My Take - Pastor's Blog
Pastor Mark Sage • May 08, 2021
There are several very popular books that have been written in the last 20 years telling of experiences of people dying and going to heaven only to return to their bodies and tell of very detailed scenes of heaven and family and bringing a message to man (us) of what God wants us to know. These are usually from stories of people whose heart had stopped on the operating table or were in some type of coma for a time or had some type of trauma.
These are compelling stories that excite the Christian’s imagination and many people’s hopes of seeing their loved ones again. But do these types of experiences really line up with the principles of Scriptures? Let’s see what the Scriptures teach in regard to one going to heaven and then returning again.
The Scriptures give us the information about heaven that God wanted us to know. God did not leave anything out that He wanted us to know about it. We can rest assured that His perfect Word shows us and declares to us exactly everything He deemed worthy at this time. Is there more to heaven than the Bible reveals – no doubt about it. It is something will be revealed to us as we enter in and live with the Lord. Consider what 2 Peter 1 teaches us about the knowledge of God:
2 Peter 1:2-3 2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
God made no mistakes, He did not forget anything – he has shared with us what He wanted us to know about heaven.
There are things that God never intended for us to know about heaven at this time. In fact, twice in the Bible God mentions this. Both were visions that God gave to two of his choice servants, the Apostle Paul and the Prophet Daniel. In Daniel 12:1-4, he was told to shut up the Words until the end of time that he was revealing about judgment to come and heaven to be revealed. Paul was told in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 (the correlation of the two latter references is interesting) that he was not speak about what he saw:
2 Corinthians 12:4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
If two of the greatest witnesses of the Old & New Testaments were not to reveal things – why would God then allow “just about anyone who claims it” to go to heaven and come back reveal new things. He and His Word are already sufficient for us. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 teach us that Bible has “thoroughly furnished us.” We lack no other revelation that what God intended. Revelation has ceased in our church era. The Bible is the complete revelation of God to man. 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 teach us that there is no new prophecy or knowledge once that which is perfect has come. Of course, this is the completion of the Scriptures. It is the only perfect thing that we can look to and trust in today – THE BIBLE! Not someone’s word from a near death experience.
We are commanded to walk by faith not by sight. In other words, God wants us to have faith in His Word and what it teaches us. He does not use signs and wonders to convince us to believe – but His Word and creation are our testimonies along with the changed lives of those around us. As it was for he “rich man” in Luke 16 – that this type of testimony would not be enough.
Luke 16:26-31 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
Can I remind you that One has already come back from the grave – Jesus Christ, the Messiah. If you want to believe in a resurrection experience, believe in His – Believe in Him. Commit your life to Christ in faith with repentance of your sin and you will have a home in heaven with him. Extra biblical, unverifiable, and suspect testimonies of anyone who claims they have come back from heaven is denied by God’s Word, disobedient to His Word, and is dangerous.
- by Pastor Mark Sage
Pastor Mark Sage • May 08, 2021
The question is an important one to ask yourself. No, I did not tell you to ask someone else their standard, the answer to the question is one that you need to determine in your own life in accordance with the Word of God. As you look at your own “inside” and “outside,” who is it that sets your individual standard? People love to declare their individuality without realizing that in their pursuit of being “original” they are actually conforming to a standard. Unfortunately, it is often not one a Christian should have. A standard is a limit or self-imposed rule in our life that we set. It is not necessarily verbalized or written down – but each of us have standards for how far we will go in a situation, or “where we draw the line.”
When we take a careful look at our lives we will likely decide (if we are honest) that it is the world that sets most of our standards. It holds great sway and influence over how we live our lives and contributes greatly to the standard of morality and rules we live up to.
Yet, as a Christian, we know that standards ought to be derived from God’s Word. We learn principles from the teachings of the Bible; as a result we develop convictions (deeply rooted beliefs), and therefore set standards to live by in order to keep the principles we have learned. Once developed, by conviction, we can no longer allow the world to set our standards.
The Bible makes it clear to us in: 1 John 2:15-17
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Charles Spurgeon spells it out for us 140 years ago: “Avoid the appearance of evil. ‘But we must not be too rigid,’ says one. There is no fear of that in these days. You will never go too far in holiness, nor become too like your Lord Jesus. If anybody accuses you of being too strict and precise, do not grieve, but try to deserve the charge.
I cannot suppose that at the last great day, our Lord Jesus Christ will say to everyone, ‘You were not worldly enough. You were too jealous over your conduct, and did not sufficiently conform to the world.’ No, my brethren, such a wrong is impossible. He who said, ‘Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect,’ has set before you a standard beyond which you can never go.
’Well, but,’ says one, ‘are we to have no enjoyments?’ My dear friend, the enjoyments which are prepared for Christians are many and great, but they never include sin and folly. Do you call vice and folly enjoyments?”
I do not want the world to dictate where my standards for living lie. I want God’s Word and the influence of godly believers to be the influence upon my life, not the world. WHO IS THEN THAT IS SETTING YOUR STANDARD? IS IT THE INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE AND GODLY CHRISTIANS OR IS IT THE WORLD ITS UNGODLY INFLUENCES THAT YOU SET YOUR STANDARDS?
The Complete Works of C. H. Spurgeon, Volume 84
Pastor Mark Sage • May 08, 2021
The busyness of the Easter holiday seems to be growing. More is being purchased probably than ever before. Easter is an appropriate name of this day for most for it is a pagan holiday. As a believer though, we do not celebrate Spring or "new life" as those who celebrate Easter do (knowingly or ignorantly). Rather, it is the day that we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ even referring to it as "Resurrection Sunday!" What a wonderful fact it is that the Lord used such a pagan holiday to complete his plan for the redemption of man. May Easter never replace the importance and place that the resurrection of Jesus Christ holds. Praise God that you are here and are a part of our services as we seek to lift up the Lord in praise and honor for He is worthy - and the truth is, He is the creator of Spring and He is the giver of "new life." You can have a new life starting today in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Why don't you trust Him today! Thank you for being a part of our services and please let us know how we can bless you. - Pastor Mark Sage