Salvation in Light of The Cross

Ray

You can download a printable copy of the complete set of In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides for free here. You can purchase a copy for your Kindle here.

Salvation

 

Brief overview: Salvation from death and sin is a free gift from God. It is not earned. It is a free gift courtesy of God’s love and grace. See John 3:16, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:1-10, 2 Timothy 1:9.

Why it is important to know the truth about salvation?

In pagan religions man makes the sacrifices to obtain the pleasure and acceptance of his “god”. Some pagan tribes have offered up human sacrifices just to make sure the sun would rise the next day. They also brought gifts for their “gods” hoping to gain their love and blessing. In Christianity it is the exact opposite. Our God sacrifices Himself on the Cross to obtain not His but our pleasure and acceptance. While we were the guilty ones He did not wait for us to bring a gift or peace offering, but made Himself the peace offering.

Revelations 12 tells us of a war in heaven. Not with machine guns and tanks, but a war of the minds. Isaiah 14 tells us Satan wanted God’s seat to the point where he was willing to kill God Himself to get it. He convinced a third of the angels that it would be in the best interest of the Universe if he was in control rather than God. Satan came to this earth and in Genesis 3 convinced Eve and thus mankind that he was more interested in our welfare than God was. For years a great controversy has raged over who has our best interest in mind.

Why understanding salvation in light of the cross is important:

The Cross settles the controversy of who has our best interest in mind once and for all. At the Cross we see the true character of both God and Satan. While we see Satan manipulating men to kill God, we see a tyrant who is willing to kill anyone who gets in his way of being number one. In contrast we see a God who is willing to give His life to save the world. The Cross shows who is really interested in our welfare and who is just using us as pawns for his own selfish purposes.

While Satan pretended to be on our side and acting in our best interest we see what he is really up to. We can also see the God whom Satan claimed did not really care about us is actually at peace with us and on our side!

For Further Study on Salvation:

WHY DID JESUS COME TO THIS WORLD?
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.  Matthew 1:21
WHAT DOES SIN DO?
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.  Isaiah 59:2
WHAT IS THE RESULT OF SIN?
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.   Romans 6:23
WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO SIN?
Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.   Ezekiel 18:4
HOW MANY HAVE SINNED?
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;   Romans 3:23
HOW MANY ARE TO DIE BECAUSE OF SIN?
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:  Romans 5:12
CAN WE CHANGE OURSELVES FROM OUR SINFUL WAYS?
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.     Jeremiah 13:23
WHAT ARE GOD’S FEELINGS TOWARD US?
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  2 Peter 3:9
WHAT PROVISION DID HE MAKE FOR ALL MANKIND?
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16
WHEN DID GOD FIRST LOVE US?
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.   Romans 5:8
WHAT IS THE ONLY WAY A PERSON CAN BE SAVED?
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift
 of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.  Ephesians 2:8, 9
WHAT DOES THIS SAVING FAITH PRODUCE IN OUR LIVES?
I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.    Luke 5:32
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.   1 John 1:9
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.  Proverbs 28:13
WHEN SHOULD WE ACCEPT THIS GIFT OF GOD?
(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)  2 Corinthians 6:2
WHAT DO WE BECOME WHEN WE ACCEPT JESUS AS OUR SAVIOR?
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  John 1:12
JESUS AT THE DOOR
O Jesus! Thou art standing
Outside the fast closed door,
In lowly patience waiting
To pass the threshold o’er:
We bear the name of Christians,
Thy name and sign we bear:
Oh, shame, thrice shame upon us!
To keep Thee standing there.
O Jesus, Thou art knocking;
And low! that hand is scarred,
And thorns Thy brow encircle,
And tears Thy face have marred:
O love that passeth knowledge,
So patiently to wait!
O sin that hath no equal,
So fast to bar the gate!
O Jesus! Thou art pleading
In accents meek and low –
“I died for you, My children,
And will you treat me so?”

If you have never given your heart to Jesus, or are wanting to give your heart to Him again, I would love to hear from you at laypastor@tampaadventist.net.

For more studies on the plan of salvation and new birth click here.  For studies on Baptism and God’s Church click here.

William Earnhardt’s Financial Bailout Plan

I am writing from my comfortable apartment in beautiful Tampa Florida.

 

William Earnhardt’s Financial Bailout Plan

 

Okay, we all know I am no economic expert, but I think what we are discovering here is that we don’t have any economic experts! The reason we are having a world financial crisis is because the world’s financial policy is the exact opposite of Biblical financial policy.

 

Jesus says “The meek will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

The world says the greedy will inherit the earth. Sorry I have to go with Jesus on this one. And Jesus was not making a dictatorial decree when He said that. He was just revealing a law of nature. A law Wall Street will never learn, thus our financial dilemma today.

 

My bailout plan includes forgetting about yourself, and living to benefit others.

 

[Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Philippians 2:3-4

 

 

 

The Bible says, “If thou lend money to [any of] my people [that is] poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.” Exodus 22:25

We have a big problem here because the world banking business makes its profit from something that is strictly prohibited in the Bible-charging interest. Again I understand I am no financial expert here, but I can’t help but see red flags when your financial game plan is strictly prohibited in the Bible. Not that God will curse us for going against His plan, but God warned us against charging interest because He knew where it would lead to. By now we should see that too.

 

My bailout plan includes doing away with charging people interests on their loans. I know economy majors are laughing at me right now, but I don’t see anyone laughing on Wall Street right now, and once again I have to go with the Bible here again.

 

A couple thousand years ago a prophet hanging out near the Jordan River said, “be content with your wages.” Luke 3:14 

The world tells us if we don’t make enough to get what we want then charge it or borrow money for it. (while creditors should not be charging interest, borrowers should not be borrowing money just to keep up with the Joneses.) I know it sounds crazy, but I have to go with the prophet hanging out down by the river instead of those Wall Street gurus.

 

Borrowing money is actually lying. We lie to ourselves when we tell ourselves our credit level is actually money that we have. It is not our money it is the banks money. When we are content with our wages we develop something essential for survival, and that is self control and character. In the 30s people survived the depression with their self control, character and creativity. Credit cards and rotting our brains watching TV have all destroyed our character, self control and creativity. I shudder to think what a depression will be like this time.

 

I remember as a little kid in the late sixties and early seventies going to a little Mexican restaurant in Tulsa. We went on Wednesdays when their enchilada dinner was a dollar off. I remember asking my parents, ‘Can we go to the Monterey House today?” And my mother would answer, “No it is not Wednesday and they do not have their dollar off the enchilada dinner today.” I have not seen that kind of reasoning in years. My parents have always been generous towards others and thrifty with themselves. Frankly they have seen good times and bad times financially, but to be honest I can’t really recall exactly when they were rich or when they were poor because in either case they have always practiced, character, self control and creativity.

 

Again I am no financial wizard so it took me years to wake up and make this observation. Poor people are poor because they live like they are rich and rich people are rich because they live like they are poor. Sure there are exceptions, but it all comes down to character, self control and creativity. My mother was creative and would make us tuna gravy on toast. I loved it! It was not till a few years ago my mom said she made that just because we did not have a lot of money. I had no clue. I thought she was making it because it was delicious!

 

Fifty years ago you saw someone driving a Porsche and you thought, “Man they are rich!” Today you see someone driving a Porsche and you think, “Man are they in debt!”  

 

My bailout plan includes making character and self control the fabric of our lives again.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Matthew 6:33  Wall street is now missing “all these things” because they never sought “His righteousness”. Again Jesus was not being dictatorial in Matthew 6:33, He was just trying to explain to Wall Street another law of nature.

 

Malachi 3:10 says, “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].”

 

I am no economics major but I have a message for Wall Street. The tithing system cures the greed that has brought on your recession. I have another message that will baffle math experts as well as economists. After you tithe, 90% of your pay check goes further than 100% of your pay check without tithing. Tithing is a systematic way to overcome greed. Greed is what has lead people to borrow more money than they can pay back, thus causing banks to go under. Greed is what has led people to spend more money than they have so they can live the lie that they are richer than they really are. You may think I am crazy Wall Street, but I believe the tithing system will cure the character problems that have brought about our economic decline. Sounds crazy I know, but I dare you to try it! At this point, what do you have to lose?

 

My bailout plan includes systematically returning tithes and giving offerings. This will help us develop the character, self control and creativity that will help us survive what is ahead for us as a nation.

 

God Himself says, “And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth [day] of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout [all] the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.  A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather [the grapes] in it of thy vine undressed. 

 For it [is] the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession. 

And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest [ought] of thy neighbour’s hand, ye shall not oppress one another: According to the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, [and] according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee:   According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for [according] to the number [of the years] of the fruits doth he sell unto thee. Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I [am] the LORD your God.  Leviticus 25:8-17

 

Forgiveness!! Debts forgiven! Wall Street will never go for this especially the more they themselves are in debt but I am going out on a limb here in allowing people to question my sanity by saying this, if you want to get out of debt, then cancel the debts of your debtors. Wall Street will tell you the first step out of debt is to collect all that is owed to you so you can in turn pay your debtors. Wall Street will never accept a “year of jubilee” where all debts are cancelled and debtors are not oppressed but set free. Therefore Wall Street will never be a sound infallible financial institution.

 

My bailout plan includes canceling the debts that are owed to me so that I can get in on God’s financial plan which is the only sound plan there is. Again there is a natural law that the Merciful will obtain mercy and forgiving people will be forgiven. Wall Street may not buy into it, but there is One who over rules Wall Street.

 

The Republicans are accused of having their eyes on Wall Street while the Democrats say let’s watch Main Street. My bailout plan has nothing to do with where Wall Street or Main Street is. Lets follow the plan that comes from Gold Streets!  Hhhhmmm…. Think about it, my plan comes straight from a place that is so financially sound they pave the streets with gold. Brave enough to try my plan?

Play It Where It Lies

 I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area. 

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:7 

 

 I have a confession to make. Often when I play golf I don’t play by the rules, if my opponent will allow me not to. For example, if I hit into the woods or a bunker, I will find my golf ball and throw it out onto the fairway instead of having to hit my way out. After all, all fairways are different and if I had been on another fairway I probably would not have hit into the woods or bunker anyway, so it’s just not fair. Why should I have to deal with something that could have been avoided by just playing on a different course? It’s not fair for other people to compare my score to theirs if they have not played on the same course.  

At least that’s how I used to play but not anymore. In a Bible study I was giving tonight somebody said something that totally changed how I look at my golf game as well as life. We were talking about the trials God sees us through and talking about how those trials make us stronger. We mentioned the Andre Crouch song called “Through It All.” In that song Andre asks the question, “If I didn’t have any problems how could I know my God could solve them?” 

 That is when it hit me. Back in early February I was watching the AT&T Pebble Beach PGA classic on TV. I remembered when Steve Lowry who later won the classic, was hitting out of a sand trap in the middle of the fairway. I marveled when he hit out of the sand trap and onto the green some 150 or 200 yards away just a few feet from the hole! What a beautiful shot! I am lucky if I can just get out of the trap. No way could I ever get up onto the green from a trap that far away. Tonight it hit me that I never will be able to do that if I keep throwing my ball into a more favorable position instead of just playing it where it lies, like Steve Lowry did. God will never be able to show me and the world what He can do for and through me unless I learn in golf and life to just play the ball wherever it lies. I can make excuses that I am just on a tough fairway and should be excused from the trial. I can just pick up my ball and drop it in a more favorable spot and just hit from there. Or I can just call upon the really great God that I have to help me right where I am. I can go play on an easier course or I can let God develop the skills I need to win right where I am.

From now on, I will play my way out of the woods and out of the sand traps and bunkers, so I can develop myself into the type player who, will one day hit out of a difficult place right onto the green next to the hole. I won’t be just dropping the ball out of the woods and traps to a more favorable spot. I will be facing my trials head on. I won’t be blaming my problems on the particular fairway I am on. I will accept my lot in life and just play the ball where it lies. I will allow God to use these trials to make me a better person not just on the golf course but in life. 

 Who knows? Maybe one day my most beautiful shot in golf or life may come while I am in the woods or a sand trap.

Check out my friend’s sports blog. http://bulldogsportsblog.blogspot.com/