As you might expect from a church on the move…we’re moving. God has so graciously answered our prayers to move into Chillicothe. We trusted the Lord to supply our need for a building to meet in inside Chillicothe and He wonderfully met that need. We will begin on Sunday Evening June 8th joining together for worship at 43 South Paint Street, Chillicothe, Ohio. We are right next door to Renick’s Family Restaurant. What we plan to do is on June 1st during our cookout in the park is to gather everyone together and drive to the new location for a time of corporate prayer asking God to bring folks into the Kingdom through Grace Reformed Fellowship. May He receive glory in all things. Pray that Jesus Christ would be lifted up and that He will draw all people to Himself (John 12;31).
The Character of Faith Pt. 2
James 2:14-26 (ESV)
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,  and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!  Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?  You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;  and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”— and he was called a friend of God.  You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?  For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
This genuine saving faith that is centered in and has laid hold of Christ, as we learned last week, is a faith that will show itself in obedience to Christ.
Many have claimed that these verses in James’ letter contradict what Paul taught in his writings. Even the great reformer, Martin Luther struggled with this epistle. So, before we begin it’s vital to the understanding of these verses to realize a couple of things. Read More
The Character of Faith Pt. 1
James 2:1-13 (ESV)
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.  For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in,  and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,”  have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?  Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?  But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court?  Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?
 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.  But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.  For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.  For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.  So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.  For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
We lived in Southern Kentucky while attending Bible College. For the first Read More
Putting on Righteousness
Matthew 5:20 (ESV)
For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
What did Jesus have in mind when He spoke these words? What was He getting at?
The Pharisees had a very elaborate system developed. It was a system of works. They thought that if they did all the right stuff God would somehow be obligated to show them His goodness and ultimately take them to heaven.
Jesus was not at all impressed. Jesus was ready to forgive sinners. Jesus had no forgiveness for those who were unrepentant and self righteous. Read More
The Gift of the Word
Last week we saw the truth spoken by James. God is never responsible for evil. Because of God’s very nature it is impossible for Him to have anything to do with sin…except punish it.
James shift gears and begins to contrast the statements that people were making. Instead of blaming God for evil, James shows us what God is responsible for. Read More
The Fatal Attraction of Sin
So far in my messages from the Book of James we have been speaking of trials. According to what James has said up to this point we are to count them as joy based on the fact that God has in mind our growth. When we respond to them in a God honoring way we grow and mature in Christ-likeness. Read More
There is a misconception in our consumer driven culture. The misconception is, money = security or money = happiness. It’s interesting that of all the trials James could mention specifically, he begins speaking of the haves and the have-nots.
Here is an interesting statistic: Compared with Americans in 1957, today we own twice as many cars per person, eat out twice as often and enjoy endless other commodities that weren’t around then–big-screen TVs, microwave ovens, SUVs and handheld wireless devices, to name a few. But are we any happier? Are our lives filled with ease and contentment? The answer is that we are not happier. We are not more content, in fact, we are the most unhappy and medicated culture ever to exist. We spend our lives acquiring goods only to find they don’t satisfy. They didn’t provide security, or make our lives easier. They didn’t deliver what they said they would. As a result, we are left with debt, bills, and depression. Keeping up with the Jones’ is a race that leads nowhere but destruction. Read More
 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;  he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Last week we looked at the command by James to look on trials as joy because of the effect they will have, which is our Christian maturity. We looked at the proper assessment of who we are which is what James calls a slave of Christ, the proper attitude which is counting trials as joy, and the proper effect of the trial which is our spiritual endurance.
Well, you probably said to yourself that sounds real good. I know that is what the Bible says. I believe it to be true. I know that it isn’t an option but a command. I really want to obey but where do I begin?
Our Dilemma Read More
James 1:1-4 (ESV)
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.  Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Introduction-There are many responses to pain and suffering.
-One can suffer and not believe in God.
-One can suffer and be bitter toward God.
-One can suffer and thank God.
The Bible shows us how we can suffer and thank God. Our tendency, even as Christians, is to suffer and become so focused on the suffering that we become self-absorbed in our pain. Self-pity is the result. Depression, gloom, and fear follow. How is it that we, as believers, are to handle trouble that comes our way? It will come.
Job 5:7 (ESV) but man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. Just as sparks in a fire go up because of heat, we will meet up with trouble because we live in a sinful world.James shows us in his opening that handling trouble God’s way begins with proper understanding of who we are and why we are to endure hardship.If we’re going to handle trouble in a way that brings God honor we must have a proper understanding of who we are. Read More
For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.  For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.  For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.  That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring-not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,  as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”-in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.  In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.”  He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead ( since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.  No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,  fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.  That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”  But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone,  but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,  who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.
As we look at Abraham we need to understand that his faith should be a model for ours. We must turn away from the modern idea that just having faith is sufficient to be saved. Salvation is by grace through faith alone but our faith must be in something or someone. Those little internet things that tell just have faith are born somewhere besides heaven. The world would want us to believe really hard in nothing. Or we could turn to a few decades ago to positive thinking or as a modern day spokesman of this type of heresy would say, “Believe in yourself”. What is more important than believing is what you believe or in whom you believe. Faith out there in some vacuum is worthless. Many people will believe very hard all the way to hell. It’s vital for us to believe in the truth not something someone has made up. Read More