March 2021 Pastoral Newsletter

WHY DOES GOD SAVE PEOPLE?

It’s truly a miracle that God saves anyone. The Bible says the following about the human race apart from a saving relationship with Jesus Christ: their father is the devil- John 8:44, they love darkness & our works are evil- John 3:19, their minds are blinded by satan to the truth– 2 Corinthians 4:4, their sin separates us from God– Isaiah 59:2, their deeds are like filthy rags– Isaiah 64:6, they’re enemies of God– Romans 5:10, their heart is deceitful & desperately wicked– Jeremiah 17:9, and so on. That’s quite the bleak picture that God paints of unredeemed mankind… and our sinful state keeps us from God’s holy presence. That describes everyone outside of Christ. We need an eternal rescue and thankfully, God does provide that rescue. But again, knowing our total unworthiness and the fact that God is perfectly holy, why does God save anyone?

God saves people because He LOVES them

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

 

God saves people for His NAME’S SAKE

1 Samuel 12:22, ‘For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great Name's Sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for Himself.’

 

God saves people because He DESIRES FOR US TO TURN TO HIM AND NOT DIE ETERNALLY

2 Peter 3:9, ‘The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.’

 

God saves people because of His MERCY towards them

1 Peter 1:3, ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,…’

Titus 3:5, ‘He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,…’

 

God saves people because of His PURPOSE & GRACE towards them

2 Timothy 1:9, ‘Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,...’

 

God saves people because of His GIFT OF GRACE towards them

Ephesians 2:8-10, ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.’

 

God saves people to be GLORIFIED BY HIS PEOPLE

John 15:8, ‘By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples.’

 

God saves people because of His MERCY & GREAT LOVE

Ephesians 2:4-5, ‘But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—’

 

Why does God save people? He desires to give His saving love, mercy, grace. Those who are God’s people are the recipients of, and the personal objects of, His giving and saving nature. God saves people because by virtue of His own nature, He is the Savior. He has given a promise to His people, and His promise is unbreakably linked to His Name. Anything that has to do with His Name is kept in His perfect will and it is God’s will to save people. With each reason that comes with God saving His people, He does so ultimately because it’s His desire and joy to save people. Beloved, God saves people for various reasons but none of them have anything to do with the false notion that we can gain His favor. Salvation is a work of God, and His desire for us is to receive. We see God’s great mercy & love for us and we are compelled to forsake our sinful desires and live for Him. What a great God He is and what an amazing, unspeakable gift His people have received!

 

Christ’s Blessings to you,

pastor Scott Welch

February 2021 Pastoral Newsletter

SECULAR & SACRED LINES: THE POLARIZATION OF THE CHURCH

14 Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15

 

THE LINES ARE BEING DRAWN...

The lines are being drawn in America; but more importantly, 2020 has shown that lines are being drawn within the Church. Polarization can be a good thing. It shows us who stands where and why. Polarization clears the air. It lets us see without any question those who are on this side, and those who are on that side. 2020 showed us the beginning of the spiritual polarization in a very poignant way. And 2021 (whether it’s critical race theory {Woke Church}, apathy, or liberal theology), is showing us that spiritual polarization is becoming indelible within the Church. The Apostle Paul spoke about the beginning of spiritual polarization in 2 Timothy 4:3 when he said, ‘For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,’. And Jesus spoke about the culmination of the polarization when He warned in Luke 17:34-35, 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.”. Will the spiritual polarization we’re seeing now be for a season, then end, and then manifest in a stronger degree a hundred years from now? Or will it be for a season and then lead deeper and deeper to the eventual return of the Lord? Only our Heavenly Father knows. But I’ve been a Christian for quite awhile and I’ve never seen such a dividing line in the secular culture and the Church as I’m seeing now.

 

WHAT DO THESE LINES LOOK LIKE?

The Good News?... Church leaders, pastors, and Christians, who keep up with church trends know that in America there has been a resurgence of Biblical preaching & teaching, Christ centric living within the church, and people wanting truth; which is what God commands and desires. The Bad News?... Apart from this resurgence there has also, unfortunately, been a movement that has arisen within the church that manifests by way of people saying “No.” to Jesus Christ’s call of being a disciple in various ways. This movement has tipped toward seeker sensitive/pop-psychology/best life now/prosperity/so called ‘miracle’ driven ‘churches’ that produce apathy and selfishness. Now to be sure, especially in the last 3 decades, there have always been people who have been attracted to and gravitating toward the latter movement. But now in 2021, there’s a very distinct line that has been drawn. A line that is extremely recognizable. However, (and this is a good ‘however’), those who are wanting truth, are tired of the false promises of the seeker driven churches, are understanding what it means when Jesus said, “Count the cost.”, and are starting to move toward Biblically grounded churches. Biblically grounded churches don’t cater to the world by making the worship service look and feel like what the world would do in order to attract people. Rather, they bring people to Christ through love and the whole counsel of God, living the truth, counting on the power of the Holy Spirit, having a high view of Scripture, and are concerned about worship to God and serving people in a Sunday service. Let the world cater to mankind, but the Church is meant to worship God, grow in grace and reach people for Jesus. For the Biblically grounded churches, will this mean church growth in numbers? For some churches– yes, for other churches– no. The point is not numerical growth (even though the Lord has promised to add to His church), the point is becoming more like Christ. And on the personal level the question needs to be asked, “Am I truly a disciple of Jesus Christ?”.

 

WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH THESE LINES?

Because of the spiritual lines that are being drawn, people are making it extremely clear as to whether they are gravitating toward a church and a life that worships God or a counterfeit church and life that caters to felt needs. People are becoming real with their faith in Christ, or they’re not. But again, Paul and Jesus both said this would happen, (2 Timothy 4:3, Luke 17:34-35), and 2020-2021 is enabling hearts in America to show exactly where each person is in their journey of faith. And again, consequently, what is happening in churches is happening in individual lives. People are making a choice one way or the other and (whether we want to admit it or not) the fruit is extremely evident.

 

WHAT TO DO? (A CALL TO ACTION)

Know this: everyone is on a spiritual journey. Some are on a path to life in Jesus Christ, some are not. And those who are on the path to life in Christ are all at different spiritual levels; we’re all to be on the path of growing in grace and maturity. But there is a palpable sense within the world right now that a place needs to be chosen as to where to pitch your tent. And men, spiritual leadership toward your family is your God given responsibility.

So what to do?

If you’re one who is walking away from Christ, whether you’re in the Church or someone who’s never had anything to do with God...

-Seek and find. Psalm 34:4, ‘I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.’ . You, no doubt, have points of pain that have questions that have yet to be answered. God has those answers through the Bible, His creation, prayer that honestly seeks Him, and His Church. Those who seek God out will find Him.

- Change directions. Matthew 4:17, ‘From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”’. Turning toward life can sometimes be painful and the work of changing directions from death to life is impossible apart from Christ. But change directions to go toward Him. You will find life.

 

If you’re one who is walking toward Christ…

- The battle is the Lord’s. 2 Chronicles 20:15, ‘And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's.’ What was true thousands of years ago is true today. God is eternal and He works through various means and ways, including His church, to accomplish His will.

- Don’t give up, trust in the power of Jesus. Galatians 6:9, ‘And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.’

- Live and tell the whole of Scripture. All Christians have God the Holy Spirit living and working within them. We have work to do, yes. But we also have God, Who is uniquely using us to accomplish His purpose: through good and evil seasons.

 

“We need to pray for our nation like never before, and then put legs to our prayers and preach the gospel to a sin-loving and Hell-bound world. To pray for America and at the same time ignore that command to preach the gospel to every creature, is nothing but empty hypocrisy. It is to honor God with our lips and have cold hearts that are far from Him. May He give us a love that moves us from the pews into the streets, and from our homes into our universities. God save us from the cozy comfort of lukewarm contemporary Christianity.” Ray Comfort

 

Christ’s Blessings to you,

Pastor Scott Welch