Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Raised with Christ

Most every Christian will say that when they were baptized into Christ, then they were “raised with Christ.” It is true that we are “raised with Christ” when we come out of the watery grave of baptism, having our sins washed away. However it is so sad that far too many do not live like they have been “raised WITH Christ.” Actions do speak much louder than words. The apostle Paul wrote, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them” (Colossians 3:1-7).  Christians who have truly been “raised WITH Christ” will demonstrate that fact in their day to day life knowing that they have died to sin, putting to death the carnal things of life. One who now walks with Christ is one who sets their mind on heavenly things and not earthly things. What a great sense of encouragement it would be to all Christians IF all Christians understood the importance of what it really means to be “raised WITH Christ.” All Christians need to “examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.....” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Life on earth is very short, eternity is forever. Let’s make sure that we are living WITH Christ and FOR Christ each and every day. Our eternity with Christ depends on it! 


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Doing It "My Way"

When it comes to things religious, it seems like many people today have the attitude of "I'm going to do it my way." This attitude is not new. This was the very attitude that separated the Israelites from their heavenly Father. "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). "There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 14:12). "O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps" (Jeremiah 10:23). Based on these passages of scripture, we can see that if we take the attitude of "I'm going to do it my way," it will ultimately result in spiritual death. There are two ways in which this can happen: 1) Out of ignorance. We can decide to remain ignorant by not studying the scriptures so that we can "do it my way." But God will not accept our ignorance. "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30). 2) Out of rebellion. We can know what the will of God is and simply rebel by saying "I'm going to do it my way anyhow." We rebel against God when we knowingly violate His inspired Word by the way we worship (instrumental music, Lord's Supper once a month, etc.), in our recreation (gambling, drinking, practicing worldly things), in our speech, in our dress, and whatever else we may do that violates the teaching of God. God will not accept our rebellion; we must do it His way: "not my will, by Yours be done." Our creator and righteous God also said, "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin" (James 4:17), and "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven" (Matthew 7:21). May we all strive to ensure that we are practicing the things of God with a submissive attitude that says, "I'll do it God's way!"  

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Thou Art the Man!

David was referred to as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22) yet he committed sin. Many today don’t even give God the chance to work in their life because they claim to “not be good enough.” In reality, nobody is “good enough” for God but God loves man, His created work, and wants all to do His will. David was not perfect and we are not perfect. Yet, why was David referred to as “a man after God’s own heart?” I believe that if we can understand why David could sin, yet still be pleasing to God, then it will help each one of us to better be able to overcome our trespasses knowing that we have hope as David did.

David, Bathsheba, and Uriah
In 2 Samuel, chapter 11 we can read about the story of how David sinned in the eyes of the Lord. While the army of Israel was away fighting, David remained in Jerusalem. One evening David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of his house. It was here that he saw a beautiful woman bathing. He then inquired about this woman and was informed that she was the WIFE of Uriah. Knowing that she was married to another man, he still sent for her and committed adultery. She then became pregnant and in order to hide his sin he had Uriah, a very loyal servant, set up to be killed in battle. Now he was also an accessory to murder! After Uriah was killed, David took Bathsheba to be his wife. David had committed the sin of adultery with his loyal servant’s wife, Bathsheba. It says in verse 27 “...But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.” David may have thought that he hid his sin from man, but he certainly did not hide it from the Lord! We are sometimes just as foolish as David was, thinking that we can hide our sins. God knows all and SEES all!

Nathan’’s Parable
Nathan was sent to David (2 Samuel 12) and told David a parable. Nathan said: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him” (2 Samuel 12:1-4). When David heard this it says his “anger was greatly aroused against the man.” Then David said to Nathan “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity” (2 Samuel 12:5-6). David had just committed adultery with Uriah’s wife, had him killed, and then Nathan comes and tells this parable to David and he is ready and willing to put to death the man that took the poor man’s lamb! Nathan’s parable was directed DIRECTLY at David, yet he thought he was talking about someone else. 

Thou Art The Man!
Nathan stuns David into reality by saying “Thou art the man!” “Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon” (2 Samuel 12:9). David was shocked into reality but what did he do? Did he quit? Did he say “I just knew I could not be perfect,” and just give up? NO! David showed why he was a man after God’s own heart as we too can be. He said: “I have sinned against the LORD” (2 Samuel 12:13). From that moment on he dedicated his life fully to the Lord. His sins were “put away” but he paid the consequences for his sins (2 Samuel 12:16ff). Let us all resolve that when God speaks to us from His Word - don’t assume that He’s talking to someone else. Be honest and ask yourself “AM I THE MAN?” and if the answer is “YES,” then admit that you have sinned, repent, and serve God diligently hereafter.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Is Jesus Our First Priority?

Jesus promises us that if we will confess Him before others, then He will confess us before His Father in heaven. However, if we deny Him before others then He will deny us before His Father in heaven (Matthew 10:32-33). It is not easy to be a Christian. Christians cannot blend in with the world. It may be that we will need to make some very difficult decisions in order to maintain our fellowship with Christ. Serving Christ in all aspects of our life may mean that we have to be enemies with our very own household. Listen to the words of Jesus: "For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law'; and 'a man's enemies will be those of his own household.' He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it" (Matthew 10:35-39). Jesus is teaching us that our love, devotion, and loyalty must be for Him, even above our own family members. There is a strong bond of love that usually exists within our physical family, but Jesus said the bond between us and Him must be stronger.

When we made the most important decision of our life to be baptized into Christ we made a commitment to be one with Him. That decision means that we cannot let our family, friends, and things of this world interfere with our love and service to Jesus. Can others truly see in each of us that our first priority is Jesus? God certainly knows the answer to that question (2 Corinthians 5:10; John 12:48). 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

When Do You Remember Jesus?

During this time of year many, many people attend the “church of their choice” to “remember Jesus.” All year long there are those that go about their work only looking out for themselves and their family and not giving any thought to Jesus Christ. But then, that one day comes around once a year called “Christmas” and many people stop and think to themselves, “it’s time to remember Jesus.” This is really sad.

We are commanded to meet together on the first day of the week to break bread (Acts 20:7). The bread represents the body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:23-24). Jesus said “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:24). We know from reading Acts 20:7 that we are to meet on the first day of the week - why? To break bread. What does the bread represent? Christ’s body. Therefore, when we partake of the bread which represents Christ’s body we can see from the scriptures that we are to do it in remembrance of Jesus on the first day of the week. How many first day of the weeks are there? 52, and sometimes 53. Therefore, how can one suddenly say to himself, today I need to stop and remember Jesus Christ - only once per year and keep the commandments of Jesus? The bread represents His body, the cup represents His blood which was shed for us on Calvary. We are remembering and proclaiming the Lord’s DEATH until He comes again (1 Corinthians 11:26) each time (first day of the week) that we partake of it.

We do not partake of the bread and cup in memory of His birth - whenever that was. It’s through His death that we have the opportunity for eternal life!

 

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Drawing Power of God's Word

Let’s face it; people do not always come to a Bible classes or worship services to hear the word of God. Some come to please someone else. Others come with an expectation of being entertained. Still others come looking for a chance to object to whatever is said or done. These are ungodly traits. Others do have ears to hear, and come in order to “sit at the feet of Jesus” and intently hear, learn and live the gospel of the Savior (Luke 8:8; 10:38-42).

God’s inspired word is designed to draw sinners to God and to the salvation in His Son. It is sufficient to the task (Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Jesus said, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore, everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me” (John 6:44-45). To deny the power of the word of God to draw sinners to Christ is to deny the power of God.

Brethren must trust the word of God to draw the lost and to preserve the saved. It is the message that must draw the lost to salvation (1 Peter 1:22-25). For example, why is it some brethren prefer to use recreational activities to advertise and encourage young people to attend special services intended for their spiritual benefit? Are young people only interested in hearing the gospel when it is associated with wiener roasts, volleyball and overnight lock-in games and activities? I do not believe so, and those who are interested in feeding their souls will not be lured by offers intended to feed the belly (John 6:26). It is revealing that in the same context in which people thought they could come to Jesus to have their stomachs fed that Jesus said He feeds the soul as the bread of life (John 6:27-38). Jesus did not use food to draw people to Himself; we dare not attempt it today.

Some, while emphasizing faith in Jesus, tell us not to put our faith in the Bible. We cannot do one without the other. Jesus is “the Word” we must hear and follow (John 1:1-3, 14-18; 14:6). The inspired Psalmist said, “I have an answer for him who reproaches me, for I trust in Your word” (Psalms 119:42). He put his faith in God’s word. We must, too. Jesus teaches us truth (Ephesians 4:20-21). Faith in Jesus is not and cannot be separated from faith in His word, the Bible (Romans 10:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Like the apostles, we must go and “speak to the people all the words of this life” (Acts 5:20). We need not add games and gimmicks to the drawing power of God’s word. Divine truth is sufficient to draw good and honest hearts to Christ (Luke 8:14-15; Acts 17:11-12).

Written by: Joe Price

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Relationship with the World

It is imperative that Christians recognize the proper relationship that we are to have with the world. In 1 John 2:15-17 we are told that we are not to love the world. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). The points that John and Jesus are making is that we cannot put the things of this world above the love of Christ. We are also not to conform ourselves to the world (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Peter 4:1-4). It is true that we are in the world but we are not to be of the world (John 17:11, 16; Philippians 2:15). Christians are supposed to live righteously so that we can have a positive impact upon others so as to be able to convert them to Christ (John 17:18; 20:21). When Christians understand our proper relationship with the world then we will be free from worldly cares (Matthew 13:22; 2 Timothy 2:4), and not be bound by the pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11:24-26; James 5:5).