Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Lewis VanAusdle Comments

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Lewis VanAusdle

Pastor, United Church of God

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  • lewis
    Thanks for the kind words Jeanne. It is encouraging to know that people are listening. What a blessing to be able to connect with one another!
  • lewis
    Hello Maximino. This is an interesting question that many people think of. There is no example in the Bible of someone baptizing themselves. Even Jesus Christ was baptized by someone as an example for us. Also, after a person has repented and is baptized, an elder of the Church must lay hands on them and pray and ask God to give that person His Holy Spirit. Baptism is very personal, between an individual and God, but God work’s through people to serve other people. Jesus sent out His disciples to make more disciples and to baptized those disciples in His name. If a person baptized themselves, they are taking that authority into their own hands when it wasn’t given to them.
  • lewis

    "The Scriptures reveal God in terms of a family relationship— God the Father and Jesus the Son are together the God family!" https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/is-god-a-trinity/how-is-god-revealed-in-the-bible

  • lewis
    Hello friend. I hope you are doing well. I wanted to let you know that you are not alone in your search for the truth. God calls people and wants them to follow Him in truth. So we do as He does. We know the Sabbath day from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday is not only for the Jews, but for all of mankind. The Sabbath was kept by God’s people even before there were any Jews. I currently live in Brooklyn and worship together with many other Christians who keep God’s Sabbath day holy. “For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works’” (Hebrews‬ ‭4:4‬ ). God didn’t rest because He was tired, but to give us an example. To show us which day was His day for us to rest and to worship Him on. This example was taught and followed by all of the disciples of Christ, and by Jesus Christ Himself. If you would like to learn more, here are some other articles that might be helpful: https://www.ucg.org/beyond-today/sabbath https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/sunset-to-sunset-gods-sabbath-rest
  • lewis

    Hi Teresa. I am sorry for your loss. It truly a great loss when someone we love dies. It can cause a person great emotional pain that can stay with us for a long time. Depression is not a sin. It is a human response to a difficult situation. It is a feeling of despair when something bad happens. By themselves our feelings are not sins, but feelings can lead to sin, or cause us to hinder our spiritual growth. Depression is a cry for help. I would encourage you to find someone to talk to. Start by talking to God. Pray for His comfort. Reach out to find someone to counsel with such as a pastor or a professional counselor. I will pray for you.

  • lewis

    Hi mcgeeraymond,
    This is a common concern that others have also expressed. There are two thoughts I have in mind: How old were you when you were baptized? How much did you understand about God’s truth at the time of this baptism? The purpose of baptism is to have our sins washed away and forgiven after we repent of those sins. If we don’t know what sin is when we are baptized, or if we don’t know the truth of the sacrifice which makes our forgiveness possible, then we might want to rethink the validity of such a baptism. Age is one factor because the choice to repent and follow God is a mature decision that God intends for mature individuals to make. While there are plenty of examples of mature adults being baptized, there are no examples found in the Bible of children being baptized. Here is a link to an article that asks a few more questions about baptism: https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/bible-questions-and-answers/do-i-need-to-be-re-baptized

  • lewis
    Hello Leang Hank Chou. No human who has died has gone to heaven in any shape or form, except for Jesus Christ who became human for a little while. We have this on His own authority: “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven” (John 3:13). We also know that no one has yet received the gift of eternal life that God has promised us: “And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life” (1 John 2:25). “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13). We also know that none of the righteous of God have yet ascended into heaven, not even the man after God’s own heart, King David (see Acts 2:29, 34). The same is true of Mary who died and is buried even to this day, and has in no way or in any form ascended into heaven or returned from heaven. God has not yet given immortality to anyone, except to resurrection His Son, Jesus, back to eternal life. Otherwise the gifts that God promises us would be of no use if we already had eternal life.
  • lewis

    Hello friend. I appreciate your comments, and feel for you very deeply. I want to reassure you that you are not alone in your struggles. Neither of difficulty overcoming sins, nor of loneliness. Fellowship is more than attending church services together, but about making connections with people. It seems this is a huge element that is missing from your life. Being able to share our beliefs and struggles with like-minded people is a huge blessing, and I hope you find this blessing. I don’t know where you live, but we have many congregations all over the world. You can search on congregations.ucg.org to find a congregation near you, or to find a caring and loving pastor to talk to. I also hope and pray that you continue your fight to overcome sin. I assure you that you can never “out-sinned” God’s forgiveness. The only sins that are not forgiven are the ones we have not repented of. Unless we completely turn our back on God’s gift of grace, Jesus Christ said, “Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, whatever blasphemies they may utter” (Mark 3:28). As long as we are willing to repent and change, God is willing to forgive.

  • lewis

    Hello Eric,
    We have to be careful "not to add to" or "take away from" the Word of God. This means not adding on worship that would counter what God commands us to do. You are right, most people don't burn their sons and daughters on Christmas. But the traditions that are used to celebrate the birth of Christ are completely pagan in origin and contrary to God's commands. They come from the worship of idols and foreign gods that other people try to worship. We can't take a tradition that was used to celebrate a different god and use it to celebrate the one true God or His Son. Jeremiah chapter 10 describes a practice used by other people to worship their own gods, and even worship something that they created themselves. The description sounds very much like the practice of choosing a Christmas tree. We should not use the traditions of men to worship God.

  • lewis
    Hi Stewart, Another thing to consider might be the record we have of the burial of Jesus Christ. He died before sunset on a day that was called the "Preparation" in Luke 23:54. This day was a day of preparing for one of God's Holy Days which is called a Sabbath. "That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near" meaning that the Sabbath began at the end of the day at sunset.
  • lewis
    Hello bambrose! I hope you keep up the good fight. The life of a Christian is a difficult one at times. The world around us doesn't yet understand the plan of God. I encourage you to keep watching, and keep reading your Bible. You will find encouragement from the words that God has preserved for us to read and learn from. We also have local congregations where you will find many others struggling through the same struggles that you are in your daily life. It helps to know that we are not alone. If you would like to find a congregation near you visit www.ucg.org/congregations
  • lewis
    Hi Peter. I absolutely agree that Christmas is a day constructed by men to try to honor God and Christ in a way that they do not approve of. The biblical Passover is a day given and approved of by God for us to properly worship Him and give honor to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Here is the link to another article on our website about the Passover for Christians. https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/bible-questions-and-answers/why-should-christians-celebrate-the-passover
  • lewis

    Hi Kathy,
    Thanks for the tip on the book. I will have to look that one up. Learning is a wonderful adventure and most especially when we learn about things that help make the word of God come alive!

  • lewis
    Hi tpicarella, God created Satan (Lucifer) as a very powerful being and give him important work to do. He rebelled and tried to overthrow God. Obviously Satan is no where near as powerful as God and will never take God's thrown. God does, however, allow Satan to influence the world we live in and try to deceive as many as he can. Revelation 12:9 says Satan "deceives the whole world." Satan is called "the god of this age" (2 Corinthians 4:4). He has blinded the minds of many in this world. Paul was told that he was called by God and would be sent "to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me" (Acts 26:18). God can open the eyes of people to know His truth. He then gives them a choice. You are correct, we have free will. We can choose to follow the influence of Satan or the truth of God. Satan can influence our choices, but the choice is ours. Deuteronomy 30:19 says, "I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life."
  • lewis
    Hi Maxie, You stated, "Speaking in tongues is a gift for all who will believe, and those who will not receive it(get a hold of and make it theirs) deny themselves a very precious gift that the lord expects us to use to live a dynamic Christian life." This simply is not true according to God's word. Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 12:4, "There are diversities of gifts" and then went on to list some of these gifts. "For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge...faith...gifts of healings...the working of miracles...prophecy...discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills" (vs 8-11). It doesn't say everyone receives the gift of tongues. The "precious gift" you speak of is not the gift of tongues, but the gift of God's Spirit itself. Some do speak in tongues, but not all. And the gift of tongues is not essential to show someone has God's Holy Spirit in them. Also, the benefit of these gifts is not to the individual. Not to build themselves up, but "for the profit of all" (vs 7).