Let 2015 Be The Year To C.A.R.E.

2015 the Year to C.A.R.E.

2014 might have been a dry and thirsty period for you.

You may have had health issues. Many have been impacted by Chik-V and are still suffering from its ill effects. Some of you may be contending with other nagging and persistent health issues.

Others among you may have been experiencing financial challenges. Your expenses consistently outstrip your income. Money worries is your constant companion.

You may have mounting debt that you are unable to contain and settle.

It may be that you fear that your future sources of income may be threatened.

2014 might have represented a cross-roads with respect to your career. You might feel stuck and at a dead end. Others might actually be out of a job and unsure about how soon they will find one.

The great news is that 2015 offers a solution for whatever “dry and thirsty” condition you have been experiencing. However, your #1 priority must be to get connected to the source.

I want to share some thoughts on the subject “2015 – the Year to C.A.R.E.”

C.A.R.E. represents CONNECTION, ACCESS, READINESS, and ENGAGEMENT

Let 2015 be a year that as your #1 priority you get connected to the source of all good things.
Eph 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Check also Deut 28:1 -3

God is the source of solutions. He is able. God can provide answers to the challenges you faced in 2014. The key is that you need to get connected to the source. You need to be in Christ to access “every spiritual blessing”.
To be in Christ you must believe that there is a God who created us and has a plan for our souls. (Romans 3:21 -23; Hebrews 11:6)

You must believe that there is a God who has a plan for us. You must appreciate the sacrifice that Christ made for us to be reconciled with God. That should cause you to regret the life outside of Christ that you lived and commit to living in obedience to God. Luke 13:2

You must also make the confession “Jesus Christ is Lord”. Phil 2:11 This is a public declaration of our belief that Jesus is the Son of the Living God and that God raised Him from the dead after He paid the price for our sins. Rom 10: 8-10

We must then be baptized for the removal of our sins.
Gal 3: 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.

At that point you have put on Christ and you are in Christ. Many opportunities are now opened to you. One is that you are added to His Church. There you are able to access the exclusive blessings that are in Christ.

You are now CONNECTED.

Some people gave their lives to Christ at some point but are not accessing the full benefits that flow from that relationship. They have lost touch with Christ and His influence is not manifest in their lives.
Let 2015 be a year of ACCESS.

Christ invites us in Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

Prayer is a very powerful tool. It acts as the plumbing through which the blessings of God may be channeled into our daily existence.

2015 should be a year in which we dramatically deepen our prayer lives. Let us pray often and fervently for others, for our projects and for God’s continued guidance and protection.

Some people prepare themselves for blessings. They open their minds to unending possibilities.
On the other hand, others seem to be so unprepared. They do not appear to be ready for what access to the source could mean for them.

Let 2015 be a year for READINESS. Let us prepare to maximize the benefits that are available to us as baptized followers of Christ.

Let us pray fervently and without ceasing. James 5:16; 1 Thessalonians 5: 17-18

Let us draw on the examples of how God has delivered people out of the crises and opened unbelievable opportunities for others.

Our path to Readiness must also include focus on our personal development. We need to put serious effort in upgrading and honing our talents. Critically, we can seek guidance to expand our range of talents. There are loads of needs to be met. Will you commit to preparing yourself to being better equipped to be of service to others?

Ephesians 4: 11 – 16 speaks to the importance of each of us maturing and being ready to play our part.
There is one more imperative that is required if 2015 is to be markedly better than 2014.

The requirement is ENGAGEMENT. We need to be engaged.

For many of us, 2014 was a year in which we turned the pages of the calendar. There was no major advance to celebrate. No outstanding achievement. We just moved slowly along with the tide.
Let 2015 be different.

  • Let us commit right now to being actively engaged in projects and activities that have the capacity to effect positive change.
  • Let us strive to be transform our lives in 2015.
  • Let us determine that we will cast our careers in a new and refreshing light.
  • Let us resolve to get a grip on our finances.
  • Let us refuse to be overwhelmed by money worries in 2015.
  • Let 2015 be a year in which we let others feel our presence.
  • Let us be there for family member, church brethren, neighbor or co-worker.
  • Let us make a difference in someone’s life in 2015. Let us be outward looking and value others above ourselves.

Philippians 2: 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

As we C.A.R.E. in 2015, is there a role that you can play in the church?

  • What is it that you can do to help this congregation grow and mature into what God would have us to be?
  • Will you shine your light in areas that you left in the dark in 2014?
  • Is there someone waiting for you to play the role of Phillip to the Eunuch?
  • Will you seek to be more engaging through your Internet/Social Media presence?
  • What about your family life? Is there is a missed opportunity waiting for you to accept the challenge to make a difference?

As you encounter others in the world of work, will you pause to take new meaning from your conversations?

Will you allow yourself to see others as souls who may have a need that you can fill?

Let us all sprout sensitive antennas in 2015. Let us shake off apathy and be fully turned on and engaged.

Ephesians 6: 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

Colossians 3: 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Let 2015…be the year in which we C.A.R.E.

We ensure that we have a strong and secure CONNECTION to God…the Source. We put on Christ in baptism and gain ACCESS to the spiritual blessings that are in Jesus. We accept Christ’s invitation to ask, seek and knock to open doors of opportunity.
In preparation for the outflows from our asking, we work hard on our READINESS. We learn more about God and His work through the ages. We hone our talents and commit to being the very best that we can be.

Finally, we make a difference through our ENGAGEMENT. We make our presence felt and impact the lives of those inside and outside of the church. We touch the lives of family members and co-workers more positively in 2015.
We see souls with potential needs that we can supply.

God bless you!

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Why Jesus

Why Jesus?

1.      Why Jesus? He Makes Sense Out of Nonsense

A man cuts down a tree, uses a part of it to create a “god” and sets aside the remainder to cook the meal that his created “god” will provide for him.

Today, we laugh at that as the nonsense that we associate with primitive minds.

Yet, celebrated lyrical icon Bob Marley declares in the anthem “Get up, Stand Up” …

“We sick an tired of-a your ism-skism game – Dyin n goin to heaven in-a jesus name, lord. We know when we understand: Almighty God is a living man. You can fool some people sometimes, But you can’t fool all the people all the time.”

Marley and the Rastafarian movement have moved the game up one notch from wood to human flesh and blood. They look to man who has no idea about the source of his first, last or next breath to guide, protect and provide for them.

So, some dismiss that set as being intellectually unsophisticated. The intellectually sophisticated do not need the drug that religion is to navigate through life.

They replace the ‘wood god’ and ‘man god’ with the idea that life is just one big accident. There is no intelligent design to be respected as the Source and to be revered and respected as God.

Knowing what we know about life, what we see about us, what our experience has taught us – does any of the above explanations provide a sensible answer about how this game of life came into being?

Can you reasonably expect that Ras Tafari –  whose rotted remains lie in the earth – can respond to your prayers? Can Jah really “Guide”?  Does Jah really “Know”?

Would you believe that it is by mere accident that the earth and the sun coordinate their movements so that they have not missed a sunrise or sunset for thousands of years?

Would you then also believe that there was an accident last month on the highway and out of it emerged a highly sophisticated space craft with a power source that is unknown to man but with the capacity to go to the moon in six hours?  Check google….

On the other hand, Jesus states clearly that He has been there from the beginning and knows exactly how it was designed and created.

John 8: 58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!

John 8: 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.

John 18:37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” 

Jesus clearly states that He has the answers to our questions. He knows the truth.

The wood has not yet been able to make any claims. Selassie disclaimed divinity. The intellectuals create theories that are less rational the worshipping wooden idols. At least they could be seen. It is hard to “see” the logic in the arguments of our intellectuals.

1 Cor 1: 20 Where is the wise person?Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signsand Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified:a stumbling blockto Jews and foolishnessto Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishnessof God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weaknessof God is stronger than human strength.

2.      Why Jesus? He Answers Our Questions

Jesus and His Apostle’s who carried and reinforced His teachings give us clear answers to questions that have occupied the minds of humans throughout the ages.

What is this game of life about?

How do I know when I win?

What are the rewards for winning?

What are my chances of winning?

What are the rules?

Is there a winning strategy?

Marley expresses a philosophy that is embraced by the intellectual unbelievers:

“But if you know what life is worth, You will look for yours on earth:”

This view is that the game of live is entirely about what happens during our brief stay here on earth.

On the other hand, the Christ-anchored philosophy highlights the misery and hopelessness that is ours if everything is confined to this life on earth. (1 Cor 15:19)

Removal of intelligent design from life takes away its meaning.

If we remove the rules and objectives governing Scrabble or Monopoly or Football then they lose their meaning. Anyone could come up with their own rules and the end – confusion.

That is what we have when we remove Divine Intelligence from life – confusion.

The Christian understanding of the game of life is the clearest and most logical.

The game was conceived and created by God…..the bearer of the intelligent design that is the source of the jaw-dropping complexities and creativity that is common place in nature.

The concept of God is in itself complex but Christians understand that there is a God-head of three Divine Beings – God (the Father), Jesus (the Son) and the Holy Spirit (the Counsellor).

God – not an accidental explosion of non-existent materials – created the universe. How He did it and how we choose to explain how it could have been done – using our limited scientific knowledge – is irrelevant.  Nothing about the order and the description of the creation process has been discredited by scientific research.

God states that He created man. His grand design was that man would spend eternity with Him. The concept of life being confined to our life on earth is flawed.

Gen 1:26 – 28 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 

Man has a soul that outlives his body. The soul never dies.

God is a spirit and so any image of God in us must be in spiritual form – our souls.

Our souls are of critical importance

God is particularly interested in our souls.

Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

The soul is more than our physical parts.

Our souls are far more important that our bodies.

 “Soul” occurs 458 times in the King James Version of the Bible.

Our souls are to be treasured and are beyond the reach of man.

Matt 10: 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

What we do here in this life on earth determines what happens to our souls when our physical bodies die.

Matt 16: 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come  in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

This is the most credible reason why it would make sense for us not to look out for our own benefit at the expense of others.

If we are playing a game without objective rules and nothing matters outside of the game, why would I not play in a way that suits me?

If there are 10 of us and 10 pieces of chicken in the buffet, why would I not go to the front of the line and take 3 pieces?

Jesus gives us a compelling reason.

We are advised that if we play the game of life right we will be rewarded. Our reward is differential treatment of our souls after we leave this physical body. If we play the game poorly we are condemned to eternal torment.

Jesus goes further by giving us the simple strategy for winning the game:

Matt 22: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

That is why it makes sense to put the common good above our selfish desires.

Matt 16: 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

This respect for a higher authority, rules and rewards is the most credible reason for doing good.

The description of a carefully designed, ongoing game with well documented guidelines and rewards and punishment gives us clarity as to how to go through life.

We understand the why, the what and the how.

 

The Why:

We were created to fit into God’s carefully designed plan. We have one guiding principle to follow:

The key principle is the need for man to do the will of God. That is our duty.

Ecc 12:13  Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

We messed up through Adam’s failure to be obedient.

Rom 5:18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people,so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one manthe many were made sinners,so also through the obedienceof the one man the many will be made righteous.

 

3.      Why Jesus? He saves us our souls

Acts 4: 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

What must WE do to save our souls?

1. Hear the Word – the Gospel

John 6: 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

Rom 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

What must we do to save our souls?

2. Believe

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

 What must we do to save our souls?

3. Repent

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.

Luke 13: 1 Now there were some present at that very season who told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered and said unto them, Think ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they have suffered these things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.

 

 What must we do to save our souls?

4. Confess Jesus is Lord

Matt 10:32 Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

 What must we do to save our souls?

5.  Be baptized for the remission of your sins

Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

1 Pet 3:21The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  What must we do to save our souls?

6. Remain in Christ

John 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

1 Pet 2: 1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.

4.      Why Jesus? He provides solutions to our problems in this life

Now that you are in Christ, the amazing rewards are open to you.

Is 59: 1.Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

Eph 1: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,who has blessed us in the heavenly realmswith every spiritual blessing in Christ.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

This is the Father who says:

Jer 32:27 Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there any thing too hard for me?

 

Why Jesus?

Because it makes SENSE!

Back to School Parables

Back to School Parables

1. Parable of the unproductive school

There was a school that was fully staffed and had adequate resources. However, year after year none of their students were successful in external examinations. This situation was brought to the attention of the highest authority who initiated an immediate investigation.

The Principal blamed the teachers and the teachers blamed the Principal and gave numerous reasons for the continued failure. The authorities became frustrated with the whole situation and decided to close the school with the aim to start anew with a totally new team.

2. Parable of the wayward teaching staff

Over time, parents became concerned about the example that the teachers was setting for their children at a popular school. A student who needed to go to the staff room late one afternoon found 2 teachers in a compromising position. Another student who lived close to one of the teachers was shocked at what was going on at the teacher’s home.

The reports of unprofessional conduct and unseemly behaviour grew steadily.
Yet, these teachers had a reputation for being harsh with their disciplining of students. They came down hard on the slightest hint of misbehaviour, refused to listen to explanations and showed no mercy. They demanded the highest level of discipline and behaviour from the students.

3. Parable of the unprepared teacher

There was a teacher that was responsible for preparing students for external exams. However, despite being in the post for some time, it was clear that he had not mastered the subject. He could not answer questions that were posed by students. He had great difficulty explaining important concepts. He did seem to even know what the syllabus covered.

Students lost confidence in him. They were reluctant to accept that what he said was really so and they tuned out during his classes. They started to seek other sources of information.

4. Parable of the misguided student

There was a student who started out by getting good grades. His parents and colleagues praised his academic prowess. This caused him to become overconfident. He stopped listening to his teachers and questioned everything that they did. It seemed that nothing that those in charge did could be right in his eyes. He always had a complaint or figured that things should have been done differently.

Gradually his grades began to slide and in the final analysis he was not able to successfully complete his external examinations.

5. Parable of the absentee student

There was a student that was duly registered for classes. When the report cards for the term were being prepared, the teacher noted that the student was absent almost as much as she was in class.

On reflection, the teacher noted that the same student did not participate actively in class. She just came sat and left. In fact, the teacher felt that there was almost no difference whether she attended class or not.

Also, while others would participate in other activities of the school this student was never available for those events.

6. Parable of the wise student

There was a student who got an opportunity to escape from really bad personal circumstances. He was fortunate to get into a very good school that achieved excellent results.

Mindful of the chance to put his past behind him and to secure a bright future, he listened keenly to the instructions that he was given. He studied diligently and took care to ensure that he was obedient.

He resisted all distractions and moved steadfastly to the ultimate goal of getting his external certification. There was much joy when he completed the journey and stepped forward to claim his award.

1. A. Parable of the unproductive school – explained

You may recall that this was a school that was fully staffed and had adequate resources. However, year after year none of their students were successful in external examinations. This situation was brought to the attention of the highest authority who initiated an immediate investigation.

The Principal blamed the teachers and the teachers blamed the Principal and gave numerous reasons for the continued failure. The authorities became frustrated with the whole situation and decided to close the school with the aim to start anew with a totally new team.

The school is the congregation that has members, a place to worship Bibles and hymnals. They meet and worship but there are never any new disciples.

Mark 16: 15 15He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

Baptisms are not in evidence and consequently they are not adding to the number of the saved. Discussions abound as to who is to blame and what needs to be done. Everyone points to someone else. In the final analysis, God loses patience with the entire body.

Rev 3:1″To the angel[a] of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits[b]of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.3Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

2. A. Parable of the wayward teaching staff – explained

You will recall that the teachers were behaving unprofessionally and unsatisfactorily while holding the students to the highest standard of behaviour. They showed no mercy and came down hard on the students with draconian punishment.

The teachers represent those who are in the church but are failing to live up to its principles. They take pleasure in engaging in sinful behaviour in private while being pious in public. They are quick to condemn those who are not in the church and are ready to call down judgement on them.

Yet, their own lives cannot bear scrutiny. They give the church a bad name and lead people to believe that all Christians are hypocrites who live by double standards and are devoid of mercy.

Mat 23:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

3. A. Parable of the unprepared teacher – explained

You may recall that there was a teacher that was responsible for preparing students for external exams. However, despite being in the post for some time, it was clear that he had not mastered the subject. Students lost confidence in him. They were reluctant to accept that what he said was really so and they tuned out during his classes. They started to seek other sources of information.

This teacher represents the Christians who have been in the church for some time. Yet, they continue to be babes in the Faith. They are not able to explain what it is that they believe and why they believe it.

They are unable to answer frequently asked questions from those to whom they are charged to guide to Christ. Soon those seekers turn to other sources for information and run the risk of being misled and guided to eternal damnation.

Heb 5:12 Warning Against Falling Away
11We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

4. A. Parable of the misguided student – explained

Recapping, this student became overconfident and stopped listening to his teachers and questioned everything that they did. It seemed that nothing that those in charge did could be right in his eyes. He always had a complaint or figured that things should have been done differently.

Gradually his grades began to slide and in the final analysis he was not able to successfully complete his external examinations.
This student represents some members of the church. They get to a point where they believe that they know more than those who are charged with leadership. They find fault with every move that is made and think that things should be done some other way.

They resist every initiative and strive to impose their will on the group. There is a better way they say, and I know the better way. They are disruptive and add little value to the group despite their protestations.

Ultimately, they get frustrated and their commitment wanes until in the final analysis they lose their souls.

Apostle Paul’ s challenges with the Corinthian church is an example of this type of behaviour. Read 2 Corinthians to see the kinds of issues that Paul had to address.
Think also of the potentially strong brother or sister who after a good start has fallen away because they could not get their own way. Think also of those members who hop from one congregation to another as soon as their views are not accepted.

5. A. Parable of the absentee student – explained

The story here is of a student that was duly registered for classes. However, she was absent almost as much as she was in class. Even when she did come to class she did not participate actively. She just came sat and left. Also, while others would participate in other activities of the school this student was never available for those events.

This student represents a high percentage of church members. Their attendance record is atrocious. They claim that they are members of the body but they show up when they feel like it and play no meaningful role in the mission of the church.

Even when they do come, they are like virtual zombies. They go through the motions and cannot wait to slip away until weeks after they come by to salve their consciences and keep up appearances. There is little point in discussing their attendance with them as they are quick to be defensive about it and ready to use that as an excuse for staying away.

As with the absentee student, we are left to wonder what results this type of church member will get in the final examination.

6. A. Parable of the wise student – explained

To recap, there was a student who got an opportunity to escape from really bad personal circumstances. He was fortunate to get into a very good school that achieved excellent results.

Mindful of the chance to put his past behind him and to secure a bright future, he did all that was required of him.

He resisted all distractions and moved steadfastly to the ultimate goal of getting his external certification. There was much joy when he completed the journey and stepped forward to claim his award.

This student represents the individual who is trapped in a life of sin. Sin has enslaved them and their life is without hope. A dutiful Christian invites him to worship and he sees the light. He sees that a great opportunity has been opened to him to have his live transformed.

He learned that in order to be saved from his life of sin he needed to follow a carefully laid out plan.

He had to take care to understand and follow each of the 6 steps:

What must WE do to save our souls?
1. Hear the Word – the Gospel

John 6: 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

2. Believe

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

3. Repent

Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.

Luke 13: 1 Now there were some present at that very season who told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered and said unto them, Think ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they have suffered these things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.

4. Confess Jesus is Lord

Matt 10:32 Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

5. Be baptized for the remission of your sins

Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
1 Pet 3:21The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

6. Remain in Christ

John 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

1 Pet 2: 1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.