Secure Your Internet

We understand the difficulty of policing the internet when you have children in your home.  That is why Gateway recommends OpenDNS.  OpenDNS is not a software package.  It is a DNS that you point your router to which lets you easily block individual or entire categories of Web sites in just minutes. It's free and requires nothing to download or install.

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Stealing Grace

It has been said that Christians have to decide which hills we are willing to die on. Some are willing to fight over every minor detail. Which is one reason there are so many denominations. We divide over too many things that are not worth it. But one thing worth standing up for is grace. This is necessary, because there is a natural human tendency to believe our acceptance before God depends on what we do. One reason we end up so easily dividing over other things is that we have forgotten grace and have based our acceptance before God on getting every detail right, rather than on what Christ has done. We must stand firm for grace, or we will end up contending over trivia.

 

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Reliability of Scripture

What has the power to change your mind? This is an important question. We do not want to be weathercocks, lightly changing our minds whenever the wind changes. But we also do not want to be people whose mind is made up and who do not want to be confused with the facts. For the Christian, one of the basic sources is the Word of God. It puts itself forward, not just as good advice or some new attempt at philosophy, but as the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; John 17:17). And we are required to test every other opinion by it (Galatians 1:8,9; Jude 3, Acts 17:11).

 

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The True Gospel

The world is full of counterfeits. And we need to be careful to distinguish them from the real thing. There are people who try to fool us. And sometimes we end up trying to fool ourselves. And sometimes we end up being fooled by others because we want to be fooled. Among the things commonly and systematically counterfeited is the gospel. Now water is a simple thing. If you try, you can destroy it by breaking it up into its component parts of oxygen and hydrogen. But the easiest way to mess it up is to add something to it. In the same way, the gospel is a simple thing. And the easiest way to mess it up is to add something to it.

 

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Freedom to Do What

Sometimes it seems easier to be a legalist. A legalist frequently has a simple checklist of things they have to do or, more often, not do. They go down that list and check them off. And if they make it down the list, they are okay. But real service to God is more complicated than that. Real service to God is rooted in grace. The Scripture says that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23; Jeremiah 17:9; Isaiah 64:6) and that Christ paid the price for those sins on the cross (1 Peter 2:24,25; Colossians 2:13,14; 2 Corinthians 5:21). We are saved by putting our faith in Christ, apart from anything we can do to earn it (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 4:4,5; Philippians 3:9). This results in a love for God which seeks to obey Him (1 John 4:19; 2 Corinthians 5:14,15; Romans 12:1,2), which can only be done through His power (Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 1:29). But does that bring us back to the checklist?

 

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I Am

Does it matter that Jesus is really God? Is it not enough for Him to be just a great moral teacher? Or if not that, why not just a man more in touch with God, a prophet, an archangel, the greatest of all created beings? Or does He have to be “the God?” Why not just one in a number of deities? Now Scripture refers to Him as God (Hebrews 1:8; John 1:1-16; 20:28) and as equal in nature to God (Philippians 2:6,7; John 10:30; Hebrew 13:8). He is associated with the Hebrew name for God, I Am or Yahweh (Jehovah) (John 8:58,59, compare Exodus 3:14; John 19:37, compare Zechariah 12:1-10; John 12:39-41, compare Isaiah 6:1-10). Given that there is only one God (Isaiah 43:10; 44:8; James 2:19), it is difficult to see how He can be Three in One at the same time. But there are things about God that are beyond human understanding (Romans 11:33; Isaiah 55:9; 1 Corinthians 3:18). However, why is it important?

 

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The True Vine

What part of “nothing” do we not understand? Jesus says that He is the Vine and we are the branches (John 15:1-5). He also says that because of that, without Him we are nothing. The branch apart from vine is useless; it is dead and does not even make good firewood. Now Christ is at work in His people to accomplish His purposes (2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:28,29). He also works through His church as a whole to produce results in the world (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 3:5-7; 2 Corinthians 3:5,6). Now that does not mean we can simply be passive; we need to be involved in actively doing what is right (1 Timothy 4:7,8; Hebrews 5:11-14; Titus 2:11-14). But the real issue is, what are we trusting in, our own capabilities or God’s power?

 

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