Welcome to Church on the Hill, Glenavon, Sask, Canada

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Guarding Your Faith

Scriptures: Act 16:29-33, Eph 3:14-21, Col 1:23, Eph 4:14&15,
Eph 4:11&12, 1 John 4:1-6, Phil 4:7-8, 2 Tim 2:15

On Sun, Aug 3rd, Pastor Lorne was back in church. He said so far this summer, he’s spoken at Sheho, Craven and Swan River Rodeos on behalf of the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys. He also went to the Sandy Creek Gospel Jamboree with his family and Eva but it was a weekend of rest and relaxation for him. His health is almost back to normal, now.

The sad news was it was Eva’s last Sunday in church as she was flying home to Germany on Tues, Aug 5th. Pastor Lorne said since Eva arrived 5 wks ago, she’s been dragged everywhere from the jamboree to the rodeos. She’s also been involved in 2 car accidents which totaled both vehicles. After this eventful summer, she now has to settle down in grade 13 which is her final year of school. I’ll be sending Eva some interview questions soon, so stay tuned for more info about how she enjoyed – or didn’t – her summer here in Canada.

Pastor Lorne won’t be here Sun, Aug 10th as he’s been asked to speak at The Lone Spur Cowboy Gathering in Melville.

Pastor Lorne said he’s thinking of holding a Baptism service for anyone who’d like to be baptized. He said baptism isn’t joining the church or any other organization. Baptism means you’re testifying to yourself and to God and to the rest of the world that you have experienced the love of Christ in your life - that your sins are forgiven, and that you’re on your way to heaven. You’re dying to your old way of life. You’ve given your life to God and want to serve Him. Age is not a factor and there is no minimum period of time required between accepting salvation and the baptism service. Just the knowledge that Jesus lives in your heart. An example is Acts 16:29-33 where Paul and Silas showed salvation to the jailer and his family at midnight and immediately baptized them. So if anyone would like to be baptized, talk to Pastor Lorne.

Pastor Lorne said at times like this he thinks of the Brad Paisley Long Sermon song that says, ‘...there ain’t nothing to test your faith like a long sermon on a pretty Sunday.” Pastor Lorne says he doesn’t want to be too long with his message and he’s not singling out anyone, either. (Laughter)

He said today we’ll be looking in scriptures and talking about Paul because he was the one who laid the foundation for the church and Pastor Lorne believes he was inspired directly by the Holy Spirit and God who led him to write these things. He said one of Paul’s greatest concerns was that the churches he established would be drawn away from following Christ and instead seek out strange doctrines. There are so many scriptures where Paul would encourage people to stay true to the doctrine of Christ and not to be drawn away by other things. Paul encouraged people to follow Christ and Him only.

Pastor Lorne said he wanted to encourage us to stay close to God and serve Him with your whole heart. Sometimes people let themselves be pulled away farther and farther and they come to a place where they’re so bewildered that they lose their faith in God.

Pastor Lorne asked us to turn to Eph 3:14-21. He said in this passage, we see Paul’s prayer for the church. V16-19 says, ‘I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.’

He then asked us to turn one book over to Col 1:23 which says, ‘If you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.’

Paul encourages the Ephesian church, and the Colossian church, to continue to establish and be firm in the gospel.

And so, Pastor Lorne said, this is my prayer for you - that you would be established in the things of God so that you know you are grounded in the word of God and you know where you stand and whether these things are right or wrong.

He asked us to go back to Eph 4:14&15 which says, ‘Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.’

Pastor Lorne said if you look a couple verses before, you read about the different gifts that the Lord has placed in the church. V11&12 says ‘...some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.’

We know it’s very important to be established in the faith of God. To know what we’re doing and to study the Word as much as we can. To wait on the Lord in prayer and ask His Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in all truth. The Bible says He will do that for us.

1 john 4:1-6 is about testing the spirit to know if something is really of God. It’s an instruction on how to know and recognize something that isn’t true, something that isn’t right even though it sounds good. You have the Holy Spirit within you, to help you and discern what is right and what is wrong. Pastor Lorne wants to encourage you to pray ask the Lord if you’re not sure about something. The Spirit of God will come and tell you if it’s right or if it’s wrong.

Pastor Lorne asked, how do we keep our hearts? He asked us to turn to Phil 4:7-8 which says, ‘And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.’ These verses encourage us to keep our eyes on Jesus.

2 Tim 2:15 says, ‘Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.’

Pastor Lorne said all of these scriptures encourage us to study the word of God. To know it. To understand it. To allow the spirit of God to bring that truth to our hearts to incorporate it into our lives. He said he believes the best way to tell if something is right or wrong is to follow Paul’s example. In all Paul’s teachings, he taught that we receive salvation through faith. There’s only one way – through Jesus. Paul spent his life preaching that message – he suffered many times because of the message that God loved his people and sent His son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross, to shed his blood, so that we might receive salvation.

Paul said many times if someone changed the gospel message or added to it, then it was to be suspect. As we study scripture, we get into the meaning of the verses. It is fascinating and yet so simple that even young children understand the love of Jesus and open their hearts to Him. We need to throw ourselves on the grace of God.

And again, Pastor Lorne said he’s not preaching this message because he’s been away and he heard something while he was gone. He just thought he had to preach this because it’s been on his heart, that he wanted to share. He said he comes across people who have loved ones who’ve discovered something weird and he wanted to remind us we are saved through faith, saved by grace and that’s the only way it’s done.

So, Pastor Lorne encouraged us to guard our hearts, guard our faith and know what you believe and if asked, be ready to give an answer about the true way to salvation.

If you would like to speak to Pastor Lorne about this, please email him.
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