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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Irrefutable
By Glen Copple
S.R. Acts 5:29-39

Recently, it occurred to me to ponder and present some things about life and this world that are absolutely irrefutable. There is no real way these things can be denied without disregarding the tremendous amount of evidence supporting this claim. These things will stand the test in any court of law that honestly considers the evidence before them.

I had to limit my list as I can see so many things for which the world has no explanation outside of someone’s conjured up imagination. For time sake, I have limited myself to eight things for which there is no other explanation than God.

1. CREATION – First Cause – Genesis 1 & 2
All of this came from somewhere. Here is a look at how small and large God’s creation is.
Before this earth came to be there was nothing. Evolution cannot explain this away.
Out of nothing, GOD created the Heavens and the Earth.

2. FLOOD – Genesis 6:11-22
Archeological discoveries in many locations confirm a time when the entire earth was under water.

3. EGYPTIAN army destroyed in the Red Sea – Exodus 14:21-31
They have now found pieces of chariots and human bones in the Red Sea at an area where there is a “land bridge” where the sea isn’t as deep as in the other parts.

4. Fire from HEAVEN – Genesis 19:23-25
Destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah
Burned rocks in that region of the Dead Sea

5. Birth and existence of JESUS and His impact on the world – Luke 2:1-7
Our Gregorian calendar system acknowledges the birth, life (and even death) of Jesus Christ.
BC = “Before Christ”
AD = “Anno Dominio” – Latin = “the year of our Lord”
Early (non-Christian) historians, Josephus, Trajan, Pliny and Tacitus to mention a few, mention Jesus’ existence.

6. DEATH of Jesus – All four Gospels
Romans were experts at crucifying people. History establishes the fact of crucifixion by Romans. Many historians establish Jesus in that time period.
Eye witnesses testify in Scripture and other sources to the death of Jesus.

7. RESURRECTION of Jesus – All four Gospels 
The Jews wanted to prove the resurrection false. They couldn’t.
Over 500 people saw Jesus, after He had risen from the dead.
This evidence would be irrefutable in any court of law.

8. The POWER and SIZE of the Kingdom of Christ – the Church!
The Power of the Church – Matthew 16:18; Acts 5:29-39; 24:22, 26:1-3
The existence of the church, and it’s thriving, even in the face of severe persecution and attempted genocide proves that JESUS is more powerful than anyone who seeks to oppose Him.

Irrefutable – the Church of Jesus Christ is the oldest, biggest and most powerful Kingdom on earth. It surpasses ALL other governments put together and will not be stopped.
What are you going to do about Jesus?
Is He YOUR LORD, Savior and role model?
Is your faith, allegiance and obedience to Him irrefutable?

Learn how Jesus can change your life - www.wwj.bible.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Dealing With an Angry Bear

I Timothy 6:11-16


Readers Digest on Sin – “Ministers still against it, they just don’t knows what it is.”
Years ago, I did a survey on sins in the New Testament. 
Talk about a solution to the sin problem in our lives.  Like most of you, we have come to embrace sin as if the ones we commit are not so bad. There are some sins that we embrace as if they were desirable – like an ice cream soda.
We need to treat sin like it is an angry bear instead of like it is an ice cream soda.
Paul talks about dealing with sin in a similar way to how we might deal with an angry bear.
1.      Flee – To run away from the threat – 6:11a
The Bible never tells us to resist sin.  It says to resist temptation and flee sin!
God frequently provides that the only way of escape is two good feet – run!
Joseph fled from Pharaoh’s wife
David didn’t flee from Bathsheba and lost his kingdom as a result.  Israel suffered because of his sin.
Even the bravest soldiers know that there is a time to run!
Sin is so destructive to the Christian.  Don’t even tempt yourself.
Alcoholic
Pornography or any kind of sexual immorality
We must stay away from that which causes the temptation.

2.      Follow – Pursue diligently with great effort – 6:11b
When running from something, it helps to have something else to run to!  Matthew 12:43-45
Run to Jesus – Follow His example.  Run to the instructions given in the Bible.
Do not give evil a chance to re-enter.
      Replace bad habits with good habits. 
Work out a game plan to deal with future temptation.
Christianity is not a passive religion.
      Goals must be defined and effort made in order to reach them.
We must not sit idly waiting to see what happens.  We must flee the temptation.
We must pursue Christ and His way if we are to remain in Him.
Replace the temptation with Bible reading, scripture memorization and prayer and call a friend.

3.      Fight – Facing the adversary to defeat him in his intent – 6:12
Sometimes fleeing isn’t possible.
We must be prepared to do battle one on one with temptation and the Temptor.
Our Christian armor is necessary if we are to win.  Ephesians 6:10-18
Our sword is the most effective weapon ever made.  Hebrews 4:12
      If we face Satan with the armor of God, the Holy Spirit will fight for us and win and we won’t be touched, but will be made stronger.  I Samuel 17:45-47
Jesus fought Satan by quoting Scripture.  You can defeat temptation by using the Word of God. 

If you are in Christ, continue to Flee from sin, Follow Jesus and Fight for the cause of righteousness in your self, your home, your community, your state, and your nation.
If you are not a Christian, you can only flee from by believing in Jesus as your Savior, repenting of your sin, confessing your allegiance to Christ, and being baptized to symbolize having your sins washed away and being born again.
;

Monday, November 21, 2016

Five Things Athletes Know that Christians Don’t
By Glen Copple
Athletes are different. Exercise, strenuous exercise is a driving passion in their lives. They love it. There are certain things that “they get.”
Apostle Paul’s encouragement in 1 Corinthians 9:24–27 (ESV)
"24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."

Many of those things Christians don’t get. Here are five things athletes know and Christians don’t:
1. The PAIN / GAIN Connection
Athletes understand that without a certain amount of pain and discomfort, they simply will not make progress toward higher athletic achievement. There is pain behind that victory.

Athletes know that going to the gym is nothing unless you are willing to put in the time and effort to grow beyond your current capabilities. Christians don’t seem to understand that hanging around the church or carrying a Bible makes no difference in their lives.

There is no gain without pain. That is true physically and it is also true spiritually. Growth in Christ is not automatic, and is more than desire. It takes real investment and intention to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:18).

2. The KNOWLEDGE / PROGRESS Connection
The best athletes are always working at growing in their knowledge of both their sport and how their body works and responds best. They know that optimal performance follows better knowledge of both.

Christians don’t seem to understand that to really grow in Christ, they are going to have to do more than just read their Bible. They need to study them. They need to apply it to their lives if they hope to make progress in grace.

3. The WORK vs. REST Connection
Elite athletes work hard, very hard. But they also know that their bodies need rest and recuperation time.

Christians, spiritually speaking, have got their lives almost completely backwards. They are almost always at rest and never at work, spiritually speaking. They aren’t engaged in seeking the lost. Church attendance for example is now counted as regular if people are in fellowship with other believers 20-25 times a year. Bible reading is a Sunday affair and maybe a verse or two a day rather the daily bread we need to nourish our lives. Personal evangelism is myth.

4. The PROGRESS is SLOW Connection
Athletes understand that progress is often slow and reward comes over time. You don’t just get up and run a marathon; you have to train for it.

Christians, like so many others in our culture, want instant gratification. “Pastor, can you give me a verse to deal with my anger?” Spiritual growth doesn’t come from a pill that you take but a path that you follow. And progress is often slow and imperceptible. But there is reward over time.

5. The CONSISTENCY / REGRESSION Connection
Athletes understand that to maintain peak conditioning they can’t stop. Workouts may change and vary. Some will be more or less strenuous. But just because heavy prices of pain and uncomfortable, sore muscles are now in the past does not mean that exercise can cease.

Christians don’t seem to get that. So you studied the Bible hard for a few weeks a couple of years ago. Does that mean you don’t need to study it now? No.

In fact, 1) staying consistently in the word of God, 2) connected in fellowship with other believers, 3) gathered in corporate worship, 4) praying for and serving the body of Christ and your neighbor are the tools that are indispensable to your Christian life and all of them must be consistently applied (Cf. Acts 2:42-47)

Let’s be more like athletes in our pursuit of Christ.
Let’s live passionately for and like Christ so we can truly love God, love others and serve the world.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Jesus Teaches on Marriage and Divorce
By Glen Copple
20 years ago, this man and this woman stood up after church and said, “We want to get married.” Looking at our age, you know that is not saying much to you who have been married 19, 60+ years. Even so, we can examine God’s design for marriage against the world. I’m confessing up front that we had been previously married, but declare that God’s Word is true.

What is God’s design for our marriage?
In Matthew 19:3-12; Mark 10:2-12, some Pharisees ask Jesus about marriage and divorce. It would be for us to take seriously what He says.

1. God Designed MARRIAGE – Matthew 19:1b-4; Mark 10:1c-6
The Pharisees have a loose attitude towards marriage. A Pharisee that hadn’t divorced his wife was not considered a good Pharisee. They question Jesus in an attempt to justify divorce. Jesus challenges them with the Law of Moses. They say that Moses commanded them to divorce. Jesus reminds them that God designed marriage and divorce was because they were marrying people who would lead them away from following God.

We have become a culture that has adopted the Pharisaical view towards marriage as a way to hide our selfish unwillingness to keep our marriage vows. Many have been told that they have a “right to be happy” and when they disagree on some issue, this selfish “right” overshadows their love for one another and the tension escalates until they repent or they quit. Our challenge is to make our marriage successful for life. GOD’S way is always better.

1a. Marriage is ONE Man and ONE Woman – Matthew 19:5a; Mark 10:7
Jesus makes it very clear that God designed marriage to be the union of one man and one woman. He made male and female, not male and male. When they get married, they leave their family of origin and create a new family unit. Into this union, they create children who will one day pick a spouse of the opposite sex and create their own family unit and so life goes on. This is God’s design from the day of CREATION.

A simple class in anatomy will establish physically that man and woman are designed for each other. There is no way for homosexual behavior to reproduce.

1b. Marriage is a LIFETIME covenant – Matthew 19:5b-6;
Mark 10:8-9
Jesus reminds the Pharisees that marriage is a lifetime covenant. The sexual consummation symbolizes that union and anything else is a violation of God’s design. This is also a declaration that sexual intimacy is for marriage and anything else is sin.

God designed us to COMPLEMENT each other, not be in conflict with each other.

We seek a lifetime of love with that one person. We want to believe that this someone will be faithful to us, love us and be a part of our happiness for the rest or our lives. Everyone admires couples who remain married to each other for life.

When you got married for the very first time, you believed that this was going to be a lifetime relationship. We don’t realize that “happily ever after is lived one day at a time” and marriages require work in order to be “happy”. We then become disillusioned when conflict comes and our happiness becomes unhappy.

2. DIVORCE is not God’s Plan – Matthew 19:7-8
No couple gets married with the idea of getting a divorce.

The Pharisees continue pushing Jesus with their claim that Moses gave a command for them to divorce their wives. Jesus tells them that they have taken the Law out of context. God always says marriage is for LIFE. The reason God told them to divorce their wives was because they had married women from other nations and religions who God knew would turn them away from following Him. God never intended for them to divorce their Jewish wives. What does Jesus teach about divorce and why we should not end our marriages?

We got married believing that this relationship would last for the rest of our lives. However, too often, we forget that euphoria and start treating our mate as the enemy to be controlled, changed or gotten rid of. We pretend that breaking up a marriage is no big deal. We think it is easier to just get a divorce than to try to work out our problems. We feel bad for those we know who are going through a divorce. Marriage is a lifetime covenant.

3. Divorce is SIN – Matthew 19:9; Mark 10:10-12
Divorcing your wife for any reason other than infidelity (her having sexual relations with someone else) and then marrying someone else is sin. It is just as wrong for the husband to have sex outside of the marriage as it is for the wife.

3a. Divorce means that I don’t TRUST God in my marriage. It is interesting how a couple will want God to be in their wedding ceremony, but they don’t care to have Him in their marriage. And then, when communication breaks down and love gets hidden behind anger and selfishness, divorce is chosen as the solution instead of going back to God and trying to let Him back into the picture.

3b. Divorce means that you don’t know how to LOVE. If your spouse was good enough to marry, they are good enough to stay married to (unless they have committed adultery). Couples who get divorced create more problems than if they had stayed married and worked on their issues. Divorce causes more pain and suffering than they would have if they had stayed married and worked it out.

3c. Divorce means I’m SELFISH. We get upset with the person we promised to love and cherish for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer until we are separated by death.

3d. Divorce means you are not a person of your WORD.

3e. Divorce means that you don’t respect the SEXUAL relationship between you and your spouse, nor the promise to keep myself to and her only.

4. SEX outside of marriage is sin
To have sex with someone you are not married to is a violation of God’s standards for the sexual relationship in marriage. Having sex with someone other than your spouse shows that you don’t respect God or your spouse. Sex is the most intimate way that a man and woman can express their love for each other. “Going all the way”.

5. Divorce is TOLERATED (not Unforgiveable) – Matthew 19:10-12
The Apostles come to Jesus after this remark and suggest that since marriage is so serious and divorce is so wrong, it isn’t even worth it to get married. Jesus advises them that marriage isn’t for everybody, neither is celibacy.

As much value as we place on marriage and having children, not everyone is so inclined. Some people are sufficiently fulfilled without a mate. Some are in professions that would make marriage a difficult or dangerous thing to maintain. There are also some who are so hurt by some event that marriage absolutely does not appeal to them.

If you get married, remember MARRIAGE is for life.

CONCLUSION
GOD declared that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life.
MAN does not have the right to redefine God’s declaration.
DIVORCE is not part of God’s design for marriage.
Those who are divorced can be FORGIVEN.
Put your love and faith in Jesus Christ and let Him guide and bless your marriage.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Wrong is still Wrong

David Did it! Why Can’t I?
Wrong is Still Wrong
S.R. Genesis 3:8-13
In an age of loose morals, Satan provides many rationalizations to excuse any kind of behavior. You can justify (even in Scripture) almost anything you want to do. Most criminals in jails believe they are not guilty. No one wants to admit they are sinners. If they do, they try to appease their guilt by saying “Everyone is doing it”.

The Problem – is sIn! The solution is repentance and following Jesus!

Man’s attitude used to be don’t sin. Now it is don’t get caught!

Reader’s Digest – Preachers against sin, Don’t know what sin is.

There is a MORAL ABSOLUTE
Who makes the rules?
God Says:
     Obey your parents (unless they are disobeying God)
     Don’t kill (unless it is in absolute self-defense)
     Don’t have sex with someone you are not married to.
     Don’t steal
     Don’t tell lies
     Don’t desire your neighbor’s stuff

World seeks pleasure as an end and never finds it.
A Christian finds pleasure in Christ and never loses it.
A Christian strongly desires to do the right thing. Romans 7:15-20

How do we fight the battle to do right and win?
As Christians, we must remember that wrong is wrong despite our efforts to excuse our actions.

1. Wrong is wrong even if we don’t get caught. Proverbs 15:3
WHY?
You may fool man, but you can’t fool God. He is an eyewitness of all you do. Hebrews 4:13
We have a conscience.
What is done in secrete will be exposed in the judgment day.
Adultery, stealing candy from a store, cheating on taxes or an exam

2. Wrong is wrong even if we do it for a good cause. II John 9
WHY?
Honorable purpose does not justify dishonorable action.
Robin Hood vs. Panch Villa, telling a “white lie” - All did wrong things.
The end does not always justify the means. I John 5:17
Sin is still (always) a transgression of God’s Law. I John 3:4
Stealing food for your hungry kids, defrauding one to help another.

3. Wrong is wrong even if others are doing worse things. Proverbs 24:8-9
WHY?
It will be little comfort on the Day of Judgment to know others committed a worse sin. Your punishment will be the same as theirs. Romans 6:23
Even the thought of sin is sin. Matthew 5:27-28
Shoplifting, looking at pornography or reading immoral novels, running red lights

4. Wrong is wrong even if it doesn’t bother our conscience. Ephesians 4:17-20
WHY?
The conscience can be trained to block out or to generate guilt.
Even if it is evil done sincerely, it is still sin to God. I Timothy 4:1-3 -
Conscience or not, we will all pay for our sins (unless we believe in Jesus’ atonement for our sins). Galatians 6:7
Cussing, getting mad, getting even with someone.
Hebrews 13:18

5. Wrong is wrong even if it is commonly considered acceptable. Exodus 23:2
WHY?
Just because someone else or some government say’s it’s okay doesn’t mean that God says it’s okay. The Christian should not follow the crowd when the crowd is into a sin. Proverbs 4:14-19
Choose your friends carefully lest they lead you astray. I Corinthians 15:33
Don’t become an enabler by allowing others to continue in their sin.
Getting drunk at a party, engaging in an act of vandalism.

Determine to do right and avoid evil. I Thessalonians 5:21-22
There is never a right way to do wrong.
Live your life before men is such a way that they have no cause to accuse you of sinning. I Peter 3:15-16; 2:11-12
Romans 1:28-32
Romans 2:14-15
Romans 6:1-7, 18

Wonderful Grace of Jesus – Amazing Grace
Repent means to turn around. Stop doing the wrong thing, turn around.
“Go and do the right thing (based on God’s moral absolutes)”

Monday, October 31, 2016

Christians and Government

Christians & Government

Why and How Christians Must Vote
1. Heritage
What are the principles on which our nation and freedom is based?

The Pilgrims and Puritans first came to America seeking freedom to worship as they believe without the government telling them what they could and could not do.

Founding documents acknowledge God

Declaration of Independence –
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. Four times, God is referenced in the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

United States Constitution
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” –
Charles E. Rice, The Supreme Court and Public Prayer (New York: Fordham University Press 1964), p. 47.

Bill of Rights - Amendment I
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Early American art and religious influence in our Capital

2. Law
“Separation of Church and State”
A private letter declaring that the government should stay out of the church, but not that the church must stay out of government. (The atheists have taken it out of its context and twisted the meaning to push their ungodly agenda.)

Other remarks
“In order effectually to accomplish these great ends, it is. . . the duty of those who bear rule to promote and encourage piety [respect for God]. Henry Laurens, President of Congress, Selected as Delegate to the Constitutional Convention

Jefferson voted that the Capitol building would also serve as a church building. Indeed, church services were often held in the capital building for many years (and no one complained).

3. Politics in the Bible
Joseph, Daniel and others served in government positions.
Saul, David, Solomon, others served as Kings
Old Testament Prophets spoke out against corruption in government.
John the Baptist, Peter, Paul & others spoke against government trying to silence Christianity.
Jesus debated with Pilate that God’s power was greater.

4. Scripture
Genesis 1:1 – God created the heavens and the earth.
John 1:1-3 – Jesus was with God in the creation.
Romans 13:1-7 – Government is instituted by God (not vice versa).

Obey the government –
Constitution gives us the responsibility to vote for our government.
Billy Graham – “Bad politicians are elected by good people who don’t vote.” We need Christians in government. WHY?

5. Lawlessness is Destroying our Nation
Crime in schools
Drugs in our society
Teenage sex, pregnancy and abortion
Liberal media bias
Influence of Hollywood
Anti-God, anti-Christ

6. Religious War
Without Christ in our government, our freedom will be taken away from us by ungodly leaders.
Put Jesus Christ FIRST
Know what Jesus teaches about right and wrong.
Know what the candidates stand for.
It helps a lot if you know Jesus as your personal LORD and Savior.

Monday, October 24, 2016


Four Planks of New Testament Christianity

John 17:20-26

In the early 1800’s various men and groups in the eastern US realized that there were doctrinal errors and denominational problems in their churches.  These groups – unknown to each other at first, absolved from their denomination ties to form churches whose greatest goal was to be true to the Scriptures.

There are several names that are worthy of recognition in the history of the Restoration Movement as we know it in America, but four of the early leaders stand out more than the others.  Each man focused more strongly on a different, but important plank on which the Restoration Movement is founded.

Their message should be our message today.

1.       Barton W. Stone from Kentucky was a Presbyterian minister at Concord and Cane Ridge.

In 1804 he wrote the “Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery” to establish a church that chose the name “Christian” to the exclusion of all sectarian titles.

His greatest efforts were toward unity – I Corinthians 1:10-13, John 17:17-21; Ephesians 4:4-6.

NOT THE ONLY CHRISTIANS, BUT CHRISTIANS ONLY – A name that all can wear, non-denominational and Biblical.

2.       Thomas Campbell, from Scotland, came to America for his health in 1803.

A Presbyterian, he settled in Pennsylvania at Washington, PA in 1809. He wrote the “Declaration and Address” – one of the greatest documents of the Restoration Movement.

His greatest efforts were in trying to restore “The BIBLE ONLY as the only authority in all matters of Faith and Practice. II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:16-21.

WHERE THE SCRIPTURES SPEAK, WE SPEAK. WHERE THE SCRIPTURES ARE SILENT, WE ARE SILENT.

IN MATTERS OF FAITH – UNITY, IN MATTERS OF OPINION – LIBERTY, IN ALL THINGS – LOVE.

3.       Alexander Campbell, son of Thomas, came to America in 1809.

Before coming to America, he began to question several doctrines of the Presbyterian Church.  After a discussion with his father and reading the Declaration and Address, he began to prepare for the ministry.  In 1816, he preached his “Sermon on the Law” – which set the pattern for interpretation of the Scriptures in the Restoration Movement.

His main thrust was to restore the ancient order of New Testament Christianity.  Revelation 2:1-7; Romans 8:3; Hebrews 8:6-7, 13; Colossians 2:13-14.

NOTHING BUT SIMPLE NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIANS.

4.       Walter Scott, also born in Scotland,

He became involved in a church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that took the Bible alone as its rule of faith and practice.  In 1821, he became fully convinced that Christianity should be fully centered on the Messiahship of Jesus as the Christ.  All other teachings of Scripture revolve around the Lordship of Christ.

He restored the ancient Gospel to the Restoration Movement.  Galatians 1:6-10; Matthew 28:19-20; I Corinthians 2:2, 9:16.

KNOW JESUS AS LORD, (Savior and role model)

Scot met Alexander Campbell in 1821-1822 and Stone met Campbell in 1824.  By 1832 these men had fully united in the determination to restore the Church back like it was in the New Testament in unity and doctrine.

Today we have slipped and become careless in the cause for which we owe our heritage.  We should:

a.       Restore ourselves to Christ.

b.      Restore the Church back to the New Testament

c.       Restore the Restoration Movement as a movement of our Lord.