Lakeside Fellowship Blog

Session 5: Atonement - Substitutionary Theory

by Administrator 20. February 2016 08:30
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength  ~Mark 12:30Writing about Session 5: Atonement - Substitutionary Theory, Bob Sweeny shares his thoughts on one of the discussion questions. Discussion question #5: One objection to the Substitution Theory of the Atonement is that if Christ took our exact penalty, why isn’t He in Hell for all eternity? One objection to the Substitution Theory of the Atonement is that if Christ took our exact penalty, why isn’t He in Hell for all eternity? I have had this question cross my mind a few times and never had a definite answer. Not that I will completely answer this question in a short blog post, but maybe give some more insight on this question. As I have learned in Theology Class, some things are a mystery to us and not meant to be known for now. In my mind it seems that if I deserve Hell and someone had to pay my penalty then it must be like-for-like. I deserve to endure Hell forever then Christ must endure Hell forever for me right? But that is not what happened. Why? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. ~1 Corinthians 15:13-14 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father. ~ John 10:17-18 Just a couple of verses on Christ’s death and resurrection, but very powerful. In 1 Corinthians it says that if Christ did not rise again from death our faith is in vain. First off all we need a mediator (1 Timothy 2:5) and if Christ was in Hell our mediator would still be in Hell and that would do us little good, for He is the only mediator between us and God. Also I think that Christ did not only have to take our penalty and suffer God’s wrath on the cross but had to be victorious over death. Which He has the power to do and was commanded by the Father (John 10:17-18). If He had no power over death He would not be God nor have power over His and our death. Ultimately I know that I need a Savior who has the power over sin, death and hell, Savior who is in Heaven before God for me, not in Hell. Jesus lived a perfect life I could never live, died for my sins that He did not commit and has victory over death. This should be enough for us because it is enough for God.

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Session 4b: Atonement - Historical Survey

by Administrator 13. February 2016 08:21
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength  ~Mark 12:30Writing about Session 4: Atonement - Historical Survey, Beth Warrick shares her thoughts on one of the discussion questions. Discussion question #3: “Martin Luther once said that ‘Satan is God’s Satan’. How do we often live our lives as Dualists, acting as if Satan has more power than he actually does? This theology course on the subject of Soteriology (Salvation) has brought to my attention many things in my belief of Salvation and other spiritual subjects that are either incorrect or just unclear to me. One of these subjects is regarding Satan and Hell and Satan’s power. Even before this course, God has been growing me in the ability to trust in His sovereignty and control in all things, even when sin is rampant on this earth and it seems that Satan is in control and “winning.” This course has helped strengthen that trust even more, for which I am thankful! Question 3 on page 71 of our course material states that “Martin Luther once said that ‘Satan is God’s Satan’. How do we often live our lives as Dualists, acting as if Satan has more power than he actually does?” The previous question on this same page states that “Dualism is the worldview that believes that there is a war between the good power (God) and an evil power (Satan). Both are equally powerful and both want to win. …” (this explains Dualism). I live like a Dualist when I have fear and when I get really down about the evil in this world. When I feel these things, I’m not holding on to the promises that God is in control, God is good, and that He will have the victory. I forget that nothing is outside of His plan, even the sinful things that happen, and I doubt His plan when it’s not going well. It is easy for me to see what is right in front of me and to forget what the Bible says about the hope of the future when Satan is banished. It’s hard for me to focus on my eternal life with God because Christ is my Savior when I’m free of sin instead of my short life here on earth that is full of sin. I think we can also live as Dualists when we accept our sinful tendencies as “that’s just how I am—I can’t help it” instead of believing that we can have victory over that sin through Christ’s finished work on the cross and the help of the Holy Spirit indwelling in us who are saved. Yes, we are still sinners and will still sin, but we shouldn’t accept our sin or give in to our temptations because we believe we can’t stop it—that’s giving sin and Satan more power than God. The Ransom to Satan theory is a belief that also gives Satan too much power. This theory basically gives Satan the power—God had to ransom us from him because we are sinners. God is not the offended party in this theory when actually He is, because He is righteous and holy and just. This theory also reduces the important part of God’s forgiveness in our salvation. Without realizing it, I think that I somewhat held beliefs related to this, but when this theory was explained in this course, I realized that this was very wrong. My growing understanding of the actual process of salvation has made me even more thankful for my salvation and God’s sovereignty in it. Praise God!

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Session 1: Introduction to the Theology Program

by Administrator 26. September 2015 17:39
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength  ~Mark 12:30Writing about Session: 1 Introduction to the Theology Program, Francis Sloan shares her thoughts on one of the discussion questions. Discussion question #4: In the “Who are you and why are you taking this course” section, which of the nine types of people do you identify with most? Explain. To be honest, in encouraging my husband to take this course, David suggested wives take it along with their husbands. So, here I am. To answer the ‘why I am here’ question for myself took some reflection. I suppose I identify the most with “Traditionalist Teri”. This persona wants to learn, but her traditions and preconceived notions bind her. She is taking this class to have her traditions confirmed to be true (or false in my case). Part of my spiritual journey involves religious traditions that turned out to be completely wrong. During a time in my life (30 years ago) I was seeking a church that had more “substance” than the rural Iowa church I was attending. I was looking for spiritual growth but was not challenged by the church or other Christians around me. During my search I came across a magazine called, ‘The Plain Truth’. It delved into areas of the Bible I had never considered. The first challenge presented in this magazine was that the Sabbath was the seventh day (Saturday). I didn’t believe this so I sent away for their Bible studies and literature to help me understand. Their literature convinced me that we were also commanded to keep the Days of Unleavened Bread, Passover, the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. I was convinced that these teachings were true so I contacted one of their pastors, who baptized me. I was a devoted member for 10 years, observing the holy days noted. The church did acknowledge that Jesus was the son of God, but Jesus was not the emphasis. They felt the modern Christian holiday observances, such as Christmas and Easter were based on pagan tradition, so they were not observed even though Christ’s birth and resurrection were acknowledged. Observing this church’s beliefs, one was truly set apart from other Christians and the church taught that they were chosen or set apart by God. But … something happened. The head pastor over all the churches made an announcement one day during the Feast of Tabernacles. From the founding of this church, he said, they had asked the wrong questions and based their beliefs on the wrong premise or foundation. They overlooked grace, they overlooked that Christ came to fulfill the law and the prophets. Our observance of the Old Testament holy days would not save us. Christ did that. Grace did that. The Church had been built upon the wrong foundation. Chaos ensued. Too many people could not accept that they had lived their lives based on a lie, and had blindly followed this belief (including myself). Too many had taken a stand to defend this belief and many had made sacrifices for this belief including broken marriages, lost jobs, etc. I. personally, can partially attribute the end of my first marriage to this belief. The church was shattered and splintered into many small factions. My reaction to this announcement was skepticism. I never stopped believing in God, but was skeptical of any organized religion thereafter. I just quit going to church, but continued to pray God would lead me. I believed if he wanted me in a church again he would guide me. How could I ever know if any church’s beliefs and teachings were true? How could I ever know what the truth was or is? Why study theology? From my perspective, so I and others will not be so easily deceived and blindly follow false teachings. I desire confidence in the truth because I will have a solid base of understanding. I want to be able to discern false teachings and follow Jesus Christ. He is the only way. I want to be able to totally put all false beliefs on a shelf so they will not influence the rest of my life in Christ. My journey is just getting started (and I am 62). Frances Sloan

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A Word Of Hope

by Administrator 25. April 2014 08:00
My hope is in an empty tomb... what is your's in?And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” ~Luke 24:5-7 I love Easter Sunday! It is a wondrous time of anticipation, renewal, and hope. Pastor’s message this past Sunday was a vivid reminder of the empty tomb and what that truth means for a lost and dying world. He shared with us three things we would do well to remember: God’s judgment is avoidable. Eternal life is available. Your life is valuable. The angel who spoke to the women at the tomb told them Jesus was not dead and in fact had risen. Then he reminded them of what Jesus had already told them before... “Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” ~Luke 24:6b,7 Imagine the women’s surprise at the turn of events when they arrived to anoint what they thought would be the dead body of Jesus. They would have been sad and grieved beyond description, but at the angel’s reminder of what Jesus had told them their sorrow would have turned into overflowing joy! Just as Pastor shared with us the proofs of the resurrection last Sunday, the angel had given the women a “Word of Hope.” Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. ~Psalm 119:49,50 In the Holy Bible one can find many promises God has made, and it would seem as if the psalm writer has found one which brings him great comfort. He has asked God to specifically remember His Word so it will be recognized or remembered later on, because it has brought him hope. When the psalmist is afflicted and his life is in turmoil, he thinks on what God has said and it brings him great comfort. The very Word of God revives him and ultimately brings him life! I too find comfort in what God has said... Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. ~Isaiah 44:6 When it seems the entire world is on a runaway train and things have spiraled out of my control, I find great comfort in the sovereignty of God. Even though Satan rules and manipulates events here on earth, he can only operate within the bounds God has set for him, and ultimately, all he does and attempts, works to the glory of our Heavenly Father! When you consider the evil we as humanity are responsible for, all the pain and suffering we impose on one another, you risk falling into despair, for the darkness is very great. Dear Christian friend take heart, for the light of God shines bright and whom shall we fear? The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? ~Psalm 27:1 There is great comfort in the empty tomb and knowing God as the psalmist does To know Jesus rose from the grave for your justification and that as a child of God your heavenly Father watches over you should bring peace and joy, even in troublesome times; but for those who have not received forgiveness of their sin, knowing God should produce a fear that goes to the center of their soul! If, after hearing the truth of God’s Word, one chooses sin over salvation there is no hope of eternal life. To know God without trusting in the shed blood of Christ and His resurrection will not bring comfort, it brings fear... For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. ~Hebrews 10:26,27 All who have trusted in the finished work of Jesus Christ and received Him as Lord and Savior, have that promise of eternal life! There is no power on this earth or anywhere else that can separate us from Him. The deceiver of this world himself cannot even remove us from the hand of God and he hates us for it. Though Satan comes against us with all the powers and evil he can muster, God Himself is our light and our salvation, He is our shield and strength, and He is our hope! The psalmist is right, there is comfort in God’s Word in which He has caused us to hope... “He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words... ~Luke 24:6-8

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The Way of the Cross

by Administrator 18. April 2014 08:29
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”  ~Luke 9:23And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. ~Luke 23:26 When Pastor called on us to read through the crucifixion account in the Gospel of Luke this week I could not help but spend time thinking on this verse. Pastor’s message this last Sunday was to focus our attention not only on the events of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and execution, but what all of that means for those who call themselves disciples of Christ. If we are a church that claims to follow Jesus, then there are some guiding principles for what that looks like. And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” ~Luke 9:23 Jesus had just told the twelve disciples He was going to Jerusalem to be taken into custody by the Jewish leaders, killed, and then rise three days later. He then went on to explain what that means for those who would follow Him. Often times this passage is misunderstood and people think Jesus is calling Christians to suffer through difficulties and trials that come with life. It is true that this life does bring suffering in many forms and we can expect to receive our fair share of it, but that is not what Jesus has in mind here. To follow Jesus means to die to yourself and to submit your will and desires to those of God. The Apostle Paul said it like this... I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. ~Galatians 2:20 Paul is telling us how he has picked up his cross and follows Jesus. In a similar sense that Jesus submitted Himself to the will of the Father and went to Jerusalem to be crucified, Paul has submitted himself to die with Christ. Paul now has a union and relationship with Jesus that is so intimate, he daily dies to the Law as a way of justification, he daily dies to his passions and desires for the things of the world, and he dies daily to the pride and self-autonomy of his own life. All of these things have lost their influence over him and he now lives a life governed and dictated by the Son of God. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. ~John 15:5,6 There is to be such a connection to and union with Jesus for those who follow Him that whatever affected Him, affects them as well. May we follow Jesus whatever may come, looking to Him the Author and Finisher of our faith. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. ~Hebrews 12:1,2

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Jesus: Immanuel, God With Us

by Administrator 27. December 2013 09:25
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).  ~Matthew 1:23“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). ~Matthew 1:23 This past Sunday Pastor shared with us the account of Jesus’ birth from the book of Matthew. As he noted, this account was written about Joseph’s perspective and the encounter he had with an angel in a dream. The angel came to assure Joseph the child Mary was carrying was of the Holy Spirit and not from an adulterous relationship with another man. In fact, the conception of this child was the fulfilling of a prophecy found in the book of Isaiah which Matthew noted for us here in verse 23. The child is God come in the flesh! God has come to live and walk among His people! “Behold, I send my messenger and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.” ~Malachi 3:1 In another Old Testament prophecy from the book of Malachi we find out something very important… God is coming! God said He would send a messenger to prepare the way before He came to His people and His temple Himself. God was coming and He was coming to do something no one else could do. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. ~Isaiah 59:16 From God’s perspective there was no one who could rightly govern His people, no one who could stand before Him and intercede for the great evil and sin of mankind. No one living or dead could ever effect a change in the heart of humanity and save the world. The basic theme of Isaiah's message can actually be found in the meaning of his own name, which means “Salvation is of the Lord.” God knew that no human being would be able to deliver His creation from the bondage of sin and death, so He would have to do it Himself. God Almighty would come into this world as a man and redeem what He had created. Only the holy righteousness of God would be able to sustain the battle against sin and corruption. Who has believed what they heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? ~Isaiah 53:1 In one of the most beloved Messianic passages of the Bible, the prophet Isaiah begins by asking two questions. If the remaining 11 verses of chapter fifty-three are to make any sense, you must be able to answer them both in the affirmative. His first question asks if anyone believes or understands the message that he has been bringing from God. It was a message of judgment and redemption, a message of justice and deliverance, and a message of wrath and hope. Isaiah had been telling the people that God will judge sinful, evil, and immoral living. His second question asks if we know Jesus. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20,21 The angel told Joseph that the child Mary carried would save His people from their sins. The arm of the Lord was now revealed, who would recognize Him? Who would receive Him? As Pastor noted, the name Immanuel reflects God’s desire to be with us. God loves His people and came to save us… something we could never do on our own. He came seeking and saving not after we repented, not after we apologized, not after we cleaned ourselves up, and not after we believed, but while we were in the very act of warring against Him with the enemy. Jesus was born into this world, lived a sinless life and then died for us. It is almost impossible to understand that while we were yet in the act of our rebellion against Him, He came in the form of a man and took our punishment upon Himself and died in our place. But that is who He is… “the with us God.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” ~Luke 19:9,10

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Jesus: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God

by Administrator 12. December 2013 09:28
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.  ~Luke 1:32,33For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ~Isaiah 9:6 In chapter eight of the book of Isaiah, the prophet paints a dark and depressing picture of the condition of his people and their immediate future. The gloom spills over into chapter nine but here in the sixth verse a starburst of hope and beauty explodes across the canvas. A Messiah is coming; a Savior who shall be born to His people and for His people! Isaiah sees a day when a Child would be born who take upon His shoulders the governing of an eternal kingdom. Who is this Child? Who is this Savior? He is the Wonderful Counselor, He is Mighty God! Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. ~Isaiah 7:14 Earlier in the book of Isaiah the prophet speaks of a sign which would be given to king Ahaz of Judah concerning God’s promise to deliver the nation from a coming military assault. But, it is this prophecy which also speaks of the coming Messiah who is to be both man and God! Humanity and divinity conceived in the womb of a virgin girl by an act of God. When the prophecy says His name shall be called “Immanuel”, it means “God with us.” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ~John 1:1 According to the Holy Spirit inspired words of John the Apostle, the Word of God is eternal, co-existing with God Almighty and is in fact God Himself. Later we find out this Word was made flesh… God the Creator lived among His creation as a man. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. ~John 1:14 I have had a number of conversations with people who call themselves Christian but do not yet understand Jesus is God. Jesus is God! Now that statement is one which can get you in a lot of trouble today. Jesus is not just “a god”, but the one and only Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth. Remember the picture Isaiah was painting of the utter despair and gloomy predicament for his people and nation? That is the same condition our society, nation and world exists in today. Humanity lives in a land of deep darkness where there is pain, hunger, gloom and anguish. Sin and the suffering it brings has ridden over us and conquered this world like some dark marauding army. People need to know God has come, people need to hear the good news that a Child was born and a Son has been given! People need to hear about Jesus. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:10-14

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