Friday, March 29, 2019

Christ's Church

We only have to open the telephone directory and look at all the different churches that are listed to wonder “what church is the right church?” There are books that are written about various churches, most claiming to be spiritually and doctrinally correct. We can read where all kinds of things are taught such as praying to Mary, baptizing babies, some priests can marry, others can’t, the social work of the church, no life after death or there is life after death! How can we know which church is the church that Jesus built?

I Will Build MY Church
Jesus said: “...I will build my church…” (Matthew 16:18). Jesus said this way back in 30 A.D. Therefore, the church that Christ built was built long ago. Every denomination that is in existence today was built long after Jesus said “I will build my church.” Most are proud to tell you the exact date that their church was established and the creed in which it was established on. Since Jesus said “I will build my church”, that must mean that the church in which Jesus built belongs to Him. Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:22-23: “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Here we can clearly see that HIS BODY = HIS CHURCH. In Colossians 1:18 it is pointed out that Christ is “the head of the body, the church”. Since Christ is the head, He decides, controls, and guides His church.

There Is ONE
The word ONE is mentioned several times in the New Testament. Let’s look at a few references to this. In Ephesians 4:4-6 we can read where “there is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Here we can plainly read where there is just ONE of each. Yet while most will acknowledge there is ONE God, they recognize several churches. Paul said that we should be unified (1 Corinthians 1:10). Only when we’re doing all things exactly as God has stipulated can we truly be ONE, which is to be unified.

Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” (John 10:27). In John 10:16 we can read where there is ONE fold and ONE shepherd. Therefore, in the New Testament (the testament we are under today), we see that there was only ONE CHURCH!

Doctrines Of Men
The Bible is very plain on Christ’s teaching about His church. Yet many still want to preach and teach more than ONE church and various other ways of doing things that are in direct violation of God’s teaching in His Word! Jesus condemned man for teaching his own ideas and doctrines (Mark 7:7-9). Because man did change the teachings of Jesus, we now have denominations. Some denominationalists teach that denominations are simply branches of Jesus’ church. This cannot be so, for in the Bible we read “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:5-6). Disciples are the branches, not churches! 

In Mark 16:16, Jesus said: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Some say “He that believeth and is not baptized shall be saved.” Who shall we believe, Jesus, or doctrines of men? We cannot pollute the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9-11). When Christ’s doctrine is polluted with the doctrine of men, it makes man’s worship of God empty of any value, it is vain! 

Are you simply following the traditions and doctrines of men or are you striving to abide in the doctrine of Jesus Christ?

Friday, March 22, 2019

Unrighteousness is Sin

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Man of God

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Some Hindering Causes

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

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