Saturday, February 28, 2015

Having Life Within

In John 6:53-56 we read, "Then Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.'"

Some of the greatest gifts from God to man are the blessings of physical and spiritual life, but both are dependent on certain conditions. If we're to live physically, we must have proper food, exercise, sunshine, and air. Let a man shut himself away from all light, food, air, and exercise, and he will die physically. We can't hibernate as do the animals, neither can we hibernate spiritually.

Jesus said, "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you." (John 6:53). In this statement, Jesus likely had in mind more than the Lord's Supper, but we do know He included it in this declaration, for the bread is emblematic of His body and the fruit of the vine is emblematic of His blood according to Matthew 26:26-28.

Some will forsake the worship for months and still claim to have good spiritual health in Christ. It was the dying request of our Redeemer that we partake of the Lord's Supper in remembrance of Him. If we don't gather together, how can we obey that command? Let us do as the early disciples and partake of the Lord's Supper on every first day of the week. (Acts 20:7). Let us live for Him who died for us, and God will bless us.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Narrow Way

Can one be saved without having faith in Jesus? Our answer is "No," because we read in Acts 4:12, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." This sounds very narrow to the majority of earth inhabitants who do not believe that salvation is a possession of only those who believe in Jesus. However, Jesus said in John 8:24, "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."

Again, Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." This tells us just how narrow the way to heaven really is. It is confined to those who are in Jesus because they have obeyed the will of their Father.

Listen again to the words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." In verse 21, our Lord describes those who shall enter the kingdom of heaven, "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."

Jesus goes on to tell why He will refuse some who profess to be His disciples. He said in verse 23, "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" We do not need to hear those words of rejection. We simply need to learn of God's will through a diligent study of the Bible and practice that which we learn.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What Constitutes Obedience?

A passage of scripture comes to mind when I hear the word "obedience" and that is from 1 Samuel 15:22 which says: "And Samuel said, "Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, {And} to heed than the fat of rams". We all need to understand that to obey the voice of the Lord is our first obligation. The truth is what guides us unto salvation and all men should obey the truth of God (Galatians 3:1-5; 1 Peter 1:22). We can learn from the scriptures that no man was saved by obedience to anything other than God's word. King Saul obeyed the voice of the people and that led to his downfall (1 Samuel 15:21). Adam obeyed the voice of Satan (Genesis 3:1-6). Saul of Tarsus obeyed the voice of his conscience (Acts 26:9). Only when one obeys the commandments of God is one able to be saved.

So how do we obey the truth? Before answering this question, let us first see how we disobey it. We disobey the truth by refusing to do anything at all (John 5:40). We disobey the truth by adding anything to it that God has not commanded or allowed. The Proverb writer says: "Do not add to His words Lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar." (See also Revelation 22:18; 2 John 9) Besides adding to God's word we disobey Him by taking away that which He has instructed us to do (Revelation 22:19; Deuteronomy 4:2). The only way that we can obey the truth is by doing the exact thing that God commands for us to do. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness" (Matthew 7:21-23). Some may think they are doing God's will because it "feels right", or "it is a good work" but that does make it right!

This point is driven home by the example of Moses when he struck the rock when he was not commanded to do so (Exodus 20:7-12). It seemed such a small thing when Uzza touched the Ark to stabilize it, yet it caused his death (1 Chronicles 13:9-10). If we offend in one point we are guilty of all "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one {point,} he has become guilty of all" (James 2:10). Let us strive to do ONLY those things which ARE AUTHORIZED by God!