The Bible is centered around the Gospel, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Take a listen as Pastor Leland Acker explains how Genesis 1 introduces us to God, demonstrates His power, and shows His goodness.
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.
Job both had it all, and lived a life that honored God. The Bible tells us that he was immensely wealthy, had thousands of livestock, hundreds of servants, and a good family. More important than his material wealth, Job was described by scripture as a man who was “perfect and just, one who feared God and turned away from evil.”
If anyone deserved the continued blessings of God, it was Job. Yet, God allowed Job to lose everything. Why?
In Job 42:5, after having gone through so much suffering, Job said to God, “I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now I have seen you with my eyes.”
That was the goal God set forth from the beginning. God used everything Job endured to transform his faith to where God was more tangible to him.
In Job 19:25, Job said, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and will stand upon the earth at the latter day.”
Job’s use of the word “redeemer” is interesting, because it usually referred to the process of being purchased out of a debtors prison, or debt-driven servitude. Job, until chapter 1, had been a rich man. He wasn’t a man sold into a debtors prison. Yet, here, he refers to his “redeemer.”
Job used that word because he understood that life was not about the wealth and experiences he had in this world. Life is about what happens in the next. He was looking forward to the Lord coming, and redeeming him from this life to the next. He had this faith prior to losing everything, and losing everything refined this faith as the book progresses.
Everything God does, He does to bring us into His presence. Once we understand and trust that concept, our life’s experiences take on new meaning.
The first step in this is to understand our redemption. Listen below as Pastor Leland Acker discusses what a redeemer is, Who our Redeemer is, and what we’ve been redeemed from.
Adon had been a faithful member of the church for years. He had trusted the Lord as his savior as a young man, had tithed regularly, donated to the church’s missions program, and had even accompanied a group on a mission trip to Central America. If more of God’s people were like Adon, greater things would be happening for the cause of Christ.
Adon had served God faithfully, asking nothing in return. Adon never prayed that God would reward him with a better job, nicer car or bigger house. Yet, when Adon’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, that changed. Adon prayed earnestly to God, begging God to cure his mother’s cancer, to heal her, and to restore her life. He prayed that her pain would subside, that the doctors would be guided to the proper treatment, and that a cure would be found.
For six agonizing months, Adon pleaded with God for this one miracle, the healing of his mother. Other folks had cancer, and other folks saw their cancer go into remission. But Adon’s mother continued to struggle with the disease.
Adon was told that the prayer of faith would save the sick. He was told that if he prayed in faith, God would answer. All Adon had to do was pray in faith, and claim the victory. Adon continued in prayer. He stayed faithful to the church. And he never doubted God’s love and power.
That is, until the doctor declared his mother to be dead, at 2:23 p.m. on a sunny Tuesday in October.
Why didn’t God hear Adon’s prayers? Was his faith incomplete? Did he falter? When did he doubt? Was his prayer not fervent enough?
If all the prayer he had poured out would not save his mother, what was the point? Why didn’t the scriptures that were shared with him work? Was his Bible broken? Is this all a lie? Is faith only good as long as he is serving and donating to the church?
Adon became disillusioned. And who could blame him? The person who was most precious to him in the world had just been ripped away.
If we are honest, I think most of us can relate to Adon.
But there is one man in the Bible that we can look to in order to learn how to handle these times of tragedy. Like Adon, Job was also a faithful servant of God. He was just and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. He gave generously, and prayed on behalf of all those he loved. Yet, in a matter of a few days, Job lost everything… his wealth, health, and kids.
The whole world collapsed on Job. Even his wife told him to curse God and die. And when his friends came, they said it must be karma… that Job must have done something horrible to deserve this misfortune.
Much theological truth is poured out during the debates between Job and his friends. Job’s faith remained in tact, and by the end of the book, he had received a revelation that few have ever seen. Job got to know God in a way you and I cam barely imagine.
In Job 42:5, Job says to God, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.”
Up until now, Job had believed in a God whom he had learned about by the teaching of the word. But now, Job believed in a God he had seen with his own eyes. While God’s presence in the book of Job is clearly felt, Job gained such an understanding of the Lord through his struggle.
The book of Job offers us comfort by giving us that deeper understanding of the Lord. And if you are enduring a time of trauma, grief or bereavement right now, you are about to experience God in a way you never before imagined.
Join us on Sunday mornings in October to obtain a deeper understanding of God through our struggles. Morning worship begins at 11 a.m.
In 1995, Joan Osborne took center stage on the American Rock and Pop charts with her break-out hit, “One of Us,” a song that explored the idea of God coming down to earth to live life as a common man.
Osborne’s vocals in the song were a higher-pitched, soft approach meant to mimic the innocence of a child’s questions about God. It may not have been the intent, but Osborne’s song opened the door for theological discussion, much of which centers around the fact that the premise of the song, God living with us, was fulfilled by Jesus Christ approximately 2,000 years ago.
Among the many questions and thought provoking ideas, the song asked one pointed question, “If God had a face, what would it look like? And would you want to see, if seeing meant that you would have to believe?”
Would you be willing to see God if it meant having to believe on Him, on Jesus, and trust Him to the point that you would give your life to Him? Would you receive a sign from God if it meant you would have to repent?
Or is it easier to remain in darkness, stay in doubt, and numb your Spiritual perception with plausible deniability.
This question was put before King Ahaz in Isaiah 7.
The Kingdom of Judah was under seige from the northern Kingdom of Israel and Syria. Through the prophet Isaiah, God told Ahaz, King of Judah, that He would not allow this assault to stand. He then added this caveat, “If you will not believe, surely you will not be established (strengthened).”
Basically, God told Ahaz that He would stand up for him and fight for him, but if Ahaz did not believe, it would do him no good. Then, God put forth an offer in Isaiah 7:11, “Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.”
Here, God offered something to Ahaz that He hadn’t offered to anyone else. God was willing to confirm His presence, existence and love to Ahaz by giving a miraculous sign… and the sign could be anything Ahaz requested, either in the height above or in the depth below. Essentially, Ahaz was handed a blank check.
Ahaz was given the choice… see God and believe? Or refuse to see God and reject Him.
In Isaiah 7:12, Ahaz said, “I will not ask, neither will I tempt (or test) the LORD.”
Ahaz did not want to see, because he did not want to believe. And thus, the words of Jesus Christ were fulfilled in him, when Jesus said, “And this is the condemnation, that Light is come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil (John 3:19).”
Ahaz’ rejection aside, God promised a sign.
“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (God with us).” – Isaiah 7:14.
Though Ahaz rejected God and refused His sign, though Ahaz did not want to see, because he did not want to believe, God would send a sign, His only begotten Son who would be born of a virgin.
And while Ahaz did not live to see it, Christ was born. Being the Spirit of God indwelt in a body of flesh, the world got to see God take on the form of man and live life as a commoner. He lived, worked, suffered, struggled, hurt, mourned, grieved, prospered, and faced the same issues in life we face. Thus Hebrews 4 says He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
After living the life of a commoner, and relentlessly traveling, preaching, teaching and healing, Jesus went to the cross where He died for our sins, clearing us of the guilt and blame, was buried, and rose again the third day, conquering death. This was done in full view of thousands, with many writing personal accounts of the Gospel, four of which are recorded in the New Testament.
Joan Osborne’s question has been answered. The sign offered to Ahaz was given. The question is, do you want to see Jesus for Who He is? Do you want to believe? Or are you willing to ignore Him, in the hopes that plausible deniability will deliver you?
See. Believe. And watch God transform you.