Friday 28 March 2014


by Mike Taylor

2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

When one speaks of God’s grace, it  has been defined as the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it, but is the condescension or benevolence shown by God toward the human race. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man being a generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved -that takes the form of divine favor, love, clemency, and a share in the divine life of God.

It is an attribute of God that is most manifest in the salvation of sinners. Christianity holds that the initiative in the relationship of grace between God and an individual is always on the side of God, not man. God pursues us, as we do not pursue Him.


I just got finished reading a book by David Jeremiah, called “Captured by Grace”. In the pages of this book, Dr. Jeremiah explores the life of Paul, and contrast it with another man who wrote the words of that most beloved hymn “Amazing Grace” John Newton. If you read about the life that each of these men had before they met the Lord of Glory, you would understand how depraved and sinful they were. How deceived each man was.

Saul of Tarsas was a zealot of the Jewish faith, being a Pharisee, he made it his mission to stamp out this new heretical sect of Judaism, called at the time, “The Way”. We can read the story of Saul  at it’s beginning in Acts chapters 7  of the stoning of Stephen, where Saul is introduced as a man consenting to the death of this young disciple of Jesus Christ , but moving on into into chapter 9,  Saul is on the road to Damascus and the risen Jesus Christ comes to him and knocks him off his horse and blinds him:

9:3  And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

9:4  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

9:5  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the goads.

I wondered what the word goad meant and what it referred to, or as some translations have it pricks. It is a reference to the pointed stick or metal poker that was used to drive an oxen team to do what you wanted them to do, where  you wanted them to go. You were leading them, but pricking them with this stick, even as the oxen would kick at it. Paul was being  pursued and was being driven to do what God wanted him to do with a spiritual sharp stick.

As you read the story, you have to wonder what went through Saul’s mind when he is comfronted by the risen Lord. The same Lord he was determined to stamp out any worship of by persecuting all who were following Him. I just can imagine it destroyed everything he thought he was, or believed up to that point. If he was wrong about this, what else was he wrong about?  He had to meditate on this in his weakened condition. For three days, he took no food or water, being blinded by the intense light that shown about him, as the revelation of Jesus Christ came to him  bodily in His glorified state.

As the story progresses, Paul is healed by a follower of Jesus Christ, one Ananias who God commands him to go to Saul and heal his eyes, by laying his hands on him. From that point on, Saul who changed his name from Saul to Paul, became a zeolot for Jesus Christ and Him crucified and there is no other man in the Bible, (save the persecution of our Lord) that was more persecuted, all for his faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. Nor was there a more a bold tower of spiritual faith and conviction that there was found in Paul, the apostle.

Then there is John Newton, a man who had a terrible life. Abandoned as a child, reared in a boarding school that is nothing more than a child prison, lived the life of a sea faring slave trader, guilty of the murder by deprivation of other human beings transported in the squalor of a ship’s bowels, and was at service of every evil he could think of, in word and in deed constantly. If you read the story of John Newton, you wonder how this man ever became known as a pastor of a church in England, a minister of righteousness, and the author of one of our most beloved hymns, “Amazing Grace”. It is a story of about each man, living in the clutches of a sinful, evil life and changed in an instant by one thing, God’s grace and mercy. In this beautiful book mentioned, you discover that they both were “captured by grace”.  God’s grace  lifted them out of the miry clay of a life headed for hell, and set them on a solid rock, a changed man. If you want a book that will touch your mind, soul, and spirit, then this is a good one to read, but back to God’s grace. Why?

That is the question. Why would God bother with men such as these two, or any man, for that matter, who are prone to sinful ways? Since Adam fell, men have had a sinful nature that separated them from a righteous God who can’t abide sin in His presence. King David wondered the same thing when he wrote in Psalms:

8:4  What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

 In each of these men, whose life I read about in the context of grace, it was God who did the pursuing. David Jeremiah called it the “hounds of heaven”. God was on these men’s tail and they may have felt His presence, a conviction or something in their spirit that they felt they we being stalked. The book envisions  it this way:

“Saul feels the beginning of a chill along his spine. This has happened before—more than once. He roots out the Christians: he does his job: he is reminded of their strange calmness, their—what is the word for it? Some kind of irrational mercy. And always, as Saul is reflectging over the oddity of it all, he hears the ----footsteps.” (Captured by Grace, P. 3)

Of course, this is literary interpretaton of what Saul might have felt, but in the moment Saul may have “felt a strange inside feeling that he was the one being pursued, and that someone, or something else was pursuing him. Of course, it’s irrational. What possible sense could it make? He was God’s champion, defender of the faith. He must continue on, root them out, capture them one by one. Capture their faith, capture---yes, that’s the word, their grace.” (Captured by Grace, P.3) It was the same in comparison with John Newton, a man wallowing in sins of the flesh in alcoholism, , murder, revelry with women and every other word was a blasphemy against God or a curse word. How were these men changed, into the exact opposite of what their life was in the beginning into men of faith, men of passion for Jesus Christ, and followers of the righteousness of God to the end of their days?

It was grace. Such grace can only come from God. It is unmerited, unlimited, and a gift not sought for by anyone. For no matter what we have done, no matter the depth of our transgression, the darkenss of our hearts, grace overrules them all. God pursues us relentlessly. He will not give us up, and once He has captured us, He won’t let us go.

Saved a Wretch Like Me

There’s a line in that wonderful, old song, that most of us can sing by memory.

 “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see.”

What do you feel when you sing that line? A lot of people just belt it out and never realize that they are who the writer was talking about. He was talking about himself, and he was talking about you, and talking about me. “A Wretch like me.” Have you ever tried to define what a wretch is? It’s an Old English term, that means a person in exile, a  person who is miserable and terribly lost. As the New York Times wrote in a piece about the morals of this country, “we are a wretched people in need of a road map.” Amazing that the New York Times recognizes the terrible condition that this country, this world for that matter, is in. That road map is the Bible. The Bible speaks of the nature of mankind, in Roman:

3:11  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

3:12  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

3:13  Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

3:14  Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

3:15  Their feet are swift to shed blood:

3:16  Destruction and misery are in their ways:

3:17  And the way of peace have they not known:

3:18  There is no fear of God before their eyes.

That pretty well sums up the condition of most of the people that have turned away from God as the Sovereign of this nation. This is true of the world at large, but even more so than for the USA. We were a nation conceived on Christian principles, founded on our belief in the Ten Commandments of how men are to worship  God and treat one another, no matter what anyone tries to tell you. No other nation has been more blessed, more rich in material favor, and has become the greatest nation on the face of the earth, greater than any nation in all of history. Even the poorest among the people are considered rich by any other nation’s standards.

You might be thinking, “hey, I’m a good person. I don’t do drugs, I don’t run around on my wife, and I go to church every Sunday”. Good for you, but in God’s eyes, you are a wretch and lost, if you depend on your own goodness and morality. We are all sinners in God’s eyes, and wretched by definition, or outcast, exiled, and separated from God. Paul speaks of it this way:

5:19  For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Jesus Christ) shall many be made righteous.

5:20  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound.(to define sin) But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

5:21  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sometimes it is said that grace is a five letter word that is spelled J-E-S-U-S.. For Newton’s hymn, the melody embodied the idea, BUT Jesus was the Man.  He was the perfect once and for all, perfect image of grace. John 1:

1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

1:2  The same was in the beginning with God.

1:3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

1:4  In him was life; and the life was the light of men…….

1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
God in His mercy, had a loving, deep desire for the work of His hands. He desired a relationship with His creation, as the potter makes a masterpiece by the work of His hands and cherishes this example of perfection. He longs for us, His perfect creation. Going back to Psalms where David ponders why God has a desire for us. Psalm chapter 8:

8:5  For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

8:6  Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:

We were intended for honor and glory, but Satan, the usurper managed to deceive our first parents and cause them to choose a different life, by free choice. They chose the knowledge of good and evil, and chose a very different, dangerous world that we now live in. But God in His mercy has extended His mercy and His grace to a creation that is drowning in sin and unable to save themselves. Ephesians:

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

2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

2:3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

2:4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

2:5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

This is love…This is grace…This is mercy…unwarranted, undeserved, without  merit. God became a man, lived amongst His own creation. Why? Because He knew man could NOT save himself. We were dead. We were killed spiritually by Satan and slaves to sin without hope or any way out in of ourselves. But to reclaim us, Jesus became our kinsman redeemer, whereby a person who has been sold as a slave, as we were sold to a sin filled life, by the act of one man (Adam) and the evil deception by our adversary, Satan the devil, we were reclaimed by one Man, Jesus Christ. Romans:

5:14  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

5:15  But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

5:16  And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.

5:17  For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.

5:19  For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous.

The Prodigal Son

If there is one story in the Bible that speaks of grace, let  us quickly look at the story of the prodigal son. It’s a much preached about parable that Jesus told. We all know how the story goes. About a young man who wanted to go his own way, to leave his father, and took his portion of the family fortune and went out into the world to live a sinful, riotous life until all his money ran out. Where did it end him? Down in the mud, feeding pigs and longing for the corn husk that they ate.

Until, he came to himself and realized that he must return to his father, and throw himself upon his mercy, and pray for being nothing but a servant, as he deserved nothing more from him. Luke 15:

15:17  And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

15:18  I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

The parable that Jesus told, its a story about us. This is where all of us are, or were. We were sold under sin and lost within the family of mankind, by inheriting the sin nature of Adam and Eve.. This story is not so much about the son, but of the father, who upon seeing his son coming from afar off, runs to greet him. Realize that during his running to his son, the father had to lift up the mantle of his robe to prevent him from tripping over it’s hem. Thus exposing his bare legs and running with love and compassion  holding that hem. The discards all thought of his being the patriarch in the community and the decorum of Middle Eastern man, but runs with abandonment to the son he had been looking down this road for so long, only now to fall upon his neck and kiss him. The son gave his much rehearsed plea to his father for becoming  part of his servants, and not worthy to be his son. But notice the father’s reply, again Luke 15:

15:22  But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

15:23  And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

15:24  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

We are that son. God is that father. It’s not so much a story about the guilt of the son, but of the grace of the father. We were dead, but God has made a way for us to come back to him. What is that way, the only Way? John 3,

3:16  For God (your Father, my Father) so loved the world,(you and me) that he gave his only begotten Son (Jesus Christ), that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

3:18  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.

For Paul, is was the realization that he was wretched. For John Newton, it was the realization that he was also a wretched wandering prodigal son. As Paul wrote in 1st Timothy chapter 1:

1:13  Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

1:14  And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

1:15  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

For John Newton, who wrote “Amazing Grace”  the words spoke of his blindness, his sin, and the grace he received. It was the same, for both men.. They both were blind, they both were lost, but now they see. And they both were saved by grace. Are you like any of these three examples? Are you wallowing in sin and lost from being away from the Father who loves you? Does life seem to be a desperate road of being unable to find your way back to where you know you should be? Do you feel that tugging at your heart, and the unrest of your mind? God is pursuing you and won't stop till He captures you. Will it take a blinding light and being knocked from a horse, or being so low that you reside with pigs and eating scraps from someone else’s table, as Newton and the prodigal son did? Or will it be something even worse? Do you understand the mercy and grace that has been extended to all who believe in the only pathway back to the Father who created you? Jesus said:

 John 14:6  ….. I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

You see, God became a man, as John 1 proclaims. He lived and died 2000 years ago for one purpose and that was to make available to all who believe to receive God’s Amazing Grace.

This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying grace and mercy enter into your life through  Jesus Christ, my Lord. Should you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me, or visit me online at

God bless you, till we meet at Jesus Feet.


by Mike Taylor

3:5  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

3:6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:5-6)

There is no other doctrine that is more central to the Christian faith as when Jesus spoke with Nicodemus and proclaimed that a man must be born of water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God. Nicodemus was obviously very confused, as written of the account of the meeting the Pharisee  had with Jesus after coming to Him after sundown and it was dark. Nicodemus was thinking in physical terms and could not understand the concept thinking that he must he enter the womb of his mother and be born again? He wasn’t thinking in spiritual terms and it seemed totally illogical to him at that moment.

Many Christians use the term to describe their being a believer of Jesus Christ, but do they fully understand in Spiritual terms exactly what Jesus was driving at? Many use the label to describe themselves as this believer in Jesus Christ, but is belief enough? Remember what James said in James chapter 2 :

v. 19,  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Let us examine what it means to be “born again”. 

As an illustration, when I was a young man, I used to be only concerned with myself. I was single and single minded of what I wanted. But when I got married and especially when I had a child between us, I changed. My identity of who I was changed dramatically. Oh, before when I was a happy go lucky young man, without the responsibility of being a husband and then a father, I would have been happy with a condo on the beach. That would have been wonderful. But now, my focus was on someone else. My money went to take care of a wife, and then a new life born into our family. I changed and my focus changed. My identity changed. I was no longer responsible for just myself. I now had a wife and baby and I was a father. My focus was different. I was a changed man.

So it is with becoming “born again”. We change. Our identity is changed. Our core being is changed. We are not the same person. Know one thing, my brethren. God is not doing a remodeling job on the same old house. He’s not coming in and saying, let’s knock out this wall, or let’s put in a new refrigerator over here, and put up some new nice curtains for the windows….No, God comes to us and since our life  was built around being lost in our sins, objects of His wrath, and considered a walking dead man, spiritually, God started from scratch. It’s like an episode of “This Old House”.  The old house is so much in disrepair, with rotting walls full of termites, leaky roof, a foundation that is falling part, that they come in with a bulldozer and tear it all down and start over completely. There is just no way to repair what is unrepairable.  They dig a new foundation, pour new concrete with cement blocks for a foundation and build a whole, brand new structure. That’s what we become. A complete new creation or a “new structure”. The old is gone, and the new has come. We were changed at our very core. Our being was changed inside. Oh, we may look the same on the outside, but spiritually we are different and God has taken the old man and killed him and buried him with His only Son, Jesus  Christ and raised him to a new life.  Ephesians chapter 2:

v.1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

v. 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

v. 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

We were hopeless, lost and objects of God’s wrath. We were walking dead men who didn’t realize it until the Holy Spirit drew us to the foot of the cross of Calvary. There we believed John 3:16-18 and the surrounding Gospel message of Jesus and Him crucified for the sins of the world. Then by obedience  to the Lord's example we were baptized by immersion into a watery grave just as Jesus demonstrated when baptized by John the Baptist. (Matthew 3:14-17). Why do we immerse a person? Why not just sprinkle some water on his head, or stick his head in a bowl? Because the water of baptism is a symbol of the grave. We died to the old man. We were raised to newness of life. But the question raised, is baptism necessary for salvation? No, but as mentioned, it is a sign of obedience and knowing that we have died to the old man and raised a new creature. Romans 7:

v.4  Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

v.5  For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

v.6  But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

The law has no hold on us, in that it condemns us, because we have been baptized into the death of Jesus Christ and the old man has died and we are now raised with a changed identity. Oh, we still have that sinful nature, because we are still mortal. But Paul addresses this conflict of the flesh waging war against the spirit. Romans 6:

v.12  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

v.13  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

v.14  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

v.15  What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

In Paul’s day, it was believed by the a heretical belief held by a sect called Gnostics that we could sin all the more, so that grace could be even more grace. Paul says no. For we are not under the law, but under grace and dead to sin. He continues:

v.16  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

v.17  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you

v.18  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

You see, because of grace and the mercy of God, it doesn’t allow us to willfully sin and act like nothing ever happened. Some people feel if they come down to the front of the church, give the preacher your hand, and join the church and “believe by being an assenting Christian” in Jesus Christ, that they are fine. Party time now, because it’s all good. I can live like I want, do what I want and I’m covered, past, present and future. I just got my free ticket to heaven….See there is a difference between believing as the demons do, by assenting to the fact that Jesus is God, and becoming a follower of Jesus and being conformed to His likeness. It’s speaks to the level of your faith, and decision to allow Jesus to be Master of your life.


Let me ask you a hypothetical question. If you came to your doctor and he pronounced that you had advanced stage IV cancer and prescribed a treatment that cured you, would you be indebted to that doctor? Most certainly you would be. You might even hug the man, or kiss him, because he just saved your life. What has God done for you then? He just saved your life. You were dead, dead, dead. But He has made you alive in Jesus Christ and promised you eternal life and a future beyond your wildest dreams. Would you be indebted to Him? Would you follow His plan for your life in humble submission to a Father in heaven and our Lord Jesus Christ who just gave you a pardon from a death sentence? Colossians chapter 2:

v.10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

v. 11  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

v.12  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

v.13  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

v.14  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

God our Father, gave us a new life, with endless possibilities and future heavenly rewards, apart from the blessing of this temporal life we live. He made us glorious promises found in God’s Word to those who love Him. Romans chapter 8,

v:32  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

v.33  Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

v.34  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Did you catch that? He will freely give us all things, and the greatest of these is a life without end, eternal life. As Paul testified in Philippians chapter 4,

v:19  And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.


But you lament, as many that email me struggle with the complaint, “but I still sin”. Yes, we are still mortal. We are still afflicted with a sin nature. But Paul spoke of this seemingly conflicting paradox of those buried with Jesus Christ and find that when they say something they should not have, or look at something they should not be looking at, or think a thought that is not very Christ-like they are convicted and the need for repentance is strong, even as Paul lamented in Romans chapter 7:

7:14  For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

7:15  For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

7:16  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

7:17  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me…..(skipping down)

7:19  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

7:20  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

But he identifies the solution to be a mortal man and having God’s Holy Spirit living inside us in the verses further down in the same chapter:

7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

7:25  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

It seems to be a conflict that is present all our lives. We are “born again” but still mortal that has this war going on inside us. But with God’s Holy Spirit within us, strengthening us, leading us in the paths of His righteousness, when we sin because of the frailness of our mortal flesh, it is not our identity that is doing it, because we have become the children of God (sons and daughters), but it is the sin nature that is doing it and not my changed spiritual identity, but the sin nature that lives as a part of my flesh.  When we sin because of being flesh and mortal, we bring that failure to our Lord and repent and ask forgiveness and the fellowship that was hindered is restored completely. We will finally overcome the sinful nature, when the deposit of the Holy Spirit that melded with our spirit finally overcomes. Ephesians chapter 1:

v:13  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

1:14  Which is the earnest (deposit) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

When will we finally overcome? 1st Corinthians chapter 15,

v.52  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

v.53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

v.54  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

v.55  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Then the deposit of our purchase possession will be changed into His likeness at His coming for His church. As Paul spoke of in Philippians chapter 3:

3:21  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

And in another place: 1st John 3,

v.2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

v.3  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Jesus hinted at what we will be when we are finally changed into the likeness of our Savior when talking with Nicodemus, and as He displayed to the Apostles after His resurrection, coming full circle, again in John chapter 3:

v.8  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

As Jesus could come and go at will right before men’s eyes because He was now flesh and bones with a resurrected body, we will have the same body that He possesses now. We will be able to be touched, possibly eat as Jesus did, but come and go as a breeze through the trees that Jesus described. We will be the purchased possession, as the deposit of the Holy Spirit has now quickened our mortal bodies into eternal spiritual bodies with properties and powers that no mortal man can describe save what the scriptures define. All I can say is, I can only imagine. And I want it, more than anything…Do you?


Have you been really “born again”? Have you accepted the only payment for the purchase of your soul to live eternally with Almighty God, a loving Father and His only Begotten Son? Are you an assenting Christian believer in your mind, or a true follower of Jesus Christ, in Spirit and in Truth in your heart of hearts? You must ask yourself these questions, as signs and symptoms of the closing of this church age is growing exponentially louder and more pronounced with each passing day. As any minister would give an altar call at the end of a message, I call you now, by God’s Holy Spirit and the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to repent of your sins, accept my Jesus Christ as Lord and Master of your life, and be changed forever inside your very core of being. Become a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, our soon coming King and Lord…Be ye, BORN AGAIN!

This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying for you to be born again in the Kingdom of God. If you should have a need, would like prayer, counseling or just a listening ear, then email me at, . 

God bless you all, till we meet at Jesus feet.

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Genesis 1 - In the Beginning

 Andy Falleur, Pastor  

1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Moses is attributed as the author of these words, but many scholars believe that in sections such as the one we just read, Moses has simply written down, or included established history. Stephen says in Acts 7:22 ­ that Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. Still, what we have just read is unique among all accounts of creation, or origins, even those of recent days.

The first word in Hebrew is “beginning.” In Latin, it’s the word Genesis, and we still call this first book of Moses by that first word in the Latin translation.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Such a simple statement, anyone can understand it and no one can plumb its depths. Each word is a mystery.
In the beginning, meaning there is a start to time. Time isn’t cyclical, there’s a beginning. That makes sense to us, the beginning of time. But, you should know that no scientist, physicist, philosopher or psychologist can tell you what time is. Google it… not now, but later. “What is time?” No one knows. Oh, we know what time it is. At least we have agreed to call this moment in time by a measurement we all agree on. But, we don’t understand time. In fact, some of the scientists, physicists and so forth have decided that time isn’t real.

But, the Bible simply declares… in the beginning…” There was a start to time.
The Bible also clearly declares that there is an end of time. Daniel records prophecies that he is told are for the “time of the end.” You can read those in Daniel 8, 11, and 12. In the New Testament, we are clearly told, that the time is short. 1 Peter 4:7 ­ the end of all things is at hand. Revelation 1:3, and Revelation 22:10, both say the same thing… the time is near.

In the beginning, God. You’ll want to note that in the original language, the word God there is “Elohim” and it’s plural. The next word “created”, the verb, it is singular. The linguists tell us that the reason that God is plural is to denote his majesty and superiority and splendor above all others. He is one, instead of many gods, because the verb, the action is singular. But, it’s still odd, especially because we are familiar with the rest of the Bible. John 1:1,2 ­ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. So, there’s 2 that were there, in the beginning, standing outside of time. But, then there’s Proverbs 8:22, where wisdom is talking and she says: 22 “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. 23 Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. So, there’s three, I think that’s enough to warrant a plural word, however, obviously operating singularly. This I think is a clue in the second word of the Bible of the doctrine of the Trinity. We’ll see another HUGE clue later on in the chapter.

In the beginning, God created… The word for created is “bara”, it’s singular. The Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains: Hebrew Old Testament says this about “bara” ­ make something that has not been in existence before. It’s to create out of nothing. There’s a different Hebrew word we will encounter down in verse 7, and it’s the word “asah” and it means to fashion something, or to make it out of existing materials.

So, In the beginning, God, created out of nothing… “So, Andy, how did He do that?” I don’t know. Listen, we can’t even figure out how He did it after He had something to work with. We don’t even know for sure when He did it. And, some of us are still reeling from the plain simple fact, that wisdom was there, and she was a she!

In the beginning God created

What we do reject, and it seems that the scientific community is also starting to reject is neo­Darwinism or evolution by natural selection. Thomas Nagel wrote a book that was released in 2012 called: “Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo­Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False.” There’s some significant problems with the materialist naturalism worldview. Beyond Nagel, the evolutionist must still wrestle with the origin of things, if there’s nothing, how do you get something out of nothing?

Currently, there seem to be three major ideas that Christians take on creation.
First, there’s 6 day creation, or young earth creationists, and they believe and can show you how God created everything in 6, literal, 24 hour, days. Then, there’s the old­earth creationists who believe and can show you how God created everything over these very, very long periods of time. Lastly, there are the theistic evolutionists, who believe that God created everything through the mechanism of evolution.

Here’s the problem, no one knows when, and no one knows how, because God has kept it to himself. He even says this to Job, in Job 38:4 ­ “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?...

No matter which way you turn for answers on origins, you have to take it by faith. You’re going to have to put your trust in someone’s explanation. Hebrews 11:3 ­ By faith, we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

One more question here. Why do you want to know? Why do you want to know how and when? Consider this, Paul wrote in Romans 1:19, 20, that all of God’s attributes and character are fully visible in creation. Frankly, what drives most of our discoveries these days is how to manipulate the created order, alter it in order to serve our pleasures, to assist us in the worship of intellect, power, money and pleasure. It seems the further we dig into creation, in trying to understand, the universe, quantum physics, cellular biology, psychology, etc… the more complex and complicated and exasperating it becomes. His ways are past finding out. (Romans 11:33 ­ KJV)

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. St. Augustine uses 91 pages out of his 347 pages in Confessions, almost a third, exploring this idea of heavens and earth in this verse. It is absolutely remarkable reading.

The idea that existence has an upper story or dimension and a lower story or dimension can be found here. The idea of space and matter taken together, visible and invisible. It’s interesting that all through the Old Testament these two words are almost always found together. They work as a 2 word explanation for what we have in the one word ­ universe. It’s a Latin word that means ­ turned into one, or combined into a whole.

Consider these verses. Psalm 115:16 ­ The heavens are the Lord’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man.

Jesus in teaching the disciples to pray said in Matthew 6:10 ­ Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Jesus again, this time in a prayer recorded in both Matthew 11:25, and Luke 10:21, says ­ I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth…

And, then who can forget Isaiah 65:17 ­ For behold, I create a new heavens and a new earth and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness (yes, darkness, the absence of light) was over the face of the deep.

What’s the deep?  The Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains: Hebrew Old Testament defines the deep as: the deep, the depths, i.e., an area below the surface of bodies of water, a dark, inaccessible, inexhaustible, and mysterious place controlled only by objects with immense powers.
What’s the deep? I don’t know, and it seems inexhaustible and inaccessible because there’s darkness over the face of it in the beginning.

Remember Proverbs 8, where Wisdom is talking about being there with God in the beginning, she continues in verse 24 ­ 24 When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth, 26 before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world. 27 When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, 28 when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, 29 when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, 30 then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, 31 rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.

Here’s the deal. It seems like the only place you can find this word “deep” or “the Great Deep” in the Old Testament is in Hebrew Poetry, like here in Proverbs, or Job. But, it’s also found in Ecclesiastes which is philosophy, and then it’s also found in prophecy. The deep may not be physical, but spiritual.

and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God (the breath of God, the life of God, the power of God) was hovering (or brooding, or flying) over the face of the waters.

I don’t see where in this account the waters were created. It seems that water was just there in the beginning.

Seems like a baby in the womb, shrouded in darkness, covered in water. Peter writes in 2 Peter 3:5 ­ For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God.

Now, there’s an interesting theory called the ‘gap theory’ or the reconstruction theory, that says that the earth was inhabited before Adam, and it was destroyed and God started over. There’s some validity to it because of the language here in verse 2, in that darkness is already present, the deep is already present, the earth is without form and void, and those words in other places in the Bible are used in the context of something having been destroyed. And, then of course, you have water. It’s a theory, and like young­ earth creationism, old­ earth creationism and theistic evolution, it is hotly debated.

But, this scene of the Spirit hovering above the waters, is when all the action starts.
3 And God said, (his first recorded words…) “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

You might want to note, that the sun and the moon aren’t created until the 4th day, making day and night, not just physical, but spiritual. Jesus in John 9:4 ­ 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:5 ­ 5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. verse 6… 6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

There’s another theory, that is interesting here as well. This expanse, called Heaven, separating waters from waters, might be something different than our atmosphere today. Years ago, when the Russians were drilling for oil up above the Arctic Circle, they would get drill down into the ice, pretty far, and then at some point, started pulling up chunks of palm trees. They’ve discovered similar things in Canada, and it’s widely known that the Arctic at one time had a tropical climate. One of the theories is that before the flood, there was a canopy of some type separating the waters on the earth, with waters above the heavens, and those waters served as a roof of a greenhouse for all the earth, making it tropical everywhere, And, then at the flood, all that water was deluged upon the earth. It’s a theory, and again, no one knows for sure.

9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

And, as we all know, out of the billions of plants that are planted for food each year, no one has ever, in the history of man, seen a wheat seed produce barley. They always reproduce after their kind. It has to be manipulated genetically in order to reproduce outside of it’s kind.

verse 14 14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day (that would be the sun) and the lesser light to rule the night (that would be the moon) —and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

It’s interesting, that God created lights even to rule over the night. Let us be reminded that He rules over darkness. Light is more powerful, and will always triumph over darkness.

verse 20 20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, (it’s the first thing that He blesses) saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. 24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, “Let us (plural) make man in our (plural) image, after our (plural) likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

The male and female part we will look at next week. But, just to mention quickly, I think the greatest proof of the Trinity is the composition of man. We are a three part being. We are a spirit, that has a soul, that lives in a body. And, we operate as one. You know you are a three part being, because if you were to listen to yourself, talk to yourself, you would hear the three distinct sources. Your spirit or your heart or passion will have something to say about a decision, it’s not always rational, and you’ll hear your soul chime in and say… Hey, that’s not rational. And, then of course, you’re body will always communicate… hey that hurts! We need to stop, I’m hungry! I need a massage.”

Well, you see the connection, we are made in the image of God, Spirit, soul and body, and you can’t separate us, just like you can’t separate Him.
Consider the action of the Lord, in giving us the imprint of Himself. How unselfish.

verse 28 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. (Of course, this will change in Genesis 9, where meat will be introduced into the human diet) 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

By the way, this is why the Jewish people count days from sundown instead of midnight like we do. They take their cues from the Bible, one of the places, is here, the way that the Lord counts days in creation, there was evening and there was morning.

The Seventh Day, God Rests

2 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Sabbath… He’s working now… Jesus said: John 5:17 ­ 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

David Psalm 51:10 ­ Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Isaiah 45:7 ­ I form light and create darkness, I make well­being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things.

When I prayed about what to say, I sensed the Lord saying… Tell them that what I do, I do in wisdom. And, it’s always good. Reassure them that they can trust me to be wise and to do good.

Maybe that’s the condition of your life. It’s covered in darkness. It’s without

form and void, and you need God to speak into your life “Let there be light!” Why don’t you come to him, pray that simple prayer that David prayed… Lord...

Saturday 6pm
First Baptist Church,
140 Laurier Ave W,
Ottawa, ON K1P 5J4
We gather on Saturdays at 6pm in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church at the corner of Elgin and Laurier. We gather to worship God, share with each other, study the Bible and pray. There is wheelchair access. You are welcome to join us. We typically have coffee and refreshments available after the service. There is childcare available up to age 9.