answered him,  “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And  the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. 25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit,  whom the Father will send in my name,  he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. According to this teaching of Jesus if you love Him you will keep or abide in His teaching.  How many teachings of Christ would you have to hold to to follow Christ - what if you disagreed on one point - would you still be a follower?

1.  What does Christ teach about my pre-existence and his pre-existence?

John 8:23 He said to them, “You are from belowI am from above.  You are of this worldI am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

John 8:31   So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him,  “If you abide in my word [teaching], you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 

2.  Marriage in heaven?  -What did Jesus teach

Matthew 22: 30  For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.  - This was to answer the question whom’s wife will she be in heaven?

3.  Will Jesus do guest appearances on earth - after the resurrection/ascension?
Matt. 24:23  Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders,  so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27  For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

-notice all appearances of Jesus after the Ascension are visions in/from heaven  -Paul on road to Damascus (Acts 9, 22, 26) and 2 Cor. 12, Stephen while being stoned (Acts 7), the book of Revelation as John is taken up (Rev. 4) and in the Spirit (Rev. 1)

4.  Do most people go to heaven?

Luke 13:23 And someone said to him, “Lord,  will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them,  24  “Strive  to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.Matt. 7:13  “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and  those who find it are few.

5.  Does the true church cease to exist and become apostate?

Matthew 28:19  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them  in   the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that  I have commanded you. And behold,  I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matt. 16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

6. Is there another way to get to heaven besides Jesus?  -what about good Baptists and other religions?

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and  the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

7. Am I basically a good person who needs a little help to get me going in the right direction?
Matthew 12:34  You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil?  For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.Matt. 23:33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?  -Jesus talking to the most religious people of his day. 

8. Do you choose God (free will / free agency) or does God choose you?

John 6:29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And  I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets,  ‘And they will all be  taught by God.’  Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— 46  not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.John 6:62 Then what if you were to see  the Son of Man  ascending to  where he was before? 63  It is the Spirit who gives lifethe flesh is no help at all.  The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But  there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus  knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and  who it was who would betray him.)  65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

Matthew 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Matt. 5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds  that of the scribes and Pharisees, you  will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matt. 5:48  You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Paul writes:
Rom. 3:10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11  no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;  no one does good, not even one.” 
1Cor. 6:11 And  such were some of you. But  you were washed,  you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 
Rom. 2:29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.  His praise is not from man but from God. 
1 Cor. 2:12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.    -Can you list what God has freely given you - most people who have a man centered instead of God centered salvation can not list one thing God has given them in Christ.

9.  How much of my own righteous energy and strength get calculated into the salvation equation according to Jesus?

John 15:5 “apart from me you can do __________”
John 3:3 “You must be b______  a__________”  
-How much credit do you take for your own conception and birth?
John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,  13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 12:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and  whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

10.  The gospel is centered on the cross of Christ - his followers know the cross is essential for a new life. 

John 8:28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man,  then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.

Luke 9:23   And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him  deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Luke 14:27  Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

Matt. 16:24   Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him  deny himself and  take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life  will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or  what shall a man give in return for his soul?

Paul wrote:Gal. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives  in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God,  who loved me and  gave himself for me. 

John's warning to the church:
2 John 1:9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.  10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,  11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. 

How many of these 10 teachings did you disagree with?  Can we pick and choose what our Master and Teacher is saying is correct or when we do that does He cease to be our Master and teacher? 

Example:  Peter in Matthew 16 disagrees with Jesus that He will suffer in the hands of the elders:  Jesus' response:  "Get behind me, Satan"
Matt. 7:21    “Not everyone who  says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will  enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who  does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not  prophesy in your name, and cast out demons  in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23  And then will I declare to them, ‘I  never knew you;  depart from me,  you workers of lawlessness.’
This quote from Jesus is a warning which begins to wrap up the Sermon on the Mount - will we put into practice what Christ taught (build on the rock) or will we only listen then go our way?  
The bottom line is God’s Word - in Luke 16:31 Jesus taught, “if they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”  Basically he is saying the power of the Old Testament is greater than a dead man resurrected knocking at your door telling you it is all real. 

If a church moves away from the apostolic teaching of Paul, down playing the role to the cross - what happens?

Colossians 1:20 and  through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his crossCol. 1:21  And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,  22 he has now reconciled  in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and  above reproach before him,  23  if indeed you continue in the faith,  stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed  in all creation  under heaven,  and of which I, Paul, became a minister. 

Finally if a church moves away from the teaching of grace and what the Holy Spirit has freely given they move us back to the shadow (Hebrews 10:1) of the Old Testament with temple worship which never brought about a changed heart unlike the blood of Christ and the circumcision of the Holy Spirit (Rom 2:29).

Heb. 10:19  Therefore, brothers,  since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus,  20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,  21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God,  22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.  23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 
<![CDATA[God who goes before you ...]]>Wed, 07 Apr 2010 18:25:07 GMThttp://www.southvalleybaptist.com/pastors-blog/post-title-click-and-type-to-editPicture
Monday, April 5 our family went on a hike south of Escalante, Utah.  It was a challenging hike with a 1 and 2 year old but the 7 and 9 year old helped as much as they could.  We talked about Moses and the Israelites in the desert for 40 years with sand blowing in our face and eyes.  It would have been the time Moses and God's people started their long trek with animals and kids and the desert.  

Deut. 1:30 The LORD your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes,        31 and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the LORD your God  carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.’  

My favorite hiking verse:
Psalm 85:13 Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way.