The Depravity of Man Rears Its Ugly Head

As I sit down to write my weekly article, I seem to be having a hard time focusing. Why? Just a few moments ago I read the press release from the Gila County Sheriff’s Office that not only has there been another burglary in the area, but this time an elderly woman was assaulted and left for dead. Thankfully, 82-year old Virginia is recovering from the attack. However, it will take some time for her to heal from this ordeal, emotionally, as well as physically. News of this event deeply troubles me.

Is this the new norm for the Globe-Miami area? Should we just learn to expect break-ins and assaults? As I communicate with other area pastors, I learned a few days before this that another local church has been burglarized. From our count, that makes 6 churches that have been broken into and robbed within the span of weeks; not to mention local businesses and homes. The depravity of man rears its ugly head yet again.

You see, that is our problem. Our culture has come to despise the things of God to the extent that basic moral and ethical values have gone out the window. Our culture desires a supposed “freedom” from God but the natural trajectory of such “freedom” is the kind of behavior we are seeing in our local news. This behavior points to the fact that the person apart from Christ has no freedom, but is, in actuality, a slave. How so? We are enslaved to our sinful desires. That is why men, like those who violently assaulted Virginia, do such a things; they are slaves to their sinful desires. The Apostle Peter warns of false teachers saying, “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.” (2 Peter 2:19) These men, I can only assume, are enslaved to their use of drugs so much so that they are willing to break into an elderly lady’s home and sacrifice her for their “high.” Their master must be served no matter the cost.

Do you recognize this? Do you recognize this in yourself? What controls you? Who is your master; the “god” that you serve? Every person worships and serves something. Are you a slave to sin or to Christ? (Ephesians 6:6) Do you desire the will of God or the depraved will of man? Until we recognize our root issues we cannot begin to make any progress. The issue is a heart enslaved to sin.

With this in mind, dear Christian, we must take a stand for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and boldly proclaim the message of hope in the midst of our broken town. We cannot expect secular authorities to wave their wand and change hearts; God is the heart-changer. And it is to Him that we must turn when we are at a loss. I pray that Virginia will heal and feel God’s peace. Finally, I pray that these sinful men would be convicted by God and turn themselves in.

By Pastor Nick Jones
Maranatha Baptist Church
1320 E. Saguaro Dr. Globe, AZ
facebook.com/MBCGlobe

Why Truth Matters

“You’re wasting your time… Religious truth is whatever makes you feel better… Whatever your personal beliefs are is just fine as long as you keep them to yourself… That is just your ‘interpretation’…” Phrases like these abound throughout conversations with friends and family all over the world. Many try to dismiss the attempt to make any truth claim when it comes to spiritual matters. So the question is, “Why does it matter to know truths about God?” Is one wasting one’s time to even begin such a journey of discovery? Why does it matter that we know God is the Creator? Why does it matter that we understand God has revealed Himself in His handiwork, in His Word (the Bible), and in His Son Jesus? Why should we care that God has revealed His triune nature throughout the unfolding of redemptive history? Why study theology?

The first answer to all of these objections has to be that truth matters. We live in a time and culture where most people believe that truth is relative; that is, that truth is whatever you want it to be. However, from a biblical worldview this is not a tenable position. Followers of Christ must hold that truth is objective because we have an objective standard, the Bible. Therefore, we believe that truth can be known because of God’s self-revelation, and that we should desire and strive to know that truth as much as humanly possible.

Secondly, if human beings are in the state of sin which the Bible tells us that we are, and that we can do nothing to rectify this problem by ourselves, then we need to know what God has done for us. Only the true God can save you from your sins. Many people claim to know God and even say that Jesus is their savior. The question is, “which Jesus are you talking about?” The Apostle Paul states, “For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed… you put up with it readily enough.” (1 Corinthians 11:4) Paul is concerned when people say that they believe in Jesus but the one they believe in is not the true Jesus.

Imagine I come to you proclaiming myself to be the President of the United States. What would you say to me? Perhaps I even told you that my name was Donald Trump. Would you accept me as the President? I don’t think so. You would recognize that even if I use that title and name of the President, we are different people; our characteristics makes that clear. We are different ages, come from different backgrounds, and our physical appearances are different. In the same way, merely using the words “God”, “Jesus”, etc. don’t in and of themselves mean anything. It must be discovered through the details and characteristics of who we are talking about. Is Jesus the Son of God or simply a traveling moralistic teacher? Is Jesus God in the flesh or a created being? Fundamental questions must be considered as to the character and nature of the Jesus we are talking about, because only one Jesus can save you, the Jesus proclaimed and revealed in the Bible.

Finally, only the true Triune God of the Bible can bring you peace and comfort in this broken world. People everywhere are daily dealing with and struggling through a multitude of issues. People killing one another, children being abused and abandoned, and relationships torn apart are all frequent occurrences in a world that is living out the consequences of sin. Through all the stress and strain we long for peace. We long to bring peace and comfort to our friends and family members who are going through instances of these calamities. This desire causes us to reach out to others. Often you hear people say they are sending “good thoughts” or “vibes” to the person. Although these people have the best of intentions and truly care about others, the facts remains that your thoughts and “vibes” do nothing for that person. If you really care about someone you will fall on your knees before the only Sovereign and plead for mercy and grace. Why is it important to know truths about God? Because knowing the true God brings peace. Jesus tells His followers, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27) You see, Jesus brings a peace to the hearts of His people that the world can never bring. He brings a comfort that is alien to us, a comfort that gives us the ability to move forward in life no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in. A false Jesus cannot do this– a false ideology cannot do this,–only God can. This is yet another reason that we desire to know and follow Him.

Truth matters. That is why it should be our life-long pursuit to know God as He truly is, as He has revealed Himself. Knowledge of spiritual things should not puff us up in arrogance, but should humble us to know we serve a living God who cares about us. Truth breaks the heart of the proud and heals the heart of the humble. I encourage you, dear reader, to join me on this pursuit and desire of knowing the truth of God.

By Pastor Nick Jones
Maranatha Baptist Church
1320 E. Saguaro Dr. Globe, AZ
facebook.com/MBCGlobe

If the Foundations Are Destroyed

Popular culture is constantly changing. Sometimes the change is for the better, while other times, for the worse. However, our perspective on change has much do with our individual worldviews.

From a Christian worldview, many changes in our culture over the past 10 years or so have caught us off guard. Why? Because there are many things that, in times past, seemed so foundational to the human experience that are now being put to the test. For instance, a brief perusal of current news outlets shows questions we once all knew the answer to, but now… not so much. Questions like, “What is the family?”, “What is marriage?”, or “What is male and female?” At one time, a simple answer would suffice. However, many people now disagree with these simple answers.

How do we respond to this current landscape filled with many opposing views? Let me start by stating what I think we should not do. We should not use our disagreements as an excuse to destroy one another. All too often, various groups on either side of the political and ideological aisle have forgotten basic human kindness when wrestling through current topics. This is to our shame. When did we become so hateful? Now, let me be clear what I mean when I use the word “hateful”. The word hateful cannot be used to describe someone who simply has an opposing view to yours. Our culture has fostered such self-centeredness that many people believe that others with a different view are “mean, bigoted, and hateful.” No, hateful is when we disagree with an idea and then hurl personal insults, slandering another person with the intention of tearing them down. Hateful is “believe like I believe, or else…”

So, what should we do? King David asks the same question in Psalm 11. “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” As Christians, we see so many things that are foundational, things God instituted for the good and flourishing of mankind, being changed. I believe there are 3 things (at least) we should keep in mind as we address current issues. 1) We should listen. Are we truly listening to those with whom we disagree? We need to be more intentional to listen and come to understand them even if we remain opposed to their ideas. 2) We should love. As followers of Christ we are called to be known for our love; whether our neighbor or enemy, Jesus calls us to love. Those with whom we disagree remain image bearers of God and have inherent worth and value. Let us disagree in a way that shows this. 3) We should proclaim the Gospel. Our political aspirations or humanitarian efforts are futile if we are not preaching the Gospel. We cannot expect change until there is a heart change and that only comes through Christ. We must remember that our hope and faith is not in worldly prosperity but in Christ alone.

By Pastor Nick Jones
Maranatha Baptist Church
1320 E. Saguaro Dr. Globe, AZ
facebook.com/MBCGlobe

Where Are The Faithful?

Every so often a video or story hits the internet about a good deed or inspirational tale. The tagline often adds “Faith in humanity restored!” It seems we so long for good things in the world that we make a big deal out of them when they happen. But what about that phrase “faith in humanity”? It seems our assumption is that humanity is basically good and all we need to do is focus on that goodness more often. However, this is not always our experience.

This Fourth of July was a another great year to be with friends and family yet, little did I know that while I was heading to bed that night my office at Maranatha Baptist Church was being broken into. Thieves busted through my office door and proceeded to rummage through my desk, stealing money that was to be used for helping others, computers and other electronic tools that are used to teach the Bible and serve God’s people, and, sadly, a personal computer that had all of my family pictures and videos. -that one hurt the most. If you’ve ever experienced this, then you know a burglary like this not only hits you financially but emotionally. You feel completely helpless and violated that someone would do such a thing. I’ve been feeling this way. It makes me want to shout out with the Psalmist, “the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.” (Psalm 12:1)

However, I can’t say that I am surprised. You see, the only “faith” that I have in humanity is that humanity will act in a way consistent with what the Bible reveals. The Bible tells us humanity is fallen, sinful and “follow(s) the course of this world.” (Ephesians 2:1-2) These thieves were living out their sinful desires not caring about those who would be at a loss in the wake of their trouble.

What can I do? I pray. Primarily, I am praying for those people who committed this crime. Why? Because, although I will miss having those pictures and videos of my children growing up, and although, I am saddened that they won’t get to see the videos of them learning to crawl or their 1st Christmas, it saddens me more to know what awaits people who commit such crimes.

Thieves do not inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:10) If the ones who broke into Maranatha happen to read this, I would implore them to be made right with their Creator. Repent (turn away from) of your sin of theft and turn to Christ. You need to come to Jesus and call out to Him to save you. You might have taken my belongings, but God will take your soul. I forgive you for your sin against me and the people at Maranatha, but most importantly, I pray that you will come to know Jesus Christ. This is where my faith lies, in Christ alone! -not in humanity.

By Pastor Nick Jones
Maranatha Baptist Church
1320 E. Saguaro Dr. Globe, AZ
facebook.com/MBCGlobe