Brother Mike Rogers Message

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  • August 14, 2022


    Freedom to Choose


    “Free will” is the means by which human beings make choices independently. Every choice we make is based on our prevailing desires—what we want most—what we “will.” For example, what car to buy, college to attend, major to pursue, job to accept, etc. are all influenced by personal desire. Many different factors may determine our desire, but it still is our own choice. While most people accept this, some deny it applies to one’s eternal salvation. They might admit man has a choice, but man chooses what he desires most; and, since man is by nature evil, he cannot choose righteousness over sin unless it is predetermined for him by God. This implies that man has free will in every aspect of life except eternal salvation. In the area of salvation, they wrongly insist that the choice is made specifically and independently for him by God. They call this person God’s “elect.” I understand how one might conclude that human beings are naturally predisposed to evil. Paul states, “None is righteous, no, not one. No one understands; no one seeks for God” (Rom. 3:10b-11). Yet, some did choose to seek God and were freed from the slavery of sin (Rom. 6:7). And, to those same people Paul writes, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions” (Rom. 6:12). It certainly sounds like Paul believes these Christians had a choice of following Christ or turning back to a life of sin. Furthermore, when Paul writes, “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13 emphasis mine), it does not seem as though they had no say in their own salvation. James implies that everyone has a choice of being a friend of God or His enemy when he writes, “. . . whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4 emphasis mine). Do you think the Scriptures teach salvation is man’s choice? If man does not have free will to choose to be saved, why did Paul teach Timothy that God would have “all men to be saved” (see 1 Tim. 2:4)? Why does Peter write that God does not desire that “any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9)? Why did Jesus say, “Whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved, but whoever does not believe shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16)? Why did Jesus declare “to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free’” (John 8:31-32)? The “if . . . then” statement surely affirms one has a choice to follow the truth and be free, or not. Surely these verses insist that salvation is a matter of one’s own free will! What do you choose?


    -Mike Rogers    



    August 7, 2022

    Truth

    At least five different philosophies of truth exist today: Relative truth, based on how something relates to something else. Subjective truth, based off of a person's perspective, feelings, or opinions. Normative truth, whatever is accepted by groups of people. Complex truth tries to see validity in all philosophies of truth.

    If someone argues, “if you believe abortion is wrong then it is wrong for you, but if I believe abortion is completely acceptable, then it is not wrong for me.” This person is expressing the popular belief that truth is relative or subjective; and if enough people in society come to believe this then it becomes normative or complex truth.

    The fifth philosophy is Objective truth which is absolute truth based on verifiable evidence. Most modern philosophies argue, “there is no such thing as absolute truth” only when applied to God, religion, or morality. However, it does seem that any kind of absolute truth may be considered irrelevant in our world today if it does not satisfy one’s personal agenda. Media often distorts truth to dress up a story or to promote an agenda. Many people in politics, in business, or just in conversation disregard truth in order to progress their platform, product, or opinion. This seems to have been Pilate’s feelings when he asked Jesus, “What is truth?” in John 18:38. I think Pilate believed Jesus was who He claimed to be, but he was more concerned with preventing a riot than he was with truth. For Pilate, truth was irrelevant at that moment.

    Even in the religious world, we encounter people who seem to think that truth is a matter of personal opinion (subjective), or based on what God has not said (relative), rather than what God has said (objective).

    Jesus declared, “Sanctify them by the truth, Your word is truth” (John 17:17). We can only be set apart from the world through truth. Jesus also asserts that God’s word is truth. Therefore, if we have God’s word, we have the truth. Jesus also stated, “If you continue in My words, you are truly My disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31b-32). One can only be a true disciple of Jesus by continuing to follow His words. If we continually follow His words, we will know the truth. And, nothing but the truth of these words can make us free. Jesus also said, “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). Man will not be judged by what Jesus did NOT say. We will all be judged by the words revealed in the Bible.

    -Mike Rogers    

  • July 31, 2022


    I Am Thankful


    I am thankful for the encouragement from my brethren The Hebrews writer instructs, “Encourage one another daily . . .” (Heb. 3:13). The Greek verb the writer uses that translates “encourage” literally means to urge, exhort, or to appeal. Jesus uses the noun in John 14:16 that translates “helper.” The idea as relates to this lesson is that we are to be a help to one another as we struggle with the trials of life on a daily basis. Encouragement i.e., being a help to one another can keep one from being taken in by sin. The Hebrews writer also instructs, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24). One of the ways the writer instructs us to stimulate one another to love and good deeds is “encouraging one another” (10:25). Do you remember a time when you were on the verge of giving up the faith and a brother or sister encouraged you to persevere? We must be thankful for the encouragement of our brethren!


    I am thankful for the support of my brethren. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, He declares, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now” (Phil. 1:3-5). Even under 24-hour guard in Rome, Paul was thankful for the support of his brethren. Even though Epaphroditus fell sick and was delayed in bringing provisions to Paul, he was still thankful for their support: “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity” (Phil. 4:10). Paul follows this with, “I can do all things through Him that strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction” Phil. 4:13-14). Another way we are supported by our brethren is helping us to bear our burdens. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he declares, “Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). How many times have you felt the weight of the world on your shoulders, and a brother or sister in Christ came and helped you bear your burden?


    I am thankful for the correction I have received from my brethren. Paul implores Timothy, “with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 2:25). Correction is good for us all if we accept it with open hearts. It will make us more conscientious Christians. It will make us more devoted to truth. It will deepen our study.


    I am thankful for the encouragement, support, and correction from my brethren. I hope you are too.


    -Mike Rogers    



    July 24, 2022


    Why I Believe the Bible is the Word of God


    A wise man once said, “You open your Bible and read, ‘In the beginning God . . ..’” He added, “If you don’t believe that the rest will mean nothing.” While his point is well taken, I do not accept that our belief/faith in God, His Son, and His word is a blind leap in the dark. Biblical faith is built on evidence (Heb. 11:1; Rom. 1:19-20). Admittedly, this evidence is partly incomprehensible. No one can comprehend how something can be made from nothing. Neither is it humanly possible to comprehend eternity. These things cannot be logically or reasonably explained outside the realm of faith. However, the very existence of the world, and the fact that it cannot be reasonably or  logically explained any other way supports an eternal, omniscient, omnipotent Creator. If one believes this Creator exists, and that He created all things for a purpose, then one must believe that a special revelation from Him is necessary. If that revelation is to be applicable to every generation, it has to be written. Otherwise, it would be susceptible to change. However, the simple fact that our creator would reveal his plan in written form does not give creditable evidence to the Bible as that revelation. Some people believe the Bible is fiction. Some believe the Bible is mostly from God, but has been corrupted by man’s copies; some believe the Bible contains truth, but it is not all truth; and some believe the Bible is God’s complete revelation and reveals everything man needs to know to be everything God wants him to be.


    If a book is God’s revelation to man, you would expect it to make such a claim. The Bible does make this claim: 2 Tim. 3:16 — “all scripture is inspired by God . . ..” The meaning of inspiration, as used here, may be best explained by looking at 2 Peter 1:21: “for no prophecy of scripture was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” The phrase “inspired by God” (2 Tim. 3:16) carries the same idea as “moved” by the Holy Spirit although different Greek words are used. To better understand what takes place in the inspiration of scripture, we compare “moved” by the Holy Spirit with Acts 27:15 as the ship was “driven along” by the wind. Both words, “moved” and “driven along” have the same Greek root. Therefore, the wind moved the ship, in the same way that men were moved by the Holy Spirit to write scripture. Thus, “all scripture is inspired by God” through the Holy Spirit who moved men to write God’s will. Therefore, I believe the New Testament is God’s revelation to man that instructs us on what God, our Creator, desires us to do to be pleasing to Him.


    --Mike Rogers    



    July 17, 2022


    Music in Church


    Many ask why we do not have instruments of music in our church. Before answering this question, it is essential to explain that we get the authority for all we do from the Bible (see Col. 3:17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:18-21). The Bible says, “God is Spirit, and those that  worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Those who worship God “must” worship the way He prescribes. With this said, we answer two common questions on music in the church.


    First, “The Jews used instruments in worship in the Old Testament, so why can’t we use them today?” There is a big difference in temple worship and synagogue worship. Temple worship was in Jerusalem alone; synagogue worship was in any city with ten Jewish male adults. Temple worship involved sacrifices, instruments, and dancing. Synagogue worship involved, praying, reading the Law, exposition, and singing. (McClintock and Strong declare, “Instruments were never used in ancient synagogue worship” [Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature]). Christian worship is based on synagogue worship; not temple worship. We can affirm from the New Testament that singing is the only music approved in Christian worship: “. . . singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19); “. . . singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16); “I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also” (1 Cor. 14:15); “. . . in the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise” (Heb. 2:12 Qtd. from Psalm 22:22).


    Another question we may hear is, “What about the harp in the book of Revelation?” In Revelation 5:8-9 we read, “the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp . . . and they sang a new song.” John was “in the spirit” when he saw this (see 4:2). Also, if the “golden bowls full of incense” represent the “prayers of the saints,” then the harps represent the praise of the saints. This is further indicated by the fact that “they sang.” The second mention of harp in Revelation is in 14:2-3. John did not say he saw or heard harps. He said, “The voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps” (emphasis mine). John heard a melodious “voice.” The third passage is Revelation 15:2-3. The mention of the harp here is part of the sign (15:1) John saw. It represents beautiful praise to God (cf. 14:2). It is not to be understood as a literal harp, but rather as beautiful music in praise to God. In every  passage discussed from Revelation, the scriptures say exactly what this beautiful music is: “They sang” (5:9); “They were singing” (14:3); “They sang” (15:3).


     –Mike Rogers    



    July 10, 2022


    Have You Really Seen My Lord?


    Under the reign of king Uzziah Judah had prospered greatly; and even though King Uzziah had served Judah as a righteous king for many years, he finally became proud and entered the temple to burn incense, which only the priests were allowed to do. King Uzziah was struck with leprosy and confined to a sperate house to live alone until he died (see 2 Chronicles 26:16-21). It was in this same year that Isaiah saw the Lord in a vision. A contrast exists between Uzziah and Isaiah. Uzziah became proud because of his own strength and became ritually impure. Isaiah, on the other hand, humbled himself admitting his sin and cried out in repentance. In this text we are told what Isaiah really saw and heard, when he saw the Lord that day.


    First, Isaiah saw God in His sovereignty. King Uzziah was dead, and Judah was still burning incense on pagan altars, but Isaiah saw a greater King reigning from His heavenly throne. The “train of His robe filling the temple” illustrates God’s sovereignty. Uzziah might be gone, but the sovereign Lord was still King!


    Second, Isaiah saw the Lord in all His glory. Glory is the majestic nature of God. Seraphim were calling to one another, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is filled with His glory” (vv. 2-3). When Isaiah saw the seraphim calling to one another with the triple superlative, he must have realized that Uzziah may have been a good king, but the Lord was the one and only holy One, and He and He alone held the glory that filled the earth. Isaiah saw God’s glory because the seraphim proclaimed His holiness. Our duty before the Lord is to honor His holy nature by living holy lives before Him. Isaiah learned God alone deserves to be in the highest place of honor and glory for all people.


    Third Isaiah saw the presence of God (v. 4). We are told that the “temple was filling with smoke.” Smoke is often used as a symbol for the presence of God (see Ex. 19:18). Seeing the sovereignty of God, the glory of God, and the presence of God changed Isaiah’s life; and he cried, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips” (6:5). The seraphim cleansed Isaiah of his sin and Isaiah “heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’” Because Isaiah really saw the Lord and it changed his life, he cried out, “Here am I. Send me” (6:8).


    Have we really seen the Lord? Have we really seen Him as sovereign? Have we really seen His glory? Have we really seen His presence? If we see Him like Isaiah saw Him, it will change our lives like it did Isaiah’s.


    --Mike Rogers    



    July 3, 2022


    John 4:34-38


    Making disciples for Jesus is what all Christians should be about. The wise king Solomon writes, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he who is wise wins souls” (Prov. 11:30). In John 4:34-38, Jesus presents two areas of personal evangelism using the metaphor of a wheat crop saying, “He who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together” (John 4:36b).


    First, Jesus addresses sowing the seed. Before any seed is sowed in the soil, the soil has to be prepared (cf. Luke 8:5- 15). Just as soil must be prepared for planting, so also the heart. Just as a seed will not grow in infertile soil, the word of God will not grow in infertile hearts. A fertile heart has been properly prepared so that it is open and receptive to truth. When the soil has been properly prepared, then comes the sowing of the seed i.e., planting. Remember, the fruit of a seed is in the seed, not in the soil. Likewise, the fruit of the word is in the word not in the heart. Jesus reminds His disciples, “The words that I have spoken to you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). God’s word planted in honest and receptive hearts will produce “a hundred times as great” (Luke 8:8). However, the word cannot produce fruit if it is not planted in prepared hearts.


    When the seed has been planted in fertile soil and has been nurtured and watered, it breaks through the surface to grow to maturity and be harvested as food for men. When the word of God has taken root in man’s heart, been cultivated by repentance and watered by baptism, the man breaks forth from the watery grave a new creature ready to grow and mature and start sowing the word in others.


    Second, Jesus addresses the harvest. We may think we have plenty of time for harvesting as the disciples did thinking, “there are four months, and then comes the harvest (v. 35). But Jesus points to the Samaritans coming out of the city and proclaims, “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, for they are white for harvest” (v. 35). The harvest in this text does not refer to the judgement day. It means that the time for man to get to work saving souls is now.


    The one who is reaping is already receiving benefits of joy, peace, the abundant life. Once you become actively involved in personal evangelism and reap the benefits of that labor, you will experience a zeal for Jesus like you never dreamed possible. You will feel like Jeremiah, “His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary of holding it back, and I could not” (Jer. 20:9)

    --Mike Rogers


  • June 26, 2022


    A Model for Evangelism


    When we read the New Testament, we are made keenly aware it is about saving souls. The gospels begin talking about John the Baptist coming “preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4). People from Jerusalem and all Judea and the surrounding district were coming out to be baptized by him (Matt. 3:5). Jesus was also baptized by John (Matt. 3:13-15). After forty days of temptation, He came out of the wilderness and immediately began calling men to be “fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples and instructed, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, . . .” (Matt. 28:19-20). He also instructed them to begin their teaching in Jerusalem, move throughout all Judea, then to Samaria, and then to the rest of the world (Acts 1:8). As we read the rest of Acts, we are introduced to Peter, the other apostles, Luke, Stephen, Philip, Saul, Barnabas, John Mark, Silas, Timothy, and many others who were working to save souls by instructing people to repent of their sins, and be baptized to have their sins forgiven (see Acts 2:38; 8:36-38; 22:16; et al.). Saving souls is not a job for one or two people employed by a church. It is what every disciple of Jesus should be about. In John 4, Jesus shows a model for saving souls. First, Jesus did not avoid any place. John declares that Jesus “had to pass through Samaria” (4:4). The phrase “had to” does not mean this was a geological consideration. It was a moral obligation. Jesus had a mission “to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10) no matter where they were. Second, exhaustion did not deter Jesus from His mission. He was extremely tired, but He continued His mission (see 4:6). Third, neither race nor gender prevented Jesus from His mission. She was a Samaritan woman, but He still carried out His mission (4:7-9). Fourth, being alone did not discourage Jesus from His mission. His disciples had gone into town and He was alone (4:8). One of the greatest fears in doing a Bible Study with someone is knowing how to start. Jesus simply asks her for a drink. This was a strange request for a Jew to ask of a Samaritan, but it never-the-less opened the door for conversation. The Samaritan woman did not know where Jesus was going with this question, but Jesus did; and He offered her more than what she had (4:10-14). While the woman still did not fully understand, she desired what Jesus offered (4:15).

    Please join us Sunday as we look deeper into John 4.


    -Mike Rogers    



    June 19, 2022


    Getting to Know the Designer


    Following the evidence presented in a previous lesson, it is understood that the world and everything in it has to come from an intelligent, powerful source which has no beginning. In this lesson, we begin to introduce this source. We begin with Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The name “God” is simply one of many designations for the one who “created the heavens and earth.” He is also called Creator, I AM, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Lord of Hosts, Ancient of Days, Father, Jehovah and Most High. He is called in Hebrew Elohim, El Shaddai, Yahweh, and Adonai. Abba is an Aramaic term used to translate “Father” referring to God. While the term “God” is used to refer to these terms, we can never-the-less see it is simply a way of describing the one powerful, intelligent source.


    The very phrase, “In the beginning, God” implies this source existed before the heavens and the earth came into being. The Hebrew word “created” implies supernatural activity. Therefore, creation is the work of one called God, who existed prior to the creation of the heavens and earth. As we continue on in Genesis 1, we see that this same source, put everything in its place so that it was good. To speak of the essence of God is to speak about who God really is. The word essence is derived from the Latin verb “to be” and is in turn a translation of the Greek word that translates “being.” More than having being, God is being. He makes this point clear when He proclaims His name to
    Moses and explains its meaning in Exodus 3:13-15. When God called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage, Moses asks, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them? God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM; and He said, thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ God further said to Moses, ‘Thus you will say to the sons of Israel: the Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations” (Ex. 3:13-15). Understanding that the phrase “I AM” is a term that implies eternal existence, we can learn that this same being is the intelligent, powerful source that existed before anything was created. He is PERIOD. He was not created. He simply exists. We have noted that for anything to come into being, it is necessary for a powerful, intelligent source to exist first. This is what the God of the Bible claims for Himself.


    --Mike Rogers    




    June 12, 2022


    “If You Love Me”
    John 14:15-24


    In John 14:12-14 Jesus declares that His disciples must carry on His work when He is gone. He assures them that He will always answer their prayers, and in verses 16-18 promises to send them “another Helper.” This Helper is the “Spirit of truth” and Jesus later tells them that this Spirit of truth “will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13). John 14:15-24 seems to be set in the middle of this discussion to impress upon these disciples that even though it is going to be tough, they can accomplish great things for the kingdom.


    In these verses, we first see the challenge “If you love Me.” This is written as a present active subjunctive and, along with context, implies this: “If you should keep on loving Me even when the world turns against you, you will keep My commandments.” This phrase indicates a condition for righteous obedience. One’s love is identified by how well he keeps Jesus’ commandments. So, the challenge is not to keep the commandments. The challenge is to love.


    Second, Jesus declares, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” This phrase does not reflect simple obedience to law. It reflects a way of life in loving communion with the Father and the Son. It shows obedience out of respect. When one loves Jesus, he will obey Him completely.


    Third, when we love Him and keep His commandments, we receive the benefit. A statement about loving Jesus and keeping His commandments occurs three times in this text (vv. 15, 21, 23). In all three places we learn that a promise of a divine presence coming to the aid of one who loves and obeys: First, He promises that a “Helper,” the “Spirit of truth” will come (14:15-17). Second, Jesus promises to come Himself (14:18-21). Third, He promises that the Father will come along with Him (14:23). There have been various suggestions for understanding when these three will come. However, it seems best to understand the three as one. Jesus will no longer dwell among  them in the flesh, but the Father will send His Spirit whom they will know, “for He dwells with you and will be in you” (v. 17). Likewise, Jesus declares, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We [Jesus and the Father] will come to him and make Our home with him” (v. 23 brackets mine). It seems certain that one cannot separate the Spirit, the Son, and the Father. If one dwells in us, they all dwell in us.


    --Mike Rogers    


    June 5, 2022


    Telling Others About God


    The theme of our Summer Series is “Searching for truth.” (Pick up a flyer on the table by the nursery for a schedule). The first lesson is on God. “Telling Others About God” is also the theme of our VBS. In this lesson, I want to provide an example of how one might tell someone about God who claims not to believe in Him.


    One may begin asking, “How do you feel about God?” If the answer is, “I do not believe in God.” You may ask, “Do you mind telling me why?” They may respond, “If God exists there would not be so much suffering in this world,” or, “Believing in your God is illogical,” or, some other answer. You may then ask, “If I could show you evidence for the existence of God, would you be willing to follow where the evidence leads?” If the answer is “Sure,” or “Maybe?” Then, you may begin asking, “Can you explain where the world came from?” If they respond, “evolution.” You may ask, “Is it possible for something to come from nothing?” You can point out that according to the law of biology, everything must come from something that already exists (biogenesis). You may ask, “If evolution is a possibility, where did the thing come from which other things evolved from?” You may continue, “Would you agree that no type of evolution can explain the origin of the first thing?” (If they are honest, they have to agree). You may then ask, “Does not the evidence suggest that the origin of everything had to begin with something that has no beginning?” If they are following the evidence of biology, they have to agree.


    Up to this point, we have said nothing about God creating anything. We are simply trying to get them to see that it is impossible for  anything that exists to come from itself. Therefore, even if one holds to some idea of evolution, it is only logical to conclude that something that has no beginning is the original source of everything that exists.


    We may then proceed by asking, “Do you agree that the world as we know it has a specific design?” If they follow the evidence of science, they have to agree. You might then respond, “Would you not agree there had to be a designer that knew exactly how to plan and place everything so that it exists together in perfect harmony?”


    I think the case for a conclusion that the world and everything in it had to come from an intelligent, powerful designer has been made. We have not mentioned the word “creation”; we have not used any Bible references to prove anything. In this study, we are simply interested in them seeing the evidence that a powerful, intelligent, designer is the original source of everything that exists.


    -Mike Rogers    





  • May 29, 2022


    Why We Remember?


    Next Monday is Memorial Day in the USA. This is a day set aside to honor Americans who gave their lives for our freedom. Most of us even take this opportunity to honor all who have ever fought for or are fighting for our freedom. However, every first day of the week, Christians have the great privilege of assembling to remember the one who gave His life for the freedom of every person on earth. It was in the upper room, the night before Jesus was crucified, when Jesus took the bread and told his disciples, “This is My body which is given for you, do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19). Later, when Paul addressed the Church at Corinth, he said, “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me’” (1 Cor 11:23-26). We remember Christ by eating the bread and drinking the fruit from the vine every first day of the week. But think about why we remember!


    We remember because we are in a war we cannot win (Heb. 10:1-4, 11). Our war is not against flesh and blood (Eph. 6:12). It is against Satan’s scheming, conniving, lawless ways. Satan knows our weaknesses and our most vulnerable moments; and that is when and where he becomes most aggressive. As vulnerable, weak human beings, we are incapable of defeating Satan. Paul declares, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). We continue to fall short of being able to save ourselves. If not defeated, sin would destroy us (Rom. 6:23). But God demonstrated the greatest love known to man by giving His own Son to destroy sin for us (see John 15:13; Rom. 5:6-11).


    Second, we should remember because nothing else could destroy sin. John declares, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8b ESV). The old sacrifices were inadequate to destroy the penalty of sin (Heb. 10:1-4, 11). Before Christ died, man’s sins were remembered every year; Christ took sin away permanently. Christ’s sacrifice was the one-time victory over sin (Heb. 10:12; John 19:30 Rev. 5:9-10).


    Monday, we will honor all those who have died serving our country. Sunday, we honor our Lord who died to free us from the pain and penalty of sin. Remember, without Him we were without God and without hope in the world (Eph.2:12b).


    - Mike Rogers    



    May 22, 2022


    Three Cs in a Successful Marriage
    Lesson 3: Communication:


    I am convinced that all failed marriages are connected, in some way, to the failure to communicate effectively. Studies have shown that couples who communicate effectively are happier, thus their marriages are more likely to be successful. The King James Version of the Bible uses some form of the word “communicate” twelve times in the NT. Six of these (Gal. 6:6; Phil. 4:14, 15; 1 Tim. 6:18; Philemon 1:6; Heb. 13:16) are from the Greek word koinonia. This word translates “share” in the NASB, NIV, and NKJV. Four of the other six references are from the Greek word logos, translated “word,” “speech,” “statement” or the equivalent. One of the other two refers to obscene or abusive speech (Col. 3:8). Based on the use of these words in the NT, it is clear that effective communication in marriage requires the husband and wife sharing themselves—their thoughts, ideas, desires, and needs. Every couple must accept that problems increase when we fail to share our concerns, our feelings, and desires with our mate. Couples who are creating an environment for love to grow will learn to share themselves completely. No secrets can be kept that may affect the relationship. Each one must share their thoughts and ideas and be completely honest, open and receptive to their differences. Second, effective communication requires understanding. James writes, “But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” (James 1:19). The nagging wife and negligent husband are insisting on the same thing— understanding. True understanding involves empathy—trying to see your mate’s perspective. Understanding one another is more about listening than talking. Solomon asserts, “He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him” (Prov. 18:13). Understanding also involves Self Control. Every husband, wife, mother, father, brother or sister must remember, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21). A husband and wife that control their tongues in times of argument can learn to communicate more effectively. Solomon says, “A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger . . . A gentle tongue is a tree of life” (Proverbs 15:1, 4). He further adds, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a picture of silver” (Proverbs 25:11, KJV). Paul explains a soft answer saying, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29, ESV).


    Join us Sunday night for more on effective communication in a marriage.


    –Mike Rogers


    May 15, 2022


    Commitment In A Successful Marriage


    When asked why they want to get married, almost every couple responds, “I love him/her. But, after a few years, as many as 75% of those will ask, “Where did the love go?” One reason this happens is because too many couples enter marriage with misconceptions concerning love. They think “Nothing can make me stop loving him/her,” or “If I love him/her enough he/she will change.” All of the misconceptions about love come from one idea:“Love will keep us together.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes, “It is not love that sustains your marriage, but marriage that sustains your love.” What this means is that love has to be fed to survive, and true marriage feeds love. A successful marriage requires a better understanding and application of three basic principles: commitment, compromise, and communication. (Space does not permit me to deal with all three, so our focus is on Commitment).


    If I asked what single four-letter word most accurately describes a wedding, what would you say? The most common answer is LOVE. But this is the wrong answer. The four-letter word that describes a wedding is VOWS. The wedding vows is the commitment a couple is promising to keep to one another.


    Commitment can be defined as “an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action.” A couple committed to a marriage is simply both giving themselves totally to the relationship. This relationship takes priority over everything. Every desire, every plan, every dream, every goal. It is keeping the promise, obligation, and pledge a couple made in their wedding vows.


    The general principal of Genesis 2:24 suggests the broad idea of total commitment: “. . . for this reason shall a man leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Jesus quotes this in Matt. 19:5 and follows it with, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matt. 19:6). This describes the “one flesh” idea and also expresses the commitment God intended for couples to have in their marriage. One writer suggests that a marriage involves three rings: the engagement ring, the wedding ring, and the suffering. Ultimately, it is not the amount of suffering that determines whether a couple sticks it out—it is the strength of their commitment. If our marriages are going to be successful, we are going to have to focus on our vows and remain committed to the promises, obligation, and pledges we made in those vows.


    --Mike Rogers



    May 8, 2022


    A Tribute to Mothers


    In his acceptance speech, after being named MVP of the NBA, Kevin Durant spoke to his mother saying, “We weren't supposed to be here. You made us believe. You kept us off the street. You put clothes on our backs. You put food on the table. When you didn't eat, you made sure we ate and [you] went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You're the real MVP.”


    Sunday is a special day set aside to pay special tribute to our mothers. This day of celebration was established on May 9, 1914 by an act of Congress when, out of love and respect for his own mother, President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May, “Mother's Day.” At the death of his mom, Wilson is quoted as saying, “Her loss has left me with a sad, oppressive sense of having somehow suddenly lost my youth. I feel old and responsibility-ridden.” A similar idea for honoring women was first started in 1870, after the American Civil War. Julia Ward Howe (Writer of “Battle Hymn of the Republic”) called for an assembly of women to honor those who had died in battle and to promote peace in the families on both sides. After a few years, Anna Reeves Jarvis involved herself with the peace movement and appealed for a day in which prayers for mothers and their children, as well as peaceful solutions, would be attained. In 1907 Jarvis’s daughter continued the campaign and started the tradition of carnations to honor all mothers—white for those mothers who had deceased, and red for those still living. The carnation tradition has almost ceased, but we still honor our mothers.


    Motherhood is not perceived as exciting and glamorous by most people. Yet, motherhood is the most honorable position a woman can hold because it is a role God gave exclusively to women (Gen. 3:20). No matter how many 2AM feedings a husband or father responds to, or how many diapers he changes, he will never be a mom. No matter how badly he desires to be a woman or how many operations he undergoes he will never give birth to a living being. It was to the woman that God said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you” (Gen. 3:16).


    Motherhood seems to be a natural role for a woman, because they seem to gravitate toward children. I have seen this multiple times in my life. How many single or childless women do you know who are school teachers and have a compassion for children? It seems that most women desire to be a mom at some point in their lives.


    --Mike Rogers    



    May 1, 2022


    Full Assurance of Faith

    Heb. 10:19-11:1, 6


    The Hebrews writer explains faith in 11:1 saying, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” There is much discussion on what the words that translate assurance and conviction really mean with regards to faith. Some ascribe to the idea that faith is “confident assurance” of what is not seen, while others prefer the idea that faith gives substance or evidence to what is not seen. In either case, faith is the means by which we can know that what we hope for is a reality. Thus, in a sense, faith is our guarantee that eternal life with God is real. However, this guarantee is not a blind leap in the dark. It is based on substantiated evidence.


    The definition of faith as the writer presents it in 11:1 is a summary of what has been written in chapter 10:19-25. First, he offers the reason for our confidence: “Since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus . . . and since we have a great high priest over the house of God”.


    Second, he offers the means to our confidence: “let us draw near” to the holy place “with a sincere heart” i.e., genuinely open and receptive to the truth about Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. He further encourages, let us draw near “in full assurance of faith” i.e., the guarantee provided by our trusting in Jesus; and let us draw near “having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience” i.e., repentance; and let us draw near having “our bodies washed with pure water” i.e., baptism (10:22).


    Third, once we "draw near" it is essential to "hold fast" in order to maintain our confidence (10:23). The writer insists that we hold fast "the confession of our hope without wavering" counting on the promise of God (cf. 1 Cor. 10:13). However, no one can maintain this confidence all by himself. Therefore, the Hebrews writer offers further encouragement saying, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds." We do this by “assembling together” and “encouraging one another” (10:24-25). The writer also asserts that faith is expressed when we “come” to God in belief i.e., in full assurance of faith; when we truly believe that “God is” i.e., that God exists; and, when we believe that God rewards those who seek Him i.e., we will have the hope of our faith.


    You may remember faith can be defined as, “Trusting God to do what He said He would do when we do what He asks us to do.” If you look at each character in chapter 11, you notice that their faith moved them to obedience. Faith only provides assurance when we do what God asks us to do.


    --Mike Rogers    





  • April 24, 2022


    Growing as a Christian


    I once read a story that compared one who failed to grow spiritually to the fairy tale character, Peter Pan. It is said that some adults who refuse to grow up have a condition called “Ponce de Leon syndrome.” It is named after the man who supposedly found the fountain of youth. But, if a person without a mental handicap becomes an adult and refuses to take on adult responsibilities, he/she is looked down on, ridiculed, and often considered a menace to society; and in some cases, rightly so (see 1 Cor. 13:11). Yet, when one becomes a Christian and refuses to grow spiritually it is an even greater tragedy. Yet few people look at this person with the same contempt as one who refuses to take on adult responsibilities.


    In Hebrews 5:11-6:2, the writer insists that many of his readers had been Christians long enough that they should be teaching others (v. 12). Now, there is a time when Christians should not teach (see James 3:1). For example, spiritual maturity does not usually exceed emotional maturity. We cannot expect one who is 15 years old and been a Christian two years to be as mature and capable of teaching as one who is twenty-five years old and been a Christian two years. Neither would we expect an adult who has been a Christian for three years to be as spiritually mature as one who has been a Christian for twenty-five years. There is a time for spiritual immaturity.


    However, it is unacceptable for one who has been a Christian for twenty-five years to be as unlearned and immature as one who is a babe in Christ. This is what the Hebrews writer addresses when he informs his readers that they “have need of milk” (v. 12c). Milk is a pre-digested food given to a baby. But as a baby grows physically, he develops a desire for table food. The same thing should happen for Christians. We can feast on “milk” for a while. But there must come a time when we leave the milk and start feasting on the “meat” (5:14).


    The Hebrews writer offers help for maturing spiritually. First, we must believe in ourselves: “But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you . . .” (6:9a). Second, we must believe in God: “For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints” (6:10). Third, we must work at it: “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (6:11-12). Join us Sunday for more! 


    --Mike Rogers    



    April 17, 2022


    Overcoming Temptation


    The book of Hebrews may be the most needed study in the church today because sin is still the most difficult and pejorative problem in our world. Hebrews acknowledges that sin can be enjoyable and have its pleasures. However, the writer informs us that these pleasures are only temporary acknowledging that Moses chose “rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Heb. 11:25). This letter also informs us of the destructive nature of sin. He writes that sin is “deceitful” (3:13) and sin “entangles us” (12:1). When we are deceived and entangled by sin, we have a tendency to neglect salvation through Christ (2:3), our hearts grow hard (3:7, 8), we become tired of listening about how great Jesus is (5:11), we stop assembling together (10:25), and finally we reject God completely (12:25). When this happens, we “fall” (4:11), and forfeit our eternal “rest” (3:18-4:7).


    The letter to the Hebrews offers us some very timely encouragement and answers as to how we might overcome the temptations we face and avoid falling into eternal condemnation.


    First, we have the word to help us: “For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it” (2:1). The message they heard from the apostles about Jesus was most important in helping them from drifting away from Jesus. It will help us too.


    Second, we have the example of Jesus. The writer warns, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the  heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:14-16). As a human being, Jesus was “tempted in all things” like every man (Heb. 4:15); and by enduring the temptations He is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15). Jesus understands what it means to be tempted. He also knows how to overcome temptations. Therefore, if we will learn more about Jesus, and follow His example, we can be better equipped to overcome our own temptations.


    Third, we have one another to help us. The writer uses the phrase, “Let us” thirteen times empathizing with his readers. Further, in 3:13 he advises, “Encourage one another day after day as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Encouragement from our brothers and sisters can help us overcome.


    –Mike Rogers    



    April 10, 2022


    Human Gender Identity as Determined by God


    In our world, people seem to think they can be whatever gender they choose. As a matter of fact, in order to disassociate gender from sex, some states are allowing people to classify themselves as gender x. I am not sure what this means, unless it means one can be whatever gender he or she may choose. It seems pretty easy to change one’s “natural gender” these days – an operation here, an implant or reduction there and voilà, you are whatever you want to be. But, no amount of desire, or surgeries can change one’s natural gender. Most everyone, with any amount of intelligence at all, recognizes this fact. So, many have decided to redefine gender so that the word does not associate with sex, but with desire. A brief internet search on the Bible and gender identity, revealed an amazing number of articles claiming that one’s sex is determined at conception, but one’s gender is determined by one’s heart. 


    However, from the earliest known sources, one’s “gender” was decided by one’s sex. If the child was born male, he was masculine gender. If the child was born female, she was feminine gender. There was no other gender, or sex.


    In the beginning God created only two sexes, male and female (Gen. 1:27); and God “saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). He created male and female for the purpose of reproduction (Gen. 1:28). Even in the animal world, a male and a female are required for reproduction. Furthermore, Moses, by inspiration from God describes how Adam and Eve were perfectly comfortable in
    their God-given, gendered bodies. He writes, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Gen 2:25). There was no gender dysphoria (a modern term used by psychologists to describe one’s dissatisfaction with their God-given gender). One can read the Bible from cover to cover, and he will find every human either identified as a man or a woman i.e., masculine gender or feminine gender.
    There is no mention of gender x, transgender, decided gender, or gender of choice. One was born male or female and that was their natural gender.


    Even after the creation, God was insistent on human gender identity. Moses relays God’s law to the children of Israel saying, “A woman shall not wear man's clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman's clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God (Deut.22:5). God had specific dress for men and women and they were not to interchange.


    (Please read Deut. 23:1ff; 1 Cor. 11:2-16; 1 Cor. 6:9-10 to further prepare for Sunday’s sermons).



    –Mike Rogers    



    April 3, 2022


    The Crucifixion


    The crucifixion of Jesus was the most tragic, inhumane display of injustice in the history of the world. However, it was also the most unselfish display of divine love ever revealed. All preparations had been made for the crucifixion. The sign had been painted (Matt. 27:37), soldiers assigned to the execution detail (John 23; Matt. 27:54). The cross built and laid on the shoulders of Jesus (John 19:17). Now just before 9:00 AM the procession started north toward Golgotha. Weak from the Roman scourging, Jesus could not bear up under the weight of the cross, so Simon of Cyrene was chosen from the crowd to bear the cross (Mark 15:21).


    Arriving at Golgotha, the soldiers offered Jesus some wine mixed with myrrh (a sort of sedative), but He refused. Jesus was stripped of His clothes, and nailed to a cross. Pilate placed a sign “above His head” that read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews” (Matt. 27:37). The sign was “written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek” (John 19:20). The chief priests protested, but Pilate replied, “What I have written, I have written” (John 19:21-22).


    At the third hour (9AM), with Jesus nailed to the cross, the cross was raised and dropped into the hole. The soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ garments. Hanging there between two thieves, Jesus was naked and completely exposed in total humiliation. The place of the skull was on the main road leading in and out of Jerusalem, so everyone who passed saw Him. Those who passed by were “hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Ha! You are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” (Mark 15:29-30). Even one of the thieves was criticizing Him saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” (Luke 23:39). But the other thief, rebuked him, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:40-41).


    Jesus spoke seven times from the cross. In the first three hours (9AM-Noon): Jesus spoke three times, all out of concern for others. “From the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour” (Matt. 27:45a). From noon to 3:00PM; during these three hours, Jesus spoke four times out of concern for Himself.


    Please join us Sunday as we consider the crucifixion of Jesus; and look more intently at the seven sayings of Jesus as He hung suspended between heaven and earth, between God and man.

    --Mike Rogers




  • March 27, 2022


    Jesus’ Arrest


    Shortly after Jesus started His ministry the Scribes, Pharisees, and even the High Priest began looking for ways to trap Jesus into something for which they could legitimately charge Him (Matt. 12:14; 21:15, 23; 22:15). With every attempt, Jesus had an answer for which they could not discredit Him. Finally, “they plotted together to seize Him by stealth and kill Him” (Matt. 26:4). Yet, they decided to wait for the Passover to end because they were afraid of a riot from the people (Matt. 26:5). But when Judas came into the meeting and offered to betray Him to them, they eagerly agreed (Luke 22:4-5).


    After Jesus spent several hours in the garden in prayer, He went out to finish what He was sent to do. All proceedings leading up to the arrest of Jesus were illegal by Roman and Jewish policy (Matt. 26:1-5): The chief priest and elders of the Jews plotted to kill Him even if they had to do it by deception (Matt. 26:4); they were glad to pay Judas 30 pieces of silver to betray Him (Matt. 26:14-16). (Maybe they thought if one of His own followers accuse Him, then the people would not be so likely to cause a riot).


    After Jesus concluded His prayers, He told Peter, James, and John that the time had come for Him to be glorified and at the entrance of the garden they met Judas leading “a crowd” (Mark 14:43; Luke 22:47; “large crowd” Matt. 26:47). This crowd carried “swords and clubs” (Matt. 26:47; Mark 14:43); John reads “lanterns and torches and weapons” (18:3). Apparently, they were expecting some resistance. But there was none. Jesus plainly told them that He was the one they were looking for (John 18:4-7). Judas identified Jesus with a kiss. Maybe the kiss was simply to fulfill prophecy even though I can find no evidence that the kiss was prophesied. Or, some have suggested that Jesus was not as well-known as we might think. Yet, the chief priests and elders of the Jews, who were in the crowd (Luke 22:52), would have certainly recognized Jesus under normal circumstances. Maybe it was because it was dark and Judas would have been able to distinguish Jesus from the rest even in the dark. Whatever the reason for the kiss, Jesus was betrayed by Judas in the darkness of night, and  taken captive by a crowd of people including “the chief priests, officers of the temple, and elders” (Luke 22:52). In an  attempt to defend Jesus, Peter drew his sword and cut off Malchus’ right ear. Jesus told him to put his sword up and “He touched his ear and healed him” (Luke 22:51). With this, they led Jesus away to face Annas first, and then Caiaphas. Join us Sunday as we look at these trials.


    –Mike Rogers



    March 20, 2022


    The Last Supper (John 13-17)


    Peter and John had prepared for the feast on Thursday. They had found the upper room furnished just as Jesus had in-
    structed. Early on Friday, just after sunset (if my time line is correct), Jesus and the twelve gathered in the upper room
    to eat the Passover meal. While eating the Passover with Jesus, the disciples got into a dispute about who is the greater
    disciple (Luke 22:24-25). This dispute between the apostles may have been going on prior to entering the upper room,
    because it would have been common practice for a servant to be posted at the door to wash the guests’ feet as they en-
    tered. Apparently, this was not done. So, rather than settling the dispute with words, Jesus got up from the table wrapped
    a towel around Himself, took a basin of water and proceeded to wash each disciple’s feet (see John 13:4-11).


    After Jesus had washed their feet and returned to the table, He explained that they “called Him Teacher and Lord” im-
    plying that they accepted Him as being superior to them, yet He had humbled Himself to serve them. Therefore, they
    were to do to one another what He had done to them. This did not necessarily mean washing feet. It meant humbling
    themselves and loving one another enough to be a servant to one another (John 13:12-17, 34-35).

    Then, what was heavy on the heart of Jesus came forth and He explained that not everyone of them were clean and the
    unclean one would betray Him. The disciples questioned who it was that would betray Him. Jesus identified the one
    who would betray Him by handing him a piece of bread (John 13:18-32). The only disciple that understood what
    was happening was Judas, and when Jesus had given Him the piece of bread, “Satan entered into him” again (see 13:2)
    and Jesus told him to do what he had to do quickly.

    The third discussion came as Jesus began to explain that He is going away, and they were not ready to go with Him
    (John 13:33-14:6). He said this in regards to His death, but they did not understand it, so Jesus began to comfort and
    encourage them (John 14:1-16:33).

    Then, before leaving the upper room, Jesus prayed to the Father, “I have finished the work which you gave Me to do”
    (John 17:4). “I have manifested Your name unto the men which You gave Me out of the world” (John 17:6). “I have
    given unto them the words which You gave Me” (John 17:8). “As you have sent Me into the world, even so have I
    sent them into the world” (John 17:18). Jesus then prays for unity through His word (17:20-21). “After singing a hymn,
    they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Mark 14:26).

    –Mike Rogers



    March 13, 2022


    The Scheming Sanhedrin
    Matt. 26:3-5; Mark 14:1, 2; Luke 22:1, 2


    The discourse of Jesus teaching His disciples on Mount Olivet likely went on past sundown on Tuesday, which, according to the way Jews counted time, would have been Wednesday. This harmonizes Matthew 26:2 when Jesus says, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming.” The Passover being on Friday, two days before could make this event on Wednesday. We are not told what Jesus did on Wednesday. He may have been teaching in the temple, or He may have rested. Most of the scriptures recorded for Wednesday are reserved for the enemies of Christ.

    Christ may have rested on Wednesday, but His enemies did not. The Sanhedrin met in secret session in the court of Caiaphas, the high priest (Matt. 26:3). In this meeting “they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth (secret deception), and kill Him” (Matt. 26:4, parenthesis mine). Previously Caiaphas had presided over a meeting when the decision was made to have Jesus killed (John 11:47-53). Their attempts at discrediting Jesus on Tuesday had failed, and He was more popular than ever. They were afraid to take Jesus publicly for fear of a riot from the people (see Luke 22:2b), and they could not capture Him privately because they did not know where to find Him (see
    John 18:2). They concluded that they would have to wait until the feast was over to capture Him (see Mark 14:2).

    Just as the Sanhedrin had resolved to wait, “Satan entered into Judas” (Luke 22:3a) and he “went to the chief priests, and said, ‘What are you willing to give me to deliver Him up to you?” (Matt. 26:14, 15a). Luke’s account says that Judas “discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them” (Luke 22:4). The chief priests and officers “were glad and agreed to give him money” (Luke 22:4b, 5). Matthew reports, “They weighed out to him thirty pieces of silver” (Matt. 26:15b). This may have been as much as four months wages. Some suppose this amount was only a down payment based on Mark 14:11: “and they were glad when they heard this and promised to give him money.” If this is a promise for additional money, then the thirty pieces of silver was only the down payment. There is no way to prove this however, and even if Scripture supported it, Judas did not accept any more money; and even regretted taking what he had and tried to return it (see Matt. 27:1-5).

    After this secret meeting with the chief priests, Judas “began looking for a good opportunity to betray Him” (Matt. 26:16).


    --Mike Rogers    



    March 6, 2022


    A Call to Discipleship
    Luke 5:1-11


    Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee, and a multitude of people were following Him listening as He proclaimed “the word of God”  from Peter’s boat (Luke 5:1, 3). When He had finished teaching, He told Peter, “Launch out into the deep water and let down your nets for  a catch” (Luke 5:4). These instructions struck Peter as odd, because he knew the best time to fish was at night, and the best place was in shallow water. Besides, they had fished all night and caught nothing. “Nevertheless” Peter said, “at Your word I will let down the nets.” He did as he was told and his boat, as well as James and John’s boat was filled with fish. He fell to his knees and said, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8). Obviously, Peter did what Jesus instructed, but certainly, never expected to catch the fish he did.

    We are often like this. We may do some things Jesus asks us to do, but never expect a change. We go to church, but do not expect to grow in our relationship to God or one another. We pray, but never really expect to get what we pray for. Jesus taught Peter and the rest of the crowd that He can deliver when one submits to Him.

    Bringing their boats to shore Peter, Andrew, James and John left everything and followed Jesus. They left their boats, nets, family and servants, even the catch of fish. Following Jesus had become their priority.

    True disciples of Jesus must listen to Jesus. Even though Peter did not understand the reasoning behind Jesus’ instruction, he listened to Him. Sometimes, we may not fully understand all required of us, but if we will just do it, we might be surprised at the outcome. Peter had no reason to expect to catch any fish, especially two boat loads. Yet, he did what Jesus told him to do and the outcome was life-changing.

    True disciples must follow Jesus. When the disciples got back to the land, they left everything and followed Jesus. Our greatest priority must be to follow Jesus wherever He leads (cf. Col. 3:17; 1 Cor. 10:31). Jesus declares, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt. 10:37-38).


    To be a true disciple of Jesus, we must listen to Him—whatever He says, and follow Him wherever He leads. Join us this weekend, for lessons on “Discipleship Is . . .” delivered by Bobby Rawson.


    -Mike Rogers    




  • February 27, 2022


    The Parable of the Talents
    Matthew 25:14-30


    This parable appropriately follows the Parable of the Ten Virgins because that shows the necessity of being constantly watchful for the coming of Jesus. This parable shows that while we watch for His coming, we must be busy serving. 


    Verse 14 reveals that the master was preparing for a journey and, “called his servants and entrusted to them his property.” It was common for wealthy men to take long trips in those days; before leaving, they would often delegate the control of their assets to trustworthy servants. These servants were expected to increase these assets. They understood they were only stewards of their master’s goods. Likewise, we must understand that we are only stewards of all that God has left in our trust (see Psalm 24:1; Haggai 2:8; James 1:17; John 3:27; Deut. 8:18). Everything we have and everything we are God provides.

    Second, we must accept that we are only given according to our ability. Verse 15 reveals that the master entrusted each servant “according to his ability.” Each servant received something. But each servant did not receive the same. It is every Christian’s responsibility to use whatever God provides each of us within the confines of the roles He has outlined in His word. Peter declares, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10).

    Third, a servant serving for eternity is excited to use what God has given him. Verse 16 shows that the first servant went “at once and traded with them, and gained five more.” “In the same manner” the second servant “gained two more” (v. 17). The first two servants were excited to show their master what they had done with what had been entrusted to them. Verse 18 describes the third servant as digging a hole in the ground and burying his master's money because he was “afraid” (v. 25). The master was happy with the first two, but the third one was displeasing to him. Are we excited or afraid to use the gift God has given us? Are we pleasing to God or is God unhappy with our service?

    A fourth lesson is that we are all accountable for how we use the ability God has entrusted to us. Verse 19 reads, “Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.” Jesus is coming again and we will give an account for how we have used the abilities God has entrusted to us. Do we use what God has given us for our own pleasure, or for the glory of God? Paul warns
    the church at Rome, “So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12).


    --Mike Rogers    


    February 20, 2022


    The Parable of the Fig Tree

    Mark 13:28-37


    The Tuesday before the crucifixion of Jesus was a long hard day for Jesus. While in the temple, He had presented three parables to confront the Jewish leaders for their hypocrisy. This only made them more determined to kill Him. But, for fear of the Jews they did not lay hold on Him.


    So, as Jesus left the temple on that day, one of His disciples called His attention to the “wonderful stones” and “wonderful buildings” of the temple (Mark 13:1). Jesus said, “Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down” (Mark 13:2). On to the Mount of Olives “Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately.” Most likely Peter spoke and asked, “tell us when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled” (Mark 13:3-4). Matthew records the question, “Tell us when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age” (Matt. 24:3). It appears, by the answer Jesus gives, that the disciples may have thought that the destruction of the temple, the coming of Christ (probably thinking His coming kingdom), and the end of the age would all happen at the same time. Jesus described how they would be persecuted, when the temple would be destroyed, and how other people would come claiming to be the Christ (Mar. 13:5-23). He then explained that “in those days after that tribulation” (Matthew records “immediately after”) there will be signs that show what Jesus said about the destruction of the temple would be confirmed. Then, at some undisclosed time, without warning the Son of man will come and “gather His elect” from the world (Mark 13:27). He then tells the parable of the fig tree to explain that everyone must “take heed, keep on the alert” (Mark 13:33) for the coming of the Lord.


    When Jesus told His disciples, “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near” (Mark 13:28), He is referring to when they see the destruction of the temple, they will know that the second coming of the Lord is next. This must be the case because in verse thirty He says, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” He then refers to His second coming saying that only the Father knows when it will happen (Mark 13:32). In verses 33-37 Jesus explains that His disciples cannot know when the Lord will return, so they must constantly “be on the alert.”


    --Mike Rogers     



    February 13, 2022


    The Parable of the Marriage Feast

    Matt. 22:1-14; Luke 14:16-24


    This is the third parable Jesus spoke on Tuesday before His death on Friday. This parable is unique because it is two parables in one. Because of space, I will not reflect on the second parable that could be called the parable of the wedding garment.


    The passage begins with these words: “Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son” (Matt. 22:1, 2).


    This invitation required a response from the invited guests (Matt. 22:3-10, 14). The king “sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast” (Matt. 22:3a). Initially, only the Jews were invited to the feast, called by prophets. Yet, the invited guests “were unwilling to come” (Matt. 22:3b). But the king called them again sending out other slaves saying, “Tell those who have been invited, behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast” (Matt. 22:4). In Luke’s account the invited guests began to make excuses (Luke 14:18), and mistreated, even killed some of the king’s servants (see Matt. 22:5-6). William Barclay  wrote, “It is very easy for a man to be so busy with the things of time that he forgets the things of eternity, to be so  preoccupied with the things which are seen that he forgets the things which are unseen, to hear so insistently the claims of the world that he cannot hear the soft invitation of the voice of Christ. The tragedy of life is that it is so often the second  bests which shut out the bests, that it is things which are good in themselves which shut out the things that are supreme.”  The mistreatment of the king’s representatives was, in effect, done to the king himself. Thus, when the king heard what had happened, he “was enraged” (Matt. 22:7a). He “sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire”  (Matt. 22:7b). Nevertheless, the feast had already been prepared. The king said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but  those who were invited were not worthy” (Matt. 22:8). The NIV says that they “did not deserve to come.” Servants were  thus instructed, “Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast” (Matt.  22:9). The lesson we must learn from the first part of this parable is this: The invitation comes to all of us, but each has the right to accept or reject it. Understand, however, that if we reject the invitation, we make the King very unhappy.


    --Mike Rogers




    February 6, 2022


    The Two Sons

    Matt. 21:28-32


    On Tuesday and the early hours of Wednesday, in the last few days of Jesus’ life on earth, He taught lessons using six different parables. This is one of the most significant periods in Jesus’ life. David Roper calls it “a day of teaching, a day of questions, a day of conflict, and a day of rejection” (The Life of Christ, 2 A Supplement).


    Jesus taught using six parables on this day. In this article we will examine the “Parable of the Two Sons.” In this parable Jesus tells of a Father who went to his first son and told him to go work in the vineyard. The boy refused. Later, the boy regretted not obeying his father and went to work in the vineyard. The father went to his second son and told him to go work in the vineyard and he agreed, but never went. Then Jesus asks the crowd, “Which of the two did the will of his father” (21:31)? The people responded, “The first.”


    Since apparently the second son never did what he said he would do; and the first son regretted refusing his father and did go work in the vineyard as he was told, the people’s answer was correct. However, they did not realize they were indicting themselves with this answer as Jesus said, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him” (21:31b-32).


    Within this parable, we learn two significant points. First, we learn that Jesus taught the value in repentance. The Greek word Jesus uses in verses 29 and 32 carries the idea of being very sorry, a strong regret, a change of mind that leads to a change in action. This is what it means to repent. Jesus uses the belief of the tax collectors and prostitutes as an example of repentance. Yet, even after the pharisees saw how the tax collectors and prostitutes believed, they still did not “repent” (v. 32, NIV). So, the pharisees indicted themselves by their answer.


    A second lesson is that God requires more than words. He requires actions. While Jesus does not emphasize this, we should acknowledge that both sons dishonored their father – the first by his initial words, the second by his deeds. The first son said he would not obey his father and go work in the vineyard. The second said he would go work, but didn’t. So, initially, neither son obeyed the instructions of the father. Jesus previously taught that doing the will of the Father is what makes the difference (see Matt. 7:21).

     --Mike Rogers





  • January 30, 2022


    The Kingdom of Heaven

    Matt. 13:44-46

    In the last two sermons on the Parables of Jesus we have emphasized that being a disciple of Jesus comes with trials and temptations. However, the parables I want to present in this article express that whatever it cost to be a disciple of Jesus, it will be worth it.


    Matthew 13:44-46 reads, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” In these verses, Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a treasure and a valuable pearl. Matthew often uses “kingdom” to refer to the rule of God within man. He also uses it as the rule of God on earth i.e., the church. Matthew also uses the word kingdom to refer to the eternal kingdom. This is the way we should read the “kingdom of heaven” in these verses.


    The first parable tells of a man who was strolling through a field and came upon a treasure that had been hidden. This man was not searching for the treasure, he simply stumbled across it. Yet he recognized the value of it and the joy it would provide. So, he hid it again and went and sold all he had and bought the field. Now, many want to make a big deal out of the idea that he never told the original owner about the treasure he found. But the point of this parable has nothing to do with what is legal or ethical. It has to do with the joy the kingdom of heaven provides.


    The second parable tells of a merchant who was looking for valuable pearls. When he found one, he recognized it was more valuable than all his own possessions. Likewise, the kingdom of heaven is more valuable than all of our earthly possessions.

    The “man” who found the treasure and the “merchant” who bought the pearl refer to every person who recognizes the value in being a disciple of Jesus. I often wonder if we really recognize how joyful and valuable spending eternity with God will be? We are often tempted to put our treasure in earthly things and neglect the fact that these things are only temporary (see Matt. 6:19-21). Therefore, Jesus emphasizes that there is more joy (v. 44) in spending eternity with God than all of one’s earthly possessions can provide. He also emphasizes the same point in that spending eternity with God is more valuable than all of man’s possessions.


    Do you recognize the joy and value of spending eternity with God? Think about it!


     --Mike Rogers    



    January 23, 2022


    The Parable of the Unworthy Slave
    Luke 17:1-10


    Jesus begins this parable saying, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard” (vv. 1-3a)!

    Jesus assures His followers they would face difficulties in life. He then warns them not to be the cause for someone stumbling. Maybe Jesus is thinking of the Pharisees and how they were a constant source of stumbling by constantly seeking honor, submission, authority, and wealth. While Jesus doesn’t tell us what the consequence is for causing a little one to stumble, He does tell us that it would be better to have a millstone hung around one’s neck and thrown into the sea. His point is for them to be on their guard not to be stumbling blocks for others. Jesus also instructs that they were to be on guard not to tolerate sin, rather to rebuke one who sins (v. 3b). Finally, they were to be on guard to forgive one who sins. If one sins and repents, they were to offer consistent forgiveness (vv. 3b-4).

    It appears that the apostles felt they were incapable of living up to the instructions of Jesus and pleaded with Him to, “Increase our faith” (v. 5)! Jesus responds, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you” (v.6). Jesus seems to be saying that it is not about needing more faith, it is about putting your faith in the right place. Faith is simply trusting God to do what He said He will do when we do what He asks us to do. Too often people put more faith in themselves, or their own ability than in God. Jesus teaches the rich ruler that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven. He closes by saying, “with man all things are not possible, but with God all things are possible” (see Luke
    18:18-27).

    What Jesus is saying by His words to the apostles in Luke 17:6 is that they should stop trying to trust in their own ability and trust in God. It is often the case that we do not need more faith, we simply need to humble ourselves before God and fully trust Him. To emphasize this point, Jesus tells the parable of the unworthy slave. Jesus begins emphasizing the point that the master does not serve the slave; nor does the master thank the slave for doing what the slave is responsible to do. God is not indebted to us for doing His will! We obey God because we trust Him to do what He said He would do when we do what He asks us to do.


    --Mike Rogers    



    January 9, 2022


    The Cost of Discipleship
    Luke 14:25-33


    Each time we consider a large purchase, we ask the sales-person, “What does it cost?” Then, we ask ourselves, “Can I afford it?” This is exactly what Jesus is imposing with these parables. He is simply asking us to consider what it cost to be His true disciple. Jesus is in no way trying to dis-courage us, but He wants us to fully understand what we are getting into when we choose to follow Him.


    Jesus points out the cost of discipleship saying that every-one who comes to Him must “hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life” (v. 26). He also says, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (v. 27). Then in verse 33 Jesus adds that to be His disciple one must “give up all his own possessions.” Now, does Jesus really mean we must hate our family and our-selves? Does He mean that we can have no help in dealing with life’s difficulties? And, does He literally mean that we must give away everything we own? Of course not! This would be a violation of the command to love (Luke 10:27; Mark 12:30-31). It would be contrary to Paul’s instruction to “bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). It would also undermine the rule of good stewardship. So, what does He mean by these parables?


    It is obvious that Jesus is simply emphasizing the cost of discipleship; in so doing He presents two parables. The first one is about a man building a tower. The tower is irrelevant. Jesus simply emphasizes that anybody will estimate how much it will cost to build a tower before starting the build. It would be embarrassing to lay the foundation and then not have the ability to finish the tower, house, barn or whatever structure you may be wanting to build. The application is that any one who wants to follow Jesus must understand that it will not always be easy; and he must consider if he is willing to pay the price.


    The second parable is about a king who is being attacked by an enemy. No king would set out against an enemy without counting the cost of going to war. Obviously, a king with ten-thousand men would not go to war against a king with twenty-thousand men without careful planning and a significant strategy. If it is determined that he cannot win the war, he will try to initiate terms of peace. This parable differs slightly from the first in that Jesus is teaching that if anyone wants to be His disciple, he must determine if he is willing to keep the terms for eternal peace.


    --Mike Rogers    


    January 2, 2022


    You are the Light of the World


    Last time we looked at how Jesus compliments and challenges kingdom citizens to be the salt of the earth. Without the Christian influence the world would be worthless, and tasteless. Jesus also compliments and challenges Christians calling them the “light of the world.” Consider a few things that light does. 


    First, light shows the dangers in life’s path. In letting our Christian light shine, we show others the dangers along life’s path as well as how to avoid them. 


    Second, light provides direction. Judean cities were built on summits or along sides of mountains. Perhaps Jesus pointed to such a city as he said, “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” In letting our Christian light shine, we are like a city set on a hill. Our influence is always working. We are always providing direction to a life of peace, joy and eternal salvation for everyone we meet.


    Third, light dispels darkness. Darkness is repeatedly used as a metaphor for sin. Without the Christian influence, the world is lost in sin. Therefore, as the light of the world Christians help to disperse sin in the world.


    Fourth, light provides life. Nothing can survive for long without light. We often hear about the “healing rays of the sun.” It is not so much the sun that provides healing as it is the light the sun provides. Therefore, when Jesus says, “You are the light of the world” He is saying, Christians provide life to the world. When we let our Christian light shine, we enlighten a world of dying sinners with the life found only in Jesus.


    When we take note of the fact that “God is light” (1 John 1:5), and that Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12), and, we accept that Jesus calls us the light of the world, we can understand that Christians are to show the world who God and Christ are by their own character. Therefore, Jesus says, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Christians direct and guide people to the Father by their Christian influence.


    We should be thankful that Jesus has looked on us with favor and given us the privilege of flavoring, preserving and enlightening the world. Therefore, may we all resolve to be a greater influence for God in our homes as we teach our children; may we resolve to be a brighter light in our communities as we provide direction to life with God by our Christian example; and guide our friends and neighbors the way to peace, joy, and eternal life with the teaching of God’s word.


    --Mike Rogers   




  • December 26, 2021


    Jesus Teaches on the Christian’s Influence


    One of the best passages on “Christian Influence” is found in Matthew 5:13-16. With His disciples gathered around
    Him and a crowd of people listening in, Jesus teaches them the character and blessings of God’s children (5:1-12). He
    then tells them the importance of the Christian influence on the world (5:13-16).


    Salt and light are two of the most common elements on earth; yet, they are two of the most important. Jesus uses
    these common and crucial elements to compliment and challenge Christians: “You are the salt of the earth. . . .”
    Salt was used as wages in Jesus day, hence the phrase, “worth his salt.” Even the word “salary” is a derivative of
    the word salt. As salt of the earth, Christians are the ones who make the world valuable to God.


    Salt gives flavor to food. Job asked, “Can something tasteless be eaten without salt, or is there any taste in the white
    of an egg?” (Job 6:6). We flavor the lives of the people we meet every day so that life is good.


    Salt is also used as a preservative. When Jesus says that Christians are the salt of the earth, He is saying that the earth
    will spoil without the Christian’s influence. Without Christians exhibiting the characteristics of the beatitudes (Matt.
    5:2-10), the world would have no moral values; and thus, would rot just as the world in Noah’s time (see Gen. 6:5).
    Yet, the world is preserved when Christians display their influence.


    When Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth” He is not only complimenting us, He is challenging us to be a greater
    influence in flavoring and preserving the world for God. He is insinuating that Christians are different from the world,
    because salt is different from the food it flavors and preserves. If we cease to be different, we lose our godly influence

    in the world.


    Christians must remember that they are a valuable, flavoring and preserving influence for God at work, home, market, highway, etc. So as we face the world, let us resolve to be the influence Jesus says we are. Jesus also compliments and challenges us calling us the “light of the world.” In letting our Christian light shine we reveal dangers along life’s path, direction to happiness and eternity with God; and we dispel the darkness of sin and
    provide the light of life.


    As a Christian, you are called upon to be an influence for God in this world. Your good influence makes the world
    valuable to God; it makes life on earth worth living, and it preserves the world from destruction.

               --Mike Rogers



    December 19, 2021


    Jesus Teaches on Family
    (Mark 3:31-35)


    “Then His mother and brothers arrived” where Jesus was (v. 31). “A multitude was sitting around Him” (v. 32a), and Jesus “was still speaking” to them (Matt. 12:46). The crowd was pressed so tightly around Jesus that His mother and His brothers were “unable to get to Him” (Luke 8:19). Matthew’s account reveals they were “standing outside seeking to speak to Him” (Matt. 12:46). When they could not get in, “they sent word, and called to Him” (Mark 3:31b). The word passed through the crowd until it arrived to the ones nearest to Jesus. Then they reported to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You” (v. 32). But Jesus did not regard His physical family more important than the message He spoke; and turned this untimely interruption into a great lesson on the value of spiritual family: “Who are My mother and My brothers?” And gesturing to the crowd sitting around Him said, “Behold My mother and My brothers!” He then expounds on His gesture, “For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother, sister, and mother.” Jesus wanted to explain that there was a relationship that went deeper, and was more meaningful than our physical relationships and declared “Whoever does the will of God” is My family. In Luke’s account Jesus emphasized that His family consists of those “who hear the word of God and do it” (Luke 8:21).

    However, Jesus did not break all ties with His family. As a matter of fact, Jesus taught the scribes and Pharisees the necessity of caring for  their parents (see Matt. 15:1-8). He even provided for His mother, by designating John as her caretaker as He hung dying on the cross (John 19:26, 27). His brothers eventually came to believe in Him. His mother and His brothers were among the crowd who waited for the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem (see Acts 1:14).

    Even though we may not fully comprehend the idea that spiritual families are more important than physical families, Jesus wants us to understand that the nature of the gospel is so great that it cannot take second place to anyone or anything. Jesus promises, “[T]here is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30). At this time of year, we tend to celebrate family. We give gifts and reminisce about times past. Let us

    not neglect our spiritual family during this time either.


    --Mike Rogers    



    December 12, 2021


    The Life of Christ, the Early Years


    When Jesus was about 41 days old, he was brought to the Temple in Jerusalem. (Bethlehem to Jerusalem is about 5.5 miles). The purpose for this visit was twofold: One was for the purification of Mary. According to the law, a woman was to remain in an unclean condition for 40 days after the birth of a male child. Then, the woman was to make an offering at the temple for her cleansing (Lev. 12:1-4). The other purpose for this visit was to present Jesus. The Bible tells us that every firstborn Jewish male child is holy to the Lord and must be consecrated (Exo. 13:1).


    Apparently, they returned to Bethlehem and stayed for about two more years before fleeing to Egypt. There is no way of knowing how long they stayed in Egypt; but upon returning to Israel, they did not go back to Bethlehem, but, rather, back to Nazareth (Luke 2:39). This was likely to fulfill the prophecy that Jesus would be called a Nazarene (Matt. 2:23).


    The next time we hear anything about Jesus, He is twelve years old and in Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover (Luke 2:41). Jesus remained in the temple when His parents began their journey back to Nazareth. Realizing He was not in their caravan, they returned to Jerusalem and found Jesus in the temple amazing the lawyers with His questions and answers. They then returned to Nazareth where Jesus “continued in subjection to them . . . and kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:51-52). Nothing else is said about Jesus other than John’s preaching about the coming Messiah (Matt. 3:1-12) until Jesus left Nazareth to go to John on the outside of Jerusalem to be baptized (Matt. 3:13-17).


    John was baptizing “in Bethany beyond the Jordan” when Jesus came to be baptized (Matt. 3:13-17; John 1:24-34). John was reluctant, but Jesus insisted saying, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15). Upon coming out of the water, John saw the “Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matt. 3:16-17).


    Jesus was then led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (Matt. 4:1-11). He was tempted three times by Satan, and these may represent the idea that He was “tempted in all things as we are” (see Heb. 4:15). Yet, Jesus did not give in, providing us a perfect “example that we should follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). After the forty days in the wilderness, John saw Jesus and declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).


    –Mike Rogers    



    December 5, 2021


    The Story of the Birth of Jesus


    The familiar story most often told in plays, movies, children's books, and displayed in nativity scenes goes some-
    thing like this: The setting is a little over 2000 years ago on the evening of December 25. Mary rides into Bethlehem on
    a donkey, undergoing labor pains. Although it is an emergency, the innkeepers turn them away. So, they are forced
    to bed down in a stable with animals. Shortly, the baby Jesus is born and laid in a feeding trough. Then angels sing to the
    shepherds. Afterwards, they all join three wise men in worshiping the newborn king. Most people, even believers in
    Jesus see this as a true story. But I wonder how much of this story is actually true?


    Did Mary actually ride into Bethlehem on a donkey? Perhaps she did, but the Bible does not say that specifically.
    We are only told that Joseph went up to Bethlehem “along with Mary” (Luke 2:4-5).


    A second assumption the familiar story makes is that Mary arrived in Bethlehem in labor and gave birth to Jesus that
    very night. The Bible does not say this either. They could have arrived days or possibly even weeks earlier. Luke
    simply records, “while they were there, the time came for her to give birth” (Luke 2:6). There is no reference to how
    long they had been in Bethlehem before she gave birth. A third question I have is, “Was Jesus really born in a make-
    shift stable as is often portrayed in movies, pictures, and nativity scenes?” The answer is that the Bible does not say this
    either, at least explicitly. What we are told is, “she gave birth . . . and laid Him in a manger because there was no
    room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). The word “manger” is likely best described as a feeding trough. This probably
    implies some sort of facility for animals, yet many scholars argue it was a cave, and not a wooden structure at all. A
    cave is what you will be shown in Bethlehem today as the birthplace of Jesus.


    Another false depiction in the familiar story is that three wise men came at the birth of Jesus. First, it must be noted
    that shepherds came from the same region and saw the baby Jesus lying in the manger (Luke 2:8-17). The wise men did
    not come for some time later and visited Jesus in a “house” (Matt. 2:11). Furthermore, we are not told how many wise
    men or shepherds there were.


    A final misnomer is that Jesus was born on December 25. The Bible has no reference to the birth date of Jesus; and it
    is highly unlikely He was born in December. Join us Sunday as we present proofs for our claims, and explain why
    December 25th is the date chosen for this celebration.


                                                                                                                                                                                   -Mike Rogers




  • November 28, 2021


    Thanksgiving


    On December 11, 1620 the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Harbor Beach, in what they later called, New England. They had left the old country in search for religious freedom. The first winter was hard and costly. Hunger, disease, and violent weather claimed the lives of all but 57 of the 102 pilgrims (17 being children) and half the ship’s crew. In spite of the death and suffering, not one pilgrim asked to return when the ship set sail for England in April. Hope for a better life motivated them to stay and persevere. In the spring of that year, the pilgrims that remained met friendly Indians among which was Squanto who taught them to hunt, fish, and grow corn and other vegetables. He also taught them what berries and nuts were eatable and where they could be found. The first year’s harvest was plentiful and the pilgrims were thankful. They were thankful for the divine providence that brought them safely to this land. They were thankful for their new friends who had taught them how to survive in this strange new world. They were thankful for the bountiful harvest from their first crops in this new land of freedom and opportunity. 242 years later (1863), Abraham Lincoln designated the 4th Thursday in the month of November as a day of national thanksgiving.


    Just as the pilgrims suffered hardship and death, Christians from Nero (64 AD) to Diocletian (305) suffered persecution and death, yet Christianity grew and suffering Christians expressed thanksgiving largely because of their hope of a new and better life with God.


    The Thanksgiving holiday is used to remember our blessings and be thankful for them. No doubt many things need changing in our world today, but the New Testament encourages thankfulness as a prevailing attitude: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything giving thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:16-18). “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called into one body, and be thankful” (Col. 3:15). “. . . always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (Eph. 5:20). “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6).


    Sunday, we will explore Romans 5:1-11 and see that we are to be thankful for “peace with God,” “grace” of God, “Hope of the glory of God,” the ability to “rejoice in tribulations,” “the love of God,” salvation “from the wrath of God,” and “reconciliation” to God.


    --Mike Rogers    



    November 21, 2021


    The Lord’s Supper
    1 Cor. 11:17-34; 10:16


    Some in the church in Corinth were treating the Lord’s Supper as a common meal and excluding the underprivileged from their fellowship (see 1 Cor. 11:17-22, 33, 34). This prompted Paul to rebuke them saying, “Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you” (1 Cor. 11:22). While few churches today take the abuse of the Lord’s Supper to the point of a common meal, many Christians still neglect to treat this meal with the respect and dignity it deserves. In this lesson, we will address the question, “What is the Lord’s Supper?”

    First, the Lord’s Supper is a memorial (1 Cor. 11:23-25). The bread does not become the literal body of Jesus, as some claim. Eating the bread is a memorial to the life that He sacrificed so that His followers might live. Neither does the fruit of the vine become the literal blood of Jesus, but rather a reminder of His death. Therefore, as we assemble together to eat the bread and drink the fruit of the vine, we are remembering the life that Jesus sacrificed as He willingly died on the cross at Calvary.

    Furthermore, eating the Lord’s Supper is a proclamation, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). The context suggests the Greek word that translates “proclaim” is best understood as an indicative, that every time you eat the Lord’s Supper “you are proclaiming . . ..” As each Christian carefully “examine[s] himself” (1 Cor. 11:28), and eats the bread and drinks the fruit of the vine in a worthy manner, he is making a proclamation, a declaration, to those with him that he believes in the sacrifice of Jesus.

    Finally, Paul states that eating the Lord’s Supper is sharing the death and life of Christ, “Is not the cup of blessing which we bless a  sharing in the blood of Christ? Is not the bread which we break a sharing in the body of Christ” (1 Cor. 10:16)? This “sharing” has two implications. First, it is sharing in the sacrifice of Jesus as the Christian dedicates his own life to God (see Matt. 16:24); and, it is Christians celebrating the hope they have in common through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection.

    The Lord’s Supper, then, is to be eaten as a memorial to the life and death of Jesus, proclaim the benefits of His sacrificial death, and celebrate the fellowship that comes through His death and resurrection. We continue this until He returns because of our hope in the  resurrection.


    -Mike Rogers    




    November 14, 2021


    Worship in the Church God Approves: How?

    Lesson 1: In Spirit (John 4:23-24)


    The New Testament implies that the first churches that belonged to Christ (the only God approved church in the NT) worshiped when they came together. They did not observe all acts of worship every time they came together (Acts 2:46-47). Hebrews 10:24-26 can be used in the context of an assembly on the first day of the week, but it also applies to other times when the church came together for encouragement, and prayer (see Heb. 3:13; Acts 12:12). 1 Corinthians 14 is in the context of a first day of the week assembly; yet, it also applies to other times when the church came together for teaching and edifying. It seems certain that the church worshiped God in these assemblies even if every “act of worship” was not performed.


    In this study we learn that God Approves Worship “In spirit”. The Greek word, “must” (v. 24) denotes a moral obligation, a necessity. One cannot be a true worshiper without worshiping the Father in spirit. “In spirit” is meeting God in His place. John was “in the spirit on the Lord’s Day” when Jesus appeared to him (Rev. 1:10; cf. Rev. 4:2; 17:3; 21:10). John had tuned out his personal hardship, the suffering of the church, and every other thing that belongs to this world. He was “in the spirit.” His mind was with God and solely on spiritual things. For our worship to be approved by the Father, we “must” tune out the cares and troubles of this life, and meet God in his place.


    “In spirit’ reflects a worship that is sincere, heartfelt (cf. 1 Cor. 14:15). Jesus expresses the importance of the sincerity of our worship when he condemned the Pharisees saying, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me; in vain do they worship Me . . .” (Matt. 15:8-9). These Pharisees may have used all the right words, but they were not worshiping in spirit.


    Also, “in spirit” implies that worship is a matter of intent. When we are in the spirit, our full intention is to worship God. We may eat unleavened bread and drink grape juice as a snack at home, or we can use these to celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus in the assembly. The difference is one has no intent to worship the other is to “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:26).


    “In spirit” also means we engage our minds in worship. Paul exclaims, “I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also” (1 Cor. 14:15-19, 26). The mind implies understanding. The worship God approves must be understood by all present.

    --Mike Rogers

     

      

    November 7, 2021


    Worship in the Church God


    Approves Jimmy Jividen declares that worship can mean different things to different people. To some it is simply an attitude. To others it simply involves acts. Still to others worship involves both attitude and acts. Jividen even acknowledges that some people view worship so subjectively that it can mean anything they want it to mean (More Than a Feeling: Worship That Pleases God,13). Some want to put on a concert and call it worship, but worship is not about entertainment. Some want to use skits and drama and call it worship, but skits and drama are not worship.


    The most common Greek words that translate “worship” in the New Testament are: latreuo and proskuneo. Proskuneo is defined, “to express in attitude or gesture one’s complete dependence on or submission to a high authority figure, do obeisance to, prostrate oneself before, do reverence to” (BDAG). Latreuo is defined as the carrying out of religious duties, especially those of a cultic nature, by human beings (BDAG). This word is used most frequently in reference to acts offered up to God such as sacrifices in the Old Testament; and is commonly translated service in the NT (see Rom. 12:1). Therefore, for the purpose of distinguishing service from worship in the English language, I suggestthat worship is what we do to God with reverence and submission; and service is what we do for God as we go about our daily lives. Notice what Jesus said using both words in the same verse: “You shall worship the Lord your God and Himonly shall you serve” (Matt. 4:10). Therefore, worship, as we understand it, is declaring our humble submission to Godthe Father with acts that He alone authorizes. With this background, let us begin the study on “The Worship God Approves” (John 4:19-24).


    The  first  of  the  ten  commandments  that  God gave Israel is, “You shall have no other god’s before me” (Ex. 20:3). Jesus
    refused to worship Satan saying, “. . . you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve” (Matt. 4:10). Paul criticized the Athenians for worshipping idols; and introduced them to the one true God who alone is worthy of worship (Acts 17:22-23). Too many people today worship money or what money can buy. True worshippers are those who worship the Father alone (4:23).


    God is so great and so mighty that it is only natural for His children to worship Him alone. In actuality, “Worship is the only thing we can give to God that is uniquely our own” (Jividen, 84). Who or what do you worship? Think about it!


     -Mike Rogers    




  • October 31, 2021


    Family Day 2021


    One of the great highlights of every year is our annual Family Day. Most churches refer to an occasion like this as
    Friends and Family Day. While this may be a more appropriate description (we do invite friends and family alike),

    we chose to call it “Family Day” when we first started it, to emphasize family. While not every series of lessons

    through the years have been about “Family,” most have been. This year our theme is “The Home God Loves.”

    BJ Clarke is our speaker and he will be presenting lessons at 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM, and 1:00 PM. His 9:00 lesson will
    discuss the origin of the home asking, “Where Did the Home Come From?” I assume he will show us that the idea
    of a home that God loves originates with God. Any “home” that does not originate with God is not the home God loves.

    At 10:00 BJ will discuss the roles of those in the home God loves asking, “What Am I Supposed to Do in the Home?”
    Our world seems to think there is no difference between the husband’s role and the wife’s role in the home. But in the
    home God loves there are significant differences.

    As always, at 11:00 we will have a potluck meal (meat provided). This is a great time to meet and greet visitors and
    show them what a friendly and loving church family we are. It is also a good time to make contacts for potential Bible
    Studies.


    At 1:00 BJ will present his third and final lesson he has entitled, “Where Will My Home Lead Me.” I assume that this

    lesson will show that the home God loves will lead us into eternity with Him.


    While I cannot consider myself a perfect husband or father, I do want to fulfil my God-given role to lead my family

    into eternity with God. While my boys are grown and have families of their own, I hope that Bonita and I have

    instilled in them the same goal for their families.


    My dear brethren, it makes no difference how much money you make, and how many things you provide your children,
    if they lose their souls. As a Christian parent, I can imagine nothing more horrifying than knowing my child is lost. On
    the other hand, I can think of nothing more gratifying than knowing my adult children are serving God and leading
    others into the family of God.


    I hope we will all be present and listen carefully to what BJ has to say about “The Home God Loves.” It is my earnest
    prayer that we will all make the proper application to our own lives and become more of The Home God Loves.”


                                                                                                                                                                                    --Mike Rogers



    October 24, 2021


    The Church God Approves


    Last Sunday night, we showed that Jesus instituted only one church. Everyone entered that church by obeying the gospel
    of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Acts 2:38; Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3-7). The question many people ask today is, “How is it
    possible to identify the church God approves among all the religious groups today?”


    First it must be the church that originated with God. The church was God’s plan in the beginning. Paul declares, “that
    the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church . . .. This was in accordance with the
    eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:10-11). God’s plan was to save the world
    through His Son and to use the church to spread that good news. The church was not an afterthought. It was God’s plan
    from the very beginning. More than eighty-five times the New Testament refers to a church as belonging to God.
    Eight times, the New Testament explicitly calls this church “the church of God” or “God’s church” (1 Tim. 3:5 ESV).
    Luke explains it as “the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). Considering these facts,
    any church that cannot trace its origin to God cannot be the church God approves.


    Second, it must be a church that gets authority for everything taught and practiced from Jesus (Eph. 1:22-23;
    Acts 2:42; John 17:8; Gal. 1:6-8; Col. 3:17). Even though the church Jesus promised belongs to God, God gave all
    authority for her to the resurrected Christ. He raised Jesus from the dead and “put all things in subjection under His
    feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church” (Eph. 1:22). At the “Great Commission” Jesus told His
    disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given Me” (Matt. 28:18). Even the prophecy of Daniel
    presents “dominion” over the kingdom as having been “given” to the resurrected Christ (see Dan. 7:14). The
    church is the body and Christ is the head (Eph. 1:22-23). Just as a physical body has no direction or movement unless
    directed by the head, the church has no authority except from Christ. He alone holds all authority for everything
    taught and practiced by this church. “Whatever you do, in word or deed,” Paul admonishes, “do everything in the
    name of the Lord Jesus . . .” (Col. 3:17). All authority for what the church teaches and practices belongs to Christ. If
    a church devises its own teachings and practices it cannot be the church God approves.


    Any church that does not originate with God, or get all authority from Christ cannot be the church God approves.


    -Mike Rogers



    October17, 2021


    Accepting Our Differences


    I am different from you. But if you will allow me my own emotions, and actions, and open yourself to my differences; someday, my ways might not seem so wrong. Someday you may even learn to accept me. To accept me is the first step to understanding me. Not that you embrace my ways as right for you, but that you no longer criticize me for our differences. And in time, rather than trying to change me, you might come to value our differences.


    Three basic factors make us who we are: genetics, temperament, and training. Genetics determine our unique DNA. DNA is the chemical compound in our cells that determine our physical features. Temperament is a term used to describe our unique psychological structure — emotions, reasoning, and behavior. Training is the outside forces that shape and mold our temperaments and play a large part in developing one’s personality. Every temperament has an inherent unique blend of strengths and weaknesses that are shaped and molded by our individual circumstances, influences, education, and other factors. Understanding these simple facts could save multiple relationships in marriages, relationships at work, relationships between parents and children, and even relationships in the church.


    We are all different — both physically and psychologically. Yet we all have the same maker. Jeremiah 1:5 along with Psalms 139:13-16 states four facts about man: We are created in God’s heart. We are crafted by God’s hand. We are consecrated for God’s service. We are called to God’s purpose. Although we are all called to God’s purpose, and set apart for God’s service, He made us all different. My physical features are different than each of yours, my temperament is not the same as yours, and I have had different circumstances that have  trained me. None of these factors make me better or you better. They simply make us different.


    Paul writes, “For the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Rom. 12: 3-5).


    In our lesson Sunday, we will look at three different bible characters and see how God used each one of them to do what He wanted done. We will apply this to our own place in the church, and emphasize that differences are essential for the church to accomplish God’s will.


    --Mike Rogers    



    October10, 2021


    This Man Called Jesus: Our Risen Savior and Lord


    “He has risen” may be the most meaningful words in the Bible (Matt. 28:6, 7; Mark 16:6). The resurrection proves that Jesus is the Son or God and the Savior of the human race (see Rom. 1:4). The resurrection confirms that life conquers death (1 Cor. 15:26); and since death is the penalty for sin (Rom. 6:23), the resurrection conquers sin (cf. 1 Cor. 15:54-57). The resurrection confirms that joy replaces despair and hope overcomes fear. The resurrection confirms complete forgiveness is available. In this lesson I want to show three significant things about Jesus’ resurrection.


    First, I offer proof for His resurrection. On the first Pentecost following the resurrection of Jesus, Peter acknowledged that the tomb of Jesus was empty (Acts 2:22-35), and many were eye witnesses to the risen Jesus (Acts 2:32; 1 Cor. 15:5-8). Paul further declares that Jesus is the “first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20). Jesus’ resurrection is the guarantee that life conquers death (see 1 Cor. 15:26). Everything we stand for and every blessing we receive in the church are based upon the death, burial and resurrection of this man called Jesus (see 1 Cor. 15:1-4). Without the resurrection of Jesus our convictions, our lives, our hope are no more than a twisted set of lies (cf. 1 Cor. 15:15-17).


    Second, because of His resurrection, Jesus is the reigning Lord. On that first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Peter declares that God made this man called Jesus “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). By His resurrection, God gave Him authority to rule over the church (see Eph. 1:20-22). Paul confirms, “For God has put all things in subjection under His feet” (1 Cor. 15:27a).


    Finally, the resurrection of Jesus would be meaningless if He were not coming again? Paul declares to the Thessalonian church, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore, encourage one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:16-18). The fact that Jesus is coming again establishes our hope for our own resurrection to eternal life free from temptations, anguish, suffering, pain and death.


    The only real question that remains is: What will you do with this man called Jesus? Will you embrace Him as your risen Savior and Lord and hold on to the hope of the resurrection to life?


    --Mike Rogers    


    October 3, 2021


    The Humanity of Jesus


    We proved last week that Jesus is distinct from God the Father, but He can rightly be called God because He never gave up His Deity. One comment that may need to be cleared up from last week is from John 1:18. The NKJV reads, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” While the NASB reads, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” The oldest manuscripts read, “. . . only begotten God . . ..” What is significant is there is no article with the word God anywhere in this verse. This further supports the idea that I presented last week that Jesus, “the only begotten God” explains or reveals the very nature of God, but He is clearly distinct from “the Father.” This week we will prove, that even though Jesus was fully God (Col. 2:9), He was also fully human.


    In noting that “. . . the Word was God . . .. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . .” (John 1:1, 14), we recognize that the same Word that was God in the beginning became flesh. John goes on to explain, “and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” “The Word became flesh” emphasizes that He took on a human appearance. Yet, He maintained a glory that could only belong to the Son of God.


    Paul declares that when God was made flesh, He “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:7-8, NASB). Jesus did not empty Himself of His deity, but of the equal authority as God. As a servant, in the appearance of a man, Jesus was completely obedient to the Father (cf. John 14:31).


    Jesus’s humanity is seen in His birth. He was born of a woman like every other human. Commentators and scholars often use the word “incarnation” to describe God in the flesh. It specifically refers to the miraculous physical birth of Jesus who was called “Immanuel (which means, God with us)” (Matt. 1:23). Mary carried Jesus in her womb, and gave birth to Him in the same way as every mother (see Luke 2:7).


    Jesus was educated and grew in knowledge and understanding like every human (Luke 2:40, 52). Jesus was tempted like every human (Heb. 4:15). Even though, Jesus knew things that were humanly impossible to know, there were some things He did not know (see Matt. 24:36). Jesus suffered and died like every human (Luke 23:46; Heb. 9:27).

                                                                                                                                                                    

    –Mike Rogers    




  • September 26, 2021


    The Deity of Jesus


    We are astounded and appalled at some of our religious friends who go door to door teaching that Jesus is a created being. They seem to camp on Colossians 1:15 which reads, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” Being “the firstborn of all creation” does not imply being the first thing created. The word “firstborn” sometimes translates a word that means “priority of existence.” We see this term used in connection with David in Psalm 89:27. We know that David was the youngest of eight children; not the firstborn. The phrase in Paul’s letter to the Colossians means that Jesus existed prior to creation. The following verses confirm this understanding saying, “by Him all things were created (v. 16); “He is before all things” (v. 17).


    Also, just as appalling are those who try and argue that Jesus and God are the same being. That God left heaven and came to earth. In this article, we will prove that Jesus and God are two distinct beings.


    One of the basic points that must be admitted is that Jesus never explicitly calls Himself God. However, He repeatedly claims to be equal with God. Without going into detail about the Greek grammar, I want to impress on you that John declares the Word being God in the beginning (John 1:1-2). The Greek grammar does not allow us to translate the Word as being “a God.” Neither, does the Greek grammar allow us to understand the Word as being the same as “the God.” It is clear that the Word was “with God” making Him a distinct entity in the same sphere or scope as “the God,” but not being “the God.”


    Jesus did accept the idea that He was God’s Son. John 5:18 — “This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” He also accepted His own preexistence. John 8:58 — “Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” He also admits, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). It is clear, by the use of “I and the Father” Jesus is distinguishing Himself from the Father. However, by the phrase “are one,” in context, Jesus is showing that He and the Father have the same protective care for the sheep. Also, the phrase shows that Jesus and the Father have the same mind, purpose, and action. Jesus does not claim to be the Father, only that He and the Father have the same goals for mankind. Jesus rebuked Philip saying, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9a). Jesus, again distinguishes Himself from the Father. They are not one in the same being. More to come on Sunday.


    --Mike Rogers    


    September 19, 2021


    This Man Called Jesus: Introduction


    More than 2000 years ago a baby boy was born contrary to the laws of nature (Matt. 1:18). This boy grew up in poverty in a place considered insignificant (John 1:46). (Nazareth is not even mentioned in the Old Testament or the Talmud). As an infant He worried a king (Matt. 2:3); as a child He confused lawyers (Luke 2:46-47); as a man He walked upon the violent seas (Matt. 14:26), quieted the tempestuous waves (Mark 4:39), healed the sick (Matt. 8:14), and raised the dead (John 11:43-44).


    There is no record of a book or a letter written with His own hand, yet all the libraries in the world could not contain the books that have been or could have been written about Him (see John 21:25). There is no record of Him ever writing a song, yet He has been the theme for more songs than all other songs combined.


    Every first day of the week millions of people make their way to church buildings all across the world to worship Him. We praise Him in  song (Eph. 5:19), we honor Him in prayer (John 14:13), we teach His word (Acts 2:42), we commemorate His life and death by eating the bread and drinking the fruit of the vine (1 Cor. 11:23-26, Acts 20:7), and we show our devotion to Him by contributing sacrificially to His work (2 Cor. 8:1-5).


    Names of past poets, kings and presidents have come and gone; names of scientists, philosophers, educators, preachers, and theologians have been forgotten, but the name of this man continues (see Heb. 13:8). Herod could not destroy him (Matt. 2:13), Satan could not persuade Him (Matt. 4:1-11), the Pharisees could not silence Him (John 18:19-24), and the grave could not hold Him (Acts 2:24).


    He stands above the highest summit of heavenly glory. He is acknowledged by God as His own “Son” (Matt. 3:17), testified by angels as “Savior” (Luke 2:8-11), foretold by prophets as the “Redeemer” (Jer. 50:34), and feared by demons as the “Son of the Most High God” (Mark 5:7). He is “the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5).


    Time has surpassed 2000 years since the wonderful yet tragic event of His crucifixion, but He still lives. He lives in the heart of every faithful Christian. He is the influence that motivates us to love one another. He is the courage that strengthens us in difficult times. He is the peace that floods our souls in face of death. He is our victory (1 Cor. 15:54-57). He is the man called Jesus. Join us Sunday as we begin a series on This Man Called Jesus.


    --Mike Rogers    



    September 12, 2021


    "Deliverance”


    After the death of Joshua, “there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10). This sad statement is followed with an even sadder one, “Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals” (Judges 2:11). When an entire group of people do not know the Lord or the work He has done, it raises the question of how effective the former generation was at teaching them. We know that God instructed Moses to tell the Children of Israel to teach their

    children to love God and keep his commandments (Deut. 6:4-9). Yet, time and time again the Children of Israel did what was right in their own eyes rather than what God desired them to do (see Deut. 12:8; Judges 17:6; 21:25). When the Children of Israel entered the Promised Land, God had instructed them to destroy all of the people in the land that he would give them as an inheritance (see Deut. 7:2). They failed to do this; and the people that were left in the land had a greater influence on them than the word of God. So, they “did evil in the sight of the Lord.” But even so, God did not abandon them. At least seven times it is recorded in the book of Judges that the Children of Israel “did evil in the sight of the Lord”; each time, after a period of suffering, the people cried out to the Lord, and each time God raised up a savior to deliver them. Are we not much like Israel? Most of us know what God has done for us in sending His only Son into the world to deliver us from the pain and penalty of sin. Yet the world has such a great influence on us that we often neglect to follow what He has instructed us to do. God has instructed us to train our children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). If we do not do this, what chance do our children have of knowing God and doing His will? Maybe it is time for America to repent and cry out to God for deliverance. Think about it!


    --Mike Rogers    



    September 5, 2021


    Be a Teacher of the Word


    It has been argued that all Christians should not be teachers (James 3:1-12). This statement is in the context of controlling the tongue; and implies that if one is not careful with what he says, he can cause great trouble in the church (3:5-10).


    Because of the responsibility of guarding the tongue, a teacher will incur a stricter judgement (3:1). However, the Hebrews writer adamantly declares that all Christians should become teachers (see Heb. 5:12). So, while there is a time for maturing in the word, no Christian should continually use James 3:1 as an excuse not to teach.


    I understand there are different ways to teach. One can be an evangelist, literally, “One who preaches the gospel” (see Eph. 4:11; 2 Tim. 4:5). However, every member of the church is to live so that they point the way to the Father (Matt. 5:16; see also1 Peter 3:15). When Jesus called His first disciples, He said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19). To be fishers of men is to be people who teach others the good news of Jesus.


    To be a teacher, we must learn to love the lost. In Luke 15 Jesus tells three stories showing the value of a lost one. The lost sheep was so valuable that the shepherd would leave 99 sheep and go in search of the lost one; and would rejoice when he found it. The lost coin was so valuable that the woman cleaned her house thoroughly until she found it and then rejoiced. The lost boy was so valuable, that even though the father could do nothing to find the boy, when the boy came home, they all rejoiced and celebrated. What better way to show our love for lost people than to share the good news of the hope of eternal life with the joy, peace, health and security it provides?


    The early church was about teaching the gospel (see Acts 8:4; 11:19-20). Paul made it clear that his mission in life was to win the lost (see 1 Cor. 9:19-23). Paul declares, “just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved” (1 Cor. 10:33). Immediately following this statement, he says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (11:1). Jesus
    declared that His whole reason for coming to this earth was “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). There can be no doubt that Paul is calling the whole church to follow his and Jesus’ example in sharing the gospel with the lost so that they may be saved. To be a teacher for Jesus, sharing the gospel should be our purpose in life.


    My friend, be a teacher of the gospel. Learn to love the lost like Jesus did. Let saving the lost be your purpose in life.


    --Mike Rogers      


  • August 29, 2021


    I Have Learned to Pray


    For years I thought I knew how to pray. I talked with God regularly. I petitioned Him with requests according to His will (1 John 5:14).  I laid my burdens on Him (1 Peter 5:6-7; Matt. 11:28-30). I gave Him thanks for everything (Phil. 4:7). I even tried to maintain a dependent and persistent prayerful attitude (1 Thess. 5:17). And, although I may not have realized it, something was missing in my prayers.  I certainly did not have the kind of peace and contentment Paul had as he faced uncertainty in his Roman imprisonment (Phil. 4:7, 11-12).  I think Jesus’ disciples must have felt something was missing in their prayers when they petitioned Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1). Perhaps they were missing His contentment, His persistence, or His faith. Whatever it was, they wanted it. I do to! Don’t you? There are at least two challenges to our prayer life: our minds have a tendency to wander; and we often get caught up in meaningless repetition (see Matt. 6:7). Prayers must come from the heart, and when our minds wander or when we start regurgitating a canned prayer, it is easier for those prayers to become meaningless.


    To help me stay focused and guard against meaningless repetition, I started Praying the Bible (see book by Donald S. Whitney; Crossway, 2015). (Jacob Evans, one of our speakers, introduced us to this book). Praying the Bible means I started letting a passage of scripture frame and guide my prayers. This method of praying has biblical precedent: Jesus prayed Psalm 22:1 on the cross when He “cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me’” (Matt. 27:46). Jesus also prayed Psalm 31:5 when He said, “. . . Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46). The early church used several verses from the Old Testament (cf. Psalm. 146:6; 2:1-2) as they prayed for boldness in speaking the word of God (Acts 4:23-31).


    Following are a few benefits I have gained by praying the Bible: My mind does not wander as much. I do not pray the same prayer as often. I find myself praying more frequently. I am growing in my knowledge and application of Scripture. I pray about things I had previously neglected. I am developing a deeper relationship with God.


    Through my reading and prayers, I am learning to trust God more, and therefore I am more at peace and content in whatever situation I am in. It seems that every day I get a little better at praying. I feel a little closer to God; and I am becoming more at peace in life’s challenges.


    –Mike Rogers       


     


    August 22, 2021

     

    Evangelism Through Benevolence


    There is no doubt that Christians are to help one another. The whole idea for the collection by Paul from churches in Macedonia was to help the poor saints in Jerusalem (see 1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 8:4). Even the early church “were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need” (Acts 2:44-45; cf. 4:32-37). Seven men were selected to see that certain widows who were being neglected were taken care of (Acts 6:1-3). But even among Christians God set limits as to who was to be helped. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “if anyone will not work, neither let him eat” (2 Thess. 3:10). Further there were stipulations for widows who would be helped by the church (see 1 Tim. 5:9-10).


    Some argue that there is no example or command that give the church responsibility to help anyone who is not a faithful Christian. However, we are instructed to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19. Therefore, if we can use benevolence to help us accomplish this task, I can see no violation of scripture in this. As a matter of fact, Paul declares, “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Gal. 6:10). Furthermore, before feeding 5000 men plus women and children, Jesus “felt compassion for them . . .; and He began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34b). After teaching them, He fed them.
    This is a good example for how we should practice benevolence with those outside the church.


    Three points should guide any benevolence. First, reaching the lost for Christ must be our ultimate goal in everything we do. Second, taking care of our own church family. Third, anyone who is able but unwilling to work should be taught that God desires us to work; if they refuse the word of God, we are under no obligation to help (see Matt. 10:14; John 6:26, 66).


    Over the past couple of years, our policy has been that one would qualify for help if, 1) he or she was recommended by a member of this church. If you know of anyone in need, please write the name and contact information on a card and turn it in to the office. We will try to help, but will also do our best to set up a Bible Study with them. 2) Anyone who called or stopped by asking for help was asked to be present at the next appointed assembly to discuss the chance that we would help them. Join us Sunday as we discuss evangelism through benevolence and how you can be a part of this work.                                                                

    -Mike Rogers          

     


     

    August 15, 2021


    Knowing You Are Lost

     

    The Bible tells us that “there is a way that seems right to man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 16:25). Jesus also explains that there are two distinct paths in life. One path leads to eternal life; the other path leads to eternal condemnation (Matt. 7:13-14). God never leaves man guessing which way is right. He plainly reveals that the right way is the way of truth. No one can be approved by God apart from truth (2 Tim. 2:15). Furthermore, Jesus said, “truth will make you free” (John 8:32). In His prayer to the Father, Jesus declares, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17).

     

    The first thing we must do is accept the fact that anyone who is not following truth is lost. I am not judging anyone by this conclusion. God has not given anyone the responsibility to condemn another soul (See James 4:12). However,God has preserved His word to guide us into all righteousness (see 2 Tim. 3:16). Therefore, apart from the word, we cannot know the way to life (2 Peter 1:3). Religion will not save you. Church attendance will not save you. Feelings will not save you. Only truth can save you. This is where we must begin. Are you following the truth?

     

    Second, we must admit to ourselves that if we are not following the word of God, we are lost. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he asserts, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). It does one no good to be told they are lost until they accept that fact. I remember once at about age 4 or 5 being lost in a Sears and Roebuck store. I searched the store over and could not find my parents. The thought ran through my mind that they had abandoned me. They did not want me and had just left me there alone. I had an overwhelming feeling of being empty and alone. When we get to this point, when we have this kind of lost feeling, we can accept the fact that we are lost and separated from God and the hope of living with Him eternally.

     

    Third, we must turn to the truth for salvation. When we turn to the truth, we expel tradition, feelings, and family from our minds; and open our hearts to what is revealed in the word. Paul expresses to the Romans that they had “obeyed from the heart” (Rom. 6:17). When the eunuch asked Philip if he could be baptized, Philip responded, “If you believe in your heart, you may” (Acts 8:37). Jesus explains the importance of the heart in obedience when He says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). Accept truth, accept you are lost apart from truth, and turn to truth with your heart and you will find the way to God. 

    --Mike Rogers    

     

     


    August 8, 2021


    Why I Believe the Bible


    A wise man once said, “You open your Bible and read, ‘In the beginning God . . ..’ ” He added, “If you don’t believe that, the rest will mean nothing.”

    While his point is well taken, our belief in God, His Son, and His word is not a blind leap in the dark. It is built on evidence. Admittedly, this evidence is partly incomprehensible. No one can comprehend how something can be made from nothing. Neither is it humanly possible to comprehend an eternal nature. These things cannot be logically or reasonably explained outside the realm of faith. However, the very existence of the world, and the fact that it cannot be reasonably or logically explained any other way supports an eternal, omniscient Creator. If one believes this Creator exists, and that He has a plan for His creation, then one must believe that a special revelation from Him is necessary. If this revelation is written, it is applicable to everyone who has the ability to think and reason.


    However, admittedly, the simple fact that our Creator would reveal His plan to His creation does not give creditable
    evidence to the Bible being that revelation. There were criteria that must be met for any ancient letter to be added
    to the canon (the books accepted to be Holy Scripture). Without going into great detail, three basic criteria must have been met before a letter was included in the canon. First, the information must be from by an eye witness. Second, the letter must have been widely received by the churches of the first century. Third, the historical authenticity of the letter must be confirmed. If early
    Christian writers such as Polycarp, Origen, Eusebius and others regarded the work as inspired, this is remarkable
    early evidence to support the inspiration of the letter.


    In addition to the 39 books of the OT (canonized between 200 BC and 200 AD), the 27 books of NT were accepted as
    Holy Scripture in AD 393. These are the same 27 books we have as our New Testament today.


    We must remember, however, that every part of the Bible we have today is inspired in so far as it is correctly preserved
    and translated. Wayne Jackson admits that although all translations are not of equal value, “it is not a spiritual act
    to castigate someone simply because he is using a less-than-perfect translation. The important thing is this: Is he
    teaching the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” (Bible Controversy, 30)? Remember Jesus says, “. . .
    Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Let us learn and accept the truth at all costs. Truth is worth every sacrifice; nothing
    but “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32b).


                                                                                                                                                                                  –Mike Rogers