Friday, May 24, 2019

Sin Separates Everyone from God

The person who believes in God wants to always enjoy their fellowship with Him, yet the consequences of sin is separation from God. The prophet Isaiah said, "...your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you so that He will not hear" (Isaiah 59:2). The consequence of sin is that it causes us to be separated from God. A person is lost because of his sin. The apostle Paul stated, "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Death means separation, so the sinner is separated from God. This is true whether or not you have once become a Christian. Some human creeds tell us that you cannot fall from grace but this is contrary to Paul's clear statement in Galatians 5:4. A Christian may be cut off from the fellowship of God. The terrible consequence of sin is that it causes God to withdraw Himself from His children. God does not desire it; but justice demands it, and God cannot deny Himself. I encourage you to seriously think on these things because the Bible, the Word of God is always right.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Praying to God

The prophet Daniel prayed to God three times daily (Daniel 6:10). This godly man serves as an example to each one of us, showing us that it is important that we communicate with God on a continual basis. Without prayer we fail to bring ourselves into the full enjoyment of the blessings of God’s kingdom. 

The Sincere Desire of the Heart
We learn from scripture that our prayers to God are sincere desires from our own heart. Paul wrote in Romans 10:1, “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.” Paul was expressing a desire in his heart that Israel be saved. Our prayers should be addressed to God our Father, expressing the desires of our heart and we must do so in faith without doubting (James 1:6-8). Christians must realize that prayer is an acknowledgment of the all-sufficiency of God and our own dependency upon Him. When we truly realize and recognize this then our prayers will truly be from our heart.

The Importance of Christians Praying
Christians realize that God does not hear the prayers of sinners (John 9:31). Therefore the Christian understands the true value of prayer for the righteous. We know that God does answer prayer and therefore when we pray we pray expecting God to answer, even giving us greater things than we can ask or think (Jeremiah 33:3; Ephesians 3:20-21). Prayer creates an attitude in the Christian that brings peace to the heart. As we study our Bible on a daily basis we gain a deeper and better understanding of our Father. Likewise, when we pray to God on a daily basis, this creates a closeness with our Father and keeps us focused on striving to please Him in all things. Pray to God — because prayer is not conquering God’s reluctance, but laying hold on His willingness!

Friday, May 10, 2019

The Christian's Growth in the Lord

Once an individual puts on Christ in baptism, they should be determined to please God in all aspects of their life. But before one can begin to grow, one must first possess an attitude that says; “I want to grow as a Christian in order to be pleasing to God.” We are going to be discussing several areas in which a Christian is to grow in the Lord, but before one can grow, one must have a good attitude, WANTING to do God’s will in all things. We all must understand that it is not so much what a person knows or is able to do or possess, but rather the question is what kind of person am I. Perhaps all of us have witnessed only too often an ugly spirit or attitude that has brought great harm. A bad attitude can spoil almost any situation. On the other hand, a good attitude can enhance, or make right almost any adverse condition that may exist. Therefore, in order for a Christian to grow in the Lord, one must first have a good attitude, wanting to be a faithful child of God in ALL things.

In What Are We to Grow?
The apostle Peter writes that Christians are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ...” (2 Peter 3:18). Many Christians are not grounded in Christ mainly because they simply have not gained knowledge of our Lord. There is only one way in which we can gain knowledge and that is through study (Romans 10:17; 2 Timothy 2:15). If Christians would devote time to study and meditation of God’s Word, then they will be able to grow so as to be pleasing to God. We are also instructed in 2 Thessalonians 1:3 and 2 Corinthians 10:15 to grow in faith. The more faith that we have the stronger our love and devotion to God is. A Christian must strive to grow in knowledge and faith.

How Can We Grow?
Before we can grow in order to be pleasing to God, we must FIRST put away worldliness. We must truly be transformed from our old ways to a life of service and devotion to Christ (Romans 12:1-2). Wickedness, guile, hypocrisies, envies, evil speakings, etc. must be done away with (1 Peter 2:1). We cannot begin to grow while holding on to worldly appetites! We can only grow when we are determined (right attitude) to learn of God. We must “desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). The Christian that desires to please God wants to know everything they possibly can about what God expects of them (1 Corinthians 3:2; Hebrews 5:13-14). It is through the knowledge of His Word that we also learn to speak the truth concerning His Word. The apostle Paul writes; “but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ” (Ephesians 4:15-16). The more we know then the more confidence we gain in teaching others the TRUTH of His Word.

Unto What Shall We Grow?
Every Christian should desire to grow in the Lord in order to obtain salvation. Although we will never be perfect, we can certainly strive to be perfect (Matthew 5:48). Eternal salvation will only be realized by those individuals who are devoted to serving and obeying God. The Christian knows that their body is a holy temple. Paul writes “in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 3:21-22). Therefore Christians know that they will treat their body in a way which is pleasing to God. The body (the temple), grows into subjection to God’s will as the Christian with a good attitude understands that their body is the temple and that the body and the spirit is God’s. “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). To glorify God in our body we must grow to understand that we cannot do anything to our body that would be displeasing to God (Matthew 5:16). 

Why Should We Grow?
We must possess an attitude of growth in the Lord because it is commanded (2 Peter 3:18). Our growth in faith and love causes thanksgiving. Paul wrote: “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other” (2 Thessalonians 1:3). When we grow in the Lord we become strong. The more we learn, the more we are able to receive the solid food of the gospel of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:2). May we all possess an attitude that says “I want to be pleasing to God in all things.” I want to encourage all of us to constantly examine ourselves to ensure that we are doing all things according to the will of God (2 Corinthians 13:5). If so, then we are continuing to grow in the Lord.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Are We Following the Lord?

There are some individuals that claim to be “followers of the Lord” yet they do not heed everything that this encompasses. To follow after the Lord takes total dedication on our part, putting Him first in all things! The disciples were ready to follow Him, they dropped what they were doing, in order to follow Christ. “So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him” (Luke 5:11). It takes a sincere commitment on each of our parts to ensure that we are following Him daily. Jesus should ALWAYS be first in our life. The scriptures teach: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23), and “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

The true disciple of Christ understands why they should follow Jesus. The Christian knows Jesus. John 10:4 says: “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” To be worthy of Christ, we must understand that He is first and foremost in our lives and as a result, we prove this by the way we live each and every day. As Jesus called His disciples, He is calling us today. He wants us to listen to His invitation to be faithful stewards in His kingdom. He wants us to be soul-winners as were the early disciples and apostles. Are we ready, willing, and able to do the work that we have been challenged to do? Jesus knows if we are only honoring Him with our lips (Matthew 15:8). Let’s make sure that our heart is tuned in to do the work in which Jesus has asked us to do. Are we really following the ways of Jesus?

Friday, April 19, 2019

Gaining a Deeper Faith

John wrote: “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31). If you desire to have a deeper faith (belief) in Jesus Christ then you must be determined to know about Christ. In order to know of Jesus you must read of Him. The only way that we can gain faith is to hear the Word of God and that comes by reading and studying (Romans 10:17). Those individuals that John addressed in chapter four stated: “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world” (John 4:42)

Faith Comes By Hearing
Throughout the pages of the New Testament we find example after example of people being converted to Christ as a result of believing in Him. In order for us to be truly converted to Christ we too must first believe and then have that belief strengthened through continuous study of His Word. Faith cannot be produced in the absence of testimony. All agree that one must have faith, or be lost. Man is saved by faith, but Christ is the Savior. It follows, then, since Christ is the Savior and we are saved by faith, that Christ is the author of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). I would like to encourage all of us to open our Bible on a regular basis and read about our blessed Savior, Jesus Christ. The more we read, the more we study, the greater our faith will be in Him, and the more dedicated we will be in the service of His kingdom. May we all strive to gain a deeper faith in our Lord!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Things to Think On

Every waking hour of our life our mind is thinking of something. How good it is when we can train our mind to think on good things. Paul said “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). A Christian’s thoughts should be centered on godly things, not evil. Some may ask “Can our thoughts be controlled?” In 2 Corinthians 10:5 we read: “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” From what Paul said it is obvious that we can control our thoughts if we work at it.


Why Think On The Good Things?
We should think on good things first of all because we are commanded to do so. Paul said “if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Paul is speaking through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, therefore we must treat what he says as a command of God. We also need to think on good things because we are as we think. Solomon wrote: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

If we are thinking of good things then we won't be defiled (Matthew 15:19-20). God knows our thoughts and knowing that God knows our thoughts should motivate us to only want to think on the good things (1 Corinthians 3:20). And if we think on the good things there will be less chance of us sinning. For when we sin then we must ask God to forgive us of that sin. In Acts 8:22 we can read where evil thoughts need to be repented of. “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.” If we would take Paul's advice (command) and think on the good things then we would not have to repent of evil thoughts.


What Should We Think On?
We should train our mind to think on the Lord’s thoughts. Isaiah said “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:7-9). We need to remember that God's thoughts are not like ours. Where man would see no problem in doing something, God does see a problem with it and has set forth His way of worshiping Him in His written word, the Bible. We must ensure that we strive to think as the Lord would think and then do it. We should think on honorable things (Romans 12:17). We need to think about our savior Jesus Christ and why He came to this earth. He came and suffered, bled, and died so that we can have forgiveness of sins (Romans 6:3-4).

Our mind will always be thinking of different things as we go about our daily business. But let us train our mind to think on the good things that Paul stressed in Philippians 4:8. If we would allow God to direct our every step in life (Jeremiah 10:23), then it would be so much easier. Let us resolve now to give our heart and mind over to Jesus and let His example lead us each day as we strive to be the right influence before others. Won’t you be determined now to set your mind on thinking of good things and to follow the teachings of Jesus?

Friday, March 29, 2019

Christ's Church

We only have to open the telephone directory and look at all the different churches that are listed to wonder “what church is the right church?” There are books that are written about various churches, most claiming to be spiritually and doctrinally correct. We can read where all kinds of things are taught such as praying to Mary, baptizing babies, some priests can marry, others can’t, the social work of the church, no life after death or there is life after death! How can we know which church is the church that Jesus built?

I Will Build MY Church
Jesus said: “...I will build my church…” (Matthew 16:18). Jesus said this way back in 30 A.D. Therefore, the church that Christ built was built long ago. Every denomination that is in existence today was built long after Jesus said “I will build my church.” Most are proud to tell you the exact date that their church was established and the creed in which it was established on. Since Jesus said “I will build my church”, that must mean that the church in which Jesus built belongs to Him. Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:22-23: “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Here we can clearly see that HIS BODY = HIS CHURCH. In Colossians 1:18 it is pointed out that Christ is “the head of the body, the church”. Since Christ is the head, He decides, controls, and guides His church.

There Is ONE
The word ONE is mentioned several times in the New Testament. Let’s look at a few references to this. In Ephesians 4:4-6 we can read where “there is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Here we can plainly read where there is just ONE of each. Yet while most will acknowledge there is ONE God, they recognize several churches. Paul said that we should be unified (1 Corinthians 1:10). Only when we’re doing all things exactly as God has stipulated can we truly be ONE, which is to be unified.

Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (John 10:27). In John 10:16 we can read where there is ONE fold and ONE shepherd. Therefore, in the New Testament (the testament we are under today), we see that there was only ONE CHURCH!

Doctrines Of Men
The Bible is very plain on Christ’s teaching about His church. Yet many still want to preach and teach more than ONE church and various other ways of doing things that are in direct violation of God’s teaching in His Word! Jesus condemned man for teaching his own ideas and doctrines (Mark 7:7-9). Because man did change the teachings of Jesus, we now have denominations. Some denominationalists teach that denominations are simply branches of Jesus’ church. This cannot be so, for in the Bible we read “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:5-6). Disciples are the branches, not churches! 

In Mark 16:16, Jesus said: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Some say “He that believeth and is not baptized shall be saved.” Who shall we believe, Jesus, or doctrines of men? We cannot pollute the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9-11). When Christ’s doctrine is polluted with the doctrine of men, it makes man’s worship of God empty of any value, it is vain! 

Are you simply following the traditions and doctrines of men or are you striving to abide in the doctrine of Jesus Christ?