Greetings from Pastor Bob and The Encouraging Word. “Real Men Wear Kilts.” That was what the tee-shirt said at the Highland games this past weekend. And yes, I wore a kilt. All I have to say is that is was a breezy day. It is good to be back writing to you. I trust everything has been getting better and better in every area of your life. If not then today is the day that it all turns around and heads in the right direction. I have been real busy as you can imagine. My collage classes are going well. The church is moving forward. I have been staying busy with the entertainment business. The kids on the school bus were extremely wound up after Halloween. And my family is the blessing of my life.

 

It sounds like my Mother is getting settled in and enjoying her new home down in Englewood. She is going to be coming back up the first week-end in December to help us out with our yard sale and stuff. My Mother-In-Law on the other hand is still in need of your prayers. After loseing her husband of almost 53 years, you can imagine how displaces she must feel. Her biggest functional problem right now is transportation. She really needs a reliable car. If you know anyone who can help her out in any way with a good running, automatic car, please, please contact me right away and let us know about it. In the mean time please remember to keep her in your prayers.  

 

So, I guess I should talk a little about Halloween. Some people make a big deal about it being an evil holiday and all that religious stuff. Being one of those people who get paid to dress up in funny costumes and act silly I would really be a hypocrite to overly condemn the activity. I really have decided not to give the devil any more attention or power then the worm deserves. Let the kids have some fun and enjoy their candy. In many cases it is the only time people ever even think about ringing a neighbor’s doorbell. It was nice to see kids walking hand and hand with their parents going through their neighborhoods, with everyone smiling and in a good mood.

 

Is the foundation of the holiday evil? Well, sure, but then we Christians have not always acted in such holly ways either. Stop pointing fingers and do what Jesus did and love one another. If you do not want to celebrate Halloween, or want your kids to go trick or treating, then find a positive alternative. Give out scripture candy. Or go to a local church’s fall family fun fest, or other community event. The main thing is what is in your heart. Don’t let the devil have any power over you. And when you start condemning people for having a good time with their kids and family and community, who looks evil? Enough said.

 

This Sunday is our “Fellowship Sunday” at church. It is where we all get together after church for a pot luck dinner and have some time to just get to know each other and relax. If you are in the area come on over. Tonight we will be having a “Hymn Sing.” That is pretty much what we do on Sunday Nights. And if you know me I was never real big on hymns. Being an old classic rock head, it took awhile for me to get into this hymn thing. But like anything else if you will give it a chance you can see the joy in it. Now I am having a great time around the piano with our small group of people singing and laughing and really enjoying each other and life. Plus, if you know anything about hose old hymns they have a great message in every one. SO come on over on Sunday nights at 6:00 and enjoy the presence of the LORD. Then on Wednesday nights we do a little more singing and really get into the word. It is our Bible Study night and we are going through he Bible verse by verse. If you are looking for a good place to worship and fellowship and learn the Bible and grow the kingdom of God then boy do we have a church for you.

 

We are getting things set up to web cast the service, so you will be able to watch the service right from home. We still have to work out the details but I like it. Other things in the works are the Thanksgiving camping trip and Dinner, we have a gospel trio coming in on the second Sunday of December and then this Saturday is Fitness-Witness, beginner guitar lessons and sign language lessons. I will be performing at the St Petersburg Pier next Saturday between 1 and 4 and a whole lot more.

 

Now, my friends…. Let’s get into the word!

 

A New Creature

(2 Corinthians 5:17 KJVA)  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

 

As I was looking at the different translations of this passage of scripture I found it interesting how each put a slightly different twist on what actually takes place in this transformation.

 

One translation says that you become a new person. Another says that you are in a new world. Sometimes we really don’t pay much attention to the real transformation that actually takes place as we walk in the newness of life. Paul has a wonderful way of explaining to us how we have to put off the old man, crucify the flesh, not be conformed but be transformed. This transformation process is much like sanctification in that it is both instantaneous as well as being a work in progress. When we come to the knowledge of who Jesus Christ really is, and He is the King of Kings and the LORD of LORDS, When we come to the knowledge of what He has done for us, and accept Him as our personal savior and LORD, we are instantly transformed into a new creation.

 

The example has been given of how the moment you believed God put on glasses and no longer saw you as you but he sees you now as Jesus Himself. You have been set free. You have been givein eternal life. You are delivered, you are forgiven, you are suddenly a joint heir with Christ. All spiritual blessings have suddenly been given unto you.

 

So the first thing I want us to look at is where we were, or who we were then we will look at the actual transformation and finally at the continuing process that we walk out every day. I want us to go to the book of Ephesians to discover who we were, or for far too many, who we still remain, before our rebirth.

 

(Ephesians 2:1 KJVA)  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

 

Some of you might be able to see in your King James Bibles how the passage “hath he quickened” is in italics. Whenever you see something in italics in the King James it means that those words were not found in the original text, they were just added by the translator. Why? I don’t know, maybe in this case they wanted to candy over the statement about who you were. It says that

 

“And you who were dead in trespasses and sins.” It gets to the quickening part a couple of verses down, but first you really have to know who you are without Christ. You are dead without him. Remember how in John 5:17 it tells us that “Christ did not come into the world to condemn the world , but that the world through Him might be saved?” Well, if we keep reading there in verse 18 it tells us why.

 

(John 3:18 KJVA)  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 

I tried to find a more clear translation, but the fact is, Jesus is not the one condemning you. You are already condemned. If you consider yourself a good person, you know yourself you are not good enough. Or, maybe that is the problem. I can’t understand it myself, but someone might think that they are good enough. Someone might be thinking they have been good so they should be given the right into eternal life.  John has an answer for that too. In 1st John 1:8

 

(1 John 1:8 KJVA)  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

 

If you don’t think you have any sin then you are either really fooling yourself, because you sure are not fooling anyone else. We all know you!

 

The fact is we have to start at the point of where we are. Even those of us who have been “in Christ” for many years need to know from where we came. We Christians need to know who that old man that continually is tying to take over is. Look at the prodigal son. He thought he had it all. He had his inheritance, he was having a good time. But when all everything was stripped away, he realized how much he really needed and desired salvation. Let’s go back to our passage in Ephesians that talked about how we were dead in our trespasses and sins.

 

The original word that is translated trespasses is very interesting. When we think of trespassing we think about going onto someone else’s property. But the original word does not really talk about that at all. It talks about the little things we do wrong.

 

 paraptōma

par-ap'-to-mah

From G3895; a side slip (lapse or deviation), that is, (unintentional) error or (wilful) transgression: - fall, fault, offence, sin, trespass.

 

I want to also show you the G3895 that the word comes from.

 

G3895

παραπίπτω

parapiptō

par-ap-ip'-to

 to fall aside, that is, (figuratively) to apostatize: - fall away.

 

So, the first part of our death is really unintentional. We do a little side slip, we mess up, we make a few mistakes. We are human. Now, think about that in eternity. Even the slightest deviation in the short term will turn into  a huge mess down the road of eternity.

 

The great thing about God however is that he reverses that. You can make the slightest correction in your character today and watch yourself grow into the man or woman that God has created you to be in no time at all. But you have to be able to see the need to make the correction before you will take the turn.

 

The second word is the one we are all most familiar with. It is plain and simple, down right sin.

 

G266

ἁμαρτία

hamartia

ham-ar-tee'-ah

From G264; sin (properly abstract): - offence, sin (-ful).

 

This is the stuff we do that we know is wrong, but we do it anyway. This is the rebel in us all. This is our lack of will power. This is where we far too often try to justify and rationalize and cover up the real ugliness of it all.

 

The fact is we are all sinners in need of a savior. We can not cover it up, We can not make up for all the wrong we have done. We can not go back and do it over. The price has to be paid. The wages of sin is death. And it has been the death of our relationships, the death of our friendships, the death of our communities, the death of our hope. Our own trespasses and sin have led us down a dead end road to hell and the grave.

 

But God!!!!! God did not plan that end for you. God’s  plans for you are to prosper you and to give you a good name and a bright future full of hope. So He paid that costly price for you.

 

 

Today is the day of your salvation. Right now you are a new creation. Behold all things have become new. God wants you to know how much he loves you and you are indeed blessed and highly favored of the LORD!

 

God bless you my friend and may He continue to make you a great blessing to others.

 

Your friend;

Pastor Bob