Wednesday, September 15, 2021

My Father's Businss

Jesus, as a child of twelve years, was rebuked by Mary for remaining in Jerusalem after His family and acquaintances had left. He replied, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?” (Luke 2:49). Our Father’s business should take priority over everything else in this world. 

Jesus knew and understood the importance of obeying God. Our Father’s business should be attended with wisdom and care. If some of those who call themselves Christians operated their own affairs in the sloppy way that they attend to the Lord’s work, they would soon go bankrupt. The children of this world are storing up material goods to be used tomorrow, whereas the child of God should be storing up treasures in heaven.

Our Father’s business calls for devotion, dedication, and duty. All work is done on a voluntary basis. In secular work, some do only what the boss absolutely requires. In our Father’s work, we need to do all that we can. Jesus said, “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’” (Luke 17:10).

Our Father’s business demands a positive, loving attitude. A critical, judgmental, harsh, negative tone is not characteristic of God’s children.

Let us make sure that we are going about our Father’s business with an attitude that He is pleased with.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

God's Word

Have you ever had something you valued very highly and were afraid that you might lose it? Most of us take great care in protecting what we highly treasure, and try to learn the best way to protect it. Sometimes our efforts to preserve and keep our treasures are useless due to ignorance or neglect of the correct measures to be taken. Therefore, that which provided great benefit and was of much value is lost and can't be recovered no matter how hard we try.

Atheists, secular humanists, and others who don’t want to hear anything about God or His standard for living, enjoy all the benefits that come from a society that mostly practices the teachings of the Bible. These people are willfully ignorant of the knowledge that the Bible and its teachings restrain evil and bring order to society. They’re ignorant that the Bible sets forth the individual as being very valuable. This country was based upon this very idea, and its laws were constituted to protect the individual.

If, as the Atheists and others in ignorance desire, Bible teaching is removed from the great majority of our society, that removal will eventually destroy the value of the individual. When the value of the individual is destroyed, our orderly society and freedoms will be gone. Anarchy, violence and lawlessness will replace order and freedom, and a dictatorship or other type of oppressive government will take over.

Do you value God's word? Do you want your children, and grandchildren to grow up with the freedom to practice what the Bible teaches? If you do, store up the word of God in your heart, and teach your children God’s word, morning, noon and night (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). It all begins with each one of us. Before our homes can function properly, we must first function properly in the ways and teachings of God. When we are practicing godliness and are truly loyal to Christ, then our homes will reflect that. When our homes reflect Christ, then our local congregations will also reflect Him. It all starts with “ME.”

God’s people long ago were instructed to put Him first above others and all things (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). In the New Testament, Jesus said “And you shall love the lord your god with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' this is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ there is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31). If we will truly value God’s precious word in all aspects of our lives, we will never regret it. Let us all strive to keep God's Word sacred in our heart so that our children and grandchildren will learn of God and value His word!

For Your Information

The following things may be something that you are interested in:

Walking in the Light -- Weekly Bulletin

I have been editing and publishing a bulletin entitled "Walking in the Light" since 2001. The bulletin articles are emailed to more than 800 people each week. If you want to be included on the bulletin mailing list please go to the Poudre Valley church of Christ web site at www.poudrevalleychurchofchrist.org and complete the "contact us" box. In the message section just put "please send me the weekly bulletin." I will receive your information within a few minutes after you submit it and will add your name and email address to my electronic mailing list. You should receive the bulletin in your email box every Saturday.

Churches Looking for Preachers

Non-institutional churches of Christ are welcome to post an ad on my web site if you are looking for a preacher. To post an ad for "Churches Looking for Preachers" and also "Preachers Looking for Churches" please go to the two new pages of the web site designed especially for this purpose. Churches who are looking for preachers can now go to www.thetfordcountry.com and click on the "Churches Looking for Preachers" link and fill out the easy form to submit your information. The listing will be updated on the web site within 24 hours (usually the same day). This information will be kept current so that churches and preachers can have confidence that these listings are accurate and up to date. I would appreciate it if you would let any churches who are looking for a preacher know that this site is available for them to place their posting. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Truth and Freedom

Freedom is a most precious possession. Every creature desires and enjoys its freedom. Place an insect in a jar and it will work to get free. Put a dog on a leash and restrain him in one place and he will howl and bark to be set free. We humans are no different. We do not want our liberties tampered with – we want freedom.

On one occasion, Jesus said to the Jews who believed in Him, “If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” John 8:31-32. The key to genuine freedom is found in the phrase; “continue in my word.” Jesus says we come to know the truth by continuing in His teachings, and truth is that which will liberate us or make us free. When we live by the principles of truth we are not bound by Satan. The application of truth will eliminate social as well as moral evils. Sin is what leads to drunkenness, fornication, adultery, idolatry, homosexuality, lasciviousness, and all other forms of immorality.

Truth will lead men and women, boys and girls to love one another. To the extent that we love one another, we shall also respect each other’s rights and privileges. Jesus said when asked about the first commandment, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘hear, o Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ this is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ there is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).

When we have love for God and our neighbor, it will necessitate living by the principle found in the Golden Rule, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12). Or as we have coined the thought: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Such behavior will contribute to peaceful relationships. It will also demand honest dealings. The Bible says, “Provide things honest in the sight of all men” (Romans 12:17). The application of the Golden Rule will cause us to have respect for law and order. This style and quality of living will always lead to the blessings of the Lord. We must understand that freedom is not something that can be legislated. It cannot be guaranteed by maintaining large armies or police forces. It comes when men and women submit to the will of the Lord.

We are reminded of the words of Paul, when he asked, “If God be  for us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31)? If we walk in truth and worship in truth, we have nothing to fear. We shall be free people in the Lord. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Different from the World

The life of a Christian should be obviously different than those of the world. The apostle Paul wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). This instruction given to the saints at Rome is sorely needed by Christians today. We live in a world in which subjects us to various pressures, calling upon us to “conform.” Just because “everyone else” dresses immodestly, uses vulgar language, is involved in the mad pursuit of material things, is intent on the things of this life that are pleasurable, etc. etc., Christians are under heavy temptation to do likewise. The word “transformed” is the Greek word “metamorphose” which means “to change into another form, transfigure, transform.” The metamorphoses is often illustrated in high school biology by the changing of a green worm into a butterfly. As Christ was transformed into a divine radiance, Christians are to be transformed into the image of Him who created him. “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:8-11). It is a transformation from within, which exemplifies itself from without.

No matter how popular and widespread sin and ungodliness may be, it doesn’t excuse it or make it more acceptable (Exodus 23:2). “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13). Thus, Christians are called upon to deny ungodliness and worldly lust and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. This we must do, regardless of what those around us do. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

The life of the Christian is to be different – a pure, clean, wholesome kind of difference that others should be able to see. It’s sad, indeed, when our conduct can’t be distinguished from that of the worldly people around us. Are we careful to conduct ourselves correctly in all of our relationships in this life? Do we strive to keep our lives clean and pure? Let us not be conformed to this world, but be transformed into the very image of almighty God (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

A Sower Went Out to Sow

Great multitudes were gathered to hear the words of Jesus, so many in fact, that the scriptures tell us that He got into a boat and sat while the multitude of people stood on the nearby sea shore. Then in Matthew 13:3 it says: “Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: Behold, a sower went out to sow.” Most of us recognize this setting as the one in which Jesus told the parable of the sower. You may recall how some seed fell by the wayside, some fell on stony places, some fell among thorns, and some fell on good ground. We have heard this parable many times, from many different angles. But I believe the key to this parable is in that third verse which says: “a sower went out to sow.”

Why is this the key? Because if the sower had not attempted to sow any seed, then there would not have been any chance for a crop! Before God can give the increase, there must be something started to give the increase to. Paul wrote: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” (1 Cor 3:6). If Paul had never planted, Apollos could not have watered, and God would not have had the opportunity to give the increase. Sometimes we may be asking: “why aren’t we converting more souls to Christ?” The answer is simply because we are not “sowing the seed!” Before we can convert souls, there must be some planting going on. The church can grow, IF we plant the seed (the Word of God) in the hearts of man. While it is true that most will reject the Word, we’ll never convert a soul if we don’t give God the opportunity to provide the increase.

 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Obtaining Salvation in Christ

In the book of Acts we read, “Repent you therefore, and be converted that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3: 19). The change in a person’s life resulting in his becoming a Christian is called in the Bible, conversion, and the Bible teaches that conversion is necessary for a person to be saved. Christ likened this change to a birth and taught Nicodemus, “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Of the 27 books comprising the New Testament, there is one book which is particularly helpful in understanding the nature of conversion. This book is Acts of the Apostles which tells of the conversions of many different people. In Chapters 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 16, 18, and 22 are 8 key examples of conversion and from these examples certain universal principles of conversion can be understood. Conversion is  dependent upon the acceptance of the Word of God by the sinner. Jesus said, “The seed is the Word”, and conversions mentioned in the book of Acts bear out the necessity of both the presentation of God’s word to the sinner and his acceptance of it (Romans 1:16). The presentation can be either public or private; through words either spoken or written, but their acceptance always results in belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Romans 10:17). We also read, “They believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 8:12), and in Acts 18:8, “And many of the Corinthians hearing, believed and were baptized.”

Faith in Jesus Christ, produced by the testimony of the Word of God leads to a change in a sinner’s attitude toward his own transgressions. With faith comes an understanding of God’s love to man. This, in turn, leads the sinner to determine to turn away from sin, for we read, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance” (Romans 2:4)? An example of this part of conversion is found in Acts 2 in response to Peter’s preaching of Christ. The Bible says, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “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” (Acts 2:36-38). This change in a person’s heart must lead to certain actions before conversion is complete. One of these actions is confession that Jesus is the Christ, for we read, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).

Finally, a person must be baptized in the likeness of Christ’s death and burial (Romans 6:4), in order for God to forgive him of past sins. The Bible says, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). And we also must remember that in Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, he said that both repentance and baptism are necessary in order to receive the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Later, Peter echoed this same thought again when he said that “baptism doth also now save us” (1 Peter 3:21). When a person believes in Christ, repents of sin, confesses Christ, and is baptized into Christ for the remission of sins, he is converted. Only then has he been born of the water and of the Spirit as referred to in John 3:3-5. The Lord then adds him to the body, the Church, the Kingdom of God (Acts 2:47).

The Bible plainly teaches us that there are steps that we must take in order to obtain salvation in Jesus Christ. Hearing the word, believing in Christ, repenting of our sins, confessing Christ as being the Son of God, and being baptized for the forgiveness of our sins are the steps in which every accountable person must do in order to receive salvation. We then must be determined to live a life that is faithful to Christ, according to His teaching (Revelation 2:10; John 12:48).