Friday, July 3, 2009

Unity (By Fellowship or On Truth)

The restoration plea still goes out today. Raccoon John Smith (speaking for disciples) after pleading for unity closed his message , “Let us then my brethren neither be Stonites nor Campbellites. Let’s just be lights from the Bible.” In pleading for unity, what are we really asking for? What does it mean to be united? An even better question is, does it matter what we unite on? The denominational world says it does not matter what we unite on and we are united as long as we believe in Jesus. The denominational world as well as the new hermeneutic movement focuses on what they see as the ‘Core Gospel.’ This says that if you believe in the seven ones then we can have fellowship. So, fellowship is broadened and unity is now based on fellowship and not truth. Was it this way in the Bible? Let’s look at an example that tells us what it means to have unity and tells us whether or not it matters what we unite on.
On the sixth day God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. But God had someone in mind to rule over all of these creatures. God said, “Let Us make man in Our own image.” He gave man dominion over all creatures whether flying, creeping or teeming. This responsibility was given to man from the will of God. In order for Adam to have found favor and unity with God he had to do as God instructed him. God also made Adam a helpmeet. God instructed them that they were to eat of any tree in the garden, with the exception of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If they were to eat of it then they would surely die. Upon these words the man and his wife were to have unity with one another, with the garden and with their Creator. This death God spoke of was not only physical death, but also spiritual death, for through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, for all sinned – (Romans 5:12). This death through sin is a separation from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit which they were instructed to abstain from; separation from God, the garden, and each other came upon them. Adam and Eve had fellowship with one another, but there was something very crucial missing from their lives in order to have unity: obedience to the will of God. Unity is a principle that is as old as time itself and God speaks through His inspired word telling us how we can be united with Him, with one another and with the eternal garden which awaits those who obey His blessed will. In the account of Adam and Eve in the garden it is plain that unity is for those who keep and practice the will of God, and unity is not merely based on fellowship.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Complete in Unity

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. John 17:20-21

The master communicator has been ignored, ignorantly followed, and incautiously misrepresented. By self-admission, I was one who scoffed at the idea of there being a God to adhere to, and following His commandments was out of the question. The religious world as a whole has done the very same thing, even those who claim to be His adherents have willingly ignored His commandments. Christendom has placed the bread of Jesus on the backburner right next to the casserole of truth, only waiting to mix them both in with the soup of relativity. The doctrines and thoughts of men have become more prevalent as the centuries have gone by. Unity is now a term thought to mean: ‘we can all agree to disagree as long as we accept one another.’ Throughout the denominational (including non-denominational) world this is the idea Christianity is built upon. A man, whom I dearly love but disagree with on this point, described the church Christ came to build (Matthew 16:18) as a very large pie with individual pieces that represent the denominations (sects) of ‘Christianity.’ This statement brings forth a question Paul asked to the Christians in Corinth, “Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul” (1 Corinthians 1:13)? The question would be asked differently now. Has Christ been divided? John the Baptist, Martin Luther, John Calvin, or Joseph Smith were not crucified for you, were they? Or were you baptized in their names?
In John 17 Jesus knows His life is about to come to an end on earth. He prays a three-fold prayer for the apostles. First, He prays that the Father will keep them from the evil-one (John 17:15). Secondly, Jesus prays that the apostles will be sanctified in truth (John 17:17). Lastly, He prays that the apostles may be one, and not only one, but perfected in unity (John 17:22-23). Not only did Jesus pray a prayer for the apostles here in John 17, but He prayed for those who believe in Him through the teachings of the apostles. Jesus prays that we would all be one. Jesus says He wants us to be in Him and in the Father, so that the world may know the Father sent Him (John 17:20-21). Jesus prays that we may ‘all’ be one. This ‘all’ corresponds to those who believe what the apostles have taught. We have the letters the apostles have written, so if we believe what they have written and taught, then this puts us in this category of those who should ‘all’ be one. Is it really possible for all to be one? Paul exhorts the brethren in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 1:10 that they should all agree and there should be no divisions among them, but that they be made complete in the same mind and the same judgment. Does this sound like the ‘Christianity’ the world sees? ‘Christian’ denominations do not all agree. The very term denomination denotes division. Denominations are not in the same mind or in the same judgment. The very term ‘denominationalism’ goes against everything Jesus prayed for before His death. ‘Denominationalism’ is defined by Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Eleventh Edition) as the emphasizing of denominational differences to the point of being narrowly exclusive. Paul defines it in Galatians 5:19-21 as a deed of the flesh: dissension. The end of this dissension, or even faction, is not having a part in the Kingdom of God. We can be made complete in unity, but as long as this ‘pie’ of divisiveness exists true biblical unity is unattainable.
The Bible is very clear on what biblical unity consists of:
1. 1 Corinthians 10:14-15=> We partake of the Lord’s Supper as one, because Christ’s body is one.
2. Romans 12:16=> We must not be haughty.
3. 1 Corinthians 12:12-14=> We must be baptized into the one body, which is Christ’s body, the church.
4. Philippians 1:27=> We have to conduct ourselves in a worthy manner of the gospel of Christ (striving together for the faith of the gospel).
5. Philippians 2:1-5=> We have to have the same attitude which was in Christ (humility – corresponds to Romans 12:16) (intent on one purpose).
6. 1 John 1:3,7=> We must walk in the light.
7. 1 Corinthians 12:22-25=> We must regard each other as equals.
8. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11=> We must have a love for the truth.

These are just a few, but the most important of them all lies in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11, which goes along with Romans 16:17. This is the most important because the rest will follow if there is a love for the truth and sort of abstention from those with false teachings. God said to those who do not have a love for the truth, He will send a deluding influence so that they will believe a lie. They will sink farther into the false teaching than they had ever intentioned, all because they did not have a love for the truth. Jesus says in John 17:17 that the Father’s word is truth. Jesus also calls himself the truth in John 14:6. If we do not have a love for God’s word or Jesus, who is God’s word, then we will fall into the traps of the evil one.
Unity is a very biblical principle. Jesus prayed for it. Paul gave us an outline of how to be unified. God has given us the standard on which we are to be unified. We cannot take away from His word, nor can we add to it (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18-19). Another principle which can be seen in not adding or taking away from the word which God has given is that we cannot add the thoughts of men to God’s word. 2 Corinthians 4:2 speaks of ‘not adulterating the word of God.’ The adulterating occurs when something not on the same level as the original has been added. When adultery is committed in the marriage relationship something is added which was not originally intended, something not on the same level as the original. Unity is broken when teachings which are not on the same level as God’s word are introduced and taught as God’s word. Creed books, traditions, apocryphal and pseudopigraphal books are not on the same level as God’s word, so they are not allowed to be taught along with God’s word. All of this does not even deal with false teaching from God’s word, but it merely deals with extra-biblical teachings.
So, to say we are all a part of this large pie and we can accept each other for our differences as long as we agree to disagree is based off of an unbiblical thought. God expects us to be unified, but unified on His word. Jesus prayed for the apostles to be sanctified, set apart, in the truth and God’s word is truth (John 17:17). The fairy-tale view of Christendom is stamped out by Jesus’ prayer, Paul’s exhortations, and God’s expectations. Differences do not make us unique, but separate. If we do not all preach the same gospel, then one if not all are in error. “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9)!
Jesus prayed for our unity in Him and in the Father. There is one avenue to which we can become in Jesus and in the Father. That avenue is baptism. “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death” (Romans 6:3)? At this point, many have already tuned out and dismissed everything that has been said forgetting Jesus’ words in John 14:15,21 only to fall into the trap Jesus warned against in Mark 7:9. Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 how we, who are many, can become a part of the body. We cannot be unified until we have rid ourselves of sin and Acts 2:38 tells us that by repenting and being baptized we receive the forgiveness of our sins. There is no other way in the New Testament for non-Christians to receive the forgiveness of sins.
The very core principles of the Bible are the ones which cause such derision and denominating. The core principles have been slighted and given a cold shoulder for the doctrines and feelings of men to have their own way. The issues have been compiled in the dust pan and swept under the hermeneutical rug for far too long. Galatians 5:19-21 urges the opposition to division, lest there be those who do not inherit the Kingdom of God. As long as this pie of division exists the number of those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God will continue to grow, because unity has not been aspired to nor achieved as a byproduct. It is my sincere prayer, as well, that we who have believed in the apostles’ word, which is Jesus’ word, will be made complete in unity. In order for this completeness to occur we must first have unity, but in order to have unity we must first agree on the word of God and its application and erase divisions. Only then can we be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment (1 Corinthians 1:10).
God Bless and may we all attain to the unity of the faith. Maranatha
- Eric Ramseur

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Gospel Speaks

If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord; To give to His people the knowledge of salvation By the forgiveness of their sins. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him. "For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord God. “Therefore, repent and live.".Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name. Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death. Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!" My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Genesis 4:17; 1 Peter 2:2; James 1:15; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Isaiah 59:2; 2 Peter 2:11; Romans 6:23; Luke 1:7; Hebrews 4:15; Heb 9:28; Ezekiel 18:32; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3;1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:40; 1 Corinthians 16:24

Friday, January 30, 2009

Go Write Your Message on the Pavement part 1

Yesterday was one of those "Murphy's Law" days. Whatever could have gone wrong did go wrong. My wife asked me politely to drive our son to the babysitter's house before I went to school, which I had no problem with. So, I try to get out early, because I had never been to the babysitter's house before and I wanted to have plenty of time to make it to school on time. The mapquest directions said she lived nine minutes away. I follow the directions to the 'T' and their address was nowhere to be found on the road it should have been on. It was a 3500 address, but this was a 3600, 3700, and 3800 block. So I drove around the neighborhood asking people if they knew this family. Eventually, I was going to be late for class, so I hauled it back to the school in order to ask her husband where they lived. He gave me different directions, because there are two roads with the same name (I hate Denver). So, I get Malachi out there, and I get back to the school. It's 8:45 now and I've missed a lot of Biblical Exegesis class.

To be continued... it's a long story with a bright ending

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Head of One

If there were one frivolous item dear to myself that I could take on a desert island it would be my BC Rich bass guitar. I love playing bass. I love the sound. I love the feel of flat wound strings. One day I had a problem with the sound of my bass and I thought the problem was the electronics in the body of my bass. The body is the wide and short part of the bass. I took my bass in to be checked out and it turns out that the head of my bass was bent, thus the sound was off. The head of the bass is where the tuning knobs are and where the strings descend from. I was taught a valuable lesson about keeping my bass head in perfect shape. I also learned a lesson about the church. If Christ were not perfect, being the head of the church, the church would not function properly. "For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless" (Ephesians 5:23, 27). It also finally struck me that Christ is head of His one church, not many as the world and denominations claim. My bass head could not be the bass head of many basses, but only one. For, if it were not so He would have told us.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Compromise = Demise

The Truth Behind Compromise
Leaders throughout the decades have all had one thing in common. They have seen the detriment in conceding to anything less than what they have set out to do in order to accomplish their specific goal. Leaders have seen the importance of sticking to what they believe works and what they believe will push them towards their goal. Of course what is being spoken of is the idea of compromise. This is not the positive aspect of compromise which allows both sides to find a common resolution with a win-win outcome. The aspect of compromise I want to look at has to do with capitulation or surrender. This aspect of compromise is actually very divisive and creates hostility at times. Never has one idea torn down two sides of the spectrum so far apart as much as compromise has the potential to partition. Arthur Bloch, the American writer who wrote Murphy’s Law has this to say about compromise, “The compromise will always be more expensive than either of the suggestions it is compromising.” 2 Kings 17:33 says, “They feared the Lord and served their own gods according to the custom of the nations from among whom they had been carried away into exile.” The price they paid was salvation.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I was listening to one of my favorite songs the other day by The Decemberists, Engine Driver. This time when I was listening a phrase really stood out to me, "We have power lines in our bloodlines." I'm sure they did not mean to have any religious or spiritual connotations, but I could not help but to think, "Hey, as Christians we truly have powerlines in our bloodline." 1 Cor 10:16 says, "Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ?" We share in the blood of Christ! How amazing is this? We share a common bond with the Son of God when we partake of the fruit of the vine. The same blood keeping us bonded together is the blood taking away our sins. 1 John 1:7 says "but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." Even deeper, it is by Jesus' blood we can have confidence in the life to come. Heb 10:19 says, "Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus."
We truly have power lines in our bloodline. We are all one in Christ; so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Love Needed as Leaders

Love is the identifying mark of the leaders God left to shine brightly in a dark world. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35). Without love for one another, as Christians, we disobey Jesus. In the context, as leaders, without love for one another we are not recognizable as Jesus' disciples. By inference, without love, we are not qualified to lead God's people. Jesus says our love for one another will make us recognizable to all men. Jesus is not just saying Christians will recognize someone because of the love they have for one another, but he is also saying unbelievers will know them because of the love they have for one another. As leaders we must be recognized by the love we have for those whom we want to take in a particular direction. If we are not recognizable to those whom are outside of our immediate circles as well, then we have not the love Jesus has called for us to have. Jesus shows His dynamic leadership skills in the next verse when Peter asks, "Lord, where are You going?" Jesus answers Him by saying that Peter cannot go where He is going, but he will follow later. Jesus shows that He will be leading even when He is not seen, but He knows that Peter will live in such a way as to attain to the same end result. Peter did not understand at this point in time the vitality of the love needed as a leader of the people whom were to see the apostles' love for one another.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Get the Lead Out - Part 3

To wrap up this three part series on areas a leader must fulfill, I will be discussing the leader's need to have the drive and the vision to lead others. The most influential leaders are known as 'seers'. This involves having the foresight to see what possible hiccups could occur and plan in order to avoid or overcome those problems. (Read the difference between Robert Scott's journey and Roald Amundsen's journey to the South Pole) This also involves having insight, which is knowing what the imminent problems that will be faced are. We need to focus ourselves to not only see the horizon, but also be able to see the sand under our feet. This may seem difficult, but if you're setting out on a scubba diving expedition what would you check? You'd probably check your breathing apparatus, your diving suit, the conditions of where you're diving and the people you're going diving with's credentials. It's not rocket science, but common sense has escaped many. Jesus knew what would happen when He told the apostles that He would send the Holy Spirit to guide them in all truth and remind them of what He had told them. He knew that the apostles would forget a lot of things, so to prevent faulty or shoddy teaching Jesus set up a firewall. In having drive, we must be driven by something greater than ourselves. Paul says, I believe therefore I speak. His belief drove him. Jesus says, in Matthew 5:16 that we are to do good works and glorify our Father in Heaven. So our drive ultimately is in wanting to glorify our Father in Heaven. Once we have our spiritual drive, we can then have a basis for our drive in our works.
Rom 15:20
and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation,
James 3:16
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

So, let's plan with some common sense and build our drive on something greater than ourselves, because if we do not we have set ourselves up for failure.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Why Don't You Listen/ Hear What You're Missin'

"So while you're outside looking in,
Describing what you see,
Remember what you're staring at is me."

In evangelism and in personal relationships, unfortunately, we've fallen into the trap of seeing people as cases. I am guilty of this more than any other person on the planet. Being at a Bible Institute my head is spinning with all of the information that's being thrown my way, and that's what comes to mind whenever I hear someone talk about anything. Instead of listening I'm going over my notes in my head from class so I can quote them word for word. It's a pride thing most definitely. I was talking to someone the other night about the confession that we're supposed to make and they said that it's not confessing Jesus as Lord over our lives, and instead it is we confess that Jesus is the Son of God. They were turning through their Bibles looking for a supporting verse and they turned to Romans 10:9-10 where we see that the confession is confessing Jesus as Lord with our mouths. All I saw was that they were in Romans 10, and I didn't realize what they were looking at, so I asked, "What does Romans 10 say?" They got really offended and called me condescending. Honestly, I had no idea what they were looking at until I read the passage they were in. The point is, whether or not we're right, wrong, meaning to be condescending or not, we need to be patient in waiting for others to speak, instead of forcing people to be on the defense or to be totally offended. I pray that you all will be praying for me in this.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Preaching to the Choir

-I know this is a long blog (too long even) but I got really upset at some comments left on a Christian Chronicle Article-
Read the comments and you will understand. I've previously posted this on my Facebook, but some have not read it.

Are we encouraging our young men to be preachers? Do we believe that being a preacher is a valid occupation? Do we care about the welfare of the Church? At the rate that preachers are being turned out in the next fifty years there will be one preacher for every four churches. For every man that goes into the lifestyle of being a godly man accurately handling the word of God, there are two preachers leaving, whether they die or turn to denominationalism. Are we encouraging our young men to be preachers? At a recent retreat, Denny Petrillo, the Director at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver, asked a question to fifty preachers, elders and deacons. He asked, “How many of you have encouraged a young man to be a preacher?” No one raised their hand. How sad it is that we can see the need for preachers in the brotherhood, but we refuse to do anything about it. Are we afraid? What is there to fear? Do we care? “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things” (Romans 10:14-15)! How awesome it is to call on Jesus, but how will someone call on Jesus whom hasn’t heard of him? How great it is to know the word, but what is the profit to God or anyone else if it is not proclaimed? How will it be proclaimed if no one is sent? We have a responsibility to teach our children that Jesus is worth their lives. We have to, and I stress have to, teach our children that people’s eternal souls are at risk and we have to be concerned for them. “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). We must encourage our young men to preach to the world, but we must first be an example.Do we believe that being a preacher is a valid occupation? Outside of the Church there is a school of thought that says that we should make something out of our lives that will make us rich. If you’re not rich or doing better than your neighbor then you had better go back to school so that you can know more than them. We’d all like to be successful, but is our success measured in quantity of dollars or amount of education? May it never be. Our success is measured by our work for the Lord. We must bear fruit. We must lay up for ourselves treasures, not on earth where rust corrupts and thieves steal, but where rust does not corrupt and thieves do not steal: in Heaven. If one knows everything about biology and they’ve purchased everything their hopes and dreams have ever desired, it is still all for naught. 2 Peter 3:10-11 tells us that everything on earth is going to burn up, so we need to be godly having holy conduct. There’s nothing shameful about being a man preaching the word of God, for his treasures are laid up in Heaven and God will justly reward. Let’s try something every man and woman in Christ, let’s be rich. Let’s be rich in love for the word and rich with our treasures laid up in Heaven. In comparison there is no more valid occupation than that of preaching the word of God. Our success, as Christians, is measured by God, not by society peering in our wallets. We must work the school of thought that is on the inside of the Church, to the outside where the world can be conformed to Christ, but we can’t do this without a preacher.Do we care about the welfare of the Church? “I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18). Jesus says that he is going to build His church upon a rock. What is that rock? In verse 16 Peter says that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Peter told the truth. Peter didn’t need it to be revealed to him by flesh and blood. Peter discerned this by himself from the evidences that he’d seen. Do we care about the welfare of the Church? The Church is built upon a rock of truth, the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. In a way the question becomes; do we care about the truth? The brotherhood universities, schools, and institutes are being infiltrated by those who do not care about the truth. When I was attending Freed-Hardeman University I was not a Christian and did not understand the importance of testing the faculty as to their understanding of truth. It now means the world to me and the brotherhood is eternally indebted to such practices. These past couple of years the Tulsa Workshop has not been what it once was. There have been denominational guests that have been invited, not for debate, but to lecture and teach. When asked about this, the coordinators said that they do this because the so-called conservative brethren will not come. The conservative brethren were attacked by the liberal brethren, and now the liberal brethren will only listen to the denominational ‘pastors’. The conservative brethren gave it up. They didn’t want to be attacked, so they just stopped accepting the invitation. It’s sad. The cause was not lost. There was a lack of care for the Church and for the truth. We need to care. It is everything. What is our passion? What is it that drives us? What makes us servants? There is an answer to each of these questions, but the answer only lies in our actions. The Church will be defined by the same. I feel so blessed to be a part of the Church, and to be a student studying to be an effective preacher at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. Teenage men, to younger men, to middle aged men and older gentlemen, there is a calling. We are called in one hope of our calling to do the work, and there is work to be done. The Director of the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver instituted, as it were, a new award at the Homecoming Banquet this year. He called it a ‘NUAC’. ‘NUAC’ stands for Not Under Any Circumstances. At first hearing this word ‘Newac’ it little to no sense. Even the explanation meant nothing to me. Denny went on to say, “This award goes to man whom not under any circumstances sacrificed the validity and the accuracy of the word of God.” This is now the only thing that I went written on my tombstone. It really means something to rightly divide the word of God, and the fact there is now an award for it tells us that this is few and far between. Not under any circumstances can we let this go on.With twice as many preachers leaving as are coming in we have a lot of work to do, but it must be done, and it can be done. With help, hard work, perseverance, and encouragement we can make the Church one that the gates of Hades will not over power. Christ said the gates wouldn’t and it is our job as the gate watchers to make sure of Christ’s promise. In order to do this we have to have men preaching the gospel. There are schools like Sunset, Bear Valley and Brown Trail School of Preaching that are turning out men as fast as they can, but there is something that we all need to be doing apart from the schools. We need to be encouraging young men to want to be preachers. We need to understand that there are souls that are lost, and that God desires to have the world reconciled to Him. That’s why He sent His son to die for the world, not just you and me. It can be comforting knowing that we’re saved, but it ought to put a fire under us knowing that there is a greater fire waiting for those who know not our God. We have to believe that preaching is a valid occupation. Really, it is more than that. Preaching is a lifestyle, a calling, and a privilege. Lastly, we have to care about the welfare of the Church. The line between truth, opinion, and acceptability is being skewed as we breathe every breath. When we understand that it is not only the Bible that is being challenged, but it is our Lord and God that is being questioned and put on the backburner by society we will understand why we need more preachers handling the word carefully and accurately. We must encourage our young men to preach. We must believe that preaching is the most important occupation and lifestyle in the world. It is dire that we care about the welfare of the Church. Do you?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Handling God's Word With Love

Eric Ramseur wroteat 6:59pm on December 6th, 2008
quick question... I don't know much about the Community Church, but are the baptisms that are done for the forgiveness of sins?

(Austin Peay) wroteat 8:04pm on December 7th, 2008
No, my friend, it is an outward expression of obedience and acknowledgment that Jesus is the Lord and Savior of our lives and symbolizes the death, the burial, and the resurrection. I hope that clarifies things, they've all received the Lord's forgiveness prior to baptism, at least as far as I understand.

Eric Ramseur wroteat 4:51pm yesterday
Where's that verse that says that you receive forgiveness prior to baptism?
(Austin Peay) wroteat 8:40pm yesterday
Champ, for those who believe... 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace Psalm 103:12 It is possible for the Lord to look at us without seeing our sins because when he forgave us, he removed our sins as far as the east is from the west. It is by faith that we receive our forgiveness faith that Jesus has paid the ultimate price, that he has torn the veil that separates man from God,James 2:20 without deeds is useless... Once more baptism, is an outward expression of our faith, in which we openly proclaim that we believe Jesus is our Lord and Saviour, that Jesus is the Christ. There is nothing we can do to be saved and truly it's only by our faith in Christ that we are redeemed. The important thing is this, It's an outward expression of our faith.

Eric Ramseur wroteat 10:00pm yesterday
I'm not saying that baptism isn't an expression of faith. I'm just saying that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). 1 Peter 3:18-21 is the entire context where we see that baptism now saves through the resurrection of Christ. Jesus says that His blood is poured out for the forgiveness of sins and Acts 2:38 uses the same language when it says that they should repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. I totally agree that we are saved by our faith, but our faith compels us to be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins when we die to sin (Romans 6:3-4) in the like-manner of Christ's death which is baptism where we clothe ourselves with Christ (Galatians 3:26-27). Acts 16:30-34 tells of a man who asked what he must do to be saved. They told him to believe. And within the hour he and his household were baptized... only after that does it say that they believed.

Eric Ramseur wroteat 10:06pm yesterday
The book of Psalms has no bearing on NT Christianity as far as the plan for salvation. They had a different plan to be saved. I keep hearing it is by faith alone that we receive our forgiveness, well why does it say that baptism saves and that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins along with repentance?
(Austin Peay) wroteat 8:08am
Champ, Romans 4:1-7 , To say that I've been baptized and therefore am saved is to say that I've obtained my salvation by my own act, which clearly cannot be done, for as with Abraham, our father of faith who believed God and it was accredited to him as righteousness, it is through our belief, our faith and not just by baptism alone, that we are saved, baptism alone does not save, But saving faith in-which there takes place an earnest repentance from sin. Why did he get baptized, why did the ethopian want to be baptized was it that he was baptized and then believed or was it that he believed and then received? None the less you're right and I believe now we're just splitting hairs. I Corinthians 3:6-7

Eric Ramseur wroteat 4:24pm
Baptism is not something that you do. It is something that is done to you. Be baptized/immersed is passive and it is imperative. So we can see that it is something that had to be done and it was something that was done to them in Acts 2. Of course you have to believe first or else baptism means absolutely nothing, whether you believe it's an outward sign or you think it's for salvation. That's why Jesus says he who has believed and has been baptized will be saved, but he who disbelieves shall be condemned. He doesn't have to say anything about baptism in that last clause, because if you don't believe then you wont be baptized. We can't make NT application with an OT subject when it comes to salvation. Abraham made animal sacrifices... we don't, because Christ is our sacrifice. I'm not saying that it is baptism alone that saves, nor is it our faith alone. Of course the ethopian believed, but he was preached Jesus and from that he knew that he had to be baptized by someone else.

Eric Ramseur wroteat 4:25pm
I'm not saying this to be facetious at all, but when you said I was right and now we're splitting hairs... what was I right about?

(Austin Peay) wroteat 4:55pm
1 Peter 3:18-21 if it is said in the word than I'll agree with you on that, look to be honest i'm not in the mood right now, I concede, you are a great theologian and know what and how to be saved I hope that you apply it and ultimately advance the kingdom of God :)

Eric Ramseur wroteat 5:26pm
I'm really sorry if I've come off haughty or arrogant or anything nonconducive to a Christian walk. That was not my intention at all. I am just extremely concerned about baptisms and the reasons behind them. So, if I've offended you in any kind of way or put you in a bad mood I apologize sincerely.


I have a lot to learn.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Get the Lead Out- Part 2

In the first blog of this three part series I talked about one of the three areas that needed to be fulfilled in order to be a leader. The first area was having the will to lead. Today I want to discuss leaders making things happen.
While the leader needs to make things happen, he cannot do this alone. The leader needs to stimulate others to reach their fullest potential by finding their strong suits and encouraging them to be the best they can be. The leader must also be ready when others make mistakes to pick them up, rinse, and repeat. Things will happen when people are reinforced with positivity and a smile. The most important thing a true leader can do is let someone know that they have potential and someone believes in them. Everybody is suited for something. Outstanding results cannot be forced out of people. They occur only when individuals collaborate under a leader's stimulation and inspiration in striving toward a worthy common goal. Helping others realize their fullest potential to contribute meaningfully will force things to happen. You cannot do this alone. If others are being stimulated to love and good works under the direction of a leader things will happen.

The Leader Teaser

Yesterday I went to the bank to deposit a check and I noticed the mind bender for the day. (It was quite perfect actually) For those of you who don't know what a mind bender is, it is something to keep people busy while waiting in line for a slow teller. Seriously, it's a riddle of sorts. Anywho, it said and I quote, "Studies show that people who buy 3 of these things a year are better suited to be leaders." I stood and wondered, "How very well thought out God. You're trying to keep my mind on leadership aren't you?" So, I think over it for a while and the only thing that comes to mind is a _________. So I get to the teller and tell her about the class that I'm taking and I ask her if she can just give me the answer. So she looks at me for about 10 seconds with a sinister smile and finally she says, "A pair of running shoes." I thought to myself, "Can you form that answer in the form of a sentence?" Mike Hite would have an aneurism and conniption fit. But I decided not to go grammar nazi on her and actually think about the answer. It was stupid and I felt like I had wasted 10 brain cells on the answer. But I thought Bob would think it was cute because he teaches the Leadership class and he buys 3 pairs of running shoes a year. I guess he's better suited to be a leader.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Get the Lead Out- Part 1

One of the toughest things to do is to change. If someone has done drugs all of their life, then it will be hard for them to quit. If someone has used profanity all of their life and it is all that they have heard, then it will be hard for them to stop using that kind of language. If being a follower is all that a person knows to be, then being a leader is perceived as an unattainable concept for them.

Unfortunately, I still struggle with the idea of being a leader, in being a husband and a spiritual leader in the church and my family. Growing up I was never encouraged to take the lead because that's what parents were for. Looking back on that I realize that I was done a great disservice in that I was not taught or encouraged to lead. Now that leadership is involved in every decision that I make I can see the changes that I need to make in order to become the leader that I need to be.

In order to be a leader there are three areas that need to be fulfilled. The first area has to do with having the will to lead. If a leader has no drive then he/she will never get anyone anywhere. When was the last time you heard about a follower accidentally stumbling upon victory? It does not happen. There must be the will along with the intent to lead and accomplish. What we need to realize is what Moses had to realize eventually- God will give us the strength and the knowledge. Only by trusting in him will we then receive the victory. So let's get the lead out and get out in the lead.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sounding and Grounding New Hampshire

Hello all! My name is Eric Ramseur and I am very interested in your region of the United States. I'm sure I sound like an alien or maybe just a foreigner who has been so bored that New Hampshire sounds appealing, but I am truly interested in your area of the United States. I am planning on planting or rebuilding a church in your state. I am a preacher who preaches for the church of Christ. We are not a denomination, nor are we nondenominational (all inclusive). Rather, we are New Testament Christians who believe that there are to be no divisions among the body of Christ and the Bible is our only authority because it is from God. There are nine total churches of Christ in New Hampshire that are still surviving. Per capita, this is not enough. That is why I am so interested in your area of the United States. In Acts 1:8 Christ said that the apostles were going to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the remotest parts of the earth. Well, there are still some remote parts of the world that are left. The apostles covered those parts in their day, and now it is our turn. While, there are congregations in New Hampshire that call themselves Christians, there are certain aspects of Christianity that these sincere people have to attain to. The truth of the gospel of Christ needs to be spread into all of the world. It is my belief that the spreading needs to start in your own back yard. When Paul and Barnabas set out to preach to the world, they went to Cyprus first, which is where Barnabas was from.
While I am idealistic, I am also reasonable and pragmatic. I understand that this work is not going to be easy in the least. That is why I am training to preach, teach and lead at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. I am also planning on having other competent men with my family in New Hampshire along with their families. There is a lot of work that needs to be done. It is more than imperative. It is our spiritual obligation of love to do this work. This work is not about numbers. It is not about filling seats and it certainly is not about our wallets or fame. This is about saving souls. I must decrease so that Christ may increase. This will be a labor of love and while this mission is about unity it is also about division. It is about dividing sound doctrine and sound people from the world and denominational teaching. 1 Timothy 2:13-14 says "Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you." So there is something to be retained- that is the standard of sound words- and there is something to be guarded- that is the treasure which has been entrusted. The treasure is the standard of sound words or the testimony of Christ which Paul over and over tells Timothy that he need not be ashamed because he is not (2 Timothy 1:8; 12, 16; 2:15). We must not be ashamed of sound teaching because Paul, through inspiration, says that it is to be retained and guarded. Christ has guarded (2 Timothy 1:12) and so shall we.
I am excited to meet you all. If you would please respond and let me know what you all think, what your beliefs are, and your willingness to study (yourself and the population as a whole). The truth is very important. Jesus says that He is the way, the life, and the truth. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). So, it is important to have sound teaching and be grounded in the word of God. I love you all and I love your love for the truth. So, if you would get back to me so that we can talk about the future of New Hampshire it would be greatly appreciated.

"Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier." 2 Timothy 2:3-4