Author: Pastor Mark

Freedom in Christ

Freedom in Christ

I remember back in my college days how that one instructor asked for a raise of hands of those that excelled under pressure. Many hands went up.  Then he asked how many in the class excelled under freedom, I raised my hand along with a few others. Then the instructor said, “You who just raised your hands are lazy,” (I think the wise students didn’t raise their hands for either).  I have always disagreed with such a statement. While it is true that some people will excel and produce greater results because of the constant pressure of another; the Bible model that Christ and the Apostles set forth was one of freedom in Christ.  Galatians 5:1 says: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”  It was the law that hindered; it was the law that was a cruel task master; it was the letter of the law that destroys creativity and excitement in service. But it is the freedom we have in Christ that allows us to trust Him, take His Word by faith, and do great things for Him because he allows us to; not because of demands. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 3:6, “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”  We are to be led of the Spirit of God along with the Word of God; He enables us to serve God in a far greater way than we ever could by keeping a list of rules.  No doubt, there are things God expects of us, but by our own effort we could never keep them all – we need the Spirits help.  Romans 8:6 tells us: “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

Beauty is only Skin Deep

Beauty is only Skin Deep

“Beauty is only skin deep.”  This a common phrase in our English language and it is true. It reminds us that beauty that is seen on the outside is just a thin layer – but on the inside we may not be quite as beautiful as we think. If that top layer was peeled away, we would find something that was altogether disgusting. The inside of all of us is basically the same; we are made out of the same stuff.

One of my pet peeves is the way corpses are displayed in various ways in America and around the world. I know there are scientific and medical reasons to use cadavers but to display them in museums and in exhibits has never been something that I have been comfortable with. It lowers humanity to nothing but an exhibit and it hardens the hearts of onlookers to death and its consequences. Death should be a healthy part of life, but not where death becomes second nature to us and does not affect us to realize our own mortality and draw closer to God as a result.

My family and I were visiting the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry along with my wife’s sister and mother. There we saw slices of a man one inch thick on display. It was not pleasant. When in Washington, D.C. visiting with a dear family from our church in Puerto Rico who are stationed at Ft. Belvoir, VA, we went on the metro train to go visit downtown. The train was delayed almost 2 hours. While waiting, I studied an advertisement for “Bodies, Human” which is an exhibit that displays skinless human bodies in various positions mostly showing their muscles in some athletic pose. Now I could not but think that every one of those human bodies represents a soul, more than that; each of them used to have a soul in them and now that soul is in heaven or in hell. They also remind me that though our bodies can look very nice on the outside, on in the side they can be quite the contrary.

If you go yet another layer deeper you can see the heart. But while looking at a heart physically you can never tell the heart’s spiritual condition. The Bible says in Jeremiah 17:9 that it is “desperately wicked.” We are so quick to judge someone by their outside appearance, but on the inside we are made up of the same stuff – and a sinful heart is at the core. Our sin is sickening to our God, unlike us, He can look past the skin and past the muscle layers and peer into our sinful heart. The Bible says in 1 Samuel 16:7 that “…the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” When God looks at your heart, what does he see? Is it dark, sinful and bound for destruction? The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. The Bible says in Isaiah 1:18: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Christ, because of His sacrifice on Calvary, can wash that sin away and give you a clean heart. Will you repent and put your faith in Him today? Beauty may only be skin deep but the forgiveness that Christ gives goes to the heart and soul and it lasts for eternity.

– Pastor Mark A. Sage

NEW BEGINNINGS

NEW BEGINNINGS

I have been pastor of Maineville Baptist Church for about three weeks now. Right now we are preparing for our September 11th Re-launch service. We have been starting several new ministries the last few weeks. So, in fact, we already having new beginnings at our church already.

I am glad that our God is a God of “New Beginnings.” Here at Maineville Baptist Church in Maineville, OH – we know that our great need in our personal lives and in the church as a whole is a constant renewal. Romans 12:1-2 are what I call my life verse(s), the Bible says “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” We do need new beginnings and we do need renewal. In Jesus Christ is the only place where that renewal can be found.

It starts at salvation and continues as we draw closer and closer to the Lord. We cannot skip spending time with God and expect to have that renewal. God has made man very resilient but his resilience it short-lived especially spiritually. It is a must that believers spend quality time with the Lord and renew themselves in His grace each day. We at Maineville Baptist Church need a daily renewal.

Yes, there are “New Beginnings” to be had even on a daily basis for every Christian. Not only is it to be had it is really a necessity. A daily renewal of our mind; a confession of sin; a cleansing from reading and studying the Bible. We can have new beginnings in our life. Come visit us at Maineville Baptist Church where we can help you know God and have the renewal that you are looking for.