|FCPO Newsletter and Bible Study
||The "thin blue line" covered by the blood of Christ.
As we slog through what are now the "dog days" of summer (I'm already longing for fall) and with Independence Day (I don't say "4th of July") rapidly approaching, my prayer is that this week finds you all staying the course in Christ despite whatever you're dealing with the "the battle" of this life. In fact, our study this week centers on that very issue through one of richest, most powerful chapters in God's Word, the Bible. Scroll down to "Born Again" & "Greater Love."
Here locally, we will NOT be meeting for "cop church" on July 3rd...scroll down (below right) for complete details.
Finally, don't forget to check out the new prayer requests and announcements I've posted for you below.
With the "explosive" nature of the
Independence Day holiday, let's remember the true meaning of the day whilst striving to be safe on the street while remaining radically
bold in Christ!
(1) This powerful and outstanding editorial from fellow Christian cop/trainer/author
is something we should all put in our tool box!
What If We Aren't Wrong?
PRAYER REQUESTS/PRAISE REPORTS
(1) Cop-turned-chaplain Jason Pearson asks that we be in prayer for a colleague (and his family) whose wife suffered a medical episode and did not survive. Hits multiple police agencies. God knows the details...just pray.
(2) Pray for a medically retired officer (and his family) concerning his battle with PTSD. Again, God knows the details -- let's pray.
(3) In my lifetime, I've never seen our nation so divided between what is essentially issues of right and wrong (sin) based on God's standard, the Bible. Moreover, it seems that Isaiah's prophetic words in Isaiah 5:20 have been been more applicable ("Woe to those who call evil good and good evil"). Accordingly, I can't encourage you enough to be in prayer for our government leaders and our country in general in these dire days.
Have a prayer request or announcement you would like included here? Need prayer?
! I also post prayer requests on my Facebook page ("friend" me).
(2) FCPO-Canada is hosting their 2018 National Conference in Newfoundland & Labrador on August 3-5. You'll get to see a special part of Canada while hanging out with a great group of brother and sister officers.
(3) The Sheepdog Seminars is led by my friends Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, Officer/Minister Jimmy Meeks and fellow church safety expert Carl Chinn (among others). Outstanding, highly recommended training for every sheepdog (sworn and unsworn alike)!
The Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry
The Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry
is a national, FCPO-affiliated, evangelical Christian outreach to our own in law enforcement. These newsletters and Bible studies are part of this effort and past editions can be found on our
and our social media
) feeds. As always, feel free to adapt these messages for your own individual or group use and please share them with others.
The Centurion Ministry is lead by Police Officer and Chaplain/Evangelist Michael "MC" Williams, a 32-year law enforcement veteran and sought-after instructor and speaker at churches [including the well-received Centurion Church Security Seminar], retreats and both law enforcement and civilian conferences and seminars around the country. Contact MC via email for more.
Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers
FCPO-USA exists to provide biblical support ("backup"), accountability and iron sharpens iron fellowship to Christian officers first in the U.S. and throughout the world as well. Our metro-Denver chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers -- (aka FCPO Chapter 217) -- is a Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry affiliate. We meet most 1st and 3rd Tuesday evenings starting at 7 PM in Highlands Ranch (email me for address and details) for profession-focused/life-focused
Bible study, prayer and servant-warrior/sheepdog fellowship (the iron sharpens iron kind). Spouses are both welcome and encouraged to attend with their LEO.
Due to the holiday, we will NOT be meeting on July 3rd. Our next meeting is therefore set for Tuesday,
John 3: the "Born Again" and "Greater Love" Chapter
A summary of what is perhaps the most powerful and important chapter in the Bible. Pass it on!
One of the biggest challenges I face when trying to present a recap of our verse-by-verse police Bible studies in this format is doing justice to the text while also not losing you in the process (much easier for me to preach it than write it). Particularly in this case, the author (ultimately God) seems to be pressing me to mostly let His words suffice on their own. Seeking then to do just that as we pray and dig into what He has for us in John 3 (one of the most powerful and important passages in the Bible).
There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
So what (who) is a Pharisee? The Pharisees were one of the leading sects within Judaism. Pharisees took pride in trying to adhere to and
enforce not only to the laws in the Old Testament, but a dizzying array of extra-biblical man-made laws as well. They were generally respected by the other Jews and enjoyed social, religious and political power in the community. Sound a bit familiar?
Here find this
Nicodemus who is called "
a ruler of the Jews.
Nicodemus was one of the seventy or so members of the elite Sanhedrin, the political-judiciary-religious body that ruled Israel in Jesus' day (under the yoke of Rome's and King Herod's repressive oversight, of course).
This man came to Jesus by night...
Why did Nicodemus come by night? Because he very likely did not want to be seen inasmuch as he was
one of Israel's top judges (a religious leader/politician). Being seen with, let alone going to see, a "lowly" street preacher who was doing and saying unorthodox and even (in their view) blasphemous things would have very likely negatively impacted Nicodemus' reputation and future.
That said, Nicodemus shows courage in coming and respectfully calls Jesus, "Rabbi," literally calling Him not just "teacher" but also rightly, "my master." This is a truly remarkable, even miraculous (Spirit-led) statement given Nicodemus' high status as a respected teacher and leader (especially in light of the cultural norms of his day)!
Verses 3-7: "You must be born again..."
How does "The Master" respond to Nicodemus' question? By rightly saying that he MUST (not "may" or "should") be "born again." Of course, this leaves Nicodemus both incredulous and confused. What does Jesus mean by saying that we "must" be born again? The phrase "born again" literally means "born from above." Jesus saw that Nicodemus had a real need. He needed a change of his heart -- a complete, spiritual transformation. New birth, being born again, is an act of God whereby eternal life is imparted to the person who believes (again, not simple belief but pisteuo in the Greek -- wholehearted, complete surrender and trust in Christ alone). In context (context being everything) with what I shared back in John 1:12-13, the phrase indicates that being "born again" also carries the idea of "becoming children of God" through radical, "all-in," transforming trust in Jesus Christ alone, and that being born again was NOT "optional" but in fact a "must" in order to be saved!
The questions logically follow, "Why does a person need to be born again?" and "How can this come to be?" The apostle Paul adds context in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." As sinners, we are ALL spiritually "dead," but when we receive spiritual life through faith in Christ, the Bible likens it to a rebirth. Only those who are born again can have their sins forgiven and enter into a genuine, life-saving/life-CHANGING relationship (not "religion") with God in Christ!
Paul explains it further in Ephesians 2:8-9 where he states, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast." When one is truly saved, he/she has been born again, spiritually renewed, and is now a child of God by right of new birth. Trusting in Jesus Christ, the One who paid the penalty of sin when He died on the cross, is the means to be "born again." "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
: Yet Nicodemus remains confused, and Jesus patiently and lovingly responds with one of the most quoted (and misapplied) verses in all of Scripture:
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (v. 16). But we must not stop there! Verses 17 and 18 must not be separated from 16:
"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
What in "the world" does Jesus mean here? Jesus is making the radical statement to this very important Jewish teacher that God does not only love the Jews (who thought that ONLY Jews could be saved), but ALL of "the world" (all who have not surrendered in faith to Him as Lord and Savior). Here he also repeats the pisteuo (believe) concept -- meaning complete, wholehearted surrender to/trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
That said, we often see signs and banners at sporting events that say "." Unsaved celebrities and entertainers (the world) have thrown in a twist and replaced "John" with "something else 3:16" (wickedness). So, what is the big deal with John 3:16? And why is this verse (and the verses that follow) so important?
No other verse in the Bible so succinctly summarizes God's relationship with humanity and the way of salvation. Some consider John 3:16 to be the "theme verse" for the entire Bible. John 3:16 tells us of the love God has for us and the extent of that love -- a love so great that He sacrificed His only Son on our behalf. God uses John 3:16 in concert with being born again to teach us that anyone who will "repent and believe" (complete trust, surrender -- Mark 1:15) in His Son, Jesus Christ, will be saved. John 3:16 also gives us the glorious hope of eternal life in heaven through the love of God and death of Jesus Christ. "But wait!" -- we must not stop here!
Verses 19-21: "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God."
I would be remiss to not share -- in context -- the verses that follow
(and why I never quote
alone). To be truly born again is to be radically transformed! Most want the "love" part while insisting that they be "allowed" to continue on in their sin. NO! To be genuinely born again is to be radically changed to the point that while we will never be
, we will in fact
as we grow in Christ!
Here we see a picture of "the world" today -- a world that hates what God calls good (the light) and embraces what He says is evil (darkness). To be "inclusive" means that God (and we) must embrace the world's aberrant lifestyles (sin), and to not do so is to be less than loving ("hate" even). This then is the meaning behind Isaiah's prophetic words that I shared in the Prayer Requests section above: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil."
So yes, "God so loved the world," but John 3:16 goes hand-in-hand with being "born again" and rejecting what "the world" (ultimately Satan) would have you believe is "love" (thus John 3:1-21 and not just John 3:16).
Verses 22-36 (John the Baptist exalts Christ)
Here, in the final verses of the chapter, we find John the Baptist staying the course in rejecting his "celebrity" status and heralding Jesus as being the ONLY "Way" unto eternal life (see John 14:6).
Verse 30 ("
He must increase, but I must decrease") has particularly powerful application for us. This should in fact be the motto of every Christian, especially leaders among God's people. Jesus should become greater and more visible, and the servant should become less and less visible. Amen!
Then there is this: No one receives His testimony. Here John prophetically anticipated the rejection Jesus would endure in His ministry and then later (today) in general. He came from heaven, He testified to the truth, but relatively no one among the Jews received His testimony, even though witnesses certified (the highest standard of evidence) it as the truth of God. On this, Spurgeon wrote, "He meant that comparatively none received it. Compared with the crowds who came to him, compared with the nation of Israel, compared with the human race, those who received Christ's testimony were so few that his sadness made him call them none." Folks, are we not seeing this coming to fruition today as, more and more, "the world" rejects Christ, His standard (the Bible) and the FACT that He alone is the ONLY way unto salvation?
Lastly, the chapter concludes with verses 34-36 which cannot be separated from the context of being "born again" and "greater love." In particular, take note of, "He who believes [pisteuo -- complete trust and surrender to Christ] in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." Folks, we choose to reject God's "greater love" by refusing to repent and surrender all to Christ (the "must be born again" part) and die outside of that mandate, we will NOT be allowed into heaven and will instead spend eternity in hell!
So, in light of God's supreme love, sacrifice and offer, what say you? Where do YOU stand today? It is with a "Code 3" (lights and siren) sense of urgency that I beg you to re-read this chapter and consider the following:
I. Still think that you don't "need" Jesus? That you "deserve" or can otherwise be "good" enough to "earn" or badge your way into heaven or escape hell because you are a so-called "good person?" Take
Good Person Test
and see how you do.
first recorded words in His earthly ministry were and remain, "
Repent and believe in the Good News
is a "180" -- a complete, radical change of mind and heart as it relates our sin. To
(pisteuo in the original Greek) as Jesus intends it here is to cry out to God for your salvation and wholeheartedly
surrender in faith to Christ
in the same way we have "faith" that our body armor will do its job against the rounds it is intended to stop, that our weapons will function properly in when facing criminals intent on destroying us, or that a jumper's parachute will open when it is supposed to (we stake our very lives on it)! And the "Good News"? That is simply the Gospel of Christ (good news indeed)!
Still in doubt? Check out this powerful, short video message by my friend, fellow officer and noted trainer,
Cops and Salvation.
Finally, have you said "yes" to Jesus but are wondering what to do next? Then
Understand that the "now what" MUST (again, not "optional" for the born again believer) include regular fellowship with other believers -- including other mature Christian officers -- who can help support you, encourage you, disciple (help you grow) you in the faith and yes, hold you lovingly accountable. Message me for how we can help you do this!