Fear of Who?

November 16, 2013  CommentaryHerald NewsTheologyNo comments

Fear of GoddWhy do so few people today fear God. The Bible tells us the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10). And if this is true should we truly fear God? The fear that the Bible speaks about is different than what we consider it a normal terms.

Another verse in the Bible that speaks on fear says perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). Either you're shrinking and running away from God or you're reverencing and running toward him. For those who truly had trusted and relied on the work of Jesus there is no fear.

That is why the gospel is so necessary. Why it is life changing. I can give testimony to this. This fear at a point in my life overwhelmed me. Now it no longer dominates me because of the power of the gospel.

The gospel changes hearts, attitudes and actions. Otherwise hatred and terror are the responses. For those who are not in Christ, there is great fear in many ways. In fact the book of Hebrews tells us that the man who does not know him faces a fearful expectation of judgment (Hebrews 10:27). Either you are God's friend or you are his foe.

Today while I was evangelizing someone asked me if I was ready to meet God. I am only because I've come to him on his terms. I have seen myself as wretched undeserving and self-centered and deserving of condemnation and hell. Yet God has covered my sins cast them away (Psalm 103) and made me new in Christ Jesus.

Arthur Leff of Yale Law School has said “It looks as if we are all we have. …. This is an extraordinarily unappetizing prospect looking around the world it appears that all men are brothers and the ruling model is Cain and Abel. Neither reason nor love nor even terror seems to have worked to make us good and worse than that there is no reason why anything should”.

He speaks powerfully about the plight of Man separated from Jesus. Without Christ there is no hope to fix a wretched man like you and I. Yet Christ can make us know truth and make us more human. The day is coming when we will be fully human but until then we have the struggle. The flesh was against the spirit, the spirit against the flesh. The spirit knows who are his.

The good news is that the punishment that we deserved fell on Christ at the cross. While we have nothing to offer him, he has given us everything we need. He is the just and the justifier and when we come to Christ we will see him for truly who he is and see ourselves for who we truly are. Only the gospel can  free us from the fear that God will someday condemn us (Romans 8:38–39).

For those who are in Christ our fear is a wholesome fear, a teachable humble fear, and it causes us to willingly do for God what we would not naturally want to do.

It teaches us to turn from evil and enjoy the good God has offered us through obedience. In other words biblical fear is trust reverence and awe. God is superior to us in every way and it is only when we repent of everything we've done that is good and bad that we will start to see clearly what life is truly all about. Do you truly fear God?

Read more: http://www.heraldnews.com/blogs/faithandfallriver/x173192724/Fear-of-Who#ixzz2kndz7qQ6
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Harvest Festival A Hit with Neighbors

November 5, 2013  CultureEventsNo comments

 

What a great time we serving our neighbors in Corky Row this past Saturday, October 26, 2013. Our Harvest Festival and Hayride in the Hood was a big hit with free food, free clothes,  bouncies and of course, a horse-drawn ride around Griffin Park. This is the second year we have been privileged to serve our friends and neighbors and with the help of Sidehill farms and our city alongside us, we were able to hang out with our neighbors from 1:30-4:30 share life, food, and fun.

We met a lot of new people and shared with them how loving Jesus Christ and sharing him with others is the whole reason for our church in Fall River. In fact we had over 50 people come into the church before our event started at 1:30 sifting through clothes and eating hot dogs, chips, and sipping soft drinks.  They showed up as we prayed and we blessed them in a variety of ways. We have been committed to doing freee events periodically because Jesus came to serve and NOT be served . Special thanks to all who helped out, especially Chris Bianchi who served as DJ and emcee.

With over 300 people coming to meet us and share life for a day, we are already thinking about next year. Will you help us? Give Pastor Tom a call.

Click here for our Flickr Album.



Harvest hayride IN the Hood- October 26th

October 24, 2013  announcementsEventsNo comments

 

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Harvest Festival – Hayride in the Hood

Saturday October 26 | 227 Morgan Street | Fall River

  • Hayride, Bouncies
  • Hot Dogs, Soft Drinks, Popcorn, Smores
  • Winter Clothes, Jackets, Sweaters, Shirts, Pants

Come on Out!



Fear and God’s Sovereignty

October 6, 2013  CommentaryHerald NewsTheologyNo comments

Have you ever been in a situation where you fear the outcome? In the garden of Eden Adam and Eve feared nothing because they trusted in God until another voice dissuaded them. We fear because sin has entered into our worldand our lives as well as every heart. The best way I've found to overcome fear is to grow in my understanding of God and his sovereignty in every area of life. To sum the phrase “God is in control” is comforting.

To others this brings fear and terror. When some hear God is in control they come to the wrong conclusion that God is punishing them when things aren't going the way they expect them to. While theologically Christians expectt the fact that God is sovereign, the experience is often different.

There are two things we might consider in confronting our fears regarding the sovereignty of God. First when we understand that God is in control we must remember that nothing is random or outside God's will. We may not understand it but we do come to see that God is working in the details of life and he does what he pleases (Psalm 135:5–6)…. for his glory, NOT ours.

It says in the Proverbs 16:9 “that man plans his way but the Lord directs his path”. Therefore we see and come to understand that nothing outside of God's will happens without his full knowledge and control. He knows the number of hairs on our heads, he knows the beginning from the end, and he says in Romans 8:28 that God does work all things together for good. In fact even temptatian has been orchestrated by God so that we can bring him glory through the process.Yet, our fears  can work for good. Going to the scriptures gives us the assurance that God is our heavenly Father who cares for us even when we cower and turn in fear of hard challenges.

Second Jesus truly believed in the sovereignty of God. Even though he knew he would have to go to the cross and suffer for us in his humanity he felt both fear and anxiety  before the ordeal of the cross. When Jesus went into the garden of Gethsemane he asked his disciples to pray for him. In Matthew 26 he said “my soul is very sorrowful even to death” and therefore stay here and wait for me and pray. He also stated as a reminder to us that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

This is a huge encouragement to me because there are fears and stresses in my life that I would rather not face. I wish God would just come down and take care of them for me and help me avoid the process of learning and trusting him. I am often weak frail and would prefer that God would step in front of every hard situation and manage it for me like a benevolent Father.

Yet Jesus shows us in the middle of the garden he trusted his Father to see him through the most bloody horrific ordeal that anyone would ever face. In reality it was  the just dying for the unjust.  Jesus was crucified and received the wrath of God so that we might receive his righteousness.What a great exchange!!! Our BAD for HIS GOOD!!!

Jesus is an example to us when we are afraid that his suffering and death have a purpose. It removes our guilt and shame and reminds us that while we may have anxiety and struggle with fear, he has overcome our greatest problem. Therefore we have a great high priest who sits in heaven as our advocate and we can go to him when we are afraid.

Hebrews 4:4-16 tells us we have someone who not only sympathizes with us, but is compassionate and has not only cared  for our plight but is willing and open for us to come to him (Matthew 11:28-29). Yes, today if you have not made your peace with God Jesus is calling you to come; those of you who have burdens that you cannot overcome, recoignize he will forgive you and he can give you rest.

You do not have to earn God's favor, you do not have to make up for your shame,  you can turn your guilt over to the one who paid the penalty and satisfied the wrath of God. Today I am free and I am loved by a Father who has my best interests at hand. He sent my big brother Jesus to pay my penalty and has sent his Spirit to help me overcome in every pressure of life.

While I will often feel distant from him,  I'm reminded that he has cast my sins as far as the east is from the west and chooses not to bring them back to remembrance (Psalm 103:12+13). I am free and I no longer need to fear. Let's rejoice this weekend and remind ourselves that our Father is the God of all hope. He has taken care of our past and secured our future with him. What a great God!!



Is Money Evil?

September 2, 2013  CommentaryCultureHerald NewsNo comments

 

moneyWe've been going through this three week series on “misused” verses in the bible at our church.

The one that I would like to touch on today is the verse in 1 Timothy 6:10. It says “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”. I'm quoting the King James Version of the bible because there is a slight nuance in this verse.

There's something about the desire to make large amounts of money and possessing material objects that does strange things to people. In Christian culture when something takes greater precedence in our lives than the God who created them, we call it an idol. Most people, especially in the Northeast with a strong religious background, equate idols with material statutes, but the bible describes idolatry differently.

There is something wrong with the first proposition. It infers that at the root of evil is money. I disagree. The English Standard Version which is more accurate in this place of scripture  reminds us that the REAL source of evil is in our hearts, the inner man, which is naturally selfish. Mans heart is desperately wicked. This is why the gospel must be preached. The gospel changes hearts and is a message of reconciliation (God making you his friend through Jesus).

The prophet Jeremiah speaking to his nation (Israel) ready to go into captivity  reminds the people that their hearts were self centered and had lead them astray from God and therefore they would receive God's justice, 70 years of bondage in Babylon . Later on God would bring a remnant of people out of that captivity, but the majority of the people had hard hearts.

The bible doesn't denounce money but warns us about “the love of money”. There are stresses, pressures and temptations that come with financial desire and gain. Both the rich and poor are impacted. Jesus reminded his followers that our possessions should not be our master to the point it consumes us “You cannot serve God and money”-Matthew 6:24.

The KJV seems to suggest any and all evil has its root in “the love of money”, but that's NOT what the bible really says. If you were to go back to  1 Timothy 6:9 in the ESV you would see that  it says – “ those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction”.  The word “desire” is descriptive in the original language . It is a present middle participle verb. The middle voice here suggests the desire is for self. Here is where the problem can be resolved.

The point in verse nine of chapter six is that the byproduct of a misplaced desire is evil.  Many types of evils are manifest from a distorted love of money, But the real source that must be expunged is a foolish selfish heart. Jesus came to conquer sin, death, and selfish hearts. Those who come to him and trust alone in his finished work (John 19:30) receive new hearts who can learn to use money appropriately.

Our inward bent, without Christ can distort our greatest desires. The good becomes the enemy of the best, and what God meant for good can turn into evil.   When self and its goals become greater than knowing God and following him, good desires can cause corruption

The emphasis in 1 Timothy 6:9 is focused on the desire to get rich and how many people fall into temptation as a result of this. These desires are what ruin relationships, families, and careers, and even lives. Remember the sins we commit are often rooted in another god (2 Cor 4:4) whose voice is subtle and ongoing.

The better translation found in the English Standard Version states “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.(1Timothy 6:10). Not all evil but all kinds of evil.  Big difference.

What can we do? First let scripture be your guide. It determines what is righteous and holy (Ephesians 4). Jesus said that with a new heart, we can deny ourselves pick up his cross/agenda and follow him when we are new creations.  God makes us new spiritually when we come by faith alone to Jesus. It doesn't mena we won't struggle, but a new disposition exists within us.

Second is it possible that we need to  look at making money for the sake of giving rather than getting? If we do this, the motivation will line up with what has been stated by the Apostle Paul concerning a quote made by Jesus himself “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” (Act 20:35).

There is actually greater joy in giving than getting. Ephesians 4:28 says we should work with our own hands so that “we may have something to share with anyone in need”. God's economy is so inverted to the way most people think about ideals.

Last let our motivation be the love of God.  God gave his Son so that we might have life everlasting. Have a great weekend!!!



Simul iustus et peccator

August 1, 2013  UncategorizedNo comments

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There is a Latin term used in theology to describe a condition of the Christian that comforts the believer while at the same time, gives them a yearning for the future “Simul iustus et peccator”.

If you have been truly converted, the struggle against sin has not yet vanished. It's like a shadow, here in the now and then gone, coming back frequently but never truly picturing the real you. It's because while every true convert has turned from their sinful lives and trusted alone in Jesus and gained a new status as a “new creation”, the old battle continues. A genuine believer has new desires and new abilities, while the old ways tug at our hearts (Phil 2:12-13).

This condition is described in the word simultaneous. Simultaneous is defined as is the quality of being or happening at the same time. “Simultaneously” is also a crucial word in Christian theology; it describes life and reality in “the time between”—between Jesus' first and second coming; the time after the announcement that “the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15) and yet the time during which we pray “thy kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10); the time after Jesus' bodily resurrection yet before our bodily resurrection; the time after God's judgment against sin on the cross and yet the time when we confess that Christ “will come again to judge the living and the dead.” It's hard to understand unless you have God's Spirit which helps us to understand spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:14).

“Simultaneously” points to this time between the times—the co-existence of two “times “at the same time: the old age and the new creation are both present realities. This means that the Christian lives in two times: in themselves, they remain the old Adam in the old age; in Christ, they share the status of the second Adam (Jesus) in the age to come. Simul iustus et peccator is a way of identifying this double existence. It means, literally, “simultaneously just and sinner.” To the one who has not Christ, this sounds like hypocrisy, but let's be honest, we all are!

The point is not that everyone's a little of each—that the line between good and evil runs through all people as the saying has it. “Just” and “sinner” are total rather than partial realities. The Christian, in him or herself, is totally a sinner while at the same time being, in Christ, totally righteous before God.  This is absolutely amazing! In other words, Christians are fully human—real people with real problems and real pain. But Christians, at the same time they're sinners, are fully and savingly loved (Rom 5:6-10). They have a new family with a new Dad, and a better future, irregardless of the situation they live in today.

Beyond this we have a King who is perfectly just and who could have justifiably cast every one of us into hell, BUT, chose to send his Son to die on behalf of those he would claim, They would repent of their sinful lives and enter into this new status. This King of Kings was willing to justify those (Romans 3:26) who would turn to him from their sins (Romans 10:13).

It's an amazing paradox that those who are truly Christians still sin. While yet sinners, we have a new status “justified” and stand as righteous children based not on anything we do, but upon everything Jesus has done for them. The bible say's today is the day of salvation to those who have drawn near.  Would you trust alone in Jesus and become “Simul iustus et peccator”?



Grace. Is it Necessary or Sufficient?

July 17, 2013  CommentaryHerald NewsTheologyNo comments

grace is sufficientThere has been a running argument that has divided the church for centuries. Is grace  necessary for salvation or is it fully sufficient for salvation? The Roman Catholic Church has said one thing, and the reformed church has had a different answer.

In other words is grace (God's unmerited favor) all that is neccessary to save a human soul.  That's the eternal concern that each side is concerned with.  One trusts in the infallibility of its leaders, the other trusts alone in the never changing authoritative word of God and the work of his Son.

In Roman Catholicism salvation is a process with many steps:  Actual Grace, Faith, Good Works, Baptism, participation in the sacraments, penance, Indulgences, and Keeping the Commandments.  Basically, salvation is attained through baptism and good works.  It is maintained by good works and participation in the sacraments.  If lost, it is regained through the sacrament of Penance which only a Roman Catholic priest can administer.  Add to this purgatorial cleansing after a person dies, and you can see that salvation is an arduous process.

In the reformation, those who were going back to sola scriptura recognized that many of the additional steps were not necessary, and were not scripturally based, but were used to the advantage of a clergy who had members without the book. Thankfully the book in the hands of man, revealed that these additional precepts were not necessary for salvation.

James White has said “ ”The [Roman Catholic] Council of Trent anathematizes anyone who says you can be saved without the grace of God. The Reformers, however, never claimed Rome believed you can be saved apart from grace. That wasn't the debate. The debate of the Reformation was never, ever about the necessity of grace, it was always about the sufficiency of grace. That remains the issue today in so many contexts.”

While the Roman Catholic view believes grace is a PART of salvation the reformed view declare it is grace ALONE that saves.The question becomes what is YOUR view?  In reality your eternal destiny is based on what side of the fence you stand.

This past week, Boe Ellis, son of Sammy Ellis who was the Red Sox pitching coach under Kevin Kennedy in the early 1990′s and who is currently a member of our church, taught on the book of Ephesians which affirmatively declares what is sufficent/necessary for salvation. In Ephesians 2:8-10 the authoritative word of God declares 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:8-10)

Does it get any clearer? The bible clearly affirms that someone who has faith/trust in what God has already provided (grace) will be saved/rescued from damnation and Hell in order to do good works. In other words what precedes us, the work of Jesus Christ, living faithfully as our sufficiency is ALL that is necessary to be in right standing with God for all of eternity.

The reformed mind claims what Jesus already has done is fully sufficient to save anyone who will repent of their own insufficent works and trust alone in the work of the Son. Understanding what has been done and personalized through faith saves someone. The instrument/tool that gets us into the family is personal faith that comes forth from God.

Once someone IS saved. the blessing of the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within the believer and gives that person new desire and ability to be on mission for God. The book of Philippians in chapter two declares 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Phi 2:12-13 ).

We often come to crossroads in life where we have to make massive decisions as to who will be our authority and what will we trust?  I pray you consider what the scriptures say concerning your eternal destiny. My only question today is whether you want to trust in the word of God or the word of man?

What does saving faith look like? Thomas Brooks centuries ago said “saving grace makes a man as willing to leave his lusts as a slave is willing to leave his galley, or a prisoner his dungeon, or a thief his bolts, or a beggar his rags”. Saving faith produces an internal and external change in the individual. We hate it when we sin, and we love to do God's will.  This is a process that is lived out imperfectly, but is saturated in Gods preceding grace that is fully sufficient to get us back up every time!!

Stay cool in our heat wave!



Concert in the Park- July 26th Timothy Brindle

July 16, 2013  announcementsEventsNo comments

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Christian rapper Timothy Brindle will be giving a free concert with Marrio Esco in Griffin Park on July 26, 2013. Free hot dogs at 5:00 p.m. Concert starts at 6:00 p.m.

Brindle, a Lamp Mode Recording artist, will wrap up another great week at Redemption Fellowship, as the Lord blesses us with a the presence of a mission team from Concord, NC.

Thank you Southside Baptist. We are so grateful for you.

Look forward to another great event as we share the love of Jesus with our neighbors. It is going to be a great time. See you there.



Tennessee Mission Team Brings VBS to Griffin Park

July 10, 2013  announcementsEventsNo comments

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We are thanking God for our partners and friends from Forest Hills Baptist Church in Franklin, TN. They have come as short-term missionaries to Fall River to do a Vacation Bible School this week in Griffin Park.

So far, dozens of kids and their parents have come out for our hip-hip, Christ-centered songs, dances, crafts and games.  All are having a great time making new friends and learning about Jesus.

We are so grateful for the team, for their willingness to invest in the people of our city; all for the Glory of Christ. Thank you Forest Hills Baptist.



Baptisms at the Beach

July 10, 2013  announcementsEventsNo comments

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Praise the Lord, our church was blessed to baptize three new believers Tuesday night at Horseneck Beach.

Buried in the likeness of Christ, and raised to walk in the newness of life were Jen, Camile, and Albert. Each has a different story, but in unity they chose today to make public professions of their faith in Christ, and committed to follow Him as Lord.

It is our privilege to be able to walk with them.