Tag Archives: Gospel Adventist

The Spiritual Path to Peace

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Jesus, the divine Son of God, proclaimed to the crowds during the Sermon on the Mount, “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink: nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing” (Matthew 6:25, NASB).

He then goes on to explain that the Heavenly Father knows that we need these things, and if He takes care of the birds of the air and grass of the fields, then He will most certainly provide for human beings created in God’s image.

How many of us have enough faith to take Jesus at His word and refuse to worry about food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and the balance in our checking accounts? When will we realize that money and possessions only add to our worries, and only God can bring everlasting peace?

Jesus never promised us that life would be easy or that we would be guaranteed everything we want in life. However, He did promise that God would meet our daily needs. Jesus defined success in this lifetime as putting God first in all things and seeking God’s will for our life. In fact, Jesus gives us the secret cure for anxiety and worry:

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

How many of us have the courage to put God before our jobs, our family, our friends, and our own selfish desires? Do we really trust that God will provide what we need in all circumstances?

This formula will only work if we refuse to allow negative thoughts to rule in our minds. James, the brother of Jesus, warned us of being “double-minded” about our faith in the promises of God (James 1:8).

Our emotions may not always cooperate, but faith is holding onto the facts of God’s word instead of our own human feelings. We must work to keep our feelings subject to the word of God.

Money cannot purchase peace of heart, but trusting in the God who created the universe will give us a supernatural peace that is beyond comprehension.

The popular Hymn, What a Friend we have in Jesus, goes:

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

The Bible tells us to replace our worry with faith, and our negativity with prayer. God loves us and Jesus is our friend. There is no problem in the Universe that God cannot solve, and He sent his beloved son to die for our sins. If He is willing to sacrifice Jesus so that we might have eternal life then do we really think that He wants us to doubt His willingness to provide for us?

Charles Spurgeon, wrote a chapter called “The Raven’s Cry” in which he counseled us to never stop praying and trusting God for our needs:

“Satan, too, is telling you, dear friends who are now in this state of mind that God will never hear you, that He will let you cry until you die, that you will pant out your life in sighs and tears, and that at the end you will be cast into the lake of fire. I long to give you some comfort and encouragement. I want to urge you to cry yet more vehemently, to come to the Cross and lay hold of it and vow that you will never leave its shadow until you find the blessing that your soul covets.”

Let us ponder the words of our savior until they sink into our daily consciousness: “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! (Matthew 6:30).

Jesus commands us not to worry and to trust the Heavenly father, who feeds the birds and clothes the grass of the field, to provide for our daily needs. As followers of Christ, we should not allow anxiety to rule our emotions, and we should cast our worries upon the one who loves us enough to sacrifice the life of His own son for our eternal life.

“Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5: 6-7).

~Stephen Beagles

Justification by Faith

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Martin Luther, the icon of the protestant reformation, said it best when he proclaimed the doctrine of Justification by faith to be articulus stantis vel cadentis ecclesiae “the article of faith that decides whether the church is standing or falling” (Packer). The doctrine of Justification by faith is not only one out of many church doctrines, it is the primary doctrine that breathes life into the rest. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ that sparks spiritual reformation when given its proper place in the Christian life. Churches that ignore the doctrine of the perfect righteousness of Christ that covers our sinful imperfection ignore the primary message of the Bible at their own peril.

Reformation theologian J.I. Packer stated there are certain presuppositions that must be granted in order to come to a full understanding of Justification:

1. The divine authority of scripture
2. The divine wrath against human sin
3. The substitutionary death of Christ

If Protestants lose a clear understanding of these doctrines, they will lose justification by faith that can be equated with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In my own life, I have been disappointed with the willingness of fellow protestant believers to compromise the divine authority of scripture for more liberal views of the ancient texts. Some refuse to believe in a wrathful God that punishes sin and focus on an unbiblical view of God that makes the death of Christ nothing more than a historical event. Others go to the opposite extreme by proclaiming Christ died for the whole world and therefore the whole world will be saved regardless of devotion to Christ.

A more dangerous and evil brand of theology claims that doctrines are nothing more than human attempts to explain the mind of God, that doctrine is simply a matter of personal interpretation, and  salvation comes apart from knowing the essentials of the Christian faith.

All of these unbiblical points of view are not from the Holy Spirit and are diabolical attempts to undermine the core doctrine of the Bible—Justification.

The apostle Paul equates the gospel of Justification with the message of Christ’s death and resurrection. Christ died to atone for our sins and resurrected so that sinful human beings might stand justified before a holy God:

“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25, NIV).

~Stephen Beagles

Shine Your Light

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The only thing that any minister of the gospel can do is share what we believe is the truth with honesty and conviction. We cannot convince anyone to change their mind unless those people see the need for change. The role of the Holy Spirit is to convict people of their need. Our job is to seek truth and share what God reveals to us.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26, ESV

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:” John 16:7-8, ESV

“Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” Matthew 5:15, ESV

~Stephen Beagles

Law and Grace

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What does it mean to be not “Under Law” but “Under Grace”?

When the New Testament scriptures state we are not “Under Law” but “Under Grace” it means we are no longer subject to the penalty of the law and are not subject to its condemnation.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2, NIV)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23, NIV)

Being released from the penalty of death for disobedience to divine law, we are under grace and have peace with God and the forgiveness of sins. This does not void the law itself, but it releases us from condemnation and frees us from bondage to evil.

~Stephen Beagles

No Need to Apologize

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“Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.” Luke 6:26, NIV

I fear many Christians are afraid to speak their minds about God’s word. They worry that other people will turn against them, or that they might offend someone who is opposed to the message. While Christians should be careful not to deliberately drive people away from the beauty of the gospel message, they also need to be aware that Christ warns us about the dangers of living for truth.

My policy about speaking the truth is some people need a soft touch, while others need a good kick in the butt to catch their attention. While some people might get emotional, angry, vengeful, and belligerent, this is only because they are being convicted by the Holy Spirit. If they choose to harden their heart to the Spirit of God then we are to follow the counsel of Jesus: “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet” (Matthew 10:14, NIV).

Speak the truth with honest conviction and then let God do the convincing.

In my opinion, it is not my business what another person does with their relationship to God. It is not my job to convince anyone that I am right and they are wrong. That is the job of the Holy Spirit. If the Spirit cannot convince them to listen to God’s word, then they will pay the consequences of their rebellion. At the same time, I am called to speak the truth to the world in a way that makes the biggest difference in the lives of the listeners. Some will respond to truth with gladness, while most will lash out and attempt to silence the one who dared to tell the truth.

It is time for Christians to stop trying to fit in with political correctness, and to stand out by boldly proclaiming the word of God. Why should we be ashamed of truth? Of course, the devil will stir up the unregenerate mobs to attack the messengers. This happened to the prophets of Israel. Don’t forget that they crucified Jesus. Don’t forget that all but one of the Apostles died at the hands of the wicked.

If you are worried about what people will think if you speak up about your Christian convictions, then remember that it is not our job to win a popularity contest. It is our job to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

” Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,” (Ephesians 6:19, NIV)

~Stephen Beagles