Monday, December 28 2015
Is it enough to believe in God to be saved?
Is it enough to give in the offering?
Is it enough to do good works?
The simple answer is "no"!
Cornelius is mentioned in the tenth chapter of Acts. The first two verses describe him and his devotion to God.
There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
Cornelius was an influential and important person. He was an officer in the Roman Army with 100 men under his command. The Bible says that he was "devout" meaning "pious". He "feared" or revered God and placed a lot of money in the offering. He had a life of prayer.
Cornelius would be a church going, tithes paying believer in Jesus Christ that fill so many churches today. That was not enough.
Cornelius did not have the New Testament and he was sincere in what he believed, and God gave him a vision of an angel. The angel could not preach to Cornelius. He was told to send for Peter. Peter had the keys to the kingdom and had already opened the door of salvation to the Jews (Acts 2) and the Samaritans (Acts 8).
What about Cornelius' walk with God did not save him?
This question is revealed in a conversation that Jesus had with a man named Nicodemus in John 3.
1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
There is no doubt that Cornelius was a wonderful person with a heart for the things of God, but he had not been born of the water and the spirit. This experience would be documented at the end of Acts 10.
44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.(Spirit)
46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord (water). Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
The New Birth experience was repeated with another devout group of followers in Acts 19. Paul did not question their belief, but he did question their experience. Experiencing the infilling of the Holy Ghost and being baptized in Jesus name is necessary step in your Christian walk just as it was for Cornelius.
The Bible does not have a you do it your way and I will do it mine plan of salvation. We are "saved" through grace and obedience to the Word of God. If Cornelius had to do more, shouldn't we?
Have a Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 02 2015
Pastors are accused on a regular basis of just "preaching about money". I'l admit, it can be a difficult subject to speak about to a congregation, but it is absolutely necessary. Our church has even made giving as part of our vision/mission statement.
The following is why it is an essential part of our Christian walk:
Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee.
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it .
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
 Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
 So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7
 But this I say , He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give ; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
1 Chronicles 29:9-11
 Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord : and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.
 Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.
 Thine, O Lord , is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine ; thine is the kingdom, O Lord , and thou art exalted as head above all.
A pastor that does not preach giving can contribute to the lack of understanding of God's will in your life and you not being blessed. Giving tithes and offerings is an opportunity to move the gospel, provide for the ministry and bless God. We should look forward to an opportunity to give and to give sacrificially because God is our provider. We should trust Him with our finances because its all His anyhow.
For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.