On The Journey, Judy Bowman
“Just say no”
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that our loving God would let any of His children suffer an eternity in hell. Just the idea of it seems to go against the merciful Creator Who healed the blind man and cured the leper. We remember how Jesus cried over the death of His friend and Whose love called Lazarus back to life and out of the grave. This God surely wouldn’t allow anyone, especially a “good person” to end up in hell. It’s hard for us to imagine that and so we don’t think about it very much. We surely don’t want to hear it preached to us on Sunday morning. On Sundays we want to hear music and sermons that make us feel good. We want to leave church in a good mood. Many churches go to great lengths to never speak about hell or the judgment of God. When someone dies, there is never any consideration of the state of their soul. You never hear hell mentioned at a funeral. Everyone goes to heaven, right?
But this is not what God has told us. The Bible is the story of how much God loves us and desires that we be saved from our sins. If we didn’t need to be saved, then the Lord would not have left heaven to become one of us, to suffer, and to die on a Cross. The entire story of Jesus would be reduced to a fairy tale about a nice guy. Yet many people who claim to be Christians believe that good people who are kind and merciful will enjoy God’s eternal presence. You may hear them say, “I’m a spiritual person, but I’m not religious.” Translated, this means, “I think I can get to heaven on my own. I don’t need the Church that Jesus founded.” This kind of thinking is especially attractive to us modern folk because concepts like independence and hard work are dear to us. We think we can do just about anything if we set our minds to it. I can save myself by being kind to others, by worshiping God in the beautiful outdoors, and by leading a “moral” life.”
Sound familiar? It should. All this “do it yourself” Christianity has been around since the 4th century. A medieval thinker named Pelagius started it all. He denied original sin. That is, Adam and Eve sinned against God, but the rest of us didn’t inherit that wound. We’re born good and we can stay in that good state so long as we are moral people. Pelagianism denies our need for God’s saving grace. That’s why the Catholic Church condemned it as a heresy around 1500 years ago. Catholicism teaches that the only path to heaven is by the unmerited grace of God through the sacrifice of Christ. We can do nothing to save ourselves. We’re born with original sin which is our natural state. The grace of God in Baptism cleanses us of this sin. Faith is a gift God freely gives us, but we can’t earn faith through good works. Without God’s grace, we are headed for hell. It’s that simple. And that gloriously beautiful.
Unfortunately, this old heresy is still with us today in varying degrees. Churches that believe that Baptism is a symbol of spiritual rebirth or that don’t believe Baptism is necessary for salvation are Pelagian. If your pastor isn’t teaching you about original sin, you’re in big trouble. If you believe that you can “self-help” your way to God, that you needn’t rely on God’s grace—you’re in big trouble. Faith isn’t a choice, it’s a gift. You can’t be a good ol’ self-reliant American when it comes to your salvation. That’s why this heresy is so rampant. It agrees with our politics. But grace isn’t political. God calls us, we don’t call Him. There are 613 rules under the Jewish law and obeying each one of them perfectly won’t get you one step closer to paradise. Just ask St. Paul. We don’t come to Christ unless we’re first called by Him. We don’t “make a decision for Christ.” Christ makes a decision for us. Love is beyond our choice or decision. We are “in Christ” just like we are in love—head over heels and beyond our control. So un-American. And so perfectly Catholic. Take that, Mr. Pelagius.
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you.” — John 15:16
MaKayla Thomas, North Whitfield Baptist Church
This Sunday Brother JT Sanders preached on tithing and giving back to the Lord. God wants us to be servants and to be obedient. We need to give it all to the Lord as He gave it all for us. By being a servant we are being obedient and faithful.
As for up coming events, we have Mission Revival the 15th through the 18th with Brother Matthew Frank. On the 22nd we have pastor appreciation with “Gospel Soul Seekers” and Youth Sunday the 29th. Donations for the “God’s Goodies” event are still being taken up. Signups for the drama are open and we encourage everyone who wants to to sign up.
Be sure to come down to North Whitfield sometime, we would love to have you!
Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church
Octoberfest at Pleasant Valley will be Saturday, October 19, 4 pm. We are looking forward to this great day of fun and getting to know you and our community. Mark your calendars now for a great fall day occasion! There will be lots of fun, food, and fellowship!
Keep all those who are experiencing the aftermath of Dorian, in prayer that God will help them in this great need. Pray with us for those with physical needs, Jewel Mitchell, Carolyn Denton, Lula Petty, Denise Pitts, Claudette Armstrong, and many other of which the Lord knows their name and their need. Many extended family members are in need of prayer and ask for them to remembered in your prayers knowing God knows. Pray for Pastor Flood and his family, for the church and ministries including missionaries, Sunday school, youth, nursing homes and homeless, orphans. Pray for our country/leaders, congress, Israel/America. Remember the border, the Iran/N. Korea/China situations and troubles around the world. Please pray for PVBC to grow and spread the gospel in this community. Pray for souls to be saved and Christian persecution taking place today.
Pleasant Valley Baptist membership were privileged to two (2) God-breathed messages on this past Sunday. Pastor Flood’s morning message from God was taken from Luke 23:48. It looked at the people gathered at the cross on Calvary when Christ was crucified. It considered who they were when they came, what they witnessed, what they could have done, and who they were when they left. Each one could have cried out at any moment and could have been saved. Have you gathered at the cross, have you cried out to God for forgiveness of your sins? Calvary has the power to change. The people on that day felt guilt for an innocent man on the cross, but not for the sins they had committed. Behind the scene on the cross, Jesus suffering for our sin, we see God suffering and His holiness blackened by our sins. Who are we that the very God of all the universe, should Himself suffer such shame and disgrace because of our own sins? Who are we with all of our filthy rags of sin, God should care for us? Who are we?
Pastor’s evening message came from Genesis 45:16 thru end of chapter. Often we find ourselves down and discouraged. In these scriptures, Joseph told his brothers to tell their father four (4) things: I am alive, I love him, I am Lord, and I long for my Father. Since Joseph is a type of Christ in the Bible, we can be assured these four (4) things are true for us as well. Jesus is alive, His Word tell us. God not only tells us He loves us but He proved it by His substitutionary death on the cross. God is Lord over all creation and He longs to have us with Him. One day God will tell Jesus, His Son, to go gather all His children (believers) and bring them home. This gathering will be the Rapture of the church. To be part of this gathering, you must in this life realize and confess you are a sinner, ask God to forgive, and receive by complete and total faith, Jesus as your own savior. Salvation is not wrapped up in the words of a prayer, but wrapped in faith. Consider all the mercies of God in your own life. If you are saved, look back to the day you trusted Christ. Be encouraged.
Services are live streamed on Facebook. Service times are Sunday School 10AM, Worship 11AM, Evening 6PM with prayer at 5:45PM. Wednesday Bible Study and Youth Kid’s Zone meet at 7PM. Call for transportation 706 537-3633.
Come visit PVBC real soon. We are excited to see you!