Monday, May 19, 2008

How To Live The Christian Life - 12 Important Principles To Practice

by Pastor Art Kohlupdated January 31, 2005

1. Believe the record that through faith in Christ, you have received eternal life.
1 John 5:10-13 “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." Remember that you are now a living testimony of the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ. The life of Christ is in you, the believer. Are you sure you have accepted Jesus as your Saviour?

2. Love God and Others.
Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength according to Mark 12:30, "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." Love your neighbor as yourself as commanded in Mark 12:31, “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandments greater than these." Make these the highest goals of your new life in Christ. There is nothing you can possibly do greater than these in your life. Ask the Lord to help you love more and more. 1 Thessalonians 3:12, "And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:"

3. Read and study your Bible, memorizing portions that are helpful to you.
Give special attention to the promises of God. Meditate on these and they will be food for your soul. 1 Peter 2:2, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." Remember that the Word of God, the 1611 King James Bible, is the light to your path. Psalms 119:105 "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." It is the weapon of our warfare against temptation, Ephesians 6:17, "And take ... the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

4. Pray daily to God, your heavenly Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thank Him for all things. Ephesians 5:20, "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Praise God for His blessings. Ask God to give you victory over sin and weakness. 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Pray for the needs of others when praying for your own needs. Remember that your prayer life will keep you spiritually strong and growing. Don't recite prayers. Pray and talk to God from your heart in your own words with respect.

5. Confess the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour as often as you can.
Water Baptism by immersion is the first step to take in confessing Christ, see Acts 8:36-38. Continue confessing Christ to others. Matthew 10:32, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven." Use every opportunity you have to tell others what the Lord Jesus Christ has done in your life. Try to lead them to accept Christ as their Saviour as you did.

6. Avoid temptations.
The Bible tells us that they will come. But we must be careful not to walk in their path. Psalms 1:1 "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." When temptations arise, remember that God has promised a way of escape for those who faithfully serve and obey Him. 1 Corinthians 10:13, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." Pray that the Lord will help you avoid temptation. Matthew 6:13, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." Jesus quoted Scripture when the devil was tempting Him. (See Matthew 4:1-11.) Learn Scriptures that pertain to your weaknesses and memorize them. Quote them often.

7. Witness to others about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Many today do not know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Who will tell them? Romans 10:13-14, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" The believer’s greatest joy is the privilege of telling the good news of the Gospel to every creature. Witnessing for Christ is not only a blessed privilege but a divine command, Matthew 4:19, "And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." The Lord will use you to win souls to Him.

8. Serve the Lord with gladness.
Psalms 100:2, "Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing." God has a regular ministry for every believer. (Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-21.) Assemble regularly in a Bible-believing, separated church. Hebrews 10:25, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Invest your time, talents and money for eternity. Colossians 3:1-3, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."

9. Stand firmly on the Word of God.
(See Ephesians 6:10-18.) Beware of false teachers and false doctrines. 2 Peter 2:1-3 "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." Test everything by the Word of God, not by experience. Isaiah 8:20, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Remember that God has promised the victory to those who honor Him and His Holy Word. 1 Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."

10. Commune with the Holy Spirit.
II Corinthians 13:14 "... the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen." Get to know the Holy Spirit as personal as you know the Father and the Son. He is a person. John 16:13, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." Talk to Him. Commune with Him. Ask Him to help you with all the things mentioned on this leaflet. Do not try these things in your own flesh, but with the help of the Spirit. Galatians 3:3, "Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" 2 Corinthians 3:18, "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

11. Be a separated Christian.
II Corinthians 6:14-18 says, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” Not only should we be separated from unbelievers, but our Lord prayed for us to be separated from the evil in this world. John 17:15-16 says, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Be an answer to Jesus’ prayer, stay away from evil. Try to win unbelievers to Christ but be separated from them and their lifestyle. I Timothy 5:22, “...keep thyself pure.”

12. Forgive each other.
All of us have been hurt by somebody in our life. Some to a small degree, some very greatly. We, too, have offended a Holy God and our sins led Christ to die for us ... yet ... the Lord forgave us. We are to follow His example. Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Take a moment and read the story about forgiveness in Matthew 18:23-35 in your Bible.

Copyright © 2005-00Permission granted to freely copy.Scripture verses are from the King James Holy Bible.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Do Not Make Your Children Brush Their Teeth!

By Pastor Art Kohl

Why should your children be told by some doctor or dentist that they should brush and floss their teeth daily? These experts are not a part of your family. Who do these professionals think they are, telling your children what to do? Do not make your kids brush, floss, or go for checkups, parents. Let your children decide!
Needless to say, I’m being facetious. What would you think of me if I continued to say things like:
Do not make your children go to bed, let them decide.
Do not make your children eat good food, let them decide.
Do not make your children wash their hair, let them decide.
I wish I had a dollar for every parent I heard say, “I’m not going to make my children go to church, I’m going to let them decide.”
What is more valuable, your child’s teeth or their soul?
Which is eternal?
Why are we so nearsighted with our children’s existence? They will spend eternity somewhere.
Consider some Scriptures of parental instruction from God:
“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)
“Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:14)
“And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” (Isaiah 54:13)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Baptized?, But Lost!

by Pastor Art Kohl

Introduction: There are many who are trusting in their baptism for the salvation of their souls, or at least for part of their salvation. Certainly a concern for one's salvation should be foremost in our lives. Our souls are the only possession that we own which is eternal. EVERYTHING else you own is temporal. The way to Heaven is narrow, it is not broad, notice Matthew 7:13-14 "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." If you are going to go to Heaven, you must God's way! There are not many roads that get there, but one. Make sure! Don't gamble with your most valuable possession. Don't trust what man says. ALL MEN ARE FALLIBLE! Study your Bible! Jesus said, "Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of ME." John 5:39. Jesus is the ONLY WAY! The Bible says in John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." With these thoughts in mind, let's examine this important subject of Baptism.

1. What Is Baptism? According to the Bible, God's Word, Baptism means "to immerse fully". The New Testament was written originally in Greek. The Greek word for Baptism is baptizo. This mode is seen clearly in the example set for us by Jesus the Savior. Matthew 3:16 describes, "and Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water..." Mark 1:10 also gives this account, "and straightway coming up out of the water ..." Many reading this article were sprinkled with water as an infant. They were told that this is baptism. There is no such mode described in the Bible. The word sprinkled is only found 7 times in the New Testament. IT NEVER HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH BAPTISM. It comes from the Greek word rhantizo. So you may have been "rhantized" but not baptized scripturally. Some had water poured on them as an infant or child. This also is unscriptual as a mode of baptism, for baptism means immerse, not pour. If baptism is so important and necessary for salvation (as some erroneously teach), most reading this then, have never been baptized! You may have been sprinkled or had water poured on you, but you were not biblically baptized! Have you ever been truly baptized? God's way?

2. Biblical Facts About Baptism

A. It was not to be the main emphasis of the church's message. John 4:1-2 tells us that Jesus had many opportunities to baptize but NEVER baptized anyone. The great Apostle Paul, whom God used to write 1/2 of the books of the New Testament, said, "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel ..." I Corinthians 1:17. The thief who died on the cross next to Christ was promised an eternity with Christ in Paradise. He died shortly after Christ promised him this, though he was NEVER baptized, he went to Paradise.

B. There is not a single story in the Bible anywhere that tells of a child or an infant being baptized! Every single historical record of a baptism in the Bible is of adults. Study in your Bible these texts: Acts 2:41, 42: 8:12: 8:27-38: 9:17,18: 10 :44-48: 16:14-15: 16:31-33: 18:8 :22:16. The book of Acts is a history of the 1st Century church. Adults were baptized in each case.

C. Baptism does not save! It is not wrong to split hairs over the mode of baptism, for everything we do must be according to God's Word. Any other doctrine is man made and contaminated. However, baptism does not save anyone. A person can go to Heaven without baptism (like the thief on the cross). Jesus did not need to be saved, but he was baptized to set us an example to follow. Acts 16:31, "BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ and THOU SHALT BE SAVED." Romans 10:13, "Whosoever shall CALL upon the name of the Lord, SHALL BE SAVED." I Corinthians 15:1-4 defines the gospel. Paul says, "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel ... BY WHICH ALSO YE ARE SAVED ... how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures." Notice in these verses it is personal faith that saves, not baptism. Baptism is a figure or a picture of salvation (I Peter 3:21). A person should be baptized AFTER they are saved. As a person is standing in the water during baptism, they are identifying themselves with Christ's death. As they are immersed under the water, they are identifying themselves with Christ's burial. As they come up out of the water, they are identifying themselves with Christ's resurrection. Baptism, therefore, is an outward profession of an inward belief that is faith in Christ's death, burial and resurrection for our sins as God's only way of salvation from sins.

D. Who can be baptized? Acts 8:26-40 tells the story of an Ethiopian man who was reading the book of Isaiah. He did not understand what he read. An evangelist named Philip explained to him about Jesus. "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch said, "See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?" And Philip said, "If thou believeth with all thine heart, thou mayest." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." Only people who have placed their personal faith in the Lord Jesus have the right by God to be baptized. Notice what happens next: "And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him." He believed, then was baptized! An infant can't do that. A little child of 1 or 2 years can't do that. When a person becomes of age to accept or reject Christ as their Savior, then they can make a decision to believe. Salvation is through Jesus Christ and Him alone, by faith in what He has done, not what we can do. Salvation is not through baptism, church membership, sacraments, morals, good works, penance, etc. If these things could save, then why did Jesus die on the cross? You may be "baptized" but lost! Baptism is a work we can do. However Titus 3:5 says salvation is "not by works of righteousness which WE HAVE DONE but according to HIS MERCY He hath saved us."

Conclusion: Your soul is the most valuable possession you have. It is eternal. Do not gamble with it. Be sure! Don't believe what I say, or anyone else, believe what God says: "For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8,9. Get right with the Lord. Those who wait till the 11th hour to repent, usually die at 10:30. Take God's gift of salvation today by calling on the Lord right now to be your Saviour.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

What To Do When Suffering

by Pastor Art Kohl

April 17, 2005

C.S. Lewis once said, "Pain is God's megaphone to arouse a slumbering world."
Pain comes into our lives in different forms. The pain of a death of a close one. The pain of a divorce or failed relationship. Physical pain from an accident or disease. The pain of rejection. The pain of a business loss or set back. The pain of disappointment by someone we looked up to. These can really hurt!
These pains are very real. Sometimes "Oh, just get over it" doesn't work.
What can we do when suffering?
Here are a few suggestions from a biblical view:

1. Give thanks to God
It sound absurd, but if we begin each trial with a prayer, thanking God for this suffering, we change our focus from negative to positive.
We are assured in Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." If you love God you have His promise that this is going to bring something good into your life.

2. For comfort, read the Psalms of the Old Testament
Through different men, God wrote Psalms and put them in His Bible. These were often born out of suffering. God giveth "songs in the night" (Job 35:10).
You will find that you are not unique. Others have suffered in similar ways and have found help in God.
The Psalms are like medicine for the soul. Take it.

3. For understanding, read 1 Peter of the New Testament
This book especially deals with suffering and understanding.
It is not wrong to ask "why?" Even Jesus asked "why" while suffering on the cross! (See Mark 15:34.)
The key is to ask "why" with a right spirit and then let God answer you. One book that might do that is 1 Peter.
It would be a shame to go through some trial of affliction in life and never learn why.

4. Plan on using it to help others when it comes to pass
Much suffering is preparatory. It is God's way of preparing us to minister to others we will meet down the road who are going to go through similar experiences.
They may need to lean on you someday.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."

5. Memorize 2 Corinthians 4:17
Perhaps memorization is difficult for you, but try! This verse forces us to look beyond the immediate, into the future. Here it is:
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;"
Though we can't see it, except by faith, much of this life has to do with the next life. "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him:" (2 Timothy 2:12)

6. Pray
Sometimes God just wants to hear from us, His creatures. He wants us to see our frailty and how much we need Him. Ask the Lord to help you through this time and to make you a better Christian. This may require repentance and some deep soul-searching (see Psalm 119:67).

7. Look for the Lord
There are "glimpses of God" that you will never see except in the valley experiences of life. It will be worth it all as He becomes clearer to you than ever before.

Copyright © 2005Permission granted to freely copy.Scripture verses are from the King James Holy Bible.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Overtaken by Blessings (If We’ll Just Count)

Preached by Pastor Kohl
November 27, 2005

Numbers 28:2, “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God..”
Sometimes we need to stop and take inventory of all that God has done for us. Many people don’t appreciate God because they don’t realize all He’s given them. A songwriter once wrote, “Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done!”

1. Count Your Blessings (Material)
Have you ever gone through your house and thanked God for everything in it? Have you ever thanked God for your washer, refrigerator, hot water tank (ever taken a cold shower?!) telephone, gas, electric, roof, driveway, car?
I estimate that in my 26 years of marriage, my wife has made me 28,470 meals! She has made our bed 9,490 times. She has done 4,056 loads of laundry. This inventory makes me appreciate her more!
It’s the same with God - the more you realize He does for you, the more you will appreciate him.

2. Count Your Breaths (Physical)
The Apostle Paul once said, “He [God] giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;” (Acts 17:25).
The average human breathes 12 times per minute. That’s about 17,280 times per day, or 120,960 times per week. An 80-year-old person has breathed over half a billion times! Each one of those was a gift from God. Imagine if He decided to stop blessing you with air for just a few minutes. You’d die!
Paul went on to say, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being;” (Acts 17:28). It is because of God that you are able to live today. Have you thanked Him for this?

3. Count Your Benefits (Spiritual)
Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.” (Psalm 68:19).
A benefit is something that helps or betters a person. For example: a person who belongs to a union will receive benefits that non-members of that union cannot avail themselves of.
By being a member of God’s family, there are certain benefits we have that people who are not God’s children cannot claim. Let’s look at a few of these:

A. We can understand the Scriptures.
It is difficult for unbelievers to understand the Bible. But if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, He will help you understand the wonderful Book He wrote.
Do you read God’s Holy Bible? If not, you are missing out on a benefit from God!

B. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, God’s Holy Spirit lives inside of you! He wants to help you in every situation you face, if you will let Him.

C. We have access to Heaven by prayer.
Romans 8:32 says, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
God doesn’t have to answer the prayers of unsaved people. But He has promised to answer the prayers of His children.

D. We have a Heavenly Father who cares about us.
1 Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”
Psalm 35:27 says “Let the Lord be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.” God wants you to prosper!

E. We will live with God forever.
If you are going through a rough time in your life, remember: our future is bright and glorious.

If you will count your blessings, you’ll see they far outweigh the heartaches and hardships in your life. Everyday can be Thanksgiving for the believer in Jesus!

Copyright © 2005-00Permission granted to freely copy.Scripture verses are from the King James Holy Bible