God does love You (1 John 3:1)

God does love You (1 John 3:1)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on  Sunday, July 26, 2020 

There is a show on Netflix it is called “Anne with an ‘E.'” The show is about “Anne of Green Gables.” It is a wonderful, cute show about an orphan girl who mistakenly ends up at Green Gables. They were expecting a boy. Here an older brother and sister are to take her in. Many of you may know of the book. The first episode is sad. Then she is sent away, back to the orphanage, as they think she stole from them. In reality she did not. When they find the piece of jewelry which they thought she stole they try to track her down. Finally, the brother finds her and tries to persuade her to come back. She ignores him, UNTIL he calls her his daughter. Then she comes back. Later they ask her to take their name. It was so exciting for her.

How special it is to have the rights and privileges of being part of a family?

Today, I plan to encourage you with the truth of God’s love. God loves us so much that He adopted us. We are part of his family. There is a lot of discouragement going around, isn’t there? Today, my goal is to encourage you.

There are certain lies we believe but these lies need rebuked with Biblical Truth. Here are some:

  • Lie: “My WORTH = my WORK,” what I DO. NO! This is not true. I’m a human BEING, not a human DOING (Eph 1:3, 8):

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ… verse 8: which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight…

  • Lie: “I’m all ALONE.” This is not true, see: Mt 28:19-20:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

  • Lie “It’s all ON ME!” (Mt 11:28-30) This is not true, see Matthew 11:28-30:

28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

  • Lie: “What I’m doing doesn’t MATTER. I’m making no visible DIFFERENCE.” That is a lie, see: Isa 49:3-4:

He said to Me, “You are My Servant, Israel,
In Whom I will show My glory.”
But I said, “I have toiled in vain,
I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity;
Yet surely the justice due to Me is with the Lord,
And My reward with My God.”

Heb 11:13, 27, 39:

All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

verse 39:

By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.

  • Lie: “My BEST is not good enough.” That is a lie, see Jn 15:4-5:

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

Sometimes we feel like failures. You are not. This is a lie we believe. The world may make you think you are a failure. You are not. God loves you.

My theme is: You are not a failure, God does love you no matter what. He loves you so much He calls you His children.

Let’s read: 1 John 3:1: We are only going to read and focus on the beginning of the passage.

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

  1. See how great a love…
    1. I like the translation.
    2. It begins with “See.” It is as if this is saying, “Take notice”!
    3. Some translation would say, “Behold.” This is a really important statement.
    4. What are we noticing? What is of significance?
    5. We are noticing God’s love. This is God’s “great” love.
    6. Think about how you love people. Do you know people that you will love no matter what?
    7. Do you know people that you will always love?
    8. Do you have a love for people that is hard to modify? It is hard to find the adjective to describe the love. Maybe the love is a verb, it is action, and it is hard to find an adverb to describe the love.
    9. God loves us with a great love. It is hard to find adjectives to describe God’s love for us. It is hard to find adverbs to describe God’s love. God’s love has been portrayed in action. His love has been portrayed in the action of dying for us.
    10. In this case God lavished love on us.
  2. God Lavished on Us. The NASB says “bestowed.” The NIV says “lavished.”
    1. This is important.
    2. This has the idea of a rich gift.
    3. Think about it, who is God?
    4. What belongs to God?
    5. What power does God have?
    6. What rights does God have?
    7. What authority does God have?
    8. Just think about it. If we are to believe in God, which I do, then we have to believe He has all power, all authority, all rights, and everything belongs to Him.
    9. And He notices me.
    10. You are not a failure. God loves you no matter what. He lavishes you with His love.
  • We are God’s Children.
    1. We are called God’s children. I like what the Archaeological Study Bible says: The underlying word of “sonship” is “adoption.” Adoption was common among the Greeks and Romans, who granted the adopted son all the privileges of a natural son, including inheritance rights (see “Adoption in the Roman World”).
    2. We have the privileges of being a daughter or son of God.
    3. What are these privileges?
      1. This can be quite a theological topic, but to just think of a few. We have eternal life with Him.
      2. We have a constant contact with God.
  • God will not give up on us.
  1. I remember hearing my dad talk to my barber once and my dad was comparing his love for us to God’s love. My dad said, “I could never stop loving my children.”
  2. It is, maybe, easy to give up on some stranger, some employee, some neighbor, but it ought to be that you never give up on your child. You never stop loving your child.
  3. God loves us that much.
  1. In the Greco-Roman world there was an actual adoption process for your own children. You were considered a slave of your own parents, until at a certain age your parent chooses to adopt you and consider you their own child. Then you have the rights of the family.
  2. To some extent this includes rewards in Heaven. It includes authority in Heaven.
  3. That is the idea the Bible has in mind. God went through the process of adopting you.
  4. The Life Application Study Bible: 3:1   As believers, our self-worth is based on the fact that God loves us and calls us his children. We are his children now, not just sometime in the distant future. Knowing that we are his children should encourage us to live as Jesus did.[1]
  5. Think of the following:
  6. You will face challenges in your careers, but God loves you and supports you no matter what. God is in your corner. God has your back.
  7. You will face difficulties in college, but God has your back. You are His child. Give Him a call on the prayer line.
  8. You will face family trials, but God includes you as part of His family.
  9. God loves you.
  10. God will never stop loving you.
  11. Your parents may stop holding your hand, but God does not (Isa. 41:10 and 13).
  12. We get older and our parents go to Heaven, remember that we have a Father in Heaven who loves us.
  13. God is there to hold our hand.
  14. God cares, He always cares.
  15. Regardless of your age, God loves you.
  16. Regardless of your mistakes, God loves you.
  17. Get rid of the idea that you are a failure, you are not. God is in your corner.


See what manner of love the Father has given unto us.

He lavished love on you.

Stop tuning your mind into these ideas that He doesn’t love you.

Stop tuning your mind into these ideas that you are a failure.

God loves you!

Remember the Joel Osteen illustration about the TV of the mind? Sometimes we are thinking about the wrong things. We need to use the remote control of our mind and change the channel. You are God’s child, tune into that channel.

There was a Little House on the Prairie episode about the Ingalls family adopting Albert. He was so happy to be adopted. It means so much.

You are adopted by God.

You are His child.

Do you know Jesus? Luke 9:23

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)



[1] Tyndale House Publishers (2011-08-01). Life Application Study Bible NLT (LASB: Full Size) (Kindle Locations 161133-161142). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

July 19 Q & A Sunday

We have a different type of Sunday today. We are doing a question and answer Sunday. So, I have had several questions come in and I will answer them with a few songs in between. I am trying to keep the answers brief so contact me with any follow-up questions.

July 19:

  • Do you believe the bible teaches on generational Curses/ Sins?
    • Ex 34:7-7 and Deut 5:8-10 talks about the consequence of sin going to the 3rd and 4th generation (also, Lev 26:39).
    • Then again, Deut 24:16 says that fathers should not be put to death for their children nor children for their fathers.
    • It seems to me that children end up committing similar sins from their parents. It just happens. A child observes certain sins in his parents and ends up copying them. I like what John Piper shares: The generations to come who experience the penalty of the fathers’ sins are those who hate God. We are not told how the fathers’ sins become the children’s sins. But what we are told is that when the father’s sins are visited on the children it is because the children are really sinful. That is the form in which the fathers’ sins are visited. Therefore, all judgment is really deserved by the person who is punished.  Because of God’s grace, which is finally secured by Christ, the children can confess their own sins and the sins of their fathers and be forgiven and accepted by God.[1]
    • Notice Leviticus 26:40-42: “‘But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors—their unfaithfulness and their hostility toward me, 41 which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies—then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, 42 I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.
    • Notice how that passage also talks about confessing sins of their fathers. In Daniel 9:5ff he prays to the Lord saying “we” have sinned.
    • So, yes, I think there are generational sins, but I think they can be forgiven and prevented in Christ. I think generational curses would be the consequence of the sins.
  • Where does evil come from?
    • Evil is a parasite. It lives off of good. Because of good we know evil. We know right from wrong and therefore we know what is good and so we know evil.
    • Evil has no existence on its own; it is really the absence of good.
    • Evil is not things like rocks and trees. It is a parasite that lives off of good.
    • An example is cold. We would think cold exists. However, this is incorrect. Cold does not exist. Cold is the absence of heat. Similarly, darkness does not exist; it is the absence of light. Evil is the absence of good, or better, evil is the absence of God. God did not have to create evil, but rather only allow for the absence of good.[2]
    • As finite human beings we can never understand an infinite God (Romans 11:33-34).
    • God did not create evil, but He did allow it. Evil exists because of free will. If we were not free we would be worshipping God out of obligation.
    • With temptation let quote Tozer: When Satan comes around to taunt me about my past sins, I remind him that everything that had been charged against me came from him, and now everything I have—forgiveness and peace and freedom—I have freely received from my Lord Jesus Christ![3]
  • Why didn’t God just get rid of Satan? Why does He allow us to be tempted?
    • This question is similar to the question about evil.
    • We cannot for sure know why God allows the things He allows. God is sovereign and we know that. He is in control.
    • God will get rid of satan and we know this from Rev. 20. So, it seems that God is allowing satan to do things for a time in order to build us up. We oftentimes do not grow without hardship.
    • We face hard times and 2 Tim 2:12 says: If we endure, we will also reign with Him…[4]
    • About that Bobby Murphy wrote this from Chapter 11 of the Knowledge of the Holy
    • Is it [our goal] that we will have a comfortable and trouble free life? Sociologist Tony Campolo claims that the chief goal of most people is to get through life with as little discomfort and pain as possible and that is probably true. It’s also true, I think, that they project their desires on to God. They assume that His chief goal for them is the same as theirs. They then become bitter and disillusioned when pain and discomfort come upon them. The tragedies and trials of life make them worse persons instead of better ones.
    • Obviously, God’s chief aim for us is not that we have a comfortable and trouble free life. So what is it then? Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 2:11-12. This passage was part of a Christian hymn written in the first century. Notice what we who follow Jesus will do in verse 12. We will reign with Him. John also tells us what God’s chief aim for us is in Revelation 22:1-5. This passage is about eternal life in heaven after the Second Coming of Jesus and our bodily resurrections. Verse 5 tells what it is that we will do there. We will reign with God forever and forever.
    • We go through troubles, sickness, pain because God is preparing us to reign with Him.
    • So, why did God not take care of satan earlier? It is because He is preparing us to reign with Him and God allows satan to tempt us to build us up in preparing us to reign with Him.
  • Romans 8:39-30 talks about predestination. Is it possible… if you dare… that you could talk about those verses one of the next two Sundays??? I have always had a hard time understanding the subject of election.
    • Predestination (mentioned 6 times in the Bible) means God foreordains or predetermines people or events to accomplish what He wills.  It’s a broad concept in that what is foreordained can be any number of occurrences such as the Romans and Jews killing Jesus (Acts 4:28), or the elect experiencing fullness of life (1 Corinthians 2:7ff.).  Election is a subcategory of predestination in that what He foreordains specifically is to “save” or “damn” specific individuals.
    • Let’s look at the scripture referenced in the question:

Romans 8:29-30:

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

  • In summary my view is that predestination is either corporate or based on God’s foreknowledge. In other words, the predestined are either the corporate church. Or, the predestined are those God foreknew would be saved.
  • Why do we need predestined?
  • Jesus says:
  • John 6:44: No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.[5]
  • John 6:65: And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”[6]
  • Romans 3:10-23: talks about humanity being dead in our sins. We are totally depraved.
  • The Bible affirms God’s sovereignty, but also our freewill.
  • Salvation does start with God, but we do have freewill.
  • Salvation is God’s idea.
  • We were dead in our sins, but God wants a relationship with us and if we are totally depraved how do we receive Christ? We need the Holy Spirit to draw us to Him. So, that is predestination.
    • There are at least 3 views on this:
      • God elects unconditionally and the elect are predestined. The non-elect are essentially predestined to hell.
      • God elects and predestines based on foreknowledge. God knew who would receive Him given the opportunity and they are predestined.
      • Election and predestination are corporate. This means that the elect are not individuals, but the corporate church is elect.
    • Again, I believe number 2 or number 3 depending on the day. Remember that technically God does not look to the future to see who will be saved. Everything is eternally present. So, the term “foreknowledge” is anthropomorphic, meaning it is ascribing to God human attributes. Bottom line. God knows who would receive Him, in their own freewill, given the opportunity, and He makes sure they have the opportunity. The opportunity means that they receive the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Remember, no one can receive Jesus without the Holy Spirit’s conviction. We are dead in our sins.
    • This is called “prevenient grace.” This means the grace of the Lord coming before-hand giving us the convicting power of the Holy Spirit so we can be saved.
    • I would not be opposed to the idea that the Lord gives everyone, at some time or many times, the Holy Spirit’s conviction so they can be saved. However, the predestined, and elect, are only those whom God knows will be saved.
    • Now, you may ask, “What about the person who will never hear the Gospel?” Well, God can still give them the convicting power of the Holy Spirit so they can be saved. God is not limited by us. There are many testimonies of the Muslim in a Muslim extremist country having a dream about a Savior on a cross. Cornelius in Acts 10 is one who God communicated with and then God sent Peter.
    • Remember, God is sovereign. He knows all things. He knows the future. God is omnipresent. However, God loves us and He has given us freewill. We are dead in our sins without Jesus. So, prevenient grace means that the Holy Spirit convicts people they are sinners in need of a Savior. Those who receive Jesus as Lord and Savior are predestined and elect. Or, it could be corporate meaning the church as a whole is the corporate predestined/elect.
  • A similar question: I know God gives us freewill to accept or reject Jesus. How does God bring the people that have rejected Him to salvation that we pray for. If we pray for several years for an unsaved friend and they accept Jesus on their deathbed, they have nothing to loose at that point and they miss the joy of being a Christian during their life.
    • I believe the Holy Spirit is wooing people to come to know Him as Lord and Savior.
    • So, as we pray, God factors in our prayers and they do make a difference. We know that God desires all to be saved (2 Peter 3:8-9), so when we pray we can know that we are praying something that God desires. When we pray for someone to be saved we are praying God’s will. God desires a relationship with everyone.
    • However, God does not seem to overrule our freewill. The Holy Spirit is wooing people to Him.
    • You are right, the person who receives Christ on their deathbed does miss out on life with Christ (John 10:11; 15).
  • Miracles: we all believe in miracles, when we pray to God we ask for the simple stuff and even if it does not go okay it is okay.
    • Why do we not ask for the real miracles in which there is no answer? I think we should pray for the real miracle. Why do we not pray for the real miracle, probably because we are too dependent on modern medicine. I think we should pray for the real miracle.
    • What about a child who has a brain tumor? Further, what if we have no reason to believe that God will answer us? I still think we should pray and be honest with the Lord asking Him to increase our faith.
    • Does God change His mind? Does prayer change His mind?
    • No, this is a mystery. Numbers 23:19 says that God does not change His mind. Hebrews 13:8 says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. James 1:17 says that God does not change. Malachi 3:6 also says that He does not change. There are passages that say that He relented. Those are passages using anthropomorphic language. That means the writers are ascribing to God human attributes. He is coming down to our level. So, does prayer change His mind? No. But does prayer change things? Yes. Luke 18:1; 1 John 5:14-15 and many other passages talk about prayer. How does that work? God is omnipresent so maybe He factored in our prayers in eternity past. Prayer does change things, but God is perfect and so prayer does not change His mind. To change God’s mind He would have to be imperfect to begin with.
  • Faith: What really is faith?
    • We say we have faith in God and trust Him, but when we pray we often spell out everything we ask Him to do.
    • Why don’t we really trust Him?
    • Do we trust that He will take care of us, even if…?
    • Can we trust Him with His will for our life?
    • These questions are going to be lumped together.
    • Faith means to trust in something or someone. In general Biblical faith is trusting in the unseen (Heb 11:1).
    • The person who asked the question is right that we should just pray and say that we surrender to His will. Think of the background to the hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul.”
  • What are your thoughts on the Passion Translation?
    • I don’t know anything about the Passion Translation so I am going off of what a good source shares. The website gotquestions.com is a really good source for many questions. It shares: The TPT goes well beyond the idea of “translation” and reimagines the Bible as one human author thinks it ought to be written.
    • Any good translation should be worked through by multiple translators who are committed to the Word of God and also know the original languages very well.

This is translated by one author and that is a problem. Gotquestions shares the following: The Passion Translation is primarily the work of a single author, Brian Simmons. Simmons has a long track record as a passionate and successful missionary and evangelist. Part of his success has been in developing translations of Scripture for people with no Bibles in their own language. However, any translation completed by a single person raises questions of accountability. Such efforts are far more prone to personal preferences. As it turns out, The Passion Translation of the Bible not only reflects Simmons’ New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) theology [The New Apostolic Reformation, or NAR, is an unbiblical religious movement that emphasizes experience over Scripture, mysticism over doctrine, and modern-day “apostles” over the plain text of the Bible.][7], but it appears to be deliberately written in order to promote it.

The FAQ section of The Passion Translation website makes several concerning remarks about the translation process:

“… the meaning of a passage took priority over the form of the original words. Sometimes in order to communicate the correct intended meaning, words needed to be changed.”

“The Passion Translation is more in favor of prioritizing God’s original message over the words’ literal meaning.”

In other words, The Passion Translation of the Bible is not about finding corresponding words in different languages or presenting original words in a new language. The above comments imply that the Bible does not mean what it says, and so it needs to be changed to say what it should say. This is not an unfair assessment on our part, as passages in The Passion Translation of the Bible show extreme tampering with the text.[8]

  • So, I would have concerns about the Passion Translation.
  • There are many good translations: NASB; NKJV; NIV; NLT


  • And what the heck is Paul talking about in 2 Cor. 12 with out of body experiences and third heaven??
    • The Hebrew people talked of 3 heavens. Some other cultures even talked of more than 3 heavens. For the Hebrew people the 3rd of Heaven was where God resided. The second heaven was outer space. The first heaven was the atmosphere.

2 Cor. 12:2-4

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven.

And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows—

was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.[9]

  • I strongly believe and most seem to believe that Paul is talking about dying and being taken up to Heaven. Or, in some state God took him to Heaven without him dying.
  • Notice, in contrast to the near death experiences which we hear about, Paul was told not to share about his experience.
  • I wonder if this happened in Acts 14:19: But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.[10]
  • Interracial marriage?
    • I received another question about interracial marriage.
    • According to the Bible interracial marriage are totally fine and Biblical.
    • We learn in Numbers that “Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman” (Num. 12:1).
    • So, Moses was in an interracial marriage.
    • We also know based off of Galatians 3:28 that there is no longer Greek, nor Jew, slave, nor free, male nor female, we are all one in Christ (paraphrased).
    • We see in Revelation 7:9-11 that in Heaven there are many tribes, tongues and nationalities worshipping the Lord.
    • We see in Ephesians 2:11-22 Paul makes the case that we are all one in Christ.
    • What is wrong is marriage between a non-believer and a believer (2 Cor. 6:14).
    • As Christians we are redeemed but we are still battling a sin nature and part of that sin nature is racism. Own it up and repent of it.
    • Your family may not have owned slaved or been part of racism in the past, but if you are talking with someone who has been part of racism you can still say “we, as a country, have sins in our past.”
    • One thing that we do is we make excuses to make us feel better. We say things like: “All cultures owned slaved.” Or, “There was slavery in the Bible.” Or, “Most slaves had it good.” All of those are things we tell ourselves to make us feel good. The Bible NEVER endorses racism, or slavery. In fact, it seems that in the first few hundred years of Christianity the slavery institution fell apart, likely because of Christians. In the Old Testament slavery was more like indentured servants and they were supposed to be freed after the sixth year (Exodus 21:2).
    • We have these biases which make us feel better. One article writes about these: There are many ways in which implicit biases function in our lives. Confirmation bias, for example, is the tendency to search for, interpret, focus on, and remember information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions.(2) People tend to react more favorably to information that supports their own point of view. Another example of a more insidious bias is the fundamental attribution error in which an observer ascribes to a subject fundamental or inherent deficiencies rather than to situational contexts that might also be at work. In addition, the observer is more likely to attribute his or her own deficiencies to circumstances or situational contexts, rather than to his or her own personal short-comings.
    • Many authors attribute the fundamental attribution error to a lack of empathy or the inability to take another person’s perspective. How does this cognitive error play out in real life? In a CBS News article from 2016, Stephanie Pappas reported on the widespread tendency to blame, rather than to empathize with individuals, when accidents happen.[11] She cites the horrific news story of the two-year old who died by alligator attack while playing next to a pond at Disney World. While she notes that there was some initial sympathy for the parents, the overall tone quickly moved to blame them for negligence. Clearly, it was their fault that their son had died. People ignored the numerous reports of the parents being right next to the child and of the father’s desperate attempts to pry his son from the alligator’s jaws. Rather than looking at broader circumstances or explanations—namely, that accidents do happen—most blamed the event on the inherent flaws of the parents.[12]
    • So, we have to watch for these tendencies which we do to make us feel better inside. Slavery was a sin in the past. Racism was a sin in the past. Any racism within us is a sin in us today. Repent of it.
    • If you read the Old Testament prophets that we repent to God saying, “’We’ have sinned…” They said “we” even if they personally did not commit the sins (see Daniel 9:5).
    • The slavery and racism in the United States history was a sin in our past. We need to quit making excuses to make us feel better. It is a sin in our past no matter how you look at it.

Psalm 139:23-24: 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.


Tozer writes:

Is the Lord Jesus Christ your most precious treasure in this world? If so, you can count yourself among normal Christians.

Is the moral beauty which is found only in Jesus Christ constantly drawing you to praise and worship? If so you are indeed among those whom God’s Word identifies as normal, believing, practicing Christians.

But I can almost anticipate an objection. If someone is that delighted and that occupied with the person of Jesus Christ, is he or she not an extremist rather than a normal Christian?

Have professing Christians really come to that time in their humanistic and secularistic leanings that they can sincerely deny that loving Jesus Christ with all their heart and soul and strength is normal Christianity? We must not be reading and studying the same Bible!

How can anyone profess to be a follower and a disciple of Jesus Christ and not be overwhelmed by His attributes? These divine attributes attest that He is indeed Lord of all, completely worthy of our worship and praise. WHT105–106

Lord, I pray that You would restore in Your Church a belief that those who love You with all their heart, soul and mind are normal, and worthy of imitation. May we be overwhelmed by Your attributes. Amen.[13]


[1] https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-god-visits-sins-on-the-third-and-fourth-generation

[2] https://www.gotquestions.org/did-God-create-evil.html

[3] Tozer, A. W.. Tozer on the Holy Spirit: A 365-Day Devotional . Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[4] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), 2 Ti 2:12.

[5] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Jn 6:44.

[6] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Jn 6:65.

[7] https://www.gotquestions.org/New-Apostolic-Reformation.html

[8] https://www.gotquestions.org/Passion-Translation.html

[9] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), 2 Co 12:2–4.

[10] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Ac 14:19.

[11] Stephanie Pappas, “Blame the parents? Child tragedies reveal empathy decline” CBS News Online, June 21, 2016. Accessed 10/13/2018.

[12] https://www.rzim.org/read/a-slice-of-infinity/confirmation-bias


WHT Whatever Happened to Worship?

[13] Tozer on the Almighty God : A 366-Day Devotional (Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread, 2004).

Question and Answer Sunday

We have a different type of Sunday today. We are doing a question and answer Sunday. So, I have had several questions come in and I will answer them with a few songs in between. I am trying to keep the answers brief so contact me with any follow-up questions.

Q and A Sunday:

  1. Why isn’t there more of a movement by Christian organizations like the Colson Center, etc to spearhead protests for what is right?
    1. I believe there is more going on than we realize. There have been multiple prolife marches.
    2. Last year Focus on the Family did a prolife event at Time Square.
    3. I will try to communicate these better in the future.
    4. Please follow up with me if I did not answer this sufficiently.
  2. Will we recognize our family and friends in heaven (Debbie Patsko)?
    1. This question has two parts: 1) memory 2) how would we recognize loved ones? Will heaven be physical? Will we have bodies?
    2. YES, I believe we will recognize our family and friends in Heaven. The parable of the Rich man and Lazarus, which you can read later on in Luke 16:19-31, shows people recognizing each other. That is a parable which means it may or may not be a true story. A parable is a story that comes alongside to teach, but still I don’t think Jesus would lead us astray with a parable. Plus, it is the only parable with people with real names.
    3. This gets into a broader topic but when we talk about heaven there is the present heaven and then the future new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21-22). Sometimes the present heaven is called the “intermediate heaven.” I believe we will recognize family and friends in both. To be sure, the new heaven and new earth will be a physical real place. We will have resurrected bodies. In 1 Cor. 15 Jesus is called the “first fruits” of the resurrection. For some more Scripture passages:
    4. Rev 6:9-11 describes people with physical bodies talking to God, and that will likely be during the tribulation period, which would be the intermediate heaven.
    5. In Rev 7:9-11 we have a great multitude of people worshipping God in Heaven. This means they have bodies and voices. That is still the intermediate Heaven. So, I believe the intermediate heaven and the future new heaven and new earth are physical places and we will have bodies. The other part of this question concerns memory.
    6. Remember that memory makes us who we are and so all, or some of our memory, must carry on into Heaven.
    7. We can talk more about this, but here is a short answer:
    8. Randy Alcorn writes: Scripture nowhere suggests a “memory wipe” causing us not to recognize family and friends. In fact, if we wouldn’t know our loved ones, the “comfort” of an afterlife reunion, spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18, would be no comfort at all. Theologian J. C. Ryle said of this passage, “There would be no point in these words of consolation if they did not imply the mutual recognition of saints. The hope with which he cheers wearied Christians is the hope of meeting their beloved friends again. . . . In the moment that we who are saved shall meet our several friends in heaven, we shall at once know them, and they will at once know us.”[1]
    9. Further: At the Transfiguration, the three disciples recognized Moses and Elijah, even though they weren’t told who the two men were, and they couldn’t have previously known what they looked like (Matthew 17:1-4). This may suggest that we will instantly recognize people we know of but have not previously met, perhaps as a result of distinguishing characteristics emanating through their physical appearance. If we will recognize people we haven’t known on Earth, surely we will recognize people we have known![2]
  3. Will our pets be there (Debbie Patsko)?
    1. I remember a Twilight Zone episode about a man and his dog.
    2. Hyder Simpson is an elderly mountain manwho lives with his wife Rachel and his hound dog Rip in the backwoods. Rachel does not like having the dog indoors, but Rip saved Hyder’s life once and Hyder refuses to part with him. Rachel has seen some bad omens recently and warns Hyder not to go raccoon hunting that night. When Rip dives into a pond after a raccoon, Hyder jumps in after him, but only the raccoon comes up out of the water. The next morning, Hyder and Rip wake up next to the pond. When they return home, Hyder finds that neither Rachel, the preacher, nor the neighbors can hear him or see him; they are under the impression that he has died.
    3. Walking along the road, Hyder and Rip encounter an unfamiliar fence and begin to follow it. They come to a gate tended by a man, who Hyder initially believes to be Saint Peter. Explaining that he is only a gatekeeper, the man explains that Hyder can enter the Elysian Fieldsof the afterlife. Simpson is appreciative, but disheartened to hear that neither raccoon hunting nor any of his other usual pleasures can be found inside. Told that Rip cannot enter and will be taken elsewhere, Hyder angrily declines the offer of entry and decides to keep walking along the “Eternity Road,” saying, “Any place that’s too high-falutin’ for Rip is too fancy for me.”
    4. Later, Hyder and Rip stop to rest and are met by a young man, who introduces himself as an angel dispatched to find them and bring them to Heaven. When Hyder explains his previous encounter, the angel tells him that the gate was actually the entrance to Hell. The gatekeeper had stopped Rip from entering because Rip would have smelled the brimstone inside and warned Hyder that something was wrong. The angel says, “You see, Mr. Simpson, a man, well, he’ll walk right into Hell with both eyes open. But even the Devilcan’t fool a dog!”
    5. As the angel leads Hyder along the Eternity Road toward Heaven, the angel tells Hyder that a square dance and raccoon hunt are scheduled for that night. He also assures Hyder that Rachel, who will soon be coming along the road, will not be misled into entering Hell. The closing narration is:
    6. “Travelers to unknown regions would be well advised to take along the family dog. He could just save you from entering the wrong gate. At least, it happened that way once—in a mountainous area of the Twilight Zone.”
    7. Look at Genesis 1:30: And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
  4. That passage references animals in the Garden of Eden and also references the “breath of life in them.” Animals were in paradise when God first created it prior to the fall of man. In the eternal Heaven, in Revelation 22 it seems that that Heaven is a reflection of the first Garden of Eden. We will see a Tree of Life again in verse 2 as there was a tree of life in the first Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9). We see a river in the eternal Heaven in Revelation 22:1. We see two rivers in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:10 and 13. It does seem that the eternal New Jerusalem Heaven is going to be like the Garden of Eden was meant to be, only much better. It would seem that since animals were in the first garden, they will be with us in eternity. Let’s talk about this for a moment.
  5. Psalm 104 is all about animals and then we get to verse 30 and it references renewing them. This seems to mean that they are resurrected in Heaven.
  6. Heaven will be awesome with or without your pet.
  7. Heaven will be with God in paradise.
  8. DON’T discourage people from grieving the loss of an animal. That is appropriate. God created animals for us, and we are sad when they leave us.
  9. I believe the Bible teaches us not to abuse animals. We are to take care of them.
  10. Romans 8 teaches us that all creation is waiting redemption, and this includes animals.
  11. If a person was raised in a Christian home and you know deep down they believe, but for whatever the reasons, don’t practice any religion, are they saved (Debbie Patsko)?
    1. Only God knows if they are truly saved. On one hand I believe that God’s grace is more than we can even begin to understand. On the other hand if one truly knows Jesus one would expect they would live life with Jesus.
    2. Think of John 15, Jesus says that He is the Vine, we are the branches. We are called to live life with We live life with Jesus by spiritual disciplines which includes church, small groups, Sunday School, daily time with the Lord. The Christian life is not simply about fire insurance but living life with Jesus now.
    3. I would never condemn someone to hell, but Jesus does say that we are known by our fruits (Matt 7:16).
  12. Lisa Lotze: When can Christians defend themselves? If a madman asks you to deny the faith, but it does no good should we deny the faith. What about mob violence trying to take your cross or Bibles or pictures of Jesus? How is it helpful to go underground as a church when going underground means that you cannot share the Gospel, but if you are not underground and just deny Jesus you are alive to share the Gospel?
    1. This is a tough one which may need a further conversation.
    2. There is a difference between state sanctioned persecution versus individual persecution.
    3. In actual persecution Christians are never called to defend themselves. Instead we are called to trust in Christ. We are called to understand that they are really persecuting Jesus, not us. Jesus can handle it. In Matt 10:19 Jesus says: But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say.
    4. The underground church is sharing the Gospel by marketplace evangelism. The church is underground meeting for worship, but they still have jobs, occupations, etc.
    5. The underground church is growing rapidly too.
    6. Sometimes God does do more through our death than our life…
    7. Now, back to defending ourselves. I think that Christians can defend ourselves. However, we should not jump to that. Augustine wrote up the just war theory. To an extent we can apply the principles. 1) A war needed to be waged by legitimate authority. This means that first we should try to contact the police. 2) The War needed to be a just cause. 3) The war needed to have the right intentions. I believe we need to exhaust as many peaceful things before we get to violence. Remember Jesus taught to turn the other cheek (Matt 5:38-40). Romans 12:14-20 says: Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

  1. Remember that people have a different worldview than we do as Christians and we should try to show love.
  2. This question was asked in conversation about riots and mob protests. Every situation is different. We CANNOT REASON with a mob. In that case, we probably cannot reason and we should try contacting the police first and getting to a safe place. We do need to be careful. Too often United State Christians are quickly talking about using guns to shoot people that we are called to share the Gospel with. Remember, if you shoot them, even in self-defense, they die and they may go to hell. However, they kill you and you go to heaven with Jesus. I am not saying don’t defend ourselves, but why do we brain storm situations that no one ever wants to be in. Try to seek peace.
  3. Suppose, your business is being attacked by an angry mob, can you as a Christian defend your business with a gun? I believe Christians are divided on this and I am too. Firstly, leave it to the police. Biblically, it is easy to substantiate the military using force and the police using force, it is difficult to substantiate an individuate using force.
  4. However, I do think we can use reason to show that it is okay and appropriate to defend ourselves and our family. This means when the police have not arrived, or cannot help, we are forced to do what we can to protect ourselves and our property. But, if it is a mob we may not get far and it would probably be wiser to use our weapons to get out of the situation.
  5. The question was posed about groups that wanted pictures of a white Jesus taken down. Again, you cannot reason with a mob. However, civil dialogue is a great thing.
  6. I think if an organized group had a good dialogue about Jesus pictures, etc I would talk with them.
  7. It is true that Jesus was not white.
  8. These topics take discernment and this means that we must be living in a relationship with Jesus seeking His wisdom.

[1] Alcorn, Randy. Heaven: Biblical Answers to Common Questions . Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.


[2] Alcorn, Randy. Heaven: Biblical Answers to Common Questions . Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.


James commands us not to take oaths, but instead to have full integrity (James 5:12).

James commands us not to take oaths, but instead to have full integrity (James 5:12).

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Many years ago, a courageous and devoted American broadcast a message to his listeners that served as a harbinger for where the nation was headed societally and culturally. In his broadcast he revealed what he would do if he were “the devil,” to destroy our culture and undermine our collective societal standards and social mores. That man was Paul Harvey Aurandt, affectionately known to the nation simply as Paul Harvey, and his message not only has proven to be prophetic, but serves as a warning to Americans today of where our society continues to trend.

Paul Harvey was a broadcaster who rendered daily news on the radio from the 1950s through the 1990s, and inspired generations of Americans with true stories of goodness and heroism with his daily, “The Rest of the Story.” He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 for his contributions to the nation. At his peak, his broadcasts reached as many as 24 million listeners and readers, as 1,600 radio stations and 300 newspapers carried his program and columns across the nation.

One broadcast, which he titled, “If I Were the Devil,” ran originally in 1964, but he updated it several times over the years, and the version detailed below aired in 1996. In Paul Harvey’s own words, here is what he said he would do, if he “were the devil.”

Here it begins:

“If I were the prince of darkness, I would want to engulf the whole world in darkness. I’d have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree — thee. So, I would set about however necessary to take over the United States.

“I’d subvert the churches first, and I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: ‘Do as you please.’

“To the young, I would whisper that the Bible is a myth. I would convince the children that man created God instead of the other way around. I’d confide that what’s bad is good and what’s good is square. And the old, I would teach to pray after me, ‘Our Father, which art in Washington …’

“Then, I’d get organized, I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.

“If I were the devil, I’d soon have families at war with themselves, churches at war with themselves and nations at war with themselves until each, in its turn, was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings, I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.

“If I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine young intellect but neglect to discipline emotions. I’d tell teachers to let those students run wild. And before you knew it, you’d have drug-sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door. With a decade, I’d have prisons overflowing and judges promoting pornography. Soon, I would evict God from the courthouse and the schoolhouse and then from the houses of Congress. In his own churches, I would substitute psychology for religion and deify science. I’d lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls and church money.

“If I were the devil, I’d take from those who have and give to those who wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. What’ll you bet I couldn’t get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich?

“I’d convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun and that what you see on television is the way to be. And thus, I could undress you in public and lure you into bed with diseases for which there are no cures.

“In other words, if I were the devil, I’d just keep right on doing what he’s doing.”[1]

Today we celebrate Independence Day in worship, but I want to talk about something that has also been important to our country, integrity.

Something that is for sure missing in our country right now is integrity.

Thomas Jefferson wrote:

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.[2]

Further, he wrote:

Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.[3]

George Washington wrote:

“In politics as in philosophy, my tenets are few and simple. The leading one of which, and indeed that which embraces most others, is to be honest and just ourselves and to exact it from others, meddling as little as possible in their affairs where our own are not involved. If this maxim was generally adopted, wars would cease and our swords would soon be converted into reap hooks and our harvests be more peaceful, abundant, and happy.”[4]

In a recent biography of Washington Chernow writes:

He valued his reputation for integrity, calling it “the principal thing which is laudable in my conduct.”[5]

Integrity… Let’s talk about integrity.

Why can’t our “yes” be “yes” and our “no,” “no?” Why can’t we be trusted?

In this sermon I want to show you that human beings are all liars. That sounds harsh, but the point is that we have a sin nature that compels us to lie. So, we will do things in order to give more confidence in our words. We swear. But James is saying that even though humans are liars, Christians aren’t liars. James is telling us don’t swear, instead be habitually honest.

Turn with me to James 5:12

But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.

  • Notice that James writes “above all.”
    • It seems that this is the most important command he has given. What other command has James started with “above all?” None. This is the only time “above all” is used in the epistle of James.
    • What James is about to introduce is clearly very important. But this is not new material. James has written about our words all the way through his epistle. In James 1:19: be slow to speak; James 1:26: anyone who thinks of himself as religious must keep a tight rein on his tongue. James 3:1-12 are about not using our words to curse people. In chapter 4:11-12 it says not to slander one another, then in verses 13-17 he writes about boasting and bragging. So, James is not introducing a new theme, but building on an old theme.
    • Actually, if you look in your Bible you will see that there are only about eight verses left in this epistle. It seems that James is hitting on a few important points as he closes.
    • So, James introduces this one as the most important.
    • Look at the rest of the verse, what do you think? You may not care too much about an oath, but look at the end of the verse. “Let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no.” This means you should be trustworthy.
      • How many of you are employers? Don’t you want employees you can trust?
      • How many of you are parents? What do you do when your children directly lie to you? Do you pat them on the back and say, “Way to go son”? No, of course you don’t. Even if you are habitual liars you don’t let your children lie.
      • Integrity is lacking today, isn’t it? Do we even know who to trust in politics or the news?
    • So, we must see why this is introduced with “above all.” James wants Christians to be trustworthy.
  • Now, James gives the command. He says not to swear. Don’t swear by Heaven or by earth or by anything else.
    • Before I talk more about swearing, I must reference

Matthew 5:34-37:

But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.

  • You can see that Jesus gave the same teaching. But I can tell you that James didn’t look at Matthew’s scroll and plagiarize this material. This epistle of James was written before Matthew was written. James might have heard Jesus teach this, but also we must remember that the Bible has many authors but God is guiding the authors. God is inspiring and guiding the message.
  • Now, when James writes about swearing he is not talking about a list of vulgar words. He is talking about calling on God or an object to support your words.
  • An oath or swearing had three parts. It was a testing to the truth, calling for God to witness and, thirdly, invoking God’s punishment if you violated your word. To say “I swear to God” meant I want you to know I’m telling the truth, I want God to witness I’m telling the truth and I want God to punish me if I’m not telling the truth. Very serious. You’re invoking the curse of God on you if you lie in an effort to try to convince somebody that you’re really telling the truth.
  • People did this in that time period. One reason that Jesus preached against it was that the Pharisees would swear by the temple thinking they were okay to do that. But Jesus says that God created the temple. No matter what, when you swear, you are swearing by God.
  • There are a number of times in the epistle of Hebrews that it references how God would swear by Himself in Genesis and that is true. But God can do that because He is God and there is no one greater. Besides that, it is likely what James is condemning is flippant swearing. He is not condemning an oath in a court room.
  • So, James tells us not to swear.
  • One of my sources read: Misuse of the name of God, profaning the name of God, blaspheming the name of God, dragging down the name of God, invoking the name of God illegitimately, all of that is, in a sense, related to the kind of swearing that James has in mind. But it’s a very specific thing that he’s after here that was a part of that Jewish culture. May I add to you that it wasn’t only Jewish, it also belonged in the Greek culture. Have you ever heard anybody say, “By Jove,” have you heard that? Jove was a Greek god and when the Greeks wanted to swear they swore by Zeus or by Jove, or by somebody…J-o-v-e.
  • Next James tells us the motivation not to swear. The motivation is that we are habitually honest. “Let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no.”
    • These days we have contracts for business deals, we have to sign things at banks, and we have to swear an oath at a court room because people are not trustworthy. People will lie to protect themselves. Teachers can tell you that parents will lie to protect their children.
    • James is saying this should not be true among Christians.
    • A preacher was going to preach on honesty and he told everyone to read Joshua 25. The next Sunday he came and said, “Great. Now you’re the ones I want to talk to. Joshua has only twenty-four chapters, and I am especially concerned about you tonight.”[6]
    • That was meant in humor, but there is a point there. Christians must do better.
    • When I was a senior in high school I went with my youth pastor, Dave, to pick up an old truck he was going to buy. It was actually a truck that was pretty much in parts. He was purchasing this in order to restore his 69 Chevy truck. Dave had agreed on a set price with the seller to purchase this for. I remember the seller filling out the title with the price he was selling it for. He asked Dave, “How much do you want me to write down that I am selling this to you for? The government gets enough of our money.” He said this because, though he had already received the money from Dave, Dave would have to pay taxes on whatever amount written down that he was selling it for. So, the seller was willing to write down as little as one dollar so that Dave wouldn’t have to pay as much in taxes. But Dave was paying much more. This was a lie.
    • Dave responded to the seller by saying, something like, “Just write down the amount we agreed on, it’s the right thing to do.”
    • That was an amazing example of integrity, of Christians doing the right thing. That was an example that I was not taught, but I caught. That was an example that I needed to see. Here I was a young man about to graduate high school. Here I was a young man with all the pressures of the world and I saw an example of a godly man doing the right thing.
    • I want to ask you to reflect on your honesty:
      • How’s that working for you?
      • Have you told any white lies lately? Maybe you have fudged some numbers in order to get something cheaper.
      • Maybe you have tried to use a coupon twice.
      • Maybe you have been pulled over for speeding, what did you tell the police?
      • Maybe you didn’t do something correct at work and when confronted you stretched the truth.
        • Students, this message is for you too. The Word of God is for every age group and every age group must still fight off sin.
        • Even pastors must fight the temptation to stretch the truth. I was listening to Chip Ingram on Moody Bible Radio. He is a pastor out west. Back in the late 70’s he would say, “there were X amount of people at Bible study last week.” His wife confronted him about this. He knew exactly how many were at the Bible study, but it would sound better to say 65-70 rather than 64 people were there.
      • It is not my goal to make you feel bad, nor is it my goal to make you feel extra special. If this goes either way it is the convicting power of Scripture and the Holy Spirit’s work. It should make you feel good to confess this to God and move forward.

There was a young Christian man in a southern university. He made the football team as the starting split end. And he continually was before God saying, “Help me in the climax of moments to be absolutely honest. I pray for honesty— that one mark of integrity. I want to be that, Lord, and I’ll work on it through the season.”

The rival team came that night, homecoming. He ran his route and went into the end zone. The quarterback shot him the pass and he got it low. He landed on it, and the referee shouted, “Touchdown!” But that boy knew he had trapped that ball (For you who aren’t into that, it means that he didn’t really catch it. He landed on it while it was on the ground and it looked like he caught it.). The stands were just cheering, you know, sending him on his way, the hero of the game. He said, “Wait a minute.” Can you imagine this? Walked up to the referee and shook his head. He said, “I trapped it.” The referee canceled the touchdown and they lost the game.

Now you may not understand much about football, but you know what it is to be a fan. And that boy stood all alone, not only against a team that said, “What does it matter, man?” but against the stands full of people. He said, “I can’t take the credit. I did not catch it.[7]

  • Lastly, James gives the consequence. The consequence is condemnation. The consequence is judgment.
    • What does this mean? What it means is James is consistent with the pattern of the whole epistle. The whole epistle calls us to look into our hearts and see if we have a living faith. If you are living the faith you will not be habitually lying.
    • You will not settle for lies, not even little bitty white lies, not even a stretch of the truth.


We need integrity in our world today. I don’t know if our founding fathers had more integrity, but they did seem to care about it more than we do. They cared about their reputation for integrity. We are in a country founded on Judeo-Christian values and we have lost them. We are also in a country founded on sacrifice. Our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence knowing they were risking their lives and their livelihood. If the British caught John Adams or George Washington or Thomas Jefferson or any others, they would have been tortured and killed. Some were captured and some suffered losses. There is a popular writing about what happened to some of them and I considered sharing it, but I am not because there are questions about its accuracy. Either way, we do know that they were taking risks by signing the Declaration of Independence. We know also that they cared about their integrity.

I don’t want to close this sermon without giving you an opportunity to confess what you need to confess. So, I am going to open in prayer and then give you a moment of silence. It is important to confess our sins to God. We are forgiven, but we must confess.

Dear Jesus thank you for the forgiveness which you offer us. Go ahead and confess anything right now. Ask God to help you do better.

1 John 1:9-10

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Dear God thank you for the forgiveness we know we have in You, Amen.

[1] https://www.idahostatejournal.com/opinion/columns/paul-harvey-s-warning-to-america-if-i-were-the-devil/article_fd1e24af-17d1-5ee0-b3d8-8dd97d87f2cd.html

[2] https://www.azquotes.com/author/7392-Thomas_Jefferson/tag/integrity

[3] ibid.

[4] https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/4356.George_Washington

[5] Chernow, Ron. Washington (pp. 501-502). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

[6] Swindoll, Charles R. Read in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN 1998. Page 272. (cited from Bob Phillips, The World’s Greatest Collection of Heavenly Humor)


[7] Swindoll, Charles R. Read in Swindoll’s Ultimate Book of Illustrations & Quotes. Thomas Nelson. Nashville, TN 1998. Page 304. (cited from James K. Krames, “Tender Loving Heart,” Living Free