Sutherland, Texas shooting tragedy.

cropped-john-14-6.jpg Listened to the last taped meeting of the Sutherland, TX First Baptist church.  Bittersweet.  I wept.

The first song was “God is good, all the time” — no matter what we see, I am certain of this.

Please be in prayer for the people of the Sutherland Church Shooting.  This is a horrific tragedy, people have lost children, grandchildren, fathers, wives, babies etc.  I don’t think there will be many in this town, if any, who will not be profoundly affected by this heinous act of hatred.

People that don’t know God can wonder and ask, how a loving God ‘allow’ something senseless like this to happen.   Seemingly Insensitive or possibly unthinking people instantly come out to critique the situation, or to use it to their political advantage.  They say what could have or should have been done to keep this from happening.   Carry guns, don’t carry guns — one said it was irresponsible for churches not to have gun toting security.   I hope and pray people will think more before they speak on these kinds of things, but I’m not holding my breath, seems our Old sin nature rear’s it’s ugly head in scary or sad situations.

Next comes the gun control lobby or the opposite side. This is not a matter of an inanimate object in the hands of a deranged man.  Cain didn’t have a gun when in hatred because of jealousy he slew righteous Abel.   We need to get angry at those that try to exploit these stories.  The google searches for this event were people speculating if the man was a recent convert to Islam, (and in light of other attacks, it seems that oftentimes is a reasonable thought response).   For now they are reporting this act is coming out in the news as a domestic violence thing.   But in the end, all truth will be brought to the light.  Fortunately through a heroic act of a sleeping man, who had his gun, he was able to shoot him, and ready to chase him should he flee in his car.

Here is the one thing we must all ask of ourselves — whether church goers, religious people, good people — is where will I go when I die?   Do I know for sure?  Why do I know I will go to heaven when I die?  Or conversely some will say ‘if’ there is a heaven or hell they are a good person and ‘think’ they will get there.  Some others are pretty sure they’ll end up in hell.

I thought of the recent movie out in theaters, “Only the Brave”.  It’s a story (which is local to me), where a team of firefighters in Yarnell, Arizona fought to become an elite fire-fighting team called the ‘Hot shots’.    Evidently the battle to be certified took years, and in the horrible turn the fire took in Yarnell, all but one of them lost their lives.   I was in Prescott shortly after the tragedy.  I was talking to a woman outside of the hotel who told me had just arrived in town to help her grieving sister and her children.  She was the widow of one of the firefighters.  I was able to speak to her awhile, and give her a gospel booklet, (although I don’t remember if it was Tom Cucuzza’s ‘how to get to heaven’ or if it was strictly John and Romans since this was about four years ago.  We talked for quite a bit, I would often think of her and her sister, and the kids, and wonder if they have come to know the One who laid down His life for the them, just as their father laid down his life that others would be saved physically.   Jesus laid down His life so we could be saved eternally, never to die again.

The hero yesterday, in Sutherland, put his life on the line, as did a second man who went to chase the shooter (as they said) ‘without a thought’.  One when asked why responded, ‘because it’s just what you do’.

These stories are heart wrenching.  God does not cause these sinful, tragic things to happen.  God allows us free will in complete opposition to some Calvinist’s teaching that their god is the author of these evils.  To that I can only say, they serve a different god.   My God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will eventually pronounce judgment and sentence on these evildoers.   As He will all who have rejected His Son Jesus in unbelief.  That is not His desire.   My mind wonders back to the movie and the Sup (soup) who in the movie wore Buddhist prayer beads.   The older man observing during their certification rightly told him that those Buddhist beads would not help save him if the fire turned.    I am speaking of religion now, there is no religion that will grant us eternal life when we die.   But there is one way, and Jesus declared that He was the way, the truth and the life, and that no man would come to His Father, but by/through Him (Jn 14:6).  The real tragedy of that movie, is he may have been a very fine man, a brave man, loved by many, but that will not get us to heaven.  Just one lie in our lives, and we cannot enter heaven.

God loved us and freely gave Himself for us.   He gave us free will to come to Him if we wished, or reject Him (not come in belief) if we so choose.  He wants us to freely believe upon what was freely given.   We have free will to do good, or to do evil.   He willingly laid down His life and died on the cross for those sins that would cost you eternal death.  The wages of sin is death, and we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (His perfect standard, His perfect justice, His Holy and perfect nature).   I don’t know about any of you, I don’t want sin in heaven, but regardless of what I want, there will not be one sin allowed into heaven (Rev 21:27).   Christ paid that penalty (death) by offering Himself in your place.  He commended His love for us by dying for ungodly sinners that were yet without strength (Rom 5:6-8).

Yesterday, I watched part of the church service, in hopes that all the people of this church had understood and believed on their behalf, what Christ had done for them.

I listened to them singing another song,

“Give thanks the Lord for all things, for His Love endures forever”.

Forever God is faithful
Forever God is strong
Forever God is with us…
His love endures forever…

Sing praise.

I watched the sign language translate these words with tears in my eyes.  They they continued with this song.

Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name
The sun comes up
It’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing 
When the evening comes
Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name
You’re rich in love
And You’re slow to anger
Your name is great
And Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness
I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons
For my heart to find
Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name
Bless You Lord
And on that day
When my strength is failing
The end draws near
And my time has come
Still my soul will
Sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years
And then forevermore
Forevermore
Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name
Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name
Yes I’ll worship Your Holy name
I’ll worship Your Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your Holy name
Jesus I will worship Your Holy name
Worship Your Holy name

Those there who believed upon Jesus Christ as their Savior are with Him now.  Absent from the body, present with the Lord.  Hallelujah, what a Savior…

Lastly they sang:

Man of sorrows what a name
for the Son of God, who came
ruined sinners to reclaim:
Hallelujah, what a Savior! (Isaiah 53)

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
in my place condemned he stood,
sealed my pardon with his blood:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Guilty, helpless, lost were we;
blameless Lamb of God was he,
sacrificed to set us free:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

He was lifted up to die;
“It is finished” was his cry;
now in heaven exalted high:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

When he comes, our glorious King,
all his ransomed home to bring,
then anew this song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!

We are always reminded of death all around us. We need to know that we have believed the clear gospel of Jesus Christ so that we are sure we know where we will go if we died today (Heb 9:27).

Jesus is that Man of Sorrows that the Bible testified of. Jesus bore our reproach, we have all sinned (and like sheep, we have all gone astray), and the sins of us all, were laid on Him on that cross where He died for our sins.

God so loved the world, that was HIS WORK, that He sent His Son (to die — be lifted up on the cross), that was HIS PART.

That WHOSEVER believe on Him (OUR PART)

shall NOT PERISH (HIS PART)

but have EVERLASTING life (HIS PART).

As the Scriptures and the song said, IT IS FINISHED. Christ was the prophesied Immanuel/Emmanuel which means “GOD among us”. He was fully God, fully Man and He in great love (Jn 15:13), laid down His life FOR US (God’s part). He took His life back up again (John 10:17-19), in three days, PROVING He is God, because He had the power to take His life back up. No one took His life from Him, He gave it willingly.
HE HAD THE VICTORY OVER SIN, DEATH & THE GRAVE (1 Cor 15:50-57)

It is FINISHED.
⇒ You cannot work for your salvation.

⇒ You cannot be a part of receiving eternal life by ANY work.

⇒ You cannot be a part of KEEPING eternal life by ANY work.

⇒ You cannot LOSE or WALK AWAY from eternal life because ONCE you believe, you are passed from death unto life. You are conveyed into the Kingdom of His dear Son (GIFTED TO JESUS). He will NOT lose one of you, you CANNOT snatch yourselves out of His hand (John 10:28-30), you then BELONG TO CHRIST.  You are sealed with His Spirit which is a guarantee/earnest of what He has done for us.   We are sealed until the day of redemption, you cannot be unsealed…

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Jn 5:24

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. Jn 6:47

who ⇒⇒hath delivered us (past tense) from the power of darkness, and ⇒⇒hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. (past tense) Col 1:13

We are forgiven ALL of our trespasses (Col 2:13-15) and we are washed, sanctified, PERFECTED FOREVER by His one sacrifice (Heb 10:10,14).

ANYONE who believes salvation or eternal life is conditional has not understood the gospel, or they have become bewitched into thinking they can somehow finish in the flesh what began in the Spirit.

Friends, it is a matter of life to get the gospel of salvation right and not be preaching another.

If you are preaching you must do ANYTHING other than believe on Christ (who He is) and Him crucified (He died on the cross for our sins – purchasing us by His precious blood), and He rose again in 3 days, proving He is God.

HE DID IT ALL.

If you are preaching > turn from sins = repent
If you are preaching > you can walk away or sin away your salvation
If you are preaching > you must do x, y, z, to be saved, (other than belief) then you are accursed.

What must you do to be saved?

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.

Ask me if you would like to know more about how you can be sure that you have eternal life.