Friday, November 30, 2018

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is a distinct member of the “Godhead” (Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:9). The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4), and He is distinct from the Father and the Son (John 14:26; Acts 10:38). He was active in creation (Genesis 1:2, 26-27; Job 26:13; Psalm 104:30). He was given to the apostles to reveal “all truth” so that they could preach the gospel or “shew you things to come” (John 16:13). When people believed this preaching, they obeyed and were then saved: “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).

The coming of the Holy Spirit on the apostles included the ability to work miraculous gifts, such as speaking in tongues in Acts 2:5-12 (cp. 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 for a list of spiritual gifts). These gifts could only be transferred through the laying on of the apostles’ hands (Acts 8:18). Paul stated that these gifts would cease in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. No one today possesses gifts such as healing or speaking in tongues. The Holy Spirit was given to confirm the word of God (Mark 16:17-20; Hebrews 2:1-4). After the word was “once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3), the gifts were no longer needed.

The Holy Spirit also indwells in us. He does not do it by physically entering our body, helping us to make decisions or “steering” us in the right direction. The Holy Spirit is in us like God is in us (1 John 4:15) and Christ is in us (Colossians 1:27). As long as you and I live by the Holy Spirit’s law (the Bible), He will dwell within us, and we will be guided by His wonderful precepts. At that point, we will “walk in the Spirit” and produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5:16, 22-23). Conversely, if we do not obey, we will “grieve” the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). Let the word dwell in you and faithfully adhere to it.

Written by: Kyle Campbell

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Obedient Faith

Many denominations believe that we are saved by faith BEFORE we do the action in accordance with God’s command. No doubt you have seen those on television attending a huge denominational service that are invited to come forward at the conclusion of the service and to simply say that they believe in Jesus Christ. By admitting to this, they have “let Jesus come into their heart” and are saved at that point in their life. What we see then is that many denominations that are made by man will try to get us to believe that we are justified by faith BEFORE we obey God! But I ask “where in the Bible does it tell of any person that was saved by belief or faith only?” We know that salvation must depend on something more than belief in Christ only because in James 2:19 it says: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe-- and tremble!” We see from this passage of scripture that long ago James wrote to those of his day and to all generations to follow that belief alone will not cut it. Everyone can believe in Jesus but only a few will allow their belief in Him to live through obedient works. The very next verse says: “But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?”

Bible Examples of Obedient Faith
Men are justified in God’s sight ONLY when they are obedient to His Word. This has been proven throughout the Old Testament which we have for our learning (Romans 15:4), but is recorded in the New Testament showing that it is just as valid today. In each one of these Bible examples ask yourself this question: “At what point were these individuals justified in the sight of God, before or after their works?”

Abel: Hebrews 11:4 "By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.”

Noah: Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”

Abraham: Hebrews 11:8 “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.”
Hebrews 11:17 “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.”

Walls of Jericho: Hebrews 11:30 “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.”

Obedience to the Faith
We know that each and every one of these individuals had a deep faith in God, a total belief in God, but they were justified in God’s sight ONLY after they DID the action in which they were asked to do by God. Paul wrote in Romans 16:26: “but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith.” In closing let’s let James tie it all together for us: “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:21,24,26). I encourage you to be determined to be justified by God’s law and not man’s (Acts 5:29)?

Friday, November 9, 2018

Seek the Lord

In Isaiah 55:6-7 it says to “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:” These are great words of advice from the prophet Isaiah because if we do not seek the Lord (Matthew 6:33) then we will have no hope of eternal salvation. If we seek the Lord, we will find Him, for the scripture says: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” (Matthew 7:7). It is comforting to know that when we seek the Lord that we WILL find Him. God is no respecter of persons so everyone has the same opportunity to seek, find, and be accepted of God (Acts 10:34-35). 

But some who say they seek God are looking for Him in the wrong way (Proverbs 14:12), and in the wrong places (Exodus 20:34). We need to seek the Lord being determined to let Him guide our way (Jeremiah 10:23). We must be active, not passive in finding the Lord because God will only save us when we obey God. God’s pardon of sin consists in everlasting forgiveness if we obey Him (Matthew 7:21-23), and not the doctrines of men (2 John 9-11). Seek the Lord and obey Him, in order to receive eternal life!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Blood of Christ

Our greatest need is salvation because sin condemns us and only Christ can save us. God's law has always been that a sacrifice must be made for sin. This has been the way of God from the very beginning. Cain and Able, the sons of Adam and Eve, had to make sacrifice for sin. Under the law of Moses, the blood of animals served as a type of the blood of Christ which would later take away sins. The Hebrew writer says, "And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance" (Hebrews 9:15). But how can the blood cleanse us from sin? The apostle Paul answers that question in Romans 6:3: "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?" In baptism we are washed in the blood of the lamb. That's the reason that baptism (immersion) is essential -- there is no other cleansing but by the blood of Christ.

The apostle Peter told the Jews on Pentecost in Acts 2:38 that they needed to "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Remission of our sins does not take place until one is baptized by the authority of Jesus Christ. Salvation does not and will not take place until one is baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (1 Peter 3:21; Galatians 3:27; Mark 16:16; Acts 22:16). Jesus pleads for us to "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30). Truly, if we really do love Him, then we will do His will (John 14:15).



Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Our Spiritual Needs

We were not born in sin, but men of accountable age do sin. We do not inherit our sins as we do the color of our hair. Yet, being sinners, our greatest need is salvation. Since we cannot save ourselves, we must have a Savior. God in His infinite love and grace has provided our salvation through Jesus Christ. "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" (John 3:16). Why did God send Jesus to die on the cross? Because He was not willing that we should perish, but instead, have eternal life. At great expense God fulfilled His promise to send Christ into the world as our Savior. Over 2,000 years ago, Christ died on the cross for our sins. We thank God for His love and mercy!

God makes two dispositions of sin: 1) If not forgiven, sin brings forth death to the sinner. This is justice. "The soul that sins shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20) and "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). 2) God can and does forgive sins. We cannot live above sin, and we cannot save ourselves, so we are entirely at the mercy of God for forgiveness. Christ died on the cross for our sins, and had He not done this, we would all be doomed to death, for no other person could have died for our sins. However, God has not provided salvation for any of us unconditionally. Salvation is conditional. Jesus said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16). Why is it important that we are baptized into Christ? "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:3-4).

We should be so very thankful to our heavenly Father that He sent His only Son to die for us so that we can be saved. God did His part, we must do our part. 



Thursday, September 27, 2018

God's Word Spoken by Prophets

The prophets of God spoke the Word of God. In 2 Samuel 23:2 says, "The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue." This statement by David is verbal inspiration. Expressions such as this are found dozens of times the Bible. How could ordinary men know of events and persons about which they were writing (many times far into the future) unless they were truly guided by the Spirit? These men claimed no credit for their words of wisdom and salvation for themselves, but they always gave credit to the God of heaven whose mouthpiece they were. The apostle Paul stated, "These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual" (1 Corinthians 2:13). The inspired writers always gave the credit to one higher than themselves. They never claimed the wisdom which their writings portrayed.

For thousands of years God had planned the salvation of man. In addition, He planned the church from the very beginning of time. He also planned to send His only begotten Son to earth to save man. Later, when Christ ascended to the right hand of God where He is now king of kings, He sent the Holy Spirit to guide the apostles to reveal the truth -- a message that up until that time had been hidden in the mind of God. Paul stated, "and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 3:9). Also in this third chapter of Ephesians he said that God had revealed to him the mystery and that he wrote it down for man's understanding. The point is that when God revealed it to Paul, and Paul wrote it for all mankind, then we would have the message that was and truly is "God's power to save."

We only have this life that we are living to make sure that we are obedient to God (Hebrews 5:9). In the end, we will be judged by Jesus and we will give an account for all that we have done, good or bad (John 12:48; 2 Corinthians 5:10). I want to strongly encourage us to listen to the prophets, listen to the apostles, and listen to Jesus. Our eternal destiny depends on it.



Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Is the Bible Just a General Guide?

Is the Bible just a broad, general guide, or is it in fact the Word of God? Roman Catholicism believes in the authority of God, but they believe the revelation of God comes in two forms -- the scriptures and the unwritten or oral tradition. Their oral tradition runs alongside the scriptures in inspiration and authority.

Protestants believe in the authority of the scriptures, but most of them take the Bible as a very broad and general guide, and do not believe it to be a system of rules to be followed completely. They rely on their experiences which they have had (or think they have had), and thereby their feelings now become the authority. The modernists in religion think that an objective authority limits man's freedom and inhibits his search for truth. If this really is true, then the Universalists must be right in believing everyone is going to be saved.

The Bible is not just a broad, general guideline. It is in fact the inspired word of God! The apostle Peter said that his words came by the Spirit. The apostle Paul said the same thing. In Galatians 1:12 it says, "For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ." Many today believe that Mary Baker Eddy, or Joseph Smith, or even the Pope were or are inspired. I think it is wise to stick with just the Bible as being inspired by God. Jude wrote, "Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints." This means that all of God's revelation had been given long before the above mentioned men and women were born.

It is important that we respect and honor God and the wonderful, inspired words that He gave to us so that we can learn and know what we MUST do in order to gain eternal life with our Lord. Read the Bible and remember, this is God speaking to us. We please Him only by doing what He has stated for us to do, not what we think we should do. 




 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Bible is the Inspired Word of God

All religious people should understand that God has ALL authority. The right to command belongs to God only. Unfortunately people say that God has all authority, yet they do not do all things that God has directed. It seems that most people only respect subjective authority. This means an authority that comes from within themselves. This subjective authority is expressed in such statements as: "I think I am saved," or "I think one religion is as good as another," or "I don't think the church saves anyone."

Of what importance is it, really, what you or I think? The Holy Bible is inspired which literally means God breathed. The apostle Paul stated, "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). In other words, the scriptures are "God breathed." That allows for no mistakes. You and I may think that one church is as good as another, but what does the scriptures say about that? Be honest and think about that. There really is NOT ONE scripture in all of the Bible that even implies that one church is as good as another. Can a church that originated by man really be as good as the one that was blood bought and built by Christ (Matthew 16:18)?

The problem is that men bend God and His Word to fit their own lives and selfish ideas and teaching. The Bible says, "For I am the Lord, I change not" (Malachi 3:6). God is immutable and so is His inspired, God-breathed, Word. His divine will to man was given in the book that we call the Bible and regardless of the lives of men throughout the centuries, His word is still the same, and God's attitude toward men is the same.

When Paul wrote to the churches in Galatia he said, "But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Galatians 1:11-12). We can see that man did NOT write the Bible in the real sense -- he only wrote what the Lord caused him to write. God's Word cannot be changed. When I sin, maybe I would want God t change His law to fit my particular case and allow me to do this thing, but no, He cannot change His will for me or any other man. We would not want to serve a changeable God ---- would we?

Examine the scriptures daily and make every effort to live for God and be the kind of Christian and example that He would be pleased with. Remember, it is God that will judge us in the last day (John 12:48).

Thursday, September 6, 2018

What Religious Standard Do I Use?

I want to encourage all of us to think seriously about what our standard of authority is in religious matters. There is no way that we can unite religiously unless we use the same standard. If our standards are different, then our religious practice will be different. The fact is, God is not a god of confusion. "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Corinthians 1:10).

While most people claim that the Bible is their guide, in reality it is not. For example if someone says "I am saved, because I feel like I am" then it is their inner feelings that have become their source of authority because the evidence of salvation is their own feelings or conscience. The Bible has got to be our source of divine authority, not our own feelings. People have all sorts of different feelings, but there is only one God and one inspired word that He gave to us. Feelings are literally a dime a dozen. One says "I feel I'm saved when I believe," another says "I feel I'm saved when I repent." Another says they are saved in another way, and so on. Can "feelings" really tell us when we are saved?

Many religious people believe deeply on "tradition." They may not all claim that they base their religious beliefs on "tradition," but in reality that is exactly what they are doing. If their religion was good enough for their father or mother, then it is good enough for them. Could it be that one's father and mother did not learn all about the TRUTH from God's Holy word? The apostle Paul thought that he had the truth, being raised a Jew, but when he found out that the law of Moses had been abolished, he gladly accepted Christ. He even admitted that he was doing all things in "good conscience" (Acts 23:1). In the judgment, will God do the judging, or will I be my own judge? Will God be the one that decides whether I go to heaven or hell? I think that we all know that the answer is obvious. Unfortunately, many today think that they will be the judge -- or whether or not they are now saved. You and I will have to meet with God's approval then, and we must also meet with His approval now.

Yet, we still hear many religious people say "I think I am saved." Or they may say, "I'm satisfied with my baptism or the church of which I am a member." Please do not miss the point here. The questions are these and we must be honest before God with our answers: 1) Will God find me righteous at the judgement? 2) Do I have God's assurance that I am now saved? 3) Can I read from the Bible the evidence that my church is really the Bible church? 4) Is God satisfied with my baptism? Remember - God is the one who tells us what we must do in order to receive eternal life with Him.

The bottom line is that we are no more the judge of present righteousness than of future righteousness in order to enter heaven. God is the one that we must satisfy in all matters religious --- not me or someone else. Please take this seriously and think on these things. Our eternal destiny depends on it.
    

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Why Is There Religious Division?

A question that every religious person should be asking is "why are people divided religiously?" There are many, many churches that exist today. Most all of these churches have conflicting doctrines and practices, and as a result, do not have fellowship with one another. Most of the time we just cast aside such thoughts by saying "we cannot understand the Bible alike." However, when you come to think of it, we understand and are pretty well united on what the Bible actually does say; but we become divided on what it doesn't say. Let's look at a few examples of what I am talking about.

Most everyone agrees that we are saved by faith. Division comes because of what the Bible does not say. There is no passage in the Bible that says that we are saved by "faith only." We all agree that we are saved by faith (James 2:24). However, have you really tried to find the Bible passage that teaches that we are saved by faith only?

Have you ever heard that Adam and Eve ate an "apple?" Does the Bible really say that? The Bible actually says "fruit" not "apple." Did Adam and Eve eat of the "forbidden fruit?" We all unanimously agree that they did (Genesis 3:1-2). But what kind of fruit was it? Well, here is where the division comes. It comes because we begin to speculate on what the Bible does not say. We can have Bible unity when we stick with just what the Bible does say. When we begin to inject our own ideas where the Bible does not specify, then everyone has a right to his own opinion as the other. We do not have the right to our own opinion when the Bible clearly affirms something. It is a fact that everyone knows that they ate the forbidden fruit; division results when we speculate what kind it was.

Many religious people think it is strange that most all churches of Christ, and some others, do not use mechanical instruments of music in our worship to God. But, why are mechanical instruments not used? For the same reason we do not believe that the Pope is the head of the church on earth. There simply is no Bible passage that states it or authorizes it. What does the Bible really say about music in worship? There are nine New Testament passages of scripture that mentions music, and every one of these nine times it mentions vocal, but not once instrumental (Acts 16:24-25; Romans 15:8-9; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:12; Hebrews 13:15; James 5:13; Matthew 26:30). So let's ask the question: Is vocal music scriptural (authorized in the Bible)? I believe everyone would agree that it is. Is mechanical instrumental music scriptural? Now here comes the division. The division occurs because we are now speaking of something which the Bible does not mention. There is no Bible authority in the New Testament that authorizes it in our worship to God. Once again, division comes when we inject our own ideas into our worship to God.

Finally, do you believe in baptism? Most every religious person believes in baptism in one way or another. Why are we united on that? Because the Bible plainly says that we should be. Now let's ask another question: How should one be baptized? Someone may reply "sprinkling" or "pouring" and others "immersion." Why would there be division on this question? Because the Bible mentions nothing about sprinkling or pouring. Is immersion right? Most everyone will answer yes. We are unified on this because the Bible says baptism is a burial (Romans 6:3-4). The Bible is plain and we can understand that and agree. Division comes when we hear someone say that "sprinkling" or "pouring" is right. But where does the Bible authorize sprinkling or pouring?

I hope that we can all see that the principle has been established. We can really understand and agree with the Bible if we want to. The disagreement (division) comes when we begin to teach and do what it DOES NOT SAY. "And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him" (Colossians 3:17). Are we really striving to do all things religiously in accordance with what God has instructed of us in His Holy Word -- the Bible?

Friday, August 24, 2018

We CAN Understand the Bible

The New Testament was written in the language of the common man. It was not written in classical Greek reserved for the elite and ruling class of the day. It was written for all individuals because God wanted everyone to be able to understand His language. God's message was so important that it was essential that He express Himself in language adapted to all men's understanding.

Those who make the excuse that "we cannot understand the Bible" are really not being honest. When individuals are too lazy, or too indifferent to read and study diligently the Bible, they then say "I just can't understand it." What people are really saying is that they have not really tried, in most cases. It is interesting that we can read and understand newspapers, magazines, and even a novel -- but we just can't understand the Bible. The Bible is a book which averages only five letters.

It is so important that we realize that our failure to understand God's Word is the difference between having salvation or being condemned. God has provided us with His Words of salvation. He leaves it up to each one of us to accept His Words or not. We make the choice of what we read and why. I encourage you to choose to read and obey God's Holy and inspired message before it is everlastingly too late. Hell will be occupied with those who made the choice not to read, understand, and obey the Bible. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

All Good Works

Here is something for us to think about. Suppose for a moment that a lawyer had a set of books that had all the answers to all legal matters, would he need a supplement? Suppose a mechanic had a book that had all the answers he needed in his work. Do you think that he would need another manual? For spiritual matters, we do have such a book. This book of course, is the Bible. It says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, "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." The lawyer must buy new books because new laws and decisions are handed down daily. The mechanic must buy new books as new gadgets come out yearly. But God handed down a book that never needs revision. It has all the answers to our spiritual needs!

The Bible supplies us with every good work. If your practice cannot be found in the Bible, then it is not a good work as far as God is concerned. Any addition to a perfect revelation makes that book imperfect. Please let God's book, the Bible, direct your life in the ways you need to live and obey Him every day. Your eternal salvation depends on it.

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Gospel Cleanses us from Sin

It is said that "cleanliness is next to godliness." This has been said with reference to the cleanliness of the body or physical surroundings. But in spiritual matters, we might say, "cleanliness IS godliness." For when one is cleansed from sin he is godly. Just as water is a cleansing agent for the filth of the flesh, likewise there is a cleansing agent for the sins of man. That cleansing agent is the blood of Christ. The scriptures say, "Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12).

But how can we really know that we have such spiritual cleansing? The Bible tells us, "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you" (John 15:3). The words of Christ tell us of His saving blood and when we are baptized into the death of Christ, then we have our sins washed in the blood of the Lamb. The fact is, we absolutely can't be saved without the blood of Christ and we can't be saved without the word. I encourage you to listen to the words of Christ and respond according to His teaching resulting in complete obedience to Him (Hebrews 5:9).

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Bible Leads us to Salvation

A world without the Bible would be even worse than a trip through Carlsbad Caverns without some kind of light. David said, "Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path" (Psalms 119:105). He also wrote, "The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple" (Psalms 119:130). The Bible stands as a complete and final revelation from God and it gives spiritual light to dispense the darkness that may be in our individual lives as well as that which is in the world. It lights our way here on earth and it shines in order to show us the way to heaven.

The Bible is truly a lamp shining in darkness. In the midst of wickedness, sin and selfishness, the Bible shines as a giant beacon showing the way of God like a lighthouse standing on the shore beaming its bright light to the lost ones at sea. We really do need the Bible in order for us to have the light that will lead us to salvation. Humans do not inherit the guilt of sin as we do the color in our eyes. We are not born a sinner as many people teach. However, we will sin. Paul affirmed this truth when he wrote, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). If there was no remedy for our sin, then all of us would be doomed to eternal damnation because "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

While there is no escape from physical death, there is an escape from a final separation from God -- and it is the Bible and the Bible alone that supplies us with that information. The apostle Paul wrote, "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" (Romans 1:16). James writes "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21).

It is a fact that creeds, manuals, prayer books, catechisms, disciplines and any other book or creed cannot provide us the true light of salvation as the Bible does. The Bible is the inspired word of almighty God, the other books are not. They are unnecessary and are in fact additions to God's Word (Revelation 22:18-19). I want to encourage you to think on these things because our eternal destiny depends upon it.




Thursday, July 19, 2018

All Bible Prophecies Always Fulfilled

The predictions of men, based on facts of the past and logical conclusions drawn from them, are sometimes right, but more often are in error. Even weather predictions, with all the sophisticated equipment and a storehouse of knowledge, often are wrong. But the difference in human predictions and Bible prophecy is that no man who spoke from God was ever wrong.

These men prophesied of men -- even their names -- and events hundreds of years before such events came to pass and concerning things which were obviously beyond the scope of human knowledge and wisdom at the time they were written. How could Micah know the Savior would be born in little, insignificant Bethlehem when he wrote 700 years before Christ was born? He could because God was with him. I want to encourage you to think on these things and put your faith and trust in almighty God who created us in His own image.

If you would like to enroll in a free Bible correspondence course that you can do in the privacy of your own home, please send your name and address to the following address and your course will be mailed to you when it is received.

Poudre Valley church of Christ
2926 E. Mulberry St., Unit B
Fort Collins, CO   80524

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Bible is God's Moral Standard

Old Testament writers lived in a country surrounded by and influenced by heathen religions. New Testament writers were in the midst of the immoralities and vices of pagan Rome and Greece. Yet the moral standards which these writers set forth were far in advance of anything known at that time. This is again evidence that the Bible is from an omniscient God.

How can the skeptic account for the fact that the world's greatest literature and the highest moral standards came, not from the geniuses of Rome or the philosophers of Greece, but from a handful of Jewish fishermen who never went to college nor published a book. Christianity is the one standards that admits of universal application without destroying the world. No other religion elevates all mankind as does Christianity. The apostle Paul wrote, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). God wants us to be unified in His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. Are we really striving to practice New Testament Christianity based on the words of God's Son?

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Developing and Using Our Talents

Life is what we make of it. A Blacksmith takes five dollars worth of iron and makes it into horseshoes and gets twenty dollars for them. A machinist fashions the same iron into needles, and gets hundreds of dollars. The watchmaker takes the same iron and manufactures mainsprings, and receives thousands of dollars. Similarly, one person uses his time and talents to advance his own earthly interests. Another takes the same opportunities, and through wisdom and the counsel of God’s word, shapes and molds his life for eternity. He refines his character so that he is worth something to the world and God. It's entirely up to you and I whether we develop our lives into a noble accomplishment, our character into a thing of beauty, and our talents into a source of glory to God. A life without aim or purpose shows no intelligence or forethought.

What have we done with the life God has given us? How have we used our talents to the glory of God? With reference to the one-talent man, Jesus said, “And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:30). How will we answer God when we are asked what we have done with our talents? God has told us that He expects us to understand His will and do it. Ephesians 5:17 says, “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 says, “...When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power…” Let’s ensure that we developing and using our talents wisely.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Faith and Obedience

We read in James 1:21-22, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

Thus, we must humbly receive the implanted word. The word must from the printed page be implanted into our hearts. The word must grow in good and honest hearts and bring forth fruit to eternal life. It does so when men and women hear the word and do what it says. Character building comes from doing, not just hearing. We are not changed by hearing good Bible messages only, but by hearing and applying those messages to our lives so that day-to-day improvements are made.

Hebrews 4:2 says, “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.” Galatians 5:6 says, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” Hebrew 5:9 says, “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him…”

How about you? Are you humbly receiving the word which is able to save your soul? How faithfully are you practicing that which is taught in the word? Are you both hearing and doing? James 1:25 says, “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Winning Souls -- A Joyful Experience

Have you ever given much thought about what is the real reason that we are here? In Mark 16:15 Jesus commanded His disciples to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” We have a responsibility to ourselves as Christians and to God our Father to teach Jesus to those we come in contact with. Leading souls to Christ is simple. It takes a love for God, love for the souls of others, and love for our own soul. When we have a true love for souls, then we will want to study the Bible more in order to find out what we can learn about our Lord Jesus Christ so we can be more effective in leading others to Him.

The best soul-winners are enthusiastic converts to Christ. You can’t teach someone how to be enthusiastic about Christ, it comes from putting on Christ “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). Once an individual realizes that Christ really died for them, washed away all sin, and keeps God’s commandments “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15), they know they will have life everlasting with God the Father.

This is what really gets a Christian excited. Because of this enthusiasm an individual then seeks out others to try and teach Jesus to because they want them to experience that joyful feeling that they experienced when they were baptized, knowing that all their sins were washed away (Acts 2:38). Winning souls is truly a joyful experience!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Seeing as God Sees

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could see things as God sees them? If we could see as God sees, we would know that most fears never materialize. Most of the things we spend most of our time worrying over will never happen and, thus, we waste energy and weaken ourselves.

Surely this is why Jesus said in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Each day has enough trouble of its own. If we could see as God sees, we’d realize that there’s no problem that we’ll face which is without resolution. In our gloomier moments of illness, financial stress, or personal problems, we ponder and study over questions which seem to have no answers. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” James 1:2-4 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” If we could see as God sees, we would understand that no trial comes without an attached blessing. Things can't be seen in advance and in our anguish we tend to doubt that anything good can come from a heartache.

If we could see as God sees things, we would know that nothing is more important than having a Savior. The ups and downs of life all lead to the end of life, and at the end lies the Christian’s moment of joyous triumph in Jesus. “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).

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

Contentment

“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!