Monthly Archives: October 2020

Abiding Love

International Sunday School November 8, 2020 Fall #10

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (5) “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (6) If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (7) If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (8) This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (9) “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. (10) If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. (11) I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (12) My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. (13) Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (14) You are my friends if you do what I command. (15) I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:4-15 (NIV)

Serving Love

International Sunday School November 1, 2020 Fall Quarter #9

John 13:1-16 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. (2) The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. (3) Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; (4) so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. (5) After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (6) He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” (7) Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” (8) “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” (9) “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” (10) Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” (11) For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean. (12) When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. (13) “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. (14) Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. (15) I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. (16) Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.

John 13:1-16

John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (35) By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:34-35

Love Never Fails

International Sunday School October 25, 2020 Fall Quarter #8

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (2) If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. (3) If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (4) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (5) It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (6) Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (7) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (8) Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. (9) For we know in part and we prophesy in part, (10) but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. (11) When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. (12) For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (13) And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

This message is needed in this season more than any other time in my life. Christians must demonstrate love in our world. We are on the verge of completely destroying our testimony with our actions. Be kind. Be gentle. Be truthful. Demonstrate love.

Love for Neighbors

International Sunday School Lesson October 18, 2020 Fall Quarter #7

The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luke 10:25-37 (NIV)

Who is my Neighbor?

With the charged environment in America today, that is one of the biggest question a Christian must face in their day-to-day life. How do we treat those that are different? Do we have obligations that go beyond our comfort zone? Do we preach and minister to the world or are we in the these-four-and-no-more crowd?

Jesus did not give us a commission to preach the Gospel to our own kind. There is no “share to those you are comfortable around” clause in the great commission.

Which Kingdom?

Let me say first, that I believe in paying taxes, voting, volunteering for community needs, and serving in all forms of government jobs. This is not a call to disengage from civic responsibilities.

(6) Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (7) He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. (8) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 1:6-8 (NIV)

The church has struggled with the tension between soul-saving and worldly power grabbing. If any section of scripture settles this debate, this section in the first section of Acts settles it. The apostles had raised these questions before to our Lord. James and John had even tried to position themselves into a better power position in the new political order. However, the entire New Testament is a movement away from worldly politics and toward individual salvation. The Gospel works on one person at a time.

So, the Gospel is to be preached to people. People are reborn, not governments transformed. A individual person’s life is changed, not a survey stat improved. Society is only impacted because individual people are changed. Christianity makes a difference at the kitchen table and only makes it to the public square because redeemed people act differently. The Gospel is not legislation. Jesus did not die on a Cross for an agenda, a party, a platform, or a candidate. His blood was shed for individual souls. His blood made a way for personal salvation, not a grab for money and power.

Preaching that blood-bought, life-changing, hope-filled Gospel is the true church’s mission. Everything else the worldly church does is a satanic distraction. The closer that ‘church’ gets to politics and prosperity preaching, the closer it finishes its ultimate transformation into the Great Whore of Babylon.

I have seen such a great falling away from the personal salvation I heard preached in the early 70s to what passes for Christianity today. The apostate church partners now with religious groups that deny the sonship of Jesus Christ, salvation by grace, and odd eastern cults for political expediency. We heard great men of God preach about the one-world apostate church supporting and cooperating with political rulers. I have lived long enough to see, at least the edge, of that day. I am heartbroken for what I see in the evangelical church.

There are some that will not hear what I am saying. Some are not fallen away but never knew Christ. You can wrestle with a wolf all day, but he will never be a sheep. I can’t force those into the light. However, there are some that started the race well, but now border on this satanic deception. Please stop and remember the blood-bought soul-saving Gospel. Remember the joy of the new birth. To those of you that are lost sheep, I beg you to hear God call you to repentance. You cannot serve God and Mammon!

Love Your Enemies

International Sunday School October 11, 2020

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

– Lk 6:27-36

This lesson is one of the hardest requirements of the Christian faith. What do we do when someone slights us, persecutes us, or cheats us? How do we treat folks when we have nothing earthly to gain?

It is one of the hardest requirements but it is also the source of the best Christian testimonies. The world doesn’t really take notice when we don’t drink, smoke, or cuss. The world takes notice when we forgive and love with amazing grace. This week I would like to point you to a story that has brought me to tears more than once — the story of the Amish community and their reaction to the school shooting on October 2, 2006. It is testimonies like that one that spreads the Gospel — not winning any debate.

Reading a book out of season

A little over 10 years ago our former General Superintendent, George O Wood, wrote a book, “Core Values: Serving Christ’s Cause with Effectiveness and Excellence.” The fellowship sent out a copy to all the licensed ministers. It was part of a denominational initiative. I received one and put it up, unread, in my bookcase for well over a decade.

I took it down and started reading it last night. Wow! The power in that book and the confirmation from the Holy Ghost that I felt reading it. Dr. Wood tells such stories. For example, his parents started a little church in Indianapolis. They made huge sacrifices and it seemed like a failure. They sold the building and finally left Indianapolis feeling like they failed. They never knew that the woman that bought the building founded a great Pentecostal church that sent missionaries all over the world.

He told a story of the man that struggled to start a church in PA. He started by preaching on the street corner. He finally struggled and acquired a building. It was the church where where the father of George O Wood, eventual General Superintendent of the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world, was saved.

God has a plan. God seeks folks that obey their call. We are not guaranteed seeing the results here on earth but His word does not return to Him void. I am so choked up and more determined than ever to keep on the firing line. To be faithful to my God. To preach the soul saving, blood-bought, life-changing Gospel at every opportunity. Praise God!