Category Archives: Gospel

Your Baptism Now Saves You

The other day, I was listening to the 200proofgospel podcast and they were discussing baptism. They brought up a very interesting point on infant baptism that I would like to expand upon.

There are a lot of protestant Christians who disagree with the practice, despite it being around for roughly as long as the church has. They often claim that baptism is a work that they do and a such, is not salvific. The historic church, on the other hand, does claim that baptism does contain saving grace and is not a work of man, but of God. Listening to the discussion on 200proofgospel, they brought up a very good point. Let’s eliminate all the supernatural reasons for infant baptism and focus on just the tangible reasons. Primarily, death.

Sometimes, there will be a grandmother who was very faithful in the church and her daughter will be having a child. Now, the daughter fell out of the church and hasn’t attended since she was a little girl. Now, the grandmother and daughter want to have the child baptized in this church because of the family history. Mama was baptized there, and so was grandma, and so forth. So the pastor baptizes that baby knowing full well that it will not be raised in the faith and just as predicted, that baby never comes back to church. Fast forward some sixty years and that baby is now an old man dying of cancer. He starts thinking about his need for religion and then goes back to that church and explains to the pastor his troubles and that he was baptized there and develops a bond and is saved. For that man, his infant baptism saved him.

Why?

Personally, I think it has to do with knowledge of history. When death comes knocking at one’s door, the one who has been baptized, has something they can fall back on. Even if they never spent another moment in a church after that, they automatically have knowledge of a place they can go. They automatically have a place they can reach out to. Now, let’s contrast that to the baby who isn’t baptized. They’re sixty years old and dying of cancer. They start thinking about religion, but they really don’t have a place to go. To them, there are just a million different churches and beliefs. That, I imagine, would have to be overwhelming. Despairing. That infant that was baptized, they’ve got an immediate direction. They’re more likely to reach out.

So, ignoring all scriptural reasons to baptize infants, there is still a case to be made to do it. To not baptize infants is to do your fellow man a great disservice.

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“It is finished”

This post speaks for itself quite well.

Eilers Pizza

2016-03-23 11.22.22 Christ’s cross, by my daughter, Erin

Among the things that I found myself saying after several years as a pastor regards the character of God, that He is love, and merciful, and generous, and just, and faithful, and when talking about the person and work of our Savior, Jesus, I continually found myself asking, “Who wouldn’t love a God like that?”

To love God, we have to properly understand God. And, in the Lord Jesus’ Good Friday declaration from the cross, “It is finished (John 19:30),” we have the foundation laid for a proper understanding of God.

The problem with us is that we constantly take those words out of the mouth of the Lord Jesus as if He never spoke them, as if He did not complete the work of saving us, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our…

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God Doesn’t Play Fetch

Our God has been so wild lately. He doesn’t seem to listen, he doesn’t obey my commands, and we can’t even bribe him with treats. He’s gotten so out of hand, he may even have to be put down.

You ever notice how we often treat God as some sort of pet, perhaps a dog or a horse? Barking orders at him, offering bribes and compromises, and then getting upset when our pathetic efforts fail to achieve their desired effect? What? You don’t do that? Oh, my bad. Or maybe you have. I know I have. In fact, I probably still do it on occasion. That old Adam likes to butt in whenever he can. I’m willing to bet you’ve probably done the same at some point too, perhaps without realizing it. I believe we often do it in our prayers during out time of need. Now, this is not to say we are mistaken when do these things. In fact, scripture tells us cast our burdens upon the Lord. I think the problem is when we expect him to answer us the way we want him to.

For example, imagine one who is going through a rough time. So they pray, “God, grant me X so that I may be well.” This person is asking for something from God. This is what he wants and it is a perfectly reasonable thing to pray for. But let’s say in his heart he is expecting God to do this, it’s not so much a begging but a command. Who is he to order around God? Then again, we have such a forgiving God that it’s easy for us to attempt to take advantage of him even without our realizing it. Of course we can’t take advantage of him, but that’s not the point.

So this prayer goes seemingly unanswered and the man decides may he have done wrong by not offering something in return. “God, grant me X and I shall give you Y.” It seems like such a reasonable thing. Surely if he is offering something it must be for the greater good. Perhaps he will give up pornography or become a missionary or slaughter a lamb on the altar. Except his sacrifices do no good because God doesn’t want them.

As time passes, the man see’s those whom he deems vile and wicked enjoying life and gaining all they desire while his own life crumbles before his eyes. Dejected, he’s had enough of God. He kills him in his heart and finds a new one.

What the poor man doesn’t see is that God has already answered his prayers roughly two thousand years ago on a cross with his own son. A sacrifice that no other can compare to.

This fictional man I told you of is just one of many thousands of examples. Whatever your prayer, God has already answered it with the death of his son, Jesus Christ. Whatever your trial, cast it upon the Lord, but don’t be upset if you don’t get the answer you want. Whether you do or don’t get it delivered in your preferred method doesn’t matter because God has answered it how he sees fit. Honestly, any prayer that is answered as we want is simply just icing on the cake. Perhaps…

God is not the problem. The problem is the people who want to be the leader of the pack. We reintroduce God. We retrain people.

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Heroic Qualities

Christ died on the cross. He shed his precious blood for a wretched sinner such as myself. I have done many terrible things that I’m not proud of. Things I’m ashamed to admit, but still things that I have done, nonetheless. So how can I look someone in the eye and tell them what a wretched sinner they are? Well, it’s because I know what one is.

It’s you and I. He and she. Boy and girl. Child and adult. It is everyone who has ever lived. Well, most everyone. There is that one guy. Some of you might know his as Jesus the Christ. Others may refer to him as Yeshua. Whatever you call him, he is the savior of man.

He didn’t punch a car to stop a speeding train, nor did he stop a mad scientist from taking over the world. No. He was nailed to a stick. It was a very large stick, but a stick still the same. I know, it doesn’t sound much like a quality of someone who saves people, but it’s true.

Some of you may have done something wrong or stupid in your life that was going to get you into a heap of trouble. You knew you were going to get it this time and there was no way out of it. But then, for whatever reason, the guy who’s got the good reputation feels sorry for you. So he goes in and takes the blame and punishment for it so that you can get off scot free.

Well, that’s kinda what Jesus did, except he wasn’t just the guy with the good reputation. No. He was the guy who lived perfectly and never sinned. And in an act of mercy, he took the punishment of every single sin of every single person who has ever lived and who will ever live.

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Sin is an STD

A friend of mine once said that life is an STD with a 100% mortality rate. Logically, it’s a pretty accurate statement, that is until you remember that we were not made to die.

When God told Adam about the tree of knowledge of good and evil that, “On the day you eat of it you will surely die,” he wasn’t kidding. When they disobeyed the command of the Lord, they became infected with sin. From that point forth, it has been transmitted to every man, woman, and child who has ever lived. Through intercourse we are given both life and the disease that our parents inherited from their parents and so forth all the way back to Adam.

Sin is such a vile disease that it kills everything it touches. It is unlike any other disease in existence. Not only is it spread sexually, but it is also airborne and spread through simple contact. And when your own sin mixes with other sin, you become sicker and sicker and you infect more and more. Such an epidemic of which there is no compare.

Men and women over the centuries have often tried to find a cure or vaccine, even to this day, but it is all to no avail. It is to great a disease. In cases of great epidemic, it is at times crucial to burn anything that could be contaminated to prevent the spread. In the case of sin, it is absolutely necessary burn all that is contaminated. It is that horrible.

So, what are we to do? What can we do? All human efforts have been for naught.

I watched a movie once where a disease caused people to attack and eat other people. There was no cure for this disease. The only solution was death. In the special features section of the DVD, they had discussed a plan to cure one of the characters. There was only one problem: the cure would actually kill him too. See, the disease was in the blood and the writers realized that if they could just replace the blood, then he would be saved. In order to replace the blood, they would have completely drain the man of all blood, then basically bleach his insides clean, and finally put new blood in him. The process would not only kill him but actually sounds worse than the disease. I don’t know about you, but I imagine I’d probably rather go crazy and eat another man’s flesh than have my insides bleached.

And yet, that is exactly the cure for sin. We are infected with a disease and the only way to get rid of it is to wash it out and replace it with clean blood. And that is exactly what Jesus did for us on the cross. He was born without sin and was executed for ours. His shed blood has washed away our sin. Our sin still kills us. It has done its damage. But we are not cast to the fire as those still infected as we will be with Christ, pure and without sin.

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The greatest comfort

From Lutheranism 101: Holy Baptism.

It is in hearing that Christ has suffered and died for the forgiveness of sins that a Christian receives comfort.

Isn’t that great? Is this not one of the sweetest things to fall upon one’s ears? That, my friends, is Gospel. Not making a decisions for Jesus. Not accepting Jesus into your heart. Not doing anything at all to be saved. Just that Jesus suffered and died for the forgiveness of sins. Who’s sins? Your sins. My sins. Everyone’s sins. Let me just say it for you. Christ suffered and died for the forgiveness of your sins. Now go in peace and joy knowing that he did this for you and that your price has been paid. Amen.

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Jesus loves me. So what?

Jesus loves you. Now if that isn’t a Christian phrase that’s slung around like a dusty old back pack. You know, I’ve heard that phrase many times in my life and I can count only once where it held any effect to me. It was a sweet black lady. She was in my check out line when I worked at Wal-Mart with her two children. As I gave her receipt, she smiled and said, “Jesus loves you.” That was the only time I’ve ever heard it where it felt honest. Every single other time I have heard it, it felt like nothing more than a throwaway phrase, like something say to end a conversation. “Nice talking to you, Mark. Jesus loves you.” “Jesus loves you too, Bob.” It seems ridiculous and absurd in that context but honestly, that what it sounds like most of the time.

Who cares if Jesus loves me? So what? What good does that do for me?

What’s more important is not so much that he loves me, but what he did because he loves me. What is infinitely more powerful than “Jesus loves you,” is “Jesus died for you.” That opens up so many more doors. “Wait! Jesus died for me? Why? What of this is which you speak?” If you talk to most non-Christians and you tell them “Jesus loves you,” I can almost guarantee they’ll be thinking, “Yeah, whatever.” But if you tell them “Jesus died for you,” even if they don’t reciprocate, the gears in their head have now been oiled.

In conclusion, if Jesus loves me but he didn’t show his love, then his love wouldn’t mean jack. But by dying on the cross for my sins, I don’t need to be told he loves me because his love his shown to me. Yes, Jesus loves you and it’s shown through his death and resurrection. Proclaim that and you proclaim his love.

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Greater Forgiveness in Death

A while back, I watched a documentary involving World War II though I honestly can’t remember what it was. In part of the film, a few elderly vets went back to a place where they had an intense battle with the Nazis. While they were there, two elderly Nazi vets showed up. Though they had never met, they knew each other. Not by name or anything like that, but by the fact that they fought in the same battle. They remembered exactly where they were positioned and where they were shooting. These men some sixty years before were actively trying to kill each other. In fact, they’d each succeeded in killing each others friends. But then something happened that struck me.

As they talked about the battle, none of them had any animosity towards each other. In fact, they embraced and hugged each other and even shared some laughs together. At the end, they all posed for a picture with smiles to commemorate the historic moment. It was a beautiful thing to see.

In a way, Christ’s forgiveness is kinda like that. The big difference is that while these men who reconciled were trying to kill each other, we actually killed Christ. While they were only able to forgive in life, only Christ can forgive in death.

And he does.

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Merry Christmas

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. A time after that, he created man and man sinned against God. When man sinned against God, he separated himself from the holiness that is God. Death entered the world and condemned all who dwelled in it. Man, in his pride, tried every way to achieve salvation. He toiled in false idols and works, yet not could save him for all were perceived as filthy menstrual rags in the eyes of a just and holy God. Through his actions, man condemned himself to the eternal fires of Hell. God, being just and holy and having no desire to see any of the man who He created burn with the devil and his angels offered a ways of Salvation. He needed a sacrifice.

So God in his wisdom sacrificed a man to for the sins of all. This man would be a perfectly innocent man whose blood would atone for the sins of everyone who has ever lived and ever will lived. But where in the world did such a man exist? Nowhere. So God came down as a man, birthed from a virgin. Having been born from a virgin, He did not know sin. Not knowing sin, sin did not exist within him. Being God and of God, He could not sin. Therefore His sacrifice was perfect. His perfect sacrifice, His perfect atonement. Praise be to Christ who was born for my sin, for your sin.

Merry Christmas

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Thanksgiving

The Lord Jesus Christ has defeated death.  He has triumphed over sin. As such, we should be joyful with thanksgiving always. For without Christ there is no hope. We would be slaves to our sin. And though the Devil makes repeated attempts to catch us in his snare, we can rest assured that Jesus Christ has already cut the rope. Sure, we might trip over it as we sinful beings are wont to do, but it will not fling us into the air and dangle us from our ankle.

Lord Jesus Christ, it is with great thanksgiving for your shed blood on the cross that we come to you. Without your sinless life combined with your sacrifice and resurrection, we would be rightfully cursed to the pit where Satan and his angels reside. Thank you for Holy baptism that when I stumble, I can look on it and say, “Yes, Christ died for me. I am saved.” There is none greater you. May your Holy named continue to bless us all. Amen.

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