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Are there Times When Sharing our Faith is Unwise? Actually … Yes.

Matthew 7:6 (NIV) 6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”

I am an evangelist at heart. Ever since the Lord saved me in February of 1977, I have been willing and eager to speak to anyone with a pulse about Jesus. And God has raised up so many opportunities to do so that I can only celebrate His mercies. As the Psalmist said: “As for me I will always have hope. I will praise you more and more!!” (Psalm 71:1)

My zeal for the Gospel has not diminished but I think I’m getting smarter. Perhaps just in time. We are living in a period of increased distain, even contempt for the Good News about Jesus. We should not be surprised or too bothered by the mocking of late show talkers and commentators in the media saying Christians are everything from racist to just plain stupid. That has always been there. But I sense an increase in the intensity of their rhetoric and so often their need for salvation is entirely obvious. So, we hope to politely and respectfully tell them about life in the Kingdom of God thru the Lord Jesus Christ.

But what if they don’t want to hear it? What if they are downright vulgar in their response and they make it clear that our Gospel is repulsive to them. After all, the Word of God says this will happen at times. Why? Consider:

2 Corinthians 2:14-16 (NIV) 14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?

So, if we meet someone who turns up their nose at our Christian witness, we should “get it” that they don’t want to hear more. We can pray for them, but we are wise to wait. Paul and Barnabas experienced exactly this when they were witnessing to some Jews in Antioch. Look closely with me at what Paul said when they rejected the message:

Acts 13:46 (NIV) Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.”

This is a tricky verse to translate. Paul seems to be saying they don’t consider themselves worth saving and/or they don’t consider the message to be worthwhile.

In any case, Paul and Barnabas dropped the effort and took the message to other people … the Gentiles. One can perhaps hear frustration in their words. As if they were saying “Look, we’re not going to beg you to hear this precious news about the Son of God!”

The Gospel is indeed precious. One other verse. In Matthew Seven Jesus has just warned his disciples to be careful in judging but then he gives them an example of using sound judgment. We read:

Matthew 7:6 (NIV) 6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”

What does our Lord mean? If you lean down to feed the pigs and open your hand, they will expect food. When they see that you’ve given them something that is inedible, like pearls they cannot eat, they will be enraged and even attack you. The Gospel is like the finest pearl and entirely sacred, and totally unappetizing to the hardened heart. Jesus is saying we must discern the spiritual status of those with whom we share. It will become obvious pretty quickly.

Bottom line: we must ask the Holy Spirit to lead us to those who will hear our witness. The message is not a cheap give-away and unless He opens the heart, it will be rejected. Sharing our faith calls for wisdom and humble leading by the Lord.

Blessings! Pastor Alberta

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“Actually, God Loves Gays”

February 12, 2019

1 John 4:8 (NIV) Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Recently, I was surprised by a new acquaintance with whom I was sharing the gospel. She is a very agreeable career woman with a solid marriage and three kids. Winsome and engaging and quite open to the Good News of Jesus Christ. After a couple of promising discussions, she asked me if I supported gay marriage. When I said “No” she was visibly disturbed. “That’s where we part ways” she observed. “I cannot understand why Christians hate gays and why they insist that God hates gays!” My reply was “I don’t hate gays and God does not hate gays. Actually God loves gays.” Her response after a moment: “Well…how come everyone thinks Christians and maybe even God hates gays?”

The answer is probably rooted in the careless and even wicked words of some who claim to be Christians … whose personalities are far from Christlike. And some so-called Christians whose gift is cruelty and who carry signs that say things like “God Hates Fags!” So, those yet to know Christ can be understandably confused over the whole matter. Hence, we should clear it up.

God does not hate gays. God does not hate criminals. God does not even hate terrorists. God hates sin! Or, as Luther said “God is not angry at sinners. He is angry at sin!” It’s incredibly important to think this through carefully. Why does God hate sin? Is it because it offends Him in that we are not following His rules? Is it because we are morally petulant, and God deeply resents our failure to honor Him? Is it, in short, because God has an ego problem like a dad whose son has disobeyed, and that dad feels disrespected … so that the disobedience is more about dad than the miscreant son? No. God hates sin BECAUSE IT HARMS US AND HE WANTS GOOD FOR HIS IMAGE-BEARERS!

An example. Before I was saved, I used to drink a gin and tonic now and then. I rarely got drunk but once or twice I had a “few too many.” Afterwards I experienced the mild hangover that is the recompense for such foolishness. Then I decided to be more disciplined. But I have a hunch that when I drank too much gin, God never got a head ache and God never had a hangover! It did not hurt God when I sinned. It hurt me. But it did hurt God in his heart. In that same way the heart of a parent is hurt when the son or daughter acts foolishly and suffers. God hates sin because sin hurts us. The sixteen-year-old might shout “I hate you dad” because he can’t have the car. But it might be because dad is not confident yet of his driving skills. The kid is certain dad is an insufferable crank and very cruel. But that is not it at all.

Now…about the “gay” life. When my new friend said she was troubled by Christians who oppose gay marriage and the gay lifestyle, I asked her why. “Well, it is just unkind and mean-spirited. And what business is it of yours anyway?” Fair question. It is God’s business and I love and fear God. BUT, here is the key: God’s prohibition against homosexual activity is, once again, out of His love. I suggested to the woman that she do some research. It may be hard to find but it can be located. Namely, the morbidity rates for active homosexual adults. Although many pro-gay websites will dispute it, all kinds of diseases attend to the lives of active gays especially men. Cancers and HIV related disease. Higher suicide rates. Consider:

“LGB youth are at greater risk for depression, suicide, substance use, and sexual behaviors that can place them at increased risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).3 Nearly one-third (29%) of LGB youth had attempted suicide at least once in the prior year compared to 6% of heterosexual youth.3 In 2014, young gay and bisexual men accounted for 8 out of 10 HIV diagnoses among youth.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Surveillance Report, 2014; vol. 26. Published November 2015. Accessed October 2016.)

Now, gay activists are known to say those pathologies are precisely because active gays are ostracized and criticized and treated hatefully. No doubt it is hard to be an active gay but they are unwilling to admit that it is their behaviors that account for depression and disease. If everyone were to affirm the gay lifestyle, the Word of God indicates it would still be unacceptable.

We read:
Romans 1:26-27 (NIV) 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

The point is that the active gay is estranged from God apart from repentance. “God gave them over” means God allowed them to choose to disobey him. It does not mean He hates them and is glad about their suffering. The horror is that the active gay is estranged from God Himself. After all, the Word of God says that the Maker of Heaven and Earth considers homosexual activity “abominable.” We read:

Leviticus 18:22 (NIV) “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”

“Detestable” is a Hebrew word … “toy-ah-bah” meaning disgusting and degrading. I’ve spoken with enough homosexual men to shudder at their self-loathing after nights of multiple same-sex partners. God is calling them out of that lifestyle behavior not because He is petty but because they are self-destructing.

So…as Christians, we must look for opportunities to declare that God loves the sinner and wants what is best for him or her. Those who claim to belong to Christ and yet appear at funerals carrying signs that God is filled with hate neither know God nor anything about His ways. The truth is that God hates what sin does to us, including homosexual sin. It damages our bodies and defiles our spirits and trashes our sense of God-given dignity. The active gay person needs to be set free. And one thing is certain. Jesus said:

John 8:32 (NIV) “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

God be praised! Pastor Alberta


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“What Can We Do With Hatred and Contempt?”

January 27, 2019

1 Timothy 4:1-2 (NIV) The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

Psalm 139:21-22 (NIV) 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? 22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.

Matthew 5:43-45 (NIV) 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Do these verses have anything to do with each other? I think so. We’ll come back to the connection shortly. I once had a non-Christian say to me “I thought you Christians don’t have any enemies. Right? Why would you … if you follow Christ?” Well … actually … we certainly can and do have enemies. In fact, being hated because of our faith and even harmed does give us enemies. And we see enemies of righteousness all around us. So, the issue is not having enemies but how to respond to our enemies. Especially how to keep from developing hearts full of hatred every time we read of things totally ungodly.

Many readers of this blog interacted and admitted to real frustration, even contempt and low-level hatred when Governor Cuomo celebrated his state’s new law. Now, in New York, it is easier than ever to kill the unborn. Even up to birth. And Mr. Cuomo was proud! If he is not a personal enemy, surely he is an enemy of all that is Holy despite his claim to fidelity to the Catholic Church. So, what to do with these feelings of anger and distain for such a man and his actions? Especially since the Lord Jesus Christ said to love him? A few more thoughts on this.

FIRST: As Christians, we do not want to be haters and people filled with fury. That is one of the reasons the non-stop news world we are living in can be emotionally unhealthy. Hourly reminders of evil in the world can darken our spirits and make us unlovely and unloving. So, we must make sure our hatred is hatred of the unholy and remember that we too can be unholy.

SECOND: We should be savvy about what the psychology people call “Habituation.” We all experience this. You become accustomed to your neighbor’s barking dog or a difficult colleague at work. You become “habituated.” It’s often a good thing and one of life’s common-sense realities. But ask any combat veteran who killed others and they will usually say, in some manner, it became easier. Those who have engaged in torture often say they simply did it without conscience. Some years back, a project at Yale University measured how people responded when asked to perform acts of cruelty. The majority started out with great uneasiness. By the end of the project, many if not most were doing so without hesitation. (The recipients of the pain were not actually experiencing it but the people causing the pain did not know that.) Those inflicting the pain simply became habituated to what they were doing and no longer found it morally reprehensible.

That’s what happens in the radical pro-choice movement. Those who support killing the unborn have become habituated. They all know what it is. They’ve all seen the pictures of mangled babies. The senators and congressmen and governors. They know. Everyone has seen a sonogram by now. THEY KNOW! Yet, they continue to support and even celebrate the killing of these innocents. Why? Because they have become habituated to evil and wickedness. Like the Nazi guards who simply carried out their orders.

Here is the big question: how can this happen? For that, we return to Paul explaining the demonic activities that were SUPPORTED in the early church. He said these were people: “Whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” (1 Timothy 4:2) HERE IS THE AMAZING EXPLANATION: “Seared” is the Greek word “cauterod-zo” from which we get “cauterize.” A surgeon might cauterize an artery and the blood stops flowing! A cauterized conscience does not work! It is stuck. The normal healthy flow of God-given moral values is cut off. In short, when I watch an otherwise decent family man like the governor, I am watching someone who has been habituated to an evil position and whose conscience, on this issue, does not work.

In thinking about this, we are reminded of how brutally and indecently our Lord was treated. Yet, from the Cross he prayed:

Luke 23:34 (NIV) Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

They were ignorant of who Jesus was. The governor does know what he is doing but, with a seared conscience cut off from the flow of Holiness, he is rendered ignorant of sin. He is, in a sense, helpless like the she-camel in heat. So, yes, his actions are repulsive but how are we to react? Ok…

THIRD: Some Suggestions for all of us starting with me … when struggling with the sins of people:

Remember, we have boards in our own eyes. Our Lord pointed out that it is always easier to see the speck in the other person’s eye; we do need to look in our moral mirrors frequently.

Matthew 7:5 (NIV) 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

We must ask God to show us what He wants us to work on. Interesting that the Psalmist who said, “Do I not hate those who hate you Oh God?” also said:

Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV) 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Remember that there is good in most people, even those we are tempted to hate. Jehoshaphat was the King in Judah around 850 BC. His moral record was quite uneven, and God sent a messenger named Jehu to speak to him. I like what he said:

2 Chronicles 19:1-3 (NIV) 1 When Jehoshaphat king of Judah returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem, 2 Jehu the seer, the son of Hanani, went out to meet him and said to the king, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because of this, the wrath of the LORD is upon you. 3 THERE IS, HOWEVER, SOME GOOD IN YOU, for you have rid the land of the Asherah poles and have set your heart on seeking God.”

There is good in even the “worst” people.
Remember that our best response to pain when viewing evil is to pray for the evil-doer. In this case, I often pray by name for those leaders who promote abortion. Perhaps God will raise up their consciences. Even if he does not, it’s hard to be filled with hate when you are praying for someone.

Do something about evil besides fret and fume. Help at a crisis pregnancy center. Give money to Right to Life. Write letters. Run for office. Channel your energy into constructive responses to this grotesque situation.

 Finally, do not worry about justice. No one ever really gets away with anything. If justice on this side of the Kingdom never seems present, the Day of Judgment is coming.

Be sure that I am struggling with you.

Blessings and Peace. Pastor Alberta


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“The Governor and the She-Camel” Celebrating the Unthinkable in New York

January 24, 2019

Jeremiah 2:23-25 (NIV) “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled; I have not run after the Baals’? See how you behaved in the valley; consider what you have done. You are a swift she-camel running here and there, a wild donkey accustomed to the desert, sniffing the wind in her craving– in her heat who can restrain her? Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves; at mating time they will find her. Do not run until your feet are bare and your throat is dry. But you said, ‘It’s no use! I love foreign gods, and I must go after them.’”

Somewhere around 600 BC, the prophet Jeremiah spoke for God in condemning Judah and Israel. The language that the Lord placed in his heart was nothing less than “earthy” and almost vulgar. In God’s mind, His people were unfaithful. He described their infidelity as sexual impurity … running after endless passion. The godless people were likened to a she-camel chasing about unrestrained and INSATIABLE in her desires for more. The hyper charged up female donkey could not help herself. She was like Godless people racing after idols and wallowing in sin, she cried out “I love foreign gods, I must go after them!”

That reminds me of the militant pro-choice people in our land. It’s not just that they defy the Word of God and encourage the killing of the unborn. This week, Governor Cuomo actually bragged about New York’s latest law allowing virtually for unborn murder right up to birth. Like the she-camel panting for more, he can’t help himself! He said:

“Today we are taking a giant step forward in the hard-fought battle to ensure a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her own personal health, including the ability to access an abortion. With the signing of this bill, we are sending a clear message that whatever happens in Washington, women in New York will always have the fundamental right to control their own body…”

Perhaps someone could inform the governor that unless a pregnant woman has been raped she already has control over her own body. But she is a she-camel seduced by the society into thinking that no-consequences sexual intimacy is her Constitutional right.

What really angered me was Mr. Cuomo’s bragging about his latest life-ending trophy. Like the she-camel, he is a pro-choicer who cannot get enough. He does not care that everyone else is observing that science is making hash of his arguments. Making it easier to kill a child at six months or even nine is so obviously wicked that it suggests demonic influence upon the man’s thinking. He actually boasted about his state’s new law. Once again, we find the words of Jeremiah to be profound when he described the sins of those who had abandoned God:

Jeremiah 6:15 (NIV) “Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,” says the LORD.

Ironically, it was Mr. Cuomo’s father in the nineteen eighties who presented his equally darkened and incoherent argument about abortion. Speaking at Notre Dame, he said he was “personally” against abortion but who was he to force his views on other people? Right. I’m against murder but as a legislator I cannot demand that everyone share my view. Amazing how silly a well-trained lawyer can sound. I mean really…their thirst for blood and destruction is analogous to the she-camel in heat. They are in a heat for death.

Processing all of this has shown me again just how much anger I can feel at this holocaust in the womb. Actually. I will admit to the edge of  hatred. I know it. I have wondered over the years about what to do with this verse:

Psalm 139:21-22 (NIV) Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.

I know. I know. Please do not remind me that Christians are not supposed to hate. And we are to love our enemies. But I am a genuine born-again Christian with the Holy Spirit inside of me … yet I find myself struggling not to hate those who hate God and do such evil.

Some will say “Hate the sin and not the sinner.” Ok. I’ll try. I am a forgiving man but right now I’m furious at the shameless and demonic evil in New York and embarrassed for the soul of a Governor who has sold it … his soul … to Satan for votes.

I used to live in New York and I like New York. But right now if someone gave me a beautiful house in that state I’d sell it immediately rather than put a dime into their treasury.

Sin is all around us and we are living in a land where child-murderers go about sniffing and snorting like she-camels looking to kill more innocents and eager to add to the weight of their coming judgment. It is discouraging. But keep in mind…

1 Timothy 5:24 (NIV) The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them.

Dia. He knows.

Grief and Blessings! Pastor Alberta


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“A Tale of Two Marches”

January 18, 2019

Proverbs 19:2 (NIV) It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.

On March 3, 1913, the very first “Women’s March” took place in Washington D.C. The primary goal of the event was the right to vote. Apparently, it was reasonably large and set in place the idea of communicating political and policy concerns through peaceful means. Now, on January 19, 2019, several “Women’s Marches” are scheduled to take place across America, although some have been cancelled due to objections by some organizers over the inclusion of individuals suspected of wholesale hatred. Charges of anti-Semitism, bigotry, too many white participants and other concerns have been raised. Of course, the most recent marches occurred after the inauguration of President Trump in January of 2017 when he quickly became the target of many in the feminist camp.

These marchers have every right to engage in demonstration and protest. In my view, some of their concerns are sensible including protecting the environment and helping the needy. At the same time, their website includes LGBTQ rights and “reproductive rights” …. read abortion and the right to put unborn children to death. So, as always with every social movement, we find good and evil motives. Now … I cannot prove this point, but my very clear impression is that abortion remains the hottest and most furious concern of these marchers. (Consider the recent Kavanaugh hearings)

In other words, at its core, it is a march about “self.” The woman supporting abortion is always prepared to demand the “right” of a pregnant woman to have her unborn child put to death. She must have that prerogative without any inhibiting laws or restrictions in play. For her, this constitutes true freedom of choice. Period. It’s about the woman who demands post-conception contraception. Abortion.

On January 18, 2019 there was another march in Washington, D.C. We might call this the unselfish march. Women and men and children from all over America travel great distances …many of them…to stand outside in the cold by the Supreme Court and protest the killing of unborn children. Their highest priority is not self or a woman’s right but the unborn child’s right to life.

A fine article in National Review (Jan. 18, 2019) by writer Alexandra DeSanctis was titled: “Whom Are We Marching for?” She writes about those who join the Right to life March saying:

“They say they want the government to protect the right to life of every human being, including the unborn. They march on behalf of a class of human beings that can do absolutely nothing for them. They demonstrate for a cause that has nothing, ostensibly, to do with their own quality of life. Theirs is a movement motivated by selflessness.”

These marchers have nothing to gain but a hole in their checkbooks and possibly frostbite or pneumonia. They are orderly and dignified and non-combative. There will be no speeches suggesting the assassination of the President or blowing up the White House or demanding that men must be free to marry men to men and women to marry women.

Contrast this with the atmosphere of the other march. Never mind the natural bodily designs of human beings, by the handiwork of God. Such obvious truths must be dismissed. Who cares what God wants? Rather, they assert radical new definitions of reality.

Anyway, the core issue is simply right to life. The Bible makes it abundantly clear that a murderer loses his or her own right to life. We read: Genesis 9:6 (NIV) “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” The Word of God is irrelevant to most of the marchers but even if everyone dismisses it … it is clear. It is the responsibility of the society to respect the right to life of the image-bearer and that murderers must be punished. Ironically, the Women’s March encourages mothers to be murderers.

INTERESTING, that at no time has anyone in the “March for Life” movement suggested that women who have abortions should be put to death themselves. I have never asserted that, but I do acknowledge it is a logical conundrum. Commentator Chris Matthews likes to ask this question of pro-life people. “If you really believe that abortion is murder how can you not call for capital punishment for the doctor and the woman when abortion has taken place?”

In terms of reasoning, Matthews makes a good point. He delves into a question without an answer. But there are many unanswerable questions in the abortion debate. A more important one, in my view, is this …. I would ask Mr. Matthews if he really believes a child in the womb at eight months can be put to death but a child five minutes after birth has the right to life? In that thinking, right to life depends upon location. In the womb you may be killed. Outside of the womb you are safe … unless you are the victim of Dr. Gosnell who killed babies after their birth.

MY POINT IS that arguing with those who support abortion on demand is usually a hopeless wrangle. As to the mother who makes the abortion choice, my sense is that recompense for her actions will haunt her conscience throughout life and be the tragic punishment that is more than thorough. I say that having spoken with many women in exactly that position.

This essay is wandering but perhaps that is good. The entire issue is a moral and logical cull de sac. In any case, I would like to go to a Women’s March and talk with its leaders and ask them: “Are you really, actually interested in the well-being of women?” I think they are. “Then why are pro-life women not welcome at your marches?” I can imagine the response. In short, any march that insists it stands on the moral high ground but demands the right to take innocent life is not of God, and is certainly disastrous for women.

Hence, these two marches give us a picture of darkness and light. The one insists it is for justice while it demands murderous rights. The other is for justice even at the expense of self. Period. As always, this is more motivation to pray for our nation and keep in mind … that it is hanging by a thread and Heaven is watching.  Watching zealous people…without knowledge.  Of God.

Isaiah 5:20 (NIV) “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”

Blessings! Pastor Alberta


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A Lie of the Devil from a “Christian Teacher!” (And Happy New Year!)

January 2,2019

2 Peter 2:1 (NIV) 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves.

In my own spiritual life, I have been increasingly aware of my need to grow in humility and an attitude of mercy towards those with whom I disagree. This realization has left me praying about my comments and heart thoughts as I observe politics and social issues … and, of course, theological matters. There are many viewpoints regarding spiritual issues that are debatable. Baptism, women in ministry, the Lord’s Supper, the age of the earth, Calvinism …. and more. There is room for debate on many of these items. Only the Lordship and Resurrection of Christ are beyond doubt and cannot be questioned by true disciples. But, as C.S. Lewis supposedly said “When we get to Heaven we will find out that we were all slightly wrong!” So, all of us … including me … should speak with considerable caution.

Having said these things, I recently heard of a “Biblical Teaching” that was so nonsensical and cheerless that I can only conclude that it comes from the evil one. A “lie of the devil!” Exactly what was it that got me all fired up? Here is what happened …. I received a phone call from a young man whom I have known since his birth. A terrific kid and strong in Christ. He is away at a Christian college in his first year. It seems that he has come under the teaching of a man who likes to shock students from an evangelical background. There are people like that who take great delight in challenging everything everyone believes. Some of them think it is clever and their goal is to create doubt. I simply cannot understand such people unless they are actually unregenerate themselves. Anyone who has experienced the Lord Jesus Christ and been born again should be able to dismiss his poor teaching.

These folks like to say something like this: “The Bible does not really teach that we can go to Heaven much less be sure that’s where we will go. The Old Testament that Jesus affirmed taught that the dead go to “Sheol” or to “Hades” to await the judgment. Then, perhaps those who followed Christ will be invited into some undefined “Heaven” but their works will be judged as in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. He wrote:

2 Corinthians 5:10 (NIV) “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

Of course, this is true. Christians will be judged for their service to the Gospel. Sort of a job performance review but our salvation will remain secure. That is the context of the statement. A “teacher” trying to create doubt about the Christian’s eternal well-being need only look, ironically, to the verses right above this text to find re-assurance about Heaven. True, the word “Heaven” does not appear but where God is Heaven is! And where Jesus is, Heaven is!

So, Paul writes:
2 Corinthians 5:6-9 (NIV) “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.”

To speak of Sheol or Hades to the New Testament Christian is simply ridiculous. Away from the body is at home with the Lord. What was meant by “Hades?” Hades was the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word “Sheol” which meant the place of the dead. The hopeless dead. Paul ministered to that small group who had experienced Christ. Anyone who teaches that the true Christian will need to stop in Hades simply has not known the Son of God. Consider this sweet promise from our Lord Jesus Christ:

John 14:1-4 (NIV) 1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

Could anything be more clear? Jesus wants his own sheep to be with him and he will come back for them! Jesus reigns in Paradise and we who belong to him will join him in Paradise at the time of physical death. That is the WHOLE POINT of the New Testament. As it says in Hebrews Chapter Two:

Hebrews 2:14-15 (NIV) “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil– and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”

Rather than fear death, the true Christian should look forward to it! As did a great and true teacher named J. Gresham Machen. Born in 1881, Machen became the world’s most notable New Testament scholar. Nearly every seminarian had to master his textbook on New Testament Greek (including this writer). When Princeton Seminary became too liberal, he helped found Westminster Seminary. He was a stalwart witness for Christ and a great supporter of missions. Although only in his fifties, his health deteriorated and New Year’s Eve of 1936 found him on his deathbed.

A dear friend named Sam was perhaps the last person to speak with Machen but he could never forget what he heard! The sickly professor told him of a vision he had had only a few minutes before. He had looked into Heaven. Paradise. Perfectly lucid and alert, he said “Sam…it was glorious! It was glorious!”

If you belong to Christ, you’re going with him! Jesus! And it will be glorious! Happy New Year!

Blessings! Pastor Alberta


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Upcoming Weds. Night Bible Class

Friday Dec. 28, 2018

Blog Friends,

FYI.,. Coming up: I will be teaching on Weds. nights in the Chapel at Cornerstone in Brighton…four weeks Jan. 9,16,23, and 30. We will begin at 6.45 pm


Bring your Bible! Blessings! Pastor Rja

Ps: never try to write blog articles on an iPhone! 😂





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