Pastor’s Blog

Jesus = The Sin Offering

Let him offer to the LORD for his sin which he has sinned a young bull without blemish as a sin offering. —Leviticus 4:3
 
When we say or do something damaging to others, it brings guilt and shame upon us, reducing our self-esteem and sense of worth. Even worse, sin, when it is finished, brings death. To live without forgiveness is miserable indeed.
 
In Leviticus 4, the Lord provided an answer to sin’s ravages. He instructed any Israelite who sinned to bring an innocent animal to the tabernacle altar as a sacrifice. The sinner laid his hand on the head of the animal, then slaughtered it. This was called the sin offering, and it conveyed the idea of transference. God created a method of dealing with sin that allowed the sinner to transfer his guilt onto the head of an innocent victim who would then die in his or her stead.
 
We now know that the blood of the animal had no power in itself. It was symbolic, pointing to Christ. Isaiah 53 says: Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows…. He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (vv. 4–6) Christ Himself bore the penalty for our sins on the cross, that we might be abundantly pardoned—just as though we had never sinned at all.
 
Think of the thing about which you feel worst. If you could go back and change it, you would, but that’s impossible. What, then, can you do with your guilt and shame? You can push it down deeper into your own heart where it will eventually poison your personality. You can push it onto others, blaming them for your problems. Or you can push your sins onto Christ, who bears our transgressions.
 
Christ has for sin atonement made
What a wonderful Savior!
We are redeemed, the price is paid
What a wonderful Savior! —Elisha A. Hoffman, 1891
 
Be thankful today, for your sin offering (Jesus) who removed your shame and placed you in the way of God blessing.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


He will wipe every tear from their eyes” (Revelations 21:4)

Might we find ourselves shedding tears of regret when we think back upon how we squandered our lives despite the opportunities God gave us. After all, even as believers we will give an account “for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
 
Just imagine: We will all stand individually in the presence of Jesus, who will thoroughly evaluate our lives to determine the rewards we will receive. We’re not suggesting we will see our sins, since they have been forgiven by Christ and therefore will not be held against us. Nevertheless, our lives will be thoroughly reviewed. What if God were to take all we have done (and not done) and turned these deeds and attitudes into either gold, silver, and precious stones, or into wood, hay, and stubble? Then when He puts a torch to the heap, the fire will “test the quality of each person’s work” (1 Corinthians 3:13). In this way, our lives could be tested even without us seeing our sin. We won’t be judged for what we did prior to our conversion; in other words, we will not be judged for what we did since our “first birth,” but what we have done since our “second birth.” The apostle Paul evidently expected to do well at the judgment seat, even though he was a violent criminal before his conversion, throwing Christians into prison and supporting those who killed them. At the end of his life, Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
 
Think about the implications of this coming judgment.
1. Every day is either a loss or a gain (or a mixture of both) as far as our future judgment is concerned. The great evangelist George Whitefield requested that these words be carved onto his gravestone: “I am content to wait till the day of judgment for the clearing up of my character. And after I am dead I desire no other epitaph than this, ‘Here lies G.W. What sort of man he was the great day will discover.’” The anger of Whitefield’s critics and the praise of his friends will not count; only what Jesus says and thinks will really matter. At issue will not be the size of our ministries or even the extent of our influence, but rather whether we lived wholeheartedly for God.
2. If we are faithful, our reward will be to rule with Christ in the coming kingdom. Although it might well be that all Christians get to reign with Christ, the Bible makes such a privilege conditional: “If we endure, we will also reign with him” (2 Timothy 2:12). And it is clear that those who are most faithful will be given more responsibilities in the life to come (Luke 19:11-27). Be assured that how you live on earth as a Christian has eternal implications.
 
Our most pressing responsibility is to live passionately for Jesus Christ so that we will not be ashamed at His coming. Jesus is generous, and He is committed to rewarding us beyond our imagination. Live to Him with each day and let us shed less a tear for our missed opportunities.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose

In the devotional book Voices of the Faithful, a missionary couple in South America tells of a local pastor in Uberaba who bought a van to transport people to church. To help make payments on the van, he removed the backseats and did delivery work through the week. But the van needed four new tires, and the pastor had no way of paying for them.
 
One night the van was stolen from the church property. Some of the church members tried to console their pastor by saying that perhaps it wasn’t God’s will for him to have the van. But he knew he needed the vehicle for God’s work, so he trusted the Lord to work it all for good.
 
A few days later police officers from a nearby town called on him, saying the van had been located and the thief caught. Arriving at the police station, the pastor was surprised to find his vehicle sporting a new set of tires, new backseats, and a radio! He claimed the van but told the police that the tires, seats, and radio were not his. They must have been installed by the thief. “Well, I guess that is the thief’s loss and your gain,” replied the police officer. The pastor now has a good van, fully equipped and ready for ministry.
 
Many would say this was a bit of good luck or a pleasant coincidence? Winston Churchill once observed, “You never can tell how bad luck may after all turn out to be good luck.” But there’s no such thing as luck for the child of God, and Christians shouldn’t hope for good luck or bemoan when things go bad. Luck is a worthless word to the believer.
 
What we need is providence: God the Father, through the grace of God the Son and in answer to the prayers of God the Spirit, working all things for the good of those who love Him, in the process using the circumstances of life as arena in which to conform us to the image of Christ.
 
If things aren’t so great for you today, hang in there and trust God’s character/ promises. He just might be using those circumstances to create a blessing in you or around you that you just cannot yet see. God works for good to those who love Him.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


Winning the spiritual war!

Our opponent needs only one blind spot, just one entry point, to prevent us from reaching our fullest potential and experiencing victory in our day-to-day lives. Satan just needs one area where we are still trying to gratify our flesh and live according to our feelings to keep us from experiencing God’s best. Most of us never even come close to fulfilling God’s purpose or experiencing God’s peace, because we won’t remain pure long enough for God to reveal it to us!
 
It only takes a little sin to steal a lot of purpose! Romans 8:13 warns us against providing that single foothold for the enemy saying, “If you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live!” Our flesh, if left untamed, will destroy our lives and our witness. Or we can “put to death the misdeeds of the body,” and experience life as it was intended to be.
 
The ultimate goal, as Christians, is excellence and righteousness that we may bring great glory to God with our life. So whatever that one habit or stronghold is that we’ve let fester – that is what is holding us back from being used to our fullest potential. Once we surrender it to Jesus – that is what will ultimately unlock the abundance and peace that we’re all looking for. So let’s stand on Psalm 5:12 knowing that the Lord “blesses the righteous and surrounds them with His favor as with a shield!” Let’s pursue complete righteousness and receive that shield of favor. It’s time to go to war and confront the enemy! Ask the Lord to examine your heart and life then reveal
any area that the devil may be using to hinder your potential to bring Him glory. Be sure to place that area back under the Lord’s care, surrender it to Him and claim His resurrection power over that area.
 
We must do everything we can to live free of sin and live up to our
potential “to the Glory of God”.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people. (Luke 2:52)

We are accustomed to having our progress measured in many ways. We are given tests in school, evaluations at work, and physicals at the doctor’s office. However, we go through our life without really thinking about our social or even more important our spiritual growth. As Jesus grew from a child to an adult, He “increased” in wisdom and stature with God and man. The better people got to know Jesus the more they learned to trust Him. All admired His wisdom. In the same manner as Jesus grew in His relationship with God, He continued to please God.
 
We are to follow Jesus’ example. The apostle Paul said that when he was a new Christian, he behaved as a spiritual child, but as he matured in his faith, he began to act like a spiritual adult (1 Cor. 13:11). The obligation of every Christian is to strive for maturity (Heb. 6:1).
 
As a new believer we may have a hard time relating to others or walking in wisdom, we may battle sin, anger, or unforgiven but the longer we walk with the Lord the more we should live and act as He does, in our own personal life and with others. As you grow, God will become increasingly more satisfied with your obedience to Him.
 
Along the way it is important to gauge our progress through God’s Word and accountability with a mature Christian. Be honest about your life and actions with them and let them help you know in what areas you still need to grow and in what areas you are maturing well. Don’t ever settle and become satisfied with less than a fully developed relationship with the Lord. If we measure our progress in all other areas then be sure to measure the progress of your growth with God and man.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


How can we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:2)

When was the last time you ever saw a dead body be tempted by sin? We are called to be dead to self. Temptation can be persistent and enticing, yet a dead man will not react. The truth is before you were a Christian, sin had a great hold on your life, you were in its grip. However, when you became a Christian, your old self died (Gal. 2:20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me).
 
In the power of Christ sin now has no more control over you than temptation has over a dead body. You have died to sin. You still have the ability to sin, but you are no longer in sin’s power. Now, the truth is, if you choose to succumb to temptation you are rejecting the freedom from sin that Christ gained for you by His death.
 
You are no longer the helpless victim of your sin. The victory has already been won. It was God who already won a victory over your sin. You and I must only apply His victory to each area of our life. If there is a sinful habit, an ungodly attitude, or an unholy relationship that needs to be put to death then claim the victory of Christ’s resurrection today and repent (turn) of your sin. Then you will be free to experience the abundant life that God
intends for you.
 
We should never undermine God’s love and forgiveness, by just choosing to live in sin again. Instead claim the freedom Christ died for you to have, by acknowledging your death to self and sin, then live in the Holy Spirit’s provided power over sin. Exercise the power of Christ’s death and resurrection in your life and begin to live a life free of the consequences of sin and shame. Abundant and Holy Just as He is Holy! Begin today to live the blessed life you were meant to live.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


We Are Called to Step In!

One of the greatest tools a Christian has in defeating sin, is the life of another Christian. Sometimes we can think that it is none of our business if another person chooses to sin. They think they are being judgmental if they confront or address someone’s sin. The world around us tells us not to get involved, but inaction doesn’t allow us to be an effective brother or sister in Christ.
 
As Christians we are aware that sin brings horrible consequences, even death. (Rom. 6:23) We understand sin destroys relationships, marriages, and has the power to steal peace or joy. When we see someone wandering from the truth in to sin and error, what are we to do? Lets’ look at Jesus for our example. First, he wept with a broken heart over those in sin and far from truth (Matt. 23:37-39). Second, He prayed for others not to fall to sin (Jn. 17) Then, He warned many who were heading toward spiritual failure (Matt. 26:20-25). Finally He was willing to step in and die in order to save others from sins consequences and to offer a better way. So, Jesus didn’t stand by idle, He took an active role in turning others from sin toward God.
 
“Minding your own business” may save you from some hardship but it will not help a brother or sister in need. If you truly understand the serious consequences facing those who practice sin, you can’t stay by idle. It is our duty and calling to weep over, pray for, and even confront and keep accountable those who have fallen into a life of sin. James reminds us how important this is as a Christian: My brothers, if any among you strays from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his life from death and cover a multitude of sins. (Jam. 5:19-20)
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


This is a gift of God

Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work—this is a gift of God. (Ecclesiastes 5:19)
 
What is the purpose of your prosperity? God owns it all. He supplies it and searches for men and women to entrust this material world He owns. Unbelievers and many believers alike cut throats and cheat as they compete for their slice of the prosperity pie. But the hand of God pours out blessings without trouble on many of His children who have learned to trust Him and work hard. He desires to bless them to extend the kingdom of God in the temporary world we serve. He has no secret reason for blessing His own.
 
It is our job not to miss the purpose of the prosperity with which we have been blessed. Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 5 that our goal is to please God with these bodies and it is not pleasing to God when we ignore the mandate to extend the Kingdom with out prosperity. As a matter of fact God will take the blessing out of our prosperity. Solomon eludes to this in Eccl. 2:26 “to the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God” God has indeed blessed all of us in America, yet we tend to error with our prosperity in the way we see it and put it to use.
 
We often error by
1) Taking credit for our prosperity (self made)
2) Showing ingratitude for our prosperity (don’t thank God for it)
3) Showing guilt for our prosperity (downplay God’s blessing as if ashamed to have)
4) Learning to show dependence on our prosperity rather than the provider of it. (A false security on things of worldview)
 
Let us not try to fall into these errors with our prosperity instead let us recognize God has blessed us so that we will bless His work and advance His kingdom in the world. It is not for you only so don’t use prosperity only to increase your lifestyle. Accumulating any more than what you need to provide for family, continually run a business or retire is accumulating to much. God has provided you with what you need to live in joy and He has also blessed you to bless others to His glory. Let us take account of all we have, give thanks, and use it wisely for both our own family needs but also to the furtherance of His Kingdom.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


Noah “walked with God” Genesis 6:9

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. (Gen. 6:5-6)
 
Noah lived during a very difficult time. The scriptures tell us: No one else loved GOD. No one else did what was right. No one else encouraged Noah’s family and people thought Noah was foolish for obeying and loving GOD.
 
Noah could have said, “Well everyone else is doing evil, so why should I do good?” Or perhaps, “But GOD, the whole world is doing this so why can’t I?!?” Yet Noah didn’t have this attitude. Genesis 6: 9 says that Noah “walked with God”. Noah didn’t allow everyone else’s actions to influence him to do what he knew was wrong. The sad truth is that most people choose not to love and serve GOD. And you may find yourself in situations where the other people around choose to do evil.
 
When that day comes what will you do? Will you follow along and do evil or will you seek after GOD and His will? Choosing to follow GOD is not always easy. It isn’t always what we want to do. But GOD knows best and living like He would have us to will always work out for the best. And the LORD commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us.” (Deut. 6: 24-25)
 
Be sure and make the choice today to follow God even if no one else does. Get to know God’s commands and learn what He is asking you to do. May you stay bold and walk with the Lord even as our culture is falling farther away.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes


Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. Galatians 1:18

The apostle Paul experienced the most dramatic conversion in all of history. He was met and blinded by Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) For three days Paul sat in blindness and didn’t eat or drink. Then God sent Ananias to Him called Him as a chosen instrument. (Acts 9:15) Immediately following this Paul began to proclaim Jesus as the Son of God– then an odd thing happened. Paul fled to Arabia where He remained in the risen Saviors presence for three years. He was not yet ready for His personal calling through Christ.
 
God causes a lag between our calling and our sending or ministry. Only God knows what He needs to work into or out of us. Our job to stay close in His presence and let Him prepare us for the ministry opportunities He has designed for us. To get to know God is using the lag time to equip us– He will never give us a task without sufficiently equipping us. We must allow God to work on us in the time in between.
 
God may continue to do this at different times in our walk. He allows our vision to become unfocused and blurred or stagnant in our current state. It is a time of re-equipping for our new task or ministry opportunity on the horizon. This is an essential and special time of reflecting, rededicating and renewing. God will reveal your sending or ministry when the time is ready. (our verse above tells of Paul’s sending after His time of preparation)
 
Our job is to enjoy that wilderness time and really get close to God and let Him work out whatever is needed in us to prepare us for the work ahead. Maybe you are in that time, make the most of it, this time with Jesus it is highly important and needed. Relax and relish your relationship allow him to prepare you for work opportunities ahead.
 
In His Service,
Eric Barnes