From the Pastor's Desk
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November 7, 2016, 1:42 PM

Need Spiritual Help?

If you need spiritual help, please contact Pastor Loraine Taylor at 540-384-7075 for an appointment. God bless you! We really care about you and believe we can point you to the right answer.

November 7, 2016, 12:00 AM

The Thirst Quencher

                                                            The Thirst Quencher                                                                                                           

John 4:1-10  NAS  When therefore the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John  2 (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were),  3 He left Judea, and departed again into Galilee.  4 And He had to pass through Samaria.  5 So He came to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph;  6 and Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.  7 There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink."  8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.  9 The Samaritan woman therefore said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)  10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."

The Mission: Jesus came to seek & save the lost.  In doing so, Jesus uses the location and action of the Samaritan woman who is dipping waters to satisfy her natural thirst to teach and offer her what she needs to satisfy her spiritual thirst.

The Purpose: Jesus teaches truth so that people can be set people free.                                                    

He contrasts the natural water in the well to the flow of spiritual living waters which He refers to as being the Holy Spirit. This living water is the Gift of God, the Holy Spirit that was poured out upon the believers in the upper room after Jesus’ ascension back to the Father. 

The Introspection: Jesus caused her to address her own human thirst.  Everyone has this thirst. We like this woman, we can go from one thing to another, or as is seen in the Samaritan woman at the well, she went from one relationship to another trying to quench her thirst.

The Diagnoses: Jesus diagnosed her issue. Her having the 5 husbands and living with one out of wedlock was not the real issue,  it was only the symptoms of the GREATER ISSUE/reaI issue. The real issue was, she was thirsty and had not found the “thirst-quencher.”  God is the ultimate healer, doesn’t simply TREAT THE SYMPTOMS! He gets to the REAL ISSUE! The issue of the heart thirst.

The Fact:  If we want to get spiritually healthy, we must allow the Master/Teacher and CREATOR to diagnose our issues.  Her issue was originated from her thirst, her thirst originated from the need we all have for a personal relationship with our CREATOR!  

“God has put a GOD/SHAPED vacuum in each of us and we will not be satisfied until we have Him sitting in the right position, which is the throne of our mind, will and emotion. That means receiving God as the Lord and Savior of our life.

The Dilemma: She, like so many of us today did not properly know how to quench her thirst/felt need. She went from one person to another (5 husbands and the one she was with was not her husband), she still had not found the answer she was seeking.

Like many today, she was saying to herself, “if only.” She had tried five “if only’s” and was in the process of trying another “if only” but they were not the answer either.

The Revelation: Jesus showed her, her diagnoses. Jesus did not diagnose her as a bad woman, rather he said, she was a thirsty woman. She was trying to meet a “felt need” and was continually coming up empty and unsatisfied.

The Understanding Jesus: Jesus knew the longing in her heart! It was her dissatisfaction, her thirst that drove her to look for more, in doing so; she entered into wreck-less living.  Only spiritual intimacy with God in a right relationship can quench the real thirst within each of us.

The Substitute: In trying to quench the thirst, sometime people even substitute religion for relationship. That’s what the Pharisees did. Jesus told them in John 5:39-40  "You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me;  40 and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life.”

The Misinterpretation: Your situation is NOT your issue. You may fix your situation but if your TRUE THRIST IS NOT QUENCHED, you will have yet another situation…  A messed up “SITUATION” originates from your inner thirst?  Have you tried to satisfy your spiritual thirst with a non-spiritual, non-scriptural answer?                                                                

Many people go through life thinking, “if only I had a bigger house, a better job, a different wife/husband, a place to get away, a drink, a drug, a (you can name the substitutes).  Most of us have tried many things; even some good things trying to quench our thirst but in doing so it’s only a poor substitute in the place of the LIVING WATER/God Himself.  

Even “Christians” are not exempt from trying to substitute “pleasures and things” to satisfy spiritual needs and cravings. When Christians are lacking in fellowship with Christ and the Holy Spirit, we are more vulnerable to be drawn/lured away with the cravings of our flesh. That’s why Jesus said, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." Religion will not QUENCH YOUR THIRST! The relationship of ABIDING IN FELLOWSHIP with him will quench your thirst! Come to Jesus!

The Truth: ONLY JESUS CAN SATISIFY YOUR SOUL. All other satisfactions are temporary in nature and endurance. 

The woman at the well found herself in a messed up situation and even though she had tried to fill that thirst and had drank from the NATURAL WELL of physical and even some emotional pleasure, she always found herself wanting more, waiting and longing for more.         

She was kept waiting the day when the “MESSIAH” would come. John 4:25-26 The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us."  26 Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He." Her source of “thirst-quenching” always seemed to be sometime “in the future.”

The Confrontation: Procrastination…So sad, too many of us are willing to “reel and rock” in a sad state of being when what we need is God who waiting to receive and relieve us!

We live in hope of someday receiving the “THRIST-QUENCHER.”  What if your “someday” is today and you miss it?

The Messiah is the only true “THRIST-QUENCHER.”  He stood, yet she kept pushing and procrastinating to “ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER TIME.  Finically, Jesus said to her…John 4:26  Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."

What else does Jesus have to do for you to finally accept him as the LORD and MASTER of your life?

Humanity's greatest thirst is for right relationship with God. Too many are like the woman who was thinking only of physical thirst. Too often we try to satisfy a spiritual thirst in a physical way; that never works!

The Invitation: John 7:37-39  Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'"  39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Yes God created this "hole" that cannot be filled by any other: in short, that "God-shaped hole" was created by God for us to look for him.  Are you thirsty? THE THIRST-QUENCHER IS HERE!

If you would like to receive Jesus as your Savior and Lord, would you pray this prayer with me?

“Father God, I have sinned and broken your Laws. I recognize that I cannot save myself or make myself worthy of you; therefore I come to asking forgiveness and reconciliation to you and your Son Jesus Christ. I believe He died in my place and made payment for my sins. I give myself wholeheartedly to you and I pledge myself to learn and grow in you. Thank you for receiving me as your child and writing my name in your book. I believe I have eternal life through you. Amen”

He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name. John 1:11-12  


September 14, 2016, 3:22 PM

Join in prayer for our churches, community, leadership and nation.

• God bring your righteousness to our land once more! Take away stony hearts and make hearts that are hungry for you! 
• Cause us to see the spiritual dilemma our community and country is in! Open the eyes of our community and nation to our own sin, wretchedness and backsliding. 
• Open our eyes as individuals to the offenses we have committed against you. Stir your church, and our communities and nation to the repentance that brings a return to humility, love and dependence on you. 
• Alert us to see and tremble at the pending woe that is about to be poured out on a rebellious and disobedient people. 
• Cause us as believers and followers of Christ to be the salt of the earth and light of the world. 
• Help us put aside our cowardly ways that continue to give in to political correctness and sinful practices that you have declared are abominations against You. 
• Open our eyes as individuals to our personal offense against you, whether we are Christian or non-Christian. 
• Cause us to see the ugliness of sin and it’s offspring in the lives of ourselves and others. 
• Give us your mercy and hope so that we can be healed and restored as individuals, communities, churches as well as our entire nation. 
• Bring back the healthy reverence of God to the once church goer as well as those who sit in the pews with solemn convictions and good faith. 
• Make us to know that we cannot live for bread alone. We confess we have been too preoccupied and satisfied with the niceties, convenience, comfort, pleasure and having our own physical needs met to the neglect and starvation of our own souls. 
• Bring the wind of your Holy Spirit back on us and revive the spiritually dead bones that have been scattered and parched due to the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life. 
• Bring such an awareness of your presence in us all so that we will never ever be satisfied with the substitutes offered by the flesh and our spiritual adversary the devil. 
• Bring us back to our first love that be may be spiritually impregnated with life that breeds more life into the kingdom of God. 
• Help the “fruit bearing” Christians keep the strong desire of spiritual intimacy that lacks no evidence. Let us not be weary in well doing. Remind us that we will reap if we do not faint.
• Bring us again to the altars that thrive on miracles, healings, deliverance, salvations, sacrificial living and baptisms, alone with signs and wonders that are meant to follow us as believers in the risen Christ.
• Bring back the authentic revelation of what it means and looks like to be true disciples in a world that accepts alternate lifestyles for holy living. 
• Cause us to agree with you in action and lifestyle that, … “holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, forever (Psalm 93:5).” 
• Press us to ask, see and walk the in “old paths” and the good way so that we can find your rest for our souls (see Jer.6:16).
• Thank you for the fire that is already flickering in our communities, churches and nations! Thank you that you have NOT given up on us! Thank you that you have NOT turned your back on us to reap the results of our own wrong doing. 
• Thank you that you are hearing from heaven and you strongly want to heal our homes, churches, communities and our land.
• Thank you that you are merciful and do not want to repay us for our own worthless and sinful deeds but you are seeking for all of us to change the way we think and act in repentance! 
• Thank you that you are sending your message loud and clear across our land through moms and dads, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, pastors and leaders.
• Thank you for those who serve in high and prestigious positions or lowly ranks who live and speak truth in boldness. Thank you for those who refuse to be dominated by fear and intimidation and for truth’s sake, they call a lie a lie, and they clearly distinguish the light from the darkness.
• Thank you for those who are committed to winning the lost and making disciples of all who will come. Thank you for the sacrifices of monies, time, family, convenience and pleasures. May your watchful eye of provision, protection, support and peace be on each of your followers who devote themselves wholly to You.
• We as your church are not giving up! We are seeking your face because you have promised. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14 )
• Dear God, Please guide your people in the way you would have us to go. Please correct us in your mercy when we are wrong. Please keep us in your sights and do not let us be prey to the enemy that seeks to devour our souls, ravish our children, marriages and homes. 
• Please bring us safely to the place you have destined us to be. Please help us leave a good path so that the next generations can prosper and know that you are Lord and you are a jealous God who will not compete and cuddle with unrighteousness!
• We want to see your glory. We want to experience you, your presence and your pleasure on a daily biases. We are not content with a sip from the cup of salvation, we want the living waters that you promised to flow from our spiritual bellies so that our every word, action and attitude reflect your presence, strength and truth. 
• Come to us and satisfy our hunger. Heal our land. Come and abide with us for we are yours for your purposes and your plans!
• Sweet Jesus, we love you! We cherish your presence, your word, your family and your creation. We wait upon you now to bring us what we need to effectively reach our families, friends and communities for You. Take our heart! Take our lives! We offer you ourselves and desire to know each step from this time forward.

July 7, 2016, 2:45 PM

True Faith OR Dead Faith 

Why is there seemingly such a gap/missing link between people who believe? What is saving faith? What is “dead faith”? What is faith that saves/works, what does it look like? 

James gives what I believe is a balanced view of faith. I do not believe his statements brings division or contradiction with Paul’s statements about faith. James 2:14-26  What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,   And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 

19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?  23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?  26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

James is pointing out what “True Faith” looks like and what its lifestyle is.

God wants more than “mental assent/mind faith;” He wants a life committed to follow him! That is saving faith! The committed life is (in my opinion) the missing link in faith/mental assent and a “faith that saves/faith with works.”

So often hear people refer to themselves as “Christians” while living so worldly and indulging in sinful/unbiblical lifestyles. What is one to think and believe?

John 3:14-18    And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,  15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life16 "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.  18 "There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God's one and only Son.

THE PROBLEM: There is sometimes a disparity and gap with mental assenting to the true doctrine of the Gospel and true faith that believes unto salvation. One should not conclude that giving intellectual assent with the mind to the doctrine of Gospel automatically makes him/her a Christian. While the mind must be in agreement with the Gospel; there is more to saving faith than merely affirming one’s belief that the Gospel and Bible are authentically God’s Word.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Often, we see that a gap between one’s talk and one’s walk.   A “faith” that believes unto righteousness and the first step of faith that is accepting of God’s account of his Christ; when one has a true faith and repents, he is indeed saved.

True faith takes the step in the process of salvation; believing with the mind and accepting as true the Gospel of Christ. As necessary as that step is in to a person’s salvation; there must be more! There must be a faith that believes unto righteousness and goes further in true repentance. Mental assent only to the divinity of Christ and his finished work on Calvary is simply not enough.

Romans 10:9-11 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

James statements about faith do not bring division or contradiction with Paul’s statements about faith, rather James brings clarification. James 2:14-26  What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,   And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 

19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?  23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?  26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

James is pointing out what “True Faith” looks like and what its lifestyle is.

God wants more than “mental assent; or only intellectual agreement;” He wants a life committed to follow him! That is saving faith! The committed life is (in my opinion) the missing link in dead faith that profits nothing and saving faith that brings salvation that is seen and glorifies God.

Consider the jailer who was saved and whom Paul baptized. He had a turnaround in his life! His lifestyle changed along with his belief. That is demonstration of a “faith that saves,” i.e. a “faith that is not dead.”

Acts 16:30-34  And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.  32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.  33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.  34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

Faith unto Salvation is not about works but it is a faith that works. It is not the works of baptism or as the harlot Rahab did, the hanging of a purple thread from her window. It/the faith that saves is a “faith that works.” (More than and mental assent)

What about the thief on the cross who believed? He didn’t have time to do works.  Work is not criterion for salvation; faith is! However, true saving faith is a faith that motivates. Jesus declared, the repentant thief who obviously had faith, would be in paradise with him that day, so we know he had a saving faith even though he was not able to do works.                                                                                                                                                 Luke 23:39-43  And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.  40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?  41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.  42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.  43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Peter’s visit to the Gentiles Acts 10:43-48  He is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name."  44 Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message.  45 The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too.  46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.Then Peter asked,  47 "Can anyone object to their being baptized, now that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?"  48 So he gave orders for them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Afterward Cornelius asked him to stay with them for several days.

Paul speaking to Peter and others who were reverting to the “Law of Moses” concerning not eating with Gentiles, eating certain things, etc.  (A TRUE FAITH PLUS NOTHING)     (True faith is a saving faith—Saving faith is a faith that works, moves and motivates from the heart)                             Galatians 2:16 - 3:1   Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law."  17 But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not!  18 Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down.  19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law-- I stopped trying to meet all its requirements-- so that I might live for God.  20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. 

Scripture says, a person is not saved by trying to keep the Law of Moses, neither would we be saved merely obeying the laws of “being good & good works.” Abraham was JUSTIFIED by faith, but his faith was a “saving faith that moved him to works and obedience.

Conclusion: “IF” there are no works and motivation toward obedience and following Christ and his Word, one should question whether he really has a “saving faith.”

While we are not in the place of judging whether a person is truly saved or not; we are instructed NOT to be deceived.                                                     NLT(1 Corinthians 6:8-10  Instead, you yourselves are the ones who do wrong and cheat even your fellow believers.  9 Don't you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality,  10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people-- none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.)

Luke 6:43-44   For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.

It is not that a true Christian cannot sin; however, a true Christian will not be able to habitually enjoy sinful habits and lifestyles. We are to put away all things that offend God.

1 John 1: 6-10  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 

1 John 2:1-6  NLT 1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.  2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins-- and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.  3 And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments4 If someone claims, "I know God," but doesn't obey God's commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth.  5 But those who obey God's word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.  6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

Christians are to keep our faith alive and active by living a life of spiritual discipline. There is no substitute for spending time in Bible study, prayer, worship and fellowshiping with the believers.

2Peter 1:4-10 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;  6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;  7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.  10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

We should examine ourselves under the scrutiny of the Word of God.                                                                                                                                              2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith. 

May God help us all to have true, living faith that saves! Our soul and eternity deserves "due diligence."

June 10, 2016, 12:00 AM

The Offense of the Gospel Of Christ


1 Peter 2:6-8  For this is contained in Scripture: "Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed."  7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve, "The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner stone," and, "A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.

Jesus did not come to make our world better or to make us comfortable. Jesus came as our God and Savior. He was a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.

Our culture is not to set our religious conventions and precepts, the Bible and Holy Spirit is to do that. The Bible is ultimate authority revealing truth.

We believe in freedom of religion and we are not to try to force others to conform to our beliefs; yet, we are to speak truth from Holy Scripture. At Mars Hill Paul didn’t persecute those who believed differently or become like them, but he spoke truth to them saying let me tell you about your unknown God whom you ignorantly worship. Being ignorant of or ignoring Gods truth does not make it go away. The Bible is for every individual even if every individual doesn’t accept it. It is not our job to force Christian beliefs on others. Paul taught if anyone wants to be ignorant, let him be ignorant. (Willful ignorance)

Why are people so tough concerning bad language, gossip, filthy communication and lifestyle but when it comes to Christian principles they are offended?

The Causes of Offense:

  • No Root in themselves                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Mark 4:15-17  "And these are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.  16 "And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy;  17 and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.
  • People were offended because Jesus did not come according to their preconceived ideals. They expected something else. They expected the Messiah to come as a king rather than from a common family and growing up as a child.                                                                                            Mark 6:1-3  NAS And He went out from there, and He came into His home town; and His disciples followed Him.  2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands?  3 "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?" And they took offense at Him.
  • People were offended because of persecution and suffering.  Concerning Christ arrest and crucifixion.                                                                    Mark 14:27-30  And Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away, because it is written, 'I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.'  28 "But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee."  29 But Peter said to Him, "Even though all may fall away, yet I will not."  30 And Jesus said to him, "Truly I say to you, that you yourself this very night, before a cock crows twice, shall three times deny Me."   Peter was afraid, also spiritual darkness.                                                                                                                                                                                            Luke 7:20-23 And when the men had come to Him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, 'Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?'" (John was offended, couldn’t understand why) (Believe truth, not just your feelings.) 21 At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He granted sight to many who were blind.  22 And He answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them.  23 "And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me."             John 16:1-2  NAS John 16:1 "These things I have spoken to you, that you may be kept from stumbling.  2 "They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.                                                                       Matthew 24:9-10  "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name.  10 "And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another.

When God doesn’t do what we think he should, will we still follow him? Being offended is difficult and painful. Why not determine not to be offended at God, He is always right.

God confronts with truth. His light shines into the dark imagination and deeds of their hearts. When people are offended they look for faults in others and excuses not to believe and obey God.

Let Jesus point out your own issues.  Scribes and Pharisees/Religious leaders in Jerusalem were offended because of the truth that pricked/convicted their hearts. Jesus words cut through their religious rituals to show their heart of pretense was not in relationship with God but they had only a form of godliness.                                                                                                                                                                                          Matthew 15:1-12 Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem, saying,  2 "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread."  3 And He answered and said to them, "And why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?  4 "For God said, 'Honor your father and mother,' and, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.'  5 "But you say, 'Whoever shall say to his father or mother, "Anything of mine you might have been helped by has been given to God,"  6 he is not to honor his father or his mother.' And thus you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.  7 "You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying,  8 'This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me.  9 'But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'"  10 And after He called the multitude to Him, He said to them, "Hear, and understand.  11 "Not what enters into the mouth defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man."  12 Then the disciples came and said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?"

Remedies to stay free from offense:

  • Realize and remember that hard times come to everyone, including righteous people. Remember John the Baptist whom Jesus said of, there is none greater….He lived a sacrificial committed life to God.
  • Realize and remember that God has plans which we do not know about; He promises to work “all things” together for our good.      
  • Everyone suffers sometime. Are you suffering? There is no trial that is uncommon to man.
  • Stay free from offense. Jesus said, people will hurt /kill you and think they are Godly and right!
  • To stay free from offense! Trust God even when you hurt.
  • Expect and prepare for difficulty.
  • Don’t become or stay offended at God.
  • Jesus has sent the comforter to us.
  • Remember that you are not alone; Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit/Helper to comfort you.
  • God has sent the Holy Spirit to speak to us and reveal God and his will to us as well as the future things.
  • Keep your life conformed to God’s Word/Bible.

 John 16:1-15  NAS "These things I have spoken to you, that you may be kept from stumbling2 "They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God3 "And these things they will do, because they have not known the Father, or Me.  4 "But these things I have spoken to you, that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.  5 "But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?'  6 "But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.  7 "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.  8 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment;  9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;  10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me;  11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.  12 "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  13 "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.  14 "He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you.  15 "All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you.

One God, One sure word/faith. God’s Word is our standard.  People who reject the Bible; are rejecting God.

 Determine to live a surrendered life to the Lordship of Christ; you cannot live in true freedom if the flesh dominates over the Holy Spirit.      

A. Remember Christ’s example when facing the cross. He was surrendered to the will of his Father.    (We are not better than Christ! He suffered; we will suffer also.)

B. Remember, even your closest of friends and family will at times let you down; their flesh was weak as humans even though they were willing and wanted to do better. Even Jesus apostles let Him down at a critical time when He really needed them.Matthew 26:39-42   And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt."  40 And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?  41 "Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."  42 He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be done."

What do you do when your closest friends, yes even family let you down? Hold to Gods unchanging hand and recognize like Jesus did of his disciples, “the spirit is willing but flesh is weak.”

Keep your heart free from small roots/things. Do not allow a root of bitterness to spring up and defile you.Respect discipline and the giver of the discipline.

Stay free from offense.Hebrews 12:9-15  Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?  10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.  11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.  12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble,  13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.  14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.  15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it may be defiled.

C. Do allow God to discipline you and remember discipline received will bring good fruit and righteousness.

D. Strengthen your areas of weakness.

E. Make “straight paths/right plans/decision for godly living so you will be healed. 

F. Seek and pursue peace with all people. Don’t be a drama queen or hell raiser. 

G. Live a sanctified/holy life. Quit indulging in things that defile your spirit or body.

Gain your understanding of God’s Word grow every day through Bible Study and mediation with prayer and careful listening to the Holy Spirit who teaches you. As you study, ask Holy Spirit to comfort, guide and teach you so that your life is continually conformed to his pleasure.

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