February 22 2015

Baptizing the Dead

I’ve said it in the past:     there are 3 main rules for Sound Biblical interpretation.       These are how we can KNOW for sure that we have the correct understanding of what the text means.     It’s not enough to simply take a statement from the Bible, read it, and run with it – we need to actually pay attention to the context in which it was stated.    It can be said that a text with a context is a pretext.      Meaning that if we neglect to look at what the context of a passage is…..we can simply read our own understanding into it.     Maybe…you’ve heard someone say  “You can make the Bible say anything!”      

The secret?    It's Context....Context.....and Context.    Listen in as we look into the text.   

February 15 2015

A Tale of Two Adams

In these few weeks leading up to Easter, as we begin to think about preparing our hearts and minds, focusing on what Easter means….we look at the resurrection.    

Last week we talked about "what if?"    What if the resurrection had never occurred?   What if Christ had never died on the cross, and rose again?   What if his body had remained in the grave?   What does that MEAN to our faith? 
We concluded that IF Christ did not rise from the dead:   

If so……we are liars
The Gospel is useless – and it’s all a hoax
Faith is empty
The apostles are liars – false witnesses

But because Christ DID rise from the dead:  

Christ DID rise
Christ DID conquer sin and the grave
Because of the resurrection, we are redeemed from our sin!    
We have a message to give to the world
Our faith is real
Because Christ rose from the grave, we can celebrate a glorious and risen savior 
In terms of whether or not the message is true…..the FACT of Jesus’s resurrection is very important.     But let’s look at it from another perspective.      We know the Gospel is TRUE…but let’s look at little bit deeper into what the Gospel means to us.     

Listen in to today's message as we look further at the implications of the resurrection.    

February 8 2015

What’s the Point

I’d like to introduce y’all to a 1 and ½ year old cat named Bart.    Bart, it seems, was hit by a car.    When found lying in the street, the cat’s owner believed him to be dead.   His condition was described as “cold and stiff”, so the neighbor helped him out and buried Bart.    Five days later, Bart showed up, meowing for food, and dehydrated.   It appears he managed to dig his way out of the grave and make it to a neighbor’s house.     After medical treatment, Bart is expected to make a full recovery.  
There is all sorts of speculation of what happened to Bart.    Not many people believe that Bart was ACTUALLY dead.   Many think he was apparently stunned, or unconscious…maybe in a coma.     Who knows?   But not many are ready to suggest this cat was dead……and is now alive.   I mean….when something or someone dies…..they remain dead….right?     Cats DON’T…COME…BACK…FROM…THE…DEAD……      I don’t mean to make light of such a story….but there is an interesting parallel with today’s text.    When a person dies…..they die…..right?     Or do they?   
The apostle Paul has just spent 14 chapters going over some issues on a wide range of topics.    Issues like division, sexual sin, lawsuits among members, improprieties in worship, the Lord’s Supper, Spiritual gifts, and other things.    Now….he’s going to tackle some doctrinal issues.    One issue that needed discussed was the topic of the resurrection.   In the 1st Century, there were some that said that there would be no resurrection of the dead.  Others believed that God was going to raise people from the dead to face judgment.     At this point in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul is going to address the topic.   This is also something that the Christian Church celebrates every year.   
In a couple weeks, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.   To us…that doesn’t really mean a lot.   Most of us don’t really have any special observance of Lent, but as a young Catholic boy growing up, I was usually taught to “give up” something for the 40 days of Lent…like candy, or pop, or a favorite tv show, or something along that line.    By giving up, or sacrificing something…our minds may be focused on what is coming up:   Easter.    
As Evangelicals…this isn’t really something we commonly do.    The idea of fasting from something, or giving something up isn’t really a common practice to us.     But in that vein, last year I challenged everyone to consider maybe seeing if they could attend church every single week of Lent.   Maybe you’d want to consider doing that again this year.    For 6 weeks or so of Lent beginning on the Sunday after Ash Wednesday – February 18….could you make it to church every single week?      God is not going to love you more because you came to church….and God won’t love you less if you miss a week.  You won’t receive any kind of special blessing because of your perfect attendance…..
But if you want to grow in your faith…if you love God….maybe it’s something you’d consider.     By worshiping God with the church body, and by meeting together in fellowship, we grow in our faith.   

Due to the text that we’re looking at this week, this might be a great time to consider what Easter means – what the 40 days of Lent leads up to.  Our faith is built around THIS time. 
  • This was the time that our salvation was accomplished
  • This is the culmination of all that we believe