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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Heresy: Faith + Obedience = Salvation? No!

January 16, 2011 Leave a comment

I read in a so called “Christian church” bi-monthly newsletter recently that Faith + Obedience = Salvation but that’s not right if they mean “good works” when they say “obedience” which is what the article inferred! That’s heresy!

Repentance from Sins + Faith in Christ alone = Salvation

Some would argue that obedience is the same as repentance but they are different! Repentance accompanies faith and then they produce salvation which next produces OBEDIENCE. Faith produces works of obedience – not obedience producing salvation! Works demonstrate that the salvation was real and always come AFTER salvation for the believer in Christ.

The only thing obedient about repentance is that we need to repent before God but is that what this newsletter meant? If so, then ok. But if not, then I’m concerned. Faith + anything that you or I do as a “work” will not save us!

I’m not picking on these folks but it is an important distinction and you need to know the difference. I only point this out for your spiritual growth and not to pick a fight with these brothers/sisters. I have no beef with them personally but only want you to know the truth! Let’s pray that the Holy Spirit would reveal the truth to them!

It’s Jesus Only! Repentance from sin and faith in Him! That produces newness of life and good works/obedience follow!

-Mark (thankful that salvation is NOT dependent upon my good works – in fact, my good works are my problem because I need the righteousness of Christ and His good works!)

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Are you self-sufficient?

December 29, 2010 1 comment

One of the desires of sinful mankind is self-sufficiency. It’s reinforced in modern America. But is it biblical and godly to be self-sufficient? I say “no.” We are to be Christ-sufficient or better yet, we are to find our sufficiency in Christ alone.

We need to depend (trust) in God and not ourselves (Prov. 3:5-8). We need to depend upon God. We are not self-sufficient though we like to think we are and can be, but it’s simply a lie of Satan and this world to tell us that we do not need God or His Word.

Did you realize that Adam and Eve were created to depend and trust in God’s Word even before the Fall of mankind in Genesis 3? Before sin, mankind was created as a being who must depend upon God alone and to obey/trust His Word. Look at what happened when man disobeyed in Genesis 3: consequences to sin and death/suffering, etc. The result in our world today is tragic and we are daily reminded of the sin of our first parents to be “self-sufficient” and trusting in their own ideas rather than the Word of God.

It is hard to live by faith in America but God is allowing us to experience some hard consequences now that will bring us to our knees showing us we are not self-sufficient but ever dependent upon the King of Kings.

-Mark (don’t be self-sufficient and don’t even desire it; desire Christ and find your sufficiency in Him alone)

I want a church that requires FAITH

July 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Faith.

Did you realize that churches can exist, have programs, preaching, and the like without having FAITH or being led by the Holy Spirit? It’s true. Some churches operate today without any faith.

I think the key is being a GIVING church. Churches will NEVER out give God. So why not keep giving to real ministry and trust God to provide what is needed to sustain ministry? Why not give more outside the church than inside the church?

I love the philosophy of the founder of Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Frank Barker, to give 50% outside the local church. Dr. Barker not only led the church he pastored to live this way, but he lived out in his personal life, too. 

Sometimes, I think it should be more than 50%! Why don’t we do more for others than for ourselves and our own church programs? Are we having to sustain lots of activities and events to entertain the members and keep them coming in attendance?

What about those who are starving in Africa? Are we helping them or are we more concerned about our senior adult trip to Callaway Gardens or our youth trip to Six Flags?

Just asking some tough questions to make us all think about how we steward HIS money that He gives us. Are you being obedient? Are you a giver? Are you living by faith? Is your church?

Hebrews 11:6a: “And without faith it is impossible to please him…”

-Mark (so thankful for the many churches who are living by faith today and that includes both big and small churches alike!)

Excerpted from the English Standard Version of the Bible – go to http://www.esvstudybible.org to get one today!

Faith-based

July 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Everyone lives by faith.

Everyone.

People are either living by faith in mankind or faith in God. But everyone lives by faith.

For those who are trusting in mankind, it is a sad existence. They keep hoping for man to be redemptive and instead, mankind fails them. Crime rates increase, sin abounds, oil spills grow, and the world becomes an increasingly pornographic and sinful place. Mankind has little power for good and even that little power comes from God Himself.

For those who are trusting in God, it is a content existence in a fallen, sin-cursed world. Man’s disobedience in Genesis 3 led to the world we live in. We call it the Fall of man. But God is redemptive. He brings good from bad. We who are trusting in Him have hope. Hope in this life and greater hope in the life to come everlasting! Our hope is not in mankind but in a good and loving and redemptive God Who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Now, who are you trusting in?

The implications of this for counseling are this: 1) are you going to trust in man’s theories/ideas of psychology and go see a secular therapist? OR 2) are you going to trust in God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit?

God is sufficient. We need no one and nothing else. We need only Him.

-Mark (trusting in Christ alone)

Utter Distrust of Self?

June 30, 2010 Leave a comment

I read a Christian leader say recently that the early church leaders had an “utter distrust of themselves and a living trust in God” as they traveled and established the local churches in the book of Acts. 

I don’t know about you, but it was a refreshing thought to me since I live in day where religious leaders tend to trust themselves more than Christ Who is their Head.

We are to trust Him not ourselves. In fact, I have found nowhere in the Bible that says, “Trust yourself. Do what you think is right. Do what you feel.”

On the contrary, I read the opposite in Proverbs 3:5-8 below:

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
   and do not lean on your own understanding.
6In all your ways acknowledge him,
   and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
    fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
8It will be healing to your flesh
   and refreshment to your bones.”

Nothing in this passage says, “trust your heart.” Nothing there to indicate that! In fact, the Lord says He will make straight your paths which means you are going to walk down crooked paths if not for His power to straighten your paths.

Let’s trust God and do what He says to do in His Word. Let’s get rid of “our experience” as the standard of living and live by faith according to His standards in the Scriptures. This is a key for both biblical counselors and counselees.

-Mark (utterly distrusting myself yet learning to trust Him daily as I walk and He straightens)

Maslow had it backwards according to Jesus!

January 2, 2010 3 comments

One of the psychological theorists that CHRISTIANS embrace is Abraham Maslow and his theory of self-actualization. Maslow developed a theory (did you catch that it is a THEORY not a law, not a scientific fact, but a thought or idea that is unable to be proven even by so-called scientific testing?).

Maslow had a theory about the “hierarhy of mankind’s needs” beginning first with physical needs (food & shelter) then moving to security “needs” like income and family. The third level of his pyramid is love and the fourth level at the top is purpose. Only when these 4 levels are met in this order can someone be “self-actualized.”

Sounds good from a humanistic perspective, doesn’t it? Makes some sense but did he get his ideas from the Bible?

Is this what Jesus taught Christians? Did Jesus say, “Get your physical needs met, store up lots of income, find human love in friendships and family, and then find your purpose in me to do ministry”?

I think not. Jesus said to His followers, “Come and follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus gave His disciples PURPOSE first. They had a vision to follow and only the promise that Jesus would take care of their real needs (food, clothing, & shelter). In other words, these men had to walk by faith and not by sight. Maslow’s hierarchy promotes sight and not faith.

Maslow would have you believe, “Get your ducks in a row and then find your purpose in life.” Maslow encourages people to live for themselves and to advance their temporal kingdom for material possessions in this life.

Jesus would say, “Find your purpose in Me and I’ll care for you though it won’t be easy.” Jesus calls people to die for Him and His kingdom which is advancing daily.

We get it backwards. We think we have to be experts in the Word to do God’s will for discipleship and biblical counseling. We think we have to have a seminary degree but that’s not who Jesus chose in His twelve disciples. He chose ordinary men whom He discipled so that they would be strong in their faith to do ministry.

That’s our focus in 2010 at TIL. Equip ordinary people to do extraordinary ministry by the power of the Holy Spirit working in conjunction with the truth of God’s Word.

Are you ready to do biblical counseling and discipleship even though you do not know the Bible backwards and forwards yet?

Are you ready and willing to follow Him even if all of your needs are not met yet and even if you don’t have all of the answers because God does? You proclaim Christ and His Word not yourself! 

Are you ready to step out in faith in Christ?

Do you trust Him to work through you to reach hurting souls for the glory of God?

-Mark (I am learning to trust Him more and more every day!)

Religion vs. Faith

December 7, 2009 1 comment

As newborn babies, we want religion. We cry out to God, “where are You, Lord? I need You!” As we grow, we tend to cling to religion and its tangibility. We do not live by faith but by sight. We trust in our good works of going to church, in praying, in reading our Bibles, and in doing good works. We want religion because it provides us with a tangible product.

But God…

God is only pleased with faith that comes from an intimate relationship of knowing Him according to Hebrews 11:6:  “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” – The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Heb 11:6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

God wants faith in Christ. He wants us to simply trust in the blood sacrifice of His Son who atones for our sins by faith. God wants us to walk by faith and not by sight. God wants us to see our good deeds as filthy rags and then to cling to faith in Christ. When we do, THEN and only then, will the Holy Spirit produce good works and His fruit through us by grace through our faith in Jesus Christ.

Live out your faith and let go of religion!

-Mark (living out my faith by helping others who are blinded by this world, sin, and Satan, to see Him as He really is)