Monday, November 29, 2021

Assurance in Christ



And having a great priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in fulness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience: and having our body washed with pure water, let us hold fast the confession of our hope that it waver not; for he is faithful that promised:

Hebrews 10:21‭-‬23 

Assurance is Important

In recent weeks we have talked a great deal about assurance in our evening sermons through the book of 1 Peter. Assurance is such an important thing to us. It is important to God, too. God wants you to be assured, for the assured Christian is a productive Christian. One who worries all day long about their salvation cannot teach anyone the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel of Christ is one that is full of assurance for the faithful. 

How can we be Assured?

How can a Christian live assuredly? The Hebrew writer instructs us to draw near to God with a true heart. This is a heart that is characterized as one having full assurance of faith. We can have that confidence when we faithfully check our lives according to the Scripture. Paul wrote in 2 Cor 13:5, “Try your own selves, whether ye are in the faith; prove your own selves. Or know ye not as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you? unless indeed ye be reprobate.” The Christian with a clear heart and authentic faith will look at themselves in the mirror of the perfect law of liberty (Jam. 1:25) and choose to continue in that law to be an effectual doer of it. 

Assurance Leads Us Confidently into Eternity

Assurance is the state of the believer when they obey the Gospel. He is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey him (cf.Heb. 5:9). He will award those who are faithful even unto death with a crown of life (cf. Rev. 2:10). So may we all obey and keep obeying, rejoicing in the assurance that Christ is the perfect High Priest always. 

Grace and Peace, 

R.D. Beavers


Reminder



“And he that supplieth seed to the sower and bread for food, shall supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness: ye being enriched in everything unto all liberality, which worketh through us thanksgiving to God. For the ministration of this service not only filleth up the measure of the wants of the saints, but aboundeth also through many thanksgivings unto God”  2 Corinthians 9:10-12


We all need reminders;  I am no different. I attempt to write everything down, but I forget to do that sometimes. Reminders are so valuable because they call our attention to a task, a medication, or even a dear loved one. Reminders are given throughout the Word of God that call our attention to a sentiment that should be in our hearts all year long, thanksgiving. 

The Lord Provides 

Paul reminds the Corinthians of the overwhelming blessing of God. The blessing of God is not isolated to a season of harvest but is seen continually. Why does he remind us of this? It is a reminder of the fact that God is the source of all of our blessings. Yes, we get up, go out, and work to earn a living, but the Lord sustains us. He not only supplies us with what we need, He multiplies it. This is not a health and wealth gospel that is seen in nature. The sower sows seed in spring. A crop grows throughout the summer, and in autumn comes the harvest. The seed to produce more is within the harvest. All of this starts with God's creation. When we give, God returns blessing on the giver. We continually replenish our ability to give by our work.

Thanksgiving for Abundance

In recent months, we have been made aware of shortages in products within our nation. We also have felt the pinch on our pocketbooks due to the inflation that is affecting our economy. Right now would be a good time to be reminded of all that we have. When we reflect on all that God has done, the heart of thanksgiving is not isolated to a man-made holiday in November. It is an attitude that helps us to give sacrificially with faith. The psalmist wrote, “I have been young, and now am old; Yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his seed begging bread. All the day long he dealeth graciously, and lendeth; And his seed is blessed (Psa 37:25-26).” As Jehovah continually gives, Paul urged the continued liberality in giving by the Corinthian Christians. Their giving would meet the needs of the poor Christians in Jerusalem and would cause thanksgiving to be given to God.

Christians today must remember that worship of God is the main purpose of our giving (1 Cor 6:2; 2 Cor 9:7). Our purpose must be for God to be glorified and never ourselves. We are but stewards of all that God has given us. 


Grace and Peace, 

R.D. Beavers 


Monday, November 15, 2021

Remain Faithful (updated from the vault)



“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.” Mark 13:13

Obedient Faith is Ongoing

            The final step of God's plan for saving man is ongoing throughout the rest of our natural lives. We must remain faithful unto death (cf. Rev. 2:10). The Word of God instructs the first century church, as it does all New Testament Christians, that we must be faithful whether or not it is a good, spiritual-high moment or if it is safe. We must remain faithful even when it might cost us our lives. This was a very real circumstance for the church under the Roman Empire and in many nations today. There are brethren today in countries who face certain death for wearing the name Christian. This is clearly in agreement to what is written above when Jesus made it clear there were expectations of His people. We will be hated because of Jesus’ name; we will face opposition from all sorts of people and religions. Family members, friends, neighbors, and strangers will oppose the Lord’s people. To the Christian, the command does not change. Remain faithful, endure, and abide in Him.

Ongoing Obedient Faith is Taught in Scripture 

            The Bible clearly teaches that a man must live in obedient faith because faith without obedience is not really faith at all. John the Baptizer taught his disciples,

"He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life; but he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him “ Jn 3:36.

Obedient faith is directly opposite of the false doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints, otherwise known as Once Saved Always Saved. Paul informed those who would accept circumcision that they had become severed from Christ.“Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace” Gal 5:4. Moreover, we find that Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8:19-24 was found in “the bond of iniquity” because he had attempted to buy Apostolic ability although he had previously obeyed the Gospel. 

Ongoing Obedient Faith is Characteristic of the Called Out

            This is part of the salvation that is so easy to miss if we lose sight of what God has called us from and what He has called us to. As Christians, we are the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, the church of Christ. We must not forget that we have been bought with a price and given a purpose. If you are a Christian, I pray as your brother that you will arise each day with the same resilience to walk faithfully all of your days. If you have not obeyed the Gospel, why not do it today? I would love to study with you. Let’s go to heaven.


Grace and Peace,


R.D. Beavers


Monday, November 8, 2021

BE BAPTIZED! (Updated from the vault)




He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned. 


Mark 16:16 


Diagram

    Mark 16:16 is one of many passages that confirm that baptism is one of the five steps in the Gospel Plan of Salvation that is applicable to all men. Some observations in the verse include the fact that both belief and baptism are coequals to be saved. The diagram below shows their correlation as well as the order of both belief and immersion for the purpose of salvation. Belief is an absolute prerequisite of baptism, and this is very well explained in the second section of verse, for it is by disbelief that one is condemned. As it has been noted before, it certainly takes more to be saved than to be condemned. 


He____________________________________________________/shall be saved

                            That______________________/believeth 

                   /and 

                                                        /is baptized 


He____________________________________________________/shall be condemned

                            That_____________________/disbelieveth


There is Further Evidence 

    The essentiality of baptism is not limited to just to Mark 16:16. In Acts 2:38, Peter commanded that those who were lost and guilty of the blood of Jesus were to repent and be baptized for the remission of sin. Verse 41 tells us that all of those who received His word were baptized and they were added to the church. This is expressed later in Acts 8:35-36 in which Phillip preached unto the Ethiopian eunuch Jesus and the eunuch said, “ Behold, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” Acts 22:16. Ananias declared to Paul ,  “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name.” Paul later explains that we are to die to our sins and are buried in baptism and resurrected to walk in the newness of life. It is in baptism where we are united with Christ in the likeness of His death, as well as His likeness. Paul also said, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ. (cf. Gal 3:27).”  Peter also reminds us that baptism is salvific (cf.1 Peter 3:210. Lastly, 1 Cor 12:13 concludes that we were all baptized into one body (the church). Mark 16:16 is one of many supporting texts that confirm the essentiality of baptism for remission of sin.

    With the evidence above can one deny the essentiality of baptism? I suppose without Biblical evidence one could. However, without Biblical evidence one cannot have Biblical salvation. 


Grace and Peace, 


R.D. Beavers 


Monday, November 1, 2021

CONFESS (Updated from the Vault)

 



“Because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Rom 10:9-10

A Proclamation and a Promise

Who are you willing to confess? Did you know that your salvation depends on it? I trust that many of you who are reading this do know this, and others have heard something along those lines but we must not lose sight of what God has required for salvation. Paul reminded the Christians in Rome that this was something that they had done and brought them unto salvation. This was not some cleverly added thing of Paul's own volition but the Inspired Word of God. This was the same thing that Jesus said prior. “Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven.” Matt10:32 As Christians our proclamation is based on Christ’s promise. 

Our Confession is Public

Are you willing to confess Christ? I know it might seem scary to speak out. It might be hard for the introvert. However, the Lord was willing to be stripped and beaten, cursed, and crucified for your soul's sake. Is confession that big of a deal? Yes, it is! When one confesses Jesus is the Son of God, the previous three steps of salvation must accompany that confession. For these are the basis of the confession. Christians have confessed Jesus as the Son of God because we believed what we have heard, and we are willing to change who we are to become who He has called us to be. Our lives will be marked by the belief in Christ we have, the change in our lives will be seen in view. A public confession of Christ is made as a prerequisite to salvation. 

Today is the Day of Salvation 

If confession is a holdup, I want you to know that it does not have to be on a Sunday morning after I finish preaching in front of all the people assembled. That is just a time that we set apart so that if someone needs to obey the Gospel, we can provide an opportunity to do so.  We would gladly take your confession on any day or time. In all actuality, if you are reading this right now and you know that you have not obeyed the Gospel of Christ and you need to put on Christ in baptism there is no time like the present. Today is the day of salvation.  Please remember that confession comes after hearing, believing, and repenting and points toward baptism which I will cover next week.


Grace and Peace, 


R.D. Beavers 


Monday, October 25, 2021

REPENT (Updated from the vault)



“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.”  Luke 13:3 


Sixteen years ago this week a young man named Shannon Hoon died of an accidental drug overdose at the age of 28. If the name is not familiar to you, then perhaps you know the name of the band he fronted, Blind Melon. The band was most famous for the song "No Rain,” which blew up in 1993 and led to much success for their freshman self-titled album. However, as his band enjoyed this success, Mr. Hoon fought addiction of both alcohol and harder drugs, namely cocaine. One morning his band mates found him unresponsive on their tour bus. This story is so very sad but is often repeated, especially among the young, rich, and famous. What is even more telling is that Mr. Hoon desired to change, one of the less known songs he wrote is entitled as such. He wanted to stop and so he went to rehab. He wanted to be a better father, but he would not change.  

Some men asked Jesus about two situations where some particular individuals faced a particularly heinous death. First mentioned are men of Galilee whose blood Pilate had mixed with sacrifices after their death (cf. Lk 13:1-2). In another instance, they mentioned the eighteen who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them. The men asked in regards to the former, “Were these Galileans worse than other Galileans?” (cf. Lk 13:4) They asked Jesus if He thought the latter were sinners above all the others living in Jerusalem. These are good questions, but notice the perfect answer that Jesus gives in both circumstances.“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.”  We may think of heinous deaths and say, “Wow! That's a horrible way to go.” We may think of drug addicts and see how risky behavior leads to death. However, any man who will not repent will perish. This includes even those who die peacefully and surrounded by their loved ones. 


Repentance is a real change of mind, and it is required for one to become a Christian. Repentance is a resolve that one can no longer live in open rebellion against the Lord of Heaven and Earth. Repentance is ongoing in the life of every Christian once converted and must occur. Mr. Hoon wanted to change but he had trouble following through and it cost him his life; it cost him his soul. Mr. Hoon’s death is certainly sad but any person who dies outside of Christ goes from a horrible situation to worse. It is my hope that you will truly seek the repentance that God requires of man and obey the full Gospel of Christ. 


Grace and Peace, 


R.D. Beavers 


BELIEVE (Updated from the vault)



“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life.”

John 5:24

     What do you do when you hear some form of information? You may accept it as factual, or you might not believe it at all. When we are young, we may not believe the stove is hot. In fact, possibly the orange glow of the burner or open flame is appealing to the eye and the warmth is nice feeling on a cold day. However, if you chose to touch it, you will certainly be burnt and certainly believe what your mother may have warned you about. Belief is established when presented with truth, yet, when we hear truth, we have the option to believe it or not. 

     In matters of faith, belief is an integral part of the God's plan for saving man. Last week I wrote about hearing, and that it is the basis of that plan. We must hear, but what do we do once we hear? If we are to come to faith, we must hear the truth and belief the truth. This leads us to salvation that is found in Christ Jesus. Jesus said,  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 The word believeth is special. It is a verb, a present active participle. The rule is that the present tense of a verb denotes duration, i.e. denotes that something "goes on" happening. So when Jesus says whosoever believeth in Him, He is saying that it is an ongoing thing. I imagine if you were burned by a hot stove you would remember and keep on believing right? 

To believe is not coming to a mental ascent based on your own cognitive ability, it is coming to a realization based on the truth of the Word. We may see evidence in creation that points us to the possibility of a God, but the Word is what tells us who that God is. A God we can hear about, believe in, and come to be His child.  He is the God who, if we keep on believing, will lead us to eternal life.

Belief or faith is not an absolute in salvation but they are but steps along the way to come to be a child of God. We see from the Scriptures that none of the five steps of the Gospel Plan are absolute but all must be satisfied for one to be in Christ.                  

Grace and Peace, 

Ryan 

                                                                                               



Assurance in Christ

And having a great priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in fulness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an...