Repentance... a Precious Gift of Grace

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According to Matthew's account of the Gospel, the first word that Jesus spoke in His very first message to the world was repent 4:17.

Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand (NASB).

In today's inclusive climate of shallow humancentric theology, one might suppose surely that Jesus' first word would have been something such as coexist or love. Repentance sounds too much like censorship or judgment  - when in fact it was indeed His love for us that makes possible the precious gift of repentance. 

Repentance is an opportunity for change. It means there is hope for the one whom slavery to sin has reduced to an embarrassed and tortured soul. Such is only a threat to the one who seeks validation for his or her destructive choices, but for the one who is broken and contrite repentance is a welcomed offer for a new life - or as Jesus taught, an invitation to be born again. 

Unfortunately, many who long to repent can't. Like Esau who sought it with bitter tears but never found it (Hebrews 12:17), they want to hate their sin but they just don't. Seriously, they would love for sin to break their heart like it breaks God's but it just doesn't. They do indeed hate how sin makes them feel, the money it has cost them, the broken relationships, the toll it takes on their bodies, and the shame and guilt which never relent. But, as a dog returns to eat that which has sickened him so many times prior (Prov 26:11), they repeat their folly even as they anticipate inevitable nausea... again. 

Repentance... a change in both mind and direction is a blessed opportunity made possible by the perfect love of a Savior. A Savior who seeks to set us free from that which is already enslaving us, jerking us around, telling us what to do, restricting our liberty, and ignoring our feelings with brutal disregard. Don't resent it, embrace it. 

 

Pastor Mike Snelgrove



 
 

 

 

Confronting Our Culture With The Gospel

Acts 17:16 says that while Paul was waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens, his spirit was "provoked". "Provoked" comes from a Greek term for sour wine, which the ancients used to describe anger or hostility. This provocative stirring of Paul's soul was due to the multitude of idols that colored ancient Athens - the world's center for pagan philosophy and a bastion of pride for human accomplishment. 

For 9 weeks we have prepared ourselves at Cornerstone Fellowship to confront our culture with the Gospel. We have considered how a post-Christain society approaches theology, biology, sociology, psychology, politics, law, philosophy, history, economics, and ethics. This should help us in our effort, but it is not enough.

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What happened to Paul must also happen to us. He was "provoked", moved, stirred, and broken by what he saw. The most cultured people in world had a void in their hearts the size of God. Better education, housing, opportunities, and a more "intelligent" understanding of religion had not helped Athens anymore than it has helped us.

But, are God's people "provoked" by what we see? Are we broken to the point that we are willing to confront the darkness with light? Or, has open-mindedness to moral and philosophical relativism become such a virtue within the Church and we no longer espouse absolute truth and the uniqueness of Christ as the only Savior of the world?

Let's prepare our minds in order to present a defense for the hope that is within us but let's pray that our hearts be vexed by the moral and spiritual vacuum that is suffocating our modern-day Athens. Otherwise, the rot will deepen while the Church continues to pride itself for offering validation and acceptance to a world that actually needs repentance and forgiveness.  


Pastor Mike Snelgrove

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The Dead Only Hear The Voice Of God

The Dead Only Hear The Voice Of God

In John 11, I am certain that the name Lazarus had been cried forth multiple times by people who loved him dearly, but he never heard them because he was dead. He wasn't ignoring them, he was just dead. It didn't happen all at once and neither without prayers and pleas for divine intervention. It didn't happen because God didn't love Him or because his family and friends could have done more and didn't.

Whether to Go or Grow

Whether to Go or Grow

"Pastor, we just feel led to leave" is occasionally the explanation - most often there's not one.  
Then, with so many dwindling congregations looking for fresh meat, finding a new fellowship is easy - and with no questions asked. Of course sometimes God does lead us to new opportunities but we must be cautious because clever justifications for putting distance between ourselves and disappointment or responsibility is nothing new. 

A Fool For a Client?

A Fool For a Client?

Christ desires to be our advocate "one called alongside" (I John 2:1-2).  The context addresses our standing before God as guilty sinners with Christ standing beside us speaking on our behalf-- speaking as One who has satisfied (propitiation) His own wrath for our sin. Sounds like only a fool would refuse such essential and unwarranted grace.

So, how much should I give to God?

So, how much should I give to God?

WARNING... how and what one should give to God gave birth to the first jealous rage recorded in human history - and ended with murder. In Genesis 4, Cain concluded that whatever I choose to give is a personal and private matter and God should appreciate my decision. In fact, whether to give in the first place, and if so how much, has been sacred ground  since the beginning of  human history, and anyone who treads there does so at his own peril.