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Pastor’s Commentary: Conformed To The Word

By:  Pastor Roy Crane

To listen to Pastor Roy’s Sermon on this subject,  click here!

In marked contrast to false teachers was the life and ministry of Paul. Timothy was well aware of the nine prominent features which characterized this servant of the Lord. He had followed Paul closely and could testify to the fact that here was a man who was faithful to Christ and His word.  The apostle’s doctrine or teaching was true to the word of God and loyal to the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. His manner of life, or conduct, was consistent with the message he preached. His purpose in life was to be separate from moral and doctrinal evil.

Persecution is an integral part of a devout Christian life. It is well that every young Timothy should be reminded of this. Otherwise, when he is called upon to go through deep waters, he might be tempted to think that he has failed the Lord or that the Lord is displeased with him for some reason. The fact is that persecution is inevitable for all who desire to live in a godly manner. The reason for this persecution is simple. A godly life exposes the wickedness of others. People do not like to be thus exposed. Instead of repenting of their ungodliness and turning to Christ, they seek to destroy the one who has shown them up for what they really are. It is totally irrational behavior, of course, but that is characteristic of fallen man.

The Holy Scriptures are spoken of as being continually able to make men wise for salvation. This means, first of all, that men learn the way of salvation through the Bible. Salvation is through faith which is in Christ Jesus. We should mark this well. It is not through good works, baptism, church membership, confirmation, obeying the Ten Commandments, keeping the Golden Rule, or in any other way that involves human effort or merit. Salvation is through faith in the Son of God.

When Paul speaks of all Scripture, he is definitely referring to the complete OT but also to those portions of the NT that were then in existence. In 1 Timothy 5:18, he quotes the Gospel of Luke (10:7) as Scripture. And Peter speaks of Paul’s Epistles as Scriptures (2 Pet. 3:16). Today we are justified in applying the verse to the entire Bible.

Because the Bible is the word of God, it is profitable.  The Bible is profitable for doctrine, or teaching. It sets forth the mind of God with regard to such themes as the Trinity, angels, man, sin, salvation, sanctification, the church, and future events. Again, it is profitable for reproof. As we read the Bible, it speaks to us pointedly concerning those things in our lives which are displeasing to God. Also, it is profitable for refuting error and for answering the tempter. Again, the word is profitable for correction. It not only points out what is wrong but sets forth the way in which it can be made right. For instance, the Scriptures not only say, “Let him who stole steal no longer,” but add, “Rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need.” The first part of the verse might be considered as reproof, whereas the second part is correction. Finally, the Bible is profitable for instruction in righteousness. The grace of God teaches us to live godly lives, but the word of God traces out in detail the things which go to make up a godly life. Through the word, the man of God may be complete or mature. He is thoroughly equipped with all that he needs to bring forth every good work which makes up the goal of his salvation (Eph. 2:8–10).

In verses 3–6, the apostle gives two strong reasons for the charge he has just given. The first is that there will be a general turning away from wholesome doctrine. The second is that Paul’s time of departure is at hand.

The apostle foresees a time when people will show a positive distaste for health-giving teaching. They will willfully turn away from those who teach the truth of God’s word. Their ears will itch for doctrines that are pleasing and comfortable. To satisfy their lust for novel and gratifying doctrine, they will accumulate a group of teachers who will tell them what they want to hear.

The lust for inoffensive preaching will cause people to turn their ears away from the truth to myths. It is a poor exchange—to sacrifice truth for fables—but this is the wretched reward of those who refuse sound doctrine.

Commentary: Remember And Be Remembered

By:  Pastor Roy Crane

To listen to Pastor Roy’s Sermon on this subject,  click here.

Scripture Reference: Malachi 3:16-17 and Hebrews 10:19-25

MEMORIAL - - A monument,  statue, holiday,  or ritual that serves as a remembrance or reminder of a person or an event. The Feast of the Passover was a memorial of God’s sparing the firstborn of the Israelites in Egypt and of Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage (Ex. 12:14). When Israel crossed the Jordan River and occupied the Promised Land, Joshua commanded that 12 stones, representing the 12 tribes of Israel, be set up in the midst of the Jordan (Josh. 4:9). “These stones,” he said, “shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever” (Josh. 4:7). When Jesus was in the house of Simon the leper, a woman anointed His head with oil. “Wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world,” said Jesus, “what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (Matt. 26:13; Mark 14:9). On the eve of His crucifixion Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19). The observance of the Lord’s Supper is an ongoing Christian memorial that helps believers remember the sacrifice of Christ on their behalf (1 Cor. 5:7; 11:25–26).

The exhortation in Hebrews 10 assumes that all believers are now priests because we are told to have boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus. The common people during the Jewish economy were barred from the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place; only the priests could enter the first room, and only the high priest could enter the second. Now that is all changed. God has no special place where only a special caste of men may approach Him. Instead, all believers may come into His presence by faith at any time and from any place on earth.

Our approach is by a new and living way. Let us draw near. This is the believer’s blood-bought privilege. How wonderful beyond all words that we are invited to have audience, not with this world’s celebrities, but with the Sovereign of the universe! The extent to which we value the invitation is shown by the manner in which we respond to it.
 
There is a fourfold description of how we should be spiritually groomed in entering the throne room.
 
1.With a true heart. The people of Israel drew near to God with their mouth, and honored Him with their lips, but their heart was often far from Him (Matt. 15:8). Our approach should be with utter sincerity.

 2.In full assurance of faith. We draw near with utter confidence in the promises of God and with the firm conviction that we shall have a gracious reception into His presence.

 
3. Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. This can be brought about only by the new birth. When we trust Christ, we appropriate the value of His blood. Figuratively speaking, we sprinkle our hearts with it, just as the Israelites sprinkled their doors with the blood of the Passover lamb. This delivers us from an evil conscience.

4. And our bodies washed with pure water. Again this is symbolic language. Our bodies represent our lives. The pure water might refer either to the word (Eph 5:25, 26), to the Holy Spirit (John 7:37–39), or to the Holy Spirit using the word in cleansing our lives from daily defilement.

Then we should continue to meet together and not desert the local fellowship, as some do. This may be considered as a general exhortation for all believers to be faithful in their church attendance. Without question we find strength, comfort, nourishment, and joy in collective worship and service.  It may also be looked on as a special encouragement for Christians going through times of persecution.

There is always the temptation to isolate oneself in order to avoid arrest, reproach, and suffering, and thus to be a secret disciple.  But basically the verse is a warning against apostasy. To forsake the local assembly here means to turn one’s back on Christianity. Some were doing this when this Letter was written. There was need to exhort one another, especially in view of the nearness of Christ’s Return. When He comes, the persecuted, ostracized, despised believers will be seen to be on the winning side. Until then, there is need for steadfastness.

Commentary: We’re Still Here!

By:  Pastor Roy Crane

Listen to Pastor Roy’s Sermon Audio regarding this Commentary by clicking here

As to the exact day and hour of His Second Advent, “no one knows”.  This should warn against the temptation to set dates or to believe those who do.  We are not surprised that angels do not know; they are finite creatures with limited knowledge.

At the close of chapter 1, Peter referred to the prophets of the OT as men who spoke, not by their own will, but as moved by the Holy Spirit.  Now he mentions that in addition to the true prophets in the OT period, there were also false prophets.  And just as there will be bona fide teachers in the Christian era, there will be false teachers as well.

These false teachers take their place inside the church.  They pose as ministers of the gospel.  This is what makes the peril so great.  If they came right out and said they were atheists or agnostics, people would be on guard, But they are masters of deception.  They carry the Bible and use orthodox expressions.

Peter predicts that they will attract a large following.  They do this by scuttling the biblical standards of morality and encouraging the indulgence of the flesh.

False teachers are greedy.  They have chosen the ministry as a lucrative profession.  Their great aim is to build up a large following and thus to increase their income.

They exploit people with false words.  Darby said, “The Devil is never more satanic than when he carries a Bible.”  So these men, with Bible in hand, pose as ministers of righteousness, give out well-known evangelical hymns, and use scriptural expressions.  But all this is camouflage for heretical teachings and corrupt morals.

Commentary: How Strong Is The Promise

By:  Pastor Roy Crane

Listen to Pastor Roy’s Sermon regarding this commentary here.

God’s promise concerning the perpetuation of the Davidic dynasty and the Levitical priesthood would be as unbreakable as God’s covenant of day and night.  Some of the people were accusing God of forsaking His two houses – Israel and Judah, and were thus despising the Jews as being cast-offs, a non-people. 

The Lord replies that His covenant with His people is as fixed as the laws of nature,  The descendants of David would be as innumerable as the host of Heaven and the sand of the sea.  This promise (covenant) will be fulfilled in the fullness of the Body of Christ, who are made kings and priests as recorded in the Book of the Revelation.

John addressed the Revelation to the seven churches located in the Roman province of Asia.  First, John wishes for these churches grace…and peace.  Grace means the undeserved favor of God and the strength that is needed in the Christian life day by day.  Peace is the resulting calm that enables the believer to face persecution, sorrow, and even death itself.

It comes from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.  This clearly describes God the Son.  He is the dependable witness.  As firstborn from the dead, He is the first One to rise from the dead to die no more, and the one who holds the place of honor and pre-eminence among all who are raised from the dead to enjoy eternal life.  He is also the ruler over all earthly kings. 

Following his initial greetings, John writes a tribute of praise to the Lord Jesus.  First of all, he speaks of the Savior as the One who loved us (loves us) and washed us from our sins in His own blood. 

Note the tenses of the verbs: loves, a present, continuous action; washed, a past, completed work.  Note too the order:  He loves us, and indeed loved us long before He washed us.  And note the price He paid: His own blood. 

Honest self-evaluation forces us to confess that the cost was too high.  We did not deserve to be washed at such an exorbitant price.

His love did not stop at washing us, though it could have done so.  He mad us kings and priests to His God and Father.  As holy priests, we offer spiritual sacrifices to God: our persons, our possessions, our praise, and our services.  As royal priests, we tell forth the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.

If we meditate on such love, we can only conclude that He is worthy of all the glory, honor, worship, and praise that we can heap on Him.  And He is worthy of the dominion over our lives, the church, the world, and the entire universe.

Amen.

Commentary: The Divine Rule of Christian Faith and Practice

By: Pastor Roy L. Crane

Listen to Pastor Roy’s Sermon Audio regarding this commentary Here!

SCRIPTURE means the Old and New Testaments, which make up the Bible, God’s written Word. God gave to the world His living Word, Jesus Christ, and His written Word, the Scriptures. Although the Bible was written by prophets and apostles, the Bible originated not with their wills, but with God’s (2 Pet. 1:20–21). “All Scripture,” Paul wrote, “is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim. 3:16).

After Jesus, God’s living Word, returned to heaven having accomplished the Great Work of salvation, the Bible, God’s written Word, remained on earth as God’s eternal guide for mankind. The written Word is durable and has remained  unchanged in its message since it was first inspired by God.

Because the Bible is God’s inspired Word, it is able to make us “wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). The Scriptures testify of Christ (John 5:39) and are understood and received as He opens our understanding to the revealed will of His Father (Luke 24:27). Like the Berean Christians, we should search the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11) to discover God’s message for our lives.

The realization of what an incomparable Treasure we have in the Lord should make us vow to keep His words. He is the All-sufficient One. To have Him is to be fabulously wealthy. Though He is All-sufficient, we are not. “Our sufficiency is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5). So we must be people of prayer, entreating God’s favor and claiming His promise of mercy.

Guidance is a perennial problem. Which way should we go? Frankly, we don’t have the wisdom in ourselves to know. All right, then. Let us turn our feet to the paths outlined in the Scriptures.  We live in a day of instant foods, instant service and instant this and that. Instant obedience to the revealed will of God is something to ponder—and to produce.

Wicked men may conspire to trip up the innocent believer, but that is all the more reason for him to remember the Word for guidance and protection.

“At midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” (Acts 16:25). They were being unjustly treated by men but they could still sing about God’s righteous judgments.

Those who love God love His people. And those who love the Bible love all Bible-lovers. It is a worldwide fellowship that transcends national, social and racial distinctions.

God’s steadfast love can be found anywhere in the world, but more than that, the earth is full of it. Our grateful hearts respond by saying, “Lord, keep me teachable by Your Holy Spirit.”

Commentary: Who Are You Looking For?

By: Pastor Roy L. Crane

Listen to Pastor Roy’s Sermon Audio regarding this commentary Here!

Read the Scripture: Luke 19:37-44

The disciples made a cushion or saddle for the Lord with their own clothes. Many spread their clothes on the road before Him as He ascended from the western base of the Mt. of Olives to Jerusalem. Then with one accord the followers of Jesus burst out in praise for all the mighty works they had seen Him do. They hailed Him as God’s King, and chanted that the effect of His coming was peace in heaven and glory in the highest. It is significant that they cried “Peace in heaven” rather than “Peace on earth.” There could not be peace on earth because the Prince of Peace had been rejected and was soon to be slain. But there would be peace in heaven as a result of the impending death of Christ on Calvary’s cross and His ascension to heaven.

The Pharisees were indignant that Jesus should be publicly honored in this way. They suggested that He should rebuke His disciples. But Jesus answered that such acclamation was inevitable. If the disciples wouldn’t do it, then the very stones of Creation would! He thus rebuked the Pharisees for being more hard and unresponsive than the inanimate stones.

As Jesus drew near to Jerusalem, He uttered a lamentation over the city that had missed its golden opportunity. If the people had only received Him as Messiah, it would have meant peace for them. But they didn’t recognize that He was the source of peace. Now it was too late. They had already determined what they would do with the Son of God. Because of their rejection of Him, their eyes were blinded. Because they would not see Him, they could no longer see Him.

Pause here to reflect on the wonder of the Savior’s tears. As W. H. Griffith Thomas has said, “Let us sit at Christ’s feet until we learn the secret of His tears, and beholding the sins and sorrows of city and countryside, weep over them too.”

Jesus gave a solemn preview of the siege of Titus—how that Roman general would surround the city, trap the inhabitants, massacre both young and old, and level the walls and buildings. Not one stone would be left upon another. And it was all because Jerusalem did not know the time of its visitation. The Lord had visited the city with the offer of salvation. But the people did not want Him. They had no room for Him in their scheme of things.

When we remember the “Triumphal Entry”, we must remember that although the people were looking for a king who would set them free from the Romans; they completely missed the SAVIOR who would set them free from sin.  The world as a whole wants to “create” religions, political movements, and philosophies that will meet what THEY want, rather than simply accepting the Savior that God sent; His Own Son.

Commentary: The Hard Sayings of The Gospel

By: Pastor Roy L. Crane

Listen to Pastor Roy’s Sermon Audio regarding this commentary Here!

Read the Scripture: Matthew 10:24-39

The disciples of the Lord would often have occasion to wonder why they should have to endure ill treatment. If Jesus was the Messiah, why were His followers suffering instead of reigning? In verses 24 and 25, He anticipates their perplexity and answers it by reminding them of their relationship to Him. They were the disciples; He was their Teacher. They were servants; He was their Master. They were members of the household; He was the Master of the house. Discipleship means following the Teacher, not being superior to Him. The servant should not expect to be treated better than his Master. If men call the worthy Master of the house “Beelzebub” (“lord of flies,” an Ekronite god whose name was used by Jews for Satan), they will hurl even greater insults at the members of His household. Discipleship involves sharing the Master’s rejection.

Three times the Lord told His followers not to fear (vv. 26, 28, 31). First, they should not fear the seeming victory of their foes; His cause would be gloriously vindicated in a coming day. Up to now the gospel had been relatively covered and His teachings had been comparatively hidden. But soon the disciples must boldly proclaim the Christian message which up to this point had been told them in secret, that is privately.

Second, the disciples should not fear the murderous rage of men. The worst that men can do is kill the body. Physical death is not the supreme tragedy for the Christian. To die is to be with Christ and thus far better. It is deliverance from sin, sorrow, sickness, suffering, and death; and it is translation into eternal glory. So the worst men can do is, in a real sense, the best thing that can happen to the child of God.

In the midst of fiery trials, the disciples could be confident of God’s care. The same God who takes a personal interest in the tiny sparrow keeps an accurate count of the hairs of the head of each of His children. A strand of hair is of considerably less value than a sparrow. This shows that His people are of more value to Him than many sparrows, so why should they fear?

In view of the foregoing considerations, what is more reasonable than that the disciples of Christ should fearlessly confess Him before men? Any shame or reproach they might bear will be abundantly rewarded in heaven when the Lord Jesus confesses them before His Father. Confession of Christ here involves commitment to Him as Lord and Savior and the resulting acknowledgment of Him by life and by lips. In the case of most of the twelve, this led to the ultimate confession of the Lord in martyrdom.
 
Denial of Christ on earth will be repaid with denial before God in heaven. To deny Christ in this sense means to refuse to recognize His claims over one’s life. Those whose lives say, in effect, “I never knew You” will hear Him say at last, “I never knew you.” The Lord is not referring to a temporary denial of Him under pressure, as in Peter’s case, but to that kind of denial that is habitual and final.

He says He did not come to bring peace but a sword. Actually He did come to make peace (Eph. 2:14–17); He came that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:17).  But the point here is that whenever individuals became His followers, their families would turn against them. A converted father would be opposed by his unbelieving son, a Christian mother by her unsaved daughter. A born again mother-in-law would be hated by her unregenerate daughter-in-law. So a choice must often be made between Christ and family. No ties of nature can be allowed to deflect a disciple from utter allegiance to the Lord. The Savior must take precedence over father, mother, son or daughter. One of the costs of discipleship is to experience tension, strife, and alienation from one’s own family. This hostility is often more bitter than is encountered in other areas of life.
 
But there is something even more apt to rob Christ of His rightful place than family—that is, the love of one’s own life. So Jesus added, “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” The cross, of course, was a means of execution. To take the cross and follow Christ means to live in such devoted abandonment to Him that even death itself is not too high a price to pay. Not all disciples are required to lay down their lives for the Lord, but all are called on to value Him so highly that they do not count their lives precious to themselves.

Commentary: The Weapons Of The Christian Life

By: Pastor Roy L. Crane

Listen to Pastor Roy’s Sermon Audio regarding this commentary Here!

Read the Scripture: Luke 4:1-13

There was never a time in our Lord’s life when He was not full of the Holy Spirit, but it is specifically mentioned here in connection with His temptation.  To be filled with the Holy Spirit means to be completely yielded to Him and to be completely obedient to every word of God.  A person who is filled with the Spirit is emptied of known sin and of self, and is richly indwelt by the word of God.  As Jesus was returning from the Jordan, where He had been baptized, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness; probably the Wilderness of Judea, along the west coast of the Dead Sea.

There He was tempted for forty days and the Devil; days in which our Lord ate nothing.  At the end of the forty days came the threefold temptation with which we are more familiar.  Actually, they took place in three different places; (1.)The wilderness, (2.) a mountain, and (3.) the temple in Jerusalem.

The first temptation concerned the body, the second the soul, and the third the spirit.  They appealed respectively to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.

The three temptations revolve around three of the strongest drives of human existence; physical appetite, the desire for power and possessions, and desire for public recognition.  How often disciples are tempted to choose a pathway of comfort and east, to seek a prominent place in the world, and to gain a high position in the church.

In all three temptations, Satan used religious language and thus clothed the temptations with a garb of outward respectability.  He even quoted Scripture (Verse 10 and 11).

It is vitally important that Christians understand that living out the Christian Life must be based on bringing ourselves into complete subjection to Jesus Christ.  This is done by living out the three Scriptures that Jesus quoted in His response to the Devil’s temptations, and they are:

1.  To make the Bible the very “bread” of our life.  To consume it every day, and allow it to fill us and nourish us.

2.  To worship and serve God ONLY, in ALL things and at ALL times.

3.  To make sure that we do not “test” God by placing OUR thoughts, plans, ways, and agenda above HIS.

Commentary: The Building, The Mystery & The Purpose

By: Pastor Roy L. Crane

Listen to Pastor Roy’s Sermon Audio regarding this commentary Here!

Read the Scripture:  Ephesians 2:19 thru 3:12

The Apostle Paul lists some of the overwhelming new privileges of believing Gentiles. They have been made members of the church, or as Paul pictures it here, they have become stones in the construction of a holy temple. With great detail the apostle describes this temple—its foundation, its chief cornerstone, its cohesive agent, its unity and symmetry, its growth, and its other unique features. The unity and symmetry of the temple are indicated by the expression, the whole building, being fitted together. It is a unity made up of many individual members.

Each member has a specific place in the building for which he or she is exactly suited. Stones excavated from the valley of death by the grace of God are found to fit together perfectly. The unique feature of this building is that it grows. However, this feature is not the same as the growth of a building through the addition of bricks and cement. Think of it rather as the growth of a living organism, such as the human body. After all, the church is not an inanimate building. Neither is it an organization. It is a living entity with Christ as its Head and all believers forming the Body. It was born on the day of Pentecost, has been growing ever since, and will continue to grow until the Coming of Christ.

A Parenthesis on the Mystery (3:1–13)

Paul begins a statement in verse 1 that is interrupted in verse 2 and not resumed till verse 14. The intervening verses form a parenthesis, the theme of which is the mystery—Christ and the church.

Darby’s translation, “the mystery of the Christ,” suggests that it is the mystical Christ that is in view here, that is, the Head and the Body. (For another instance of the name Christ including both the Lord Jesus and His people, see 1 Cor. 12:12.) Verses 5 and 6 give us the most complete definition we have of the mystery. Paul explains what a mystery is, then he explains what the mystery of the Christ is.

Now we come to the central truth of the mystery, namely, that in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, believing Gentiles are fellow heirs, fellow members, and fellow partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel. In other words, converted Gentiles now enjoy equal title and privileges with converted Jews.

This mystery had from the beginning of the ages been hidden in God. The plan was itself in the mind of God eternally, but here the thought is that He kept it a secret throughout the ages of human history. Once again we notice the care the Holy Spirit takes to impress us with the fact that the assembly, or church universal is something new, unique, unprecedented.

One of God’s present purposes in connection with the mystery is to reveal His manifold wisdom to the angelic hosts of heaven. Paul again uses the metaphor of a school. God is the Teacher. The universe is the classroom. Angelic dignitaries are the students. The lesson is on “The multi-faceted wisdom of God.” The church is the object lesson.

From heaven the angels are compelled to admire His unsearchable judgments and marvel at His ways past finding out. They see how God has triumphed over sin to His own glory. They see how He has sent heaven’s Best for earth’s worst. They see how He has redeemed His enemies at enormous cost, conquered them by love, and prepared them as a Bride for His Son. They see how He has blessed them with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. And they see that through the work of the Lord Jesus on the cross, more glory has come to God and more blessing has come to believing Jews and Gentiles than if sin had never been allowed to enter. God has been vindicated; Christ has been exalted; Satan has been defeated; and the church has been enthroned in Christ to share His glory.

As a result of Christ’s work and our union with Him, we now have the unspeakable privilege of entering into God’s presence at any time, in full confidence of being heard, and without any fear of being scolded (Jas 1:5). Our boldness is the respectful attitude and absence of fear we have as children addressing their Father. Our access is our liberty to speak to God in prayer. Our confidence is the assurance of a welcome, a hearing, and a wise and loving answer. And it is all through faith in Him, that is, our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Commentary: How Do We Know?

By: Pastor Roy L. Crane

Listen to Pastor Roy’s Sermon Audio regarding this commentary Here!

Read the Scripture 1 John 5:9-13

“If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater.” In everyday life, we constantly accept the word of our fellow men. If we did not, business would be at a standstill and social life would be impossible. We accept the testimony of men who may be mistaken and who may be deceivers. Now if we do this in everyday life, how much more should we trust the word of God, who cannot fail and cannot lie. It is most unreasonable not to believe God. His witness is absolutely credible.

When a man does accept His testimony concerning His Son, God seals the truth by giving the man the witness of the Spirit in himself. On the other hand, if a man disbelieves God, he makes Him a liar; because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. People think they can accept or reject God’s testimony concerning Christ, but John would have them know that to reject it is to accuse God of dishonesty.

John now summarizes the Christian message: “This is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” What tremendous truths these are, namely, that God has given eternal life to men, and that the source of this life is in His Son.

From this, the conclusion is inevitable. He who has the Son has life; and he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. The teaching is unmistakable. Eternal life is not found in education or philosophy or science or good works or religion or the church. To have life, one must have the Son of God. On the other hand, he who does not have the Son of God does not have life, that is, true life. Eternal life is inseparable from Jesus Christ.

John states in the clearest terms why he has written the preceding passages. The purpose is that those who believe in the name of the Son of God may know that they have eternal life. If you have the marks of those who are children of God, then you can know that you have been born into the family of God. This verse also teaches another precious truth, namely, that assurance of salvation comes through the word of God. John wrote these things so that people may know that they have eternal life. In other words, the Scriptures were written that those who believe on the Lord Jesus may have assurance that they are saved. There is no need of hoping or guessing or feeling or groping in the dark. It is not presumption for one to say that he is saved. John states in the clearest possible manner that those who truly believe in the Lord Jesus may know that they have eternal life.

Commentary: What Are We Saved From?

By: Pastor Roy L. Crane

What Are We Saved From? (Revelation 20:7-15)   Listen to Pastor Roy’s Sermon on this subject here!

The devil himself is cast into the lake of fire to join the beast and the false prophet.

Next we are introduced to the great white throne judgment. It is great because of the issues involved and white because of the perfection and purity of the decisions handed down. The Lord Jesus is sitting as Judge (John 5:22, 27). All of the dead, small and great, stand before God. Two sets of books are opened. The Book of Life contains the names of all who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. The other books contain a detailed record of the works of the individual.

The sea will yield up the bodies of those who have been buried in it. The graves, here represented by Death, will deliver up the bodies of all those who have been interred. Hades will give up the souls of all who have died. The bodies and souls will be reunited to stand before the Judge.

This then is what we are saved from: the Lake of Fire, the final abode of the Devil, the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and of all who have not accepted Christ. Period.  We are not saved from the effects of bad habits; from the social pain of our relationships, or from the loneliness of poor self-esteem. We are saved from an eternity of fire in the company of the most evil persons ever.

When we down-play what it is we are saved from, we cheapen what Christ has done.  He gave His LIFE to keep you out of the Lake, even though by any standard of measurement you truly DESERVED and had EARNED your place there.  As a sinner, in rebellion against your Creator, in violation of His Word and ways, you were truly destined for the Lake.  However, in love and grace, Jesus gave Himself willingly as the atoning sacrifice for your sin so that you could be SAVED from the Lake.  The only issue that we carry into eternity with us is this; how did we respond to Jesus’ purchased salvation?  Did we accept it with repentance, gladness, and joy; or did we reject it and refuse to grasp the life-line that we have been offered?

Commentary: Are You Walking The Walk?

By: Pastor Roy L. Crane

Are You Walking The Walk? (Galatians 5:13-25)  Listen to Pastor Roy’s Sermon on this subject here!

Christian liberty does not permit sin. The Christian’s freedom is in Christ Jesus, and this excludes any possible thought that it might ever mean freedom to sin. We must never turn our freedom into a base of operations for the flesh. Just as an invading army will seek to gain a beachhead and use it as a base of operations for further conquest, so the flesh will utilize any opportunity to expand its territory

A. T. Pierson says: “True freedom is found only in obedience to proper restraint. A river finds liberty to flow, only between banks: without these it would only spread out into a slimy, stagnant pool. Planets, uncontrolled by law, would only bring wreck to themselves and to the universe. The same law which fences us in, fences others out; the restraints which regulate our liberty also insure and protect it. It is not control, but the right kind of control, and a cheerful obedience which make the free man.”

The believer should walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh. To walk in (or by) the Spirit is to allow Him to have His way. It is to remain in communion with Him. It is to make every decision in the light of His holiness. It is to be occupied with Christ, because the Spirit’s ministry is to engage the believer with the Lord Jesus. When we thus walk in the Spirit, the flesh, or self-life, is treated as dead. We cannot be occupied at the same time with Christ and with sin.

The Spirit and the flesh are in constant conflict. God could have removed the fleshly nature from believers at the time of their conversion, but He did not choose to do so. Why? He wanted to keep them continually reminded of their own weakness; to keep them continually dependent on Christ, their Priest and Advocate; and to cause them to praise unceasingly the One who saved such sinners. Instead of removing the old nature, God gave us His own Holy Spirit to dwell in us. God’s Spirit and our flesh are perpetually at war, and will continue to be at war until we are taken home to heaven. The believer’s part in the conflict is to yield to the Spirit.

We have mentioned before that the law appeals to the flesh. What kind of works does fallen human nature produce? There is no difficulty in identifying the works of the flesh. They are evident to all. Paul warns his readers, as he had told them before, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. The passage does not teach that a drunkard cannot be saved, but it does say that those whose lives are characterized by the above catalog of fleshly works are not saved. Why should Paul write in this manner to churches of Christians? The reason is that not all who profess to be saved are true children of God. Thus throughout the New Testament the Holy Spirit often follows the presentation of wonderful spiritual truths with the most solemn warnings to all who profess the name of Christ.

It is significant that the apostle distinguishes between the works of the flesh, and the fruit of the Spirit. Works are produced by human energy. Fruit is grown as a branch abides in the vine (John 15:5). They are as different as a factory and a garden. Note that fruit is singular, not plural. The Holy Spirit produces one kind of fruit, that is, Christlikeness.

Paul closes this list with the comment: “Against such there is no law.” Of course not! These virtues are pleasing to God, beneficial to others, and good for ourselves. But how is this fruit produced? Is it by man’s effort? Not at all. It is produced as Christians live in communion with the Lord. As they gaze upon the Savior in loving devotion, and obey Him in daily life, the Holy Spirit works a wonderful miracle. He transforms them into the likeness of Christ. They become like Him by beholding Him (2 Cor. 3:18). Just as the branch derives all its life and nourishment from the vine, so the believer in Christ derives his strength from the True Vine, and is thus able to live a fruitful life for God.
 
Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh. The verb tense here indicates something that happened decisively in the past. It actually occurred at the time of our conversion. When we repented, there was a sense in which we nailed the old, evil, corrupt nature to the cross with all its affections and lusts. We determined that we would no longer live to cater to our fallen nature, that it would no longer dominate us. Of course, this decision has to be renewed continually in our lives. We must constantly keep the flesh in the place of death.

Commentary: What is love?

By: Pastor Roy L. Crane

1 John 4:7-21  – - Listen to the Sermon Audio on this subject here.

The following two definitions of love go together, and form a BIBLICAL understanding of what true love is…..

1.  LOVE IS: An ACT OF WILL that results in an ACTION.

2.  LOVE IS: A state of being where the NEEDS and WELL-BEING of another are more important to you than your own.

The Apostle John emphasizes that love is a duty, consistent with the character of God. As has been mentioned previously, John is not thinking of love that is common to all men, but of that love to the children of God which has been implanted in those who have been born again. Love is of God as to its origin, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In the verses that follow, we have a description of the manifestation of God’s love in three tenses. In the past, it was manifested to us as sinners in the gift of His only begotten Son (4:9–11). In the present, it is manifested to us as saints in His dwelling in us (4:12–16). In the future, it will be manifested to us in giving us boldness in the day of judgment.

First of all, then, we have God’s love to us as sinners. God has sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him and to be the propitiation for our sins. We were dead needing life, and we were guilty needing propitiation. God’s love was not shown to us because we first loved Him. We did not; in fact, we were His enemies and hated Him. In other words, He did not love us because we loved Him, but He loved us in spite of our bitter antagonism. And how did He show His love? By sending His Son as the propitiation for our sins. Propitiation means satisfaction, or a settling of the sin question.

God’s love is manifested to us at the present time in dwelling in us. The apostle says, “No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” In John 1:18 we read: “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” In John’s Gospel we see that the invisible God is made known to the world through the Lord Jesus Christ. Here we have the expression “no one has seen God at any time” repeated in John’s Epistle. But now God is manifested to the world, not through Christ, for He has gone back to heaven and is now at the right hand of God. Instead God is now manifested to the world through believers. How stupendous that now we must be God’s answer to man’s need to see Him! And when we love one another, His love is perfected in us. This means that God’s love to us has achieved its goal. We are never intended to be terminals of God’s blessings, but channels only. God’s love is given to us, not that we might hoard it for ourselves, but that it might be poured out through us to others. When we do love one another in this way, which is proof that we are in Him, and He in us, and that we are partakers of His Spirit. We should pause to marvel at His dwelling in us and our dwelling in Him.

The blessing of being indwelt by God Himself is the privilege of all who confess that Jesus is the Son of God. Here again it is not the confession of merely intellectual assent, but a confession that involves the commitment of one’s person to the Lord Jesus Christ. No closer relationship is possible than for a person to abide in God and to have God abiding in him.

Love has been perfected among us in this. It is not our love that is made perfect, but God’s love is made perfect with us. John is now taking us on to that future time when we will stand before the Lord. Will it be with boldness and confidence or will it be with cringing terror? The answer is that it will be with boldness, or confidence, because perfect love has settled the sin question once and for all. The reason for our confidence in that coming day is given in the words “because as He is, so are we in this world.” The Lord Jesus is now in heaven, with judgment completely behind Him. He came into the world once and suffered the punishment which our sins deserved. But He has finished the work of redemption and now will never have to take up the sin question again.

Because we have come to know God’s love, we have no fear of perishing. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear. It is His perfect love that casts out our fear. I am assured of the Lord’s love first of all, because He sent His Son to die for me. Secondly, I know He loves me because He indwells me at the present moment. Thirdly, I can look to the future with confidence and without fear. Truly, fear involves torment, and he who fears is not made perfect in love. God’s love has not been allowed to operate in the lives of those who are afraid of Him. They have never come to Him in repentance and received the forgiveness of sins.

John emphasizes the futility of professing to love God while at the same time hating one’s brother. As spokes get nearer to the center of the wheel, so they get nearer to one another. Thus, as we get closer to the Lord, the more we will love our fellow believers. Actually, we do not love the Lord a bit more than we love the humblest of His followers. John argues the impossibility of loving God whom we have not seen if we do not love our brothers whom we have seen.