What Is Salvation? ~ Part 1

Far too many Christians rest comfortably on the fact that they are saved without giving serious thought as to what that means. From what are we saved? To what are we saved? To what extent does our salvation affect our daily lives? What does it mean to be born again? Why is Jesus so important in salvation? What are the various aspects of salvation and when do we experience the different aspects of salvation? Is salvation intended to make us better people? When we are saved, can we do whatever we want? Is salvation at “get out of jail free” card?

In this session we discuss these questions and many more. After all, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3)

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, February 5, 2023. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions entitled Living the Agape Life – a Bible study curriculum developed by Bob Young with input from the members of the Agape Life Class. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com .

Handouts are also available at: fromthebackporch.org .

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org

Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast

Facebook – From the Back Porch in Texas

Email – fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

What Happens When We Die – Part 2

When God created humans, He created them with a body and a soul and a spirit and placed them in the Garden – Paradise – where the tree of life is – where they were to rule over the newly created earth. When they sinned they were banished from the Garden. (Genesis 1:26-30; 2:8-9 & 15; 3:23-24)

When Jesus returns He will raise us up with a resurrected body, soul, and spirit, and place us in the Garden – Paradise – where the tree of life is- where we will rule with Jesus over the New Heaven and the New Earth. Once we were banished from the Garden because of our sin and now we will dwell there for all eternity because of the sacrificial death of Jesus who paid the price for our sin and rose again as firstfruits of the resurrection. (Matthew 19:28; 2 Timothy 2:12; 1 Corinthians 6:1-3; Revelation 20-22)

Concerning the question, “What Happen When We Die?” he final answer is that when we die we leave our physical bodies behind and spiritually go to be with Jesus. When Jesus returns we will have our bodies restored as glorified and perfected bodies in which we will enjoy eternity in the New Heaven and the New Earth.

Therefore, as Paul said, we should “encourage one another with these words.” We should encourage fellow believers and we should encourage non-believers to look forward to that day when we lay aside these mortal bodies and meet Christ face to face. What a grand day that will be. Even so, Lord Jesus, quickly come.

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, January 29, 2023. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions entitled Living the Agape Life – a Bible study curriculum developed by Bob Young with input from the members of the Agape Life Class. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com .

Handouts are also available at: fromthebackporch.org .

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org

Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast

Facebook – From the Back Porch in Texas

Email – fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

What Happens When We Die? – Part 1

Where Happens When We Die? – Part One

This discussion began with questions about the meaning of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 in which Paul describes what will happen to those who die before Jesus returns. Since he was addressing Christians, his thoughts centered around the life of the Christian after death. Obviously, what happens when we die is a question that would be answered differently for the believer and the nonbeliever. But like Paul, we are looking at the Christians expectations and hopes for the future.

The fact is that God created a perfect world and placed in it perfect human beings. The problem was that those human beings sinned and God‘s perfect world was polluted by sin. So they were banished from the garden in which he had placed them, and since that time we have lived with a sinful nature in a fallen world.

It was only when Jesus paid the price for our sin that we found the final solution to our problem. And the final solution is wonderful. Because of what Christ did for us on the cross, and because he rose again as the first fruits of the resurrection, we also can look forward to the hope of resurrection.

When we die, we go to be with Jesus, but that presence with Christ is separated from our earthly bodies. When Jesus returns, our resurrected bodies will reunite with our spirit and soul, and we will dwell in the new earth – the new garden – that will come at the end of time. So what will happen when we die? It’s all good. . . . for the ones who believe.

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, January 22, 2023. It is the 1st lesson in a series of Bible study sessions entitled Living the Agape Life – a Bible study curriculum developed by Bob Young with input from the members of the Agape Life Class. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com .

Handouts are also available at: fromthebackporch.org .

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org

Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast

Facebook – From the Back Porch in Texas

Email – fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

Trusting God in the Storms of Life

Friday night we were anticipating some serious weather as a cold front approached. We heard reports of high winds, hail, lightning and tornadoes associated with this front. We took precautions to try to mitigate damage from high winds and other effects of the storm. We turned on the television to watch the weather reports and waited for the front to blow through while we reviewed our response actions should a tornado warning be sounded. The front blew through mildly in our area even though there were dozens of tornadoes that did plenty of damage across 4 states. We had rain and lightning and strong winds though nothing was severe.

We all face storms in different ways. Even my wife and I have different ways of responding to the approach of a storm system. However, one thing is universal – we all face storms whether they be weather related or the storms of life. Paul dealt with storms in his missionary journeys. In fact, 4 times he was shipwrecked at the hands of those storms. Three of those shipwrecks are mentioned in 2 Corinthians 11:25 and one is recorded by Luke in Acts 27 & 28.

Paul was being transported to Rome because he had appealed to Caesar during his trials in Judea. The ship they sailed on the Mediterranean Sea ran into a violent storm and set them adrift for over 2 weeks. The storm terrified those onboard – even the sailors for whom this was their way of life. However, Paul remained steadfast and was the calming influence for the entire ship. God’s faithfulness was demonstrated in Paul’s life and in his response to the storm. Because of God’s providential care and Paul’s God-given peace, all 276 people onboard the ship made it safely to land. Because God is always faithful we can trust Him always – especially when we seem to be adrift in our lives or when all seems lost.

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, November 6, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com .

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org

Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast

Facebook – From the Back Porch in Texas

Email – fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

Breaking Down Barriers

Breaking Down Barriers

The Main Problem and the Thing that Unites Us – Our Sin (Ephesians 2:1-3)

All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

There is no one who is righteous. (Romans 3:9-18)

When it comes to our human nature we are totally depraved – not one of us has measured up to the perfect standard of God. We’re all in the same boat and that boat is sinking and it is sinking in the middle of shark-infested waters.

The Hope We have in Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-10)

“But God” – sweet words when your boat is sinking and all seems lost. We were sinking as individuals and as the human race, but God sent Jesus to pay the price for our sin and bring us from death to life – from shipwreck to safety. Jesus did not come to make bad people good but rather to make dead people live.

It is fait accompli. It’s a done deal – Jesus paid the cost with His perfect life and subsequent perfect sacrifice on the cross and then sealed the deal with His resurrection providing us not only eternal life now but also eternal hope for the future.

The Unity We Know In Jesus (Ephesians 2:11-22)

Verses 11-13 highlight the problem Paul was addressing – that the uncircumcised Gentiles were on the outside looking in. They weren’t even in the boat. And so are all who have yet to accept Christ as Savior.

Verses 14-22 highlight the solution for the problem – that in Jesus all are made one. Those who believe in and put their trust in Jesus become fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s family and a temple in the Lord, a dwelling place for the Spirit of God.

Because of the saving grace of Jesus, the barriers of the Jewish law and today, our American moralistic code, have been broken down. We are free to live in the grace of our Lord and enjoy fellowship with all who believe – all in the same boat. Hallelujah!

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, October 16, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org

Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast

Facebook – From the Back Porch in Texas

Email – fromthebackporchintexas@texassongweaver

Galatians: The Rule (and Domination) of Law

The Rule of Law is the system under which we live in America. We press for law and order. If something doesn’t seem right we want to pass a law or at least a rule to fix the problem. We live daily with thousands of laws and rules and guidelines and procedures – some of which we can live with and some of which cause us great irritation.

When Paul addresses the Galatians he actually calls them foolish for following the law. But specifically he was saying that the law was given to show us our transgressions, but that it was incapable of saving anyone. Salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. The Galatians and we, by extension, cannot be good enough to earn our way into heaven. To accept the grace of God as found in the atoning work of Christ and then decide we are going to try to be good enough for God to accept us is nothing more than a slap in the face of God. It’s not just foolish – it’s ungratefully rude.

Jesus said in John 14:15 that if we love Him we will keep His commandments. He did not say that if we keep His commandments we will love Him. We must do the things He wants us to do, but not because it’s some kind of fraternal initiation to get us into heaven, but because we truly love Jesus and want to honor Him in all we do.

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, September 18, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org

Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast

Facebook – From the Back Porch in Texas

Email – fromthebackporchintexas@texassongweaver

The Amazing Grace of the Righteous God

God is righteous. He is perfect in every way and His justice is perfect. He does not need to submit to the laws of man, because He alone is the law-giver.

People are sinful – unrighteous. While God is the perfect law-giver, humans are the imperfect law-breakers. Every one has sinned and fallen short of the perfection of the perfect law-givver.

Just as in physics, no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time, neither can righteousness and unrighteousness occupy the same space. Therefore we, the imperfect, are separated from the perfect God.

God loves us. Even in our deplorable condition as sinful law-breakers God loved us and offered us a way to return to Him – to live with Him and occupy the same space as Him for all eternity.

As a just judge, He had no choice to pronounce judgment on the sinful actions of humans. However, Jesus lived a sinless life and offered Himself up in our place to take our judgment. The precious gift of salvation was purchased with the blood of Christ Himself on our behalf.

The righteous God pronounced judgment on sinful man and gave him the death penalty.

The penalty of death was paid by Jesus on the Cross.

The gift of salvation from God’s wrath and the penalty of sin is offered to all.

And now the gift must be accepted by trusting the One Who paid the price and offers the gift.

May we accept the gift and lead others to know the truth of this gift, so that they, too, may be saved by God’s Amazing Grace.

Next week we will look at the beginning of the book of James to see the proof in pudding.

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, May 8, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org

Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast

Facebook – From the Back Porch in Texas

Trusting Christ in Life and Death

Christ is trustworthy in every aspect of life. He gives us power to live and grace to die when the time comes. No where in scripture is this more evident than in the life of Stephen, one of the first seven deacons in the early church. It was said of Stephen that he was “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 6:8 offers this description of Stephen: “Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed amazing miracles and signs among the people.” This was a man who knew how to live.

He lived his life boldly in the power of the Spirit who filled him. And he spoke boldly, even in the face of extreme opposition. The evidence of the filling of the Spirit in the members of the early was that they “spoke the word of God boldly.” (Acts 4:31) When Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, spoke things happened – big things – explosive things – violent things – deadly things. He was stoned to death for his words spoken in the fullness and power of the Spirit.

And that’s when Stephen showed us how to die. In that moment when the storm was raging all around him, he looked up and saw heaven and Jesus ready to receive him. His death just a few moments later was met with peace and the calm assurance that he was releasing his very spirit into the hands of his Master, His Lord, His Savior.

Stephen knew that Jesus could be trusted in life and in death and lived his life boldly as the Spirit filled him and led him. And that same indwelling Holy Spirit gave him grace to die boldly. We are in a life and death situation every day. May we experience the same boldness in living and dying as we go forth “full of faith and the Holy Spirit.”

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, May 1, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org

Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast

Facebook – From the Back Porch in Texas

Seeing Is Believing – Part 2

Thomas, one of the 12 Disciples, also called Didymus or The Twin, has been saddled with the name “Doubting Thomas” for centuries. Is is a fair moniker? I don’t think so. As we look at the scriptures to see who he was and what he was like, you could make the case that he was always a skeptic. However, you could also use those same passages to show that he was cautious and even bold in his responses to the Lord’s commands. No doubt Thomas was facing what so many of us face from time to time – doubts and questions that cause us to cry out to God with a loud “WHY?”

By looking at the example of Thomas, we can see the times when we are most susceptible to doubt – when we are close to being labeled a doubter. We are more prone to doubt . . .
. . .when something tragic happens in our lives. Thomas had not just lost a friend, a teacher, His Lord – but also his entire worldview had been stripped away.
. . .when cognitive dissonance sets in and we can’t think straight because of internal conflicts. Thomas knew Jesus had died. His friends said He was alive. Those two opposing thoughts created a storm of mental confusion.
. . .when we don’t recognize or when we forget the truth we have been taught when things were calm and peaceful. Thomas had been told by Jesus Himself that He would die. Jesus had also told them that He would rise again, but according to John 20:9 the disciples still didn’t understand what that meant.
. . .when we are afraid. Thomas was in tenuous and even dangerous position. To not experience some fear in his situation would mean that he is less than human.
. . .when we are alone and left only to self talk which can be riddled with fear and anxiety. We don’t know why Thomas wasn’t with the others when Jesus first appeared to them. However, we do know that he was with them a week later and with Jesus as well.

When we prepare for those situations that can cause to question our faith by reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on God’s Word we give tools to the Holy Spirit which He can use to strengthen us. When we spend time with fellow believers discussing the Word, sharing our spiritual victories and defeats we have a place to go when the trials come. Jesus has already warned us that things on this earth will not necessarily go well for those who choose to follow Christ. In fact, he told us that the world hated Him and that the world would hate us too because we are not of this world. (John 15:18-19) We need to prepare our hearts, minds, and spirits now so that we won’t be hiding behind locked doors when the world seems to be crashing in all around us.

Next Sunday we will look at the commission Jesus gave to His disciples to go – not hide.

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, February 27, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org
Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast
Facebook – From the Back Porch in Texas