As we contine in the Epiphany season, Pastor Mark Tiefel defines the word Gospel in the Scriptures. The word Gospel is used so often in our society that it looses its meaning in the true Biblical meaning. Literally the word means “Good News” or “Evangelism.” Isaiah says that the Good News of Salvation is what the Gospel is. Jesus is the fulfillment of this Gospel. Jesus preached the Gospel and healed people from sickenesses. There is a distinction between these two. Paul says that the Gospel “is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). The Gospel why we have the hope of heaven (Colossians 1:5,23). The real Gospel message is not about prosperity here on earth or political or social causes, but simply about the forgiveness of sins through Christ. Thanks be to God!
In this episode, Pastors Mark Tiefel and Neal Radichel discuss everything from Abortion rights and Abortion “exceptions”, as well as Bible quotations that shed light on life before and after birth and conception. What kind of impact has Abortion had on our society? How has Abortion affected relationships and a mother’s responsibility? What can a Christian or non-Christian recognize about the growing scientific evidense since the Supreme Court’s ruling in the early 1970’s? What can an individual do in the wake of the political protests recently on Abortion throughout our nation? Explore the depths of these questions in light of God’s Word and the staggering effects we see of the choices on either side that are made today!
In this Bible Study episode, Pastors Mark Tiefel and Nathanael Mayhew take us into the Old Testament book of Daniel. While the book of Daniel has many familiar sections which descibe the life of Daniel while in captivity by the Babylonians, there are many unfamiliar sections as well. Daniel is set at the time of the Babylonian Captivity around 600B.C. when Nebuchadnezzar conquered the nation of Judah and took many of its people captive, including Daniel. The first part of the book underscrores the importance of faith in the words and promises of the LORD, confidence in His power and protection, and prayer. This is seen through the life of Daniel and his three friends. But it also presents the believer in Jesus with the assuranace that the LORD God is in control, will bring about His promised salvation for sinners through the coming Christ, and will defeat the ungodly forces prevalent in this fallen world. The LORD would even work in and through heathen kingdoms like the Babylonians, Greeks and Romans to prepare the way for His coming salvation. The LORD’s love for sinners and His salvation would be come to pass in the life and the death of Jesus, the Christ.
As we contine in the Epiphany season, Pastor Nathanael Mayhew takes a look at the word Gentile in the Scriptures. The word Gentile is used in both the Old and New Testaments to distinguish between God’s Old Testament people Israel and the other nations of the world. While Christianity is often veiwed by people in the world as an exclusive religion, just the opposite is actually true. From the very beginning of His choosing Abraham as the father of His people, God’s plan was to bring about a Savior for all the nations of the earth (Genesis 12:3). This continued to be revealed througout the Old Testament as God reached out through His Old Testament people to save Gentiles like Rahab, Ruth, Naaman, and even the people of Nineveh. In the same way God reaches out through His New Testament people to save those who are lost today. Peter writes: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:9-10). Christianity proclaims a salvation through Jesus Christ that has been won for all sinners, whether Jew or Gentile. Paul writes: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Gentile” (Romans 1:16). Thanks be to God for the inclusive nature of His salvation for all sinners through faith in Jesus!
In this musice review episode Pastors Neal Radichel and Mark Tiefel discuss and review 7eventh Time Down’s new song, “God is on the Move.” They will be using their ABC’s: Is it Appropriate? Is it Biblical? and Does it Direct us to Christ? This song is very popular in Contemporary Christian Music and has been in the top 10. Listen to the song and their evaluation and learn how to apply the ABC’s to music you listen to as well.
Each year, Oxford University Press, the organization that oversees work on the renowned Oxford Dictionary, introduces a word of the year. The word is meant to reflect the state of the world in the passing year. For 2016, the chosen word was “post-truth”. This is how they define it:
“Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”
Post-truth does not point to something which comes after the truth, such as a conclusion based on the truth. Instead it represents something that is feeling-driven, rather than fact-driven. See this article for a good explanation.
The panel tasked with choosing the word of year concluded by saying,
The compound word post-truth exemplifies an expansion in the meaning of the prefix post- that has become increasingly prominent in recent years. Rather than simply referring to the time after a specified situation or event – as in post-war or post-match – the prefix in post-truth has a meaning more like ‘belonging to a time in which the specified concept has become unimportant or irrelevant’. This nuance seems to have originated in the mid-20th century, in formations such as post-national (1945) and post-racial (1971).
Think about that for a second. A panel of literary experts has concluded that the most appropriate word for the past year is one in which truth has become “unimportant or irrelevant.” Sad as it may be, I agree that this meaning of “post-truth” accurately reflects the state of the world in 2016, particularly in America. People are growing less and less concerned with what is actually right and more enamored with their own personal desires and quests for individual liberty. With the emergence of believe systems like post-truth, we will only continue to see a growing influence on objective-based, truth-claiming beliefs like the Christian faith. Many people have the mistaken perception that Christianity is all about blind faith, but it’s actually rooted in historical fact and objective, outside of the person thinking. Nothing encapsulates this more than the simple teaching of salvation in Jesus. This most-important teaching of Christianity is all about what Christ has objectively done outside of the individual to secure salvation. It is not about feeling; rather it supersedes that.
I believe we’re already starting to see a post-truth effect in our culture when it comes to commitment. Commitment issues are growing in the most important parts of life in our society. Take marriage for example. Rising rates of cohabitation (living as husband and wife before marriage) in the last 20 years reveals a lack of commitment. A Pew Research study from 2011 also shows that Millennials, the demographic most influential in establishing post-truth philosophy, place a greater emphasis on love rather than commitment in marriage. Love is typically viewed as an emotion. Commitment is an established decision. The difference between the two is the same as the difference between feeling and truth.
We’re also seeing this in churches, which isn’t much of a surprise considering that God uses marriage to describe His relationship with believers (see Ephesians 5 and Matthew 9 and 25). Both marriage and faith are built on commitment. Feelings certainly play a role in both, there’s no denying that, but neither were ever meant to be about feelings alone, or apart from truth. However, religion in America is following the same trend as marriage. Both are increasingly becoming more about a feeling-based positions rather than objective truth. This represents the “post-truth” mentality. It also presents a serious problem, not just because marriage and family structures are eroding, but because feeling-driven belief is really a product of humanism. Humanism is an utterly ungodly philosophy which places all confidence and hope in mankind. It reigns when peoples’ opinions and personal choices outweigh the divine will of God and it ends in idolatry.
It’s necessary for us to recall how important commitment and truth are to true faith in God. Psalm 37:5 states, “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”
Most importantly, let us remember that to forsake the pursuit of objective truth, is to forsake Christ. It was Jesus who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me (John 14:6).” The Bible also records that “the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).” It‘s frustrating and sad to see the decay of marriage, commitment, and truth in our society. But, the struggle is not over yet. These set-backs are signs of the world we live in, but there is more that can be done. We are wrestling against a problem that strikes to the very heart of our faith. But, that which is threatened is also the very solution and hope to the problem. The key is to continue believing, defending, and confessing Jesus Christ in our lives.
Let our prayer of commitment to the Lord be the same as the Spirit-inspired words of Proverbs 3:
Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, 4 And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:3-7)
As our country remembers Martin Luther King Jr. on this day, Pastor Mark Tiefel discusses the word “Equality.” True equality is found in Christ Jesus who became “poor” that we might become “rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). Jesus humbled Himself unto death that we might be reconciled to God. In Christ, we have been set free, and through Christ all arbitrary distinctions of the world have been erased through faith. Paul says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). But we are not to use our freedom as a reason to or excuse for sin. Quite often the world calls for “equality” that is actually in opposition to God’s Word. We find this in the home, in the church, and with respect to our leaders in government. When one fights for freedom that is opposed to God’s Word it actually detracts from the liberty that is found in Christ. Ultimately our lives center on God our Savior who has come for us and paid for our sins.
In this episode of Conservative Pastor Response Pastors Neal Radichel and Nathanael Mayhew take up a Skeptics approach to Judging others. The phrase “Don’t Judge Me” is heard by many Christians who seek to lead a friend or fellow believer out of sin. In this episode they talk about the purpose of pointing out sin and the proper, God pleasing and even demanded judgment that we should carry out as Christians. One passage that is often quoted is Matthew 7:1 where Jesus says: “Judge not, lest you be judged.” But the context of this verse shows that Christians are called to judge, but with righteous judgment and by first confessing one’s own sin before pointing out the sin of another. They will also discuss the account of the woman caught in adultery in John 8 as an example from Jesus Himself of proper Christian judgment. May the Lord give us all wisdom and humility as we encourage and admonish one another in this sin-filled world!
How to Respond to How People are Saved Listen at Words of Grace
A question is often raised by people about the love of God and how salvation is only received through faith or believing in Jesus as Savior.
Question: How can God be loving and then demand that salvation is received only by those who believe in Jesus as their Savior? What about those who have never heard about Jesus? Could God really condemn them because they don’t believe if they were never given an opportunity to believe?
Answer: This question is often used to “rationalize” other ways of salvation outside of what Scripture clearly teaches. Let’s begin with what God says clearly in His Word about how salvation is received. Jesus says: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). The Apostle Paul also writes: “But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe” (Galatians 3:22).
Through faith (believing or trusting) in Jesus we receive the benefit of His perfect life and death in our place. We receive eternal life and salvation.
So what about those who have never heard about Jesus or had an opportunity to believe in Him? Is it fair for God to condemn them for their sins?
First of all, because we are all sinners, we all deserve God’s just judgment because of our sin: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). There are no innocent bystanders. We are all guilty before God.
We also need to realize that every civilization, no matter where it has settled, traces its family tree back to a common ancestor. The Bible reveals this common ancestor as Noah through his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth (Genesis 6-9). Secular genealogical records confirm this. (Check out the book: “After the Flood” by Bill Cooper for an in-depth study of genealogical records from all over the world confirming the Genesis account.) Every society or tribe which was isolated on some island, left the rest of civilization and arrived there at some point in the past. At one time in their history they knew the truth about God and the salvation that He would bring about through the coming Savior. If that knowledge was lost, it is not the fault of God, but the fault of man.
In addition, the Bible clearly states that God desires the salvation of all people (2 Peter 3:9) and has sent Jesus to live and to die to atone for the sins of all people (1 John 2:1-2). He has also placed within all people a natural knowledge that He exists (Psalm 14:1). When we look at the world around us we know, by nature, that there must be a God who has created us and all the things of this world. Just as we know that someone made our car and it did not happen by chance, so also we know that there is a God who created a world much more complex and intricate than our car! Paul says: “His (God’s) invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they (human beings) are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). This natural knowledge of God reveals that God exists so that we might search for Him and find out more about Him (Acts 17:27).
Finally, God also sends His people (Christians) into the world as witnesses of the salvation Jesus has won for them and for all people. Jesus told His followers to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15) so that others would believe through their word. Why should Christians go and preach the Gospel if the lives of unbelievers were not hanging in the balance? Why go if God was going to overlook their unbelief and save them anyway? Paul says: “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). It is the preaching of the Word that God uses to create faith, and it though faith that God’s gift of salvation is received.
God desires our salvation, which we receive through faith. He has given to each of us an innate understanding that He exists, so that we might seek after Him, find Him, believe in Him, and receive His salvation. And He has revealed His truth and proclaims this truth through the people of His Church as His witnesses.
As we enter a new season of the Church Year with Epiphany, Pastor Nathanael Mayhew discusses the word Epiphany in our Word of the Week. The word Epiphany comes from the Greek and means “appearing” or “manifestation” in English. Epiphany celebrates the incarnation of Jesus into the world for sinners. But there is a difference between Christmas and Epiphany. Epipany was known as “Christmas for the Gentiles” and presents the Good News of salvation in Jesus not just for the Jews, but also for Gentiles. Maybe you are familiar with the account of the Gentile Wise Men who came to visit Jesus in Bethlehem. Jesus was revealed as the Savior of all people, Jews and Gentiles alike. Jesus was revealed the the promised Messiah and Savior through His words and miracles throughout His ministry, but also will be manifested as the Savior of all on the Last Day when He comes again. Let us rejoice during this Epiphany season that Jesus has come and has been revealed as the Savior of all people, including me!