Charismatic Christians

The Greek word “charisma”, or derivatives thereof, is translated as “grace” nearly every time we see it in the Scriptures.  For instance, in Colossians 3:16 we read:

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

It has nothing to do with a dynamic personality, and certainly nothing to do with jabbering incoherently.  Biblically speaking, a charismatic Christian is simply a gracious Christian.  Consider Paul’s admonition to the believers at Ephesus in Ephesians 4:29:

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

In II Peter 3:18, the Lord wants us to “grow in grace”:

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

God give us more charismatic Baptists!

Of course the tomb is empty, what did you expect?

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Consider this situation with me.  A family has just buried their loved-one only three days ago.  Now, much to their surprise and amazement, that same person is now up, walking around, and communing with family and friends.  The entire community is in an uproar over this monumental event.  Now, let me ask you a question.  What significance does the grave they buried him in three days ago hold, now that he is alive and reunited with the family?  The answer is, NONE.  It is insignificant.  It’s an empty hole that can now be used by another person.  Some of the family may have visited the grave sight briefly out of curiosity, but once it has been proven to be empty, it’s just another hole in the ground.

As Christians, we often major on the minors, and I believe the empty tomb just might be one of them.  Every year around “Easter”, a huge deal is made about the empty tomb.  Everything in the church from bulletins to church signs have some variation of a rock formation with a hollowed out spot and a huge round boulder to the side.   Accompanying the picture of the empty tomb is typically a verse out of Mark or Luke saying “He is not here, but is risen…“.  Don’t misunderstand me, the empty tomb is a glorious evidence of the power of God, and a fulfillment of our Lord’s promise to rise again. But what exactly did you expect?  The Lord Jesus Christ said He would rise again, (Matthew 12:40; Mark 8:31; John 2:19) so why do Christians make such a huge deal about the empty tomb?  Furthermore, since He is alive, and lives forevermore (Revelation 1:18), who cares about a cave where He spent a few nights.  Let someone else’s corpse rot there…He is alive!  Whether it is an empty manger, an empty cross, or an empty tomb, Christians need to realize that Jesus Christ is alive.  Not only is He alive, but He is IN YOU (Colossians 1:27), if you have been born again (John 3:3).  Stop making idols and icons out of things, and start getting to know HIM!!

Holy and Reverend is His Name

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I had someone call me “Reverend” today. It was an innocent thing, but I corrected them very quickly and let them know I was a pastor. After the business portion of the call was over, the person asked me about my reasons for refusing the title of “Reverend”. Her denomination uses that term regularly, so it sparked her curiosity. I quoted Psalms 111:9 and let her know that God reserves that name because he is to be revered and highly esteemed. I told her that as a pastor, my duty is to point others to the one who is Reverend. She was VERY appreciative to learn this.

Psalms 111:9: He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.

Christian Dieting – (Christian Liberty)

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First of all, this post is not so much about dieting as it is about our spiritual walk.  However, the facts about our diet are what spurred my thoughts.  Recently our family watched a documentary about food, nutrition, and how most people in America are overfed and undernourished.  Although there is nothing particularly enlightening about that, one of the principles mentioned really got my attention.  The idea is that when it comes to diet, we should focus less on the bad things we’re eating and start adding good nutrition to our bodies.  As we add good, nutritious food, our bodies will respond in a positive way.  Then, as we add more good things, we will eventually develop healthy eating habits and the bad food will slowly disappear from our plate.  At least that’s how it’s supposed to work.  You see, most diets FAIL because they are based on a NEGATIVE premise.  The attitude of most dieters is “I wan’t that, but I can’t have it!“,  so, of course, your body naturally craves what it can’t have, and eventually, we give in.  The better attitude is, “I could have that, but I don’t want it“.

Many Christians are like someone struggling with weight gain.  They desire a close personal walk with Christ, but they have long been frustrated over their inability to DO what they think they have to DO in order to be “spiritual”.  Depressed and dejected, they end up more frustrated than when they started, just like the dieter who eventually gains back all the weight they lost, plus some.  They focus mainly on everything they “can’t” do instead of understanding the LIBERTY they have in Christ.  Many Christians have been programmed from the pulpit on what they can’t say, where they can’t go, how they can’t dress, what they can’t watch, and so on.  Are there some things we shouldn’t say? ABSOLUTELY.  Are there some places we shouldn’t go?  Of course!  Are there some forms of dress that Christians should avoid? Certainly!  However, we should also remember what the apostle Paul said in his letter to the Colossians in chapter 2 verses 20-22:

20Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21(Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22:Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

Was Paul saying that it was a good idea to touch, taste, and handle everything?  Of course not.  What he WAS saying is that it was silly to voluntarily put yourself back under such man-made ordinances after Jesus Christ had set you free from them.  Consider also what Paul told the Corinthian believers:

I Corinthians 6:12All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

Paul knew he could do ANYTHING he wanted to do (all things are lawful) without jeopardizing his salvation.  His life was hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3), and as a Christian, there was nothing that could separate him from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).  What LIBERTY!  What FREEDOM!  What JOY!  What SECURITY!  Paul is, however, careful to mention that although nothing can affect his sonship to God the Father, there are things that could hinder his path toward God’s will for his life.

Philippians 3:14: I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

If you are saved, the first thing you need to understand is that He has already made you ACCEPTED:

Ephesians 1:6: To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

There is absolutely nothing you can, or need, to do in order to be acceptable to God.  He has already MADE you accepted.  Got it?  If not, read this:

II Corinthians 5:21: For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

In short, what this means is that if we are “in him”, that is “in Christ”, we are as righteous as God.  I didn’t say it, God did.  It’s just difficult for us to believe.

So, for the dieting person, your focus should NOT be on losing weight, but rather eating healthy.  Your body will take care of the rest.

For the Christian, your focus should not be on NOT SINNING, but rather feeding your spiritual man the best diet possible and nurturing your walk with the Lord.  As your spiritual health improves, your flesh will lose its influence.

Galatians 5:16: This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Christianity is not about being someone you’re not, but is rather yielding to Jesus Christ, accepting the fact that you are accepted, and allowing Him to live through you.

This post is primarily for those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.  If you have never entered the family of God through the New Birth of John 3:3, that is your first step.  You must realize that NO amount of “religion” or “good works” will get you an inch closer to heaven.  Your destination as an unsaved soul is Hell, and the only thing that will change that is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour.

Romans 10:9: That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Pastor Darren LaRue
Anchor Bible Baptist Church
3165 Hwy 35 East
West Alexandria, OH  45381
937-683-1611