Thursday, December 17, 2015

When Do You Remember Jesus?

During this time of year many, many people attend the "church of their choice" to "remember Jesus." All year long there are those that go about their work only looking out for themselves and their family and not giving any thought to Jesus Christ. But then, that one day comes around once a year called "Christmas" and many people stop and think to themselves, "it’s time to remember Jesus." This is really sad. We are commanded to meet together on the first day of the week to break bread (Acts 20:7). The bread represents the body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:23-24). Jesus said "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me" (1 Corinthians 11:24). We know from reading Acts 20:7 that we are to meet on the first day of the week - why? To break bread. What does the bread represent? Christ's body. Therefore, when we partake of the bread which represents Christ's body we can see from the scriptures that we are to do it in remembrance of Jesus on the first day of the week. How many first day of the weeks are there? 52, and sometimes 53. Therefore, how can one suddenly say to himself, today I need to stop and remember Jesus Christ - only once per year and keep the commandments of Jesus? The bread represents His body, the cup represents His blood which was shed for us on Calvary. We are remembering and proclaiming the Lord's DEATH until He comes again (1 Corinthians 11:26) each time (first day of the week) that we partake of it. We do not partake of the bread and cup in memory of His birth - whenever that was. It's through His death that we have life!

Thursday, December 10, 2015


What is the value of self-control? Self-control is that which enables us to hold our tongues when we are tempted to viciously put someone in his place once and for all; or when we know a juicy bit of gossip that would be entertaining to the group and would turn us into the "life of the party"; or when an occasion almost demands that we betray a confidence that must not be betrayed under any circumstances.

Self-control is that which enables us to control our passions when another is provoking us to anger; that keeps the clinched fists in the pockets when the agitator is only half our size; that keeps the lips sealed when another is railing and swearing at us. Self-control is that which enables us to be like our Lord "who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously" (1 Peter 2:23).

Self-control is that which enables us to maintain purity of heart and to thrust out evil thoughts before they can take root; that enables us to place the best possible construction on another person's actions when unproven rumors could easily destroy our confidence in him; that helps us to maintain a cheerful disposition when everything around us has turned sour. Self-control is that which enables us to love the unlovable and to hate that which the world loves.

Self-control is that which enables us to rule our appetites; to say “no” when our lusts would lead us to sin or when that which is harmful to our health is placed before us. Self-control is that which enables the smoker to put down his cigarettes and the alcoholic to put down his drink and never return to it. Self-control is that which enables us to rule rather than to be enslaved.

The Bible does not glorify the indifferent and impassive. It is not our goal to be uncaring. To be like Paul, we must be able to have our spirit stirred within us when we are surrounded by evil (Acts 17:16). To be like our Lord, we must sometimes feel anger when surrounded by hypocritical self-righteousness (Mark 3:5); we must even react with occasional outbursts of goodness on occasions, as when the Lord cleansed the temple (John 2:13-17).  But, all such outbursts must be tempered with self-control, that in our anger we “do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26).

God does not view our uncontrolled actions with amusement. Our temper tantrums and harsh, unbridled words are soul threatening, a potential bar to the abundant entrance into the Lord’s everlasting kingdom (2 Peter 1:5-11). We must not minimize the danger. We must not surrender to this evil. What is the value of self-control? It is one of the qualities that enable us to go to heaven. The possessor of it is rich indeed.

Written by: Bill Hall

Friday, December 4, 2015

Counted Faithful

In 1 Timothy 1:12, the apostle Paul said that he had been counted faithful. This must have been an accurate account because he said that the Lord Jesus had so counted him. When someone's name comes up in the conversation of religious people today, the response is likely to be: "he's a faithful Christian," or, "he isn't very faithful." 

We, as Christians, are counted faithful by the Lord if we obey Him as Paul did. We ask, "In what should Christians be faithful?" Of course, the New Testament plainly tells us. The overall requirement of faithfulness is set forth in Paul's words in 1 Timothy 3:11 in which he wrote concerning the wives of deacons: "Likewise their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things." 

Jesus taught that people should be faithful in watching. He said in Luke 12:37, "Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching." His parable in Matthew 25 about the talents teaches that we should be faithful in using what we have. In Luke 16:10, He said, "He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much." Much of what goes together to make up the Christian life are little things, and in these we must be faithful. 

The Lord expects us to be faithful in obeying His commands and complying with His wishes. He said in John 14:15, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." Hebrews 5:9 says, "...He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him..." 

Let us obey the Lord, keeping His commandments, so that we might be counted faithful by Him in the end (Revelation 2:10). 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thou Art the Man

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 19, 2015

What Does God Want of Us in This Life?

As we struggle with the challenges of life and death, the most challenging question of all is this:  What does God want of us in this life?  God answers that question in the Bible. He has made it clear from the beginning until now that He wants our love, trust, and obedience.

Adam and Eve were commanded to care for the Garden of Eden, to enjoy its fruit, but not to eat "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil"--a tree which drew the boundary between good and evil.  When they ate of that tree, they were driven in shame from the Garden and suffered the ravages of death (Genesis 2-3).  Later, God commended Abraham as one who "will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment" (Genesis 18:19).  That is what God wants of all men.

The Bible is full of passages summarizing what God wants of us. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:  Fear God, and keep his commandments:  for this is the whole duty of man" (Ecclesiastes 12:13).  Our love, trust, and respect for God are shown by obeying His Word.  Though God commands formal worship, He also teaches us to translate our worship into daily action.  At all times and in all situations, we are to "hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate....let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream" (Amos 5:15, 24).

When God taught the Jews to bring animal sacrifices for sin, He made it clear that "thousands of rams" were no substitute for sincere, daily submission to His will.  "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:6-8).  Life is brief and uncertain, filled with "labor and sorrow."  Knowing our time is short, our prayer should be, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom" (Psalms 90:10-12). We find God's wisdom in God's Word.

Jesus summed it all up in these words: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40). All the commandments of God teach us the true meaning of love for God and for our fellow men. To violate God's Word is to violate that love.

Knowing we have sinned and yet wanting us to be saved, God desires all men to hear, believe, and obey the gospel of Christ.  Christ died as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. On the basis of that faith, we must repent of all sin, confess Christ as God's Son, and be immersed in water to receive pardon through his atoning blood.  Truly, God "is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9; Acts 2:38; 8:37-38).  

When we obey these first steps of the gospel, God adds us to the church of Christ and then teaches us how to worship Him and how to live for Him each day.  Thus, He redeems us from the destiny of hell and leads us to an eternal home in heaven.  Ultimately, that is what God wants--for us to spend eternity with Him in heaven!

Written By: Ron Halbrook

Friday, November 13, 2015


Irresponsible, shortsighted, rash and selfish conduct is often proof of immaturity. But we do not refer to years. People sixty and above may be immature --- acting like little children when they do not get their way, or are forced to face the realities of this life. They are incapable of objectivity, their pride is easily hurt, and they throw a tantrum. That is bad enough in secular life, but it can be tragic in the church.

Bible knowledge maturity is found in those who dwell on something more than first principles (Hebrews 5:12f). They have learned that justice, mercy, and faith are the grounds upon which their concern for tithes of mint, anice and cummin can have validity. Ignore the first, and one becomes an hypocritical nit-picker with all else (Matthew 23:23-24). He may strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

People-dealing maturity comes only after we learn that we are all sinners (Romans 3:23), and are completely humbled before God. The “babe” seeks an “issue” and perhaps make a “name” for himself. But maturity seeks for souls, hoping to “give ‘em Heaven,” and save them from Hell. The babe sees himself as a General in the Lord’s army; the mature saint is an expendable servant of the Lord.

Doctrinal maturity does not compromise with error. It is simply wisdom enough to know we do not know it all. The babe paddles wildly about on the surface of the water, loudly proclaiming his domination of the seas; but maturity is aware of the unexplored depths below. The fool has an answer, the wise, a reason.

Paul told Timothy to “flee youthful lusts” and “foolish and unlearned questions avoid”
(2 Timothy 2:22f). There is no “instant maturity” for any of us. We must start with instructions to youth, and “by reason of use” we may “grow up” in Christ. All of us are in the process in many facets of the Christian life, not having attained (Philippians 3:12f). We can be patient and tolerant of blustering spiritual babes without appointing them as elders, preachers, and editors. In time, with enough milk and nurture, we may all learn to act like men.

Written by Robert F. Turner

Friday, November 6, 2015

The All-Sufficient Savior

Jesus Christ is for all men, because He is the only and all-sufficient Savior. By His death He made propitiation for the sins of the whole world. “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:2). In Christ God reconciled the world unto Himself. “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). Jesus Christ is the only Savior (Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5).

Jesus Christ is an all-sufficient Savior. His name is “Jesus” (Jehovah Savior) (Matthew 1:21), and in His death He met and satisfied every demand of the Law and every claim of Divine holiness, so that God can be just and at the same time justify the guilty sinner who believes on Jesus Christ. “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:24-26). Jesus Christ perfectly accomplished redemption when He died on the cross (John 19:30), and He is a perfect and all-sufficient Savior. 

Our Lord and Savior was perfect and He loved us so much that He was willing to suffer and die on the cross so that we can have forgiveness of sins through obedience to His Word. Each one of us should have a passionate desire to live for our Savior each and every day. We should be determined to follow in His steps. We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). May we all strive to abide fully and completely in Christ because we realize that He truly is our perfect and all-sufficient Savior!

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Prosperity of Christians

We may have at some time said to someone “may you prosper in all you do.” The word “prosper” means “to succeed in an enterprise or activity; especially: to achieve economic success; to become strong and flourishing.” While we may be encouraging one to prosper financially, usually we are meaning for one to succeed, to become strong, and flourish in what they do, especially in living a life as a Christian. Many people strive to prosper in a worldly sense but the dedicated, devoted Christian strives to prosper spiritually. “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2).

Why Should We Prosper Spiritually?
The Christian understands that this world and all of its good will one day be destroyed and that all that really matters is that we strive to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-20). Spiritual prosperity produces joy and peace to the Christian (3 John 2-4, 14). The end result of our Spiritual prosperity will be a home with God. The apostle Paul wrote “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). It is such a great encouragement to every Christian to know that their walk on this earth will ultimately result in great prosperity with the Lord in eternity as long as we keep the faith and diligently serve Him all of our days.

What Produces Eternal Prosperity?
In order for us to enjoy the joys of heaven with our Lord in eternity, we must know and understand what it is that produces the prosperity that we must have. A genuine love of God will motivate us to stay the course and strive to please Him in all things during this earthly walk. We are reminded by our Lord what the most important thing is for us to do. “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....” (Mark 12:30). When we have learned to Love God in this way, then all the instructions that God asks of us in His Word will certainly not be burdensome to us (1 John 5:3). Furthermore, we understand that walking in truth (3 John 3), being godly (1 Timothy 4:8), walking in righteousness (Psalms 1:1-6), and imitating good (3 John 11), will result in our souls being saved in Christ.

May we all, as Christians, strive to prosper spiritually so that we can gain an eternal home with our Lord. Things will come and go, but the precious words of Jesus, when obeyed, will lead us to eternal prosperity!

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Christian's Relationship with the World

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

Friday, October 16, 2015

Escape the Wrath of God

The apostle Paul writes that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). We know from this passage of scripture that God’s wrath will be manifested because it is revealed from heaven. It is not manifested now because He has appointed a day in which this will happen. God is waiting for all men to repent and turn to Him. “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:4-5). God’s wrath will be manifested in the judgment.

The Recipients of God’s Wrath
Individuals who do not believe in Jesus Christ will certainly suffer the wrath of God. In John 3:36 we find these words, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” In the opening text of scripture we learn that the unrighteous, ungodly and those who hinder the truth will suffer God’s wrath. Ephesians 5:5-6 tells us that the unclean, fornicators, and the covetous will suffer the wrath of God. In addition to these things, we also know that those who have evil desires will experience the wrath of God (Colossians 3:5-6).

How Can We Escape God’s Wrath?
We know that it is only through Jesus Christ that we will be able to escape the terrible wrath of God. It says in 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, “For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” We have to be justified before God in able to stand before Him (Romans 5:9; Revelation 6:17). When we believe in Christ, repent of our sins, confess Him as being the Son of God, and are baptized into Christ then we can begin our walk in His righteousness. We must then dedicate ourselves to His service, being faithful to Him everyday that we live, making sure that we flee from the wrath to come (Revelation 2:10; Matthew 3:7).

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Sin of Deception

Deception is defined as: the act of making someone believe something that is not true; the act of deceiving someone; an act or statement intended to make people believe something that is not true. There are various ways in which an individual can be deceived.

Lies: making up information or giving information that is the opposite or very different from the truth.
Equivocations: making an indirect, ambiguous, or contradictory statement.
Exaggerations: overstatement or stretching the truth to a degree.
Understatements: minimization or downplaying aspects of the truth.
Concealments: omitting information that is important or relevant to the given context, or engaging in behavior that helps hide relevant information.

In the Bible, we can read where the authors of deception are said to be Satan (Revelation 12:9), evil men (2 Timothy 3:13) and false teachers (2 Corinthians 11:13). We know that individuals who practice deception are not pleasing to God and will give an account for their actions at the judgment day (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Who Is Deceived? There are several occurrences in the Bible that show us who it is that is deceived. We know that the one who hears the word but does not do it, deceives himself (James 1:22). The one who does not bridle his tongue deceives himself (James 1:26). If one thinks too highly of himself, he deceives himself (Galatians 6:3). If one says they have no sin, he deceives himself (1 John 1:8). And, if one expects to reap what he did not sow, he deceives himself (Galatians 6:7).

How Are People Deceived? There are many different ways in which an individual can be deceived. Most often it is the result of sin (Hebrews 3:13). Deception can also come from riches (Matthew 13:22), smooth words (Romans 16:18), false promises (2 Peter 2:18-19), empty words, (Ephesians 5:6), and even by our own selves (1 Corinthians 3:18).

We do not have to be deceived. In fact the Bible says “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren” (James 1:16). We must be determined to know the truth and practice the truth so that we will not be deceived. Let us not forget that we are to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Praying Always

The amount of time we spend praying shows, to a great extent, the depth of our relationship with God. If we want to improve our relationship with Him, then we need to pray often. 

The Bible emphasizes that we should pray often. In fact, Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing." Again, in Ephesians 6:18, he said, "...Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit..." Furthermore, he said in Colossians 4:2, "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving..." 

Whenever possible, we need to find a quiet spot where we can be alone and speak openly with God, a time and place where we can fix our mind deliberately on God without confusing distractions. This isn't always possible, of course. When it isn't easy, we need to pray right where we are. 

Nehemiah asked God for help right in the middle of a conversation with a king! Nehemiah 2:4-5 says, "Then the king said to me, 'What do you request?' So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, 'If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' tombs, that I may rebuild it.'" 

We need to understand that God is with us wherever we are, and He will listen to us, that is, if we are His children. Isaiah 59:1-2 tell us, "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear." 

Let us seek to pray to our God and Father always, and live the kind of life that shows that we are His children. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Soul that Longs for God

In Psalm 42:1-2 we read, "As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?" 

There is a desire for God and a longing for fellowship with the Father that is part of a life devoted to God. Devout Christians are not dragged to the assemblies of the saints. They simply wouldn't be anywhere else. God's children are there, and they want to be with them. Devoted saints are constantly searching the Scriptures, for God can be found there. Prayer is not the exception, but the rule, for God is listening. 1 John 5:14-15 says, "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him." 

King David loved God as is shown in the many Psalms which he wrote. He loved the people of God. He loved the word of God. He truly was a man after God's own heart. His joy was to meditate upon the things of God. God was the desire of his life. 

How about you? Do you desire God? Is He more important to you than anything else? Do you love His law? Do you love the people who belong to Him? The answers to these questions will determine the level of your devotion to God. 

Devotion to God is comprised of godly fear, a healthy recognition of God's boundless love, and an intense desire for God and those things that belong to Him. May God bless you, as well as me, as we seek to devote ourselves to Him every day of our life. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Faultfinding isn't difficult. In fact, its so easy that just about anybody can do it. The Pharisees were the spiritual leaders in the first century. They heaped condemnation on any person who failed to measure up to their self-imposed standards.

They found fault with the disciples of Jesus in Matthew 12:2. They carefully watched Jesus in order to find something of which to accuse Him as we're told in Mark 3:2. Of course, Jesus did nothing wrong, but if one is watching for the purpose of finding fault, he can always find something to criticize. 

No one in this life is perfect, and Christians are no exception. We shouldn't dwell on the shortcomings of anyone. Certainly we should watch others, but not for the purpose of faultfinding, but to find the good that is there. Thomas Fuller said, "We should search others for their virtues and ourselves for vices," and he's right. The person who is critical towards himself will be charitable toward others, and the one who is looking to discover the faults of others is usually blind to his own. 

Again, faultfinding isn't difficult. It's always easier to burn a house than to build one. It's easier to add burdens than to lift them. It's easier to destroy enthusiasm and confidence than instill them. 

Faultfinding is just as dangerous as it is easy. Remember, anyone can grumble, complain, and criticize, but a true spiritual Christian sees higher things. When criticized, a great soul goes on working, faithfully and lovingly rising above it all - just as Jesus did.

Let us not be faultfinders, but diligent servants of the Lord, faithfully doing His will and doing what we can to help others get to heaven.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Gospel of Christ

In 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 we read: "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep."

Every portion of the Bible is precious and important according to 2 Timothy 3:16-17. No portion should be slighted, neglected, or ignored. However, there is one portion of the sacred volume which is of special value - the portion that centers around the personality of Jesus of Nazareth. The story of His life upon the earth is told with remarkable vividness in four books which bear the names of their authors - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Although Jesus lived in the world for about 33 years, His public ministry only covered a period of a little more than three years. Approximately one-third of the pages of these four books are devoted to events of the last few days of His earthly existence; namely, His death, burial, resurrection, and related events. Isn't this significant? Doesn't it indicate the importance of the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of the Savior in the divine plan of things? Doesn't it agree with the language of the apostle Paul we just read? And doesn't it offer a valuable suggestion concerning where we should place the emphasis in our study today?

The fundamental facts listed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 compose the very heart of the Bible, and as the heart of the Bible, it imparts life and power to the greatest of all books.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Worshiping with the Saints

In Hebrews 10:24-27 we read, "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries."

The Christian's duty is to attend the assembly of the saints and partake of the Lord's Supper. It is an essential part of holding fast the profession of our faith without wavering. To willfully forsake the assembling of the saints is clearly a very serious sin. The Hebrew writer went on to say, "For we know Him who said, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. And again, 'The LORD will judge His people.' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:30-31).

God knows when we are providentially hindered from attending a worship service, and He knows when we're just neglecting and forsaking. He is a righteous judge, and He will repay. The willful sin of neglecting the assembly and meeting around the Lord's table can be forgiven if we repent; however, it cannot be forgiven as long as one willfully persists in forsaking. When we willfully neglect the assembly and do not meet around the Lord's table, there remains no way for Christ's sacrifice on the cross to cover our sins. If we continue to willfully stay away, there remains only a certain fearful looking for of judgement and fiery indignation.

Jesus said in John 14:15, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." Do you love Him? Do your plans include worshiping God in the assemblies of the saints?

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Gospel of Christ

The gospel of Christ is the message of the ages to all the souls for all ills. It reaches down from heaven to lift men from low depths to new heights. It comes from the light to banish the darkness of the world. It's a heavenly lifeline reaching down, inviting perishing humanity to reach up. It's a straight gospel for a crooked world, a righteous gospel for a wicked world, and a saving gospel for a lost world.

The gospel applies to broken hearts the healing balm from the cleansing fountain. It applies to hard hearts the hammer that breaks the rock to pieces. It comes as a messenger of companionship to the lonely, and fills the soul's living room with friendly fellowship.

The gospel is God's power to save believers. It's the testimony of the Spirit to convince skeptics. It's the heavenly instrument to turn men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God.

The gospel will not save us in our sins, but from our sins. It will make us members of the church of our dear Lord. It doesn't save us out of the church, but in the church. It doesn't save us unconditionally, but according to the terms of pardon found in it.

The conditions of the gospel must be met in this world, in this life. It's rewards flow through the world to come, the eternity to be. Woe to the unfortunate people who neglect, fail, or refuse to believe, receive, obey, and live this living word from our living God.

Paul said, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes..." (Romans 1:16). Peter said, "For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:17).

Friday, August 14, 2015

Treasures in Heaven

In general, people have become very materialistic. Their trust is being place in things that exist now, things which are visible and can be touched. Little or no thought is given to the importance of seeking and finding spiritual values. The worldly-minded person is more interested in his assets, his financial affairs, the making of money, and the having of a "good time" than he is in God.

When a person realizes that the pursuit of worldly riches and fame is useless, what will he use to replace the material treasures he's always sought after? Jesus gave the answer in Matthew 6:19-21 when he said, "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."

Peter said in 1 Peter 1:13, "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ..." John said in 1 John 3:2-3, "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."

Life can be a beautiful and rewarding experience if one will put spiritual service to God first, and allow the remainder of his existence to revolve around Jesus Christ. There is a life to be lived, deeds to be done, a goal to be reached, commands to be obeyed, and a home in heaven to look forward to. Anything so temporary as the material possessions of this life must not be allowed to take away the marvelous blessings of an eternity with God, our Father.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Loving God and Our Fellow Man

If we are to successfully follow Jesus, we must have a proper priority system in our lives. Jesus has given His disciples the true priorities of life, which must be the guiding forces of one's life. After being asked by a lawyer, which is the great commandment in the law, Jesus responded in Matthew 22:37-39, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."

These two commandments, when carried out, form the true priorities in life. They clear the heart of lesser, contradictory priorities which leave one fragmented and uncertain. When love for God and man fills the heart with clear, definite, and steadfast objectives, they remove uncertainty and hesitation.

Remember, love for God and our fellow man are the true priorities of life. If this love is not working in our lives, it's because it is not the center of our lives. When these two priorities are the center, we will be delivered from selfishness, worldliness, and slothfulness. They lead us to faithful service to God and man.

Are these two principles the guiding forces of your life? We learn how to serve both God and man by daily reading and studying God's word. We have opportunity to show our love, not only for our savior Jesus Christ, but for our brothers and sisters by meeting together with them on the first day of the week to worship God in spirit and in truth.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Bridling Our Tongue

To some, speaking profanity and vulgarity is as normal as saying, "Good morning". As profanity and vulgarity increase, sensitivity toward it decreases, so that even many Christians, if not actually using profanity or vulgarity, are not particularly disturbed by it. In fact, many Christians will watch TV programs and movies where vulgarity and profanity is used.

With the flood of foul language used on television, we must be very alert to the speech habits our children pick up. We need to recognize that the filth that comes out of the mouth first fills the heart. Jesus said in Matthew 12:34-36, "Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment."

What is going into our heart? Several hours of watching television and/or movies each day? Bad thoughts, words or jokes heard at work or school, and immoral lyrics of modern music? Do we know what needs to go into our heart? That which is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praise worthy should fill our minds according to Philippians 4:8. Our speech should be that which can be used to the edifying of others according to Ephesians 4:29-30.

James 1:26 says, "If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless." The best way to guard our tongues is to fill our hearts with an abundance of good things. No better information can fill our hearts than that which is found in the pages of the Bible.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Are You Prepared?

Salvation has been prepared for us by God Himself. Zacharias prophesied long ago that Christ would come to prepare a way so that we may have eternal salvation (Luke 1:76). Jesus prepared His kingdom for us (Matthew 25:34) because it is God's desire that all of us will live our lives here on earth in such a way that when we die we will be with Him eternally. But are we prepared RIGHT NOW to be with Christ eternally when our day of death comes? One may say "just give me time". Well, God is giving us time and we don't know when that time will stop for us, therefore we MUST be prepared now (2 Corinthians 6:2). We prepare for heaven by reading the gospel and obeying the truths contained therein. "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work" (2 Timothy 2:21). One must purge himself of worldliness and obey God's Word or there will be no hope of eternal life with Jesus! We must be watching (Matthew 25:1-11) because we do not know when he will return (Matthew 24:44). Are you prepared to meet God? Prepare now before it is everlastingly too late.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Doing the Will of the Lord

I’m sure you have probably heard someone say "it’s my life, I can do what I want to." While it is true that the life we have is ours,cannot do what we want to with it if we really want to be pleasing to God. The Bible says, "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are" 1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in us. God created us and expects us to be obedient to Him in all things. The inspired apostle Paul wrote, "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). We need to understand that we are here only because God created us and that our obligation in life is to make sure that we please Him in all things. Christians have been baptized into Christ and have made a vow before God to live for Christ each day for the rest of our life. Baptism puts us into Christ (Galatians 3:27) and into His body, the church (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:22-23). When we die, our soul will return to God who gave it to us in the first place (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Our eternal resting place will be in heaven or hell, depending on who we have really served while on this earth (2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 6:24). As Bible Christians, we must ensure that we are living our lives for Christ, not for ourselves or others. Jesus will judge us in the last day, nobody else (John 12:48). Can it be said that we are REALLY doing the will of the Lord?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Spiritual Growth

Do you want spiritual growth? Let me suggest to you that God's book, the Bible is the only guide that will lead you to true spiritual growth. Reading and studying the Scriptures is vital to growing in the grace and knowledge of God.

Job said, "I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food." (Job 23:12). The Psalmist said, "Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day." (Psalm 119:97). Paul said, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15). Peter said, "As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby..." (1 Peter 2:2).

We need to study the Bible daily so that our mind will be filled with God's word. The Lord gave Joshua directions that would lead him to mature spiritual growth. "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." (Joshua 1:8).

Psalm 1:1-2 says, "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night." Paul instructed the young man Timothy, "Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all." (1 Timothy 4:15).

Let us desire God's word as new born babies desire milk. Let us read, study, and meditate on His word day and night. Thereby, God will approve of us, and our spiritual growth and understanding of His word will become evident to all.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Spiritual Blessings in Christ

The apostle wrote, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3). When one hears the word of God, believes, repents from sin, confesses Jesus, and is immersed in water (baptized), then all their sins are forgiven. One is now a Christian! They now will be able to enjoy every spiritual blessing by being in Christ. Only Christians are blessed with this privilege. Christians have so much to be thankful for and so very much to look forward to. The apostle Paul serves as a great inspiration to all Christians. He said "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14).

After his conversion to Christ, Paul lived his life for Christ, longing for the prize that would be awaiting him at the end of his life. He understood that he did things in his past that were contrary to the will of God, but after his conversion he knew that he was forgiven and now enjoyed every spiritual blessing in Christ. That helped him get through every day and it should also help us get through every day. After all, when all is said and done in our life, all that really matters is whether we are going to be able to be in heaven with our Lord for eternity. Christians who live their life fully dedicated to Christ know and understand that day will be a reality. We can have confidence in that by the very words of Paul. He said, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:7-8). Paul assures us that if we too will live our life for Christ to the very end, keeping the faith, having loved His appearing, that there will be a crown of righteousness waiting for us.

Eternity with Christ is the absolute greatest blessing that we will have by being in Christ. No matter what has happened in our past we can have great confidence that if we will just be obedient, faithful, loving, and loyal to Jesus, that we will one day be with those "few" who have submitted to His authority (Matthew 7:13-14; 28:18-20).

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Why Do You Wait?

There is a well-known song that we sing entitled "Why Do You Wait?" The first line of that song says: "Why do you wait, dear sinner, O why do you tarry so long? Your Savior is waiting to give you a place in His sanctified throng." I have often wondered why it is that one will continue to wait to obey the will of Jesus. Every time that song is sung there may be those in attendance that need to obey the gospel call - yet continue to wait!

What Is It That Keeps One Waiting?
We should all have a heart like David that stated to the Lord: "And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee" (Psalms 39:7). It would be so good if we would put our hope and trust in the Lord wouldn't it? But many have not put their hope in the Lord and continue to wait - but why? Is it that one is waiting for the saving power? We need to realize and understand that the saving power of Jesus comes through the blessed gospel. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). Is it because one is waiting for the converting power to come upon them suddenly? This will not happen because we can learn that the law of the Lord is perfect - it's this law that converts the soul (Psalms 19:7). Therefore, we must learn about His converting power through the word itself.

People may be waiting to respond to the invitation of our Lord Jesus for many reasons. Some other reasons may be that they're waiting for some sanctifying power - but that is only found through the word also (John 17:17). We can also learn that the perfecting power of God comes to us only through study (2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17). Could it be that one is waiting for God to give them faith? One may say "As soon as I can gain faith within then I'll start serving Christ." Yet one can in no way gain Bible faith except through the Bible. In Romans 10:17 it says "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
It is also deceptive for one to wait for a certain kind of feeling to suddenly come over them. Many have been led away into denominationalism because of "suggested feelings." One can only know the right thing to do by learning what God says is the right thing. Once one knows this then their heart will cause them to be "doers" of the word and not merely "hearers" (James 1:22).
Some may be waiting for the church to get better. If this is the case then one will never come to Jesus. Men will always make mistakes. The difference is that the children of God learn from their mistakes, get up and try again. The alien sinner has never even tried! And besides, I would hate to be left out of heaven because I was too concerned about what others were or weren't doing and not doing anything myself. Read Romans 14:10 where it says: "for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."
Let's Be Determined to Follow Christ Now
It is dangerous, to wait to follow Christ. Many will wait for that "convenient season" to follow Christ. If you think about it, we are very fortunate to be able to get another chance at salvation. In James 4:14 we can learn how precious life really is. James says: "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." Life is too short to wait! "Why Do You Wait Dear Sinner, O Why Do You Tarry So Long?"

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Correcting Misconceptions of Humility

Once it is established that Jesus was the ultimate example of humility, several misconceptions are laid to rest.

Humility is not weakness
Even the enemies of Jesus testified to His power. It was demonstrated over Satan, over nature, and over every force that opposed Him. Yet in the exercise of His power He was humble, acknowledging that the works He did were the works of His Father (John 5:19). Humble individuals who recognize their own weakness and allow the power of God to work in them are the only ones who are truly strong. The Lord said to Paul, "My strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9), causing Paul to respond, "When I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Humility does not preclude leadership
Jesus was "meek and lowly" (humble), but this did not prevent His exercising leadership. He is the great Shepherd of the flock, the King of kings and Lord of lords. Some individuals, citing humility as their reason, refuse to accept the responsibilities of leadership, especially as elders. The fact is that elders must be humble. They are to be sober-minded (1 Timothy 3:2), and this is defined in Romans 12:3 as not thinking more highly of oneself than one should.1 Timothy 3:6 says that an elder should not be a novice, "lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil." Rather than hindering leadership, humility defines the style of leadership that pleases God. Christ-like shepherds are not lords over those entrusted to them but examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:3).
Humility does not forbid rebuking sin
Jesus was just as humble when He was driving out the money-changers from the temple in Matthew 21 and rebuking the Pharisees in chapter 23 as when He was blessing little children in chapter 19. In each case He was expressing in His words and actions the will of God, not His own. Humility will, however, affect our manner of dealing with sinners and those in error. "A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition" (2 Timothy 2:24-25). "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1). Rebuking that is done from a spirit of self-righteousness and pride will never be effective in accomplishing God's purpose.

Humility is not inconsistent with personal initiative
The church needs the input of every spiritually-minded Christian in planning and, executing its work.A song we sing says, "Take my intellect and use every power as Thou shalt choose." Yet some who have useful ideas fail to offer them, feeling that to do so would be inconsistent with humility.Of course, if one demands that his way be accepted and becomes angry if his suggestion is not taken, he does lack humility. Humility demands that "each esteem others better than himself" (Philippians 2:3), but it does not forbid our offering our wisdom on a subject for whatever it may be worth in the opinion of our brethren.
Humility does not require that we think of ourselves disdainfully,
speak of ourselves disparagingly or grovel in the presence of others.
This is what many people think of as humility. However, this is the opposite of humility. Such a person is thinking too much of himself, however negative his thinking may be.When one is constantly thinking: "How inferior I am, how worthless I am, how useless I am, how poorly I do compared to others" he is thinking of himself all the time. Pride is his problem; he is too proud to be comfortable among those whom he considers superior to himself. Humility is not the cause of such negative thinking; it is actually the solution - not thinking of self at all.A Christian can rejoice in the superiority of his brethren. Furthermore, he can hold up his head in the presence of all men, not because he himself is so worthy, but because he is a child of the God of heaven, redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus. Jesus did not grovel before any man, yet He was not lacking in humility when He said to a Roman governor, "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above" (John 19:11).
True humility replaces self-seeking with seeking first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33), self-will with doing the will of God (Matthew 7:21), self-reliance with reliance upon God (2 Corinthians 3:5), self-confidence with confidence in God (2 Timothy 1:12), and self-exaltation with exaltation by God (1 Corinthians 4:3-6). These were the qualities that made Jesus humble and the qualities He seeks in us. May we bring ourselves to say truly, even as we sing: Lord, thy love at last has conquered: None of self, and all of Thee.
Article written by: Sewell Hall

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Day of the Lord

Peter, the apostle, writes some words which each one of us should take to heart. In 2 Peter 3:9-11 he writes: "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness." In these verses Peter encourages each and every one of us to repent and live our lives here on this earth in holy conduct and godliness. Why? Because there will come a time that no man knows, when the Lord will return. When the Lord does return, we better be ready or we’ll burn in eternity. Let’s look at some key points concerning "the day of the Lord."

How Do We Know "the day" Will Come?
Every Bible student knows that "the day of the Lord" will come simply because God said so. In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 the apostle Paul wrote: "But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them." Peter said that the day of the Lord would come in 2 Peter 3:10 and Jesus Himself told us: "But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matthew 24:43-44). We learn from these scriptures that the day of the Lord will come but no man knows when it will come.

What Will Happen When "the day" Comes?
It should be plain by Peter’s explanation of the event that this means that the end of the world is taking place. When the earth is melted with fervent heat all will be destroyed. But what will happen to those that are righteous in the sight of God? The inspired writer Paul said: "deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" (1 Corinthians 5:5). Those that are in sin should be made aware of their sin, that it is lawlessness to God (1 John 3:4). Being aware of sin (Romans 3:23), man must make themselves right before God so when the day of the Lord happens we can be saved. Truly there will be some that will rejoice when the Lord returns. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians he said: "holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain" (Philippians 2:16). If we will strive to be obedient to the Word of the Lord while we live, then we can rejoice when Christ returns because we know that we have obeyed His Will (Matthew 7:21).

How Should We Be Found When "the day" Comes?
If we are living as we should be living in holy conduct and godliness then we should be found looking forward to Christ’s second coming. "looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (2 Peter 3:12-13). If we are walking in the light we have nothing to fear. However if we should be walking in darkness, which has NO fellowship with the light, then we better be concerned. If we are in darkness the day of the Lord will come upon us as a thief. Paul said: "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief" (1 Thessalonians 5:4). True disciples, lovers of Christ, will be ready for Jesus! Each Christian should possess a genuine desire to be found in favor with God when His Son returns. When we are walking in the light, favorably toward God then we will glory when the day of the Lord comes upon us.
How Can We Be Found Obedient When "the day" Comes?
For us to be ready to meet the Lord on His return we must prepare right now! We must get rid of sin in our life and be determined to follow the ways of the Lord. In Romans 12:1-2 it says: "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." We must understand that heaven is the MOST important goal to obtain in our life. Understanding this, then how should we act? What must we do? We must transform ourselves, having our mind set on things above, not on things of the earth (Colossians 3:2). We must constantly live in such a way that we approve of only those things that are good and acceptable to God. Paul said that we "Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22). The Christian must live their life in such a way as to show others that they are determined to live for Christ and not for man. The alien sinner, those not IN CHRIST, must get in Christ to be saved. The way to get IN Christ is through baptism (Galatians 3:27). If you are not IN Christ why not do so today? "Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins" so you can be saved when "the day of the Lord" comes!

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Reality of Apostasy

Apostasy? What is apostasy? To some this word may sound strange and may not have meaning. But let us first assign a meaning to this word and then we will understand how serious apostasy is. Webster's New World Dictionary defines apostasy as: "an abandoning of what one believed in, as a faith, etc." Now do you see how serious this word is? The Lord's church is suffering today because of individuals that have abandoned their faith in God and slipped back into worldliness. Peter says "For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them" (2 Peter 20-21). These are some strong words delivered by the apostle Peter! God is very displeased with anyone that accepts his commandments one day and then throws them into the wind the next. Individuals that do this will be lost eternally. James says "My beloved brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20). God takes apostasy very seriously and so should we because our soul is at stake!

If apostasy wasn't a real problem then it would not be addressed so often in the word of God. There are different types of apostasy. The Hebrew writer says "For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins," (Hebrews 10:26). Apostasy usually comes about as a result of an individual who willfully strays from God's word but we can also see that apostasy can come in other ways such as deceptiveness. "But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived" (2 Timothy 3:13).

Apostasy is known by other terms such as "shipwreck" as Paul points out to young Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:19. It is also described as a "falling away" in Hebrews 6:6. James refers to individuals that slip into apostasy as "erring" (James 5:19). As we see various terms associated with this word apostasy - one thing is for certain and that is "one has abandoned their faith in God!"

Now that we know what apostasy is, we need to find out what causes this awful thing to happen to God's children. In today's society there is an endless list of things that can cause someone to turn away from God because their faith is not as strong as it should be. False teachers that are on the television networks and around every corner are being fueled by Satan himself to cause you to fall away from God. Jesus talks about the false prophet in Matthew 24:11 when he says; "...many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many". This is just one cause that will confront the Christian on a day to day basis. There are many, many others such as; the love of this world (2 Timothy 4:10), ignorance (Romans 10:3), carelessness (1 Corinthians 10:12), discouragements (Matthew 24:12), temptations of all kinds (Luke 8:13), developing an attitude of "unbelief" (1 Timothy 1:19), impure hearts (1 Timothy 1:5-6), and the lack of a good conscience before God (1 Timothy 1:19), just to name a few.

But there is a remedy for apostasy and that is to repent and turn back to God's way before it is everlastingly too late (Revelation 2:5)! As Christians, if we would concentrate on adding the Christian characteristics to our lives, then we would not be so easily swayed into apostasy from one form or another. Read 2 Peter 1:5-10 and add these characteristics to your life. Apostasy is real and can happen to anyone that has a weak faith and isn't growing in the ways of Christ!

Friday, May 29, 2015

How Do We Hear the Word?

Jesus went about His ministry speaking in parables. It says in Mark 4:34 "But without a parable He did not speak to them." Jesus spoke in parables so that they could more easily understand what He was trying to say to the people. One parable that Jesus spoke about concerns "the sower". This parable is found in Mark 4:3-20 and in Matthew 13:18-23. In Mark’s account of this parable Jesus said: "Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred." (Mark 4:3-8). Of all the parables that Jesus told, this one in particular really cuts to the heart of why man does not always respond to the preaching and teaching of the gospel of Christ. Jesus points out to us that there are four kinds of hearers out here in the world. You and I are one of these kind. So which one are we? The one we are depends on what we do with the Word of God once we have heard it. Assuming that each of us has heard God’s Word, now let’s see where we stand in relationship to this parable that Jesus told.

Are We Shallow?
As the Word of God is sown or preached, and we hear the Word, do we immediately let Satan come along and lead us back into sin and the ways of the world? Some are very shallow, allowing Satan to immediately get his grips back in them. The Word that they heard quickly leaves them as they again become servants of Satan and not the Lord Jesus (Mark 4:15).

Are We Rootless?
Again as God’s Word is taught are we like the seed that fell on the stony ground? Did we receive God’s Word with great gladness of heart and get excited about it for just a short time, only to see it quickly fade away? If this is so, then we are "rootless!" When tribulation and persecution comes our way we quickly succumb to the pressures of having to uphold the Word of God and we immediately stumble away. There are many who have eagerly received the Word of God, got excited about it for a short time but then drifted back into the world, letting Satan take command and control of their life! Individuals like this are simply rootless!

Are We Entangled?
This is where I believe most people are today. They are entangled with the affairs of this world and not the affairs of God. Jesus said that this type of person is the one that is likened to the thorny ground. The Word of God is heard but the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things choke out the Word to the extent that no fruit can ever be realized. Many today are entangled in the affairs of the world because they neglect the first commandment that Jesus taught and that is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30). When we do not truly love God with all of our inner being then certainly the cares of the world and the lusts of it will take over and we will become entangled with them.

Are We Fruitful?
The one who hears the Word of God, accepts it, and bears fruit because of it is the one that will inherit eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9). We must make sure that our ground (heart) is fertile, always ready and willing to receive God’s Word and DO what He asks of us! Let us all long for a fertile heart, and be anxious to bear fruit.