Friday, March 16, 2018

Unashamed of Christ

We read in Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." What did Paul mean by the statement "I am not ashamed"? Paul, like all of us, had certainly done things in the past of which he was ashamed. However, he now lived in such a way that he would not be ashamed to face Jesus.

Paul had found the good news of salvation and told it openly--he wasn't ashamed. He wasn't embarrassed to speak of the Christ or to suffer for the faith that he held. He kept on repeating proudly, "Jesus is the Christ!"

Paul wasn't disappointed with Christ and His blessings. He trusted in Christ and Christ never forsook him. Paul just kept on proclaiming the good news of the gospel. He was never ashamed to proclaim that message. Paul was never embarrassed to speak the name of Jesus to those who did not know Him. Paul was never disappointed with the one who was His Savior and friend.

Are we ever ashamed of the story of Jesus? Do we hold back our confession of Him before men? Will Christ be ashamed of us on that judgment day? Jesus said, "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38).

1 Peter 4:16 says, "But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter."

Let us unashamedly serve our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Wrong Is Wrong

In a period of loose and sagging morals, Satan provides many rationalizations for improper behavior. Those who would live faithful Christian lives must not be ignorant of Satan’s devices. Paul said, “...Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” Wrong is always wrong despite our efforts to excuse our actions. Wrong is wrong even if we don’t get caught. Let us remember, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).

Wrong is wrong even if we do it for a good cause. An honorable purpose does not justify a dishonorable deed. The end never justifies the means. According to 1 John 3:4 and 5:17, all sin is transgression of God’s law. Wrong is wrong even if others are doing worse things. It will be of little comfort on the day of judgment if we should be lost knowing that others did things worse than our own sins.

Wrong is wrong even if it doesn’t bother our conscience. The conscience can be trained or educated to accept wrong-doing, and even an honest mistake done in good conscience is sinful in the sight of God. Remember, Paul persecuted the early Christians in all good conscience according to Acts 23:1 and 26:9.

Wrong is wrong even if it is commonly considered acceptable. God said in Exodus 23:2, “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil…” Proverbs 4:14-15 says, “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on.” The apostle Paul encourages all Christians to “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22). Remember, there is never a right way to do a wrong!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:6-10).

One of the most desired and yet elusive goals in life is this matter of contentment. Truly, contentment is one of great treasures of life and he who has contentment is truly rich. The word Paul uses here in 1 Timothy 6:6 for contentment is “autarkeia.” This was one of the great watchwords of the Stoic philosophers of Greece. By “autarkeia” they meant a complete “self-sufficiency.” they meant a frame of mind that was completely independent of all outward things and which carried the secret of happiness within itself. He who had “autarkeia” (contentment) needed nothing else. The thought being that true contentment never comes from the possession of external things (material wealth) but from an inward attitude in life. A Greek philosopher named Epicurus was asked for the secret to happiness and reportedly replied, “add not to a man’s possessions but take away from his desires.” It is not what a man possesses but what truly possesses him that produces contentment.

God has provided all that man needs to be happy. Yet, God brought us into the world without any possessions. Thus, possessions cannot be the root of happiness. They are transitory. “There are no pockets in a shroud” and “you can’t take it with you.” “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Timothy 6:7). All we can take to God is ourselves and the history of the lives we have lived whether good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10).

It is not that Christianity pleads for poverty. There is no special virtue for poverty. There is no special virtue in being poor or in having a constant struggle to make ends meet. In this same sixth chapter in fact, Paul speaks of Christians who are rich and does not condemn them for their wealth. He does warn about trusting in “uncertain riches” and encourages them to be “rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share” (1 Timothy 6:17-19). It is not sinful to be rich nor righteous to be poor. But we must realize that it is never in the power of things to bring lasting happiness. Paul pleads instead for concentration upon the spiritual things which are permanent. For contentment can only come when we escape the servitude of things. “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). Contentment will be ours when we find that our wealth is in the love and fellowship of God which has been made possible through Jesus Christ. Truly, having God we have all things.

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare.... For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:9-10). Again, money in itself is neither good nor bad; but the love of it – the “desire to be rich” – leads to evil and “many foolish and harmful lusts.” With money a man may selfishly serve his own desires or answer the needs of a fellow human being. With money a man may facilitate the path of wrongdoing or he can make it easier for someone else to serve God. No, money is not in itself an evil, but it is a great responsibility. It is a powerful tool that may be used for good or evil, and it brings with it special dangers if it is loved. If it is loved: 1) It tends to be a desire which is never satisfied (Ecclesiastes 5:10). 2) It makes for a life founded upon an illusion that security is found in possessions (Luke 12:16-21). 3) It tends to make us selfish and proud (Luke 16:19f). 4) It promises security but tends to produce anxiety (Ecclesiastes 5:12). 5) It may even lead to dishonesty (Proverbs 30:9).

To seek to be independent of financial reliance upon others and prudently provide for the future is a Christian duty (Ephesians 4:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:10), but to make the love of money the driving force of life cannot ever be anything other than the most perilous of sins and will rob us of the “great gain” – the contentment that is found only in Christ.

Article written by: Phil Arnold (Deceased)

Friday, February 9, 2018

What Are We Concerned About?

Where is our heart today? Or, perhaps, the question should be “What are we concerned about today?” Are we more concerned about our clothes, car, or home than our neighbors’ souls, our children’s souls, or our own soul? Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

The all important question, therefore, is, “Where is my treasure?” Jesus in essence declared; “Don't set your heart on worldly materialism; instead, let your interest be in that which lasts forever.” In Jesus’ time, just as in ours, great stress was laid on personal apparel. Jesus was showing that we should not be anxious about something the moths will eventually eat. He said in Matthew 6:28-30, “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

We should never put undue value on clothing, or on any other material or worldly thing. Jesus emphasized that we shouldn’t worry about earthly things. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Are we out chasing the advertisers’ concept of the great American dream? Or, are we laying up treasure in heaven?

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Fear of God

In 1 Peter 2:17 we read, "Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king." Peter says we are to fear God. Now what does that mean? First, it means to revere God, to stand in awe of Him and to respect Him. Secondly, it involves an anxious dread of displeasing Him. 

Both aspects of fearing God play significant roles in our being devoted to the Lord. David exclaimed,"Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him."(Psalms 33:8). It takes this kind of reverence to serve God acceptably. We must humble ourselves under God's mighty hand. In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). His ability to speak the stars and universes into existence as recorded in Genesis 1:14 & 15 boggles the mind. 

The awe and respect we have for God leads us to dread displeasing Him for we know that one day we'll stand in judgment before the One whom He has appointed. 2 Corinthians 5:10 says,"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." 

Paul said, as he was convicting all men of sin, "There is no fear of God before their eyes."(Romans 3:18). This is certainly true of many in our time. 

How about you? Do you fear God? Do you have a wholesome dread of displeasing Him? Hebrews 12:28-29 says, "...Let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire." 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Old Testament

Here is something for us to really think about. Most people today think that we are bound to keep the laws of the Old Testament. But are we? The scriptures contained in the New Testament tell a different story. Therefore, if the Old Testament is still binding today:
  • Why did Paul tell the Romans we are "dead to the law" and "delivered from the law" in Romans 7:1-7?
  • Why were the Corinthians told that the Old Testament was "done away in Christ" in 2 Corinthians 3:6-14?
  • Why did Paul tell the Galatians the law was a "schoolmaster" and "we are no longer under a schoolmaster" in Galatians 3:23-25
  • Why were the Ephesians told the law of Moses was "abolished" in Ephesians 2:15?
  • Why did Paul tell the Colossians that the Old Testament was "wiped out" and "taken out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" in Colossians 2:14?
The Hebrew writer said "A New Covenant, He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away" (Hebrews 8:13). We are no longer under the Old Testament law of Moses. We are under the New Testament, the law of Christ.

May we all strive to live our lives dedicated to His service, striving to do everything that He has instructed of us. Remember, Jesus Christ now has all authority (Matthew 28:18-20).  

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Be Steadfast

The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians and urged them to “be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). That is a beautiful charge and one that every Christian should keep on their mind to keep focused in life and their duty for God. A true Christian is certainly steadfast and so is the Word of God and our hope (Hebrews 2:2-4; 6:19). Christians should strive to be steadfast in faith as Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:9 when he uses the word “firm” which is another form of steadfastness. We should also be steadfast in our prayers, confidence, and in our worship to God (Romans 12:12; Hebrews 3:14; Acts 2:42). We realize as Christians that it is important to be steadfast in our faith in Jesus, but some may still wonder why. We are commanded in 1 Corinthians 15:58 to be steadfast - why? To be approved.

Paul tells the Romans “...patience, experience…” (Romans 5:4). When we are patient under the daily pressures, then we become a better Christian, one that has proven to be steadfast and as a result we become much stronger! One that is steadfast also produces joy (Colossians 2:5). We also need to be steadfast to resist the devil, to be holy, and not to be enticed (1 Peter 5:9; Colossians 1:22-23; 2 Peter 2:14). One can strengthen their steadfastness by enduring tribulation as Paul mentions in Romans 5:3-4. And of course the greatest reason to be steadfast in Jesus is because “we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” (Hebrews 3:14). Steadfastness reaps eternal benefits!