Friday, January 17, 2014

There Is Salvation In No Other Name

'Peter said before the Sanhedrin, "There is salvation in no other name." I've done a word study on this. Do you know what it means? THERE IS SALVATION IN NO OTHER NAME. Listen, we're not just dogmatic about this, we're bulldogmatic about this.' -Pastor Steve Lawson

Thursday, January 16, 2014

ANSWERED - Why Was 1 John Written?

On Wednesday, January 8, 2014 I encouraged those who attended our Bible Study on 1 John to read through the book throughout the week and see if they could find the three purposes John gives for writing 1 John. We discussed them on January 15, 2014. Here they are.

The 3 Purposes for Writing 1 John

1. That your joy may be full (1 John 1:4)
Our joy being full (complete) only comes from fellowship with God and His Son, Jesus Christ (v. 3), which comes from truth (v. 2).

2. So that you may not sin (1 John 2:1)
Does this verse teach we can be sinless after salvation? Absolutely not! Look at verse 2 - "If anyone sins..." Yet our goal should always be holiness. Knowing that we will never be completely free from sin, we should strive for that in our lives because of our love for Jesus. However, we are freed from a lifestyle of habitually, continually engaging in sin.

3. So that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5: 13)
This verse has been a tremendous help in my life during times I struggled with doubt over my salvation. This verse teaches that if you believe in Jesus Christ (His death, burial, resurrection), you can presently know that you presently have eternal life! What encouragement and relief! My salvation does not depend on how I feel, it depends on what God did in my life. And if I have eternal life now, I can't lose my salvation- because I now have eternal (never ending) life. If it can stop- then it wasn't eternal!

Next homework assignment: Read the book of 1 John. Yup, again! Actually, you may have to read it more than once this week for this assignment.
1. Look for one of the keywords in this book: "know." Mark it in your Bible the same way throughout the book of 1 John, so it sticks out to you at a glance. I simply circled the word. A couple of times it says, "did not know" or something similar. I circled "did not know" during those instances. If you don't like marking in your Bible yet, try printing out the text onto full size paper and mark on it that way. You can find your favorite Bible text online at
Here is an example of how I did it:

2. Find the SIX times Jesus is given as our example. Words that will help these stand out are "as He" and "just as He." One of them is a little difficult to find because it doesn't have those words in it. I simply underlined the phrase. I also wrote "Jesus Our Example" in the margin next to the verse.

If you read the passage through and don't find them all, don't give up! Read through it again (and maybe even again) and you'll find them all! This will help you become more familar with the book by reading it over and over again. You may even consider using an audio Bible. I wrote about how much I enjoy reading the Bible while listening to an audio Bible in this post here.


Citylight Church is a new church starting in 2014 in the Capital Region of Upstate New York, with the desire to reach those who live in Albany and nearby areas with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are currently offering a home Bible study on a weekly basis and plan to offer more ministries soon. If you have questions about Citylight Church, or would like to see how you can be involved with this ministry, feel free to contact us.
You can email Mike Towers at

1 John: Introduction

(This is what was covered during our first Bible Study on 1 John - January 8, 2014)

“The Bible is an integrated message system divided into 66 books, written by 40 different authors over a period of thousands of years, yet agrees completely in its presentation of God, history, and truth.”
“The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed, and the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed.” –Chuck Missler

"The BIBLE -- banned, burned, beloved.  More widely read, more frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of intellectuals have attempted to discredit it, dictators of every age have outlawed it and executed those who read it.  Yet soldiers carry it into battle believing it more powerful than their weapons.  Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed ruthless killers into gentle saints." –Chuck Colson

“This Book will keep you from sin, and sin will keep you from this Book.” –D. L. Moody

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” -2 Timothy 3: 16, 17

“Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.” –Jeremiah 15: 16

Basic Bible Study Tips
Remember: The Best Commentary on the Bible is…                         THE BIBLE


Example: Matthew 19: 16-22

Matthew 19: 16-22
16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” 17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Matthew 19:21 is often used out of context to teach that one has to be poor in order to be a Christian. That is not what Jesus was saying, nor was He teaching that you have to be a good person in this passage. He was dealing with the rich young ruler's view of himself, and showed him that he was not as "good" as he thought he was.

3. Interpret         HARD TO UNDERSTAND       passages in light of easy to understand passages, not vice versa.
Example: James 2: 20, Ephesians 2: 8-10

James 2: 20
But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

Ephesians 2: 8-10
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

James 2:20 is a difficult passage because, by itself, it seems that it is teaching that you are not saved without good works. It could be interpreted either way. But Ephesians 2:8-10 is very clear: works CANNOT save you. There is no way to interpret that passage. Therefore, interpret James 2:20 in light of Ephesians 2:8-10, that someone who has faith will do good works, but the works do not save you.

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.

The Gospel is the most important part of the Bible and of our lives. I hope it will be spoken of, taught, read, studied and proclaimed often through Citylight Church!

Author: Traditionally accepted as John the Apostle. Wrote the Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John and Revelation. Only identifies himself at end of Gospel and in Revelation. Wrote Gospel of John as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”
Personally called by Jesus and was an eyewitness of His entire ministry.
Considered younger than the rest of the disciples.
Was a part of Jesus’ “inner-circle” of three disciples, Peter, James and John. Only they experienced the Transfiguration, Jairus’ daughter raised from the dead, and prayer in the garden.
1-3 John are technically considered “epistles” (letters), however they are different than the rest of the Epistles in the Bible. For example, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians Colossians written by Paul to the churches in those areas. 1 John is sometimes referred to as a “written sermon.”
Unknown exact time when books were written, by traditionally believed to be late first century, commonly believed to be 90-95 AD.
John and his brother James, the Sons of Zebedee, were given the nicknames “Sons of Thunder,” probably referring to their occasional tempers. John writes in a very black and white style- this is right, this is wrong, light or darkness, truth or lies, right or wrong.

Main Purpose of 1 John: To combat the heresy of GNOSTICISM (from Greek “gnosis” meaning knowledge)
From  (Basic Intro of Gnosticism)
GNOSTICISM IS THE TEACHING based on Gnosis, the knowledge of transcendence arrived at by way of interior, intuitive means. Although Gnosticism thus rests on personal religious experience, it is a mistake to assume all such experience results in Gnostic recognitions. It is nearer the truth to say that Gnosticism expresses a specific religious experience, an experience that does not lend itself to the language of theology or philosophy, but which is instead closely affinitized to, and expresses itself through, the medium of myth. Indeed, one finds that most Gnostic scriptures take the forms of myths. The term “myth” should not here be taken to mean “stories that are not true”, but rather, that the truths embodied in these myths are of a different order from the dogmas of theology or the statements of philosophy.
… All religious traditions acknowledge that the world is imperfect. Where they differ is in the explanations which they offer to account for this imperfection and in what they suggest might be done about it. Gnostics have their own -- perhaps quite startling -- view of these matters: they hold that the world is flawed because it was created in a flawed manner.
 …  The blame for the world’s failings lies not with humans, but with the creator. Since -- especially in the monotheistic religions -- the creator is God, this Gnostic position appears blasphemous, and is often viewed with dismay even by non-believers.
… Human nature mirrors the duality found in the world: in part it was made by the false creator God and in part it consists of the light of the True God. Humankind contains a perishable physical and psychic component, as well as a spiritual component which is a fragment of the divine essence. This latter part is often symbolically referred to as the “divine spark”. The recognition of this dual nature of the world and of the human being has earned the Gnostic tradition the epithet of “dualist”.
Humans are generally ignorant of the divine spark resident within them. This ignorance is fostered in human nature by the influence of the false creator and his Archons, who together are intent upon keeping men and women ignorant of their true nature and destiny. Anything that causes us to remain attached to earthly things serves to keep us in enslavement to these lower cosmic rulers. Death releases the divine spark from its lowly prison, but if there has not been a substantial work of Gnosis undertaken by the soul prior to death, it becomes likely that the divine spark will be hurled back into, and then re-embodied within, the pangs and slavery of the physical world.
Not all humans are spiritual (pneumatics) and thus ready for Gnosis and liberation. Some are earthbound and materialistic beings (hyletics), who recognize only the physical reality. Others live largely in their psyche (psychics). Such people usually mistake the Demiurge for the True God and have little or no awareness of the spiritual world beyond matter and mind.
…Gnostics do not look to salvation from sin (original or other), but rather from the ignorance of which sin is a consequence. Ignorance -- whereby is meant ignorance of spiritual realities -- is dispelled only by Gnosis, and the decisive revelation of Gnosis is brought by the Messengers of Light, especially by Christ, the Logos of the True God. It is not by His suffering and death but by His life of teaching and His establishing of mysteries that Christ has performed His work of salvation.

Citylight Church is a new church starting in 2014 in the Capital Region of Upstate New York, with the desire to reach those who live in Albany and nearby areas with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are currently offering a home Bible study on a weekly basis and plan to offer more ministries soon. If you have questions about Citylight Church, or would like to see how you can be involved with this ministry, feel free to contact us.
You can email Mike Towers at

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Why Was 1 John Written?

Why did John write 1 John?
I challenge you to read 1 John today. It's only 5 chapters, you could probably do it in about 20 minutes.

There are 3 reasons why John states he wrote 1 John. He uses the words "so that you" or "so that your" to point them out. Write down the 3 reasons (or verse references) and come discuss them tomorrow night, Wednesday, January 15, from 6:00 - 7:30 pm for our Home Bible Study in 1 John!

Feel free to call Mike Towers at 518-545-9818 if you have any questions!
36 Velina Drive, Albany NY 12203

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Wednesday Evening Bible Study Starts January 8, 2014!

I am excited to announce our Home Bible Study is FINALLY HAPPENING! Starting January 8th, 2014, I will be hosting a Wednesday Evening Bible Study at my home. I want to personally invite you to come and join us. Here are the details.
1. What? - Weekly Bible Study Meeting
2. When? - Wednesday evenings, 6-7:30 pm (starting 01/08/14)
3. Where? - Mike Towers' Home: 36 Velina Drive, Albany NY 12203
4. Who? - Everyone is invited. While designed for adults, all ages are welcome. We have four children and can arrange for children to enjoy activities during the Bible Study, or you may feel free to have your children with you.
5. Additional Details? We will provide light refreshments to enjoy. We will also share our vision for starting a new church in the Albany area of Upstate New York. Even if you are already a member of another church, you are still welcome to join us in the Bible study.

I am excited! This is why God brought us from CA to NY and I can't wait to see what God is going to do!

-Mike Towers

To let us know you are coming, feel free to:

Email us:
Call us: 518-545-9818
Click you are attending on the event on Facebook:

"Like" our Facebook Page!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Albany NY Easter Egg Hunt THIS Saturday!

This Saturday, March 30th, 2013, is our first ever Community Easter Egg Hunt! It will be held at the Ridgefield Park in Albany, New York, from 2-4 pm. We will have some fun games, snacks, a telling of the Easter Story, and of course an opportunity for kids to run and get lots and lots of candy filled Easter eggs! All of our activities are planned for kids 10 years of age and younger.

Please click on the link above and pre-register your child for the activity! This will help us know how many children to prepare for. Your child will be entered to win a gift card to Toys R Us for pre-registering. 

We hope you come and join us for this fun filled day! This will be the first activity in the starting of our new church. See you this Saturday!