The Restoration of Peter

April 30, 2017

These are my notes from a message by Pastor Russ Sukhia of Liberty Church PCA based on John Chapter 21.

Click here to listen to Pastor Russ’ message in its entirety.

What a tragic fall for Peter…who had witnessed most of Christ’s miracles!  All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t restore Peter to the fellowship he had with Christ after his denials.

When Christ yelled to the disciples to cast their nets on the right side, these experienced fishermen accepted his Word.  It would have been easy for them to say “We’re the experts here”.  Plus, imagine how tired/cranky they were.  When they realize it is Jesus speaking to them, typical Peter jumps into the water to get to him quickest.

v9 – the last time Peter saw a fire of coals, he was warming himself and denied Christ 3 times.

v11 – there were 153 fish – fishermen would know how many fish they caught…it makes sense they counted their catch.

“Son of Jonah” — Peter was the son of Jonah…but spiritually so too because he didn’t obey God’s command (denied Christ).

V15 – “agape” love is unconditional, deep love – this is the love God has for us.  “phileo” love is tender affection – this is how Peter now responds to Christ’s questions.

Christ asked 3 times whether Peter loved Him…using the words agape love, then phileo love.  Asking Peter 3 times if he loved Him reminded Peter of his 3 denials that he even knew Christ.

Peter had previously exhibited spiritual pride…”though all forsake You, I will not”.  This was like Moses drawing water from the rock and Elijah in the cave wondering if he was the only believer left.  Gone is Peter’s confidence and spiritual pride.  He didn’t presume to say he loved Christ with unconditional (agape) love à he was humble.  See Mark 14:29

v17 – Peter was “grieved”…like the rich young ruler.

Our responsibility as Christians is to: “Feed My Lambs”, “Tend My Sheep” and “Feed My Sheep”

Apart from God’s grace, Peter could not have remained true to his love for Christ — perseverance comes from God.  God is the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Once God saves us, no power can snatch us away — we are eternally secure…even though we may stumble/fall terribly.

Peter’s terrible failure of denying Christ wasn’t the end – Christ restored him and used him mightily.  Christ forgave/restored Peter in full view of the rest of the disciples…publicly readmitting Peter to the church and fellowship.  His failure was forgiven by Christ, and Peter humbly served Him for the rest of his life…and eternity.

Sin is never a minor matter – repentance is a necessity.  Confession and repentance must come before full forgiveness.

True repentance results in a changed life

God will continue to use us after we repent – the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sins.

Christ’s forgiveness allows us to begin again – and to be mightily used by God to advance His Kingdom.

 

To God Be The Glory!


Are There Carnal Christians?

April 26, 2017

Is there such a thing as a carnal Christian?    

The idea comes from I Corinthians 3:1 “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, [even] as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able [to bear it], neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas [there is] among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I [am] of Apollos; are ye not carnal?” 

In these verses God is not saying these men are true believers.  God is saying that as babes in Christ they have very little showing of spirituality – if they were indeed babes in Christ.  Reading carefully reveals these people were not yet saved; they were still of the flesh; they were not really of Christ. 

The term “carnal Christian” is an oxymoron…like jumbo shrimp.  I John 3:9 says, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 

If we are a child of God, then we have experienced the new birth in our soul; we have been born of God.  From this moment on, in our soul essence we will not want to sin. Unfortunately, we still have bodies that lust after sin.  The result is that in our body we’ll think in terms of the flesh.  In this sense, we’ll be carnal.    

CASE A:

Let’s say we’re just a member of a congregation and while others probably think we’re saved, we know in our heart of hearts that we’re not.    

If that describes us, then when we begin to live in the flesh, in both our body and soul, we like that sin because we’re not born of God. There’s nothing in us saying, ‘you can’t live that way.’  Maybe our conscience will bother us a bit, but it doesn’t take long for us to sear our conscience.   As long as we can get away with that sin, we’re going to continue in it because it isn’t at odds with our nature.    

Consider the unsaved man in I Corinthians 5 who was living with his father’s wife.  Someone involved in this gross fornication within the church (remember, his actions were public knowledge and the church elders were probably warning him about this, yet he continued with his grievous sin) is giving evidence that he’s not saved.  Clearly, this man was carnal minded — but he was not a Christian.   

Many people attend church who believe they’re Christians because they’ve joined or been baptized.  But they’ve never been born from above; consequently, they live like the world.  On Sunday they can be sweet and light and happy and wonderful — but during the week, they can’t be distinguished from the world.

CASE B:

What happens in our life if we are truly born again and we commit a grievous sin?  Not only will our conscience be troubling us, but we will feel violated in our soul too.  Many of us struggle with a besetting sin over a number of years.  Every time we become involved in that sin it’s not a happy proposition at all.  Regardless of whether others know we’re dealing with that sin (maybe we’re “getting away” with it), it’s still a very sore point in our life.   

Every time we commit it, there is the aftertaste of remorse, unhappiness and distress in our soul.  To continue to live this way is antagonistic toward our resurrected soul. God will chastise us because He indwells born again believers.  Finally the truth will dawn on us – one way or another.  Maybe a family member will “catch us”…maybe we will have something taken away…but one way or another we will come to the realization that “I’ve got to repent and I’ve got to turn away from this sin. I can’t go on.” 

CASE A (Revisited):

What would happen if a true believer were committing a gross sin like the man in I Corinthians 5?  If the pastor or an elder approached him and said, “We understand you’ve been living with your father’s wife in a sexual relationship,” the reaction would be predictable.  

The true believer’s reaction would be akin to David’s when Nathan the prophet confronted him.  Nathan said “Thou art the man!” after David had been guilty of adultery and murder.  The repentance would come pouring out.  “Oh God, against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned.”  That’s what would happen in the life of the born again believer. 

When we sin, we are grievously troubled by our sin.

If you find that you identify more with Case “A” than you would like, and you want to know more about the Good News preached in the Scriptures — please click the link at the top of this website titled “The Gospel”. 

To God Be The Glory!


Joy Comes in the Morning

April 23, 2017

These are my notes from an Easter message by Pastor Russ Sukhia of Liberty Church PCA.  The text is taken from John 19:38-20:31.

Click here to listen to Pastor Russ’ message in its entirety.

After the crucifixion, Christ was either physically, supernaturally raised from the dead or He was not.  There is no in-between.

Mary went to the tomb early while it was still dark.  Other women were with her planning to anoint His Body.  They probably did not have any idea how they would overcome the large stone sealing the tomb. But this obstacle and their love for Christ did not dissuade them from going – and from serving Him in whatever way they could.

Mary was likely alternating between depression and faith.  ”On top of everything that’s happened, now His Body is missing”

Even seeing two angels in 20:11 did not bring Mary out of her despondency.

Then Mary saw a Man and supposed Him to be the gardener.  If His body had been taken, how could she carry Him back to the tomb?  This is further evidence that Mary was not thinking through all the details because she was so despondent and sorrowful.

Mary was in a depressed stupor – and nothing short of actually seeing Christ could get her out of it.

John sees linen cloths – folded neatly around the Body after the spices had been applied.  The linens were not mixed up – they were still neatly in place just as they would be if the Body suddenly disappeared.

The cloths were not touched by humans – they were like a discarded chrysalis.

This proves the Body was not stolen and that Christ was not merely unconscious and then somehow managed to escape Himself.

Peter and John were not expecting a physical, bodily, supernatural resurrectionbut seeing the evidence in the tomb, they believed!

The disciples were in a locked, shut room – then Christ suddenly appeared in their midst.

He materialized in their presence.  They obviously were scared, and Christ’s first words are “Peace”

Christ gave His Spirit to them to comfort them. At Pentecost, His Spirit empowered them to preach the gospel.

When the disciples saw the physical, supernaturally risen Christ, they believed!

Thomas was not present when Christ first appeared to the rest of the disciples (v25)

Thomas seemed to have been in a similar depressed stupor like Mary.  He was deeply depressed.

After 8 days, Thomas did not have the faith the others had after seeing Christ.  Then Jesus appeared again.

Christ goes directly to Thomas and Thomas needed no further convincing.

Thomas saw, believed and declared “My Lord and My God!”  Christ did not correct him.  He accepted Thomas’ worship because Jesus is eternal God.

Are we like Thomas?  Is the resurrection just too far-fetched?

Knowing all that what we know today from:

–          the eyewitness accounts

–          the rest of Scripture

–          Christ’s own testimony and ministry

–          the results of His miracles

–          the disciples’ lives post-resurrection

–          the disciples’ persecutions and martyrdoms

we cannot simply shrug the resurrection off as foolish talk.

In our sinful states, we love darkness rather than Light.  We do not want to believe Christ is risen!

But if Christ is risen, I cannot be the ruler of my own life…setting my own rules and laws

This is why every sinner needs salvation through Christ.

If you have never heard the gospel, or are not sure what it is, please click the menu button at the top of this website.

THE PHYSICAL RESURRECTION OF CHRIST MEANS IF WE SEE OUR SIN AND TURN TO CHRIST, THEN WE CAN BE ASSURED OF OUR OWN SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION – WE ARE JOINT-HEIRS WITH CHRIST.

To God Be The Glory!


Obedience After Salvation

April 19, 2017

(1 Sam 15:26 KJV) And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.

The above passage touches upon a major principle which should be heeded by Christians in every generation. Saul disobeyed God and didn’t completely annihilate the Amalekites. Instead, he saved Agag, the king of the Amalekites plus he brought back all the animals that he thought he’d use for sacrifices. The problem was that God told Saul to go in and completely destroy all the people as well as the animals.

Saul didn’t do this.  Instead he chose to go his own way and set the rules for the spoils.  No one can ever rebel against God to the glory of God, nor can one be disobedient to the glory of God.  When God gives a directive, it is to be obeyed to the letter. This is why Samuel asked Saul if God is more concerned with sacrifices than with obedience.

Obedience, not service, is the bedrock of the Christian life.  Within the context of obedience, we will find our place of service.  Obedience is not the obeying of ceremonies, special days, or keeping any part of the law for salvation.  Our salvation is entirely by grace.  One can try to obey every tenet of the law for their whole life – but without the substitutionary atonement of Christ removing their sins, they will still perish.

Obedience after salvation is grace-based; it’s an obedience the Christian possesses in order to bring glory to God.  It is the desire of the believer who wishes to be used of the Lord.

God replaced Saul with David.  No matter what position we’re in…whether it’s in ministry or business…God can remove us from it if we adopt Saul’s attitude.  God promotes…and He can demote too.

(Ezek 21:26 KJV) Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. (Mat 23:12 KJV) And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. It is a principle we either learn voluntarily, or we are taught it.

To God Be The Glory!


He Is Risen!

April 16, 2017

These are my notes from a message by Pastor Russ Sukhia of Liberty Church PCA.  It is based from an Easter message based on Mark 16.

Click here to listen to Pastor Russ’ message in its entirety.

Without God, life makes no sense.  Outside of Christ’s resurrection, there is no meaning to life.

v1 – These likely are the same women from 15:40 who were getting spices to anoint Jesus.  Joseph of Arimathea & Nicodemus may not have enough time to properly anoint the body before the Sabbath began

v2 – The women didn’t want to waste any time…they expected the body to be decaying

v3 – They didn’t consider the obstacles in front of them until the very last minute as they approached the tomb.  The obstacles included the huge stone and the Roman guards (which they may not have even known were there)

v4 – “They looked up” It was early in the AM…probably still dark…they could have been looking down to see to walk.  In any event, their eyes were downcast just like their spirits

vv5-7 – Literally: “He has been raised” These women were the 1st to hear the wonderful news that changed the world!  “He is not here where they laid Him” referring to where Joseph & Nicodemus had placed the body.

“Go tell the disciples…and Peter” Though Peter fell terribly, God will still use him

v8 – The women did not linger…they were frightened…they were sore amazed…greatly fearful and trembling.  But they were also very joyful and they went directly to tell the disciples

——————————————————————-

God raised Jesus from the dead.  Christ’s resurrection is a historical reality.  There are many proofs of the reality of the resurrection – we can use our God-given intellect to know it is the truth.  We can know it is a fact based upon the following:

  1. Women were the first to see Christ

Their word/testimony was not accepted in court.  If it were a lie, it doesn’t make any sense at all to have them be the ones to start it.  Just like it didn’t make sense for shepherds to be the ones to first see His birth

  1. The empty tomb

Every single account agrees the tomb was empty – even the soldiers guarding it.  Either the body was stolen out from under the Roman soldiers…or it really happened

  1. Disciples eyewitness accounts/experiences

They declared they saw the risen Christ “with many infallible proofs” (2Pet 1:16).  They saw him separately… as individuals… as well as in groups.  All of them saw, spoke, and touched Christ/  They didn’t lie so they could get the usual benefits (personal protection or gain).  In fact, they were persecuted, hated by everyone, imprisoned, and executed

  1. Christ said He would bodily rise again

He made it clear it would be a bodily resurrection.  There was no possibility that he was speaking in a parable – He made it crystal clear

  1. Jews would not have falsely promoted the idea of a physical resurrection of earthly body

Dead bodies were unclean…they would want to promote resurrection to a new body (not the same).  The idea of the resurrection of a dead body would not be how they would foster a lie.  This is definitely not an effective way to continue to promote their dead leader…BUT JESUS WAS ALIVE!

  1. It is blasphemy to worship anything but God – all Jews understood this teaching

How do you explain the sudden worshipping of Jesus after His resurrection by hundreds of Jewish people?  Christ’s resurrection and deity is the only explanation for this remarkable worshipping of the Nazarene

  1. Contemporary accounts in the literature of the day

The gospels; Paul’s letters; other Apostle’s writings – the earliest NT writings

  1. Transformation evidenced in the disciples’ lives

They went from being cowards in hiding to boldly proclaiming Christ to the point of death.  They were persecuted, imprisoned and killed – they wouldn’t do that to promote a lie.  Lying about Christ being alive when He was dead would make them terribly blasphemers.  Something dramatic had obviously changed them

  1. Disciples proclaimed His resurrection in their home town of Jerusalem

If it was a lie, they’d spread tales in far off cities…not their own backyard.  If it was the truth, they’d spread the word right where it happened

  1. No contrary evidence was ever produced to refute it

Leaks always occur over time…the cover-up would have had to be the largest in history.  Even now in the 21st Century, someone always leaks information.

  1. The existence and growth of the church that was founded by Jesus Christ

These churches would not have sprung up and grown under the tremendous persecution

Taking all the evidence together, nothing is more provable a fact than the resurrection of Jesus!

To God Be The Glory!


A Look at the word “Begotten”

April 12, 2017

In Scripture, the words God chooses are very important – and we can learn much about the gospel from examining them.  There is one word in particular that we’ve all heard but may have never studied. The word is “begotten”.

This posting is about the New Testament word μονογενής, which is most frequently translated as “begotten”.  This Greek word is used 9 times in the New Testament and a great deal can be learned about the gospel message from examining the use of this very important word.

The word monogenēs is translated as “only begotten” six times, as “only” twice, and as “only child” once.  Of these nine usages, Christ Himself is being referred to in five of them.  What is very interesting however is what God is referring to in the remaining four passages.

Here are the five passages with Christ in view:

John 1:14 — And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 1:18 — No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him].

John 3:16 — For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:18 — He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

1 John 4:9 — In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

Scripture uses this word in describing Jesus Christ, Who is eternal God and without beginning.  What does God mean by saying Christ was the ‘only begotten’?  Scripture answers this question.  Here are the remaining four times this Greek word is used:

Luke 7:12 — Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.

Luke 8:42 — For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him.

Luke 9: 38 — And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child.

Heb 11:17 — By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten [son].

In each of these instances, the following traits are in evidence:
1. An only child is being featured
2. The child has died or is given up for dead
3. The child was raised or is rescued from death

Each of these four passages serve as parables providing a glimpse into the gospel message. That message is that Christ is the only Son and that He endured the second death (eternal damnation) for all the people He came to save, and He rose from the dead as proof that the price for sin had been fully paid.

Praise God for His inexpressible gift to us – and how throughout Scripture He repeatedly shows us the plan of salvation…if we have eyes to see and ears to hear.

This plan of salvation is summarized at the top of this website…if you are not familiar with it, please click on the link titled “The Gospel”.

To God Be The Glory!


Veils (Fallen, Lifted, Torn and Removed)

April 9, 2017

These are my notes from a message by Pastor Russ Sukhia of Liberty Church PCA.  It is from his series on the Gospel of Mark and is based on Mark Chapter 15, Verses 25-39.

Click here to listen to Pastor Russ’ message in its entirety.

From God’s creation of man, angels had been witness to all our manifold sins – but never was there a day like this!  Never   had Yahweh…the Word Incarnate…the I AM who fulfills all God’s commands…God Himself was crucified.

After the sham trial, presentation before Pilate, freeing of Barabbas, beating/scourging, dividing of His clothes…after nailing Him to the cross, continuing mocking from religious leaders and robbers, 6 hours on the cross…something amazing occurred

v33 – the sudden darkness was not an eclipse…eclipses don’t last 3 hours…it wasn’t a storm.  This was a veil of darkness that had fallen in the middle of the day – just like the 3 days of darkness in Exodus 10.  On this day, the nation of Israel finds the veil of darkness settling in upon them.

v34 – “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” – these were Jesus’ words after 6 hours on the cross.  As recorded in the other Gospels, Christ said other things while on the cross.  The Holy Spirit lifts the veil for us to see the agony of Christ’s soul – no longer having the presence and favor of His Father.  We are here given a glimpse of the abandonment of the Father toward the Son.  Psalm 22 foreshadowed this moment…quoting Christ some 1000 years before this event.

v35 – Even this agonizing cry didn’t end the mocking.

v36 – At this most sacred moment in history, mankind made sport of Christ’s anguished cry.  The onlookers were having fun watching this terrible event; it was entertaining for them.

When the work of Christ’s atonement was completed, He gave up His Spirit…and then…something amazing occurred

v38 – The 60-foot-tall veil in the temple was rent from top to bottom.  No human could have done that…this was a miraculous event.  The darkening of the sky and rending of the veil were not the only miracles on this sacred dayScripture records earthquakes and spirits rising from the dead.

At the foot of the cross…feeling the earthquake…hearing Christ’s words…the veil was lifted on the Centurion’s heart.  The Centurion and some of his soldiers confess that Christ was the Son of God!

 

Consider the veil falling

A veil of darkness had fallen on the land.

Life stopped dead in its tracks when darkness descended at noonday…people had to wonder what was the cause?

On this Passover day, did any Israelites remember the plagues visited on Egypt during the Passover?

Did any in Israel see this as a sign of God’s judgement…His wrath being revealed from Heaven?

Darkness was the last sign before God’s final judgement on Egypt (the death of the firstborn).

Here, the darkness was a sign of God’s judgement on His Son – mankind’s only sin-bearer…with the death to follow being God’s only begotten Son.

Not only did mankind reject its Messiah, but we also murdered Him!

“His blood be on us and our children” — Mankind had a right to fear God’s wrath.

 

Consider the veil lifting

Christ was not dying as an example or as a symbolHe died as our substitute!

The cry of v34 lifts the veil as we can see the price the Son had to pay to ransom His chosen.

If our sins don’t deserve God’s wrath, then the crucifixion makes no sense at all.

This demonstrates why an atonement is needed to satisfy God’s holiness and justice.

 

Consider the veil torn

Access to the Holy of Holies was only through the veil – access to the Father is only through the Son.

As the Son’s Body was rent on the cross, the temple’s veil was rent from top to bottom.

And now we can enter the Holy of Holies ourselves and have access to the Father.

Christ is our High Priest…and now we have access to the Father through Him.

Now Christ sits at the right hand of the Father…no more sacrifices… once for all.

We no longer need an intermediary with God – our High Priest is Christ.

Therefore, we can come boldly before the throne of grace!

 

Consider the veil removed

The veil on people’s hearts was removed – we see it in the Centurion and his soldiers when Christ died.

“Father forgive them for they know not what they do” – God answers this prayer by opening the soldier’s hearts.

These soldiers witnessed everything…and the veil was lifted from their hearts.

Perhaps some of them even became disciples of Christ.

In Glory, we may see the men who drove the nails into Christ’s hands and feet

But to see them in Heaven, we must have the veil of sin lifted from our hearts.

If you want to know how God lifts the veil of sin from hearts, please click the link at the top of this website titled “The Gospel”.

To God Be The Glory!