Saturday, September 22, 2012

Money, Debt, and The Bible


by Chet Nowlen

Most people are not aware that Jesus talked more about man's relationship with money and salvation  than He talked heaven and hell.  There is a very important correlation between our relationship with Him and how we manage the money He provides us with and what we do with it to help others.

I have found an outstanding podcast regarding this subject on iTunes which I highly recommend that you give a listen to.  It's called "Money, Debt, and The Bible" by Pastor Tim Lucas.  I think you will love this teaching as it is an eye opening wake up call for all believers.

Description:  Pastor Tim Lucas of LiquidChurch.com tackles dollars, debt, and consumerism in the poplar message series "Why the Devil Takes MasterCard: Money, Debt, and your Stuff."  Discover what's in your wallet and learn to manage money God's way.

There are six different podcast lessons and each one is approximately one hour long.  I guarantee that you will be blessed and challenged to rethink your attitude about money.

Please send me an e-mail to let me know when you have listened to the first lesson "Affluenza".  I would love to hear your thoughts on this teaching mywelldone@me.com

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Author of Confusion?


By Chet Nowlen

There are scriptures that leave many believers confused because they seem to contradict what they have been taught in their particular denominational churches.  I'm not saying these certain scriptures are contradictions, but I am saying that the way certain scriptures are lumped together seem to explain a particular theology or belief that some are teaching. This is one of the main reasons that there are so many different Christian denominations and doctrines which causes so much confusion.  I think this is the reason some pastors have steered away from certain subjects in their sermons because these gray areas of interpretation cause serious debate within the church.

If you were to go to any denominational church and ask ten different people most any biblical question you would get ten different answers.  The same thing is true if you were to go to ten different denominational churches and ask one person the same biblical question at each church you would again get ten different answers.  Most all of the denominations agree for the most part, but there are some differences of opinion of interpretation of particular scriptures that cause the multiple denominations and division among the total church body.

Is there one denomination that is more right than another?  Should be go to non-denominational churches instead?  How do we know who is right and who is wrong?  Who is the author of all this confusion?

To find the answer to these questions I went to AskQuestions.org


Question: "Why is there so much confusion regarding the teachings of the Bible?"

Answer:
God gave us the Bible to teach us about Him and His ways, and since God is not a God of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), any and all confusion must come from the destructive forces of the world, the flesh, and the devil. The “world” refers to ungodly world system and its people who do not understand or care about the Word of God; the “flesh” is the lingering sinful nature Christians possess that corrupts their godly walk; and the devil refers to Satan and his demons who twist God’s Word, often while masquerading as angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Each of these forces can act individually or in unison in an attempt to confuse people about the Word of God. But, most confusion results from our own laziness and/or false teaching. Ultimately, and most tragically, confusion about the Bible can lead to a false hope of salvation. And that is Satan’s ultimate goal. When Satan tempted Jesus, he used misinterpretations of the Word of God for his attacks. Satan does the same thing today, taking a truth of Scripture and misapplying it. Satan is skilled at twisting the Word of God just enough so that it produces disastrous consequences, while still sounding like the Word of God.

Sometimes confusion over what the Bible teaches originates from poor Bible translations, or even intentionally distorted by translations. More often, though, confusion results from a lack of serious study among believers and the false preachers, teachers, and writers (2 Corinthians 11:12-13) who are found on radio, television and the Internet. These false prophets take even proper translations and, through both ignorance and design, twist and distort the Word of God to promote their own agenda or appeal to the thinking of the world. Instead of lazy Bible study and relying on others to teach us the Word of God, we should study God’s Word diligently and rely on the Holy Spirit. He will open the heart to God’s truth concerning Himself and His creation, prayer, worship, Christian love, our battle with Satan, personal conduct, church conduct, and achieving a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Most deadly, confusion is rampant regarding the truth of the gospel. While Scripture teaches that Jesus Christ is the only way, the only truth and the only life (John 14:6; Acts 4:12), today many who call themselves evangelical Christians believe that heaven can be gained by other ways and other religions. But in spite of apparent confusion, the sheep will still hear the voice of the Shepherd and will follow only Him (John 10:27). Those who do not belong to the Shepherd “will not endure sound doctrine, but they will heap up teachers to themselves according to their own lusts, tickling the ear” (2 Timothy 4:3). God has given us His Spirit and the command to preach biblical truth with humility and patience, in and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2), and to study to show ourselves approved, workers who correctly handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) until the Lord Jesus returns and puts an end to all confusion.

So who is the author of confusion?  Is God the author of our confusion?  No, God is not the author of confusion as stated in 1 Corinthians 14:33 "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." NKJV  If God is not the author of confusion then Satan is the author.  Confusion causes fear and doubt.  What did God give us to combat the confusion?  "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

There is a spiritual warfare going on around us that we cannot see with the naked eye, but we can see and feel the effects of it.  Our task is to fight the enemy's attacks by finding that relationship with Jesus that brings us power to overcome in this worldly system, love for one another, and a sound mind that is able to discern the attacks of the enemy.

Sin Unto Death


by Chet Nowlen

What constitutes sin unto to death?  Is it blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?  Is it the rejection of Jesus, or is it both?  Can a Christian commit a sin unto death?  Can a Christian that commits a sin unto death be saved again?


For tough questions like this one I recommend the following question and answer found at GotQuestions.org:

Question: "What is the sin unto death?"

Answer:
First John 5:16 is one of the most difficult verses in the New Testament to interpret. “If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that.” Of all the interpretations out there, none seems to answer all the questions concerning this verse. The best interpretation may be found by comparing this verse to what happened to Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-10 (see also 1 Corinthians 11:30). The “sin unto death” is deliberate, willful, continuous, unrepentant sin. God, in His grace, allows His children to sin without immediately punishing them. However, there comes a point when God will no longer allow a believer to continue in unrepentant sin. When this point is reached, God sometimes decides to punish a Christian, even to the point of taking his or her life.

That is what He did in Acts 5:1-10 and 1 Corinthians 11:28-32. This is perhaps what Paul described to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5. We are to pray for Christians who are sinning. However, there may come a time when God will no longer hear prayers for a sinning believer for whom He has determined that judgment is due. It is difficult to realize there are times when it is just too late to pray for a person. God is good and just, and we will just have to let Him decide when it is too late.

Unpardonable Sin


As a follow up to the previous article regarding unforgive-ness I think every believer should read and mediate on and understand the scriptures below.  The following is from Got Questions.org

Question: "What is the unpardonable sin / unforgivable sin?"

Answer:
The case of the “unpardonable sin/unforgivable sin” or “blasphemy of the Holy Spirit” is mentioned in Mark 3:22-30 and Matthew 12:22-32. The term “blasphemy” may be generally defined as “defiant irreverence.” We would apply the term to such sins as cursing God or willfully degrading things relating to Him. It is also attributing some evil to God, or denying Him some good that we should attribute to Him. This case of blasphemy, however, is a specific one called “the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” in Matthew 12:31. In this passage, the Pharisees, having witnessed irrefutable proof that Jesus was working miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit, claimed instead that He was possessed by the demon Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24). In Mark 3:30, Jesus is very specific about what exactly they did to commit “the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”

This blasphemy then has to do with accusing Jesus Christ (in person, on earth) of being demon-possessed. There are other ways to blaspheme the Holy Spirit (such as lying to Him, as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-10), but the accusation against Jesus was the blasphemy that was unpardonable. This specific unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit cannot be duplicated today.

The only unpardonable sin today is that of continued unbelief. There is no pardon for a person who dies in unbelief. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The only condition in which someone would have no forgiveness is if he/she is not among the “whoever” that believes in Him. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). To reject the only means of salvation is to condemn oneself to an eternity in hell because to reject the only pardon is, obviously, unpardonable.

Many people fear they have committed some sin that God cannot or will not forgive, and they feel there is no hope for them, no matter what they do. Satan would like nothing better than to keep us laboring under this misconception. The truth is that if a person has this fear, he/she needs only to come before God, confess that sin, repent of it, and accept God’s promise of forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This verse assures us that God is ready to forgive any sin—no matter how heinous—if we come to Him in repentance. If you are suffering under a load of guilt today, God is waiting with His arms open in love and compassion for you to come to Him. He will never disappoint or fail to pardon those who do.

Unforgiveness

By Chet Nowlen

Do you know of any Christians that feel unsaved because of their past? It's a good thing our salvation is not based on feelings because our feelings are like the waves of the sea as they are tossed around and change frequently. I think the problem is the enemy comes against the believer with thoughts of doubt. The enemy whispers these evil thoughts to our mind which is the center of our will and our emotions. When we receive the thought and meditate on it then fear, doubt and unbelief creep in causing one to believe a lie from the enemy. When this happens we have crossed over from faith to the opposite of faith, which is fear.

Several times Jesus said to, "Take no thought". He is saying to reject the thoughts fear, doubt, unbelief, and worry from the enemy, to not receive them in your mind and to not meditate on his lies. Unfortunately some believers find themselves in torment because they cannot forgive themselves, therefore they do not believe God has forgiven them either.

The scriptures speak clearly about the importance of forgiving others in regards as ones salvation. I think that the forgiveness of one's self is just as important as forgiving others. You see unforgiveness of one's self is unbelief in the that Jesus shed His blood and died for sins.

Here's a better explanation found at Got Questions.org

Question: "What does the Bible say about forgiving yourself?"


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Are You Good Enough?

"Are You Good Enough?" is the third lesson in Pastor Robert Morris' teaching "The Game Changer" series.

The reason I wanted to share "The Game Changer" series with my readers is because Pastor Robert's teaching helps to explain and eliminate some of the debate and confusion as to whether one is saved or not saved.

Here is a portion of the discussion guide from this weeks lesson to better explain why this lesson is so important for every believe and not yet believer to understand:

"The game-changing  question  for  this  week  is:  “Are  you  good  enough?”  Many   people think if the overall good we do in our lives outweighs the bad, then when we die, we’ll go to heaven.

We learn from the story of the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17–27 that being a good person is not enough to get us into heaven. The rich young ruler had been a  good  person  and  followed  many  of  God’s  commandments  since  childhood.   Yet Jesus said he was still lacking what God required of him. Only God is good. No human has ever been good enough (Romans 3:12).

Jesus asked the rich young ruler to sell everything and give his possessions to the poor. He  required  this  because  the  man’s  wealth  was  what  kept  him  from  a total commitment to God. God requires the same from each of us: to take up our cross, deny ourselves and follow Jesus. We have to ask ourselves if there is anything keeping us from totally committing everything to God, such as our wealth, a relationship, sin, pride or a habit.

The good news is that Jesus loved the rich young ruler, even as he struggled with his total commitment to God. Jesus loved the man enough to show him that he  couldn’t  save  himself.  He  loved  him enough to show him the truth about what was in his heart—that he loved his wealth more than he loved God. Jesus loves us the same way. He calls us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him because it’s impossible for us to save ourselves. "

Sermon Notes

Discussion Guide

Have You Been Born Again?

"Have You Been Born Again?" is Pastor Robert Morris' second teaching in series "The Game Changer".  This lesson is any eye opener as it reveals that there are those that think they have been saved but have not been saved as yet.

Sermon notes
Discussion Guide

Who's in Charge



Pastor Robert Morris has started a new series titled The Game Changer and Who's in Charge is the first of the series.  I highly recommend that you watch this first sermon for a better understanding of:  





Who's In Charge

Throughout this week, ask the Lord to show you any area of your heart or life where you need to “take your shoes off.” Repent of pride, fear, unbelief, disobedience, etc. Surrender everything to Him.

Prayer from the sermon notes: Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You gave Your life in exchange for ours. We praise You, because You are the Most High God, worthy of all that we have to give. We choose Your side today, and we yield our lives to You.