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?

Friday, March 22, 2019

Unrighteousness is Sin

The apostle John writes: “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). From this verse we can learn that all unrighteousness is sin as far as God is concerned. It doesn’t matter how we might want to classify sin such as sins of ignorance, weakness, or even rebellion. If we are doing something contrary to Bible teaching then it is sin. When we sin, we do so out of our own desire. The Bible says: “Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted by God; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:13-15).

God Cannot Be Tempted With Sin
God cannot be tempted with sin because God has no evil desires. If man could rid his heart of all evil desires, he would not be tempted to sin. God is pure and we also are encouraged to be pure. John writes: “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:2-3). When we strive to be pure and righteous in our daily life then we are perfecting ourselves (Matthew 5:48). When we hope for heaven, then we will be obedient to Christ. Christ was pure and we must strive to ensure that we are pure.

Abhor Evil
The apostle Paul wrote: “...Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). Webster’s New World Dictionary defines Abhor as: “to shrink from in fear, disgust, or hatred”. There is no excuse for doing that which one abhors (hates), so if we learn to abhor everything that is evil, we will have no reason or excuse for doing evil. We do the things that we do because we like to do those things. If we like to do only the things which are good and hate only the things which are evil, we will have the problem of right living solved in no time!

Solomon wrote: “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). The heart is the home and source of all desires. It does not matter whether these desires are good or evil, holy or unholy, they proceed from the heart. An evil heart cannot send forth a holy disposition or life. Continual evil and wicked deeds in life are proof of impurity in the heart. Jesus said: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:21-23). 

Are We Excused on the Grounds of Ignorance?
When the Word of God demands certain things of us and we do not do them because we have no knowledge of the teaching, we have committed a sin of ignorance. When God’s Word forbids certain things and we do these things not knowing that the Word of God forbids them, we have committed a sin of ignorance. The question is raised “are we excused on the grounds of this ignorance?” Think about this. If ignorance will excuse us, it naturally follows that the more ignorant we are the surer we are to go to heaven! Therefore, it can safely be said that ignorance will not excuse our actions. We are either living righteously before God or we are sinning before God. The Jews crucified Jesus in ignorance (Acts 3:17), and the apostle Paul persecuted the church in ignorance (1 Timothy 1:13). But were they not still responsible for their sins simply because they were ignorant? Even the law of Moses did not excuse people on the ground of ignorance (Leviticus 5:17-19). Man has a responsibility to learn and understand what it is that is required of him to be saved. Only those that obey the Lord will enter heaven (Hebrews 5:9; Matthew 7:21), all others, whether they claim to be ignorant or not, will be sent to their eternal damnation (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

Conclusion
Let’s all be determined to practice only those things that are righteous before God, realizing that when we don’t, we sin. God knows our heart and He knows if our heart is set on practicing what is right or what is evil. The fact is, if it is not right before God, it is sin!

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Man of God

In 1 Timothy 6:11 Paul tells Timothy: “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.” The man of God must have his mind set on removing the things of the flesh as Paul describes in Galatians 5:19-21 and set them on the spiritual as he points out here to Timothy and earlier to the Galatians in 5:22-23. It does not take an outsider long to recognize that an individual that practices these spiritual things is different, that they are a “man of God!”

How To Become A Man of God
Before we can become a man of God we must be born again. In John 3:1-6 a man named Nicodemus visits Jesus, understanding Him to be a teacher from God. Jesus answers his question and says “most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Jesus goes on to make this very plain in verse 5 and then says “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” We learn from these verses that before we can become a man of God (born of the spirit), we must be baptized (born again). Then the man of God will grow in faith and knowledge into a perfect man, the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13-15). Everyone that truly realizes the importance of being “in Christ” will then live their life as an example before others knowing that they are now a man of God!

The Duty of the Man of God
This article started by showing what Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:11. In verse 10 he stated how we are to flee from covetousness and then pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness of verse 11. That is the man of God’s duty! But not only those things. The man of God will live a life in such a way as to confess Christ daily (1 Timothy 6:12; Matthew 10:32). We further learn that our duty involves keeping the commandments of God without spot (1 Timothy 6:14). That is a tall order, but one that is necessary for every person that professes to be a Christian. A devoted Christian will not waiver concerning God’s commands to us. It is the duty of the man of God to ensure that the commandments of God are kept “without spot.” 

In addition, 2 Timothy 3:17 says: “That the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” It is the man of God’s duty to ensure that all good works authorized by scripture are being accomplished. We might pause here to reflect, and ask ourselves, “am I doing my duty as a man of God?” Are we really taking up our armor and fighting the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12)? Remember, we always have an audience that is watching us, learning from the things that we do. Therefore, as a Christian we have a serious responsibility to God to ensure that we are doing our duty both in word and in deed.

SOMEONE IS WATCHING
Someone is learning from you today,
They look at your life as you go your way.
They see the things you do as daily you walk,
They take in what you say when they hear you talk.
They may try to imitate the life that you live,
Are the things they get from you what you really want to give?
Do you reflect Christ’s life in all you say and do,
Are you truly an example for that someone watching you?
---Ellen Kyle

The word of God will furnish the man of God (the Christian)  unto all good works and make us complete (2 Timothy 3:17). In addition, if we will do God’s will acceptably and continually (1 Timothy 6:14), then we will have eternal life with Him (1 Timothy 6:12).

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Some Hindering Causes

I have heard some say “I would get baptized but I just feel hindered right now.” There are many outside factors that can hinder any person from doing all kinds of various duties and tasks. Where do these hindrances come from? Not from God. Paul tells the Galatians “You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you” (Galatians 5:7-8). We find in 1 Thessalonians 2:18 that hindrances come from Satan as Paul was “thwarted” by Satan. One might ask “what are some of the hindrances that may cause me to be lost?” There are many hindrances that may cause one to be lost such as various temptations (Luke 8:13); lusts (Mark 4:19); unbelief (Hebrews 13:22); false teachers (Luke 11:52); pleasures of life (Luke 8:14); neglect (Hebrews 2:3); and the love of money, where Paul tells Timothy “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 6:10).

All of these things can and will hinder one from four very important things. These are to obey the truth (Galatians 5:7), eternal salvation (Hebrews 2:3), winning the race for the Lord (Galatians 5:7), and entering into the kingdom of God for eternity (Luke 11:32). We should strive to not be hindered with the cares of this world because we can’t afford it! Won’t you strive now to live your life for the Lord and do His will?

Friday, February 22, 2019

Bible Authority

All men must recognize the need for authority in all things that we do. If you were to take your vehicle to an auto mechanic and instruct him to put in some spark plugs but he also worked on the transmission and gave you a bill for $2,800.00 because he felt that you needed a new transmission, you know that he did not respect your authority. Since you did not authorize that work to be done, you have no obligation to pay for that transmission. If you instructed for your living room carpet to be replaced with blue carpeting before you went away for the day and returned to find that not only was the living room carpet replaced but two bedroom carpets were replaced with green carpeting, your authority was once again ignored because carpet was added and color was changed without your authority. If a gasoline station were to guess at what to charge you rather than measure out the gasoline by a definite standard gallon, you would be upset. ALL men recognize the need for authority in secular matters. But what about religion? Don’t you think God has given man a standard to go by in the realm of religion? The Bible says: “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).

The Bible Teaches The Need For Authority
Jesus performed many signs, wonders, and miracles, prompting people to come to Jesus and ask Him, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?” (Matthew 21:23). These people recognized that authority is needed. In Colossians 3:17, the Bible teaches “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” All the things in which we DO in WORD (what we teach) and in DEED (what we practice) must be done in the NAME OF THE LORD (which means by the Lord's authority). To do something in anyone's name means to do it by that persons authority. To go beyond the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9) is to do something without the authority of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:6-9).

What Does Religious Division Stem From?
Anytime that two individuals disagree on anything religiously, the religious disagreement stems from: (1) A lack of respect for the authority of Christ or (2) An ignorance of how to establish proper Bible authority. There is no excuse for anyone who disrespects God's authority. In the denominational world today many examples of "disrespect" for God's Word can be seen. The attitude is, "wear my name," or "have the kind of music that pleases you," and "let the church be any kind of organization which pleases the people." There have even been others who have gone so far as to say '"we don't need Bible authority for everything that we do." However there are some today that do respect God's Word and desire to do all things that are pleasing to Him! These are the type of individuals that we need to have fellowship with.

Respect For Authority
The Old Testament is filled with example after example showing us how we should have a genuine, fearful respect of God's authority. In Leviticus 10:1-2 it says: “Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the LORD and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.” We can clearly see that these two added to God's Word. They did not respect His authority. We can also see examples of this in Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:2-9), King Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:9-21), and Uzzah (2 Samuel 6:3-8). All of these examples are for our learning (Romans 15:4) and demonstrate to us that we must have respect for the authority of God in all that we do religiously.

How Can I Establish Bible Authority?
There are three ways in which to establish Bible authority. The first is command, which is a positive statement or a requirement. An example of a command can be found in Mark 16:16. The second is approved apostolic example. The New Testament example of this type of Bible authority can be found in Acts 20:7 where we are told when to take the Lord's Supper. The third way to establish Bible authority is necessary inference, which is something that is implied by scripture. An example of this can be found in Matthew 3:16 which says: “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.” This verse states that Jesus “went up” from the water. How do we know that He went down into the water? The answer is inference. In Hebrews 10:25, an ASSEMBLY is commanded. By inference a PLACE to assemble is required. In order to be pleasing to God we must ensure that we are doing all we do religiously based upon His will and not man’s traditions.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Greatest Example

As a child growing up I recall my mother reminding me that I should be a "good example" because others are watching me and what I do may have a direct influence on their lives. As I look back, I remember looking to others as examples to follow, especially those in the church that were always consistent in their teaching, attendance, and love for the Lord. One never knows when someone else is watching us and in some respects patterning their lives after some of the things that we do. Therefore, we must strive to be the best example that we can possibly be.


The Example of Jesus Christ
The greatest example of all is Jesus Christ. We have been called to "follow in His steps" as stated in 1 Peter 2:21. If we truly want to pattern our lives after someone that was perfect, without any sin (1 Peter 2:22), then Jesus is the one that we need to have as our example. When things happen in our lives that upset us we may try to think of various ways to get back at those that caused us to be upset. Jesus is the one that we need to turn to when things are not going as we would like, because we can trust in Him and learn some good things from His example.  Peter wrote: "and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed" (1 Peter 2:23-24). Yes, Jesus was and is the greatest example of all!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Obedience

Abraham is a man in which all of us can learn obedience from. There are several examples in which Abraham showed his obedience to Jehovah as we can read about in the book of Genesis. We know for certain the lesson learned about how great his faith in God was when he was commanded to offer up his only son Isaac on the altar. But earlier than that incident, we can learn about Abraham’s devotion to God as the twelfth chapter of Genesis unfolds.


Get Out Of Your Country
Jehovah spoke to Abram at the time and said: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old...” (Genesis 12:1-4). Abram is a man of 75 years of age when God called him to do four things. 1) To leave his country, which was to leave all the familiar surroundings in which he was used to. 2) To leave his family. 3) To leave his father’s house, which was to leave his nearest relatives. 4) He was commanded to go into a country unnamed in order for his obedience to be tested. We do not read anywhere that Abram questioned God, but that he departed his country just as God had instructed for him to do. I wonder, would we be so devoted to our Lord to forsake all?


Obedience Required Of Us Today
Just as Abraham obeyed God then, we are fully expected to obey Him today. Jesus plainly stated in Matthew 7:21: “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.” There is so much that we can learn and MUST learn from this one verse that Jesus taught. Jesus warns us that it is not enough for people to merely be religious and prayerful. It is possible for men to pray much and yet not be obedient unto God. Individuals that spend a lot of time in prayer, but do not cultivate the spirit of submission to God’s will, should not expect to be received into God’s everlasting kingdom.

Jesus points out that only he who DOES the will of the Father will be able to enter into heaven. To reject the will of the Father is simply to reject the very message that Jesus was sent here by His Father to give to us. God has a will which relates to all mankind. There are commandments in God’s will that man MUST obey. Also in God’s will, He has promised us many blessings if we will obey Him. If we ever hope to reap the rewards of the will of God, which are His blessings, then we MUST obey His commandments. We can’t have it both ways, that is to receive the blessings and eternal life, while not obeying God’s commands while we live on this earth.

The necessity of DOING the will of the Father is evident. Jesus teaches that doing God’s will is a condition upon which we may hope to enjoy the promise of the Father. Everyone is not perfect, for we have all sinned (Romans 3:23), but we can strive to become perfect in our life (Matthew 5:48). As we strive toward this perfection, we do so by having a desire to obey those things in which God has instructed of us.


What Can We Learn From Examples of Obedience?
God has always required men to obey as we have seen in our example of Abraham (Genesis 2:16). But we also have other examples of required obedience and some of these include: The nation of Israel (Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 6); and the church in which Jesus built (Romans 6:12-18; 8:12-13; Philippians 2:12-16; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14). When individuals have responded to God’s will to obey Him, then God was pleased to bless those as He has promised that He would do. Enoch was a man that “walked with God” and as a result was eternally blessed (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5-6). Israel was blessed when they obeyed God (Deuteronomy 28:1-14). Then we can read about how the church also is blessed through obedience (Matthew 25:21, 34-40; Mark 10:29-30; Hebrews 5:9; Revelation 2:10-11). We also learn that God has punished those that have decided to disobey Him. The world in the days of Noah was destroyed because of disobedience (Genesis 6:5-8). Israel (2 Chronicles 36:13-21). The church (Acts 5:1-11; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5; 2 Peter 2:4-10). The final consequences are this: If we obey, eternal life (Revelation 2:7; 3:5,12,21; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17). If we disobey, eternal damnation (Romans 2:4-11; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10; Revelation 20:15; 21:8; 22:15). Have you determined within your heart to obey the commandments and DO the will of the Lord?

Thursday, January 10, 2019

I Am on the Lord's Side

In our song books we sing a song entitled “Who Will Follow Jesus?” The chorus of that song says: “Who will follow Jesus? Who will make reply, I am on the Lord’s side; Master, here am I.” Those words no doubt are taken from the book of Matthew, chapter 12, verse 30, where Jesus said: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.” Jesus plainly taught that we are either for Him or we’re against Him. We cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). We’re either on the Lord’s side or we’re not.


Why Be On The Lord's Side?
We must strive to be on the Lord’s side because if we aren’t then there is no hope of eternal salvation! In Matthew 1:21 it says: “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” It is only through Jesus Christ that we can have forgiveness of sins and therefore we all should want to be on His side and follow His commandments. When we are on the Lord’s side we are profited. In 1 Corinthians 15:58 the apostle Paul said: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” When we are on the Lord’s side then we will want to abound in all the work of the Lord. When we love doing something, then we do it to the best of our ability, knowing that our work is not in vain because we are enjoying it.

All of us should look to our service for Christ the same way. We should enjoy being on the Lord’s side and therefore do everything we do with fervent zeal, knowing that our eternal peace will someday be realized, because we were always determined to do ALL the will of Jesus (Matthew 7:21). In addition, when we’re on the Lord’s side, then we will be happy in all things that we do (Ephesians 1:3). We also want to be on the Lord’s side because it is honorable (John 12:26). We will be glorified (Romans 8:17), will have peace (John 16:33), and will reign with Christ forever (2 Timothy 2:12) when we make it known that we are on the Lord’s side!


Who Is On His Side?
Individuals show that they are on the Lord’s side by believing in Jesus to the point of doing His will. In Hebrews 11:6, the Hebrew writer said: “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” When we have faith in God, then others will see our faith and be able to see that we are on His side, not Satan’s. When we truly believe in God, knowing that we will be rewarded by our life’s service to Him (2 Timothy 4:8), then we can be effective teachers in His kingdom. 

Not only the believers, but the whole-hearted (Matthew 12:30), and those that overcome the world (Revelation 17:14), will be counted as being on His side. When one chooses to come out from the world and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17) then they are making a statement by letting others know that they are choosing to be on the Lord’s side. Only the faithful, and those that endure to the very end will be on His side forever (2 Timothy 2:12).


In What Should We Be With Him?
When one chooses to be on the Lord’s side then one has chosen to be with the Lord in death (Galatians 2:20; 2 Timothy 2:11), in burial (Colossians 2:12), and in the resurrection (Romans 6:5; Colossians 2:12). When one is baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38), they have chosen to be with the Lord in the likeness of His death, burial and resurrection (Romans 6:3-5). Afterwards, one will serve Him in his manner of life (2 Timothy 2:12) and that includes any suffering that may come our way in our physical life (Romans 8:17).  Don’t leave the Lord and return to the ways of the world (Galatians 5:4). Are you on the Lord’s side? Are you determined right now to serve Him daily so that you can spend an eternity with Him in heaven?

Friday, January 4, 2019

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

In Acts 16:16-34 we can read about what led to and the conversion of the Philippian Jailer. Paul and Silas were cast into prison for preaching the truth and for casting out a "spirit of divination" from a fortune telling slave girl. It is interesting to note in verse 18 after Paul had commanded the spirit to come out of her, that her masters only saw that their way of making money had disappeared instead of seeing the work of God. In a rage, they brought Paul and Silas before the magistrates and falsely accused them. As a result they were stripped of their clothes, beaten, and cast into prison where this jailer was charged to keep them safely.


The Earthquake
While in prison, Paul and Silas stayed true to God and were singing and praying to Him. When the earthquake hit, the record says that the doors were opened, and their bands were loosed. The jailer being awakened by the earthquake thought that all the prisoners had escaped and was getting ready to kill himself when Paul exclaimed "Do thyself no harm: for we are all here"(Acts 16:28). Quite opposite of the slave-girl's masters reaction, the jailer realized this was an act of God and fell down before Paul and Silas and said Sirs, "what must I do to be saved?"This is incredible when you think about it. Here is a pagan soldier, who just moments before was unaware of his need to be saved, and now was eager to know the truth and how he could be saved. How good it would be if everyone had the heart of this jailer, who was ready and willing to do whatever it took to be saved.


The Jailer and You
Do you realize that you and I are in the very same situation? We live perched on the edge of forever everyday (James 4:14; Hebrews 9:27). Do you continue to conduct your life as though you will never have to stand before God and answer for your deeds? You will (2 Corinthians 5:10). Do you think God will overlook your rebellion to obey Him? He won't (Revelation 1:8). Our life is short and therefore we should strive to do whatever we can to ensure that we are saved. We should ask "What must I do to be saved?"


Paul's Answer
Paul spoke the word of the Lord to the jailer (Acts 16:31-32). It is only God's word that can take away guilt and remove the barrier of sin that separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2; Romans 1:16). The word of the Lord told the jailer that he had to believe (Hebrews 11:6), but that is not all because belief alone will not save us (James 2:19-24). Paul's answer to the jailer led the jailer to DO what was necessary unto salvation. In verses 33-34, we can see that the jailer's faith in God was not a dead faith, but an active, living, obeying, saving faith. As a result he was baptized for the forgiveness of sins. The burden of guilt was removed and he received God's gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:8). This very same gift is available to you today!


The Jailer Did Not Wait
Unlike many people today, the jailer did not wait to be saved. Once he knew what he needed to do, "the same hour" he was baptized. Are you waiting? If your life is not right with God, why are you waiting? It is a terrible thing to put off a chance for eternal salvation. Won't you make your life right with God, who loves you so much that He sent His only Son Jesus to die for you (John 3:16)? Have you heard the WORD OF THE LORD? If so, what are you WAITING for?