Jan 14

Saving Your Own Skin

Having finished our journey through Job in Blogging Through The Bible in 2020, we now return to the book of Genesis. Today’s text introduces us to Abram, who later will be known as Abraham. Genesis 12:12 says, “Therefore it will happen when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’, and they will kill me, but they will let you live.”

God has called Abram to leave his father’s house and country, and follow God’s leading by faith to a land that God will show Abram. Abram has left Ur of Chaldees, and God is walking him through the Promised Land, that one day Abram’s descendants will inherit. During this time, a drought hit causing great famine. During this time, Abram heads south to Egypt. Before getting into Egypt, Abram has a conversation with his wife, Sarai. The conversation goes essentially like this, “darling, you are beautiful, anyone can see it, and when the Egyptians see you, they are going to fall in love with you. And since I am your husband, they are going to kill me so that they can have you for themselves. So, I want you to tell them that you are my sister, so that they won’t kill me.” Anyone who says that the Bible is boring to read, clearly hasn’t read the Bible, because there are many stories that are this bizarre and some even more bizarre than this.

Clearly, Abram has demonstrated some faith in God, because when God told him to leave Ur, Abram left. However, we can clearly see that Abram’s faith still has a ways to go. Be encouraged by this however, because Abram’s immature faith would grow and become more mature. Therefore, if you are struggling to grow in your faith, just know that God is more committed to you growing in your faith, than you are committed to growing in your faith. Romans 8:29 is where the apostle Paul says that God has “predestined to conform you to the image of His Son.” It’s not a question of, will God change you? If you are saved, God has promised that He is going to change you. And you can be encouraged that it is not an instantaneous thing. While many changes do come quickly, the majority of the spiritual transformation we go through come over time as our faith is tested through various trials and sufferings. It is a process that God is committed to completing, but that won’t be complete in your life for quite some time. Philippians 1:6 shows us this when Paul writes,” 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.” While salvation is instantaneous, the process of transformation is lifelong. The key is to continue to surrender yourself to the will of God, and be intentional in pursuing Him and His kingdom. Let us be faithful to God, and leave the results up to Him!

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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Jan 13

God’s Will Be Done

It’s hard to believe that we are starting the second week of Blogging Through The Bible in 2020. I pray it has been and will be encouraging and helpful to you. Today’s passage is coming from Job 42. Job 42:1-2 says, “Then Job answered the Lord and said, ‘I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.'”

This is Job’s response to God after a 70+ question barrage from God directed towards Job to remind Job of who is in charge. I often picture Job here like a little child who has just gotten caught doing something wrong. They are standing in front of whoever caught them, confessing their wrongdoing with their head down, not making any eye contact. I’m not saying that is how Job was, but I can honestly say there have been times when I’ve had to go to God to confess wrong doing, that is exactly how I looked and felt.

What we see in chapter 42 is the result that God was after in the life of Job. Job had suffered immensely physically, emotionally, and relationally. He had friends who acted more like enemies, and then Job snapped and started questioning God’s goodness and justice. God then comes to Job and levels a lot of questions at him to remind Job of who is God and who is the One in control. And while, we can certainly see the authoritarian and disciplinarian side of God in chapters 38 and 39, we must also see the softer, more gracious side of God in those questions as well. Was God trying to put Job in his place? I would say yes. But God is also trying to call Job back to Himself, and show Job that he can trust God even when things don’t make sense. Job didn’t see God create the world, but Job sees that it has been created and it is orderly. Job didn’t see God tame the wild animals, but they are. Job didn’t see God put borders on how far the oceans could come, but Job can see that the oceans only come so far. Therefore, in this God is revealing Himself and His trustworthiness to Job. And it works. Job realizes the foolishness he has spouted off and the foolishness of his thinking towards God. God’s confrontation with Job produced what God wanted from Job, confession. Job acknowledges that God is all-powerful, and in doing so, Job also says that God’s will is going to be done, and there is nothing and no one on this earth who can stop it. It makes me think of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane the night he was betrayed. Jesus prayed three times, “Father is there is anyway this cup (of suffering via crucifixion) could pass from me, nevertheless, not my will but Your will be done.” The suffering of Jesus on the cross was necessary so that you and I could be forgiven of our sins, be redeemed, and be restored to a right relationship with God. Our suffering in this life is necessary to either draw us to God for salvation, or to purify our life from the sin that stains our life. Either way, suffering has a purpose.

You and I need to remember who God is as revealed in the Bible. We need to remember this, because we are prone to create an image of God in our head that is an allusion, that is a false God. We need to remember that God is sovereign and we are not. We need to remember that God is all-powerful and we are not. We need to remember that God’s will is going to be done, and nothing and no one will be able to stop it. Therefore, let us give our lives to knowing God’s will, and participating in accomplishing His will through sharing the Gospel with the lost to the ends of the earth.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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Jan 12

Questioning God

Today’s text for Blogging Through the Bible in 2020 comes from Job 38. Job 38:2 says, “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?”

This text is God responding to Job. Job has had three friends come and meet with him. They originally show up in Job 2. At first, the friends do exactly what friends should do for those suffering, they sat there in silence, and just gave him their presence. However, after a week they just couldn’t help themselves. Therefore, much of the book of Job is a collection of speeches from Job’s friends and Job’s rebuttals. However, there comes a point for Job in which his frustration with his friends turns into frustration towards God. One thing that Job’s frustration shows is this, we don’t always understand why God allows what He allows. Basically, Job’s frustration comes down to this, I don’t understand why God is doing this, I have tried to live my life properly, and I want to know now! In his final speech, Job moves from seeking clarity for what is going on to essentially accusing God of doing wrong and not acting justly. Thus, God shows up in a whirlwind and begins to speak with Job. God’s rebuttal boils down to this; Job, who are you to question what is just or unjust or what is right and what is wrong? Are you the one who created everything, and is control of everything? Are you sinless? Do you do what is right all the time? Over the course of two chapters, God asks Job over 70 questions. The questions are revealing the sovereignty of God, the all-powerfulness of God, and the all-knowingness of God. In many ways, it is God rebuking Job, but it is also reminding Job of who God is, and that Job can trust Him even when things don’t make sense.

That, I would say, is the main takeaway. We can trust God even when things don’t make sense, because He is a good, kind, loving, merciful, gracious, and just God. No, that won’t help make sense of things when we find ourselves in the middle of a dark, raging storm. Yes, we are very likely to forget that lesson when the next storm comes into our life. This story also shows us that there is a difference between seeking clarity from God and accusing God of wrongdoing. It’s ok to ask, why God, when we are seeking clarity. In fact, a great question to ask in prayer when we are suffering is, Lord, what are you trying to show me or teach me through this? We cross the line when we start believing that we know better than God what we need, or that we somehow know what is best. We have crossed the line when we accuse God of not loving us or caring for us. In all of this, the book of Job shows us that suffering comes to all of us, including those who love God. And because suffering is part of the human life, we can trust that God has a purpose for allowing it. Sometimes that purpose is to simply remind us that no matter what we are facing, God is there with us. In that let us take joy and be encouraged today.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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Jan 11

Proper Perspective

As we continue our series of Blogging Through The Bible in 2020, today we want to look at a verse from the book of Job. Job 1:21 says, “And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed by the name of the Lord.'”

While it may seem strange to many for us to go from Genesis 1-9 and then jump to the book of Job, this is in keeping with the chronology of the biblical events, and not simply going straight through a book of the Bible. Many people, in fact, most people are familiar at least somewhat with the story of Job. He was a man who loved God, but that God tested his faith through various trials. It is important for us to understand what God is doing here. Satan had come before God saying he had been roaming the earth looking for those he could tempt. Just a side note, Satan hasn’t changed his tactics since the garden of Eden. God asks Satan, have you considered my servant Job? That seems really strange, and almost mean. God isn’t angry with Job, in fact, God is going to use Job’s trials to reveal some very important truths to us. Satan basically says that he hasn’t considered Job, because God has protected him from bad things happening. However, Satan makes a calculated couple of bets. Satan says, Job only loves you because you protect him and bless him. However, I bet if you took his possessions and his children away from him, he would curse you. When that doesn’t work, Satan comes back and says, I bet if you take his good health away from him, he will turn his back on you. Satan was 0 for 2. Even when Job’s wife struggles and tells Job to “curse God and die”, we see Job maintain his integrity. The end of Job 2:10 says, “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” What an amazing testimony! To have suffered as greatly as he had, but to still love God. What can we learn from this chapter and the beginning of Job’s story?

The first lesson is the sovereignty of God. God allowed Job to suffer. He allowed Satan to inflict incredible suffering on Job. Yet, God shows that He is the One who is completely in control, because each time God allows Satan to afflict Job, God puts parameters on Satan. This shows us that Satan is a dog on a leash. Another lesson we can learn is the desire to purify our lives that God has for His children. Remember, God isn’t punishing Job for some sin he has committed. Rather, God is revealing Himself to Job. God is showing Job and those around him, that when God is all you have, you have all that you need. But God is also purifying Job. Many people look at Job 1:1 where it says that Job was “blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil”, and they think Job is a great guy, he should be blessed. However, we must notice that it says he was blameless, not sinless. Job had a sin nature just like you and I do, and as we will see later in the book of Job, that sin nature will come out awfully quick if we aren’t careful. By God allowing Job to go through this season of suffering, He is not only showing Job that He is all-sufficient, but He is also showing Job how committed He is to producing holiness in the lives of His children. The final lesson I think we can learn from this opening chapter of Job is this, God is present with His children through their suffering. God never abandoned Job. God was showing Job and He is showing us what He would say to the prophet of Isaiah, I will walk through the fire with you and I will lead you through the flood waters. As David wrote in the Psalm 23 speaking of God, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”

Let God’s presence with you in the good times and the bad encourage you today. You are never alone as a child of God, because God is always with you. He loves you. He never wastes our pain. And that is another important lesson we can take from this opening chapter of Job. We must learn to view our life and our stuff from God’s perspective. Things and circumstances don’t last forever, but our soul is eternal, and we must guard it from getting pulled away from God by stuff.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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Jan 10

God’s Blessing Despite Man’s Sin

Today’s text for Blogging Through The Bible in 2020 comes from Genesis 8. Genesis 8:21 says, “And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.'”

The flood waters have receded. The flood lasted a little over one year, death and destruction were everywhere, except those on the ark. Here in our text, God is laying the ground work for the next great covenant that He will make with man. The Noahic covenant is God’s promise never to destroy the earth by flood again. It is important that we understand that God said He would destroy the earth by flood. He never said that there wouldn’t be any floods. There are two important things to see from this text as it relates to us today. The first is that the flood judgment of Genesis 6-9 sets the stage and precedent for the final judgment of fire spoken of in 2 Peter. Just as God judged the world’s sin in the flood, one day He has promised to again judge all unbelievers for their rejection of Jesus. The second thing we see is the continued sinfulness of man. Worth noting here is that God is saying that not only are our actions sinful, but it begins in our heart. Jesus would remind us of the same thing in Matthew 15. It is what it is in our heart that defiles us, because what’s in the well will always come up in the bucket. While the story of the flood is certainly about God’s power and ability to judge His creation and destroy it; it also shows us of God’s grace and desire to save sinful mankind. After all, God did provide a way for people to be saved in the form of an ark. Today, He has provided a way for people to be saved, and that is through the cross of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, the lessons from this story are important for us to know and apply. We are all sinners as Romans 3:23 says, and because of our sin, God will bring judgment into our lives. However, in His love and grace, God has made a way that we can escape the coming judgment. The way is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The story also serves to reveal the powerfulness of God. Just as He created everything, He also destroyed everything. The story of the flood also calls us to watch how we are living, because just as God judged the pre-flood world, He can and will judge us. The final takeaway from this lesson today is this, God keeps His promises. For many this is something that should strike fear into their hearts. God has promised to put and end to sin through a final, eternal judgment. And if you have never surrendered to God’s grace, you are in grave danger of experiencing that judgment for all of eternity. However, for many, the fact that God keeps His promises is a tremendous blessing and source of encouragement. This is because God has made many promises to those He has saved. Promises such as providing for us exactly what we need, when we need it (Mt. 6:25-32), to never leave us or forsake us (Josh. 1:5; Heb. 13:5), and a promise to return for His children (John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). If God said it, you can count on it! Let’s just make sure we are on the right side of His promises.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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Jan 09

Finding Grace

Today’s text for our Blogging Through The Bible in 2020 comes from Genesis 6. Genesis 6:8 says, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

Genesis 6-9 gives us the information on the historical account of the worldwide flood. Genesis 6 gives us the background as to why God sent the flood in the first place. In a word, sin. Genesis 6:5 says, “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” This isn’t saying that every now and then man had an evil thought, or did something evil. God said that our minds were continually thinking of evil. The text for today says that Noah was the recipient of grace from God. The simplest definition of grace is unmerited favor. That is, there is nothing that Noah did to earn God’s favor, rather it was bestowed upon him because that is what God chose to do. Noah received grace from God, and as a demonstration of his gratefulness for God’s grace, we later read that Noah obeyed and did everything as God told him to. It is important that we see that grace was given, and then obedience so that we don’t fall into the fall belief that we can earn grace or earn salvation. Salvation is by God’s grace through faith, and proof that we have received God’s grace is our obedience to God.

The story of the flood and Noah’s ark, much like the story in the garden of Eden, is a historical story, but it also teaches important spiritual truths that we will see throughout the remainder of the Bible. The story of the flood and the ark is the story of redemption. We see that the flood was necessary because of sin, just like the cross was necessary for our sin. We see that the ark was God’s idea, not Noah’s idea, just like it was God’s plan to send His Son to be the substitute for man’s sin. Just as getting on the ark was the only way to be saved from the flood, trusting in the Gospel is the only way to be saved from your sin and be right with God. In the account of the flood, it was God who shut the door of the ark, thereby securing Noah and his family. For you and I, the same God who saves us also secures us by His grace and power. When we have truly been saved, we never have to fear losing that salvation. We see this in Jesus’ words in John 10:28, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.” Just as the beloved hymn says, “‘Tis grace that has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”

While the sovereignty of God in salvation is clearly seen and taught in this passage, we must also not lose sight of our responsibility. God did not save us so that we could go on living however we want to. He saves us, and then expects us to surrender our lives to Him, and live a life pursuing holiness. The same grace that saved us, will transform us as we yield ourselves and our will to the Holy Spirit. Our obedience to God is the evidence that supports our profession of being saved. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love Me, keep my commands.” James teaches this clearly as well in James 2:18 where he writes, “But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will sho you my faith by my works.” Therefore, the question we should ponder on today is this, does my life demonstrate to others that I have been saved?

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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Jan 08

Mercy in Judgment

Today’s text is coming from Genesis 3:22-23, “Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever. Therefore, the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.”

This is part of God’s judgment against Adam and Eve for their sin. When Adam and Eve chose to believe the serpent instead of God, everything changed in their life and in the world. However, what we see starting in the garden of Eden is that even in judgment God shows mercy. The penalty for disobedience that God had told Adam was death. God was speaking of both physical death as well as spiritual death, the separation and broken relationship between Adam and God. And that is exactly what happened. However, God would have been within His right as Creator and Judge to strike both Adam and Eve physically dead the moment they disobeyed. He could have chosen to allow them to continue making their own choices, and let them experience the consequences. Yet what we see in the garden of Eden is a preview of what God would do at the cross. Fully knowing that they had sinned, God came to Adam. God was pursuing Adam even though Adam had sinned. In an incredible display of mercy and grace, God made a sacrifice for Adam and Eve and clothed them with the skin of the animal sacrifice. But God knew that Adam and Eve, know that sin had come into the world, would continue to make poor choices. Therefore, God protected Adam and Eve from themselves by sending them out of the garden of Eden. Had they eaten from the tree of life after having committed sin, they would have been trapped in a permanent state of fullness, without chance of redemption and restoration. Yet we see God protecting them, while making sure that redemption and restoration remained a possibility not only for Adam and Eve, but for all of humanity.

While the story of the garden of Eden is a literal, historical event, it also teaches us some important truths that we see throughout the remainder of the Bible. First, God is gracious and merciful. He could have destroyed Adam and Eve and walked away from them, but instead in love, God pursued them, made a sacrifice for them, and protected them. In the story we see man’s pursuit of self-righteousness. Having realized that they had sinned, in an attempt to cover their sin up, Adam and Eve made a covering of leaves for themselves. But it was insufficient to cover their sin from the all-knowing God. Their attempts to make themselves right with God, and pretend that they hadn’t sinned, were completely inadequate. Therefore, we see God perform the first blood sacrifice of an animal for the purpose of covering Adam and Eve’s sin. This points us to the Law that would be given at Mt. Sinai to Moses, but ultimately it points us to the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross thousands of years later. At the cross, a sinless sacrifice was made so that sinful mankind could be redeemed and restored to a right relationship with God. In this way, this story also reveals the exclusivity of salvation being from God. Only God’s sacrifice could atone for Adam and Eve’s sin. The same is true for you and I. Only faith in Jesus’ death in our place can atone for our sins, redeem us, and restore us back to a right relationship with God. This story also shows us that God must judge sin. Because He is holy, He cannot look on sin without judging it.

One of the biggest takeaways from the text apart from understanding the method and mode of salvation is that we must understand the seriousness of sin. We cannot look the other way or downplay sin. However, when others sin hurts us, this story also shows us the standard we should use. We should be as merciful to them as God has been to us.

Let us thank God and praise Him for His great salvation, but let us also strive to show grace and mercy to others as God has shown to us.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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Jan 07

Breath of Life

I want to take a quick moment and introduce something new we are going to do here for 2020. We are going to blog through the Bible in 2020. At the beginning of each year, the church formally begins a Bible reading plan for the entire church. This year, we selected, Replicate Ministries F-260 Bible Reading Plan. If you are not familiar with this reading plan or the ministry of Replicate Ministries, I would encourage you to check them out at www.replicate.org (this blog and ministry is not affiliated with Replicate and gets nothing in exchange for promoting their ministry). What we are going to do here is that throughout the year, Pastor Justin and other guest writers will highlight verses that correspond to the day’s Bible reading. We are a little behind in starting this, but we are confident that we will catch up in due time. What will occur is normally once we catch up posting where we should be, there will be five days with a blogging through the Bible post. It is our prayer that this will encourage you and maybe even inspire you to begin the daily habit of reading the Bible. We would love to hear from you in the comments section on how God is using His Word to challenge you and grow you. Without any further delay, here is the first entry in the series.

Genesis 2:7 says, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into His nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

While many people view Genesis 1 and 2 as two separate creation stories, this isn’t the case. Genesis 1 gives us the general overview of creation, and then Genesis 2 goes back and gives us the anthropological view of creation. Throughout Genesis 1 we see that God “created” various things such as light, dark, the sun, moon, stars, animals, fish, etc. However, when it gets to describing God creating man it changes the word used. In speaking of God creating man it says that God “formed man.” This implies an intimate, special work of creation. In other words, man was created differently than the rest of creation. Then, in our verse we get another little nugget. We learn when life began for the first man. God formed him, but it wasn’t until God breathed into him that he became a living being. This is true not only for physical life, but more importantly spiritual life. The apostle Paul in Ephesians 2 says that we were “dead in our sins and trespasses.” That is, before Christ, we were not spiritually alive. However, from the moment of God saving us by His grace through faith, the Spirit came inside of us, and we were made alive. Are you spiritually alive? If you have never been saved by God’s grace, the answer to that question is, no you aren’t. However, God in His grace is calling out to you, desiring to make you alive in Him. He is doing this through no effort of your own, but He is pursuing you in His love because in His love He sent Jesus to die on the cross in your place, and to take the punishment for the sins you have committed. Therefore, since God has made a way for you to be alive in Jesus, how will you respond to God’s invitation? Will you choose life today?

One of the key takeaways from this text for believers is a reminder that our life is not our own. Again, using the apostle Paul’s words, Paul said that we were bought with a price (see 1 Cor. 6:19-20). I cannot give myself physical life or spiritual life. They are both gifts from God. Apart from the same Spirit who breathed into Adam and made him alive, breathing into me, I am not alive in Christ. But I also need the Spirit to sustain my life, and lead my life. Since my life doesn’t belong to me, but instead belongs to God, I need to live my life in such a way as to glorify God with the life He has given me. So the final question here for the believer is this, is my life pointing others to Jesus or am I living for myself?

If you have questions or if there is a way that we can help you understand how to be saved, or how to live a life that pleases God; we sincerely hope you will reach out to us. You can e-mail us at westlakebc@gmail.com or you can e-mail Pastor Justin directly at pastorjustin@westlakebaptist.org. We also want to invite you, if you live in the Smith Mountain Lake area, to join us on Sundays at 8:30 or 11:00 for worship.

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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Nov 01

Is it ever ok to lie?

Have you ever been asked that question by someone? If you have ever taken an ethics class, this is a question that will be asked and debated. But it isn’t just something you might talk about in a college class. It is actually a question that comes to our minds when we read a couple of stories in the Bible. There is a story in the book of Exodus about some midwives who may or may not have lied when they were told to kill all the Israelite boys as they were born. Then there is a story in Joshua 2 about a woman named Rahab. If you were to read Joshua 2, it is very clear that Rahab lied. It is equally clear that Rahab and her family were spared because of her lie. And if that was the point of the story, then I guess we would need to have a further debate on, is it ever ok to lie? However, that isn’t the point of the story in Joshua 2. One danger in Bible study that we need to watch out for is elevating a secondary topic to primary importance. If we read Joshua 2 and the only thing we get out of it is that Rahab lied and it worked out for her, I would argue that we have missed the true teachings of this story. So what are the meanings of this story?

There are in fact two primary meanings in Joshua 2, and the one feeds into the other. One of the meanings that we are intended to walk away with is seeing and understanding God’s grace. Rahab and the people of Jericho were the enemies of God. They were the enemies of God because they worshipped and served false gods. Yes, Rahab was nice to hide the Israelite spies, let them down out of her window safely, and keep the search party off their trail. All of those things are true. However, Rahab was still living in an enemy city among a people who were enemies. Therefore, she deserved death as much as the rest of the people of Jericho. And it is here, that we see God’s grace being extended to someone who was far from God to bring them into His family. If we want to see ourselves in this story, we must identify ourselves with Rahab and the people of Jericho. Because we are sinners by birth and by choice (Rom. 3:23-the two tenses of verbs in that verse show us this), we all deserve God’s wrath and judgment. Yet, because of His grace as displayed through Jesus’ death on the cross, we who deserve death can receive life. We have to remember that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. This leads into the bigger emphasis, God’s glory.

In Joshua 2:11 it says, “And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts melted; neither did there remain any more courage in anyone because of you, for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.” A theme that runs throughout the Scripture is why God does what He does. It is answered over and over by the phrase, “so that they will know that I, the LORD, am God.” In Isaiah 42:8 we read, “I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to carved images.” In answering the question, what is the chief purpose of man, the Westminster shorter Catechism says, “the chief end of man is to glorify God.” We were created to glorify God. Everything that God made, and everything that He does is meant to draw praise, honor, and give God glory. Those whom God has saved, have been saved for a purpose. That purpose is to give glory to God for saving them, as well as, sharing the Gospel so that others might be saved. As Pastor Robby Gallaty said, “The Gospel came to us on its way to someone else.” One way that we give God glory is by telling others of His grace. By Rahab hiding the spies and letting them down, she was an active, willing participant in the plan of God. The question for you and I is this, are we an active and willing participant in the plan of God?

Pastor Justin

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Sep 23

Answer Truthfully

We live in a society of political correctness run amuck. Every word spoken or written is dissected multiple ways, and analyzed not only for what was said, but also what could a hidden meaning be behind what was said, or even in some cases, what wasn’t said. There is a story in the Gospel of Mark that I feel could be taken out of political headlines today.

Mark 11:32-33 says, “But if we say ‘from men’-they feared the people, for everyone held John to be a real prophet. So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.” These two verses come in a confrontation between Jesus and the religious leaders. They wanted to know on who’s authority was Jesus preaching and performing all of these miracles. He told them that if they answered His question, then He would answer theirs. Jesus’ question was, was John’s baptism from God or from man? The verses above are the response the religious leaders gave. They knew the truth, but they didn’t want to say it because of what it could mean for them.

How sad is it that a group of people were so intent on keeping power that they wouldn’t speak the truth? Yet, we see it happen so often these days, especially in the realm of politics. Rather that admitting that a good idea is a good idea regardless of which party suggested it, both sides shoot down ideas from the other party just because of where the idea came from. We do it as well though. We need to love God enough and love our fellow man enough to speak the truth no matter what. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” When we care more about what people think about us than what God knows about us, we will always measure our words, and wear a mask in front of people hoping they don’t see through us. Sometimes the truth isn’t pretty, and it reflects poorly on us. However, the truth is what it is, and you can’t change it. You can hide it for a while, but the truth will come out, and it will only compound the issues you have. Jesus said in John 8, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The truth may hurt at first, but only as we admit the truth can true healing come.

Pastor Justin

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