Thoughts on Pete’s Message April 24, 2015

A Fighting Chance

As men of God, sometimes we wonder if the battle will ever end… if we will ever win. The Apostle Paul said in Philipians 3, “I count myself not to have attained… but this one thing I do, I press toward the mark of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus.” The challenges in life are what give us the ultimate victory in Christ. Oswald Chambers wrote a book called “A Fighting Chance.” Either we are victims of things that happen, or we take the initiative though the power of God and we make things happen. In God’s economy, there are consumers and there are producers, there are takers and there are givers, there are spectators and there are participants. Christianity is not a spectator sport. You’ve got to play to win. The greater the battle, the greater the victory. You have to put yourself in the game of life. Only then can God give you a fighting chance.

Romans 8:35-39 says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall famine or nakedness or peril or sword? As it is written, for these things we are killed all the day long. We are counted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerers through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither life, nor death, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor death, nor any other creature shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The fight is against apathy and the way of the world. In our own strength we cannot fight against the powers of darkness. From the inspired words of the great hymn by Martin Luther:
A Mighty Fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing… Did we in our own strength confide, our battle would be losing, were not the Right Man on our side, the man of God’s own choosing. Doth ask who that may be? Christ Jesus it is He. And He must win the battle.

Chambers said that little boys during the French Revolution carried banners with the words, “Tremble tyrants, we are growing.” God said to Ezekiel in the valley of dry bones, “Can these bones live? They are without life, without sinew, muscle and flesh.” Ezekiel said to God. “If you say so, they can live.” God said to prophesy my word over these dry bones and they shall live. So Ezekiel prophesied and there was a great rattling as bone connected to bone. Then sinew and muscle formed and joined bone to bone and then skin came upon the flesh. Then Ezekiel said, “but Lord, they have no breath in them.” So then the Lord breathed upon the dry bones and the bones began to move according to the power of God… Only the word of God and the spiritual breath of God gives life.

When the Lord arrives, the devil and his minions must leave. Even the devils believe and tremble. They know who has the greater power… Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. Jesus Christ said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were (spiritually) dead, yet shall he live.” Without the spirit of God, the unsaved man is spiritually dead. He cannot put on the spiritual armor described in Ephesians 6:10-17. He is not equipped to stand against the schemes of the devil, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. God’s Salvation is only through accepting the Lordship of Jesus Christ according to the power of the Resurrection.

There are four categories of men after hearing the spiritual life-giving gospel of salvation.
The first is those who reject the message outright. The second category is those who vainly attempt to receive salvation, but there is still something missing and they know it. The third is those who think they are saved, but they’re not. They remain lost, blinded by the sinfulness of their own pride. As the scripture says in Matthew 7:22-23:
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
The fourth category is those who after receiving the message unto salvation, know whom they have believed and are persuaded that he is able to keep that (spiritual life) which he’s committed to them against the day of judgement.

For those in the fourth category Jesus prayed to his father, “those that thou hast given me… protect them from the evil one.” The power of the darkness of this world constantly surrounds us. If we think that we can avoid the fight, then the battle is already lost. Casual Christians are casualties of the spiritual battle. My prayer is not that God is on my side, rather, my prayer is that I am on God’s side.

What is our responsibility? Our responsibility is our response to His ability. Men of God have been called to fight the good fight, to over come the world through the spiritual life-giving power of the Resurrection. Overcomers having received spiritual life will stand victoriously in His presence in the day of God’s righteous judgement. Therefore be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58) Put yourself in the game. Give yourself a fighting chance. On God’s team the odds are in God’s favor. The victory will be in this life or the next… Now thanks be unto God who always giveth us the victory in Christ Jesus and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place. (2 Corinthians 2:14)

O Victory in Jesus, my savior forever; He sought me and bought me,
With his redeeming blood; He loved me ere I knew him,
And all my love is due him; He plunged me to victory; Beneath the cleansing flood.

May God richly bless you.
Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts on Pete’s Message April 17, 2015

Repentance: Turning from Darkness to Light

The old man of the flesh raises his ugly head at times we least expect him to attack us. Even Jonathan Edwards, often hailed as America’s greatest preacher, after having delivered an inspired message calling thousands back to God, had to battle his own ego by lying prostrate on the floor. Sanctification is setting our heart before God according to his purpose, not ours, and to allow God to work within us to will and to do of his good pleasure when we delight ourselves in him. To set ourselves apart from this world we must remind ourselves that without him we are empty jars of clay… we are earthen vessels molded by the master to allow his light to shine in us and through us.

People are divided into four categories of after having heard the gospel of God. The first category is those who reject of the message. The second category is those who come forward but lack assurance. The third is those who think they are saved but they are not. The fourth category is those who know whom they have believed and are persuaded that he is able to keep that which he’s committed unto them against the day of judgement. Repentance is the key to entering into the fourth category. Repentance is to turn from myself and unto God. In “The Narrow Way” William Nichols says that when Paul spoke to the Greeks on Mars Hill he warned them, “unless you repent, you will perish according to the judgement of the righteous judge.” Repentance begins with seeing and understanding the significance of the fork in the road of life. It is the personal recognition of the wickedness of the fallen nature of our own heart. Repentance means to turn around and to change direction… to change our mind from our own will to see, to seek, and to follow his will, not ours. The voice that convicts us is the “hound of heaven” who relentlessly pursues us and will never leave us or forsake us. Isaiah 55:7 says, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Repentance is to change priority from the life of my flesh to his life in the spirit. To repent is to right the wrongs that we have done, our cleansing is forgiveness according to the payment of our debt of sin by our Savior Jesus Christ. When we repented and confessed unto salvation, He who was without sin became the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him.

The story of the Prodigal Son is the story of repentance. When like the prodigal son, the the pig pen of this world shakes us from the delusion of self… when we “come to ourself” and realize that in my soul dwelleth no good thing, when we reach the bottom and there is no where to go but up, this is the point of changing direction. Repentance is forsaking the pig pen of this world and turning our eyes upon Jesus. Repentance is to do an about-face… it is the inflection point when we turn from the selfishness of sin and unto the righteousness of God in Christ.

There are three questions that lead to repentance:
1. Are you willing to turn away from all your sin and willfully pursue the righteousness of Christ instead?
2. Are you willing to give up the right to run your own life and submit to the authority of Jesus Christ?
3. Are you willing to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to become his follower forever?

If the answer to these three questions is “yes,” the final question is: When you heard these three questions, did these three questions sound like a burden or did they sound like being set free from the bondage of sin? When the student is ready for the answers, the teacher will come. When the time is ready, true repentance turns from sin and toward God, begging for forgiveness from sin. The moment of conviction is the point of inflection. It only takes one moment in time to turn a life around… Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face. And the things of earth become strangely dim… in the light of his glorious grace.

Romans 2:4 says that It is the righteousness, kindness and goodness of God that leads a man to repentance. If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive our sin and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Godly repentance brings us to the righteousness of God through the finished work of Jesus Christ on our behalf.

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh blessed is the flow,
That makes me white as snow,
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus…

May God richly bless you.

Your brother in Christ,

Thoughts on Pete’s Message April 10, 2015

Ablaze with Passion

If the resurrection is true, then the word of God is truth. If the word of God is truth, my challenge is to align the purpose of my life according to the word of truth. Men often think that they can rest in their own accomplishments and their own laurels. However, our life is not our own… that which endures is that which counts, not for this moment, but for eternity. Only Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life… without him there is no life. God doesn’t want your promises and your praise… he wants your heart and your life demonstrated by obedience to his word. In the midst of the crisis, God expects his men to rise to the occasion. EM Bounds in “A Fiery Church” says that God expects us to be on fire, white hot with zeal about our God given faith. According to John Wesley, If you set yourself ablaze for Jesus Christ, men will gather from miles around to watch you burn. In Revelation 3, the Laodiceans were neither hot nor cold. They were tepid, lukewarm and ineffective… a double minded man is unstable in all his ways. However, the effectual, fervent, white hot and passionate prayer of a righteous man availeth much. A fiery soul is the soul who conquers in the day of the spiritual battle and besieges the strongholds of evil with unshaken zeal.

What is your mission statement? What’s your goal in other people’s lives? For what are you passionate? Love is kindled in the flame and passion for our Lord. Therefore quench not the holy spirit. For we have this treasure of the holy spirit in an earthen vessel that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us. To fan the flame of the spirit of God in Christ in us, we must link with likeminded men who walk in the light as he is the light. You are most like those with whom you associate. Who are your three and who are your twelve? With whom are you your best… I’m here because you make me want to be a better man. For our fellowship is with our Father, his son Christ Jesus, and one with another in the household of faith. We associate with our Band of Brothers so that we can run the race and choke in the dust of those in hot pursuit of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Passion is the soul of prayer. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Prayer is energized by the holy spirit as we set our affections on things above. Our culture says that man is basically good. However, according to Romans 3, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. In my flesh dwelleth no good thing. Righteousness can only be evaluated according to God’s righteous standard of his Word. Jesus Christ is the Word of God revealed. Our righteousness is not in our flesh, but only in him. Without Christ, we are men of unclean lips. Jesus Christ who was without sin became the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him. In him we live and move and have our being.

Jesus said unless you have the meekness of a little child, you cannot see the kingdom of heaven. When the rich young ruler said, “what must I do to be saved?” Jesus said, “you’re still lacking something even though you keep the law of the law of the ten commandments… you must sell all your goods, give the proceeds to the poor, and come and follow me.” You cannot serve two masters. Jesus understood that the rich young ruler lived for his riches and his possessions. He had another god than the one true God. The first and great commandment is “Thou shalt have no other goods before me.”

Every moment is a moment of decision. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh and these are contrary the one to the other so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Every moment is a “come to Jesus” moment. Disappointment is the result of missing our divine appointment to walk in fellowship with him.

Ye are slaves to whom ye obey. There is a difference between a regular slave and a bond-slave. A regular slave is bound by the law to serve his master by obligation. However, a bond-slave serves his master by the bond of love. Why do you do what you do? Is it because of the law of obligation… is it because you fear the consequences? If this is the motivation then you are a slave to the flesh and the spirit of fear. However, there is no fear in love for perfect love casteth out fear, for fear has torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. To serve the Lord from a heart of love, we must take up our cross and follow him. Love is not a fleeting feeling. Love requires deliberate, intentional, and purposeful action. Do you say that you believe the first and great commandment to love God above all? Jesus said, in that ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me. Therefore, be ye kindly affectioned one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you. God has set us within the body of Christ as members in particular, harmoniously fitted together to serve one another to the building up of the body in love. Jesus said, a new commandment have I given you, that ye love one another.

God commands us to delight ourselves in the Lord. When our delight is his delight, only then he will give us the desires of our heart. When our passion and good pleasure is aligned with God’s, then it is God that worketh in us to will and to do of his good pleasure. Therefore, according to First Thessalonians 5, Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you. Quench not the spirit… set yourself ablaze with the power of the holy spirit… let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

May God richly bless you,
Your brother in Christ,


Thoughts on Pete’s Message April 3, 2015

What’s good about Good Friday?

Why is it called Good Friday? In England it’s called Good Friday because the greatest good was done on this day… he who knew no sin became the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf, that we may be made the righteousness of God in Him.

We live in a world that rejects the truth that there is evil in this world… They call good evil and evil good. The sin nature that we inherited from Adam wants to keep in control. Pride refuses to bow the knee in humility before God. The doctrine of the devil says that there is no need for God. You can make it on your own. However, those who think they deserve their “just desserts” are in for a rude awakening… for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.

To understand the righteousness we have in Christ, we must first have an understanding of the darkness of the world and of our own selfish fallen nature. Like the prodigal son, we must turn from the pig pen of this world to “arise and go unto my father.” When we realize the depth of the depravity of life without God, only then can we turn back to him.

Sin separates us from God. Sin is to miss the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. We must first be able to see the mark in order to aim at the mark. Those who are blinded by the carnal nature, are unable to see the spiritual mark of God, the mark of fellowship with him. Jesus came to open the eyes of those born spiritually blind. For the natural man understandeth not the things of the spirit for they are spiritually discerned. God uses the pain and tribulation of this world in order to show us that in our own power we cannot overcome the world. To come to Christ, there is a hard way and an easy way. Either we may come to Jesus on our knees voluntarily or we may come involuntarily when he allows this world to bring us to our knees through the suffering of shame, guilt, and pain.

It’s easy to justify sin… Jesus, quoting from Isaiah said, “In vain do they worship me; they draw nigh unto me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” God doesn’t want your words or your works… he wants your heart. The requirement for coming to the throne if grace is a broken and a contrite heart. A prideful heart cannot approach God. Either we come to him with a humble heart or we will be humiliated, our heart shattered by the depravity of this world. When we turn from the world, arise and go unto our father, He’ll pick up the threads of our broken hearts and weave them together again.

Every man is a slave… either he is a slave to his sin nature, or he is a slave to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus came to set the sinner free. Without him, every man is captive to his fallen carnal nature. Only through Christ’s redeeming work, can we be set free from the bondage of sin. Without Christ we have no choice… we are held captive to sin against our wills. The only way to escape the bondage of sin, is through God’s eternal plan of redemption… Jesus Christ. Only when we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believe that God has raised him from the dead can we be set free from the bondage of sin. “Confessing Jesus as Lord” means to make him my master and myself his slave. Release from the slavery of this world is to change Lordships: Make me a captive Lord, and then I shall be free…

Good Friday was the day that the price for my sin was paid in full. Worthy is the Lamb of God. It’s not about the price, rather, it’s about value. How much did God value your eternal life? Value is measured by the worth of the payment… We were dead in trespasses and sin. We were weighed in the balance and found wanting. We could not reconcile the scales of the debt of our transgressions. However on Good Friday, He who was without sin, became the full payment to redeem us from our debt of sin. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we may be made the righteousness of God in Him.

May God richly bless you as we celebrate our redemption through death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Your brother in Christ,