In Luke 10, Jesus told His disciples to tell the cities that rejected Him that “the Kingdom has come near” to them. Those cities had the opportunity to hear Jesus, see Jesus, be healed by Jesus, and most of all be redeemed by Jesus, yet they passed on that opportunity and rejected Him.
We live in an amazing time where we have an abundance of Bibles in multiple languages and translations, we have stores full of books about the Bible and the Christian faith, and you can go online and listen to almost any Bible teacher in the world. We live in a time when the Gospel and scripture, as well as solid Bible teaching is readily available. The Kingdom truly has come near to us.
The question is, what do we do with that? Join Pastor Leland Acker in Luke 10:10-24 by listening to the audio posted above.
The mission of the church is the Great Commission, the Lord’s call to mentor and disciple others into faith, baptizing and teaching the believers all about Jesus. In this message, Pastor Leland Acker discusses what missions is, and three key things we all need to understand about missions.
Daniel was a man who had done everything right, yet, time after time, adversity and tribulation troubled him. Captured from his homeland of Israel during his younger years, he was one of several elite captives taken from Israel and enslaved in Babylon.
Though Daniel’s assignment wasn’t the worst, he worked personally for the Babylonian king, he still faced troubles, from impure foods being offered, to being thrown in the lions’ den, to seeing his friends thrown in the fiery furnace. (Daniel and his friends were delivered from all of those, by the way).
By the time we get to Daniel 9, the Babylonian empire has been conquered by the Medo-Persian empire, and Daniel is now working for another king. Having lived through the entire Babylonian captivity, Daniel now sees the light at the end of the tunnel, and the captivity is coming to a close.
Daniel sees God’s deliverance coming, and it is at this time that God begins to show Daniel how He will redeem His people and restore the nation of Israel. In Daniel 9:24, the Lord gives us his plan:
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
God would redeem His people, and restore His nation, by ending man’s rebellion, cleansing man from sin, and establishing His Kingdom on earth. Listen to Pastor Leland Acker discuss this message of hope below:
As more cases of COVID-19 are confirmed across the US (we have a local case here in Brown County, Texas), more people are asking the question, “Is this a sign of the end times?” Yes, and no.
In the days leading up to the return of Christ, Matthew 24:7 says “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Verse 8 goes on to say, “All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
“Sorrows” in scripture is often a euphemism for child birth. If you’ve ever had a baby, or if your wife or anyone close to you has had a baby, you know how this works. An expectant mother has a contraction. She doesn’t panic and run to the hospital, rather, she waits for the next contraction. There it is.
At first, the contractions are mild, and far apart (2 or more hours), but as time progresses, the contractions grow closer together, and become more severe. Ultimately, they become just a few minutes apart. Mom delivers the baby, and the joy of that newborn erases any memory of the pains of childbirth. (Or, so I’m told).
The end times, and the return of Christ works the same way.
The signs given in Matthew 24:1-8 are birth pangs, contractions, “The beginning of sorrows.” These signs repeat themselves with greater frequency and intensity until the Tribulation starts, ends, and Christ returns.
These signs both get our attention, and move the world closer to a place where the final events of this age can happen. It is all in God’s plan, and He is still in control of all things.
That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 24:6, “See that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
As the news continues to fill up with stories of COVID-19, outbreaks, and instability, remember the words of Christ. See that ye be not troubled, these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
Watch, and pray. And use common sense.
Have you ever noticed the passion local civic organizations have toward their causes? One organization raises funds to purchase dictionaries for every local third-grader. Another raises funds to purchase eye glasses for local school children. Yet, another raises funds to help children in various ways, from funding youth sports to providing scholarships for graduating seniors.
Other civic organizations raise funds for education, poverty relief, medical care, prescription medications, and one well-known organization actually raises money to operate its own hospital for children.
These are all wonderful causes, very worthy, and highly noble, and we support these organizations passionately pursuing their purposes. It’s worth noting that when you ask the members of these organizations what their purpose is, most of the time, they’ll tell you.
With that in mind, what is the purpose of the local church? Do people even know?
The church’s mission was plainly spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:19-20, when He said “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe whatsoever things I have commanded you.”
The mission of the church is to teach others about salvation, and in so doing, lead others to salvation in Jesus Christ. All other activities of the local church, benevolence, poverty relief, fellowship, among others, are secondary.
The question then becomes, “How committed is the church to its mission?” To determine that, we must ask ourselves, “How committed are the members of the church to its mission?”
In civic organizations, the members pay dues, but also dig into their own pockets to donate to their causes. More than a financial commitment, they also donate their time, volunteering many hours to club activities designed to fulfill their missions.
In looking at the local church, how much of themselves do members give toward the church fulfilling its mission?
It is our prayer that in 2020, the members of all churches rededicate themselves to this cause, to reach and disciple the lost and to lead others to Christ. There is no greater cause.
If you would like to play an active role in the Great Commission, we’d love to have you join us at Life Point Baptist Church. Contact us on the contact page to see what opportunities await you. Be prepared. Giving yourself to the mission of Christ will require sacrifice, which is what Pastor Leland Acker discussed in his message this week, which is posted below:
By now, you’ve probably already made your list of New Year’s resolutions, and you may have even broken a few. You’ve probably also looked back and reflected on 2019, and thought of ways you’d like 2020 to be better.
There are a lot of reasons to be hopeful in 2020, but there are also a lot of areas of concern. This being a presidential election year, expect the stock market to become more volatile as it does each time we head to the polls. Expect more threats in the Middle East, more posturing from North Korea, and then there’s Russia.
Expect more protests in the United States, and more political fights.
On the positive end, expect more job opportunities, and expect the Lord to bless you in a special way individually. You will have blessed moments with your family and friends.
Whether 2020 becomes a banner year for you, or one you’d rather forget, there is one thing you can do to stabilize yourself against the storms of life, and prepare yourself to fully enjoy God’s blessing. You can strengthen your theology.
Strong theology comes from a in-depth study of the Bible. And by in-depth, we don’t mean reading the same passage over and over looking for a divine revelation to come by a miraculous epiphany. We mean reading the scripture, and analyzing it within the context in which it was written.
This also means reading the Bible with its central message in mind. The central message of the Bible is God’s redemption of us through Jesus Christ who died on the cross to pay our sin-debt, then rose again to give us eternal life.
As you read the Bible, taking into consideration its context, and keeping its central message in mind, you come to a full realization of how good God has been to you, and how much He loves you. The more you understand that precept, the stronger your theology has become.
So, resolve with us to strengthen your theology this year. Doing so will give you the strength to withstand the storms of life, and the sight to see the blessings God has given you.
At Life Point Baptist Church, strong theology is one of our foundational pursuits. Feel free to join us Sunday mornings at 10 am for Sunday School and morning worship.
And, to get a jump start on strengthening your theology, here are some of the more powerful messages preached at Life Point last year:
If you need to be encouraged through difficult times, we recommend Pastor Leland Acker’s Seeing God series…
Are you struggling in your faith, here’s a message about what to do when your faith fails:
Pastor Acker also took on the debate over tradition in this pointed message:
And if you resolve for a stronger marriage, strengthen it with the theology from this powerful message:
May God bless you richly this year. Stay strong in your faith and fall on Him when you are weak.
Let’s face it. Sometimes we just need to hit the “pause” button on life, and get away. Whether our escape is hopping a flight to LA for the weekend, engrossing ourselves in a good book, or an evening of Netflix, our need to escape the pain of life is real.
Unfortunately, our retreat into a good book, movie, or even a road trip often amounts to little more than a temporary distraction from what truly bothers us. While we have temporarily redirected our minds, we have not truly escaped what ails us. Hence, when the book is finished, when the movie ends, and when the road trip is over, we once again find ourselves discouraged by our present situation.
You see, when books, Netflix and travel are our escapes, we never truly take refuge. We merely trick our minds into ignoring our problems for a few hours. The peace and happiness we feel during that time is not real, and we will soon be hit by reality again.
So, what can we do? Where can we truly turn when we need refuge from the trials and tribulations we face on a daily basis?
Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
A refuge is more powerful than a distraction. A refuge offers real protection and escape from a problem. If you truly want to escape from and solve a problem, scripture says there’s one place you can turn. The Lord.
The Lord is our refuge. The Lord offers us true escape from the problems we face. All too often, we forfeit the true peace God can offer us by turning to mere distractions instead. God offers true deliverance from life’s problems, and He offers the strength to endure them. To learn more about obtaining peace from God, listen to Pastor Leland Acker’s sermon below:
In the Gospel according to Mark, scripture demonstrates who Jesus is by showing us what Jesus did. Throughout the book of Mark, you can see the various attributes of Christ, from His compassion, to His love, to His righteousness. You also see His power and His authority.
Mark continually demonstrates who Jesus is, culminating in two questions Christ asked His disciples in chapter 8, “Whom do men say that I am?” and “Who do you say that I am?”
Those questions forced the people, His disciples, and even us today, to consider and understand Who Jesus Christ of Nazareth is. Indeed, this question has gripped the world since His crucifixion, when even the Roman centurion confessed, “Truly this was the Son of God.”
Who is Jesus of Nazareth? Why is He addressed as Jesus Christ, and sometimes Christ Jesus? Is Jesus the Christ? And if so, what is the Christ? These questions are answered in Mark 8.
When Jesus asked His disciples, “Whom do men say that I am,” the disciples gave several answers. Some said that Jesus was the reincarnation of John the Baptist. Others said He was the reincarnation of Elijah. Yet others believed He was one of the Old Testament prophets risen from the grave.
King Herod believed that Jesus was John the Baptist, risen from the grave to exact justice for his murder. Others in Jesus’ day believed He was a revolutionary, sent to overthrow the Romans.
The debate over who Jesus is continues to this day. Muslims believe He was a prophet. Many Jews believe He was a man of wisdom. Some believe He was a great teacher. Some a wise revolutionary who changed the world with His doctrines of peace and love. And some deny His existence altogether.
The issue, however, isn’t what others think about Jesus. It’s who YOU believe Jesus to be. Hence, the question Jesus asked Peter, “But Whom do you say that I am?”
Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
This was a huge confession from Peter. The Christ was the Anointed One God promised to Israel. This Christ would end sin, restore the Kingdom, and deliver the people from Israel. Peter understood, as scripture taught, that Christ would be the Son of God.
In this confession, Peter expressed his total faith in Jesus. The Christ, the Messiah, would deliver Israel. He was the One that the Old Testament foretold, that God promised, and through Whom God’s blessings would come.
Peter’s faith was that God would not only keep His promise, but that He had already kept His promise, and Jesus was the One through Whom God’s promises were kept. In this faith, Peter’s hope was in Jesus, and Jesus alone.
Indeed, our hope is in Jesus Christ, and Christ alone. Our hope for forgiveness of sins, for redemption, for eternal life, is all in Christ.
In Mark 8, Jesus then expounded on Peter’s answer by explaining that Christ must go to Jerusalem, be betrayed, turned over to the Gentiles, and crucified. However, on the third day, Christ would rise from the grave. It was at that point that Peter rebuked Jesus, saying “Be it far from you, this will not happen!”
Jesus then rebuked Peter, calling him Satan, and telling him that he loved the things of man, not the things of God.
Peter’s hope and faith was in Jesus. Peter trusted Jesus in all things, and knew without a doubt that Jesus was the Christ who would come and redeem Israel. Peter was a saved man.
However, instead of savoring the Spiritual salvation and eternal redemption Christ would purchase on the cross, and instead of resting in the love of God and seeing how all other blessings flow from that love, Peter desired the earthly victory of seeing Jesus crowned King, and the Romans overthrown.
Peter was a saved man, but his mind was still on earthly things. He wanted to see his nation restored. He wanted to serve in the King’s court. He wanted to be somebody. Though he were a saved man, his mentality was not really that different than the rest of the world. That’s the mentality that Christ confronted.
Like Peter, we too can become preoccupied with the things of the world. We look to the Lord to deliver us from an overbearing boss at work, or to provide us with the next promotion. We think that if we can just live up to God’s standard, God will bless us with an upper-middle class lifestyle.
We count our victories in terms of checks cashed, promotions earned, recognition given, and status symbols won. A significant amount of Christian literature and Sunday sermons teach that God will reward faith by giving us these victories. But, if checks cashed, promotions earned, recognition and status symbols are what we’re after, then how are we different from the rest of the world? We’re not!
What separates the Spiritual Christian from the worldly Christian, and from the rest of the world, is that we are content to endure whatever state God places us in, knowing that our true reward is when Christ returns and establishes His Kingdom. Our focus is not on this world, but on the next.
This focus brings us hope. That hope is built on the fact that when Christ died on that cross, He took the punishment for our sins. When He rose from the grave, He conquered death so that we can have eternal life.
That’s who Jesus is to us. He is the Only Begotten Son of God who freed us from condemnation by giving Himself for our sins, and rising again to conquer death. Therefore, He is the deliverer who will rescue us from the pain of this world and take us into His Kingdom where there will be eternal peace.
One of the most profound statements made in the Bible is found in 1 Peter 2:21, “For even hereunto were ye called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps.”
In essence, this verse teaches us everything we need to know in relation to Christ, and in our relationships with each other.
Christ suffered for us. He was arrested, mocked, beaten, flogged, scourged, rejected, then nailed to the cross, where He suffered the wrath of God for our sin, clearing us from a debt owed to God that we could never be able to pay, thus purchasing our eternal salvation and giving us the confident expectation that one day we will enter His Kingdom.
For that reason, we live with hope, we gather as a church, we teach our children and we minister to our communities. “For hereunto were we called,” for this purpose, and as a result of this.
It is in that context that Peter gives us marital advice in 1 Peter 3. 1 Peter 3:1 says, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands, that if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives.”
That verse starts with “likewise,” which refers back to 1 Peter 2:21, “that Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps.”
Basically, like Christ suffered for us, we should be willing to suffer, or better yet, endure for each other. Peter’s call for wives to submit to their husbands in 1 Peter 3 differs from Paul in that Peter acknowledges that this can be rather difficult, especially if the wife is married to a non-believer or an idiot.
He is saying, “I know it’s difficult, but Christ suffered and endured for you. You can in turn glorify Him by enduring with your husband.”
Furthermore, Peter writes that by enduring with (suffering) your husband, you can actually win him to the Lord, just as Christ redeemed us through His suffering.
*NOTE: This is assuming that this is a safe marriage. This verse neither justifies abuse, not encourages a woman to remain in an unsafe situation.*
You see, when we love, suffer for, and endure with each other the way Jesus suffered for and endured for us, then good things happen. In 1 Peter 3:5-6, Peter points out how Sarah did the same thing, when she obeyed Abraham, calling him, Lord. As a result, she gave birth to Isaac, who fathered Jacob, who fathered the nation of Israel, from which Christ was born. God’s promises to Abraham were fulfilled because Sarah obeyed him, even when Abraham acted like a fool.
When we trust the Lord, good things happen. When we trust the Lord enough to love one another as Christ loves us, really good things happen.
After addressing the wives, Peter addresses the husbands, saying in 1 Peter 3:7, “Likewise, husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”
Again, that word, “Likewise.” Husbands get a double-helping of “likewise.” Peter was saying, “Like Christ suffered for you, and like your wife continues to suffer with and endure with you, dwell with her!”
When Peter said to “dwell with our wives according to knowledge,” he meant more than sharing the same address and roof. To dwell with our wives according to knowledge means to live with, do life together, get to know, become more intimate with, understand, and fully love our wives. This is something a husband should want to do, if he loves his wife as Jesus does.
However, our flesh does not love as Jesus loves. Therefore, men find it just as hard to “dwell” with their wives as wives find it to “be in subjection” to their foolish husbands. Wives would rather handle business than watch their husbands bungle it, and husbands would rather talk to solve a problem rather than communicate to connect. Therefore, scripture must teach us to go against the flesh and do that which takes a little more effort. Wives, be in subjection to your husbands, and husbands, dwell with your wives.
“Giving honor unto the wife as the weaker vessel” simply means to cherish her as you would a fragile, priceless antique. We should want to love, cherish, protect and spoil our wives.
Yes, it can get exhausting, which is why Peter gives us the suffering of Christ and the patience of wives as examples.
Finally, Peter discusses Christians at large. In 1 Peter 3:8, we are commanded to “be all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.”
This verse teaches us to be unified, gathering together around our common belief of Jesus Christ as our savior, and our faith in the redemption He purchased for us on the cross. Doing this, we should be compassionate and sympathetic to one another, and love one another.
This may seem like a tall order, but Christ loved us before any of us were lovable. So should we love one another.
All of these concepts are premised upon us loving each other as Christ loved us. Such glorifies the Lord. Are we willing to learn to love each other, endure with each other, and work to help and edify each other. May God bless you.