Pastoral Letters

Loving lies that love us back

Jeremiah, in his call to God’s people to return to a true worship of God warns them to not believe lies. Then as now, the most loved lies are lies that love us back. Flattery is effective because we love to hear good things about ourselves even if those things are a few light years from reality. The lie warned about here in Jeremiah 7 is the lie that God will be pleased with any who worship at the temple no matter how the other 6 days are lived and no matter what the condition of the heart and mind.

Jeremiah, simply put, declares that such a religion is not a religion of God. Sadly, we see these same lies in our day when people speak of being spiritual without embracing biblical theology, when churches call themselves Christian churches while approving all manner of sin that is condemned in Holy Scripture, when professing Christians abandon the Bible and deny that Christ is the only way of salvation, and when in so many more ways those who profess to be members of the covenant community live with no zeal for God and lean only upon a few outward rituals of the Faith. These lies are the echoes of the lies of Jeremiah’s day that offered a hope of God’s favor without true repentance and true faith.  Jeremiah called for a turning away from such false hopes.

The prescription for this error, then and now, is singular. What is required is that we hear what God has said and that we do what He commands.  This is not complicated. As I have often said, Christianity is simple. Christianity is coming to God on His terms and those terms are to come to him with faith alone  in Christ alone.

What God requires of us is that we should see our sin through the lenses of what He has said is right and wrong, that we should repent of our sin and turn obediently to Him.

Christianity is following Christ the way the Bible explains it.  Just this past week I ran into a man who out of nowhere entered into a little rant about being done with the judgmental ideas of God because he saw God as a “god of love” and did not see Him as a God of strict rules and judgment.  About 35 years of pastoral ministry makes the translation of such proclamations easy, almost always such a rant can be translated as “I love my sin and God should love it too.”  This was the problem of Jeremiah’s day and so very often the problem of our day.  Twisting our ideas of God into something that will let us have our way does not change the nature and person of God.  As we pray for revival and reformation we must do so with hearts committed to both hearing and obeying God.

May it please God to give us understanding of the truth, grace to embrace the truth unto salvation, and power to die to sin and live unto righteousness with a great love of God as our motivation.

Shepherds and Sheep

Posted onMarch 17, 2014 | by: Steve Simmons | 0 comments

In Jesus' restoration of Peter, we see something of the men God uses, as well as the use God makes of them. Having sinned grossly and wept bitterly, Peter was restored to the work of God. This display of compassion holds out hope to all kinds of grieved failures. From pulpit to pew, hope for future usefulness is offered to the repentant. But forgiveness is a call to service, and, for the pastor, that service always requires the feeding of Christ's sheep. God is pleased to mend the broken and then employ them in his service....Keep Reading

Surprised, When We Shouldn't Be

Posted onMarch 12, 2014 | by: Steve Simmons | 0 comments

Simon Kistemaker remarks* concerning 1 Peter 3:16 saying, “To opponents of the Christian faith, a Christian who professes his faith in Christ has already provided sufficient evidence of wrongdoing.” This is something that we need to be reminded of often. To be reminded that there is a war going on and that those who are not for Christ are against Him and those that are His....Keep Reading

Lent…if borrowed should be returned.

Posted onMarch 5, 2014 | by: Steve Simmons | 0 comments

That other parts of the Christian community disagree with us is no surprise, but that we disagree with our history, theology, and ourselves is troublesome. Historically we have had a very simple church calendarâ€"The Lord’s Day Fifty-two times a year. And we have believed, and hopefully will continue to believe, that the simplicity of the gospel is best reflected in such simple patterns, making use of the ordinary means of grace. ...Keep Reading

Revival and Entitlement

Posted onFebruary 26, 2014 | 0 comments

It is a strange thing, so it seems to me, that some freely talk about their longing for revival and reformation while avoiding with great care the two means that always have and always will accompany revivals, that is, lots of preaching and lots of praying....Keep Reading

The new quietism in an age of entitlement

Posted onJanuary 17, 2014 | by: Steve Simmons | 0 comments

Quietism was/is an heretical approach to Christianity that focused on an interior passiveness over pious actions, often completely excluding pious actions. Prayer, Bible study, worship, service, and obedience all gave way to a “contemplation” that would lift one into a better spiritual estateâ€"a contemplation that was not tied to or dependent on truth content. The new quietism that I am addressing is indeed cut from the same cloth but has been baptized in the waters of entitlement that so saturates our culture today. ...Keep Reading

All Natural...not me!

Posted onDecember 12, 2013 | by: Steve Simmons | 0 comments

I was reading this morning in 1 Corinthians and came across Paul’s use of the word “natural” and had my mind strangely, (real strangely!), thrown back to my first visit to a health food store. Now to understand the story you need to think 70s…...Keep Reading

When is is ought, ought isn't

Posted onAugust 22, 2013 | by: Steve Simmons | 0 comments

When a state or country makes laws that forbids treating sin as sin it has set itself up as the servant of the antichrist and has inserted itself into the last half of Romans chapter one. But, Romans does not end at chapter one....Keep Reading

Dare to Be a Jonah?

Posted onJuly 31, 2013 | by: Steve Simmons | 0 comments

Have you ever sung..."Dare to be a Jonah...", while the life and times of Jonah does not beg for a tune it does call us to see something of the greatness and grace of God and that will put a song in your heart!...Keep Reading