It seems that there is widespread confusion with regard to those who present themselves as the purveyors of Christianity and its benefits.
Just exactly what do you think people assume Christianity offers? Health, wealth, success, peace of mind, a certain level of tranquility, perhaps the promise of a better job, a better career, the fulfillment of your dreams and ambitions and desires, perhaps even everything you can think of and articulate. That would be a fairly common presentation of Christianity today.
But I think the overall general sense of Christianity today is that it offers you whatever you want. Whatever it is that makes you happy; whatever it is that satisfies you; whatever it is that fulfills your ambitions, your desires, and your dreams, that’s what Christianity offers you. Christian offers to make you everything you really want to be. That is a very confusing message and a very unbiblical one.
It also lays out a complex answer to what should be a very simple answer. In a word, what Christianity offers you is Christ. Jesus Christ – that’s what Christianity offers. That is a very simple, straightforward, one-word answer to what has become a very complicated issue. We offer Christ in offering the gospel.
The surpassing theme of the Scripture, the surpassing theme of the New Testament in particular is Jesus Christ. And in not having Christ, you have nothing; and in having Christ, you have everything. The writer of Hebrews says that Christ makes us perfect forever. The apostle Paul, in writing his first letter to the Corinthians, sums up the significance of having Christ with these words, chapter 1, verse 30, “By His doing” – by the work of God – “you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.”
All wisdom, all the benefits of wisdom – divine wisdom; all righteousness, all the reality and benefits of righteousness; all sanctification – that is the pursuit of and the attainment to holiness; all redemption, including not only our soul redemption but our bodily redemption – all of that is found in Christ. Everything is found in Christ.
In Ephesians 1, we read this, verse 3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ.” There is little wonder, then, that the apostle Paul, in that same epistle of 1 Corinthians and that same section in chapter 2, said this, “I am determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ.” That is our message and our message alone. Christ is Christianity, and He is all there is to offer, because He is all that we need.
The apostle Paul, concerned about the Corinthians, deeply concerned about them, comes to the end of his second letter to them in chapter 11, says in verse 2, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid lest, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity associated with Christ.”
Christianity is very simple; it is very pure; it is about having Christ, knowing Christ. Paul says, in Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.” He says in Philippians chapter 3 that when he saw the glory of Christ, everything else became manure. Verse 8, “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
And so, he says, “One thing I do, forgetting what lies behind, reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal which is the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” What is that? What is the prize when we are called up? It is to be like Christ. Paul says, “One day I will be like Christ. Until then, my goal is to pursue that Christlikeness.”
We have only one message, and that is Christ. We tell sinners they can have a relationship with Christ, and in that relationship with Him, they will receive everything they need, all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. And yet, in the name of Christianity, in the name of the gospel, in the name of the church, in the name of evangelism, people are told all kinds of things, promised all kinds of things, sold all kinds of things. And in the middle somewhere is, if recognizable, a significantly diminished Christ. Anything that diminishes Jesus Christ is a perverted presentation; it is another gospel, a false gospel.
Should you want to make an inquiry on how to know Christ, or to live for Him, visit our website, or our Sunday Service, or just give us a call.
Faithfully In Christ
Lagoonside Baptist Church in Knysna of the Garden Route
(taken from a study by JMac)
Key theme: Jesus Christ is Victor
Key verses: Revelation 1:19; 17:14
I. THE THINGS WHICH THOU HAST SEEN (1)
John’s vision of the exalted Christ
II. THE THINGS WHICH ARE (2—3)
The messages to the seven churches
III. THE THINGS WHICH SHALL BE HEREAFTER
A. The throne in heaven—4—5
B. The tribulation on earth—6—19
1. The first half—6—9
2. The middle—10—14
3. The last half—15—19
C. The kingdom of Christ—20
D. The new heavens and earth—21—22
Go to our Sermons Page to follow the sermons from the Book of Revelation on the website for Lagoonside Baptist Church in the Garden Route.
The place of prophecy in the Word of God and the book of Revelation specifically are seldom, if ever taught.
If the stated purpose of the Revelation is for God to “show His servants things which must shortly take place” (Rev. Rev. 1:1+), what value can there be in allegorical or devotional interpretation which misplaces the locus of understanding from the actual words of the text to the mind of the reader?
The Greek word for revelations is apokalupsis which literally means "unveiling" or "taking off the cover"
We are meant to understand the book of Revelation! Revelation chapter one verse three promises a blessing to those who read and hear the words of the prophecy given to John by the Lord.
The book of Revelation or unveiling, starts at the time of the writing which is approximately 100 A.D. and extends on into eternity, with a new heaven and a new earth!
Join us this Sunday as we start our Sermon Series dealing with topics in the book of Revelation by which we hope to encourage you to dig in to God's Word and not be afraid of the Book of Revelation. Certainly this book is quite relevant for us today as it includes our age and takes us beyond it. It provides a window into the future and God wants you to know it!
Jesus saves – What does this mean?At one time or another, most people in the Western world have heard the phrase "Jesus saves." What does this phrase really mean? Who is Jesus? Why do we need to be saved? How does Jesus save? From what? Is this just some kind of church marketing scheme to get us to give them our money?
Unfortunately, the phrase "Jesus saves" has undergone some cultural hijacking which has obscured its meaning. The truth is, the words "Jesus saves" might be the most important words you ever hear.
Jesus lived about 2,000 years ago in Israel. He was a Jew, and lived and worked among Jews. He was an unremarkable man from an unremarkable family. When He was about thirty years old, He stood up in the local temple and quoted a passage from a Jewish prophet called Isaiah. He said:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:18).
This prophecy was known by everyone in Jesus' audience as a prophecy about the Messiah—Israel's future king who would set them free and make their nation great. Jesus shocked them all by saying, after He had quoted the passage, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:21; see verses 16–30 for the full account). This began a conflict between Jesus (who claimed to be Messiah) and the Jews (who eventually betrayed Him to the Romans and had Him executed by crucifixion).
The Jewish Pharisees (the religious leaders of that day) hated Jesus, mainly because He told them that their understanding of God was all wrong. They expected the Messiah to be a ruler, a king who would help them defeat the Romans. But Jesus was interested in saving people for eternity. They expected a Messiah who was like themselves: passing out rules, but unwilling to help others (Luke 11:46); glorifying their own morality while treating others with contempt (Luke 18:9–14). But Jesus was interested in forgiveness, healing the sick, and lifting up those who were failing (Mark 2:5; John 3:16–18; Mark 2:17).
Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, and He claimed to be God (John 1:1–3; John 8:58). He backed up that claim by rising from the dead after three days in the tomb, and appearing to a crowd of witnesses and disciples (Luke 24:1–12; 36–49), many of whom would later face a violent death rather than deny that Jesus had risen from the dead.
So, why does this matter to us, today?
Religion today is not much different than it was back in Jesus' time. There are a lot of rules to follow in order to appease a deity. When faced with religion, people usually either
a) delude themselves into thinking they can follow all the rules, do the right thing, etc. and then judge anyone who cannot do the same, or
b) turn away from religion because they realize they are not able to follow the rules. The words "Jesus saves" speak to this problem. Jesus was the Creator God and displayed all of the same character traits as God Himself (Hebrews 1:3). He came to forgive the sins of men; He came because "it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick" and He came "not to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mark 2:17 ). What this means is that if you need salvation, Jesus saves.
The fact remains, however, that every person needs Him whether they will admit it or not. We are all prone to mistakes, to addictions, to choosing the wrong path. We are all sinners (Romans 3:23) who have fallen short of God's standard (Romans 6:23). We are all less than perfect. And we all feel the moral burden. That is why religion exists—it exists to give us the illusion of control, and to assuage the nagging feeling that we are not measuring up to what God wants. "If we just follow these few rules," we think, "God will be pleased and accept me." But it is not possible to do everything that God requires, because we are human and perfection is not possible for us.
Does this mean God is cruel? That He has set us up for failure? Not at all—Jesus saves! God sent Jesus for this very purpose—to put all the punishment for sin on Him, so that we would not have to bear it (Isaiah 53:5). Now that this free gift is available to us, the only way we can damn ourselves is if we actively choose NOT to take it! Jesus saves anyone and everyone who wants to be saved, but many of us say "no thanks" and cling stubbornly to religion, or to the delusion that we can somehow save ourselves, or that we don't need saving, or even that God doesn't exist. Denying His existence is just another way of avoiding the big issue: Jesus saves, and we need to be saved.
Take the advice of the writer of Hebrews, who said: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts" (Hebrews 3:15).
If you believe that Jesus is who He says He is—that He is God who came to earth as a human man, lived a sinless life, died the death we deserve to pay the penalty for our sin in our place, rose from the dead, and offers the gift of forgiveness to you—you can accept His great gift today. A good way to start is to pray something like the following to God. [It is important to remember that this is just a sample prayer. Salvation does not come from reciting specific words. It is a gift of God's grace that we receive through faith in Him. A prayer like this is a way to express your heart to God, tell Him you believe Him, and ask Him to save you.] "Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and I can never measure up to your standards on my own. I know that my sins deserve death. But I also know that you have graciously sent your Son, Jesus Christ, to live a perfect life and die in my place. I believe in Him. I believe He rose again and that He offers me the gift of salvation. I want to turn away from my sins and accept salvation in Jesus. Thank you for saving me, Jesus!"
Have you made a decision for Christ because of what you have read here? If so, please write to us and let us know, we'd love to hear from you.
How can I get right with God?
When people say they would like to "get right with God," they usually mean they desire to stop some kind of wrong behaviour and begin living for Him. In order to get right with God, however, a person must realize what is actually wrong.
The barrier that keeps us from being right with God is sin. Romans 3:23 teaches, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." This sin separates us from God: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). The only solution is to receive eternal life from Jesus Christ.
How can you receive eternal life? Jesus taught that eternal life comes by faith: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). You must believe in Jesus to escape death and the punishment for your sins and have eternal life in heaven with Jesus.
What does it mean to believe in Jesus? Romans 10:9 shares, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." First, you must believe Jesus is Lord. Second, you must accept that Jesus literally rose again from the dead. He defeated death to prove His power as God's Son and offer eternal life to you.
Jesus shared a powerful example of His love in the account of the prodigal son in Luke 15. The son had left his father and wasted his inheritance. His only means of survival was working with livestock. He even craved the food the pigs ate. At his lowest point he decided to return home and ask his father if he could work as a servant. As he returned, his father saw him in the distance. The father ran to him, hugged him, and declared a celebration in the son's honor, saying, "For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found" (Luke 15:24).
Today Jesus offers the same love this father offered to his lost son. If you will turn to Jesus, He will accept you and celebrate your decision to believe in Him.
There is no special prayer you must say to get right with God. However, if you would like to accept Jesus as your Savior and know for certain you have eternal life, you can tell God with a prayer similar to this:
"Dear God, I realize I am a sinner and could never reach heaven by my own good deeds. Right now I place my faith in Jesus Christ as God's Son who took the punishment for my sins and rose from the dead to give me eternal life and restore me to rightness with you. Please forgive me of my sins and help me to live for you. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life."
If you prayed something like this today, please let us know so we can encourage you on your journey with God. Email us.
You can find more info to help you at our website for Lagoonside Baptist Church in Knysna of the Garden Route
duty or dependence
The key question we must ask in terms of active faith is “where is the source of our spiritual activity and obedience?”
The apostle Paul addresses this idea in his words to the Galatians:
For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace. But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. (Galatians 5:4-6)
Active faith is not faith that tries to justify itself before God by rule keeping. Rather, active faith is transfixed with a pursuit of intimate relationship with God that is offered to us in the gospel. Here, we exchange duty for dependence: relying wholly on union with Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit.
When we get this backwards it leads only to Old Testament religion which lacks the power of the gospel! However, active faith that is grounded in “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) will yield a powerful life of natural obedience, produced by God and evidenced by a life of love.
Ian Thomas, founder of Torchbearers put it this way:
“A living faith breathes with the activity of Jesus Christ …That is the work of God. It is your living faith in the adequacy of the One who is in you, which releases His divine action through you. It is the kind of activity that the Bible calls “good works” … “Good works” are those works that have their origin in Jesus Christ – whose activity is released through your body, presented to Him as a living sacrifice by a faith that expresses total dependence … (cf. Romans 12:1-2).”
Faith “that expresses total dependence” is grounded in the indwelling power and presence of Jesus Christ. So our lives reflect the power, service, and love of Christ—which is compelling to others.The key question we must ask in terms of active faith is “where is the source of our spiritual activity and obedience?”
who can be saved
Who can be saved? John 3:16 is an oft-quoted verse for good reason. It declares, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." Whoever believes in Jesus can be saved. He extends the invitation of salvation to all. Galatians 3:27–28 says, "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Jesus is the great unifier of humanity (Ephesians 2:11–16). He does not exclude people from salvation, but lovingly offers it to all.
Sometimes people think they must perform certain good works in order to be saved, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Romans 3 makes it clear that no human is righteous. We cannot do good on our own. Romans 3 also explains that it is only by God's grace, received through faith, that we are justified. Ephesians 2:8–9 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Therefore, we do not have to be a "good person" in order to be saved. In fact, we can't be!
Sometimes people think that they have committed too many sins, or too heinous of sins, to be saved. This is also patently untrue. God is able to forgive all sin. First Corinthians 6:9–10 lists some types of people who won't inherit the kingdom of God, and then verse 11 says, "And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles and one of the most prominent writers of the New Testament, persecuted the church with great zeal before he was saved (Acts 9). Paul wrote, "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life" (1 Timothy 1:15–16). Forgiveness is available to all who will believe in Jesus.
Anyone who wants to be saved can be. The requirement for salvation is to put your faith in Jesus. Admit that you are a sinner and that you deserve eternal death, the punishment for sin (Romans 6:23). Believe that Jesus is who He says He is—God in human flesh, who lived a perfect life to fulfill the law, then died the death we deserve in our place, then rose again victorious over death, and offered salvation to all who would believe in Him. Trust that God has applied Jesus' sacrifice to your account (2 Corinthians 5:16–21). Leave behind the emptiness of trying to save yourself or trying to live your life apart from God.
As a new believer in Jesus, you can get to know God more through reading the Bible, praying, and joining a Bible-teaching church. And give God praise that He offers salvation to all!
Have you made a decision for Christ because of what you have read here? If so, please let us know and we can help you on in your journey with God.
Lynne Mcilrae will be our speaker at our Ladies Fellowship
Come connect, discover and grow together with us this Saturday the 18th May at 6 Queen Street.
All ladies welcome always and feel free to invite your friends. We look forward to seeing you all there.
Lagoonside Baptist Church, Knysna
Happy Fathers Day
Our fathers carry half of our genetic makeup. Our relationship with our father plays a huge part of who we will become. In many segments of society, people grow up without ever knowing their fathers. This is unfortunate because fathers should play as important a role in raising their children as mothers. A father is the model of a man for his daughter and she will choose a man who is like him. A father is the model for his son as well. A father is the model after which our children will grow up to perceive our Heavenly father and what He is like. Fortunately, there is a trend for fathers to be more active in their children's lives.
Eph 6:4 And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Join us for our Father's Day 9:30 on the 16 June 2019
All Welcome Always
Join us at Lagoonside Baptist Church in Knysna, Garden Route
On Sunday 12th May 2019, Lagoonside Baptist Church in Knysna will have a Mother's Day Service, celebrating and honouring Garden Route mothers for their dedication and love.
We would like you to come be a part of that special day, so come along and bring your mother or a friend to join in with you as you come.
Men, remember the words of the apostle Paul, Col 3:19 "Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them." Kids, Col 3:20 "Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord," and Wives, Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Remember, the family is a critical entity instituted by God. So make this Mother's Day in Knysna a key page in your book of life.
We hope to see you there, we would love to have you join us.
All Welcome Always