We have the hope of eternal life when rely on the saving grace of Jesus.

 

Titus 3:7

 

Tom Carrow, David Hokey, and Jeff Schnitker received unanimous affirmation last Sunday during our congregational meeting. These three men will be ordained as Elders next week.  This is an exciting time for our congregation.  We have the opportunity to grow in the Lord and reach out to our community.

 

Let me give you an extreme example of what happens when a denomination does not follow the Bible. When they teach false doctrine little by little they end up not even believing in God.

 

I can’t make this stuff up – Reality is stranger than fiction.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/24/atheist-pastor-canada-gretta-vosper-united-church-canada

 

The Guardian did an article on West Hill United Church of Canada. The article begins:

“There is not one mention of God during the 70-minute service at Toronto’s West Hill United church. Bibles are nowhere to be seen. The large steel cross – one of the few remaining religious symbols in this church – is hidden behind a cascade of rainbow streamers. But that is perhaps to be expected in a church led by an avowed atheist.”

 

Take that in for a second a “Christian church” lead by an atheist.

Minister Gretta Vosper, said, “I do not believe in a theistic, supernatural being called God.”

To her, God is instead a metaphor for goodness and a life lived with compassion and justice. Vosper has lead the church for almost 20 years but is finally being made to defend her actions.  The United Church of Canada is open-minded but this may be too much.  The church has been ordaining women for 80 years and for decades has allowed openly gay men and women to lead ministries.

 

When you don’t teach the truth you will end up with an atheist minister who is offended that she is being challenged.

 

“When they came knocking on the door, it was kind of like, ‘Really?”’ says Vosper. “We’ve been doing this for 15 years and I’ve been really public about my beliefs.”

She sees the review as a betrayal, as the path she has forged is a logical one in a church that has always prioritized moral teachings over doctrinal beliefs.  Vosper says, “I’m a product of the United church. It taught me to critique the Bible as a human construction … This means everything that it says is up for grabs, including God.”

 

This is the destination of those who refuse to take the Bible as God’s inspired word, holy and true. We can go wobbly around the edges and we could be “fine” for a while.  But in a few decades we would end up with a minister who doesn’t even believe in a God.  Many mainline denominations don’t believe in the virgin birth or the deity of Jesus.  That is not really much different than believing that God is just a metaphor.

 

I am showing you the end of the slippery slope. There is much time and many issues from the start to finish and it becomes its own logical conclusion.  From a right standing before God to turning your back on God altogether.  We have to make sure we don’t do that personally or as a church.

 

Another false teaching that is becoming vogue – Listen to this quote.

A flood of false doctrine has lately broken in upon us. Men are beginning to tell us “that God is too merciful to punish souls forever…that all mankind, however wicked and ungodly…will sooner or later be saved.” We are to embrace what is called “kinder theology,” and treat hell as a pagan fable… This question lies at the very foundation of the whole Gospel. The moral attributes of God, His justice, His holiness, His purity, are all involved in it. The Scripture has spoken plainly and fully on the subject of hell. – J.C. Ryle (1816-1900).

 

Oops that quote is over 100 years old.

 

Preachers don’t believe in Hell and if they do they won’t preach on it.

Joel Osteen says, “[People] already feel guilty enough. They’re not doing what they should, raising their kids—we can all find reasons. So I want them to come … and be lifted up, to say, ‘You know what? I may not be perfect, but I’m moving forward. I’m doing better.’ And I think that motivates you to do better.”

 

Knowing that Jesus saved me from the fires of Hell lifts me up. Knowing there is punishment if I don’t follow Jesus is motivating to do better.

How many of you knew that is was no big deal if you broke curfew?  What did you do?  You broke curfew.  How many of you knew that you would be in big trouble if you broke curfew?  What did you do?  You followed the rules.

Yes, the threat of punishment is a negative motivator but it works.  Why do you get up and go to work every day?  Because you love it or you know you will get fired if you don’t?

Our goal to serve Jesus starts out over a fear of Hell but as we mature we serve Jesus out of love not fear.  We don’t want to stay out of hell we want to be in Heaven with Jesus.

If Heaven is real, then Hell is real; if Hell is not real then neither is Heaven.  Jesus speaks of Heaven and Hell as real places.

 

Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. … 46  “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

 

The objection to Hell is that it is unusual punishment for a little sin. If God is all loving, then He can’t send anyone to Hell.  God doesn’t send anyone to Hell; God doesn’t want people to go to Hell; people choose to go to Hell.

 

1 Timothy 2:3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4  who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5  For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6  who gave himself as a ransom for all men–the testimony given in its proper time.

 

Jesus died on the cross so no one has to go to Hell.

If I offer to give you a brand new Corvette and you refuse my offer you can’t then complain that you have to drive your old jalopy.  “It’s not fair that I have to drive this when others get a fancy car.”

Hell is your choice, not God’s.  God gives you what you want.  God is not going to make you go to Heaven and be with Him for all eternity.  As one author wrote, “If you want to be your own person, your own savior, your own lord, that’s hell, and you get that – and you stay wanting it; you do not suddenly change your mind.”

 

Let me touch on just a few more topics that the Apostle Paul teaches Timothy and Titus. Last week and today I have focused on false teaching but let be change course to true teaching.

 

Take care of your family; physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

1 Timothy 5:8  If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

 

The only way you are going to be able to truly care for your family is if you are pursuing righteousness.

 

2 Timothy 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

 

Righteousness is attained as you pursue with others who are calling on Jesus. So we all join together to pursue righteousness as we study God’s word.

 

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17  so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

Are you being trained in righteousness? You are if you are listening to God’s word.

Righteousness is conforming to the norm of God.  Thus being right with God; of course we can’t do that on our own because we choose to sin.  That is why Jesus died to make us righteous.  So in Jesus we remain and grow in God’s righteousness.

 

2 Corinthians 5:21  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

 

Paul told Timothy to flee sin and pursue righteousness in both of his letters.

 

1 Timothy 6:11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

 

What is the evil we are to flee from to pursue righteousness?

 

1 Timothy 6:6  But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9  People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

 

We must become content with what we have. Period! Paul said if he had food and clothing he would be content.  Are you content?  Do you want more?  Paul said those who want to get rich fall into a trap and wander from the faith.

You don’t want to get rich you just want to be a little bit more comfortable.  We have enough – we have too much.  What are you going to give away?  How are you going to learn to be content?

Listen to sound teaching. Paul is commanding all evangelists to teach this truth.

 

1 Timothy 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18  Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.

 

We are the rich – put your hope in God not money. God will take care of our needs.

Be generous – did you read about the couple who gave a $100 tip to a waiter for a $66 bill?

Why pursue righteousness? Why put your hope in God?

 

1 Timothy 6:19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

 

True life is coming. True life will be found in Heaven.  It is your choice if you go.

Like anything else if you want to go somewhere you have to follow the instructions.

Jesus is the road map, follow Him.

 

Titus 3:4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5  he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6  whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7  so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

 

You can be an heir of eternal life if you allow God’s love to wash you.

Come and be immersed into Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and the indwelling gift of God the Holy Spirit.