Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Vital Information For Kids

Thanks to everyone who has agreed to help with Vacation Bible School in 2017! Pray that God will bless our efforts as we gather together and tell kids about Jesus.

The Bible text for Lifeway’s VBS this year is Colossians 1:15-16: “He is the image of the invisible God, firstborn over all creation, for by him all things were created: in heaven and on earth, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all things were created by him and for him.”

The “he” in these verses is Jesus Christ. The one used by God to write these words was the great missionary Paul the Apostle. Originally Paul was writing to a first-century church. Apparently false teachers were trying to diminish Jesus, teaching that he was less than divine.

In our day people sometimes assert that Jesus is a great man, a great teacher, a great healer, but that he is not the Son of God. They deny that he is the only way to be right with God. We need these great words from the Book of Colossians just as surely as that church long ago needed them. We need to know the truth about Jesus.

Notice that Jesus is not an image of God but the image of God, the one and only. Jesus told his disciples that when they had seen him, they had seen God the Father. Jesus is the Word become flesh who lived for a while among us.

Jesus is firstborn over all creation. Firstborn is a reference to a custom in the ancient world. The firstborn received a double portion of inheritance. He was honored above all others. God appointed Jesus heir of all things. He has the most honored position of all, exalted above all others, the One and only Savior.

Jesus is not a created being. He is the One through whom all things were created. Through him God made the ages. Without him nothing was made that has been made. Jesus is Lord of all creation by virtue of the fact that he is the Maker and Sustainer.

Through Jesus God made all that we see. He also made the things that cannot be seen, even with telescopes or microscopes. Planets and suns, water and animals, love and truth, angels and demons, he made everything. All creation is his.

And Jesus is Lord of all Christians in a double sense. He is our Lord because he is our Maker and he is our Lord because he is our Savior. He not only made us, he also purchased us with his blood. We are no longer our own, but we belong to him.

This great Bible text tells us that all things in heaven and on earth were made not only by Jesus but for Jesus. There is no authority or ruler which is not subject to the power of Jesus. Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.

What great things we have to share with the kids this year!

May God’s Holy Spirit enable us to believe and to proclaim the truth about Jesus,

Brother Richard Foster

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Can the Holy Bible Survive?

Gay marriage, women in ministry, abortion, social reform versus saving souls, capitalism verses socialism, these are some of the hot-button issues that are causing turbulence for some Christian groups in America today. Several denominations are undergoing sharp disagreements about what they believe and what they stand for.

At the center of these highly emotional issues that are disturbing so many churches in our nation stands the Bible. Is the Holy Bible God’s perfect word to humanity or not? If it is not, then where can we turn for answers to life’s most important questions?

Those who are skeptical about the claims in the Bible tend to value pluralism over truth. They approach the Bible as one source among many for spiritual reflection and insight. In their minds, the Bible must compete with human reason, traditions, personal experiences and other holy books from non-Christian religions.

Skeptics cannot speak with a voice of confidence or authority about right and wrong, good and evil, or heaven and hell. As a result, they offer few if any clear answers to a world that is increasingly mired in moral and spiritual confusion and darkness. In addition, they consider those who have confidence in the Bible to be closed-minded, rigid, and even hateful.

But the Bible presents compelling answers to the deepest questions in life. Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? The Bible gives us God’s answers about our life in this age and in the age to come.

The Bible tells us that God has spoken a complete and coherent message. “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible warns us that we must respond to God’s message. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever trusts in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Our generation is not the first to see God’s word questioned, criticized, doubted, and attacked. The unchanging truth revealed in God’s word has always encountered stiff resistance in this world full of sin. But the anchor for our souls will never fail, despite the wind and waves of skepticism raging all around us. If the foundation beneath our feet is the word of God then we can live with assurance.

Influential men and women come and go, but Jesus is still God’s Savior. Mighty nations and cultures rise and fall, but God’s Kingdom is still advancing. Impressive ideas and philosophies are celebrated then forgotten, but the word of God will never fade away.

This is our great task as Bible-believing followers of Jesus: To know the Bible and its Author; to live according to the unchanging Truth revealed in the pages of Genesis through Revelation; to celebrate the victory that comes from following the crucified and resurrected Jesus Christ.

We are a people of the Word.

May the God who has revealed himself to us in the Bible always be our wisdom and our power in everything,

Brother Richard

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A Word From the Heart

“But Christ, honor him as Lord in your hearts, always ready with a defense to everyone asking you for a word concerning the hope in you” (1 Peter 3:15).

Peter wrote these words to Christians who were facing opposition and sometimes deadly hostility for their faith in Jesus Christ. He wrote in order to encourage his fellow believers in their struggle.

In this verse, Peter instructed his readers to do two things. First, he called on his fellow Christians to set apart Jesus as Lord in their hearts. Peter started with the heart, that is, the mind and the will. Why? Because Christians are Christians from the inside out. Until the heart changes, nothing else can. The essence of Christianity is to follow Jesus first, before anything or anyone else.

When Jesus is Lord of a person’s inner being, there will be a sense of hope in that individual which shines through. The hope of true faith cannot be hidden, even in difficult times. And nobody can deprive a true believer of the hope that he or she has in the risen Jesus Christ.

Peter knew that outsiders would notice the hope in Jesus’ followers. They noticed that Christians were blessed with a deep and abiding sense of optimism even in the darkest of times. Peter also knew that curiosity would drive some people to ask believers about their hope, opening up wonderful opportunities for sharing the faith.

So the second part of Peter’s instruction was to be ready with a defense. People may have thought that Christians were foolish for being so hopeful when they faced such opposition and persecution. But Jesus had faced the ultimate persecution, death, and he had experienced the ultimate victory, resurrection. How could his followers lose hope when their Lord had defeated death?

Peter wanted believers to be ready with a personal testimony, a testimony that was rooted in their own personal faith in Jesus Christ. He called it a defense. Believers were on trial in the Roman world and they were required to give a defense for their hope in Jesus.

Christians today are on trial in America. The faith is under fire. Only those who have Jesus set apart as Lord in their hearts will be able to give an effective defense for the hope that Jesus provides. And those who have Jesus set apart as Lord in their hearts will not be able to silence the Spirit of Christ within them. The hope and its defense are both signs of authentic saving faith.

The Bible’s instructions are as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago. The world is still in a state of rebellion against the Maker. God’s people are still chosen and empowered to speak the truth in love. A word from the heart is still compelling and powerful. Let’s make Jesus Lord in our hearts and get ready to fight the good fight of the faith.

May our hope in Christ Jesus inspire us to contend for the faith,

Brother Richard Foster

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Agreeing with the Pope, sort of . . . (short version)

The new Pope is enjoying surprising popularity with the media in the United States. Apparently journalists see in him a reformer willing to challenge traditional conservative positions on social and economic issues.

Pope Francis is giving the secular media a vehicle for defining the mission of the Church in ways that agree with their political predispositions. Of course, Roman Catholicism and The Church are not the same. Nevertheless, the question is raised: Is social reform the main mission of Christianity?

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul describes the mission of the Church. “We proclaim Christ,” he wrote (Colossians 1:28). The heart and soul of the Early Church’s work was a proclamation, an authoritative announcement.

The Church’s proclamation was not merely disseminating certain information, or promoting a philosophy, or even advancing a system of belief. The gospel proclamation is an announcement about a person: Jesus, who is the Christ.

The title “Christ,” reminds us that Jesus is God’s Anointed. The Church’s mission today, like that of the Early Church, is centered on proclamation. That proclamation is to be focused on Jesus Christ, his life and ministry.

Paul proclaimed Christ by “warning everyone.” The presence of God’s Son in the world was a warning about how terribly broken our world really is, so broken that we need nothing less than God’s personal intervention.

The problem in our world is more than hateful and oppressive relations between different groups of people. The root problem is a broken relationship between every person and God.

Next, Paul writes, “and teaching everyone with all wisdom.” The message of Christ comes not just as a warning about sin, death and eternal condemnation because Christ is the hope of glory. The proclamation of Christ includes teaching about the Good News that personal faith in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection opens access to God and to a new life in Christ.

Paul finished his thought by revealing the purpose for proclaiming Christ. “We proclaim Christ,” he wrote, “so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” The ultimate goal is not temporal or political. The ultimate goal is to present people “mature in Christ” to God on the Day of Judgment.

The Bible assures us that believers will give an account of their life’s work before the bema seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). The crowns we will present to our Lord on that day will be the lives of people whom we helped to grow in Christ (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20).

What about the Pope’s reform? One sign of authentic gospel ministry is genuine concern for the poor, the poor in spirit as well as the poor in money and power.

Jesus, Paul, and the Early Church all made efforts to alleviate suffering and injustice, but they focused primarily on proclaiming a message that encompassed far more than political and economic equality.

Does Pope Francis see social reform as the primary focus of Roman Catholicism? Time and patience will reveal his beliefs with greater clarity than Western journalists who can barely conceal their own political agendas.

Meanwhile, the Church must not be distracted from the true gospel mission; and the gospel mission is clearly revealed in the pages of the New Testament. Jesus proclaimed freedom for the captives, not just those held captive by unfair political and economic systems, but captive to sin and to Satan.

The Church must remember that any justice gained for the downtrodden is illusory apart from true spiritual freedom. And only Christ Jesus can break all the chains that bind us. So we proclaim Christ.

Richard Foster, Grace Baptist Camden, Arkansas, March 2014
Published in Arkansas Baptist News, March 18, 2014

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