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Friday, November 30, 2012

"Forfeiting Our Forgivness"

(of the "Hard Teachings" series)

(Part 1 of 2)

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

                                                                                                            Matthew 6:14-15

Unforgiven Christians! How is that possible? Isn’t it through forgiveness and repentance that we are reconciled to God and become Christians? So how can a person that claims to be a Christian not be forgiven?  The answer is…by choice! We can choose to sabotage our own forgiveness by choosing not to extend to others what has been so graciously extended towards us.

Forgiveness is at the core of the gospel message. Without it there is no salvation. Our sins have demanded a debt to be paid. That debt is death:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.”

                                                                                                                        Romans 6:23

It is a debt that we cannot pay! In the Old Testament when someone would sin, they would bring a sin offering, a pure, spotless animal sacrifice. The priest would offer the animal on the altar and the sins of that individual would be covered by the innocent blood of their sacrifice. The sin, however, was simply covered not removed. In order to redeem mankind from the debt of death that was owed, innocent blood had to be shed. Hebrews 9:22 declares that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” So God sent His Son, pure and spotless, without sin to be our sacrifice:

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”

                                                                                                            Ephesians 1:7

Forgiveness was extended towards us not because we deserved it, but because we needed it.  Mankind was in quite a predicament. Our sins demanded death, and the One person who had it in His power to save us, is precisely the person we had sinned against.  Our forgiveness lay in the lap of the person we offended. Yet, Romans 5:8 declares:

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were sinners, Christ died for us.”

God knew that without His willingness to forgive there would be no reconciliation.  Mankind would be eternally separated from Him. So He “chose” to forgive our offenses:

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

                                                                                                Hebrews 8:12

God’s forgiveness is a gesture of His divine mercy, a gesture that we as believers readily receive, but often refuse to model. We have lost sight that God’s forgiveness was not something merely shown to us, but to be shown through us!


Pastor Scott Burr


Friday, November 23, 2012

“Are You A Liar?”

(Part 2 of the “Hard Teachings”series)

“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him, but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”

                                                                                                            1 John 2:3-6

There are many people out there that claim they know God, but do not obey His commands. Scripture has a name for them…LIARS! What is a liar? A liar is someone in which there is no truth. It is evidenced by their unwillingness to live by God’s commands. This is how the Apostle John describes Satan in John 8:44:

He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Truth is much more than knowledge! Truth must be held to. Practiced! Liars pride themselves on knowing the Word of God, yet they do not live by His commands. They are puffed up in their thinking, believing that by simply knowing the scriptures they will have eternal life. However, it is not what we profess that proclaims what we believe, but it is what we practice!

Too often, our claims of faith are negated by our responses to God’s Word. We say “Yes and Amen” when the preacher says that we must walk in forgiveness, yet in our hearts we harbor unforgiveness towards others. 1 John 2:9-11 declares:

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in darkness; he does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded him.”

You can claim to be mathematician, but it cannot be proven until you solve the equation. You can claim to be a surgeon, but it cannot be proven until the operation has been completed. You can claim to be a Christian, but it cannot be proven until you walk as Jesus did! Is that not what the passage above is telling us: “Whoever claims to live in Him MUST walk as Jesus did?”

This is a hard teaching! It is hard because it leaves no gray areas. If you obey God’s Word, the love of God will be made complete in you. If you claim to know God, but do not obey his commands…you are a liar and walk in darkness. Why is it so important that we understand this? Because Revelation 21:8 tells us:

“The cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and ALL LIARS- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

If our profession of faith and our practice of faith do not BOTH line up with God’s command…we are in sin! We must stop deceiving ourselves. We must repent! We must take hold of truth and live according to the Word of God!


Pastor Scott Burr



Friday, November 16, 2012

The Need For Hard Teachings

(Part 1 of the “Hard Teachings”series)

“On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.  Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.” From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.”

                                                                                                            John 6:60-66

Jesus had just finished teaching the people that unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood; you have no life in you. For Jesus said, “My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.” It is evident from the disciples’ reactions that they had never heard anything like this from Jesus before. Although, they had been radically touched by Jesus Christ, had watched him perform miracles, witnessed him heal the sick and listened as he confound the religious leaders with His wisdom, this teaching, like no other teaching, challenged the disciples to personally evaluate their commitment to follow Christ!  

With one teaching, Jesus separated the faithful from the mere followers. Those who believed and readily received Christ’s message remained, while those who would not receive the message turned back and no longer followed. Hard teachings have a way of doing that! They cause those who are meandering around the perimeters of living committed lives for Jesus Christ to decide whether to pursue Him or walk away. The purpose of these hard teachings is not to drive people away from God, but to reveal the genuineness of our faith! Too many, Christians, because they are never challenged by the Word of God, live within a Christian façade. They follow because the message and expectations have never challenged their comfort. Once the message becomes too hard or the expectations to live righteously become too demanding, many will walk away.

Where did the people that walked away from Jesus go? Did they just go home and drift back in to wickedness? Some perhaps did, however in 2 Timothy 4:3, the Apostle Paul tells us:

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

This “itchy” ear syndrome is plaguing the body of Christ, because too many ministers are perfectly content with bringing benign messages that will not ruffle the feathers of their congregants and certainly not cause anyone to walk away. Certainly no church could survive on a diet of hard teachings alone, but the absence of them has caused many churches to become havens for the comfortable and contented.  Without hard teachings we will have many people who will be standing before the Lord one day saying:

 “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”

                                                                                                            Matthew 7:22-23

Pastor Scott Burr



Friday, November 9, 2012


“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

                                                                                                            2 Chronicles 7:13-14

 It was painfully evident watching Tuesday night’s election results just how divided a country we live in. A country that is hiding behind the façade of economic concerns while it passes morally depraved laws. In one night three more states legalized gay marriage, two states voted to expand gambling, four states voted to legalize the use and sale of marijuana! In another state, a measure to allow doctor assisted suicide was narrowly defeated!

If there was ever a nation that needed healing it is the one in which we live. However, this passage contains a hard truth that many Christians may not want to acknowledge. We often tell ourselves that in order for our land to be healed, America has to repent and turn from their wicked ways.  Yet, this passage says that it isn’t the nation that is failing to respond, but rather God’s people!

As our nation continues to plunge itself into immorality and wickedness, the Body of Christ seems to have little influence over it. Matthew 5:13-14 declares that we are to be bearers of righteousness. We are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Yet, we have lost our saltiness! In the name of political correctness, tolerance and diversity we have backed away from truth. We have become diluted by our culture and ineffective in addressing evil!

We spend our time, money and energy trying to “turn the tide” through elections and legal maneuvers, when it is impossible to legislate morality. Nevertheless, it is possible to heal our land! The answer is found with the people of God! God’s people must humble themselves! God’s people must pray! God’s people must seek His face! God’s people must turn from their wicked ways! “Then, “God says, “I will forgive their sins and heal their land.”

The question is…How bad will it have to get before God’s people will stop putting anything and everything in front of seeking God? How bad will it have to get before God’s people will give up a night of Duck Dynasty or Toddlers & Tiaras in order to humble themselves and pray? How bad will it have to get before God’s people will grasp that having our families in church, seeking God’s face, is more important than a theatre production, sporting event, or a weekend at the lake?

Our land is not healed because it has not yet gotten bad enough to get God’s people into the altars! It has not gotten bad enough to get us to humble ourselves! It has not gotten bad enough to get us to pray! It has not gotten bad enough to get us to seek God’s face! It has not gotten bad enough for us to turn from our wicked ways!

If we as believers are not moved enough by the condition of our nation to humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways; what makes us believe that society is ever going to turn to God?

As a Christian, one who is called by God’s name, ask yourself this question:

“How bad will it have to get before I will be moved out of my complacency to earnestly begin seeking God?”


Pastor Scott Burr



Thursday, November 1, 2012

“To Him Who Overcomes”

“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of the brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”

                                                                                                                        Revelation 12:10-11

The book of Revelation is filled with admonishments, in view of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, to be overcomers:

Revelation 2:7- “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. “

Revelation 2:11- “He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.

Revelation 2:17- “To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”

Revelation 2:26- “To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations.”

Revelation 3:5- “He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white.

Revelation 3:12- “Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of God.”

Revelation 3:21- “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.”

If being an overcomer is significant. How then do we overcome? Revelation 12 begins by telling us that we overcome “by the blood of the Lamb.” Scripture tells us that Jesus is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. He is our Passover lamb, slain for our forgiveness. Through the shed blood of Christ we have been redeemed and reconciled to God overcoming sin and death!

An overcomer also prevails by the “word of their testimony!” They willfully confess that Jesus is Lord of their lives. They are not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and are not afraid to speak out regarding what God has done for them. Romans 10:10 declares:

For it is with the heart that you and are justified, and it is with the mouth that you confess and are saved.”

But lastly, an overcomer is someone who also determines not to love their “own life”, but to lay it down to live for God! That is truly the greatest witness of all. Living a life submitted to God. When we overcome by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our testimony, and by laying down our life to live for God we silence the accusations of the accuser!


Pastor Scott Burr