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

From the desk of Pastor Ed ... 2020 Archives

Celebration of the 244th Anniversary of the 4th of July of America       July 4, 2020

The DECLARATION of INDEPENDENCE

“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with one another, and assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declares the causes which impel them to the separation.  We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator, with certain inalienable rights, that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. .... [follows a long list of complaints to Britain]

           

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare that these united colonies are, and of right to be, free and independent ...

 

And for the support of this Declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” (note 4 references to God)

 

American history is clear that the Christian faith was the foundation of American colonies and the United States.  Here are some history points:

 

  • That the Mayflower & Mayflower Covenant reveals pilgrims sailed to America for religious freedom.
  • The Declaration was based upon this premise:  God, our Creator and Judge, grants mankind liberty.
  • The Bible verse on the Liberty Bell can be found in Leviticus 25:10 – “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land and unto all the inhabitants thereof.
  • “We have staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of the Government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”  James Madison, 4th president, primary author of the U.S. Constitution.
  • “Our Constitution was made for only moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  John Adams, 2nd president of the USA.
  • Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration, reminds us the foundation document: “Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is sublime and pure, and which denounces against the wicked eternal misery, and which insured the good eternal happiness, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”
  • Each of all 50 states has a preamble before their official documents.  All 50 make reverence to the God of the Bible.  42 have the names of God in them.  8 of the rest have titles of God such as Supreme      Being, sovereign Ruler, or Creator.
  • Religions in the colonies:  pilgrims (evangelicals), Puritans, Methodists & Anglicans—from England; Presbyterians—Scotland; Huguenots—France; Lutherans—Germany.  Many of these fled from religious persecution in Europe.  Baptists arose from such when they believed in “believer’s baptism.”
  • Colleges & universities:  the first 100 were founded by Christians; 2 were secular schools.  By 1775 Harvard and Yale graduated 600 ministers who served preaching in New England.
  • George Washington was a Christian.  When he took the oath of president, he put his hand on his Bible as he took the oath of office.  He added, “So help me, God.”  Ever since then, presidents have followed that short prayer and promise.
  • “Over the span of the colonial era, American ministers delivered approximately 8,000,000 sermons, each one lasting one and a half hours.  The average 70-year-old church-goer would have listened to some 7,000 sermons in him or her lifetime, totaling nearly 10,000 hours of consecrated listening.”

 

Christianity did have impact upon the 13 colonies?!  Yes!! To their shame, most America high schools, colleges, and universities do not have such classes, and Ten Commandments, and Christian services & holiday.  Secular philosophies are rampant and trying to erase Christianity. Stand tall with Christ!

                                                                      1st Corinthians 15:58

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Seven characteristics of a Saint from Philippians 4:8-9                June 29, 2020

Joe was asked by a neighbor to drive her son to the hospital.  Although he had other things planned, Joe didn’t know how to say “no.”  He put the child in his car and started on a 50-mile journey.  As they rode down the highway, he noticed the boy was deep in thought.  Suddenly, the boy turned to him and shyly asked, “Are you God?”  Startled, Joe said, “No.” The boy continued, “I heard my mother asking for some way to get me to the doctor.  If you are not God, do you work for him?” Joe replied, “I guess so—sometimes.  And now that you ask, I will be doing a lot more.”

Was Joe a saint to do this?  Philippians 4:8-9.  Here is a list of 7 characteristics of a saint:

 

  1. BE TRUE:  17-year-old Joseph gave his father Jacob a “true-blue” bad report on his 10 brothers.  These brothers had been cheating their father regarding something about his large        flock of sheep.  (Genesis 37:1-2).  While a servant in Egypt, Joseph was morally true to the LORD.  Several times his master’s wife tempted him crying out, “Lie with me!” He scolded her: “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God.”  Immediately he ran out of his master’s house.  She lied to her husband accusing him of adultery.  Joseph was determined to be true to God and man. (37:9f). 

 

  1. BE HONEST:  An American president was named after the Bible character Abraham.   He was a man of his word (Genesis 15:6; 22:1ff).  Abraham Lincoln’s honesty as a candidate helped lift the last log           cabin-born president into the White House.  His nickname became “Honest Abe.” He promised to pass the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves--and did it.

 

  1. JUST means “righteous.”  A man crawled into bed alone pondering what to do. His fiancé Mary was pregnant.  His righteousness was sorely tested: what did the Laws of Moses say?  Divorce her. He had one of two choices: embarrass her publicly or secretly? God sent an angel in a dream with an amazing message for him: “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 you shall call His name JESUS.” (Matthew 1:19-21).  Joseph was a righteous man.  God chose the right man for the Son of God.

 

  1. PURE:  wholesome, without taint, and morally clean.  This great man had pure character.  God Himself described this man of genuine and lasting integrity: “...My servant Job, that there is nothing like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil.”  (Job 1:8).  No one suffered as much as he did, and yet, he kept his language and conscience pure.

 

  1. LOVELY & lovable being beautiful and pleasing friendships.  The love story of Ruth the Moabite foreigner and Boaz a farmer both trusted in God. Ruth was beautiful in compassion for her widow mother-in-law Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17).  Boaz met Ruth and “spoke to her heart” (Ruth 2:13).  Their 4th generation son was also great in heart (1st Samuel 13:14) and handsome (16:12, 18) – King David!

 

  1. GOOD REPORT:  Young Timothy was led to believe in the LORD as his Savior through the teaching the Word of God by his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois (2nd Timothy 1:5; Acts 16:1-2).  Paul “spiritually” adopted him as a son and commended him, “For I have no one like-minded who will sincerely care for you.... But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the Gospel.”  (Philippians 2:20, 22).  Timothy followed the great example of the apostle Paul (3:17; 1st Corinthians 11:1).

 

  1. VIRTUE:  moral excellency, high standards of behavior.  One of the most violent and arrogant enemies of Christianity was a zealous Jew named Saul.  He hated this new movement and made havoc of the church groups around Jerusalem and Judea.  But, on his way with pride to Damascus a great light shone out of the sky blinding him.  The voice of Jesus was loud and clear: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting!!”  Humbled extremely Saul asked, “Lord, what do you want me to do?”  Saul was transformed in heart and soul. He became a Christian with the values of truth, honesty, righteousness, pure, lovable to companions, had a good report, and became a virtuous Christian!!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Bible Has the Answer--America is Shaking with Unbelief    June 22, 2020

 

Human behavior around the world is showing itself to be falling off the ship’s short plank.  Many souls drowning in the deep dark seas by lawlessness. There are virus fears, lawless mobs, and violent behavior across America. Without good laws which are beneficial to all, we cannot play the “game of life” well. 

 

Imagine this:  Play high school football or soccer games without referees or rule books. One player screams that stepping on the sideline is OK. The opponent yells back, “No!  It is out-of-bounds!”  That is a mob of arguing and punching. It is defying law and order.

 

Since the beginning of the human race, the tribes and nations that developed beneficial laws enjoyed some measure of decency. Such cultures become better.  It put value upon family and neighbors.  Some standards are-- don’t steal things, don’t be immoral, don’t be violent to anyone, and don’t lie.  If the majority obey these things, life is better. But how can it?

 

The New York Jets had an outstanding running back who rushed over 13,000 yards—6th place in all-time leaders 20 years ago. Curtis Martin told of his frightening childhood in the slums.  “When I was growing up, I didn’t expect to live past the age of twenty-one.  Any day, any second, I thought I’d be dead because violence was part of my life ... When I turned 9, my grandmother’s murder reminded me I lived in a violent world .... A knife was stuck in her chest.... I was almost killed many times.”  What changed him? He proclaimed his faith in Jesus Christ.  Curtis gave the Lord the credit: “The more I followed God, the more He helped me develop godly thoughts.  That changed my attitude and then my behavior.  God took away my confusion and fears.”  The Lord made the difference in his behavior on and off the field.

 

Human behavior is passed on from one generation to the next.  Adam’s and Eve’s sin passed on to Cain and Abel. (Romans 5:12 – “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin....”)  Envy turned to hate and Cain slit his brother’s throat. He never confessed.  Behavior is alike in every human culture regardless of color.

 

In South Africa there was a really bad prison where violent men were incarcerated. The Lord gave Joanna Flanders-Thomas a burden to visit the prisoners.  Author Philip Yancey described this dangerous ministry. “Joanna started visiting prisoners daily, bringing them a simple Gospel message of forgiveness and reconciliation. She earned their trust, got them to talk about their abusive childhoods, and showed them a better way of resolving conflicts.  The year before her visits began, the prison recorded 279 acts of violence against inmates and guards. The next year there were ... 2.”

 

Could this happen in America?  Just as sure as Jesus is for real, this can happen.  God declared, ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” For God has made Jesus, the Son of God, who never sinned, to be a sin offering for our sins that sinners might become the righteousness of God. (2nd Corinthians 5:17).

 

God’s Word has the answer to such lawlessness across the land.  Cure:  believe in Jesus Christ.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

A Big Sinner Discovered the Path to Heaven’s Gate                      June 14, 2020

For years John made big bucks running the biggest brothel in the British city of London. He got arrested and landed in prison.  He thought that he was a good guy.  He felt no shame.  He did not know even know how to blush.  Is there any way he could possibly be forgiven? 

Days of boredom got to him.  He found out he could have some free coffee and cake with a group of fellow prisoners.  He was surprised at how happy they were.  It turned out to be a Bible study for inmates.  The study that day was a powerful Bible message in which God offered a pardon if he would repent his sins and transgressions.

“The soul who sins shall die. Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and new spirit.  For why should you die. O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies, says the Lord GOD.  Therefore, turn and live.” (Ezekiel 18:20a, 30b, 31-32). 

That did it.  He began to cry mumbling, “I was not good guy.  I was wicked, and I needed to change.”  John put his faith in Jesus Christ who is ready to forgive such a bad sinner he was.  When John fulfilled his term, he lived a changed man.  God created a clean heart in John.

The Bible relates the story of David the giant killer and good king over the nation of Israel.  It happened one spring evening he arose from his bed and walked around on the flat roof of his cedar palace in Jerusalem.  His eyes were surprised—at a nearby house a beautiful woman was bathing.  Bathsheba may have been guilty of careless indiscretion in modesty. He did not shut his eyes and turn away.  David sent messengers to bring the beauty to him. Not long after this evening, she sent a message: “I am pregnant.”  Adultery! Fear gripped him.  Her husband Uriah was assigned far away in battle He arranged with his army general to assign Uriah to a dangerous mission.  It worked.  He died from enemy arrows. She mourned and wept.  To cover his sin, David married her.  God was an eye-witness and very displeased the king’s two terrible sins.

God sent His prophet Nathan to ask David, “Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD to do this evil in His sight!? You have killed Uriah with the sword and taken his wife.  The Judge in heaven pronounced the sentence: “Behold, I will raise up adversity against you.”  The guilty king told Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”          

He pled with God: “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your lovingkindness:  according to the multitude of your tender mercies.  Blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions and my sin is always before me. Against God, you only have I sinned, and done this thing evil in your sight.” (Psalm 51:1-4).  The death of the baby boy was part of his punishment. For seven days David fell on his face weeping and fasting—rejecting any meals. The baby died. David wept over this collateral damage because it was his fault. In the following years 3 more of his grown sons died violently for grasping the king’s throne.

 David’s sins were blotted out of God’s Book of Life.  Then God restored to him the joy of divine salvation.  Others can do, too.  How? “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, and a contrite heart. These, O God, You will not despise.” (51:17). 

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

Biblical Regeneration or Baptismal Regeneration             June 8, 2020

The question of the hour is the clear Biblical declaration of what it takes to be born again.  Before coming to an answer, all who study the Bible ought to believe the obvious statement of the facts.  Let’s begin with this truth: “What must I do to be saved?” 

The apostle Paul declared, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” (Acts of the Apostles 16:30-31).  Paul made salvation really clear: “the Word we preach; that if you confess with your mouth 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. ...  So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:9, 10, & 17).

Fact check:  the speaker:  the apostle Paul.  Must do what?  by believing with faith in Jesus as Lord, believe that God resurrected Jesus from death.  Now let us examine the evident truths.

  • Who can believe the Word of God?  Belief is an action of the listener who understands the basic facts that Jesus died on the cross in behalf with all sinners.
  • Believing in those facts with the heart brings repentance of one’s sinfulness.  It answered the jailer’s question: “What must I do to be saved?”  Saved from what?  Unbelief and condemnation for their sins.
  • Believing?  Understanding?  Confessing?   Infants cannot do these things.

 

Now let’s dig and investigate the circumstances:  what about “baptism”—is it to be immersion in water, or pouring or sprinkling water?  Baptism in the Greek language means to dip (like in washing dishes), to immerse down and in.  Take notice of this:  the Bible describes baptism as going down into water and rise to come up out of a river or lake: Jesus did that Himself (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:9-10; and Philip with a convert, Acts 8:37-39).  Think about this—why walk into a river or lake and then pour or sprinkle water on their heads?  Makes no sense.

Next, exactly what is it that saves a sinner from damnation?  The apostle John, knowing Jesus very well wrote: “...and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.”  Paul preached, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”  The Savior of the world gave His life’s blood as the ultimate sacrifice.  Is this very clear:  God chose His Son’s blood to spiritually cleanse us from our sin and transgression.  God did not choose water.  May I ask, who went to heaven without being baptized?  King David would (Psalm 23:6).  The repentant thief who died next to Jesus (Luke 23:39-43). This proves that baptizing infants, young people, or adults is not the road to heaven.  Jesus is the Door.

Time to dig some more:  can infants go to heaven without pouring or sprinkling them? David’s son by Bathsheba (conceived by adultery) lived only 7 days. While lying on the ground, David wept, repented, fasted, and prayed 7 days (2nd Samuel 11-12; note 12:21-23).  David was judged. With tears he said, “But now he is dead; why should I fast [more]?  Can I bring him back again?  I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”  When David was nearing his death, he wrote: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalm 23:6).  They would meet in heaven.

So baptismal regeneration is a man-made dogma which evolved centuries after the crucifixion of Jesus.  It is fake salvation.  Biblical salvation is by Christ alone, faith alone, and grace alone.

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

The LORD’s Three Judgements in Psalm 50              June 1, 2020

This past weekend Sheriff Chris Swanson in Flint, Michigan, looked in the eyes of a large crowd grieving over the unnecessary death of George Floyd.  As Sheriff Swanson approached them, he removed his helmet and put down his police stick expressing his grief, too.  He shouted, “Don’t think for a second that police officer who murdered George represents cops all over this country and nation.”  He asked what they really wanted.  A leader said “we want a voice.”  Sheriff Swanson responded they will give them a voice shouting, “Let’s make this a parade!” All marched together cheering peacefully.  God’s way transformed the march!

Asaph was an inspired author of 12 psalms as well as leading musician of choirs in Solomon’s Temple. Most of those psalms emphasized judgement and righteousness.  Take note that in all this psalm God was doing the talking.  Psalm 50:6 stands out as a great description of these two words: “Let the heavens declare His righteousness for God Himself is Judge.”

How does God display righteousness?  God is alert, never sleeps in His 24/7 watch of the world. “He shall call to the heavens from above and to the earth that He may judge His people.  When they came with a sacrifice of atonement to be offered, God judged His people-- His saints [holy ones—genuine believers].  If they conducted themselves in righteousness, God gladly judged them declaring them innocent and blessed them. (Psalm 50:4-6).  When it is time for the Judgement Seat of Christ, rewards will be given out (2nd Corinthians 5:10).  There will be great joy and praise with God and to our Almighty God.

On the other hand, in God’s second kind of judgements, the scene will be really frightening in Psalm 50:7-13. The Judge in the heavenly seat will pronounce: “Hear, O My people, and I will speak, O Israel, and I will testify against you; I am God, your God!”  What is wrong here? 

Time and time again the Jews brought their animal sacrifices to the altar at the temple.  Some sacrifices were damaged and not fitting (Malachi 1:8). Some brought good tithes, but have no heart—full of pride, have no faith in their hearts.  God cannot bless an offering with sin in the worshipper (Psalm 66:18).  Pagan idol worshipers gave meat and food to their so-called gods.  But, God is never hungry.  This sin depends on rituals and formalities of worship.   Sacraments without genuine faith in the heart is offensive to God.  God’s judgement will be severe.

Religion without godliness is also offensive to God.  Such a worshiper claims with his mouth that he is obeying God’s statutes and covenants.  That may be done Saturday or Sunday; come Monday he hates God’s instructions and tosses the Word of God away—till next weekend.  Such a worshiper leaves religious services to climb into the bed of adulterers, to lie and slander, and forgets God’s Ten Commandments.  God calls this sin. (Psalm 50:16-22).  God’s judgement will be eternal fire.

God is the righteous Judge with the genuine believer.  God will reward a born again Christian (Psalm 50:4-6; John 3: 16-18). 

God is the Judge with mercy.  He is ready to pardon the sin of religious sinners (50:15).  God is the Judge and only Savior.  He will forgive the religious but immoral hypocrite (50:23; Romans 3: 21-26).     Have you experienced the joy and peace of God by believing in Jesus Christ?

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

How Baptism Illustrates the Resurrection                May 25, 2020

When Jesus was teaching the Gospel, He often illustrated a truth with a word picture.  Let’s take a peek in the Bible at a well-known parable--a parable is a short story to create an image of compassion as a neighbor.

A Jewish scholar confronted Jesus, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25-37).  Jesus asked him, “What is written in the Law (Bible)?” He gave the correct answer. The Bible’s greatest commandment is: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”  Jesus, knowing the scholar’s soft spot, replied, “Do this and you will live.”  He responded trying to justify himself, “Who is my neighbor?”  Jesus illustrated with the parable of the good Samaritan. A Jewish man was ambushed by thieves on the dirt road from Jerusalem to Jericho. They beat him terribly, stole his robe, and deserted the man half dead. Two Jewish travelers, a priest and a temple worker, glanced at the victim and hurried away.  But a certain Samaritan came upon the scene. He had compassion for a Jew regardless of race.  He bandaged wounds, took him to a motel, and paid the bill.  Jesus asked the scholar which one of the three was a neighbor.  Answer—"He who showed mercy.”  God the picture?

Now, let’s search “How Baptism Illustrates the Resurrection.” Open your Bible to Romans 6.  The Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to “paint pictures” about divine truths. Truth #1 – Verse 3 declares “as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death.”  What does this mean? Does it sound like someone was “immersed in his work”?  To be spiritually “immersed” is to be deep into the death of Jesus on the cross by faith.  How so?  Paul explained this further: “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.” (10:9).

Next, verse 4 says with an image of burial of His body “we are buried with Him through baptism into death....”  After a confession of faith in Jesus Christ, a believer is spiritually “immersed” through baptism.  Paul painted the same word-picture in Colossians 2:12; again “buried with Him in baptism.”  Immersion is a scene of burial in a “watery death. These word-picture truths were sent to churches in Rome and Colosse.            

Truth #2 - verse 4 continues, “just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”  Paul painted the action after immersing as raising from the watery grave.  Jesus was resurrected by the power of God.  The new Christian is to be buried (immersed) in the waters of a river or baptistry and immediately is to be raised up from the waters.             

A baptismal ceremony: “Upon your testimony of receiving Jesus Christ as your personal Savior by faith alone, I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and Holy Spirit.”  {minister lowers the candidate into the water} “Buried in the likeness of His death; {minister raises the candidate} Raised in likeness of His resurrection of Christ.”   [see Romans 6:3-5]

Baptism illustrates a spiritual death to sin and the glorious raising of his resurrection up out of the watery grave to live a new life in Christ Jesus our Savior.  What a word-picture!  What a figurative scene of so great a salvation!

Romans 6:8 – “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.”

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Baptism – “In Remembrance of Me”              May 20, 2020

The Great Commission” reads like this: “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.”  Matthew 28:19-20.  Jesus commanded the 12 apostles to observe the Lord’s Supper “in remembrance of Me.” {1st Corinthians 11:25}   Jesus used immersion for remembrance of the cross.

Jesus was clear about two simple ordinances, each has a great meaning-- remember His death and sacrifice paying divine justice with His blood on the cross and reminding true Christians of the resurrection of His body.  The fruit of the vine represents His blood. The act of immersion represents His burial and His arising from death by the power of God.          

In the first century of church history, the method and meaning of baptism was a picture.  Let’s begin with the baptism of Jesus Himself by the prophet John the Baptist*.  What method did John use?  “all baptized by him in the Jordan River.”   Jesus and John had waded out into the river together.  Then what?  Jesus was immersed completely (Mark 1:5).  The Greek word “baptize” was used for washing dishes (Mark 7:3-4).  Question: did John wade out into the Jordan River in order to pour or sprinkle water on the new convert?  The answer is easy—sure did not.  Makes no sense.  Would not pouring or sprinkling water be done on the shore?

After that, what next?  Jesus “immediately, coming up from (out of) the water (1:9-10; Matthew 3:16).  Were Jesus and John soaking wet?  Sure were.  Why did John the Baptist go out to Aenon near Salim?  There was “much water there” (John 3:23-24). Philip led the Ethiopian treasury official to believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as his personal Savior.  Why did he stop his chariot?  He said, “See, here is water.”  What did Philip and the foreigner stop do?  “And both ... went down into the water, and he baptized him.  Now when they came up out of the water ... and he (new believer) went on his way rejoicing.” (Acts of the Apostles 8:35-39).

Did you catch all those actions -- “down, into, in, up, from, out of?”  That is proof positive that the method was immersion.  Can baptism by immersion, or pouring water, or sprinkling be the key to open the gate into heaven?  No.  Can water (the physical) wash away sins (the spiritual).  No.             

John, and all the apostles, preached that only “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1st John 1:7 and Romans 3:24-26; 10:9-10, 13, 17).  Only Jesus has the divine authority to pardon sins, He said so Himself (Matthew 9:6).  He paid the ransom price by sacrificing Himself on the cross (Mark 10:45).          

The apostle Paul explained the rite of baptism clearly is a ceremony picturing what faith in the Lord Jesus Christ died, was buried, and was raised.  Romans 6:3-5 “Or do you not know that as many of us were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  Therefore, we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the death by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection.”  Catch the great spiritual parable the apostle Paul made here: “buried” --> “immersion” (in a watery grave) “His resurrection” --> “raised up” from that watery grave.            

If someone has not been baptized, whether sprinkled or immersed, will the gate of heaven be shut to them?  No!  Two criminals were crucified beside Jesus.  One confessed his sins and put his faith in the Lord Jesus the Savior.  Jesus assured him that “today you will be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43).  It can be said that he went to heaven with Jesus “dry cleaned.”  Baptism is a “work” that cannot earn salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Immersion is a picture of death and resurrection.  Amen!

                                                                                                    * Baptist – has the idea of a baptizer

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

John Charles Ryle on The Best Source of America’s Restoration                                                                                                                                                           May 14, 2020       

           

Scripture teaches plainly that God rules everything in this world—that He deals with nations as they deal with Him, --that national prosperity and national decline are ordered by Him, ... and without His blessing no nation can prosper ... Whether men like to see it or not, I believe it is the first duty of a State to honour and recognize God.  ... The sinews of a nation’s strength are truthfulness, sobriety, purity, temperance, economy, diligence, brotherly kindness, and charity among its inhabitants.  Let those deny this who dare.          

And will any man say that there is any surer way of producing these characteristics in a people than by encouraging, and fostering, and spreading, and teaching pure Scriptural Christianity.  The man who says there is must be an infidel. .... But of one thing I am very sure, --the State begins by sowing the seed of national neglect of God, will sooner or later reap a harvest of national disaster and national ruin.”

About 125 years ago, Bishop Ryle warned his generation about the ruin that communists, socialists, and mob-leaders might bring.

In another book Bishop Ryle quoted the words of President George Washington (Principles for
Churchmen, chapter “Disestablishment,”  pages 315-342.

“Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.  Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason, and experience both forbid us to expect national morality can prevail to the exclusion of religious principle.”

 

“Church & State” John Charles Ryle, Evangelical Bishop in Church of England, d. 1900

Source:  Prepared to Stand Alone, author Iain Murray

Chapter: “What Does Ryle Say for Today” pages 230-231

 

Submitted by Pastor Edwin E. Anderson

Faith Bible Baptist Church, Yuma Colorado

 

 

And Can It Be?                    April 21, 2020

And can it be that a man can be a very devout person yet down deep he knew something was missing.  Let me share the story of the conversion of a British man by the name Charles Wesley.  He graduated from the famous Oxford University.  His father was an Anglican rector.  He and his brother John sailed to the American colony of Georgia as missionaries.  There they failed miserably and were sent back to England.  Can it be something was missing in their souls.

A Moravian leader, Peter Bohler, wanted to learn English.  Charles agreed to assist him, and they soon became friends.  Bohler noticed the restlessness in his soul.  Something was missing.  So he shared a Scripture verse that shed spiritual light in his soul.  The apostle Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live; but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20).  That last clause of spiritual truth filled what was missing.  Charles testified that, “I now found myself at peace with God and rejoiced in hope of loving Christ ...  I saw that by faith I stood; by the continual support of faith.”  God’s love for him became a personal reality.

Charles was born again by faith in Jesus Christ.  He believed in Christ’s death and resurrection for his salvation.  Genuine faith in Jesus Christ is the key to heaven. Our works cannot outweigh our sins.  Our efforts, no matter how many, cannot accomplish enough merits to open the gate into heaven.  If I can work hard, day and night, to merit heaven be the case, then why would Jesus need to be crucified?  Jesus was crucified to pay the ransom for sinners like us (Mark 10:45).

In less than a year with his gift of poetry he composed a tremendous hymn: “And Can It Be.”  The first verse is great: 

“And can it be that I should a gain an interest in the Savior’s blood?

Died He for Me, who caused His pain?  For me who him to death pursued?

Amazing love, how can it be that Thou my God, shouldst did for me? 

Amazing love, how can it be that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”

 

Last verse:               

“No condemnation now I dread; Jesus and all in Him, is mine!

Alive in Him, my living Head, and clothed in righteousness divine,

Bold I approach the eternal throne, and claim the crown,

And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Amazing love! How can it be that Thou my God, shouldst die for me?”

 

And can it be?  O, yes it can be!! ... that the Son of God came down from heaven’s glory, humbled Himself to sacrifice His life for sinners like us, and overcame the power of death and hell’s punishment.

And can it be that we, in the midst of COVID – 19’s dreaded pandemic flu, need not fear.  Yes!  We need not fear when Christ, the Great Shepherd, is standing in heaven watching His “sheep.”  Peter was inspired to share the Lord’s promise that He has a home “...reserved in heaven for you.” (1st Peter 1:4).  I believe that.  “And can it be” true?  Yes, Amen!

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

The Glory and Power of Jesus Christ  April 14, 2020

The execution of Jesus was blamed on envy:  Judaism had gotten out of hand in the 1st century.  The vast majority of members of the Sanhedrin Council were desperately afraid that Jesus, the miracle-man from Nazareth, would dethrone King Herod and steal their place and nation.  Genuine Christians have yet to see the glory and power of Jesus Christ.

The glory and power of Jesus was not mystical fiction. The Jewish Pharisees ran into a dilemma.  Jesus had healed a man blind from when he was born (John’s Gospel 9).  To them healing such handicaps on the holy Sabbath was a sin. That was work. Therefore, to them, Jesus was a sinner, the man witnessed. ‘Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know.  One thing I know that those was blind, now I see.”  His opponents denied that this man had been blind.  The mob was holding large stones in their hands to murder Him.

Jesus challenged their accusation: “If I do not do the works of My Father {God}, do not believe in Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe* that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”  John 10:37-38.  The confrontation ended when the mob cast the man out the synagogue. They denied the fact of the glory and power of Jesus Christ.                                                         

The glory and power of Jesus Christ was proven by raising at least three from the grip of death.   First, Jesus stopped a funeral procession coming out the gate of Nain.  A widow’s only son had died.  Jesus touched the open coffin, saying, “Young man, I say to you rise.”  (Luke 7:14) Second, Jesus took the hand of a deceased 12-year girl commanding, “Little girl, arise.”  She recovered from the grip of death (Luke 8:50).  Third, a young man named Lazarus, had died of a deadly flu. His sisters sent a servant to ask Jesus to rush to Bethany before he died.  Jesus calmly told His disciples, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God made be glorified through it.” (John 11:4).  Lazarus died.  Four days later Jesus arrived and stood at the door of a tomb, saying, “Lazarus, come forth!”  To Him be the glory and power of Jesus.  Notice this, Jesus recovered all three. They were not resurrected.  In time they aged, raised families, and died again at their time.

The glory and power of Jesus Christ was equal to that of Almighty God.  Jesus prophesied a marvelous and supernatural event: “Therefore My Father {God}loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power** to lay it down, and I have power **to take it again.  This command have I received from My Father.”  (John10:17-18).  Jesus resurrected Himself!  At that very moment, God the Father and the Holy Spirit exercised this miracle together.  This is RESURRECTION.  Jesus will live eternally, will live supernaturally, and will never taste death again. This is the glory and power of Jesus Christ!

What is this resurrection like?  The resurrection body of Jesus is recognizable:  body, face, voice. His resurrected body can hear, can be seen, be touched, and lives eternally. (Gospel of John 20:24-29; 1st John 1:1).  Every genuine Christian will one day be resurrected and given a body like that of Jesus (1st John 3:1-2; Philippians 3:20-21).  This is the glory and power of God!

 *  and continue to know

** authority of God

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

The Easter that Sorrow Turned into Joy         April 12, 2020

 

Palm Sunday had come and gone.  The song raised by the multitude, “Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!!” still rang in the hearts of the apostles of Jesus.  The Triumphal Entry of Jesus into was not published in the local paper “City of David” or aired on the radio “Angels we have heard on high.”  It was a big surprise to the multitude which followed Jesus from Galilee and the multitudes in the City of David.

Jesus owned no house or bed, possessed no stallion or royal mule.  So, He borrowed a lowly colt and donkey.  He had no saddle.  There was no red carpet welcome.  Jesus rode into the Holy City welcomed by thousands who had been healed by the Prophet from Nazareth.  Many boys and girls absorbed the excitement of the day and burst out with high-pitched voices drowning out the critical scorn of the chief priests and scribes (Matthew 21).  Those men were demanding that Jesus stop the children’s music.

The day was soon over and the apostles followed Jesus to the village of Bethany just a couple of miles east of Jerusalem.  Jesus opened His heart to the Eleven.  “A little while, and you will not see Me; and a little while, and you will see Me.  Then some of His disciples said among themselves, ‘What is this that He says to us?  ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’ and ‘because I go to the Father.’”

“They said therefore, ‘What is this a little while’?  We do not know what He is saying.”  Now Jesus knew that they decided to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said. .... Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned to joy.”          

“A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish for joy that a human being is born into the world. Therefore, you now have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”

Easter is the deep hurt felt by the apostles and all who believed in Jesus as the Messiah nailed to that old rugged cross.  In a little while, meaning three days, that same Jesus arose from the dead.  The cross was gone; the tomb was empty!          

The apostles stayed at a house weeping in sorrow for the one they loved:  Jesus is gone....

Jesus suddenly appeared in His resurrected body without breaking down a locked door. He raised His voice: “Peace be with you.”  His hands and His side bore the scars of the crucifixion.  The Easter resurrection was true just as Jesus had told them.   They were glad beyond measure! (John 20:19-21).

The Easter sorrow and tears were gone!  The Resurrection turned to joy!!  All who believe in Jesus Christ as their risen Savior are headed to heaven’s eternal joy.

                                   HOSANNA TO THE SON OF DAVID!!

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The First Palm Sunday - HOSANNA to the SON of DAVID!!         April 6, 2020

 

A thousand years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, God had promised King David that his lineage would usher into the world a King, the Messiah, the Son of God.  Jesus launched His traveling ministry to every city and village in the land of Israel.  He preached the arrival of Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Let’s open our Bibles to Matthew 21:1-17.  The hour had come with the multitudes singing: “Hosanna to the Son of David!”

 

Hosanna means, “to save now, pray” literally.  God commanded the Jewish people to sing at the feasts of the Passover and Tabernacle.  Four hundred years before Jesus traveled from the province of Galilee south through the Jordan River valley, Zechariah prophesied, “Behold your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey ....” (9:9).  Jesus fulfilled this by sending two disciples into Jerusalem to get a colt.  He knew exactly where to find them.  How?  He is the Son of God.  We can learn from this that the Son of God knows exactly where we are and what we are doing.  That ought to be comforting to our hearts.  But if out of the will of God, our conscience will disturb us.

 

The Bible says that Jesus was meek.  That means a person can have an active and deliberate acceptance of circumstances whether that situation was good or painful.  Jesus faced such pain as prophesied in Isaiah 53:5-7 – “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities .... He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter ....”  Jesus faced death, dying for our sins on the cross.

 

Jesus mounted the colt, rode through a large gate heading to the Temple of God. All along that last mile the multitude sang so loud that the entire city rushed to find out what was going on.  And did they see something!  Jesus dismounted at the Temple and stared straight into the eyes of the crooked, covetous merchants. They jacked-up prices. Jesus was very angry.  He shouted, “My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves!!”  Single-handedly, Jesus took a leather whip and drove them away.  Then He grabbed all their tables and overturned them spilling piles of coins in the Temple complex. God hated such thieves.  Religion was abused by greedy wolves in sheep’s clothing. (Luke 16:14-15).  God hates thievery in the 21st century, too.

 

The chief priests and scribes stood stunned at what Jesus had done.  Before they could get over the shock, Jesus began healing the blind and the lame. Many handicapped swarmed around Jesus to be healed by touch or command.  Some may have seen their grandparents’ eyesight restored or healed legs jumping up and down.  Just then boys and girls began singing with joy bubbling over.  Louder and louder, and on and on, they sang with their high-pitched voices.  “Hosanna to the Son of David!” 

 

Who did they think Jesus was?  Yes, He is the Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah standing before them. The chief priests and scribes struggled to shout over them angered and critical, “Do You hear what these are saying??”  Confident, and maybe with a smile, Jesus answered, “Yes.” Jesus loved all the children who believed in Him and demonstrated it.

 

This Easter, let’s sing out joyously: “Hosanna to the Son of David,” the Lord Himself.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Good Fears vs. Bad Fears            March 30, 2020

 

Imagine the fright of over a million slaves:  Moses and the Israelites got trapped between the depths of the Red Sea versus Pharaoh’s 600 enemy chariots followed by the huge horde of Egyptian soldiers.  God can do a miracle, can He?  Why in the world has God put them between a hard rock (Red Sea) and a hard place (Egyptian chariots? Doubts are really bad fear!

 

Moses shouted to the people:  The LORD will fight for you!” (Exodus 14:13-14). All night God blew a strong east wind creating a highway between two huge walls of water of the Red Sea.  Moses led the Israelites across safely.  Egyptian warriors rashly whipped the 600 chariots into the jaws of death. Moses and all the Israelites sang: “Who is like you, O LORD, among pagan gods, who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders!” (Exodus 15:11).  A good fear expresses great awe, respect, and reverence to God Almighty.

 

The apostle Paul described good fear for Christians in 2nd Corinthians 7:1 “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”  Good fear, yes!

 

A Christian should have a respect for God’s majesty and power.  Job did (Job 1:10); Joseph did (Genesis 42:18); King David did (2nd Samuel 23:3); Peter did (Matthew 16:16); Paul did (Romans 1:4); Cornelius (Acts of the Apostles 10:2); and John (Revelation 19:15-16).  The Holy Bible describes the Lord as the mighty God.  Hebrews 12:28-29-  “Therefore since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with REVERENCE and GODLY FEAR. For our God is a consuming fire.”

 

This old world is overwhelmed with FEAR:  bad fear can be wrapped up as

“F” = faithless;

“E” evil thoughts boomerang;

“A” = afraid all the time;

“R” = restlessness of the soul.

 

(1) FEAR OF THE BODY:  some words breed fear—cancer, corona-virus, heart diseases. For the Christian, we can respond as apostle Paul did when his painful “thorn” in the flesh the Lord gave him grace (2nd Corinthians 12:9-10 – “My grace is sufficient” for him; his attitude changed, and he suffered for Christ’s sake. It made him content (Philippians 4:11).

           

(2)  FEAR OF POVERTY:  the rich may fear investments will be washed away.  It happens.  It             also happens he dies leaving riches.  We enter the world without possessions and leave it with nothing.  History proves that Job’s faith in the Lord, despite losing wealth and health, God would bring him      through (Job 1:20-22; 42:12-17).  A Christian can serve God and lay up spiritual treasures vastly superior to any portfolio on the stock market (Matthew 6:19-21).

 

(3)  FEAR OF AGING: the end nearing may not bring fear as much as of the manner of dying --Alzheimer’s disease; all kinds of extreme pains for weeks and weeks, or corona-virus months ago.  All are unnerving.  A few months ago, a Christian friend of mine, Don Annis, suffered a heart attack in his barber shop. The men there rushed him to the hospital. Some time ago, he went back to his shop.  One man asked if he was scared.  Answer: “No, I was not.”  As a Christian, he believed this promise of God, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be             absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”  (2nd Corinthians 5:8).  Faith in the promises of God Almighty drives out bad fears. Don has good fear!  Do you?

 

Pastor Ed Anderson                                          

 

Pressing Forward to the High Calling in Christ: Philippians 3:12-16      March 16, 2020

 

In my senior year at Bob Jones University, students could select a sports activity and test their energies and skills.  As a boy my exercise was delivering Milwaukee newspapers, gym class, and playing ball games with my brothers.  Mom told me not to run so much because I would wear out my knees.  I played soccer in college. I chose the 2-mile foot race not knowing my time.  About 12 runners showed up.  I set a pace to be in the middle of the runners.  On the last lap I was surprised to find myself #3.  #4 runner was close behind.  And, then it hit—the ‘wall.”  (not a real wall—a runner can keep those shoes going but could not accelerate).  #4 passed me. The #1 runner half-lapped me.  I pressed as hard as I could and crossed the line as #4 runner.

 

The apostle Paul often used Olympian races to illustrate a spiritual point.  Paul portrayed himself as a runner: “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).  The word “press” has a video of a sprinter giving all he has got to split the ribbon at the finish line.  The “mark” is the post at the finish line, the runner’s goal.  The “high calling” is the time a Christian is called from this old earth into heaven, a glorious, everlasting life.  “Prize” is God’s reward for finishing the race. 

 

Because he had repented and believed in the Savior with all his heart he was a true Christian. Then, as a believer, he pressed himself like a sprinter and cross-country runner toward the “mark” ...God’s finish line.  He did not do this to become a Christian.  He became a believer on his knees in a house in Damascus.  Paul served the Lord with all his heart out of love.

 

Paul’s testimony: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  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 all who have loved His appearing.” (2nd Timothy 4:7-8).

 

In verse 12 Paul admitted that a perfect saint he was not.  Why?  “Now if I do what I will do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” There is no perfect, sinless Christian on earth.

 

Paul recognized 3 stages of perfection: 

a)  Positional perfection: past sins confessed to the Lord and totally forgiven (Isaiah 1:18; Acts 3:19-20; Romans 5:1).

b) Relative perfection:  spiritual maturity growing in faith, holiness, and love of the Lord and of        fellow Christians (Philippians 3:12; 2nd Corinthians 7:1; Galatian 5:22-23).

c)  Ultimate perfection:  perfect in soul, and in spirit, and received a new resurrection body in heaven where an everlasting life with the LORD. (Philippians 3:14, 20, 21; 1st John 1:7-10;             3:2; 1st Thessalonians 5:23).

 

At what stage are you?  Will this be you?  “For our citizenship is in heaven; from which also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). I pray that you will seek the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Spiritual Gains Unmatched by Religion                     March 9, 2020

 

The greatest blessing that the apostle Paul ever received was to “gain Christ.”  “Gain” is like an accounting term that means “profit” (Philippians 3:8). God’s divine plan of salvation has two dominant features:  profit and loss. In Paul’s proud mind his seven religious and traditional credentials were “gain/profit’ for his soul (see 3:4-6).  To God such religious pride was a total “loss.”  How did he ever “profit” spiritually?

 

Before his conversion, he thought that wiping out a “cult” like Christianity would please God. He approved the execution of Stephen, the first Christian martyr.  His rash idea crashed when Jesus left heaven and “ambushed” Paul and his mob outside of Damascus.  Those credentials were a rubbish pile of pride, blasphemy, and violent arrogance. In God’s accounting book it was a total “loss.”  Only one person could wipe out the loss and transform his life:  Jesus Christ.  Paul wept, repented, fasted, and prayed for 3 days. The Lord sent Ananias to give Paul his sight back.  Paul was born again, filled with the Holy Spirit, and then as a believer was baptized.  In a few weeks Paul preached that Jesus was truly the Messiah!  (read Acts of the Apostles chapter 9).

 

God’s plan of salvation was “gain/profit.” He sent the Son of God on a rescue mission to pay a ransom price (Mark 10:45). The “wages of sin is death but the gift of God was eternal life” (Romans 6:23).  On that old rugged cross hung Jesus bleeding and dying. Led by the Holy Spirit, Peter wrote “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver and gold from your aimless conduct received by traditions from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”  Notice again a financial expression: “For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1st Corinthians 6:20). 

 

What did God mean using these terms? Titus 2:11, 13-14 has the answer: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men ... looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us, that He might us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself, His own special people, zealous for good works.”  Jesus is the incarnate and holy “Lamb of God” who paid the price with His precious blood.  Jesus shouted, “It is finished!” our sinful debt, punishment = PAID IN FULL. (John 19:30)

 

Salvation’s price was paid for the world by Jesus Christ.  All who repent of sins and put their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior “gain” meaning a “profit” to the lives.  Philippians 3:9 makes an extremely good point--Paul admitted that it is “not my own righteousness, which is from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness is from God by faith.” The Bible is clear:  salvation is God’s work. We cannot save ourselves.  We cannot by merit or by good works. John Bunyan, author of “Pilgrim’s Progress”, was struggling on how to be saved.  While walking through a field, he suddenly understood this verse. 

 

Our sins were imputed upon Jesus on the cross.  God’s righteousness is imputed to the believer.  That believer’s debt to God is paid!   I hope that all who read these Biblical truths will believe in Christ alone and profit spiritually.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Life Verses Have Power              March 2, 2020                                            

 

A Christian once said, “You do what you put value on.”  The way to grow spiritually is to feed upon the Bread of God—the Holy Scriptures.  My father dedicated his life to the LORD when I was young.  My first Bible was a Christmas present from my parents on December 25, 1961.  It is old and held together by Scotch tape and duct tape—a treasury of love, wisdom, and joy.  That Bible began my spiritual growth and the choosing of favorite verses from God’s Word.

 

In my teen years I carried it to church and in high school, yes, school.  One teacher smiled approval, and I was pleased.  Another teacher frowned.  That same year he assigned the class to read a book—one that expressed low morality.  When I asked him to assign a better book, he allowed the change--but reluctantly.  Why did I make this request?  My favorite verse at that time was Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”  At graduation I was selected to pray at the 1966 Baccalaureate program.  Years later a fellow student, John, called me to thank me for being an example of the righteousness found that verse.  He saw something in me that he did not have. His brother led him to trust in Jesus as his personal Savior.  He enjoyed a Christian home leading his kids to Jesus.

 

For several years my favorite verse was Joshua 1:8 – “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”  One day in the dorm hallway in a Christian university, a freshman stared at me, “I don’t like you!”  Wondering what brought that on, I asked “Why?”  Ricky said, “Because you never get mad, and I do.”  The Word of God and Holy Spirit tames the lions in a Christian’s heart.

 

Over many years of Christian ministry this verse carried me, and my wife, through tough times and good adventures.  “Prosperous” points at spiritual growth and blessings in marriage, parenting, and now “grand-parenting”.  My wife and I have a peace in our souls coming from our Lord.  Results?  Listen to 3rd John 4 – “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”  They too are committed Christ and are teaching them the Word of God.

 

On to Philippians 3:10 – “That I may know Him [Jesus] and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death.” This was Paul’s great ambition.  Before his conversion, Paul was Saul, an extremely religious zealot.  He hated Christianity. But Jesus “ambushed” him just outside of Damascus.  He repented, was on his knees for 3 days, and by faith alone through God’s grace was saved (read on in Acts of the Apostles 9:1-22).

 

“That I may know Him” is my love for Christ now and forever.  And in the last few years, I’ve expanded verse 10 with verse 9 – “and be found in Him (Jesus Christ), not having my own righteousness, which is from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which from God by faith.”  Becoming a genuine Christian gains much from those “favorite” Bible verses.  They can do wonderful things in your life and your families’ lives.  Just do it.  The Holy Spirit, the Author of the Scriptures, is watching you.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

Saint Paul and Two-Legged Dogs                     February 24, 2020

 

Christmas is the most wonderful day of the year:  bells ringing, carols singing, and peace bringing lift our joy and giving.  Composer Henry W. Longfellow’s “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” was written when his son was in danger in America’s Civil War.  Verse 3 came from his heart, “And in despair I bowed my head; there is no peace on earth,” I said, “For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.”  The apostle Paul got wind of the dangers facing the new Christians in the Roman city of Philippi.  He soul was compelled to write this letter that Christians call Philippians.

 

Open your Bible and take notice of his concern of how some were “preaching Christ” in Rome where Paul was under house arrest:  Philippians 1:15-16 - envy, strife, self-ambition. Something is mighty wrong here!  Paul made a great effort to defend the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ pure (1:17).

 

What was on his heart for the new Christians in the congregation at Philippi?  Keep them “safe” (3:1-2) from anti-Christian teachings of the dark forces. He warned them to “beware” of two-legged dogs.  Those cultic extremists of Judaism demanded a person must be circumcised on their bodies to become a Christian (Acts of the Apostles 15:1-2).  In Galatians 5:15 he described them as scavenger dogs who “bite and devour” Christians. In 1:6-9 Paul again declared that such fake teachings were accursed by God.  Some strong words here from the LORD.

 

What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and all the apostles?  Ephesians 2:8-9, “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 boast.”  Jesus gave His life on the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world.  At 9 years of age I repented of sinfulness and put my faith in Christ alone.  The moment that was done, I became a Christian.  My soul was justified once for all by Jesus. Later I obeyed and was immersed as a “3-year-old Christian.”  Take notice: “grace is God’s favor.”  Salvation is by faith in Christ alone.  It is “not of works” but is a totally free “gift” from the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

What were these “evil workers”?  The proud religious Pharisees demanded strict legalism, self-righteousness, and circumcision to become a Jew.  They hated Jesus with a vengeance for healing and performing good works on the Sabbath Day.  They tried hard to capture and murder Jesus, the Son of God.  Paul used the word “mutilation” for legalists who slashed their bodies like heathen followers of the Baal-god in the era of the prophet Elijah.  Both have no meaning for God.

 

With urgency, the saint Paul sent the letter and pastor Epaphroditus to Philippi. They did a marvelous job of strengthening the faith and spiritual growth of that congregation and all others.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Shining as Lights in a Dark World                     February 21, 2020

 

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’” (John’s Gospel 8:12).  What caused Him to say this?  He is the one and only way, the truth and the life.  Jesus is the exact revelation and truth of God.  He is the solution to all the sin and darkness in the world. He is the Light from heaven.  Jesus turned on the spiritual “light” two very special men.

 

Jesus saw the 1st century of nations overcome by corruption from poor to rich.  All were crooked and perverse.  In Philippians 2:15 the apostle Paul described the new Christians as sons of God.  He urged them to strive harder against the spiritual darkness all around them: “Be blameless” and innocent.  “Shine as lights in the world.” 

 

Paul’s light was restricted by being under Roman house arrest for his faith in our risen Lord.  He needed two God-fearing men:  Timothy was raised as a child on the Word of God from his mother and grandmother.  He became Paul’s dear friend and even called him his “son.”  Timothy learned a lot as a partner in missions and from the example of Paul’s life. 

 

How was his spiritual life shining?  Paul wrote to him, “But you have carefully followed my doctrine, my manner of life, purpose, faith, long suffering, love, and perseverance.  .... and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation which is in Christ Jesus.” (2nd Timothy 3:10, 15).  Timothy was a shining light reflecting Jesus and the Gospel.  How can we become “shining lights” for Jesus?  Just like Timothy—by repentance, by faith in Christ crucified, and resurrected.

 

Epaphroditus was from Philippi, a Roman city many miles north of Greece.  He may have been led to Christ by Paul’s preaching.  Many were converted.  He became another “shining light” (2:15) in a very different way.  Paul lived off love offerings donated to him and by making tents as a part-time job (4:18).  Well, Epaphroditus’ congregation chose him to make that long, difficult journey to Rome.  Either on that journey or when he reached Rome, he fell sick and nearly died.  Could have been a deadly fever.  (Philippians 2:25-30).  God was merciful and healed him.  Paul loved the Christians at Philippi. He became worried that something bad might happen to them (2:25).  It was critical that someone go help the congregation. As soon as Epaphroditus regained his strength, Paul sent him back to be the good shepherd to the flock of believers.  How can we become “shining lights” for Jesus?  This pastor had the gracious “mind of Christ”:  he comforted, loved, had affection and mercy for others, esteeming others in need before himself and let his mind be like Christ Jesus.”  (2:1-5).  We can go and do likewise as did Timothy and Epaphroditus, part-Jew and non-Jew, but one in Christ.

 

May we choose to be “shining lights” to clear away sin and immorality where we live and work.  We can become “shining lights” by seeking to evangelize sinners and help them “shine” for the Lord Jesus our Savior.  He is the light of God in a very dark world.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Christians Are to Shine in a Dark World                     February 10, 2020

 

Jesus declared that He is “the Light of the world.”  He continued, “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12).  Continuing our study in Philippians 2, we come to a great verse for new Christians: “Therefore my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence, work out your own salvation in fear and trembling.” Every true Christian is to shine as a light in this dark world.

 

How did the apostle Paul encourage new Christians in the large Roman city of Philippians?  Let’s examine 2:12. They were to “work out [their] own salvation.”  How were they to do that? 

            (1)  Was it to work hard enough to merit salvation?  No, the Holy Spirit did not mean that.  If a person could work hard enough earn salvation for himself, then why did Jesus submit Himself to die on the cross?  Makes no sense. Jesus must sacrifice His precious blood to wash away one’s sins (1st John 1:7).  This is justification—repenting to God Himself and receiving Christ Jesus as our personal Savior.  As in a court dismissing  debt fully paid, the judge declared the debtor “not guilty.”  Case done!

            (2)  What did Paul mean?  It was not to “work out” what God has worked “in” one’s soul already. 

            (3)  Paul encouraged new Christians to commit to grow spiritually toward the finish line or completion.  It is continuing to obey the Lord as the new Christians were doing already.  Paul’s commitment was to “press on that he may lay hold” to more Christlikeness. (from 3:12-14). This is sanctification—seeking to become more and more holy during our journey. This is maturing and growing up in Christ.

 

Christians are to shine for our personal Savior in this “crooked and perverse generation.” (2:15) An excellent way to “shine as a light” for Jesus is to stop “murmuring and disputing” like the Israelites did on that 40 year penalty for disobeying the Almighty LORD. 

 

The Philippian Christians were not perfect then.  Only one perfect Person walked on this perverse world—Jesus, the Son of God.

 

How did Paul expect these new believers to grow strong in the faith in God?  Look at 2:16. “Holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ (His return to this earth) that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”

 

King David’s secret to a more holy life is found in Psalm 119:9-11.   “How can a young man cleanse his way?  By taking heed according to Your Word.  With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from your commandments!  Your Word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You (God)."

 

God gave a way to succeed in Life: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

(Joshua 1:8).

 

Let’s grow more and more like Jesus Christ every month and shine bright in a dark world.    

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Joy Can Only Be Found in Jesus            February 6, 2020

 

A Christian came up with a simple way of describing joy. With Christ comes joy, everlasting joy.  J O Y = Jesus 1st; Others 2nd; Yourself last.  Any person without Christ cannot have real joy. It is backward.  Y O J = wauzzz [sounds like swamp].  If we really want lasting joy, one must have the mind of Christ, the obedience with Christ, and expect with joy the exaltation of Christ.

 

Philippians 2:1-2 – “If [since] there is any consolation, any comfort of love, any fellowship of the Holy Spirit, any affections and mercies FULFILL MY JOY by possessing the Mind of Christ.  No one but Baby Jesus has been born with the Mind of Christ.  What is the “mind of Christ”?  It contains divine love, is a committed soul obeying God, and is trusting God’s plans for our future.

 

What is joy spelled backward?  “YOJ” [verse 3] “strife” [always fighting] selfish ambition and vainglory [conceit].  That is miserable way to live.  Can some who profess to be followers of God be YOJ?  Yes, they can. Matthew wrote the answer: “Then Jesus spoke to the multitude and to His disciples, saying, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat [reading aloud Scripture in the synagogue]. Therefore, whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say and do not do. .... But all works they do to be seen of men.’” [Matthew 23:1, 2, 5a] Conceit and vainglory is sin.  All such are fake Christians.

 

First of all, the mind of Christ has divine consolation from the Holy Spirit who inspired the Word of God. When I have trouble or grief, I find consolation in the Psalms.  The mind of Christ is filled with warm affection and undeserved mercy.  Christ brings harmony, love, and one accord which produce lowliness [humility] of mind.  We should esteem others to be better than ourselves, and we will not put our interests ahead of our neighbors’ interests.  These 9 points are all a part of the true Christian’s mind.  Therefore, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Compare this with these verses. (2:1-5).

 

Second, to have joy, we must commit ourselves to obey God.  For example, Jesus, Son of God, never grabbed for superiority over God the Father.  Lucifer did grab for the throne of God.  He is Satan, the adversary of God, who disobeyed God. His doom is coming.

 

Jesus “humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”  (2:8).  Jesus took upon Himself to be a servant of God (2:7).  Do I, do you live as a servant of God.  Jesus found great JOY in death.  “Looking on to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; Who for the JOY that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame....” (Hebrews 12:2).  Jesus wept in the Garden of Gethsemane because He knew what was coming.  Arrest, whippings, being blasphemed, beat black and blue, and crucified.  His prayer ended “Thy will be done.”  Jesus “by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”  (2:9).  Jesus urges sinners to repent, put faith in Jesus, His death and resurrection.  Forgiveness brings real JOY.

 

Third, true Christians look with JOY knowing that Jesus is coming back again. It may be soon. Only God knows when. God will powerfully exalt the Son of God with all the glory He possessed in Heaven before He descended.  When Christ returns, true believers will bow and worship Him.  (Philippians 2:9-11).  WHAT JOY THAT SHALL BE!!  Everlasting life with our Savior.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

I Joy and Rejoice with You All               January 27, 2020

 

                        I have the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart;

                                    Down in my heart,

                                    Down in my heart,

                        I have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart to stay.

                                    Because I have Jesus Christ in my heart.

 

I learned this Gospel song in Spanish from teenagers whose parents were missionaries in Brazil and Columbia. Our youth group sang it with solid faith and great joy. I doubt this modern song was sung by Paul and Silas at midnight in the jail at Philippi, Macedonia. But what they sang must have held a powerful message:  a genuine Christian can be full of joy in Christ our Savior.

 

The theme of that book is “rejoicing in the Lord.”  In 1:4-6 Paul rejoiced with all the new Christians.  The reason for this joy was that a Christian can have a personal relationship with the exalted Christ.  He/she can claim Christ’s promise that they will be kept forever.  The Great Shepherd has not, cannot, lose a single lamb (John 10:27-30). The spiritual fellowship is eternal. The Lord “who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

 

Paul wrote the book of Philippians in jail.   He and Silas were charged with preaching that Jesus Christ came down from heaven, died for sinners on that old rugged cross, and on the 3rd day arose from the grave. They hated him for claiming to be the Son of God.  Despite such hatred, they rejoiced for everyone who decided to follow Him and believe in Him with all their hearts.

 

Moving on to 1:25 in the “joy of faith” and 1:26 “rejoicing for me.”  Paul knew the Lord would get him released from jail south of Rome.  The new Christians enjoyed real joy in believing in the promises of the Lord.  The first time Paul and Silas reached Philippi they were evangelizing lost souls.  Paul prayed and cast a demon out of a young woman who day after day made devilish sarcastic tirades. Her handlers were enraged and dragged them to the magistrate.  At midnight the other prisoners and the jailer heard an evangelical duet from their cell. The message in those songs reached his soul.  A great surprise occurred at midnight—the jailer repented of his sins and put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  I can imagine them all singing a new song for a changed heart --“Jesus Is the Joy of Living.”  Since my salvation, I love the songs “There Is Joy in Serving Jesus” and “I’m So Happy.” 

 

For all Christians attending the new church in Philippi--Paul, Silas, Lydia, Timothy, a jailer and family, Epaphroditus, Euodia & Syntyche -- there was great joy in contemplating the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. (2:16-18).  Only God knows the day Christ will come.  It may be soon.  The dead in Christ shall rise first and those alive will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  All will be swept up into heaven rejoice forever with our Savior.  The “day of Christ” will be a day of great joy singing in the new Heaven and New Earth in eternity.  Have you joined them?  If not, do today what the jailer did then without delay, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” Acts of the Apostles 16:30-34

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

To Live is Christ, to Die is Gain              January 21, 2020

 

When Samuel Rutherford was dying, he smiled, “I am in the happiest pass to which man had ever came.  Christ is mine, and I am His; and there is nothing now between me and resurrection, except—Paradise!”  The man was right.  To live in Christ and Christ live in the heart of a genuine believer, then, to die is to gain.

 

Where was the apostle Paul when he wrote the epistle of Philippians?  The first church he founded in Europe was in the Roman city of Philippi.  A few years later his life was spared from the hands of a vicious mob just outside the temple in Jerusalem.  A Roman commander and his soldiers rushed over, grabbed him, and saved his life.  Trials and hearings followed with no easy answer of what to do with him. By birth Paul was automatically a Roman citizen.  Weary after two years of fake accusations, he claimed a citizenship’s right of a court hearing in Rome.  Two more years of a slow legal system kept him in chains.  Each guard had orders to be chained to Paul for 4 hour turn. Visitors were let in.  No doubt, Paul persuaded many of these souls to believe in Jesus, the Son of God, who died and arose in 3 days.  That beginning advanced to other souls receiving Jesus Christ as Savior among guards, government officials, and servants.

 

Why did God allow that? Paul’s answer: “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which have happened to me actually turned out for the furtherance of the Gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the Word (Gospel) without fear.”  (Philippians 1:12-14).

 

Paul wondered what the future would bring.  Would he be executed for causing a riot?  He seemed to consider that being arrested for a religious reason would not bother Rome.  But riots they did not tolerate.  Pondering the options—life or death, he wrote to the Christians at Philippi that may “... Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:20)

 

His options to choose: “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  To die a martyr in Rome and be immediately with the Lord Jesus Christ would be far better. (1:21).  On the other hand, he could be set free go to return preaching Christ.  Preaching Christ free to go wherever God led would bring lost souls to Christ.  Teaching them the Word of God strengthen them spiritually.

 

He remembered being hard-pressed to make a decision.  For himself, going to heaven to be with

Christ was indeed “far better.”  His past suffering, persecution, whippings, and risking violent death could be avoided.  His wounds told the whole story.

 

What nailed it down was this: “... to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.” His decision was strong, “I know that I shall remain and continue with you (new Christians friends he loved immensely) all for your progress and joy of faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.” (1:24-25).  Pastors that preach Christ and dedicate their whole lives to labor for the Lord follow the example of the apostle Paul.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Faith and Hope, Overcome Obstacles            January 15, 2020

 

One of my favorite books of the Bible is the apostle Paul’s letter to new, maturing Christians.  Planting the first Christian church in Philippi was filled with obstacles.  But Paul put his confidence in Jesus Christ.  He encouraged new Christians in that city, saying, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  (Philippians 1:6).  Faith and hope in the Lord will overcome obstacles.

 

The obstacle of finances:  he, Silas, Timothy, and Luke were co-missionaries with Paul.  He needed cash to sail across the Aegean Sea from Asia (Turkey) to Philippi in Macedonia. Paul never had a salary.  He had learned tent making as a part-time job and managed to stretch his pennies the first week there.  Then the Holy Spirit directed them to a riverside prayer meeting of God-fearing women. He sat down and shared the Gospel message with them (Acts 16:11-15).  The “Gospel” is what Paul preached.  “For I have delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the 3rd day according to the Scriptures, and then he was seen by Peter, then by the Twelve.” (1st Corinthians 15:4-5).  Lydia, a business-woman, was the first convert.  The Lord opened her heart to believe in Jesus as the Messiah and Savior of sinners.  Her household and lady friends received Christ as their personal Savior, too.    Accommodations?  Lydia persuaded the 4 poor missionaries to reside at her BnB—free.

 

Next big obstacle:  a demon-possessed, future-telling girl.  Her masters (handlers) filled their pockets with silver.  That demon uttered an ungodly, sarcastic endorsement day after day: “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who claim to us the way of salvation.”  Paul shouted at the demon, “I command you in the Name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” (Acts 16:16-18).  Obstacle gone.

 

Another great obstacle:  Those wicked handlers’ hot tempers flared.  They assailed Paul and Silas by a screaming mob and dragged them to the city magistrate. He ordered that their bare backs beaten with rods and placed them in an ultra-secure stocks.  At midnight the other prisoners awoke hearing men singing.  Paul and Silas had been praying and now then singing hymns.  What a great duet! Instantly the roar of an earthquake shook everything, even the foundations of the jail house.  Did an angel burst open every door and all chains?  Probably. (Doesn’t say that in verse 26, but Peter had been set free before by an angel.)  According to Roman law, any jailer who loses a prisoner will be executed. Before he could commit suicide, Paul shouted at the jailer, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.” A miracle: an obstacle created an opportunity for the jailer, his family, and household.  The jailer knelt before Paul and Silas, asking, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, and your household.”  Then Paul and Silas spoke the Word of the Lord (the Gospel) to him and to all that were in his house.  Everyone put their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior, and following that were immersed in baptism.  Then the jailer tenderly washed their backs which had been beaten at his command.  Went to bed sinners; before lunch became saints. * Amen! 

 

Without faith we cannot love the Lord.  With faith in the Lord all obstacles can be overcome here and definitely there—in heaven.  Without hope in God we cannot not believe.  With hope in the Lord we can trust the providence of God.  

 

 *  1st Corinthians 1:2 describes every genuine believer as “saint.”  Set apart from sin to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.  Are “saints” sinless?  No.  But genuine Christians do “sin less.”  (see I John 1:7 to 2:2)

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Pressing for the Goal     Philippians 3:1-14     January 7, 2020

 

It takes a lot of determination for Olympic skiers to reach the goal—the gold medal.  College football teams practice hard to win the last opponent and put their hands on the huge trophy.  I do not know if Saul ever hoped to play in the Greek Olympics, but he chose a sports illustration to picture how he was pressing for the ultimate goal.  Listen to him, “I have finished the good fight, I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” (2nd Timothy 4:7).  The goal—the crown of righteousness from the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ (4:8).

 

What if that Olympian skier cut a corner missing a flag?  Disqualified.  What if a good receiver caught a great touchdown pass in the end zone as time ran out and his crowd cheered?  But the referees blew their whistles and tossed their flags—offensive interference call was obvious!  Disqualified!  They lose the trophy!  Saul looked back on his religious life before Jesus confronted him.  Being a Pharisee, he bragged that 7 qualifications assured heaven.  These were Jewish circumcision, be a chosen Israelite, be a member of tribe of Benjamin, best of the Hebrews, a strict Law keeper, member of the Pharisee holy men, and zealous for God. In short: blameless.

 

But then loud voice in the sky interrupted his mission to arrest any Jews who became Christians.  Luke recorded that great event in Acts 9:1-20.  Verse 5, that powerful voice said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”  That Saul had been “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord”.  Now he had his face in the dirt “trembling and astonished.”  The Lord blinded him for 3 days.  In those 3 days he prayed and repented deeply for fighting God. 

 

In those few days he learned that salvation is not by works. Jesus had preached a parable of a covetous tax collector and a holier-than-thou Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14).  What did the sinner pray?  “God, be merciful a sinner.” God listened to the repentant sinner and forgave him.  The Pharisee “stood and prayed thus with himself.”  Jesus turned his back on the pride-filled Pharisee. 

 

What did Saul do?  Read on: “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them but rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, 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.” (Philippians 3:8-9).  Before long, Saul left his given name behind him.  “Paul” means little—the raging Saul was tossed behind him.  He described himself as a new creature in Christ—a humble servant.

 

Having been transformed by the Holy Spirit, he testified, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:14).  Paul was writing about his salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, how he believed Jesus died for his sins, and that at the end of his life he would be resurrected (the upward call) to heaven to worship the LORD forever.  Paul, as he preached to many, many people, urged everyone to put their faith in the Lord Jesus to become a Christian, and all should be “reaching forward” in faith for that spiritual “crown of righteousness” as the goal when we enter through the gates of heaven.

 

Jesus wants every genuine Christian to press on forward toward the goal—to please Christ.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

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