Faith Bible Baptist Church of Yuma
Faith Bible Baptist Church of Yuma

From the desk of Pastor Ed ... 2019 Archives

The Reason for the Season of Christmas 

Because Jesus came, we can have peace with God,

Become a child of God.

Be justified freely,

Be saved by His grace,

Be filled with all joy

Be victorious in spiritual battles,

Abound in hope,

Be alive toward God,

Have the spirit of wisdom,

Know the hope of His calling,

Be conformed to His image,

Be God’s heir & joint-heir with Christ,

Have a sure inheritance in heaven,

Know the riches of His glory – forever!

 

God’s Word...

“To the praise of His glory, through which Christ has made us accepted in the Beloved; in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace ... that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted Christ; in Whom you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom after you believed, you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Who is the earnest (spiritual down payment) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of His glory.”                                         

Ephesians 1:6-7, 12-14

 

 

Joseph:  Guardian of Mary & Baby Jesus                   December 15, 2019

 

Joseph was a jewel living in a city of bits of coal.  Is that so?  Joseph and Mary were “highly favored” in the eyes of God just like her elderly relatives: “they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments....” Nazareth had a bad reputation.  Nathanael knew the town all too well and told Philip so. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”  God chose Joseph because he was a man of God with a heart of gold and the strength of a diamond.

 

Mary was espoused to Joseph before they came together.  In that Israelite culture, engagement was a declaration of marriage vows to be faithful until the wedding celebration. As I can best put together the momentous events, first came the engagement, then the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with an astounding message of her virgin pregnancy. As many mothers-to-be do, Mary took off in a hurry to share her joy with elderly Elisabeth’s pregnancy and her own. Three months later, Mary returned to Nazareth. She whispered to Joseph all that happened to Elisabeth and then revealed her secret to him.

 

The sin of an unplanned pregnancy?  He could not sleep. What options were there?  Allow her to be stoned to death as the Law said?  Not that. What else could he do?  Divorce her secretly. His struggle was interrupted by an angel of the Lord in a dream, saying, “Joseph ... do not be afraid to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived is of the Holy Spirit. She “shall bring forth a Son, and you will call His name JESUS.”  The angel reminded him of this Messianic prophecy: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call Him Immanuel, which is translated ‘God with us.’”

 

The next morning Joseph obeyed the command to marry her. With joy he became the husband and guardian of Mary and the baby JESUS.  Being a man of God, he dedicated his life and duty to the Captain of his salvation.  He guarded Mary by not revealing this miracle and heaven-planned pregnancy. Who would doubt and spread nasty rumors. Not long after that, Emperor Augustus ordered the registration of all citizens. This required Joseph to register in Bethlehem.  Her pregnancy might have been 5 to 7 months along.  I can imagine Joseph loading up supplies and purchasing a donkey for Mary to ride 55 miles.  His great love for her was proved by her comfort and the baby Boy in her womb. Mary respected her husband for his care as every wife should do (Ephesians 5:25 & 33).

 

No housing or inn. Mary knew Joseph was resourceful. She felt safe. Oh, a stable could keep them out of the elements!  It would provide privacy when she gave birth. “She brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger.”  (Luke 2:7). What a morning it was!

 

That same night, a multitude of angels awakened shepherds in brilliant light.  They ran to see the Savior, Christ of the Lord.” Joseph was on guard over Mary and Son. Perhaps 1-2 years later wise men from the East surprised the holy family, bowed and worshiped the baby King.  Before they left, the wise men left rich gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh (for travel and living funds).

 

When Herod threatened to kill the Baby JESUS, an angel in a dream ordered Joseph to pack quickly and flee to Egypt in the moonlit darkness. They remained there until the angel ordered them to return. Meanwhile, wicked Herod died a miserable death. Next dream, the angel ordered them to return to Judea, and then on to Nazareth hidden to be from Herod’s evil successor.  Mary loved how Joseph obeyed God every time making her feel secure.  Now that is a God-fearing husband and stepfather.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Mary’s Life—Bittersweet                       December 8, 2019

 

God’s choice of a mother for His Son was a virgin named Mary. She was well taught in the Old Testament prophecies of Isaiah, Micah, and more.  Her song, called the Magnificat, proves that. (Luke 2:46-55).  If we ponder the paths on which she journeyed, we will discover how a God-fearing woman of faith, obedience, and love could handle her bittersweet life.

 

Mary soon felt the sweet days. The angel Gabriel appeared in her house with a glorious message from the Lord: “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you. ... Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son and shall call His name Jesus.” (Luke 1:28 & 30).  He explained the miraculous virgin birth would be performed by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Without lingering, she answered, “Behold, the maidservant of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word.” (verse 38).  “Faith is never so calmly and peacefully as when it lays its head on the pillow of God’s omnipotence.” (John C. Ryle) That is faith! 

 

Had Mary ever dreamed she could become the mother of the Christ-child?  No way for that to happen.  She lived in Nazareth, not Bethlehem where the prophet said He would be born (Micah 5:2).  When Philip rushed to tell his good friend Nathanael that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah. He grimaced, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?”  History painted a reason:  from the Jordan River valley a busy highway bypassed the hill of that city of about 15,000 citizens and stretched to the Mediterranean Sea.  Persons of ill repute stopped at such hostels and inns. Surely God would not choose such a corrupt place for the birth of the Messiah.

 

Mary soon felt the bitter times from the small events to the large. How do I tell Joseph? Will he believe me?  If not, would he break our engagement?  Her faith let the Lord take care of this:  God caused Joseph to dream of an angel who explained the miraculous conception of Jesus by Mary and directed him to marry her right away.  Being a man of genuine faith, he believed Mary would give birth to the holy Child and His name was to be JESUS (Matthew 1:18ff).  This is faith in action.

 

Despite all the disruptive changes, she took it in stride. The Roman emperor ordered a census of all provinces and all were to register at their hometowns.  She and Joseph had to pack up and head south. What would Mary miss?  A baby shower for Jesus in Nazareth?  Their wedding ceremony plans were not to be.  Riding a donkey and/or walking 55 miles while in the last month of her pregnancy was no easy trip.  Mary loved the Lord enough to know all will work out alright.  She admired the devotion of her husband to care for her and the Babe in her womb. Mary trusted the Lord since “For with God nothing is impossible.”  She would be the handmaiden of her Lord and obey Him (Luke 1:37-38). This is real obedience!

 

The day came when Mary brought forth her first Child in Bethlehem.  She loved it when angels sang “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill to men!”  How sweet!  She loved the joy of the shepherds who ran to Bethlehem in search for a newborn Babe lying in a manger.  How sweet!  Some months later the “wise men” from the East arrived at the front door of their house.  When they left, they presented Him frankincense, gold, and myrrh—three expensive gifts.  Again an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream warning him to pack, flee in the darkness of night to Egypt, and stay there until instructed to return: the “bitter.” All expenses paid for by the wise men:  the “sweet.”  Mary loved the Lord very much for meeting all their needs.  She loved how Joseph obeyed God every time.  How sweet it was.

 

Mary’s Faith, Obedience, & Love to the Lord overcame all things—bitter or sweet—in her life.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Jesus of Nazareth, Immanuel                December 2, 2019

 

What title did Jesus use as His favorite name?  He expressed that name 82 times in the four Gospels.  The first time it occurs in Matthew’s Gospel is when He told a would-be disciple, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (8:20).  The last time Matthew recorded the name was in a religious court hearing.  The wicked high priest Caiaphas demanded a confession out of Jesus: “I put you under oath by the living God:  Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God!”  Jesus’ answer was powerful: “It is as you said.  Nevertheless, I say to you hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”  (26:63b-64).  Why did Jesus assume this title 82 times?  What did it mean?

 

 This title is a Jewish way of describing someone.  Jesus praised a woman who became a daughter of Abraham (Luke 13:10-17).  For 18 years she had suffered severely. Her back was bent over so bad that she could not raise herself up.  Jesus saw her, invited her to come to Him, and laid His hands upon her back. She was absolutely cured!  Jesus admired her faith in His power.  And, a rich Jewish tax collector for the Roman Empire heard about the preaching of Jesus.  Being short, Zacchaeus had to climb a sycamore tree just to see Jesus among hundreds traveling with Him through Jericho. Jesus invited Himself to the “bed and breakfast” of Zacchaeus.  At that moment, he repented of cheating, overtaxing, and covetousness.  He believed in Jesus and promised to reimburse everyone.  Jesus told the crowd, “Today salvation has come to his house, because he also is a son of Abraham.  (19:1-10).  The crippled woman and tax collector had one thing in common:  Genuine FAITH in Jesus. He had a.  body, flesh and blood, thirsty, hungry, weary.  Matthew 20:28 “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life a ransom for many.”

 

This transformation was God’s plan of salvation.  In order to sacrifice Himself Jesus had to represent the whole human race around the world.  He became Immanuel – “God with us.”  The apostle Paul put it this way:  Jesus “being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8).

 

Without the shedding of blood, there is no pardon for our sinful nature and guilt.  When Jesus was dying, the sins of the world were imputed, charged against our Savior.  To reconcile souls with their Maker, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them ... for He (God) made Him (Son of Man) Who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  (2nd Corinthians 5:19 & 21).

 

The Son of Man on that cross raised the victory cry, “It is finished!!”  (John 19:30).  Yes, Jesus paid the full price – by His sacrificing Himself.  Having paid the full sentence, Jesus calls to souls to bow, repent to God, and receive the free gift of salvation.  This is a gift that cannot be bought or merited.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

 

Christmas is celebrating the birth of the Babe in the village of Bethlehem.  Easter (Resurrection Sunday) is praising the Son of Man who gave His life once for all to those who call upon Him. 

 

If you have not repented and put your faith in Christ, I urge you to receive the best Christmas gift in 2019 from Jesus Christ.  I would love to hear from you when you do this.  Merry Christmas!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Americans’ Love/Hate Menu               November 28, 2019

 

Americans love Thanksgiving Day meals—or do they?  Someone surveyed the menus of traditional foods gobbled up on the last Thursday of November.  46% did not like canned cranberry sauce.  They thought it was disgusting—but ate it anyway.  In fact, families bought twice as much of cranberry sauce in 2018 than as they did in the previous year. Could be a love/hate reaction on our taste buds.

 

Let’s move from tasty Thanksgiving foods to a jail meal in the large city of Philippi in ancient Macedonia.  (Acts of the Apostles 16:16ff).  God had enabled the apostle Paul to cast an evil spirit from a slave girl who was mocking God, Paul, and his friend Silas.  Her masters profited a great deal from her fortune-telling. They dragged them to the local authorities who put them in jail.  Perhaps their “supper” was slop.  Paul learned to be content despite the worst (Philippians 4:11).  At midnight they were praying and were singing hymns to God!  They overcame any anger.  Paul testified, “...we commended ourselves as ministers of God; in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, ... and imprisonment....”  Can we live with tough times and identify with those two godly men?

 

Back to the survey.  Green bean casserole rated in the top tier as being disliked.  Alongside the beans, the sweet potatoes were rated disliked.   Oh, but that pumpkin pie?  Surely, that is not on the top dislike tier.  Well, 30% of Americans voted that they really love it.  It is the most chosen flavor of all kinds of pies on Thanksgiving Day.  My in-laws just love that pumpkin pie.  When relatives pour in the farmhouse living room, they smell the pumpkin pie aroma and smile. 
 

But the very next line revealed that 21% really do not like pumpkin pie.  They loathe it, ... but do eat it according to the Thanksgiving tradition.  If we are in that 21%, can we be polite and receive a slice of pumpkin pie from the host/cook with a smile?

 

And then there is the turkey.  Turkey?  Did you know that one of the early colonist leaders lobbied to have the turkey become the national bird?  (Was that not Benjamin Franklin?).  I am glad that the choice for our national bird was a bald eagle.  If the turkey was the national bird, then Thanksgiving could not enjoy roast turkey and flavored dressing.

 

 The survey opinion on the turkey is 30% of Americans choose some other kind of meat.  42% of the so-called Millennials buy something else.  A few years ago, my wife and I attended a gathering which had prepared Thanksgiving spaghetti!  It was delicious, but it did not seem just right.  Can we be nice, and have a very good time together?

Our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, said: “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.  To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come … ever watchful providence of Almighty God.  No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things.  They are gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy."

"I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

May we observe this wonderful Thanksgiving Day with giving thanks and humility.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

Prayer for a Quiet Peaceful Life                       November 18, 2019

 

It would be wonderful to live a quiet and peaceful life.  If America really wants this, God Almighty has the answer.  King David realized that the wisdom of God has the keys.  Pray for kings, presidents, and leaders who are in authority.  Pray what?  That they humble themselves before God and seek His righteousness at every step.  That could bring quiet and peace.

 

The first key is righteousness: “The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness.” (Psalm 18:20).  God’s holiness requires personal and governmental righteousness living.  Right now, there is a cultural and spiritual clash in America.  Some groups in high places of authority are calling evil – good, and good -- evil. Those groups have forsaken God’s cure for loud rioting and violent crime repent or else.  God condemns that (Isaiah 5:20).  Who is the true Judge regarding that?  God is.  “As for God, His way is perfect; the Word of the LORD is proven.” (Psalm 18:30).  As long as America is sloshing through the muck of sin, He will not grant us peace and quiet.  What is righteous?  Read the Ten Commandments. Read the Beatitudes of Jesus.  This cure is simple but powerful if obeyed.

 

The next key is truth:  Some groups in high places of authority remind me of the sinking society of the Biblical prophet Jeremiah.  Have we recognized this?  “Everyone is given to covetousness.... they have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ when there is not peace.  Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination?  No!  They were not all ashamed; nor did they know how to blush...  ‘They shall be cast down,’ says the LORD.” (Jeremiah 6:13-15; 8:12).  The word “liar” is slung around like flies—pesky and poisonous.  They can be so warped in mind and soul that they cannot blush at their lies.

 

What is “good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior”?  (1st Timothy 2:2 & 3) First, “godliness” – repent from the heart and pray for forgiveness from the LORD.  God is ready to forgive such repentance.  Second, put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins.  Without faith in Christ, you cannot become a true Christian and walk in the steps of the Lord.

 

Second, “reverence” at several levels:  give total reverence to the dignity of the Lord; give reverence

in our homes to parents; give reverence to the local authorities; and give reverence to “kings and all who are in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life....” Will this generation ever learn?  Will God have to condemn our nation?   Let’s be on our knees praying for all who are in authority from my house to the White House—only then will quiet and peace abound in America.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

Prayer is a Shield, a Sacrifice, a Scourge                    November 12, 2019

 

“Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge to Satan.” {John Bunyan, died 1688}.  Genuine prayer, the communication of one soul to Another, has been described very well by this man.

 

God was a “shield” for Bunyan that spared him from a hanging.  Other preachers had been executed for translating the Bible into English.  God shielded Noah and his family from the utterly corrupted culture of nations, tribes, and peoples.  Wickedness was really bad, rebellious, and rejecting God.

 

Prayer was a sacrifice to Bunyan.  He was imprisoned for 12 years in Britain for preaching the Word of God without a state-church license.  The magistrates offered him freedom if he promised that he would never preach Christ and the Gospel again. His young blind daughter missed her father.  He rejected that heart-rending proposal.  It was tough to grieve one so young.  He sacrificed his family to be true to God.  But, out of that sacrifice, he gifted her, his family, his church members, and his country the book called The Pilgrim’s Progress.

 

“Bunyan’s major contribution to Christianity” was that jail-house adventure story that soon spread all over England—more than he ever dreamed.  This allegory of the Christian experience “incorporated the Reformation emphases on doctrine of justification by faith and the Bible’s availability to all, yet had the vigor and immediacy of the folk tale.” {John D. Woodbridge, Great Leaders of the Christian Church}.  That exciting allegory is of a sinner’s (named Pilgrim) escape from the City of Destruction, who as a born again Christian overcame many trials and battles with the devil and his minions, and he finally reached the open gate to the Celestial City (heaven).

           

Since its publication, Christians have bought a Bible first and his spiritual allegory second for 3 centuries.  Last week in a missionary report from Bangladesh, an assembly of 100 young native pastors were delighted to have their own copy!   And, I am now reading it again.

 

Prayer is a scourge to Satan.  The devil is a fallen angel who rebelled against God.  And, what a braggart he is.  Listen to Isaiah’s quotation of this enemy of our souls: “I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; ....  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High (God).”   Listen to his doom: “Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.”  (Isaiah 14:13-14).  That is as wicked as Satan could ever be.

 

When Jesus was tempted by Satan, He rejected that liar and his offers:  food to a starving Jesus, dictatorial authority over the entire world and its riches, and tempting God to take a jump off of a very high tower and expect God to rescue Him. Every time, it was 3 strikes, you’re fired!  In the prayers of Christian martyrs for justice, they shouted earnestly: “How long, O, Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge on blood on those who dwell on the earth?!” (Revelation 6:10).  And, finally, the Lake of Fire will be the worst scourge of eternal doom for Satan (Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10). 

 

True Christians are promised a shield against every foe, every sacrifice brings victory, and the wicked one—Satan--will be scourged forever and ever.

 

The call of Jesus to all to believe in Him: “He that believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God.”   John’s Gospel 3:18

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Ascending to the Throne of God                      November 4, 2019

 

The carpenter-preacher from Nazareth defied the law of gravitation.  And no wonder, He was born miraculously from the womb of Mary, the bondservant of the Most High God. He caused the blind to see, the lame to walk, cleansed terrible condition of lepers, and caused the deaf to hear.  And amazingly, He died and raised Himself from the cold grip of death—three days after He had breathed His last breath.  The Lord Jesus Christ has miraculous powers to save sinners and care for us.

 

 His ability to perform miracles drew a Pharisee scholar named Nicodemus to interview Jesus. At that secret visit he commended Jesus: “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”  John 3:1-2

 

Nicodemus chose to visit at night for fear the Sanhedrin Council might banish him. That group was comprised of Pharisees:  orthodox in religion, self-righteous in pride.  A second group were the Sadducees: they claimed only the first 5 books of the Bible; they did not believe in angels or spirits or resurrection.  This fake religious bunch threatened the life of Jesus.  How did Jesus expose them? Four different times He charged them with hypocrisy and ignorance of the Holy Scriptures.

 

Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, was an exception.  He kept his belief in Jesus a secret for fear of being banished.  After the crucifixion, Joseph and Nicodemus risked their lives to give their Messiah, Jesus, a burial of the fitting for a King.  I would assume that these men waited for some kind of miracle.  Three days later it happened!  The angels rolled away the stone to show the women and disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead.  I would also assume that Joseph and Nicodemus were among the 500 witnesses who saw Jesus in His resurrection body before He ascended into heaven.

 

His ascension marked the finish of His work on earth triumphantly. Jesus died a sacrificial death.  He suffered the punishment for my sinfulness, and yours, and of all peoples, nations, and tribes.  No one can “buy” the entrance fee of heaven.  Jesus paid it all.  Peter explained this clearly: “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”  1st Peter 1:18-19.

 

His birth, His ministry, His death and resurrection—all miracles!  There would be one more miracle.  After appearing to many believers in His resurrection body, Jesus took the Eleven apostles some 3 miles to a hill near the village of Bethany.  His last instructions: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  Acts of the Apostles 1:8.

 

On that hill not far from the condemned temple and city of Jerusalem, Jesus lifted up His hands and blessed the apostles.  “He commended them to the protection and guidance of God, in the dangers, trials, and conflicts which they were to meet in a sinful and miserable world.” (Albert Barnes).

 

Instantly Jesus was parted from them gaining altitude and defying the law of gravitation.  Several minutes passed until He was received into the Shekinah cloud.  What a miracle!!  The Son of God sits in heaven at the right side of the throne of Almighty God.  He has opened the door to whoever will repent and put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  I hope that God has saved your soul, too.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Forty Days with the Risen Lord            October 28, 2019

 

If there is such a thing as holy jealousy, I would be spiritually jealous of the eleven disciples.  Just think of it, 40 days rubbing shoulders with these men with their risen Lord.  40 days of infallible proofs that cemented their faith in the Son of God who descended from God’s throne on a rescue mission. 40 days of learning much about the Kingdom of God. 40 days preparing them for the Great Commission.

 

The Great Commission from Matthew’s Gospel in the words of Jesus was -- “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (28:18-20).

 

The apostles’ task would be, first of all, to go and make disciples.  “Make disciples” means to teach. At intervals during those 40 days, Jesus was the Teacher; the twelve were the disciples.  Luke recorded this in his Gospel: “And He [Jesus] opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.  Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ [Messiah] to suffer and to rise from the dead the 3rd day, and that repentance and remission [forgiveness] of sins should be preached in His Name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And you are witnesses of these things.”  (24:45-48). 

 

Repentance is necessary to be saved.  Only God can forgive sins.  Personal belief in Jesus Christ brings new life.  A glorious truth is in the great Savior that “He had by Himself purged our sins, and sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”  (Hebrews 1:3).  Over many years lots of people have told me that their good works can open heaven’s door for them.  If that be so, then why was it “necessary” for Jesus so suffer lashings and crucifying pains on the cross? 

 

Jesus came to “ransom” lost sinners—that is a judicial payment (Mark 10:45).  The greatness of that payment is “without the shedding of blood there is no remission” of sins.  “Not that He should offer Himself often” .... “but now, at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” .... “So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.  To those who eagerly look for Him, He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”  (Verse phrases from Hebrews 9:22-28).

 

The Great Commission goes on to say, “baptize” a disciple who believes in Christ as his or her Savior.  Can the physical (water) wash away the spiritual (sins)?  The apostle John preached that the “blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”  (1st John 1:7f).

 

When I was a 9-year-old boy in Wisconsin, my church had a Vacation Bible School.  Two brothers, two friends, and I listened to the Bible lesson by teacher Mrs. Buck.  All 5 repented and God forgave us.  We became “disciples” – students.  During a revival service 4 years later, I responded the offer to be immersed as the testimony that I was already a Christian.  This is called believer’s baptism—believe in Jesus 1st, baptism 2nd.  This is the Great Commission way.  That is what Jesus taught the eleven disciples during those 40 days. 

 

Then Jesus ascended to heaven:  Mission Accomplished: “It is finished.”  (John 19:30).

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

If a Man Dies, Shall He Live Again?                October 21, 2019

 

The man named Job suffered terribly in more than one way.  Satan’s horrible plague may well have been what medical sources call pemphigus foliaceus: “inflamed, ulcerous sores, constant itching, degenerative changes in facial skin, loss of appetite, depression, worms in the boils” … and worse.  Why would Job ask this question: “If a man dies, shall he live again?”  (Job 14:14)

 

Was it because when all his 10 grown children gathered for a holiday, a strong wind roared across the wilderness, crushed the house, and killed all of them?  Maybe. Was it because his whole body suffered horrendous pains?   Maybe.  Job had gone as far as wishing he never been born.  Months passed suffering.  His thoughts wished God would allow him to die and escape such bitter pain.

 

Despite all that, by faith in God he believed, “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21).  By faith in God he could honestly declare, “For I know my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I see God.”  (19:25-26).  Job answered his own question:  yes, after this life, I will live again.

 

In our day of atheists and other God-deniers, some with their philosophies and assumptions declare that there is no life beyond the grave.  I dare them to prove it.  There are billions of souls, be they organized pagan religions, or ancient or modern cultures.  Why so many, many do believe in life after death, and so few deny it.  The Bible answers:  God put “eternity in their hearts….”   Words of wisdom from King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

 

Some 2,000 years after the era of Job and Abraham, a dying Man suffered terribly on a cross.  Hanging by spikes hammered through His hands and feet, he comforted a converted thief.  The latter was dying for serious crimes and confessed he deserved to die.  “If a man dies, shall he live again?”  The dying Man promised him, “… today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  (Luke 23:42-43).  Yes, after this life, a believer will live again, this time, in heaven with Jesus, angels, and saints.

 

The dying Man told the scoffers, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God…. Concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’  God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.’” (Matthew 22:29, 31, 32).  Did you read that one word “am”?  God is the “I am” and not the “I was” the God of Abraham.

 

The Apostle Paul met that Man who was on the cross—Jesus, the Son of God.  In 1st Corinthians 15:3-6 the apostle had fact news, not fake news.  The resurrected Lord appeared to over 500, get this, over 500 witnesses proving there is life after death.  Jesus was living proof to the doubting Thomas, who having seen Jesus, touched Jesus’ wounds, and watched Him eat, shouted, “My Lord and my God!!”

 

Do you want to have God’s promise of living in heaven?  Then do this:  Jesus promised “Most assuredly I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him Who sent Me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”        John 5:24 

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

Great Security in the Atonement – Romans 5:9-10                     October 13, 2019

 

The Good Shepherd is the Christian’s greatest security.  Jesus described His ministry: “I am the Good Shepherd, and I know My sheep, and am known by own (sheep).” (John 10:14). 

 

After Jesus miraculously healed a blind man, a large crowd of Jews were sharply divided on His identity. (John 10:21; 9:32-33).  One side believed He came from God. The other side shouted: “He has a demon and is [insane] (10:20).  Jesus scolded them for blaspheming: “I told you, and you do not believe because you are not of My sheep….!” (10:22-26).  To profess to believe in God but curse His Son exposed their unbelief.

 

Jesus described the true Christian: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.  I and My Father are one.” (10:27-30; compare 3:16-18).

 

Jesus Christ came down from heaven to call and secure all His sheep.  If we carefully read the tenses of Romans 5:9-10, we discover a Christian’s great security.

*  Verse 9 “having now been justified by His blood” * “been justify-ed”. This is a past transaction; a done deal.  God declares a repentant sinner to be “justified”—his past sins are blotted out.  “Justified” is not an on-going process. It’s like a judge pounding his gavel declaring, “Case closed!” 

*  Verse 10 “we having been reconciled” “-ed” “by His blood” because Jesus died on the cross. What did the apostle Paul call sinners?  “Enemies!”  He confessed that in his pre-Christian life he was an enemy of Jesus Christ: a blasphemer, persecutor, an insolent [violently arrogant]; chief of sinners (1Timothy 1:13 & 15).  On his knees in prayer at Damascus, he repented and put his faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. Pardoned! What did the blood of Jesus Christ do spiritually?  By repentance to God and faith in Jesus Christ he was “cleansed from all sin.” (I John 1:7).  Paul’s hostility was gone and love flourished for Christ. He was reconciled with God.

 

God offers all sinners the gift of what I call “Eternal Life Insurance.”  About 10 years ago, I shared this thought with my life insurance agent in Omaha.  Think about the comparisons:

 Great Security “Eternal Life Insurance”.  The best life insurance offer there is!  Here is the Policy:

 1) Eternal life Insurance Company and Agent has infinite riches: world agents & companies fail.

 2) Eternal life insurance Agent is holy and honest:  no small print or dishonest agents.

 3) Eternal life insurance Agent will never drop full coverage: companies and/or agents will drop.

4)  Eternal life insurance Agent Himself paid full price at the cross:  here agents send us bills.

5) Eternal life insurer will defend you at the Judgment Seat of Christ:  earthly agents cannot

6) Eternal life insurance Agent will not force people to sign up:  government and agents do

 7) Eternal life insurance Agent’s Good Book promises for safe living:  agents pass away, too.

 

Are you certain that you will go to heaven?  Please take the Lord’s promises to save your soul and to give you His “Eternal Life Insurance.”  The Lord’s promises are in – John 3:16-18

Great Security for our spiritual journey with pot-holes, backsliding, sins: Need help? Jesus will. Our Advocate, Jesus Christ, is the Christian’s defense attorney.  Here is how to be forgiven: 

 “If we confess our sins, He (God Himself) is faithful and just (righteous) to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (I John 1:9 and 2:1-2).  Too simple, no.  God is ready to forgive Psalm 86:5; 103:8-14 and on the cross Jesus, shouted, “It is finished!”  Paid in full. Amen!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Where Is God in Our Trials?                  October 7, 2019 

 

Eugene Fields, considered to be one of America’s greatest newspaper columnists, told of a dark hour in his life.  One morning he trudged to work frustrated and sloshing in a pity-party.  Stepping into the editor’s office, he blurted, “There’ll be no column this morning.  I’m quitting.”  The editor studied him for a moment and braced himself.  Quite casually, he replied: “Gene, I’ve got a printer downstairs who three months ago lost his wife, and this morning he has three children down with scarlet fever, and he is not quitting.”  Eugene stayed.  Where is God in our trials?  God is on His throne with His eyes and heart watching us.

God created and placed Adam in the Paradise of Eden.  He gave a precious gift named Eve to be his companion and love.  There was only one stipulation.  “Of every tree in the garden you may freely eat; But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”  (Genesis 2:16-17).  They “owned” 99.9% of everything on earth their eyes could see.  This was a trial.  Their ability to make their own choices blew a fuse.  They put their desire above God’s command and coveted that forbidden fruit.  The fruit tasted so good, so Eve gave a fruit to Adam. In that exact moment, sin entered Paradise and they knew it.  They had been warned. God had to order them to leave the garden.  The Holy Bible recorded this: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12).  Since that tragedy, all types of troubles frustrate everyone all around the world.

Where is God in our trials?  The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy…. the LORD pities those who fear (stand in awe of) Him, for He knows our frame.” Psalm 103:8, 11, 13, 14). Having a free will, 100% of the human race keep sinning.  Most do it “my way.”  When sinning continues, they self-destruct.  Before the worldwide flood, God gave every living soul 120 years to repent.  Their choice was to laugh at Noah’s pleading warnings and constructing the ark. 

Where is God in our trials?  Even decent people can be troubled, tested, and hurt badly.  There is such a thing as collateral damage.  Believers are not exempt.  Remember Job’s sufferings?  Rachel died in childbirth.  Young David was forced to be a fugitive of envious King Saul.  Daniel and his three friends were captured and enslaved in Babylon—all of them were thrown to their deaths by fire and a lions’ den (did not work!).  Most of the apostles of Jesus were martyrs.  And, most of all, Jesus’ body suffered horribly while nailed to the cross of execution.  Offering His soul as the substitution and “Lamb of God” sacrifice was much more painful!  Where was God then?  The Lord Jesus Christ became our Savior.  The cross is empty.  The tomb is empty. He arose!  He is in heaven.

Can Christians suffer?  Jesus be with us in those trials. A godly 18th century evangelist in Britain reluctantly married a widow when he was 48. His constant travel took him away from home most of the time.  She could not stand that and so tormented him vocally.  On several occasions she interrupted him while he was preaching. But he attributed most of his success to her.  Her ranting drove him to pray more, and because he was on his knees so much, his ministry saw great success.

What promise has God given us?  1st Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

The LORD is with the genuine Christian in every trial. He will make way through.  Trust Him!

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

The Christian’s Commander Versus the Tempter              September 30, 2019

 

Joshua, the commander of the Israeli army, was busy outside of his tent.  Suddenly, sensing a figure was near, he looked up.  Standing in front of him he saw an armed mysterious soldier.  In His right hand he grasped a drawn sword.  Joshua quickly got up with one hand on the handle of his sword.  He approached the figure challenging Him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” 

 

“Neither,” the armed Man replied, “I have now come as the Commander of the armies of the LORD.”  That voice—so strong and strangely familiar.  That voice—where had he heard it before!  While Joshua was an assistant to Moses, God Almighty had ordered them to hike up Mount Sinai together.  Yes, that is where it was.  It was the voice of the Almighty when God scripted stone tablets called the Ten Commandments. Joshua immediately bowed down with his face to the ground.  The Son of God incarnate—in the form of a man—had descended from heaven to give Joshua the battle plans to conquer the double-walled heavily armed city of Jericho.

 

The question for me and all of you is this:  Are you for Jesus Christ or are you with His enemies?  There is no middle ground.  Jesus meant it, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.”  (Luke 11:23).  As a boy of 9 I committed myself to be a child of God. For over 46 years I have been a soldier of the Commander of the LORD. 

 

When the apostle Paul was aging, he wrote to young Timothy, his son in the Christian faith, how to be a good soldier: “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  And the things you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.  You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him (our Commander) Who enlisted him as a soldier.” (2nd Timothy 2:1-4).  Ephesians 6:10-18 gives in detail the armor and weapon of Christian soldiers—spiritual armor, not steel, guns, or grenades.  Our sword is the Word of God.

 

Why this spiritual armor and the Bible?  In contrast to those who deny his existence, our Commander’s orders are to put on the Christian’s spiritual armor and sword of the Word of God.  “For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

 

Satan is a devil.  Paul tried to make a return trip to help new believers in Thessalonica; the Adversary hindered him—blocked the way (1st Thessalonians 2:18).  The tempter keeps on tempting believers and unbelievers (3:5).  In a newspaper column “Frank & Ernest” asked: “How come opportunities knock only once, but temptation knocks at my door every day?”  Satan is desperate trying to hinder Christians from sharing the Gospel.  He knows his time is coming.  A lake of everlasting fire is his future.

 

As Luther composed, “And though this world with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, we will not fear, for God has willed His truth to triumph through us; the prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure, one little word shall fell him.”

 

If you have not yet put your faith in Jesus Christ, as Savior and Lord, why not settle that today. The time is coming for unbelievers, too.  Please do not delay to sign up with the Commander—God.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

“If God Be For Us, Who Can Be Against Us”                         September 23, 2019

 

On the 29th of September there will be an ancient holiday called Rosh Hashanah.  According to the Jewish calendar, it begins at sunset and ends at sunset on Monday.  Rosh Hashanah means "head of the year" in Hebrew. It is a time for reflection and repentance and is referred to as the "day of judgment" or the "day of repentance." One of the most significant rituals of the holiday is the blowing of the shofar, or ram's horn.  At the cross Jesus Christ made the full and complete sacrifice for our sins.

 

In September more than 20 years ago in Omaha, Nebraska, I worked with a crew framing houses and re-modeling existing houses.  One day, Chuck, our Christian supervisor, was approached by the Jewish lady of the house with a most unusual question.  She asked him if she had said or done something to offend him and our crew.  She wanted to confess her repentance.  Chuck replied that she had not done anything.  Observant Jews do this to clear their conscience at Rosh Hashanah, their New Year.

 

The New Testament book named Hebrews contains an amazing fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies.  Its thirteen chapters are a marvelous explanation of the transition from the Mosaic Laws in the Pentateuch to the glorious Gospel of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  Someone counted 333 prophecies in the Old Testament for the coming of the Messiah.  All came true.  Jesus is truly the Son of God

and Messiah.

 

Hebrews 9:11 describes Jesus as the High Priest.  He ended the sacrificing the blood of goats and calves because He, the Lamb of God (John 1:29), sacrificed His own blood on that old rugged cross.  Jesus, just before He died, shouted three tremendous words:  IT IS FINISHED!!  (John 19:30).  That means the ultimate sacrifice 2,000 years at Calvary “paid in full” the price of the redemption of the whole world.  Anyone who repents, believes in Christ as their Savior, is redeemed.  There are no more payments.

 

In Hebrews 9:12 we discover that our Redeemer “entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”  “Once for all!”  Let that ring in your soul. See also Hebrews 9:28 and Hebrews 10:10, 12, 14.  It was finished, done, yet some keep sacrificing to merit salvation.  To believe that denies the Word of God Himself.

 

There is a heavenly peace in my heart and here is why: “How much more shall the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”  Hebrews 9:14. Because Jesus Came, we can … become children of God by faith alone, be justified freely from all our sins, be alive toward God with eternal life, be under grace as the gift of God, be conformed to His image day by day, have peace with God, be filled with all joy, have the spirit of wisdom, know the hope of His calling, be His heir in heaven & the new earth, and know the riches of the glory of His inheritance.

 

Thank God for all the blessings of Romans 8 !!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Praying With The Power of God’s Word                   September 16, 2019

 

There are some days that a Christian is not sure what to pray for.  The apostle Paul taught how he resolved that.  “For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession according to the will of God.”  (Romans 8:26-27).  The Holy Spirit can be our helper as we read learn from Jesus in the Gospel of John 14:16 & 17 – “The Father (God) …will give you another Helper … the Spirit of truth” to pray with power.

 

But how does this happen?  Let me tell you how a Christian experienced great answers from the Lord when he prayed.  George Mueller was converted when he was about 20 years old.  At age 90 he testified, “I have never had an unanswered prayer.”  That’s incredible! Or is it??

 

First, and most important, he prayed with an open Bible.  Second, he would not petition—ask for something from God—until his heart and soul were nourished from the Word of God.  Third, every prayer must be in agreement with the Word of God—the Bible.  What did this do for Mr. Mueller?  He was praying for “Thy will be done” (Matthew 6:9-10).  That is how his prayers were answered.

 

What was his lifelong ministry in the last half of the 1800s?  He founded several orphanages to care for the poor orphans from the streets of Bristol, England.  He did not advertise or beg for donations to feed and clothe them.  He prayed.  This matched the will of God—feed the children. (Bible examples:  Matthew 14:13ff -- feeding the 5,000 men and many more. 15:32ff – feeding the 4,000 and many more.)  Jesus cared for the hungry multitudes.  He performed a miracle by multiplying a young boy’s lunch into a sufficient amount of bread and fish to feed thousands.

 

One morning in Bristol, England, the orphanage cupboard was empty.  Food was all gone.  What did Mr. Mueller do?  Prayed the will of God.  He and his helpers put bowls, spoons, and cups on the large tables and sat down.  Mr. Mueller prayed.  And … waited.  Soon after that, a man knocked on the door.  A wheel on his wooden wagon broke down in the street.  They answered the door.  The man had a large load of breads and milk.  He asked if they could use his load.  They could and did!

 

Let’s apply this principle:  the will of God.  If we do not know how to find that, open your Bible to 1st Thessalonians 1.  Read it slowly.  Put your finger on something worth praying for.  Hmm.  I see verses 2 & 3 – the apostle Paul was praying for the spiritual welfare in the new church.  Answer: “work of faith, labor of love, and patience (persevering) of hope in the Lord Jesus Christ.”  He was praying for evangelism—they were out winning souls to Christ (verses 8-9).  Great things were happening with the power of God.  Why?  These new believers “received the Word of God” and they were born from above (John 3:3) into a new life in Christ.  The Holy Spirit used the Word of God to “effectively work” in those who believed (1st Thessalonians 2:13).

 

Let’s apply this principle further.  Open your Bible to 1st Timothy 2:1-3.  Who are we to pray for here?  Put your finger on verse 2.  Christians are to pray for “kings and all who are in authority” (in the USA, this means presidents, congressmen, and judges and more).  Pray what?  2nd Samuel 23:2-3 – to be righteous and rule in the fear (awesome respect) for God.  That brings lasting peace from the LORD.

 

Politicians cannot guarantee peace.  God can.  As we, as our nation, pray the will of God based in the Word of God, brings God’s favor upon our families and our country.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Jesus Is Still Changing Lives                   September 2, 2019

 

Not long ago a ten-year-old boy was drawn into the crime-filled streets of East London, England.  Drugs were black marketed everywhere.  Druggies would do almost anything to buy more—robberies and fraud were common.  Young Stephen was swept into that low life for ten years excusing it as just a way of life. One night a dream scared him.  He recalled a voice warned him: “Stephen, you’re going to prison for murder.”  He sought God and was found by God.  He accepted Jesus as his personal Savior and the Holy Spirit transformed his life.

 

Jesus began His preaching ministry by urging people to “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”  Which “repentance” did He preach?  There are two types of repentance.  The apostle described one type as “… godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation not to be regretted.”  The second type of repentance is “sorrow of the world produces death.”  (2nd Corinthians 7:10).

 

An example of the first type of repentance is a Christian caught in a sinful relationship (1st Corinthians 5).  He broke the 7th commandment. That man was living with his father’s wife (step-mother).  The culture of the city of Corinth, Greece, was wicked.  The city’s patron sexual goddess was Aphrodite.  Immorality of the worst kind flourished (6:9-11).  This sexual filth crept into the church Paul planted.  Some in the church boasted how lenient, how tolerant they were to permit this sin.  Paul commanded the Christians to discipline the man by putting him out (5:9-13).  Not long after that, the Holy Spirit convicted him of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).  He admitted that he sinned against God.  Overcome with grief, he repented to God and broke off his adulterous behavior (2nd Corinthians 2:1-10). When Paul was notified, he forgave him and encouraged the church to forgive and comfort him because of his deep remorse (verses 7-10; and 7:8-12).  Amazing grace—God forgave the sinner. That is “godly sorrow” repentance.  Jesus is still changing lives.

 

The second example of repentance is the “sorrow of the world that produces death” (2nd Corinthians 7:10).   Judas Iscariot, the apostle who betrayed Jesus to His enemies, was overwhelmed with remorse when he saw Jesus was condemned to die.  He rushed back to the temple with the blood money.  Judas shouted to the chief priests and elders, “I have betrayed innocent blood!”  The 30 pieces of silver seemed to burn his hands as he threw them down in the temple entrance.  Sorrow and remorse drove him to commit suicide by hanging himself.  This repentance was sorrowful, but Judas never turned back to the Lord.

 

Believing in Jesus Christ, Stephen was born anew.  He repented, was converted, and the Lord blotted out his sins (Acts 3:19). He turned his back from the low life of peddling drugs, robbing stores and fraud to serve the true and living God.  Stephen now heads an organization that teaches inner-city youth moral principles, discipline, and respect using sports.  He gives the glory for the success in this outreach to God.  Many youths are believing in Christ, learning to pray, and live right.

 

What does God do for the honest repentance of a soul?  Spiritually, each one is “washed” as John described it in 1st John 1:7 – “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.”  Second, each one will be “sanctified”, set apart to live a clean life.  Third, each one will be “justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus and the Spirit of our God.”  That means God declared his sins were forgiven, off the books. (1st Corinthians 6:11)

 

Jesus is still changing lives in the 21st century here, and around the nations of the world.

                                                                                                                                               

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Yes, Jesus Can Change Lives                  August 26, 2019

 

The Son of God left the glory of heaven to go on a rescue mission.  When Joseph was engaged to be married to his fiancé Mary, he found out that she was pregnant.  Talk about stunned, he certainly was.  How could this be?  That’s not the Mary he knows.  She would never commit adultery.  That night he could not sleep.  The thought of breaking the engagement pierced his soul, but he had to do the right thing.   

 

An angel appeared to him in a dream with a message from God: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”  (Matthew 1:20-21).  That message, “save His people from their sins” is exactly what Jesus came to do--change lives.

 

John the baptizer was sent some 6 months before the birth of Jesus.  His mission—prepare lost souls for the coming Messiah.  God used both to change lives with the same exact message: “Repent! For the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  (Matthew 3:2 & 4:17).  Repent of what?  SIN.  Ever since Adam and Eve sinned against God, so every child born since that fall came with a sin nature (Romans 5:12).  A lot of people deny that.  A preacher summed up our generation with a keen evaluation: “The only sin today is to call sin ‘sin’!” {Adrian Rogers} Jesus came to preach to sinners, like me, like everyone.  Jesus can change lives.

 

Nicodemus was a Jewish scholar who was fascinated by this Man from Nazareth who was healing thousands:  the blind, lepers, the deaf, and raised the dead.  He sought out this Healer one night and had to ask him, “Rabbi [teacher], we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs [miracles] that you do unless God is with Him.”  (John 3:1-2). Jesus got to the point: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (3:3ff).  Jesus made a great impression on him so that he defended Jesus from the apostate chief priests (7:32, 45-51).  After the crucifixion of Jesus, he and Joseph of Arimathea, took down His lifeless body from the cross.  They had hidden their faith in Jesus, the Messiah. Both men, one a Pharisee and the other a council member of the Sanhedrin, religious men, were born anew in Christ as their Savior and Lord.  Jesus changed lives!

 

The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is powerful.  Under the preaching of the apostle Paul, souls trapped in sinful lives were set free.  Here is his testimony in 1st Corinthians 6:9-11.  “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.  And, such were some of you.  But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”  This is the amazing grace of God that changed wicked lives.

 

Some of those sinners listed became born anew Christians. Talk about transformed. They quit living in sexual immorality, a sin against one’s body (6:18-20). They joined in serving God in the church in Corinth. They were bought with the price Jesus Christ paid for them—His life’s blood, a sacrifice on that old rugged cross.  Instead of living scarlet sinful lives and destroying themselves, they were dedicated to serve the Lord.  Jesus changed my life.  Has He changed yours? Yes, Jesus can change lives.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

Can Jesus Change Lives?             August 21, 2019

 

Several years ago a church member told me that, “Hell will freeze over before that so-and-so becomes a Christian.”  True or false?? 

 

Try this:  2nd Chronicles 33:1-9   Manasseh, son of good King Hezekiah, “did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations [idolatry] of the nations whom the LORD cast out …[and] rebuilt the high places which his father had broken down; he raised up for altars for the Baals [pagan gods], and made wooden images; and he worshipped all the host of heaven and served them….  Also, he caused his sons to pass through the fire [burned alive his own innocent babies as sacrifices to pagan deities] in the valley….  He practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spirits.”  Response from God: “he did much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger.”  How bad, how rotten, can a guy get?!  He was among the worst of the worst.

 

An astounding character of God is this:  repent, and God is ready to forgive (Psalm 86:5; 99:8 and the amazing description of God’s mercies in 103:1-5, 8-14).  Grab your hat for this one!  Open your Bible 33:10 –20.  The LORD spoke to Manasseh and the Judeans, but they closed their stubborn, deaf ears.  The king of the Assyrian army captured Manasseh. He ordered that a hook be inserted through his nose to pull him like bull, and that his arms and legs be bound with heavy chains.  The wicked king was forced march off under a scorching sun to be tortured in the Assyrian prison and nearly died.

 

Like the prodigal son, he came to his senses.  In 33:12ff the beaten king in horrible affliction bowed down in the prison to “implore the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before God … and prayed to Him.  He received his entreaty [pleading in total humility), heard his supplication (plea for help).”  God got him out of the prison and had him imported back to Jerusalem.  “THEN MANASSEH KNEW THAT THE LORD WAS GOD.”  (33:13).   God changed him radically!

 

Was this for real?  Absolutely.  Watch this:  God led him to rebuild the city wall as well as setting guards all around the nation.  Proof of his radical change is that he trashed all idols and every pagan altar he himself had made and cast them out into the garbage dump outside of the city.  He did not stop there.  He and his men—the Levites--repaired the damage done to the altar of the LORD in the temple. He sacrificed peace offerings on the altar according to the Law of Moses.  He had never done that before in his life.   This changed man commanded the nation of Judea to serve the LORD only.  

 

Could that happen today, Yes!  A lady wrote to radio Bible-teacher J. Vernon McGee.  “This is a thank you letter.  In Sept., 1976, I accepted the Lord.  I belonged to no church, but I was searching for the truth. The day I accepted Jesus Christ, I was led to listen to your broadcast, I believe by the Holy Spirit (I was at the time, extremely into the occult, and even taught classes in ‘alternative religions’ (I am a college professor).  I had never met a real Christian in my long search, but now I had you to lead me through the Bible, every day!!  That was 11 years ago.  Of course, my life changed completely!!  My memory has been washed clean of all my past occult studies.  I married the man with whom I was living (a reverent Christians now), and my lifestyle changed.  I am so thankful!”

 

What does a genuine Christian look like?  “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, old things have passed away; all things have become new (2nd Corinthians 5:17).  “In Christ” means putting faith in Christ alone for salvation, repenting and being pardoned of all sins, and becomes a believer with a tender personal relationship with Christ.  Jesus Christ can change anyone—even the worst of sinners.  I hope he has changed you.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

Jesus is returning.  When will that be true?            August 15, 2019                         

Not long before Jesus was crucified, He was visiting the Temple in Jerusalem.  There He had often taught very large crowds about His kingdom.  His chosen disciples found him sitting on the Mount of Olives with his face reddened and wet with tears as He stared at the Temple across the Kidron Valley.  The Messiah was extremely sad—He had been weeping. (Matthew 23:37-39).  They thought that showing Him the dazzling beauty of the temple would cheer Him up.  After all, it had been in the building 46 years.  “Jesus said to them, ‘Do you see these all these things?  Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another that shall not be thrown down.’”  (Matthew 24:1-3). 

They were all ears as He prophesied the destruction of this vast temple, its courts, and golden roof.  Wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes would erupt upon all nations of the world.  False prophets would begin to run like wolves all over the region.  Lawlessness would abound. What Jesus said then stunned them.  “And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the End would come.” (Matthews 24:14). 

Jesus continued declaring after that great worldwide tribulation was over, “Then the sign of the Son of Man [Christ] will appear in the heavens … coming on clouds …with power and great glory.” (24:29-30).  Signs … signs … signs would come and go from false Christs and false prophets deceiving nations in the 1st century all the way to this 21st century (24:24-26).  Satan has his emissaries busy!  But where are we to find out when Jesus, the Messiah, would return?

Jesus continued: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only…. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming…. Therefore, you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”  (24:36, 42, 44).

We are thankful for modern alert systems from weather experts sending out tornado warnings.  Last evening, I was watching and getting ready to go for shelter.  No tornado here.  Some were west of us.

The Bible is our weather system for the signs of the End Days.  He warns everyone to get ready for the day when He comes back.  Three times, Jesus exclaimed, “Behold, I am coming quickly! (Revelation 22:7, 12, 20).  Date-setters never quit guessing.  Can’t they understand that no one knows the time?  God alone knows.  I must keep in mind to watch, be alert, and be ready.

“Behold, I am coming quickly.”  What does that mean?  “Behold” = be alert, watch for prophesied, supernatural events:  sun, moon, stars darkening the entire earth at once (Matthew 24:29-30) “I am coming” = Jesus means it must happen; He’s coming.  “Quickly!” = fast, quick, suddenly.

The Lord’s first action—sound the trumpet!  Gather together His elect (Matthew 24:31).  Paul tells us more: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ shall rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17).  How can I join them?  By personal faith, born anew in Christ.  Answer: 1st John 5:1-5.

Read Revelation chapters 6, 8-11, 13-14, 16-18 for God’s judgments upon the devil and ungodly hordes. The Great Tribulation will break out to punish the wicked, the followers of the anti-Christ, for 7 horrific years.  After that is done, Jesus will establish His Kingdom of righteousness and reign on earth for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:4-6).

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Judge – Jesus Christ – is coming.  Are we ready?                  August 8, 2019

The first time Jesus came was not to judge.  His express mission was to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21) by giving “His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).  Once a man barged into the crowd interrupting Jesus.  He hollered over the bustle of the crowd: “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me!”  Jesus wouldn’t do it. Such disputes and arbitration He left for the civil authorities (Luke 12:13-15). But, the time will come when His Father “commits all judgement to the Son” (John 5:22).  Are we ready?

The last two chapters of the Book of the Revelation give the standard of right and wrong.  These sinners will be confronted by the Judge, the Son of God:  they are “cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (21:8; parallel list 22:15).  Nasty list, is it not?  Souls who are caught in such sins, especially the souls which delight in such filth, have sold themselves to the devil.  Why?  Can’t God save them? Judge Jesus will lay down the sentence: “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still….” 22:11a.  Sinners who ask for it will get it.

Five centuries before the first coming of Jesus, the apostate Israelites who gave themselves over to idolatries, immoralities, and worse--sacrificing infants to the fires. God’s judicial sentence from Heaven irrevocable: “til there was no remedy!”  (2nd Chronicles 36:16).   Sinners who ask for it will get it.  Enemy nations attacked and slaughtered such sinners leaving flowing streams of human blood from corpses all over Jerusalem and nearby cities.

What was the express mission of Jesus when He came God incarnate?  It was to ransom lost souls by offering His life’s blood on the cross.  Jesus was the “Lamb of God” sacrificed once for all time.  In the Old Testament we read about sacrificing lambs, bulls, goats, and more—over and over.  Hebrews 9:24-28 describes how things changed dramatically:  Jesus is the one and only Mediator who “Who appeared in the presence of God for us.  Not that He should often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another—He then would have to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once in the end of the ages, He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgement, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.  To those who eagerly wait for Him, He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

Guilt list:  Christ-hater, a blasphemer, a persecutor, violently arrogant, an accessory to murder, and screams that Christians ought to be jailed or killed. Question:  is there any chance that someone like this could be saved from judgement? 

This type of guy was on the road to raise havoc for Christians in Damascus.  Suddenly a light brighter than the sun blinded him so much that he fell on his face.  A strong unseen voice sounded: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?!”  Saul babbled, “Who are you, Lord?”  The voice answered, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.  It is hard for you to kick against the (sharp) goads.”  So he, trembling and astonished asked, “Lord what do you want me to do?”  Here was repentance, remission of sins, and reconciliation with God!   He was born again with a new heart. His name:  Paul, the apostle.  What saved him?  “the grace of our Lord … with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”  (1st Timothy 1:12-16). 

How will Jesus judge me, and you?  The time will come.

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Christians Ought To Be Eager To Ascend To Heaven                    July 29, 2019

The apostle Paul was extremely eager to experience two things:  #1 his great "desire to depart and be with Christ" (Philippians 1:23; 3:20-21), and, #2 the return of his and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: (Philippians 3:20-21).  Are we eagerly anticipating that day?

In the year A.D.  125, almost 100 years after Jesus died, arose, and ascended to Heaven, a Greek man by the name of Aristides wrote a letter to a friend explaining why this 'new religion' was so successful:  "If any righteous man among them passes from this world, they rejoice and offer thanks to God, and they escort his body with songs and thanksgiving as if he were setting out from one place to another nearby."

Some face the future with fear.  A Christian woman confessed why. "When I was 7, a teacher at my Christian school told me that when I get to heaven, I wouldn't know anyone or anything from earth. I was terrified of dying.  I was never told any different by anyone.... It's been really hard for me to advance in my Christian walk because of this fear of Heaven and eternal life.  She was the wife of a youth pastor."  Listening to human opinions can be hurtful.  Praise the Lord that she was shown Paul’s eager assurance of joy in Heaven.

Here is a little story to take fears out of death:  "A sick man turned to his doctor, as he was preparing to leave the examination room, and said, 'Doctor, I'm afraid to die. Tell me what is on the other side.'  Very quietly, the doctor answered, 'I don't know.'  The patient asked, 'You don't know?  You a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?' * The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side of which came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness. *Turning to the patient, the doctor said, 'He didn't know what was inside.  He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.  I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I know one thing...I KNOW MY MASTER IS THERE AND THAT IS ENOUGH."    John 14:1-3.  Jesus promised, “… I go to prepare a place for you, and I will come again and receive you to Myself....there you will be also."

Many Christians have little understanding of heaven.  The cure is searching Scripture to get the facts.  BIBLICAL IGNORANCE is everywhere and getting worse.  Approximately 50% of high school students guessed that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife; most Americans cannot list more than 3 or 4 of the Ten Commandments; Moses built the Ark of the Flood; Paul preached the Sermon on the Mount -- Wrong!!  If they cannot answer these easy questions, how will they know God's simple plan of salvation?  How can they be eager to ascend to Heaven?

John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress, a Biblical parable, really knew his Bible.  Note his eagerness to be with Jesus in Heaven, “Let dissolution come when it will, it can do the Christian no harm, for it will be but a passage out of a prison into a palace, out of a sea of troubles into a haven of rest; out of a crowd of enemies, to an innumerable company of true, loving, faithful friends; out of shame, reproach, and contempt, into exceeding great and eternal glory.” 

            {written from a Britain prison for an alleged crime of refusing to stop preaching the Word of God}.

Just think of –

            Stepping on shore, and finding it heaven!

                        Of taking hold of a hand, and finding it God’s hand.

            Of breathing new air, and finding it celestial air.

                        Of feeling invigorated, and finding it immortality.

            Of passing from storm to tempest to an unknown calm.

                        Of waking up, and finding it Home!                  By Hazel Felleman

 

Paul’s confidence: “For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”            Philippians 3:20-21

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

God’s Providence Comforts Our Souls             July 22, 2019

 

Often we hear that “prayer changes things”.  That is sometimes true; sometimes not true.  Why do I say that?  We can talk person-to-person with live action video on a Smart phone.  But, if someone is “out of range” of a cell tower, there won’t be connection.  Prayer is like that.  If one is “out of range” with God, God will not listen.  (Psalm 66:18).  If one is in good standing with God, God will answer according to His Divine providence.

 

What does “Divine providence” mean?  Divine refers to God.  Because God can accurately see our future, God makes provisions for His will and spiritual purposes.  Providence is the arm of God causing the fulfillment of God’s will in our lives. How does Divine providence reassure us when sickness, accidents, and troubles come all at once?  God is still on the throne. God sees us. God will bring comfort in due time. 

 

In the colonial days of America, the Continental Convention was laboring hard to give birth to a new nation.  But arguments, debates, and yelling piled up a stalemate.  Tempers were as hot inside the room as the hot steaming July sun was outside. The aged Benjamin Franklin asked for the floor: “In the beginning of this contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection.  Our prayers, sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered.  All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor…. And have we now forgotten this powerful Friend?  Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?

           

“I’ve lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth:  that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?  We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who built it.  I firmly believe this, and I also believe without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.” A minister was summoned and did pray.  God heard.  The colonial representatives cooled off and came to an agreement on several issues.”

                                                                              (The Light & the Glory, Marshall and Manuel, pp. 342-343)

 

God’s providence can comfort politicians, ministers, and souls like us, too. Such providence has a holy and wise purpose for my life and yours.  Here is a key Scripture to discover God’s providence and purpose for us: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear (worship, revere) the LORD and depart from evil.” (Proverbs 3:5-7). 

 

What does “Trust in the LORD” mean?  (3:5). T.R.U.S.T. – Totally Rely Upon our Savior’s Truth.  Jesus Christ is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through Him.”  (John’s Gospel 14:6).  Jesus is the Door to heaven (John 10:9).  When I repented of my sinfulness to God the Father, and trusted Him as my personal Savior, He remitted (blotted out) my transgressions once for all.  A chorus comes to mind: “Gone, gone, gone; yes, my sins are gone, buried in the deepest sea; yes, that’s good enough for me, my sins are G-O-N-E, Gone!”  Let me tell you that this drives fears away and brings me His divine comfort and peace of mind. For over 60 years my Lord’s hand has providentially cared for me.  My LORD had perfect foresight and power guiding me through good times and bad.  He plans my future and is preparing a home in heaven for me, my wife and three grown children—all are born again in Christ (John 14:1-3). God is good.

 

What does “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” promise a true Christian? (3:6).

In the book of Ruth, Elimelech and wife Naomi led their daughter-in-law Ruth from heathen idol worship to faith in the God of Abraham.  Sadness came in the land of Moab:  Elimelech and his two married sons died.  Then the LORD directed the paths of the widows, Naomi and Ruth, safely back to her hometown in Bethlehem. The widow immigrant was divinely directed to a certain field to reap barley grains. At the same time LORD moved upon a wealthy, unmarried man Boaz to inspect how the harvesting was doing.  After the summer harvests of barley and wheat, Boaz and Ruth were married, God gave them a baby named Obed, and a great-grandson, David, God’s choice be the king of Israel. That is Divine providence!  I hope you have put your trust in Jesus and are experiencing His spiritual comfort during this short journey on earth.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

What Enhances Our Prayer Life             July 1, 2019

 

Last week’s message on “WHAT TRUE PRAYER IS” is the beginning of how to pray.  Genuine prayer is the personal communication of a person with an awesome God.  Genuine prayer is best when a true Christian’s heart is right with God.  Genuine prayer is precious when a true Christian’s heart

and conscience are reconciled with others.  Genuine prayer is approved when a true Christian bows to

worship our Majestic and Holy God.  All these will enhance our prayers to our Father who is in heaven.

 

 Adam was the first human to communicate with Creator God. At the very moment God breathed life into the nostrils of that clay form, Adam became a living being.  While not recorded in the Bible, I imagine Creator and the created human had long and fascinating discussions during walks together.

(compare Genesis 3:8).  God created and bought to Adam thousands, no millions, of beasts, birds,

and cattle to name them.  Adam must certainly have had an off the charts IQ and a photographic memory to accomplish that.  God came down in some divine form to escort Adam on a tour of Paradise.  This was man’s first personal communication with his Maker.

 

Then tragedy struck. Satan transformed himself as a serpent.  God had warned Adam never to eat forbidden fruit off the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil.  Eve was deceived and Adam chose to listen to the adversary.  Sin invaded Paradise so deeply that the couple could not ask forgiveness. 

When the Lord came for His evening walk, they were hiding.  Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent.  Their heavenly walks with God was broken by SIN.  Communication was broken with static.

 

The first action Adam and Eve should have taken was mandatory: “He that covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy “(Proverbs 28:13).  Centuries later, King David, the one called “a man after God’s heart”, broke the 7th commandment with eyes of lust: “You shall not commit adultery.”  Instead of instantly putting on the brakes, he lusted.  As sin does, worse followed—coveting, murder, stealing a man’s wife, lying cover-up….  His prayer relationship with God was broken. Psalm 51 was David’s heart-stabbing confession: “I have sinned.” His repentance was honest, absolute, hiding nothing. 

 

How can communication with God be fixed?  Is there any hope?  Psalm 86:5 – God is ready to forgive and be merciful to all who repent.   Peter asked Jesus how many times another man could sin against him and Peter forgive that offender.  Seven times?? Jesus answered 70 x 7 = 490!!  Matthew 18:21-22, 35; and 1st Peter 5:7).  Sin breaks communication off.  God will not hear our petitions.  The cure is same as King David in Psalm 51.

 

What enhances our prayer life is to get our soul clean.  Confess to God and persons offended your sin and plead for pardon (see 1st John 1:6-2.2).  God is ready to hear honest, heart-felt confession.  Some attempt to buy their forgiveness.  Futile.  Some strive to be good to earn forgiveness.  Impossible.  Why?  All sin is committed against God.  King David did not go to Nathan the prophet or Zadok or Ahimelech the Jewish priests.  He confessed, “I have sinned against the LORD.”  (repentance is in Psalm 32:1-5; and reconciliation in 51:1-19).

 

Why is God not blessing our precious country?  Why all the violence? Why all those voices who have turned their backs on God?   Oh, many talk religious talk, but God knows their hypocrisy.  God is not listening.  Americans enhance our prayer life pleading God to “mend our every flaw” and “protect us by Thy might, great God, our King!”

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

What True Prayer Is                      June 27, 2019

 

The first prayer mentioned in the Bible is found in Genesis 4:26 – “And as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh.  Then men began to call upon the Name of the LORD.”  The author of the famous book “Pilgrim’s Progress,” John Bunyan, described prayer as “sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the heart or soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit….”  In a nutshell, prayer is personal communication with an awesome God.

 

Prayer that is “personal communication with God” sounds simple.  It can be simple.  A child can talk to God in a personal prayer.  I did and my siblings did.  Our own children did, and, still do.

 

Many struggle in their prayer life.  In 1752 George Washington admitted to God, “I have called on Thee for pardon and forgiveness of sins, but so coldly and carelessly, that my prayers become my sin and stand in need of pardon.”  It seems to be a so-called prayer that the religious Pharisees might say.  Jesus condemned cold prayers by telling a parable (Luke 18:9-14).  It’s bad: “prayed thus with himself” (not with God).  He had a bad case of an “I” problem:  5 times--religious pride stinks.  He broke the 2nd greatest commandment which is to love our neighbor as ourselves.  In his prayer at the temple, he slandered a tax collector who was praying and confessing his sins (18:11-12).  He bragged about his fasting twice a week.  He boasted about giving big tithes.  Jesus rejected that cold prayer.  Jesus commended the tax collector for humbly bowing in a one sentence prayer: “God, be merciful to me a sinner.”  Jesus heard his prayer and pardoned his sin.  Isaiah 1:18 declares, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.”  Amen!  In about three decades later, General Washington trusted the Providence of God and became a true Christian (read, “Sacred Fire” by Lillback). Amen!

 

Even believing Jews and believing Gentiles can struggle in their prayer lives.  Abraham and his barren wife Sarah struggled when God did not give them in due time a son as promised (read Genesis 15 & 16).  Sarah convinced her husband to get a child by using their Egyptian maidservant.  Bad.  The terrible consequences of that lasted centuries of hatred and warring.  A British pastor in the 19th century—a real man of God well known for his calm spirit.  One day, a member of his church spotted him pacing back and forth in his office. “What is the matter, pastor?” he asked.  His pastor answered, “I am in a hurry, but God is not.”  Any join me in that struggle?  Charles Spurgeon, a famous British pastor admitted: “I feel more dissatisfied with my praying than with anything else I do.”

 

Do we mess up our prayer lives by changing the Lord’s Prayer? (Matthew 6:9-15).  Dr. Albert Mohler put his finger on this mistake: “I, my, and gimme” overload. He said, “There is no first-person singular pronoun in the entire prayer!  Jesus did not teach us to pray, ‘My Father … give me…my daily bread…forgive me of my debts … my debtors…lead me not…deliver me from evil.’” 

 

“One of our greatest problems and deficiencies in prayer is that we begin with our own concerns and our own petitions without regard our brothers and sisters (fellow Christians).  …. Jesus reminds us that we are a part of a (spiritual) family, even when we pray.  Thus the first word of Jesus’ model prayer is the word ‘our.’  We are in this together.” (Mohler).

 

True prayer begins with of salvation.  Have you been born again?  Jesus said it is a must (John 3:3-7, 16-18).  One must be born anew spiritually by repentance for our sins, remission of sins by the Lord (blotted out – Acts 3:19), and by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ and His death for our sins, and resurrection to new life (Romans 10:9-10, 13).  God answers the prayers of His spiritual children.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Why We Should Believe The Bible Is The Word Of God                  June 19, 2019

 

God is the Author of the Holy Bible.  In its pages are the call to conduct our lives as Jesus did on earth and to discover how to a person can be sure of going to heaven when our days are over in the world.  No other religious book can tell us how our sins can be absolutely erased out of God’s record.  No other book can transform sinners into Christians.  No other book can present to us where awesome universes and humanity came from.  No other book reveals the Son of God, our Lord and Savior, and His great salvation.  No other book has been given by inspiration from God Himself to the world.

 

What is in our Bibles:  dramatic stories, astounding prophecies, personal letters of comfort, psalms that lift us up to praise God, practical advice, and best of all, the way of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

The apostle Peter preached: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2nd Peter 1:20-21).  The apostle Paul wrote 2nd Timothy 3:14-17 – “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

 

The Bible is the solid foundation of our faith in the one true God.  The Bible begins: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  The Holy Spirit guided Moses to write every verse from Genesis 1:1 to Deuteronomy 34:12. God’s prophets, kings, apostles and men of God wrote the rest by the Spirit of God.

The LORD said of Jeremiah, “I have put My words in your mouth.”  (Jeremiah 1:9).  Paul wrote, “The things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.”  (1st Corinthians 14:37).

 

Christianity has concrete authority and is the only Book to be trusted 100%.  Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. He preached the Gospel (good news of salvation), died for our sins, rose from the tomb, and ascended to heaven.  The Bible’s history is accurate and its prophecies have always come to pass and will continue to do so.

 

How do we know the Bible is true from our perspective?  It is a book of moral and spiritual righteousness.  It contains prophecies of things to come—every time the prophecies came true.  Examples:  Genesis 3:15 is one.  Jesus died on the cross— “His heel” is not a fatal wound because He was resurrected.  On the other hand, “crush your head” refers to Satan who tried to destroy Jesus.  Satan’s destruction is to be in hell fire (Revelation 20:7-10).  Other prophecies:  God would make the descendants of Abraham great nation among other nation.  There are over 300 prophecies foretelling the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus!  That is incredible, but true every time.  There are about the same number of prophecies will be fulfilled when Jesus comes again.

 

The Bible and science:  The earth, the Bible says, is hanging on nothing (Job 26:7).  When did scientists figure that out?  The earth is not flat but is a circle, a ball, was revealed by Isaiah (chapter 40:22).  Columbus helped scientists on that one, too.  The surface of the earth is dramatic proof of the worldwide flood and of Noah.

The life of the flesh is in our blood—no blood, no life (Leviticus 17:11).  How true!  Ask George Washington, Jonathan Edwards, and thousands (maybe millions) died by medical doctors “bleeding” bad blood to heal serious illnesses.  Ancient history as recorded in the Bible has been doubted or just plain wrong—until archaeologists dug up the truth.  Yes, there was a King David and a Pontus Pilate governor.

 

JESUS CHRIST is the Person that Genesis through Revelation is all about.  His message was: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  The Bible declares the truth of salvation and moral righteousness in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of the world.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson                                                

 

 

Jesus Is the Door to Heaven -- Luke 24:45-48                      June 14, 2019

The greatest message from Heaven is that the Lord Jesus Christ is the “Door.”  Luke made that clear in his Gospel on 24:46 – Jesus said to the apostles, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day.”  He is called the Lamb of God (John 1:29), the Savior of the world 1st John 4:14), the Redeemer (Titus 2:14), and the one Mediator between God and mankind (1st Timothy 1:5-6).  Christ instructed the apostles to preach the Gospel of “repentance and remission of sins” (Luke 24:47).

Last week’s message focused on repentance.  This week the message is on “remission of sins.” These two words are like Siamese twins—not identical, but tightly bound together.  Repentance refers to a heart-felt sorrow for one’s sinfulness.  An unbeliever can confess to be guilty and earnestly want God’s forgiveness.  The remission of sins refers to a complete pardon from sins that are put away “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He (God) removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12). 

When I was a boy of 9, I became a genuine Christian in a children’s Bible class.  After I prayed to God repenting my sinfulness, what a load of guilt vanished from me.  I was free!  My conscience clear!  God had “cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19).  My God and Savior promised never to remember them against me again (Hebrews 10:17-18).  Jesus died once for everyone.

On that old rugged cross, Jesus shouted, “It is finished!”  My sin debt to God was paid for.  What is sin?  “Sin is a violation of the nature and character of God.” [Les Ollila] Jesus sacrificed His life’s blood for all who would receive Him.  Praise Christ our Savior!  “No book of religion except the Bible teaches that God completely forgives sin.”  (Baker’s Dictionary of Theology).  In a banker’s logo, “Paid in full!”  If paid in full, nothing else can be added to that.

During the earthly ministry of our Lord, He stopped at Peter’s house along the Sea of Galilee.  Many people squeezed into the house to hear Jesus preach the Word of God.  Suddenly, four men began taking the flat roof taking apart!  The crowd had prevented them from reaching Jesus.  Their friend was on a stretcher—a helpless, suffering paralytic. 

“When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you.’  And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this?  Who can forgive sins but God alone?’  But immediately when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, ‘Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?  Which is easier to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ Or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’?  But that you may know, that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins” – He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you to arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.’  Immediately he arose, took up his bed, and went out of the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We never saw anything like this!’”  (Mark 2:5-12)

Jesus preached repentance and remission of sins.  The point Jesus made:  God alone can forgive our sins and blot them out.  The sinner repents.  God pardons sins.  Peter preached the same message in his own words: “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts of the Apostles 3:19).  Has God blotted your sins out?   Jesus declared, “It is finished!”  His death paid our sin debt in full.    Amen!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Jesus Demands Repentance of Our Sins -- Luke 24:46-47            June 7, 2019                                   

 

What did Jesus mean by “repentance and remission of sins”?  [Luke 24:47] The cartoon character, Dennis the Menace, is kneeling beside his bed, hands folded, face in gloom, and eyes focused toward heaven.  He began to pray to God: “You might wanna pull up a chair, I’ve had a pretty busy day.”  Dennis realized that Jesus demands “repentance and remission of sins” of every sinner.

 

In our study on the Gospel of Luke, we reach the first step on the pathway to heaven. Jesus taught the apostles that “repentance and remission of sins” must come first [24:46-47].  A godly minister in the 19th century, John C. Ryle, wrote, “Repentance and remission of sins are the first things which ought to be pressed to the attention of every man, woman, and child throughout the world.  All ought to be told the necessity of repentance.  All are by nature desperately wicked [Jeremiah 17:9].  Without repentance and conversion, none can enter the Kingdom of God.”

 

This is absolutely true.  God sent John the Baptist to announce the coming of the Messiah--Jesus.  What was his message?  “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand!” [Matthew 3:2].  Thousands responded by repenting and forsaking sins they had been committing. When Jesus began His ministry, He preached to the tremendous crowds to “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand!”  [4:17].

 

What is this “repentance”?  Repentance means to change one’s mind.  Its spiritual meaning is what happened in the Thessalonian church.  The apostle Paul preached repentance, great things happened!  “For they themselves declared…how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus Who delivers us from the wrath to come.” [1st Thessalonians 1:9-10].  They dumped idolatry and dedicated themselves to God.  Their souls were transformed!  They spread the Gospel all over their province.

 

Great things happened when Peter preached at Pentecost--over 3,000 felt the pains of guilt in their hearts and begged Peter to tell them what to do.  “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  [Acts of the Apostles 2:38].  Who repented and were baptized?  Those who were old enough to understand repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

Confessing our sinfulness to God comes first.  Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ follows. That is the Word of faith the apostle Paul wrote about in Romans 10:9-10, 13, 17 - “that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. … For whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. …. So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” 

 

That Word of faith is the Gospel:  Jesus came down from heaven on a rescue mission for sinners bound for hell.  Jesus died on the cross as the sacrificial Lamb of God.  Jesus gave His life paying the penalty for our sins and sinfulness.  Jesus arose in triumph for our justification—remitting sin.  God’s salvation plan was finished.  “…when He by Himself purged our sins and sat down at the right hand of God” [Hebrews 1:3].  Such salvation is a free gift.  Is not earned.  Jesus paid it all, all to Him we owe.

 

I experienced guilt and repentance as a 9-year-old.  Have you?  Next week: “Remission of sins.”

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

Funeral Arrangements Were Made in Heaven                    May 28, 2019

 

Outside the walls of ancient Jerusalem stood three crosses at a place called Golgotha (a skull).  The bloody, limp bodies of two criminals still hung on them.  Jesus, the rejected King of Israel, had committed His spirit to His Heavenly Father moments after He shouted triumphantly, “It is finished!”  Who made the funeral arrangements for the King?  They were made in eternity in the court of heaven.

 

God’s plan of salvation centered on the Son of God.  As the prophet Amos recorded in the book named after him predicted: “Surely the LORD does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7).  Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would born of virgin, suffer greatly as a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, … He was wounded for our transgressions, … and be {fatally} wounded, … and they {would} make His grave with the wicked … and with the rich at His death.”  (Isaiah 53).  How can a dead Man determine how he would be buried in a rich man’s tomb?  The funeral arrangements for Jesus had been made long ago in heaven.

 

Two secret disciples revealed their dedication to Jesus. The first one we meet arranged a secret meeting with Jesus (John 3:1-11).  Why secret?  They were members of the Sanhedrin, a religious “assembly.”  Certainly, he realized, the supernatural power of Jesus had to come from God.  “Rabbi, we know that you are teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with Him.”   John’s Gospel does not tell that Nicodemus, a renowned teacher of the Holy Scriptures, became a disciple immediately.  In chapter 7:32-52, the Pharisees and chief priests sent out the temple police to arrest Jesus.  They discovered where Jesus was but were overwhelmed by His teaching (7:37-39).  Such a teacher!  They never heard anyone preach such a wonderful unfolding of the Gospel.  Arriving back without Jesus, the Pharisees demanded an explanation.  The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!”  The Pharisees slandered the temple police “Are you deceived?!” and they slandered the crowd for listening to Jesus.  Nicodemus showed character by standing up for Jesus.  “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and know what he is doing?”  Again, the author does not call Nicodemus a disciple.

 

The second man was Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man (John 19:38-42).  He was a secret disciple wary of being slandered, kicked out of the Sanhedrin, and lost his longtime membership with the Pharisees.  We are not told when or where he became a believer.  Joseph’s dedication and love for Christ burst over his fear.  He hurried from Golgotha to Governor Pontus Pilate where the beaten and lifeless body hung.  Permission given, he and Nicodemus (probably helped by servants).  In his heart he had to give Jesus a funeral fit for royalty—expensive linen wrapped the body, and myrrh and aloes perfumed the dead.  Funeral arrangements were made in heaven were followed exactly as Isaiah prophesied.

 

The British minister John Charles Ryle wrote that “This ended the most wonderful funeral the sun has ever shown upon.”  By the death of the Lord Jesus Christ, His disciples experienced salvation that has no fear other than to fear, revere Him.  Romans 4:25 connects the resurrection of Jesus to justification.  Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, both Pharisees, were religious, but not Christians.  It is by faith alone in the sacrificial death of and resurrection Jesus that I became a Christian.  The moment I prayed to be forgiven of my sinfulness and became a Christian.  I hope that you are a fearless disciple of our Lord.   Romans 1:16 – “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes….”  Amen!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

The Comforter’s Caution to Simon                  May 6, 2019

 

A short while after Jesus instituted the Communion Service in that secluded upper room, He called Peter to his side.  Again, the Twelve were debating which one of them was the greatest disciple.  Jesus warned them to quit that chatter.  More than once Jesus pounded into their heads that He Himself came not to be served, but to serve others.  Like what a father might do to get his son’s attention, He called out, “Simon, Simon!”  That debate stopped.  The Twelve were all ears: “… Satan has asked for you [plural, means the 12], that he may sift you as wheat!”  (Luke’s Gospel 22:31).

 

Jesus knew exactly what Satan was earnestly pleading for.  He could read the devil’s mind.  Had not Satan scorned the faith of the man Job?  He almost won that spiritual wrestling match.  He never quits going around the world in haste to deceive more Eve’s, more David’s, and now Peter.

 

Many moderns, ministers included, deny the reality of the devil. The Bible states he is real: he is a person and is demonic: pride, deceit, slander, lies, a destroyer, and murderer-bent. (John 8:44).  God knows the devil is real.  He was kicked out of heaven for his rebellious pride.  Years later, Peter described him like a hungry “roaring lion” (1st Peter 5:8). He is not in hell-fire now, but his doom is coming.

 

The only way to resist the devil is to pray, trust our safety in God alone, and be steadfast in faith in the Lord (1st Peter 5:9).  Jesus cautioned Peter to put all his trust in Him.  Oh, Peter.  Here’s what he told Jesus, “Lord, I am ready to go with you, both to prison and to death.” (Luke 22:33).  His ego took a powerful hit as his ears heard from the lips of the Lord, “… I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny Me three times that you know Me.”  (verse 34).  His jaw must have fallen to his sandals!  Jesus knew Peter better than he knew himself.

 

Jesus, the Comforter, could face prison and death.  The prophets of old foretold the suffering and pain that Jesus, the Son of God, would win victory over.  (Psalm 22:1, 16; all of Isaiah 53:1-12).  Jesus had the power and authority to lay down His life—be crucified and die; He has the power and authority to break the chains of death and arose out of the borrowed tomb. If Jesus can do it for Himself, He can do it for every genuine Christian.

 

Jesus comforted His humbled disciple with a promise:  “… I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail.” (Luke 22:32).  When Jesus prays, God will make it happen.

 

What happened?  The man who boasted he could take prison and death on for himself failed.  Next was the most embarrassing and shameful story.  In the palace of the high priest, Jesus was tied up and being blasphemed by the high priest. Watching Jesus not far from him, Peter kept warm among the servants.  He tried to be unnoticed.  Just then, in a few minutes, one servant girl recognized him, then another, and a third—an hour later—a man detected his northern Galilean accent.  Luke, described Peter rushed out of the place and wept bitterly.

 

In His resurrected body Jesus met him forgiving him, talking gently with him, and restored him. Peter’s faith was shaken but not broken.  The Lord’s prayer was answered!  (John 17:7, 12 “…I kept them in Your Name…”).  And, Jesus, our Comforter, can do it for us.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

The Last Adam Became the Life-Giving                      April 29, 2019

 

Many know the name of the first person that God created.  Our grandson Adam has been named after him.  But, how many people know the person called the “Last Adam”?  The apostle Paul used that term in the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians as an intriguing portrait of the person.  The 45th verse unveils His identity: “And so it is written, the first Adam became a living being.  The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”  No one but the Lord Jesus Christ could make this claim for Himself:  John’s Gospel 11:25-26 “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. ….”

 

What is this resurrection Jesus talked about?  He described the spiritual resurrection of the body and soul together.  At death our spirit leaves the body. The funeral director prepares our body for a celebration of life service and the cemetery. There is not, in any other religion, the resurrection like we find in the pages of the Holy Bible.  Just before Jesus died, His committed His spirit to God the Father (Luke’s Gospel 23:46).  Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, His converts, took the body of our Lord down with loving care and placed it in Joseph’s tomb.  Dr. Luke included the death of a 12-year old girl.  About an hour later, Jesus went to her and raised her from the grip of death.  He explained that her spirit returned to her body.  Luke’s Gospel 8:54-55 “But He (Jesus)…took her by the hand and called saying, ‘Little girl, arise.’  Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately….”

 

The spirit of Jesus was still alive—how could this be?  Every person, regardless of a babe who died in the womb by miscarriage or the octogenarian who outlived most of us, has a living soul.  The soul and spirit are used the same.  There are the lost—sinners--who die without believing in Christ as their Lord and Savior, yet their soul/spirit is alive.  Lost souls await the Great White Throne Judgment and Hell (Revelation 20:11-15).  Reading this text carefully, you will notice they—persons, possessed a soul.  Lost spirits are alive and experience a living death of fire and brimstone with weeping and gnashing of teeth forever.  (Matthew 25:30).   Who said that?  Jesus did. He wept because they would not repent and believe in Him as their Savior. (Matthews 23:37f).  Why? They were not willing.

 

What of true Christians?  How are they resurrected?  Christians can face death with peace of mind and anticipation for the spirit to enter heaven’s gate.  At death their spirit/souls were committed to the Lord.  The Lord has described what He will do.  “… The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”  Just as Jesus could bring the little girl’s spirit by the command, “Little girl, arise,” Jesus can give the gift of a perfect resurrected body to a Christian’s spirit.  John testified that this will transform our spirit to have a body just like the one Jesus received:  a glorious body which can be seen, can be touched, can eat, can be heard—recognizable, too!  (Philippians 3:20-21 and 1st John 3:2).

 

The miraculous blessing is that genuine Christians, upon the moment of their last breath, will have the “last Adam” – our risen Lord –bring our spirit souls into heaven.  Paul believed this (Philippians 1:20-23 and 2nd Corinthians 5:1-8).

 

Christians will await with joyous anticipation for the big day when all will receive their resurrection bodies (Revelation 20:4-6).  Who are entitled to this resurrection?  Here the Bible promises it:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has ever- lasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (John 5:24ff.)

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Power of His Resurrection             April 21, 2019

 

The greatest demonstration of the mighty power of Jesus, the Son of God, is His resurrection of Himself.  (John 10:17-18). Jesus possessed the awesome power which commanded His spirit to return to His dead body in the tomb.    

 

Jesus was deeply involved in the creation of the universe and all space.  The Word of God declared:

“He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John’s 1:2-3).  Jesus demonstrated absolute power over nature when He told the raging waves of the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus raised Lazarus, a 12-year-old girl, and young man from the powerful grip of death.

 

The apostle Paul experienced the spiritual power of Jesus to regenerate his soul.  When he marched to Damascus with other zealous Jews to grab, tie up, and imprison many Jewish converts, the risen Lord shouted to him from the sky, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”  A brilliant light, brighter than the sun, scared him.  He fell on his knees.  Paul testified, “Lord, what do you want me to do?”  The name he hated became the Person he loved.  Paul’s soul was born anew!

 

Several years later Paul was evangelizing the Roman city of Ephesus and shared this testimony: “…that you may know … what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 1:19-20).  Paul wrote that “sin will not have dominion over you” (Romans 6:14).

 

After Paul was regenerated with new life in Christ, he learned how Jesus justified his status before God in the books of heaven.  Imagine a court scene:  Paul stood condemned before the Judge.  He had no way pay his penalty.  Just then, as it was in this imaginary scene, his defense attorney – Jesus the one Mediator between man and God – arose and faced the divine Judge.  He pled to the Judge that he had fully paid the penalty for his client Paul.  The Judge accepted the payment, took his gavel, and declared the sentence:  Case dismissed!

 

Jesus our Lord offered up Himself on the cross as the perfect Lamb of God.  He will take away the sins of the world, and in particular, even me and you.  On the cross, as the Son of Man, His life’s blood atoned for Paul’s sins.  Therefore, Jesus “was raised because of our justification.”  (Romans 4:25).

 

The power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ not only regenerates the life of the sinner, and declares the divine court pardon of all sin, He transforms our lives, the way to follow Jesus.  Those who know the Gospel call this new life sanctification.  It is God’s work in the believer’s soul that empowers us to live all-out for the Lord.  It is a spiritual transformation accomplished by the power of God.  Paul described it 2nd Corinthians 5:17.

 

Paul the Pharisee tried to please God as a religious zealot.  Jesus got rid of that.  Instead, Paul confessed “not having my own righteousness which is from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection….”   (Philippines 3:9-10).  This is a powerful salvation.  I hope you have it, too.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

No Speculations on the Resurrection             April 16, 2019

The great scientist Sir Michael Faraday was famous for his work as a chemist and physicist.  When he was on his deathbed, some journalists interviewed him.  One of them asked about his speculations in life beyond his death.  Dr. Faraday responded with a firm answer: “Speculations!  I know nothing about speculations.  I am resting on certainties.”

Then he quoted from the Bible, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” (Job 19:25).  That followed with another certainty from him quoting Jesus Himself: “Because He lives, I shall live also.” (John’s Gospel 14:19).  Many years before Dr. Faraday had repented confessing his sinfulness to God and was fully pardoned. At that moment, He trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.  As an old Gospel song goes, “the old account was settled long ago.”

The scientist believed what Job believed.  Verse 25 continued, “And He shall stand at last on the earth; after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another, how my heart yearns within me!”

A fisherman became the fisher of men.  He joined Job having no human speculations.  Peter was inspired by the Holy Spirit to testify, “Knowing that you not redeemed with corruptible things like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ as with a lamb without blemish and without spot. …. Who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” (1st Peter 1:18-19, 21).  Faith and hope are certainties with God.  In the Bible “hope” is a sure certainty, not a maybe, hope so, thing.

When an extremely zealous Pharisee was stopped in his tracks, blinded by light out of the sky, he heard a loud shout.  Kneeling in the dirt, Saul of Tarsus pleaded “Who are you?”  The voice thundered, “I am Jesus!”   ….  “So he, trembling and astonished, said, ‘Lord, what do you want me to do?’” (Acts of the Apostles 9:5 & 6).  There at the city of Damascus, Paul believed in Jesus as the Messiah and his Savior.

At the end of Paul’s life, soon to die a martyr, he wrote to his fellow Christian Timothy, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless, I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day.”  (2nd Timothy 1:12).  His certainty of eternal life in heaven was solid.  He testified, “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will give to me on that day, and not to me only, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”  (4:8).

Every genuine Christian, not just Job, Peter, and Paul, can have that certain hope of everlasting life in heaven with the Lord.  In John’s Gospel, 5:24-24 Jesus Himself tells us how to have, not speculations, but God’s certainty of our salvation.

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

“Jesus Saw Golgotha Coming”             April 9, 2019

Jesus could see Golgotha coming.  With it would come His deepest agony--arrest, scourging with whips of leather and broken glass, spitting in His face, a bloody crown of thorns, blasphemous curses… and certain death.  What was Golgotha?  It is also known now as the hill called Calvary.  It means the place of a skull.  Just as Isaiah prophesied in chapters 52 and 53, Jesus was born to die and save souls.

But, with more heart-felt passion than ever, His soul could see past Golgotha and hear the joyous singing of angels and of redeemed souls in heaven.  The Holy Spirit inspired Isaiah to describe the suffering at Golgotha graphically:

 “Behold My Servant’s [Jesus, Son of God] visage was marred more than any man.…. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.…. A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.  …. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. …. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities [sins];…. And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. …. When You make His soul an offering for sin. …. He [God] shall see the labor of His [Jesus], and be satisfied.…. And He bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.”  This prophecy was fulfilled completely on the cross at Golgotha.

But, why??  The death of Jesus, the Son of God, became the sacrifice offered once for all to purchase atonement for the sins of the world.  He laid down His life for us:  Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy before Him endured the cross, despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  

What did Jesus’ sacrifice at Golgotha offer to everyone?  What does His empty tomb mean to anyone who would repent and put faith in the Son of God?   Picture this:  Jesus sitting on a throne in heaven declaring, “Father, I desire that they also whom you gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory, which you have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”  John’s Gospel 17:24.

The death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ opened the gate to heaven.  Every person that is redeemed will be in heaven, standing in a resurrected body, and singing great hymns together to the praise of God Almighty.  Jesus invites everyone.  “I am the Door.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  …. I am the good Shepherd.  The good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John’s Gospel 10:9 &11.

May God bless you as we celebrate Palm Sunday and the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday.

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

The Proposition in St. Louis                     March 31, 2019

After a Christian minister had finished speaking at noonday meetings, a keen appearing businessman confronted him confessing: “You are speaking to the most ungodly man in St. Louis!”  William Newell responded, “Praise God!” 

Stunned by that answer, the businessman asked, “Do you mean to say you are glad that I am bad?”

Newell explained, “No, but I am certainly glad to find a man that acknowledges that he is a sinner.”

The man was looking for help for his soul.  “Mr. Newell, I have been coming to these meetings for 4 weeks.  I did not sleep last night.  I have had little sleep for 3 weeks.  I have prayed.  I have read the Bible.  I have waited here today to have you tell me what I need to do.”

Opening to Romans 4:5, Newell said: “Now, we will turn to the Bible.”  He read the Scripture: “To him that works not, but believes on Him that justifies the ungodly---” The man interrupted, declaring “that’s what I am, ‘UNGODLY’ but please tell me what to do.” 

Newell continued, “This tells you that you are to do nothing save one thing.  ‘To him that works not, but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.”

The man leaped to his feet and stretched out his hand, saying, “Mr. Newell, I accept that proposition!”  He left the room rejoicing.

The next day his face was glowing.  Newell introduced him to the large group of men.  He testified: “I am a business man. I know a good proposition. But I found one yesterday that so filled me with joy that I could not sleep a wink all night.”

What made the difference?  Before he tried to save himself by praying, reading the Bible, and trying to earn salvation.  Now he got it.  Jesus went to the cross to suffer and die a perfect Lamb of God. Just before He died, Jesus shouted, “It is finished!!”  His life’s blood did what no man’s feeble works could do.  Redemption price: “Paid in full!”

Last week on the corner of Main and 4th Avenue, I shared Scripture with a young man.  His religion was essentially this:  Jesus pays half, and I pay half.  God’s Word never said that. 

Romans 4:1-8 does say: “What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?”   If Abraham was saved by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.  For what does the Scripture say?  ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ (Genesis 15:6).  Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.  But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: ‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.’”

What does “believe” on the Lord Jesus Christ mean?  It means “faith in Christ who died for our sins, was buried, and arose in triumph on the 3rd day.  Faith can be illustrated like this:  F.A.I.T.H. à  Forsaking All I Trust Him.  Salvation is the gift of God, not an achievement met.  Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Have you told the LORD Jesus, “Lord, I accept that proposition?”

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

The Amazing Changes in a New Christian                 March 25, 2019

 

One of the characters in Lantern on the Levee, a popular novel that was once on the best seller lists, asked a minister why so many good church members are rascals 6 days a week.  The minister’s reply is that it is because they have been born again!  They are so sure of salvation, so they can do anything they want to do.  Such doctrine is far from true. The Bible says, “What then, shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  God forbid!  How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer in it” (Romans 6:1) * The Word of God makes the answer clear: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17).

Let’s begin with a man whose life was instantly transformed.  His name, Zacchaeus, a Jewish tax collector.  He lived in Jericho and worked for the Roman Empire.  Rome assessed custom taxes. His pay came from extorting as much money as he could before someone complained.  He was clever at it and became wealthy. One day a large crowd made a lot of noise. Jesus the miracle healer was traveling through town.  Curiosity got the best of him—he had to see Him. Problem--he was a short man. Looking around, he got an idea: a tree, that will do.  This middle-aged man ran to the tree and climbed up.  He had a great view then.

Without warning, Jesus yelled to Zacchaeus, “Make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house!” Stunned—knows my name!  Excited—could this be true! Jesus had to be the Messiah.  He believed in Him right then.  Proving he was a believer, he confessed: “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”  (Luke 19:1-10).  Jesus announced, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” He had changed!

Next up, Mary Magdalene.  She was tormented by 7 demonic spirits for a long time.  It was terrifying.  Of the 6 women named Mary in the Bible, she was the only one suffering like that.  Jesus met her somewhere near her hometown of Magdala.  With great pity for her, He commanded the evil spirits to come out of her (Luke 8:1-3).  What an amazing change in a woman who believed in Jesus Christ as her personal Savior.  She was soon, with assistance from converts Joanna and Susanna, providing the necessities of life for Jesus and the 12 disciples as they preached the Word of God. 

After Jesus died on the cross and His body buried in tomb, Mary Magdalene was the first to go to the tomb to see her beloved Savior. Angels appeared to tell her to take the miraculous news of his resurrection to the 11 disciples.  And, she hurried back to the empty tomb—where is His body?  Weeping she noticed a figure standing close by. Maybe the gardener could tell her. Jesus called, “Mary.”  That was no gardener—it’s His voice.  What an amazing change God made in her life.

Next up, a devout Jewish leader named Saul was rounding up Christians with furious zeal and jailing them.   He considered the followers of this Jesus of Nazareth a dangerous cult. 1,000s of Jews had been joining Jesus’ disciples.  Not satisfied, he chased them out of Jerusalem as far as Damascus which was 100 miles north.  As he and his band approached the gate of that city, suddenly, a brilliant light in the sky, brighter than the sun, flashed over them.  A mighty voice spoke, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?  … I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.  It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”  Trembling and astonished, Saul answered, “Lord, what do you want me to do?”  Saul struggled to stand up.  Something was wrong.  His eyes were blinded.  For 3 days he fasted and prayed to the Messiah, Jesus the Son of God.  God sent a Jewish convert by the name of Ananias with orders to restore his eyesight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.  What a change!  One moment hunting for Jewish converts, and the next repenting and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ. Immediately he, whom we know as Paul, preached that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah.  What a changed man!

 

* from Donald G. Barnhouse

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

This Man Is Our Only Hope                    March 18, 2019

 

Every soul is born into mortality—every mortal is conceived and will die.  That’s somber, confusing, negative.  Worse yet, the majority die too soon.  Our cursed planet is lethal by plagues, hurricanes, floods, wars. This cursed society has become hopelessly suicidal, massacre-bent, forever engaged in violence one against another.  Is there any hope for change?  Why have all the “would-be changers” failed?  The truth is there is only one true, genuine “Changer”.  His name is Jesus.

 

This heaven-sent “Changer” did a number on Saul of Tarsus.  He literally stopped this religious radical in his tracks on the road to Damascus, Lebanon.  Radical you ask?  His confession is this:  he used to be “a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man” (1st Timothy 1:13).  Then Jesus changed his life. 

 

How?  Why?!  “What evil has he done?” screamed Pontus Pilate, the Roman governor in Jerusalem.  Just a few hours before that scream about an innocent Man, the governor demanded a talk with the religious establishment: “Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, said to them, ‘you have brought this Man to me as one who misleads the people.  And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; no, neither did {King} Herod for he sent Him back to us; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him.” (Gospel of Luke 23:13-15). Jesus was found innocent. 

 

But He is much more than that.  Jesus is the Son of God, miraculously virgin born, lived a sinless life, died a horrible death on the cross, and rose to life again from the tomb.  Why did Jesus die?  Jesus gave the answer: “And this is the condemnation, that the light (Jesus, John 8:12) has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest he deeds should be exposed.”  (Gospel of John 3:19-20).  Humanity has no “life guard.”  But, praise God, Jesus was sent from down from heaven on a spiritual rescue mission.

 

Justice--what is divine justice?  God handed down the judicial sentence to the apostle Paul in Romans 3:9-12, which reads: “What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks {all nations} that they are all under sinners and under the power of evil.  As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none that seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.’”  Not even one mortal is as perfect and holy as God is.

 

Redemption— what is divine redemption?  God sent His only begotten Son into a condemned world to pay the price of divine justice.  Jesus became Man to give His life as the once for all sacrifice on that blood-stained cross.  Listen to Peter: “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver or gold from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish or spot.” (1st Peter 1:18-19).

 

Jesus is the only hope to enter the gate of heaven.  “… Christ came as the High Priest of the good things to come …. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. .… how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”  (Hebrews 9:11a, 12,14).  You can receive this hope by bowing in prayer at this moment to ask God to pardon your sins and to receive you into the family of God.  Put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and you will become a true Christian.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

What do I have to do to become a Christian?                     March 11, 2019

 

When Jesus began His ministry at the age of 30, He aroused a lot of publicity because He preached the Kingdom of God was near.  Even greater interest was aroused after He caused the blind to see, by one touch completely cleansed a leper of that dread disease, and with a shout, “Lazarus, come forth,” He brought life back to the dead.  Who was this man who claimed to come down from heaven? 

 

A religious leader named Nicodemus just had to meet this miracle man.  No human could possibly be that.  On a quiet evening just after dark this man met Jesus face to face.  That night he did not become a Christian— “born again”?  What did He mean?  Could he believe that Jesus was the Messiah?  No.

 

On another occasion rich, a young, ruler spotted Jesus not far away. Not losing any time he immediately ran, bowed, and knelt before Jesus (Mark’s Gospel 10:17ff). His question: “What shall I do that I may have inherit eternal life?”  Could he merit eternal life by tithing money to the temple of God and giving charity funds to the poor and the widows?  No, he could not part with his money.

 

Another man, a devout Jewish scholar, had some misgivings about Jesus the miracle man.  Probing, he tested him with this question: “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke’s Gospel 10: 25ff).  Jesus countered with a question, “What is written in the Law [of Moses]?  What is your reading of it?”  The scholar quoted the Bible for the answer: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”  He got the answer right, but his game was not over.  He was determined not be exposed by Jesus.  So this lawyer demanded, “And who is my neighbor?”  Jesus knew the man’s hypocrisy.  He talks religion on the Sabbath and treated people bad on Monday.  Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan.  A traveler was ambushed, robbed, and left half dead in a ditch.  A Jewish priest and Levite temple servant saw and abandoned the dying man.  A Samaritan, disliked by Jews, rescued him and saved his life.  Then Jesus looked him in the eye with this answer: “So which of these three do you think was a neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”  Realizing he got exposed that he was that priest or that Levite, he coughed out the answer with difficulty, “He who showed mercy on him.”  He refused to say “Samaritan” out of embarrassment.  Could he merit eternal life by being a Jewish scholar?  No.

 

What is the point made here?  Salvation is not by considering Jesus was a good man, is not by giving large sums of money to a church and to the poor and widows, and is not by being religious.  Well, how can a person become a Christian? 

 

First, confess to God that you have committed sins and with your heart repent of them (Acts 2:38; 3:19).

 

Second, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died on the cross, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead [to ransom your soul], you will be saved from judgment.

(Romans 10:9-10, 13).

 

Salvation must come by faith in Jesus, the Son of God.  Salvation cannot be bought.  Behaving your best cannot reach the perfection of God.  The Bible is clear: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”         Ephesians 2:8-9

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

The Rich Blessings of God’s Forgiveness                     March 4, 2019

 

A musician by the name of Henry Barraclough wrote a heart-touching song about the eternal love of God entitled, “Ivory Palaces.”  It goes like this:

 

            “His life had also its sorrows sore, for aloes had a part;

                        And when I think of the cross He bore, my eyes with teardrops start.

            Out of the ivory palaces, into a world of woe,

                        Only His great eternal love made my Savior go.”

 

Jesus knew many sorrows personally.  He was arrested by religious leaders whose soldiers tortured Him by lashes by whips, being punched, and “crowned” with twisted thorns. The aloes came from distant dry topical regions around the world and were expensive; in ancient times it was a known as a “plant of immortality” and given as funeral gifts to Egyptian pharaohs.  Crosses were for criminals, not the pure Son of God.  His great and eternal love drove Him to that old rugged cross to die in our place that we might live in His Place in the heavens.  Jesus left heaven to live in a “world of woe.”.

 

The Bible contains the great and awesome joy that motivated Jesus: “… Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  (Hebrews 12:2).

 

The rich spiritual blessings made possible by His substitutionary death and supernatural resurrection:

 

  • First, every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ will be forgiven and justified by faith alone. Because Jesus alone paid the debt of all our sins--past, present, and future--are cancelled in the Court of God the Judge. (Ephesians 1:7 – “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according the riches of His grace.”   Romans 8:32-33 – “He (God)who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He with Him also freely give us all things.  Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?  It is God who justifies.”)

 

  • Second, every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ will be set free from the power of death and bondage of sin and the devil.  (Hebrews 2:14, 15, 18 – “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He (Jesus) Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release all those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. …. For in that He (Jesus) Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”)

 

  • Third, every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ will be forgiven of inherited sin (often described as original sin) when a baby is born.  What can take away our sin? nothing but the blood of Jesus. This does not mean that a believer is sinless.  But, with the Holy Spirit who indwells him or her, we have the spiritual will and strength to overcome sins.  (Romans 6:11-14 – Likewise you also, reckon yourself to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey it in its lusts.  And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments to God.  For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

 

Has this happened to you?  If not, bow and pray asking for forgiveness.  God can hear you.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

What’s An Unpardonable Sin?               February 26, 2019

 

You will find the answer in the Gospel of Matthew 12:31-32 - “Therefore I (Jesus) say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.  Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of man (Jesus), it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”

 

  1. Point #1 – Who said this?  Jesus did, and not only that, He repeated it twice.  In the Hebrew language and culture, such repetition is makes the statement emphatic—it is true, better believe it.

 

  1. Point #2 – What is “blasphemy”?  “This refers to an insult to the honor of God directly or to one of his representatives (and is also) used in a weaker sense to refer to any verbal abuse.” (W. A. Criswell).  For example, when Jesus was hanging on the cross in agony and blood, the religious establishment consisting of the chief priests, scribes and elders, blasphemed Jesus, sneering, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let him come down from the cross, and we will believe in him.  He trusted in God: let him deliver him now if he will have him; for he said, ‘I am the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:42).  Nasty stuff—no pity, no compassion.  They were blaspheming the Son of God while claiming they believed in the God of Abraham.  Sheer hatred drooled out of their lips.

 

  1. Despite all that, the suffering Jesus forgave Roman soldiers who fastened Him to the cross with nails and ropes (Luke 23:34).  Would Jesus have forgiven those heartless scoffers if they regretted what they said and asked Him to forgive.  Yes!  Look at 1st Corinthians 6:9-11.  Out of such a list of terrible sinners some did repent, were forgiven by the Lord, and their lives were powerfully transformed to believe in God and to follow Jesus Christ the Lord.

 

  1. Point #3 – Examine carefully the context.  Go back to Matthew 12:22-30.  What happened there?  Jesus had cast a demon out of a man. That demon had blinded his eyes and destroyed his ability to speak.  The large crowds who witnessed that great miracle exclaimed, “Could this be the Son of David?”  This means that they wondered if Jesus was the powerful Messiah foretold by the prophets of the Old Testament.

 

  1. The hardheaded Pharisees (the religious establishment) were envious of the huge crowds attracted by the miracles that Jesus.  They became very angry because Jesus took away their mask of hypocrisy exposing greed and power-grabbing. They lied: “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” (Matthew 12:24 & 9:34).  Jesus’ power was from the devil?! 

 

  1. Jesus exposed their stupid claims—if Jesus cast out demons by Satanic powers, that would be fighting shooting themselves in the foot!

 

  1. Point #4 - Jesus revealed that he cast out demons by the power of the Holy Spirit of God (12:28). Then came the unpardonable sin:  this was the “malicious, willful rejection and slander against the Holy Spirit’s work attesting to Christ, and attributing that work to Satan.” ….  “But the clear demonstrations of the amazing power of the Holy Spirit working through Jesus to bring life and health to many people.”  (Wayne Grudem).

 

  1. How were they committing the unpardonable sin?  They blasphemed the Holy Spirit of God denying the undeniable truth of the Source of Jesus’ power.  They lied to the crowds and to themselves.  Their wicked minds were as hard as flint stone.  They slanderously attributed the Holy Spirit’s power in Jesus to have come from the Devil.  That is the unpardonable sin.
     
  2. Lest some persons feel that they have committed the unpardonable sin, and if they are still worried and repentant about having committed it, that soul has not committed the unpardonable sin.  That worry and repentant spirit can be forgiven of their list of sins.  How?  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.”  (1st John 1:9).

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Sin – It’s Irrational Behavior.                 February 18, 2019

Just why do I declare that sin is irrational?  Sin began in eternity past when Lucifer, a created angel, made an irrational boast: “For you have said in your heart, ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God …. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.’” (Isaiah 14:13 & 14).

That boast--to exalt himself--was absolutely impossible.  There is but one and only one God.   God created angels to be His servants. They are totally dependent upon their Creator.  That is like an ant boasting it could push over an elephant! It is like someone grabbing a plastic toy hammer and boast he will break the Rock of Gibraltar into gravel. Not going to happen.  He’s irrational to attempt Godhood.

Even more, Lucifer, since that boast, has been called Satan, the devil. “Satan” means adversary.  He was and still is irrational to think he is going to get away from judgment and the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20: 7-10).  If he had any sense, he would repent, bow, and plead for God to forgive his overwhelming pride.

The apostle John gave this short and succinct definition of sin.  “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” (1st John 3:4).  A theologian defined sin: “Sin is any failure to conform to the moral law of God in act, attitude, and nature.”  (Dr. Wayne Grudem).  Sinning is an action, and God gave the Ten Commandments—forbidding idol worship, using the name of God in vain, observing the Sabbath, honor your parents, and do not murder, commit adultery, steal, bare false witness (lying), and coveting.

Sin is an attitude:  Jesus taught the 12 disciples that there is sin lurking within us—bad attitudes.  There is hatred between brothers, family members and more.  It can rip relationships, too.  (Matthew 5:21-22).  There is sexual lust in the eye which is equivalent to adultery (Matthews 5:27-30). 

Sin is in our moral nature: Jesus had a face to face confrontation with the religious establishment of His day.  The scribes (religious scholars) and Pharisees (self-righteous, not God-righteous) argued with Jesus.  Imagine such educated men arguing with Jesus over how to wash one’s hands (seems irrational??) The issue:  are the traditions of men superior to the Word of God? (see Mark 7:1-16).  Jesus gathered His disciples for a teaching lesson: “And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles the man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within, and defile a man.” (7:20-23). 

Let’s apply this to our lives.  When we sin, repent confessing sins of action—what we have done wrong; confessing bad attitudes we have kept in our hearts, and confessing sins in our moral nature—confessing sins in our heart and soul.   What is Biblical repentance?

“Repentance is a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ.”  (Dr. Wayne Grudem). 

No Christian is perfect, including me.  A Christian must pray directly to God asking forgiveness.  “Who can forgive sins but God alone?”  (Luke 5:20; also 7:47-50; Colossians 3:12-13; 1st John 1:7-10).

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

What?  God Doesn’t Remember Sin?             Feb.12, 2019

Last Sunday in the evening service we sang a short chorus entitled, “Glory Hallelujah!”  Back when I was a teenager, our youth group sang it.  We sang loud!  We loved it!  It goes like this: “Glory Hallelujah!  Christ has made me free; Glory Hallelujah!  A new life now I see.  My sins are all forgiven, I’m on my way to heaven to live eternally.  Glory Hallelujah!  He’s coming soon for me!”  A new life, completely forgiven, on my way to Heaven.  You mean that God doesn’t remember sin?

Here’s what the Bible says in Isaiah 43:25 to the Hebrews: “I [God speaking] even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”  Here it is again when speaking to Hebrews and Christians, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

When John the baptizer was preaching the Kingdom of God to huge crowds near the Jordan River, and many repented, he noticed the arrival of Jesus.   John immediately pointed to the Lord and declared, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29 & 35).  Got that?  “God who takes away.”   God does not save their sins.  I was once teaching an Awana group when a young boy innocently misquoted a Bible verse.  Instead of answering “takes away,” he said God saves our sins.  I explained that when someone repents of committing sins, God will forgive them.  Where does God “take them” to? 

Notice carefully.  God’s Word, the Bible paints a clear picture of taking away sins.  “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity [bad sins], …. Because He delights in mercy ….  You [God] will cast our sins into the depths of the sea.”  The Marianna Trench is the deepest spot of the oceans of the world:  6.9 miles down.  If a large rock was tossed into the sea, it would take one hour to reach the bottom.  The best USA submarine cannot reach the sea bed before being crushed like a pop can.  It is out of reach.

Figure out this picture God gives: “For as the heavens (skies/space) are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear [reverence] Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”  (Psalm 103:11-12).  A person cannot set up a firetruck’s longest ladder, mount it, and touch the clouds, the space.  One cannot fly a jet west at Mach 1 and catch the east.  It is out of reach.

How can a person’s sins be “blotted out?”  Peter preached, “Repent, therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”  (Acts 3: 19).  When God blots out sin, it is more than deleted or put in the “computer” trash can.

Who?? God doesn’t remember sins committed against Himself?  This means that God will never dig up our past sins once He pardons them.  God will not “rake a sinner over the coals” again a second time at the Judgment Seat of God.  This gives the believer in Christ great peace of mind and soul.

What makes this possible?  Romans 5:8— “But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, CHRIST DIED FOR US.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:8-10). Jesus Christ died in our place suffering for what we deserve.  Only the Lord can forgive our sins absolutely.  How wonderful this is—to have a clean conscience before God.

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

Nothing But THe Blood               February 4, 2019

 

One of my favorite Gospel songs is entitled: “Nothing But the Blood.”  Those words are followed by questions on each line in the hymn book: “What can wash away my sin? … What can make me whole again?”  That refrain--“Nothing But the Blood?”—is repeated 8 times! 

 

The Scriptures backing up these lines is found in Hebrews 9:22. “And according to the Law {this refers to the Old Testament Law under Moses} almost all things are purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no remission.”  This verse is tied to Leviticus 17:11 – “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”  That is what all the sacrificing of bulls, goats, sheep, and turtledoves was all about.  Those sacrifices were a temporary sacrificial offering until the coming of the Messiah—Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

 

Since the coming of “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” those Old Testament sacrifices were halted (John’s Gospel, 1:29).  The “Old” was symbolic of the death on the cross of our Redeemer—a once for all sacrifice.  Hebrews 10:1-4 explains why.  “For the Law {given to Moses}, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect {complete}.  For then would they not have ceased to be offered?  For the worshipers, once purified, would have no more consciousness of sins.  But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.  For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.”

 

The mission of the Son of God was to offer Himself as the ultimate and once for all sacrifice for sins.  The Word of God tells us the way to have our sins forgiven, pardoned, and remembered no more.  Hebrews 9:26b-28 is great news:  Jesus Christ “… appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.  And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.  To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

 

“Offered once for all” is repeated in 9:10, 12.  At the cross on Calvary’s hill, Jesus, the Lamb of God made full and complete payment of “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).  Just before Jesus died, He shouted, “It is finished!”  He paid the price once for all. Hallelujah! what a Savior!

 

What can wash away my sins?  Your sins?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.  Peter backed this glorious salvation by writing, “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”  1st Peter 1:18-19.

 

The way I became a Christian is simply this:  pray to the Lord in repentance, believing that Jesus, the Son of God, died and rose again for your salvation.  God’s invitation to you is “whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved.”    Read:   Romans 10:9, 10, and 13.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Can the Material Atone for the Spiritual?                Jan. 28, 2019

 

A year ago while hiking through the scenic Crags west of Pike’s Peak mountain, my wife and I befriended a couple of Korean background and who live in Oklahoma.  They were sitting at the lookout point—a perfect picture.  I offered to take a picture of them with their camera.  “Yes,” they answered.  So, I did that for them, and, they took pictures of us with my camera.  Moments later the four of us sat down for lunch each had brought.  As we ate, I asked them about their spiritual journey.

 

He related to us that his father was a Baptist pastor in Maine and that he had been baptized.  What he shared next was that he believed that in baptism his sins were washed away.  I responded, “The material cannot wash the spiritual.”  Water H2O cannot reach into the soul with cleansing power.  The Bible, the Word of God, sustains this.  The apostle John made a profound statement: “… the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

 

How does this happen?  The book of Hebrews explains this “cleansing” well in chapter 9 and verses 9-15.  What cannot wash my soul clean?  Verses 9 & 10 – “It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience—concerned only with foods and drinks, various washing and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.”  What does this mean?

The setting is the Mosaic Law given by God to the Israelites.  The book of Leviticus has a very detailed list of gifts, sacrifices, libations, washings of water, etc.  The above verses speak of a dramatic change at the “time of reformation.”  This reform was the transition from the Old Testament laws given to Moses and the priesthood’s sacrifices of cattle and sheep.  Those “washings” or any form of baptism since the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross cannot wash our souls clean of sin.

 

 The New Testament changed worship and sacrifices as described in these verses: “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.  Not with the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  And for this reason He is the Mediator of the New Covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” (Hebrews 9:11-15).

 

John the baptizer pointed to Jesus, and shouted to the listening crowd, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!!” (John’s Gospel 1:29).  It is exclusively the life’s blood of Jesus, the Son of man, that atoned for our sins.  The material (water) cannot atone for the spiritual (sins).  Jesus satisfied the death penalty.  Will you by faith in Jesus Christ pray to God and receive absolute forgiveness?  Jesus alone saves, cleanses, and accepts anyone.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Is It a Sin to Call Sin…Sin?                       January 21, 2019

 

For years Dr. D. A. Carson has been giving lectures in secular universities across America.  He has come to realize that -- “The hardest truth to get across to them is not the existence of God, the Trinity, the deity of Christ, Jesus’ substitutionary atonement, or Jesus’ resurrection.  Even if these notions are a bit silly, they are likely to respond, ‘Oh, so that’s what Christians believe.’”

They can see a coherence to these notions.  No, the hardest truth to get across to this generation is what the Bible says about sin.

 

Pastor Adrian Rogers had a gift of expression that make a piercing bull’s eye.  Here’s one: “The only sin in America these days is to call sin ‘SIN’.”

 

Do you believe Jesus is respectable, honorable, and truly a man of integrity?  Let’s go back to His first public sermon.  It is found in the Gospel of Matthew 4:17 – “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.’”

 

To repent means to express one’s sorrow regret from the conscience for wrongdoing.  As you were growing up, did you ever feel this way when you stole candy from a store?  When you mother or father found out and confronted, did you feel remorse?  That is sin and its consequence.  Were you spanked?  Were you ordered to go your bedroom and stay there for an hour?     Did they march you down to the candy store and ask for forgiveness?

 

Sin is the breaking of religious or moral laws.  Sin is an act done willfully 90% of the time.  Sin is an offense, a fault. 

 

God gave Moses the Ten Commandments as the religious law demanded for the Israelites.  The first 4 are relative to one’s relationship to the LORD God.  The remaining 6 are relative to our relationship of other people.  The Ten are the best set of laws the world has ever seen.  If a person, a family, a city, or a nation followed the Ten, there would be no broken families, no murders, no adultery, no stealing, no liars, and no selfish lust for somebody else’s things.  What a wonderful world that would be!  Can you imagine a world with politicians who were consistently respectable, honest, and men and woman of integrity?   How about corporations?

How about mayors in larger cities?  How about me?  And how about you?

 

The way I became a Christian is that Mrs. Buck opened her Bible and read to us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  I heard that Jesus died for my sin and sinful behavior:  that was His substitutionary atonement which offered me forgiveness.

I felt guilty and was a guilty 9-year-old boy.  I realized that I was a sinner.  I broke some of the Ten Commandments.  I repented, asked forgiveness, and became a devoted follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.  God forgave me totally in that moment.  I believed the “word of faith” which is “confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believed in my heart that God raised Him from dead, and I was saved….”  You can, too.  Read Romans 10:9-10, 17.  Believe in Jesus—

He can forgive our sins!

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Most Abandoned Word in the Gospel               January 14, 2019

 Many years ago, a preacher named J. Wilbur Chapman told an incident that happened to a distinguished Methodist minister in Australia.  One of his church officers marched to his study looking quite upset.  What really bothered him was that Sunday’s sermon theme.  His complaint:  Pastor, “We don’t want you to talk so plainly as you do about sin, because if our boys and girls hear you talking about so much sin, they more easily will become sinners.  Call it a mistake if you will, but do not speak so plainly about SIN.”

Without saying a word the pastor went to the janitor’s closet, picked up a small bottle of strychnine marked “rat poison”, and returned his desk.  The minister said: “I see what you want me to do.  You want me to change the label.  Suppose I take off this label and put a milder label on the bottle, such as ‘Essence of Peppermint.’ Don’t you see what might happen?  The milder you make the label, the more dangerous you make the poison.”  So sin is that way, too.

The Bible has been given to us by the inspiration of God.  With my large Concordance I began to count how many times the word “sin” appeared in the Bible, but I thought, how about asking Google?  So I did.  The word “sin” appears over 400 times.  God put great emphasis upon sin in His Book for this fallen world.  Why?   Psalm 130:3 “If Thou, LORD, should mark iniquity, O Lord, who shall stand??”  God has the books on us sinners.  Heaven and hell are for real.  Sin is real.           

I do not like tornadoes, tsunamis, or hurricanes.  If their destructive power is verbally tamed by tender words like religious people soften the word sin, we might hear a weather report like this:  it will be “breezy, bumpy, and dirt devils” in the next 3 days.  If so, a 737 can fly through that tornado?  A car can drive on the seashore safely since it is only a tsunami?  One can get aboard an ocean liner to set sail into a hurricane?   That would be just crazy, death-defying.           

Most people replace the word sin with words like “a mistake, white lie, failures, struggles, hang-ups, baggage, issues, problems, challenges….”  But God calls sin what it is—SIN.

Mez was born into a family broken, violent, and fighting-for-one’s life.  His girlfriend plunged a knife into his friend’s heart while Mez was driving the car. He was homeless at 16, stabbed a couple people in nightclub brawl, and put in prison [true story in World a Christian magazine].  Mez began to wonder if this is all there is to life.  Some caring Christians visited him.  During probation he lived with a Christian man.  He picked up the man’s old Bible commentary and decided to read it.  When he read the Bible book of Romans, he faced reality.  God hates sin, but Jesus Christ died in his place to pay “the wages” of sin is death.  That resonated! He converted.

Mez now is a pastor in Scotland!  He questioned how so many ministers have to be “soothing in sermons, careful not to alienate anyone.”  The problem about sin is, as Mez now preaches, “people are wretches” including himself.  That is in the well-known hymn, “Amazing Grace.”  Its author, John Newton, was a slave-trader “wretch” who was converted and became a pastor. 

Is there any hope for me, for you?  Who is ready to forgive my sins, your sins?  Psalm 130:3b – “But there is forgiveness with Thee {God} ….”  86:5 – “For Thou, O Lord, are good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all that call upon Him.”  Mez found Romans 10:13 – “For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  I did it.  Jesus forgave and saved me.

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

Catching Fish in Galilee Waters            January 7, 2019

 

Several years ago on a family trip to Sand Lake in the north woods of Wisconsin, some of the men and boys picked out rod and lures with confidence--got to get that largemouth bass.  Nothing was happening below the gentle waves for me and the guys.  That afternoon, my mother and her friend paddled the 12-foot aluminum boat to a spot outside of the abundant lily pads.  I can still picture them standing on the dock displaying their largemouth bass catch.  The Bible records the failure of Simon Peter and his brother Andrew to catch anything in their large nets (Luke 5:1-11).  All night, nothing!  Mid-morning, Jesus taught them how catch fish.

 

Jesus had left His hometown of Nazareth and traveled down to the fishing town of Capernaum to preach the Kingdom of God.  Jesus’ preaching and miraculous healings soon drew people by 1,000s.  He borrowed Peter’s boat and anchored it just off shore.  He sat down in the “boat pulpit” and preached a great sermon.  Not a soul got bored and left.  When done, He told Peter to launch the 30-foot-long fishing boat.  Time to fish.  The fisherman tried to convince the Carpenter of Nazareth that it was fruitless.  Did He not know that during daylight hours the fish swam deep and far from large fishing nets?

 

Jesus just stared at him until Peter said, “Master, we have toiled all the night [when fish are in shallow waters] and have taken nothing; nevertheless, at Thy word I will let down the net” in the deep waters were hiding.  Suddenly, the large nets began to move, no, something was trying to pull them away!   The net was about to break!!  Help!  Help!  Peter and Andrew screamed to his fishing partners James and John.  Two boats were overloaded with mountains of fish and were in imminent danger of capsizing. 

 

Miracles can change fishing.  A year later, tax collectors demanded prompt payment of the temple tax from Peter and Jesus.  Having empty pockets, Jesus asked Peter to get pole, line, and hook.  Then what?  “go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first.” Peter gave that dubious look again.  Oh, well, what?? He heard the Lord instruct him to “open its mouth, and you will find a piece [stater = a coin valued at temple tax for 2] of money; take that and give it to them for you and Me.” (Matthew 17:27).  What a way to pay taxes!

 

A 3rd miracle fish story:  after Jesus arose from death, in His 3rd appearance, He met 7 of His disciples fishing on the Lake of Galilee at dawn.  Another failure—no fish.  The figure in the morning shadows called out, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” (John 21:6).  Ever catch 153 large fish?!  They were invited to the morning fish fry by the Creator of all things.

 

What can we learn from this?  Jesus is more interested in “catching” people than catching fish.

The Bible recorded Jesus to say: “’Do not be afraid.  From now on you catch men.’  So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.”  (Luke 5:10-11).  As we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them, God can save unbelievers.  Jesus gave His life to redeem lost souls.  Christians are to do our best to “fish” with the lure of the Word of God.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

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